2015-09-03 Energy Week

Please note that this post is being developed.

Thursday, August 27:

  • In Vermont, two long-delayed Windham County hydroelectric stations are well underway and may begin producing power by fall, producing about 3.1 MW, in combination. New Jersey-based Eagle Creek Renewable Energy LLC is building hydro projects at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dams in Townshend and Jamaica. [vtdigger.org]

Townshend Lake and Dam. US Army Corps of Engineers photo.

  • The future of the UK’s popular feed-in tariff scheme has been thrown into doubt, after the government this morning published a wide-ranging consultation on the program. The document proposes deep cuts to support for solar PV, wind and hydropower from January in a bid to cap government spending on feed-in tariffs at £75 million to £100 million. [Business Green]
  • A new Citigroup report values the fossil fuel reserves that need to be left in the ground if the world is to meet its targets of trying to limit global warming to 2° C at $100 trillion. But 2° C is a target that, according to a new Climate Council report, is actually a lot less “safe” for humankind than the science thought it was just 10 years ago. [CleanTechnica]
  • Australia’s city of Newcastle may be the world’s biggest coal export port, but it will pull money out of fossil fuel industries, favoring sustainability. The city council, which manages a Aus$268 million (US$191 million) investment fund for the city, voted to move towards “environmentally and socially responsible investments”. [Peninsula On-line]
  • The Imperial Irrigation District is preparing to build one of the largest battery storage systems in the western United States. The electricity storage unit will help the utility deal with fluctuating power. The battery could even help keep the grid operating during a big blackout. The 30-MW battery complex will use lithium-ion battery technology. [KPBS]

Friday, August 28:

  • The UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change has proposed to make calamitous cuts to the country’s renewable energy Feed-in Tariff scheme. The plan’s details have emerged, with proposals that domestic solar support could be cut by 87%, commercial rooftops by 82%, in addition to devastating cuts to onshore wind. [CleanTechnica]
  • One of Britain’s most controversial energy projects for decades, the £24.5 billion nuclear power development at Hinkley Point in Somerset, is poised to get the green light. The Government and EDF have agreed a deal that would guarantee EDF a price of £92.50 per MWh, up to 2061. That’s nearly three times the current price. [The Independent]
  • Beginning their work in April 2014, a team at South Africa’s Stellenbosch University came up with a small heliostat system made of six triangular mirrors. They also devised wireless, smart positioning technology. The compact construction makes a “plonkable” concentrating solar system. It can be plonked down by two people. [Newser]
  • Critics of President Barack Obama’s landmark regulation to reduce carbon dioxide emissions almost always highlight a series of flawed studies (which are often paid for by utility or fossil fuel interests) to attack the Clean Power Plan. Many of these reports did not even look at the EPA’s final (and official) regulations, instead working on drafts. [Huffington Post]

Saturday, August 29:

  • Thousands of UK householders are installing solar-powered smart meters. The devices track when rooftop solar panels produce excess energy and divert it to water heaters. Calculations produced for Telegraph Money suggest that an average family of four would save £243 per year, earning back the original outlay in less than two years. [Telegraph.co.uk]

The 'Immersun' device works by automatically redirecting solar energy to your water heater, effectively storing power to use later

  • Researchers at the University of South Australia developed a low-cost energy storage solution that uses salt to store excess electricity. Their system uses salt as a phase-change material for smaller-scale, rapid-discharge batteries for residential and commercial use. It has a cost of up to 10 times cheaper than batteries. [CleanTechnica]

Sunday, August 30:

  • Technological advances mean businesses no longer need to choose between economic growth and climate stability, said former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan. Mr Annan told people at an event: “There is no such trade-off, we can have both… What is required is a will.” He noted the progress already made in renewable energy. [AsiaOne]

Monday, August 31:

  • The White House might say Alaska is the canary in the climate change coal mine, with raging wildfires, ice melts in the arctic, vanishing glaciers, and whole villages forced to relocate away from rising seas. President Obama will carry that urgent message to Alaska as part of a drive to change the conversation on global warming. [CNN]
  • Major oil-producing countries are looking to sustainability. Recently, Bloomberg forecast that two-thirds of the $12.2 trillion global investment in capacity-generation to 2040 will be in the renewables sector. A signal simply of economic progression or of an increasing need for diversification in the energy mix. [Oil and Gas Industry Latest News]
  • Eni’s discovery of potentially the world’s largest natural-gas field off the Egyptian coast will be a game changer for Egypt and the Mediterranean in terms of energy stability, the CEO of the Italian energy giant told CNBC on Monday. Eni said in a press release that the gas field that could satisfy Egypt’s natural gas demand for decades. [CNBC]

Tuesday, September 1:

  • Aspen is one of three US cities to run on 100% renewable energy, according to city officials. The shift to energy that is generated from natural resources, including wind power, solar power and geothermal heat, follows a “decade-plus” city goal. Earlier US cities to reach the goal were Greensburg, Kansas and Burlington, Vermont. [Aspen Times]
  • Reports from three Chinese agencies all point to the continuing decline in use of coal in the first half of 2015, continuing a trajectory already notable in 2014. These are not declines in the rate of growth, but absolute declines in the amount of coal consumed. Meanwhile, China is working on new laws to speed reduction of pollution further. [Energy Collective]
  • The former CEO of Duke Energy, the country’s biggest power company, now says that the way big US power companies operate is out of date. “It’s very clear to me that the system of electric power we have in North America … is not sustainable for the future of the planet. So we’re going to have to figure out something else, and soon.” [Tampabay.com]

Wednesday, September 2:

  • New research by AeroThermal Group, pioneers in developing innovative solutions from aerospace through to green energy from waste, has shown that 635 kWh of renewable electricity can be generated from one tonne of waste from fast food outlets. Using the same system, one tonne of pure kitchen waste generated 847 kWh. [Industry Today]
  • The commitment of the UK’s Big Six energy companies to tackling climate change has been called into question. Yesterday, The Independent revealed that British Gas and SSE use more coal for electricity now than they did ten years ago. Now, it says that not a single one of Britain’s biggest suppliers offers a renewable energy tariff. [The Independent]
  • A review of 11 studies considering effects of net metering highlighted the importance of reduced or avoided environmental compliance costs, capital investment costs, and energy costs. It showed not only that solar net metering is not been harmful to markets, but that utilities have actually been underpaying for its use. [CleanTechnica]

 

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