2015-12-03 Energy Week

Wednesday, November 25:

  • Slide 1: US-based Envirofit was one of the first social enterprises to provide clean cookstoves, and it’s just recently sold its millionth unit. Rocket stoves are wonders of sustainability. They address dangers to human health posed by open-fire cooking; they also burn very small amounts of wood fuel, with low emissions. [CleanTechnica]
11-25 rocket stove

Image credit: Envirofit International via Picasa. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

  • An accelerated transition to renewable energy could limit the global temperature rise to below 2° C, says an International Renewable Energy Agency report. It says if renewable energy accounted for 36% of the world energy mix by 2030, half the emission reductions needed to limit warming to 2° C would already be met. [CleanTechnica]

Thursday, November 26:

  • Slide 2: German household-scale battery maker Sonnenbatterie will soon provide buyers of the company’s household-scale electricity storage batteries, most of whom also have solar photovoltaic panels mounted on their rooftops, to automatically buy and sell energy from each other directly through a shared online platform. [Deutsche Welle]
11-26 Household battery

German rooftops

  • Slide 3: This year will be the hottest on record and 2016 could be even hotter due to the El Niño weather pattern, the World Meteorological Organization said. WMO director-general Michel Jarraud rejected climate sceptics’ arguments, saying, “It’s not about believing or not. It’s a matter of seeing the facts. The facts are there.” [Free Malaysia Today]
11-26 el-nino

How long will it last?

  • One significant challenge to lithium-ion EV battery technology is coming from the lithium-sulfur field. A lithium-sulfur battery research project at Oak Ridge National Laboratory has had sufficient success that Oak Ridge announced that it has signed an exclusive lithium-sulfur battery agreement with a startup called Solid Power. [CleanTechnica]

Friday, November 27:

  • Slide 4: The Vermont Yankee nuclear plant stopped producing power last year, but security measures, including heavily armed guards in bulletproof towers, will remain in place for decades to protect hundreds of tons of radioactive waste. The spent fuel will stay here until the federal government can determine where to store it. [The Boston Globe]
11-27 VY Globe

Dry cask storage was used to store spent fuel at the Entergy Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

  • Slide 5: Enbridge says it has purchased a 103-MW wind farm under development in West Virginia for about $200 million from EverPower Wind Holdings. The Calgary-based pipeline operator, which has been increasing its stake in the clean energy sector, said it is aiming to have the New Wind Creek project in operation by December 2016. [CBC.ca]
11-27 Enbridge west virginia and canada

Enbridge has been increasingly investing in renewable energy, including two major wind-power purchases in November 2015. (Reuters)

  • In a report, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory says, “In just four years, thanks to falling renewable energy technology costs, economic potential has more than tripled.” Economic potential is a metric that quantifies the amount of economically viable renewable generation that is available at a specific location. [pv magazine]

Saturday, November 28:

  • Slides 6 and 7: Rising levels of carbon dioxide in the oceans are changing the makeup of plankton. While the shift in numbers could certainly be fortunate for animals that eat one type with a burgeoning population, researchers are unsure exactly which animals those are. That is worrisome because it shows just how little is known about the ecosystems. [Science Recorder]
11-28 plankton1_0

Recent research shows that higher levels of carbon dioxide may be leading to a rise in the numbers of tiny phytoplankton known as coccolithophores.

Coccolithophore bloom off Brittany, France. Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC. Public domain.

Coccolithophore bloom off Brittany, France. Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC. Public domain.

  • For more than three decades, people from the Marshall islands have moved in the thousands to the landlocked Ozark Mountains for better education, jobs and health care, thanks to an agreement that lets them live and work in the US. The connection makes it an obvious destination for those facing a new threat: global warming. [Fox News]

Sunday, November 29:

  • Slide 8: The California birthplace of a machine that could bring clean power to the developing world and knock a tiny dent in global warming looks like a junkyard. But the Power Pallet, which generates electricity from corn cobs, wood chips, coconut shells and other kinds of cheap, dense biomass is “carbon negative.” [San Francisco Chronicle]
11-29 Power palet

Tom Price, director of strategic initiatives, looks over a PP20 Power Pallet while giving a tour at All Power Labs. Photo: Lea Suzuki, The Chronicle

  • New onshore wind turbines are coming to market. Senvion’s 3.4M140 is a 3.4-MW example with 140 meter rotor blades. The turbine should be able to generate 12.2 GWh of electricity annually in locations with wind velocities of 6.5 meters per second at hub height, making capacity factor around 41%. [www.renewablesinternational.net]

Monday, November 30:

  • Slide 9: Leaders from 147 nations are addressing COP21 on its opening day. Negotiators from 195 countries will try to reach a deal during the two-week conference aimed at reducing global carbon emissions. Initiatives to boost clean technologies are due to be launched. But the world’s poorest countries say they fear being “left behind.” [BBC]
The Eiffel Tower was lit up on Sunday evening in support of the climate conference. Reuters

The Eiffel Tower was lit up on Sunday evening in support of the climate conference. Reuters

  • Climate change takes center stage Monday as a global conversation begins in Paris. But it’s not just international politicians who will lead discussions. US cities like Boulder will have representatives there to share their best practices. Now the city’s strategy includes a job many have never heard of: Chief Resilience Officer. [Colorado Public Radio]

Tuesday, December 1:

  • Slide 10: Think of cities across the country where solar power is booming, and some obvious sunny spots come to mind: Las Vegas, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Antonio. There’s another city, however, that beats them in solar energy production. Try sunny Newark, New Jersey, which ranks eighth in a survey of 65 large US cities, per capita. [NJ.com]
A 13-acre solar producing 3 MW in Kearny, New Jersey, has been in operation for about three years. (Aristide Economopoulos | The Star-Ledger)

A 13-acre solar producing 3 MW in Kearny, New Jersey, has been in operation for about three years. (Aristide Economopoulos | The Star-Ledger)

  • As COP21 kicked off in Paris on Monday, a key committee in San Diego pushed ahead with a blueprint for cutting greenhouse-gas emissions and powering the city using only green energy within two decades. Members of the City Council’s environment committee unanimously approved the proposed plan. [The San Diego Union-Tribune]
  • The Obama administration is boosting the amount of corn-based ethanol and other renewable fuels in the US gasoline supply despite sustained opposition by an unusual alliance of oil companies, environmentalists and some GOP presidential candidates. The EPA issued a final rule designed to increase use of ethanol. [NewsOK.com]

Wednesday, December 2:

  • Slide 11: The impacts of climate change on forests and agriculture were in the spotlight on Tuesday at COP21, as new alliances among organizations and stakeholders were announced aiming to eliminate natural deforestation and forest degradation, and to prevent threats to sustainable farming and people’s livelihoods. [Sify News]
Deforestation and forest degradation

Deforestation and forest degradation

  • Slide 12: UK-based activist group Brandalism has peppered the streets of Paris with 600 fake outdoor ads meant to expose the hypocrisy of COP21 Climate Conference corporate sponsors. The fake, unauthorized outdoor ads were strategically placed around Paris this past weekend, and were made to look nearly identical to the originals. [Gizmodo Australia]
Credit: Brandalism

Credit: Brandalism

  • Justin Farrell, assistant professor of sociology at Yale University, writes inNature Climate Change that semantic analysis and statistical techniques can identify “organizational power” within the contrarian network that has somehow persuaded US voters that scientists are “divided” on the issue of climate change. [eco-business.com]

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