2015-11-19 Energy Week

Please note that this post is being developed.

Thursday, November 12:

  • Around four coal-powered plants are poised to come up every week in China. However, chances are they will remain under-utilised given the existing glut. Around 155 projects with a total capacity of 123 GW got the green signal in 2015 alone. This is despite the fact that China has practically no need for the energy they will produce. [Yahoo News UK]
  • German utilities giant E·ON recorded record losses of €5.7 billion ($6.1 billion) for the first nine months of 2015 as its older fossil fuel power plants declined in value amid a switch to renewable energy. There was a write-down of €8.3 billion due to the recent decline in fuel prices, with energy plants barely turning a profit. [Europe Online Magazine]
  • The government of the UK gives the fossil-fuel industry nearly £6 billion a year in subsidies, almost twice the financial support it provides to renewable-energy providers, according to a study by the Overseas Development Institute. The study challenges the popular idea that green energy requires extra taxpayer support. [The Independent]

Friday, November 13:

  • Two weeks after a developer came to town to disclose details of what would be Vermont’s largest wind-turbine site, the project’s opponents presented an impassioned case against building any wind farms in Stiles Brook Forest. Opponents to the proposal painted a picture of troubles, at a meeting they organized. [vtdigger.org]
  • Hillary Clinton outlined a $30 billion plan to help communities and individuals that rely on coal to recover from the industry’s decline. Clinton has said repeatedly she will not forget the coal workers who “kept the lights on” and drove economic growth. Her campaign said the plan fits squarely with her climate priorities. [Rapid News Network]
  • The UK’s Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and campaign group Oil Change worldwide (OCI) have now published a detailed analysis of G20 subsidies to oil, gas and coal production. The G20 countries spent around four times as much to prop up fossil fuel production as they did to subsidize renewable energy. [Financial Company Voices]

Saturday, November 14:

  • Texas wind farms are generating so much energy that some utilities are giving power away. One example is TXU Energy, which offers a free overnight plan to encourage customers to use less energy when wholesale prices are highest and use more when prices are lowest, 9 pm to 6 am. The plan has slightly higher daytime rates. [HPPR]
  • Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, and Hawaii Electric Light Company proposed new voluntary time-of-use rates for residential customers that encourage the use of power during mid-day and off-peak hours, or times when solar and wind resources are most productive. Special rates also support the growing EV market. [KHON2]

Sunday, November 15:

  • A record oil glut is set to continue into next year, maintaining pressure on prices. According to the International Energy, stockpiles stand at a record three billion. The report follows disappointing eurozone growth figures and a slump in commodity prices on the back of weaker demand from China, all of which sent stock prices lower. [BBC]
  • France plans to go ahead with a global climate change summit in Paris at the end of the month, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Saturday, despite a wave of deadly attacks on Friday night that killed nearly 130 people in the capital. The conference “will be held because it’s an essential meeting for humanity,” Valls explained. [The Japan Times]
  • Bernie Sanders opened Saturday night’s Democratic debate by vowing to rid the world of ISIS. Following up, the moderator pointed out that during a debate last month, Sanders had identified “climate change” as the greatest threat to national security and asked whether he still believed that. “Absolutely,” replied Sanders. [Grist]

Monday, November 16:

  • Human societies will soon start to experience adverse effects from manmade climate change, economist Richard Tol warned. He predicts the downsides of warming will outweigh the advantages at a 1.1° C increase, which we have nearly reached already. He had previously commented on positive effects of climate change. [BBC]
  • Apple announced a deal that will see its Singapore operations fully powered by solar energy, expanding on similar efforts in countries like the US and China, and also confirmed an upcoming local Apple Store that will be the first in Southeast Asia. Developer Sunseap Group will supply Apple from panels on 800 roof tops. [Apple Insider]
  • Findings from real estate appraisal experts and a researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory suggest that adding a photovoltaic solar power system to a home increases the home’s value across six states. The study looked at markets in California, Oregon, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. [Daily Californian]

Tuesday, November 17:

  • A record $391 billion flowed into low carbon and climate-resilient growth in 2014, according to a report released today by Climate Policy Initiative. The fresh figures come just two weeks before the COP21 climate talks begin in Paris, where finance is expected to play a pivotal role in scoring a robust global deal for a safe climate. [The Climate Group]
  • The C20 Sustainability Working Group is asking the G20 to stop fossil fuel subsidies. The G20 promised to phase them out in 2009, but they still pump $452 billion annually into exploration for and production of fossil fuels, according to a report from the Overseas Development Institute released last week. [Blue & Green Tomorrow]
  • Tesla Motors CTO JB Straubel told engineering students at the University of Nevada that the gigafactory is designed to be a net-zero building with zero carbon emissions. What’s makes this statement more special is that this building will reportedly be one of the largest manmade structures on Earth when it is completed. [ValueWalk]

Wednesday, November 18:

  • The Republican-run US Senate adopted two resolutions to shoot down key rules Barack Obama’s administration wants to limit greenhouse gas emissions by power plants. The president will veto the move. The 52 to 46 vote was largely meant to draw attention to the hostility of the Republicans to Obama’s efforts on climate change. [Business Recorder]
  • A two-year pilot project will store a tiny bit of Toronto’s excess energy underwater in giant balloons. Local energy firm Hydrostor and Toronto Hydro are partnering on the project. The Hydrostor system is expected to improve power quality for residents of the Toronto Islands while engineers monitor and test its performance. [Toronto Star]
  • After a concerted push from the United States, members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development agreed to cut subsidies aimed at exporting technology for coal-fired power plants. The policy would effectively cut off public financing for 85% of coal plants currently in the pipeline, an official said. [Washington Post]
  • The Massachusetts House has passed a bill to boost the state’s reliance on solar energy. The measure increases the cap on the state’s net metering program, which allows homeowners, businesses and local governments to sell excess solar power they generate back to the electrical grid in exchange for credit. [wwlp.com]
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