2015-10-08 Energy Week

Please note that this post is being developed.

Thursday, October 1:

  • Renewable power plants produced 31.3% of Spain’s power output in September, led by wind farms with 15.2% of total output. The wind farms generated 3,023 GWh, up 41.8% on the year. Hydro, PV and concentrated solar power plants registered shares of 8%, 3.5% and 2.5% of total generation, respectively. Demand was down 3.7%. [SeeNews Renewables]
  • Swiss engineering firm ABB has raised the upper limit for microgrid renewable-energy penetration without storage. Research by the company suggests up to 50% intermittent generation could be admitted to microgrids without needing storage, provided that automation systems are in place to keep the grid stable. [Greentech Media]
  • Energy storage just got a big vote of confidence from one of the world’s largest utilities. The CEO of NextEra Energy says he expects the company to deploy $100 million in energy storage projects in the next 12 months. He expects there will be no gas-fired peaking plants built after 2020 because of competition from batteries. [Greentech Media]

Friday, October 2:

  • Oil giant BP Plc’s second-quarter profit reported missed analyst estimates. The investor presentation accompanying the earnings call following the results announcement highlighted the difficulties faced by BP Plc as cash flow dries up. The company’s earnings did not cover costs. Other oil companies are also suffering. [Bloomberg]
    A note: The Dow Jones U.S. Oil & Gas Total Stock Market Index is down about 35% over the last year.
    A note: The Dow Jones U.S. Coal Index has dropped from 723.51 on June 27, 2008 to 24.34 on Friday. That is a drop of 96.6%.
  • India has submitted its 2030 climate action plan to the United Nations in advance of December’s Paris climate talks. The plan includes a pledge to expand its renewable power capacity to 40% of its energy mix and cut greenhouse gas emissions 35% by 2030. It aims to install 175 GW of solar, wind and biomass power capacity by 2022. [PennEnergy]
  • Half of the world’s coal isn’t worth digging out of the ground at current prices, according to Moody’s Investors Service. The global metallurgical coal benchmark has fallen to the lowest level in a decade, hitting $89 a metric ton. “Further production cuts are necessary to bring the market back into balance,” an analyst wrote. [The Globe and Mail]

Saturday, October 3:

  • Renewable energy plants in Scotland have helped displace 12.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in 2014, which is 119% more than in 2010. Scotland’s wind, solar and hydropower plants saved more CO2 from entering the atmosphere than what is released by every single car, bus and train journey in the country. [SeeNews Renewables]
  • Based on new research, the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association estimates that roughly 90% of existing US single family homes are under-insulated. This wastes energy, costs more, and decreases comfort. The study focuses on how increased insulation across the US housing sector can decrease energy use. [CleanTechnica]
  • SolarCity unveiled a new solar panel product that the company says will be the “world’s most efficient.” The new panel will be manufactured in the US, and will produce 30% to 40% more power than standard panels while costing less than the average panel now when manufactured at scale, according to the company. [TIME]

Sunday, October 4:

  • “G20 Energy Ministers Heart Renewables, Squash ‘Energy Poverty’ Case For Fossil Fuels” High-level energy ministers from G20 countries met got for the first time ever, and if fossil fuel stakeholders were hoping for a show of support from that historic event, they got bupkus. Fossil sector’s talk of “energy poverty” fell on deaf ears. [CleanTechnica]

Monday, October 5:

  • “Africa’s ‘Light Bulb Moment’ and Its Lead Role in the Global Renewable Energy Transformation” Africa’s lack of access to clean, affordable energy is a scandal. The poorest households in Africa are spending the equivalent of U.S. $10 per kilowatt-hour on lighting. But Africa’s energy deficit is not only a scandal. It is an opportunity. [AllAfrica.com]

Cooking at the fire in Rwanda. Photo by Oorna.M. CC BY-SA 4.0. Wikimedia Commons

  • An expert report submitted to the Victorian government notes that in that state, as in many others in Australia, the current levy on PV exports to the grid pays rooftop solar owners around 6 ¢/kWh, which is then resold at 20 to 30¢/kWh, leaving 15 to 25¢/kWh to be shared as a “windfall profit” by the retailer and network operator. [RenewEconomy]
  • The International Energy Agency is revising its new renewable energy forecasts. In its recent medium-term outlook assessment it now expects renewable energy will account for two-thirds of net additions to global power capacity over 2015 to 2020. It expects installation of 700 GW of renewable capacity in the next five years. [Business Spectator]
  • This month SolarCity will start producing a solar panel with 22% efficiency. The company plans to produce the majority of the new PV panels at its 1-GW-plus manufacturing facility in Buffalo, New York, which is expected to open in 2016. Until that plant opens, the PVs will be produced in a pilot facility. [SeeNews Renewables]

Tuesday, October 6:

  • South Africa plans to build a solar park in its Northern Cape Province to produce an additional 1,500 MW. Africa’s most advanced economy is investing heavily in renewable energy to counter chronic electricity deficits, which have made utility Eskom resort frequently to controlled power cuts to prevent the grid from collapsing. [Citizen TV]
  • Last Friday, the rather conservative International Energy Agency quietly released its Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2015. The report concluded that by 2020, 26% of the world’s energy will be generated by renewable sources. The agency calls it “a remarkable shift in a very limited period of time.” [Motherboard]
  • To combat climate change, some of the most influential companies have become a part of a green alliance called RE100. RE100 has 36 member companies, all of whom are moving to 100% renewable power in their operations. Goldman Sachs, Starbucks, Nike, P&G, and Walmart have all joined the campaign. [OilPrice.com]

Wednesday, October 7:

  • “The Republican Party stands alone in climate denial” Sondre Båtstrand at the University of Bergen compared the climate positions of conservative political parties from the USA, UK, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and Germany. He found the US Republican Party stands alone on climate change denial. [Skeptical Science]
  • New research published in the journal Nature says 3.3 million people are killed every year as a result of outdoor air pollution. The number of deaths each year is currently set to rise to 6.6 million a year by 2050 (by researcher estimates), if emissions aren’t cut, reminding us of the importance of electric vehicles. [CleanTechnica]
  • Energy efficiency saved large manufacturers in the United States an estimated $2.4 billion in energy costs over the past five years, and could generate over $11 billion in annual energy savings by 2020, according to the US Department of Energy’s Better Plants Program, a multi-sector initiative to improve energy efficiency in buildings. [CleanTechnica]
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