2015-09-17 Energy Week

Please note that this post is being developed.

Thursday, September 10:

  • California is about to make a historic move on climate change with a package of bills to be voted on this week. One calls for a 50% reduction in petroleum use in cars and trucks, a 50% increase in energy efficiency in buildings, and for 50% of the state’s utility power derived from renewable energy, all by 2030. [ThinkProgress]
  • The US residential solar market grew 70% during the first half of 2015. With another 729 MW of utility-scale solar during the second quarter, the nation has installed more than 1 GW of PV for the last 7 quarters. According to the Solar Energy Industry Association’s latest report, US solar power capacity now exceeds 20 GW. [CleanTechnica]
  • A broad coalition of Ohio business, health, community and environmental groups called Wednesday for Ohio lawmakers to reinstate mandatory targets for the use of renewable and advanced energy sources such as wind, solar and clean coal. A law to have the state get 25% of its power from renewables is on hold for two years. [News-Herald.com]

Friday, September 11:

  • In 2014, the Bullitt Center produced 60% more electricity than it used. This is in part because of an oversized 242-kW array of solar PVs on the roof which provide abundant power. Overall, it is the most energy-efficient office building in the United States by a wide margin, despite the cloudy weather in its home city of Seattle. [Mother Earth News]

The Bullitt Center, a state-of-the-art office building in Seattle, Washington, showcases solar’s vast potential, even in cloudy locales. Photo by Nic Lehoux

  • The French government is ending export subsidies for building coal plants abroad, as the country tries to clean up its environmental reputation before hosting landmark UN climate talks. Prime Minister Manuel Valls announced the immediate end to the coal credits, primarily used by French group Alstom, which has not responded publicly. [PennEnergy]
  • The International Energy Agency predicts US oil output next year will see the steepest fall since 1992 thanks to low oil prices. US oil production has increased to a record high in recent years as high prices made investment worthwhile. Prices halved over the past year as demand fell in line with slower economic growth. [BBC]
  • In the face of intense lobbying from the oil industry, Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders on Wednesday dropped their attempt to pass a law mandating a 50% reduction in petroleum use in the state over the next 15 years. Despite the defeat, Brown vowed to implement the state’s existing low-carbon fuel standards. [Bakken.com]

Saturday, September 12:

  • The more renewables a country deploys, the more efficient its energy use, according to a study of the eight countries that consume half of the world’s electricity. The researchers estimate that by combining investments in renewables and in energy efficiency, the world’s total energy demand can be reduced by 25% by 2030. [Truthdig]

Switching from open fires to modern cooking stoves in India would vastly increase energy efficiency. (Yogendra Joshi via Flickr)

  • A research team from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has figured out what to do with the carbon dioxide from industrial emissions: convert it into carbon monoxide, and then turn that into useful products such as plastics. Carbon recycling sure beats sequestration for a long term, sustainable solution. [CleanTechnica]
  • Regulators have identified almost 1,200 nautical square miles off the South Carolina coast with potential to be leased for the development of wind energy. The federal Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management is publishing maps in the Federal Register as the first step in seeking comment on the proposal. [PennEnergy]

Sunday, September 13:

  • “How Vermont became a clean-power powerhouse” David Blittersdorf built his first wind turbine to power the lights in his sugar shack in Pittsford, Vermont, where he boiled maple sap, at age 14. And the Burlington Electric Department’s journey toward becoming 100% renewable first took form at a local Dairy Queen. [Christian Science Monitor]
  • “Ohio supplies national solar boom, sees own capacity slip” Ohio is a cautionary tale of how smart government policy, like the federal investment tax credit, can help a young, cutting-edge industry like solar grow, attract investment and create jobs while bad government policy can stunt the growth of an industry. [Crain’s Cleveland Business]


Monday, September 14:

  • Vattenfall and Stadtwerke München have started inner-park array cabling at the 288-MW Sandbank offshore wind farm in the German North Sea. The developers said the first power cable has been installed between monopiles SB 28C and SB 29C. The inner park cables will transport electricity from the 72 wind power plants to the farm’s offshore substation. [reNews]

VBMS's Stemat Spirit is laying the cables at Sandbank (RWE)

  • Global investment bank UBS has conducted the first in-depth analysis of the Labor Party’s proposed 50% renewable energy target for Australia by 2030, concluding that it will require around $80 billion in investment, but much of this would need to be spent anyway. UBS says that up to 20 GW of wind energy will need to be built by 2030, and 26 GW of solar. [RenewEconomy]
  • The Energy Information Administration projects lower domestic coal consumption and exports as well as a slight rise in coal imports will add to a 86 million short ton (9%) decline in production in 2015. Coal production is expected to decline in all coal-producing regions in 2015, with the largest decline (on a percentage basis) occurring in the Appalachian region. [World Coal]

Tuesday, September 15:

  • Costa Rica, Afghanistan, China, India and Albania are all embracing renewable energy sources. Five experts give their opinions on their futures. Costa Rica is well on its way to becoming the first developing country to have 100% renewable electricity. Hydro, wind and geothermal resources provide 98% of the power already. [The Guardian]

Afghanistan’s upland areas have decent wind potential and its rivers can be harvested by small-scale hydro plants. Photograph: Martin Wright

  • Malcolm Turnbull has replaced climate change doubter and coal industry booster Tony Abbott as Australian Prime Minister. This means that one of the world’s least enthusiastic backers of a new climate treaty has just been removed from the global stage. While Abbot’s views were not aligned with mainstream science, Turnbull’s are. [Mashable]
  • Growth in Vermont’s clean energy jobs is projected to double in the next six to 12 months after a year of outperforming other job sectors, according to a new state report. The growth has generated economic benefits in the form of more jobs and in plummeting utility costs, according to Governor Peter Shumlin, speaking in Williston. [BurlingtonFreePress.com]

Wednesday, September 16:

  • A relatively cheap and environmentally friendly battery that uses salt water and other commonly available materials to store electric energy has been awarded the Lemelson-MIT Prize. The head of the company making the battery, Aquion, said batteries capable of powering a typical single family home should cost between $1,000 and $3,000. [CNBC]
  • Siemens has for some time been known to have its sights on developing the next generation of wind turbines, a class of platforms rated to 10 MW and above. But as a new €200 million manufacturing plant takes shape, the company’s management has begun speaking more openly on activities geared towards those objectives. [CleanTechnica]
  • Green Mountain Power’s Mary Powell was joined today by Congressman Peter Welch, Governor Peter Shumlin, Rutland Mayor Chris Louras, and community leaders to announce that Rutland, Vermont is the Solar Generation Capital of New England. More solar power is generated in Rutland per capita than in any other New England city. [Vermont Biz]



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