2015-09-10 Energy Week

Please note that this post is being developed.

Thursday, September 3:

  • Iceland is luring business with renewable energy. Emerging from financial isolation, Iceland is making a name for itself in the business of data centres, warehouses consuming enormous amounts of energy to store the information of 3.2 billion internet users. [The Rakyat Post]
  • Solar power generation contributed to about 10% of peak summer power supplies of Japan’s nine major utilities, equivalent to more than 10 nuclear reactors. Solar power supplied only 2% of annual needs, but it came at peak demand time. [Economic Times]

Friday, September 5:

  • SolarWindow Technologies says they have a working, electricity-generating window with a payback of under a year. It is a transparent window coating. Installed on a 50-story building, it would generate up to 50 times the power of conventional rooftop solar. [ENGINEERING.com]
  • French energy giant EDF admitted that construction of the UK’s first new nuclear power plant in decades has been delayed. Hinkley Point C in Somerset will not start generating power in 2023 as planned. Yesterday it claimed no delays were going to happen. [Western Daily Press]
  • The California State Assembly passed a bill which will force the state’s two largest pension funds to divest their holdings in thermal coal. The bill requires the funds to divest their holdings in companies that receive at least half their annual revenue from coal mining. [CleanTechnica]

Saturday, September 6:

  • Plant for the Planet, a global youth initiative that plants trees to reduce the effects of climate change, asked for a worldwide tree count, and scientists at Yale did a study. The good news is that there are 3.04 trillion trees on Earth, 7½ times more than previous estimates. The bad news? The number of trees is down roughly 46%. [CNN]
Clingmans Dome (highest point in the Great Smokies). The effects of clearcut logging and fire are clearly visible on the right; the dead trees are Frasier Fir, killed by the Balsam woolly adelgid. United States Geological Survey photo.

Clingmans Dome (highest point in the Great Smokies). The effects of clearcut logging and fire are clearly visible on the right; the dead trees are Frasier Fir, killed by the Balsam woolly adelgid. United States Geological Survey photo.

  • Compared to “typical” wholesale electricity prices of $25 to $60 per MWh, in the New York ISO’s western region wholesale prices hit $1,100 to $1,200 per MWh during this summer’s heat. There were similar events across the nation. Demand flexibility could help reduce those spikes, ultimately reducing rates for consumers. [CleanTechnica]
  • The Vermont Green Line is the latest proposal to run an electric transmission line under Lake Champlain. The 400-MW underwater and underground line would run 60 miles, from Beekmantown, New York, to New Haven, Vermont. The power, from wind farms in northern New York, would be put on the New England power grid. [WAMC]
  • One Vermont state park is getting ready to go off the grid. Green Mountain Power is partnering with the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation to transform the bulk of Emerald Lake State Park in East Dorset into an ePark, powered entirely by solar and the new Tesla Powerwall battery for storage. [vtdigger.org]
  • Visiting Australia, Canadian author Naomi Klein said she believes she owes PM Tony Abbott “a debt of thanks.” In Sydney to promote her new book Capitalism versus the Climate: This Changes Everything, Klein said the conflict between what the planet needs and what capitalism needs is exemplified in Australia. [Green Left Weekly]

Sunday, September 6:

  • A study from researchers from the Melbourne Energy Institute and RMIT in Australia has highlighted how demand has been reduced in the last five years. But also there are now 1.44 million households with a total of 4.4 GW of rooftop solar. The result is that there have been no more “super peaks” in electricity demand. [CleanTechnica]
  • North Carolina health officials in 1999 alone issued 111 orange or red warnings for “bad air days,” days on which sensitive groups or everyone was warned against exercising outside. None were made last year, as clean air standards likely helped cut death rates for asthma, pneumonia and emphysema in the state. [Asheville Citizen-Times]

Monday, September 7:

  • In Australia, new TV advertisement that explains the “endless possibilities” of coal in providing “light and jobs” has been labelled “ludicrous” and “desperate” by environmental groups. The groups also criticised a claim that the new coal technology will reduce the emissions by up to 40%. [International Business Times AU]
  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that construction will start on the area’s first ever large scale anaerobic food waste digester system. Located in the Long Island hamlet of Yaphank, it is expected to handle 160,000 tons of waste annually, including solid food waste, fats, oils, grease, and grass clippings. [CleanTechnica]

Tuesday, September 8:

  • Five solar projects along the Massachusetts Turnpike and Route 3 are not the largest in the state, but they are among the most visible and striking examples of a solar industry that has grown more rapidly than most policy makers and energy specialists ever imagined. They will produce a combined 2,500 kW, enough for 500 homes. [Boston Globe]

Two solar farms alongside the Mass. Pike contain 2,100 panels each. Photo by Joanne Rathe/Globe Staff

  • Brazil has the highest share of renewables in its power mix, reaching 73% in 2014, within the BRICS bloc which also includes Russia, India, China and South Africa. The renewables percentage in the other countries from the group ranges from just 2%, as is the case in South Africa, to 22% in China. The figures exclude imports. [SeeNews Renewables]
  • Nuclear power advocates cling like limpets to the idea of ‘baseload’ power. No surprise there – it’s the only selling point they’ve got. It’s just too bad the idea is obsolete. Variable renewables combined with stronger grids, energy storage and responsive demand can do a better job for a good deal less money. [The Ecologist]

Wednesday, September 9:

  • Dutch solar is booming right now. Parties involved have reported sales increases up to 100% in the first half of 2015 compared to 2014. This is primarily due to the fact that the Netherlands has a generous net metering system and the public has faith that these policies will not be adjusted to their disadvantage soon. [CleanTechnica]
  • FirstEnergy, with 6 million customers in Ohio and nearby states, owns a handful of big nuclear and coal power plants that are no longer competitive in power markets. Rather than shut down the plants, the company is asking Ohio regulators to force customers to buy the plants’ power for the next 15 years at $26/MWh above market prices. [Vox]
  • Rural poor aren’t going to wait for centralised clean coal” Global coal is on the ropes. Prices of thermal coal have collapsed as demand evaporates, stocks have crashed, and companies are going to the wall. The World Coal Association is clinging to parts of the world with limited access to energy as a possible lifeline. [Business Green]



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