2016-01-07 Energy Week

This edition of Energy Week covers a little over two weeks because of studio scheduling.

Tuesday, December 22:

  • Beothuk Energy Inc unveiled a plan for a $4-billion project to build a 1000-MW wind farm off the coast of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, to supply power to New England. The 120-turbine venture would be built about 20 km off the coast. Plans include a 200-km submarine line. [TheChronicleHerald.ca]
Beothuk Energy Announces Offshore Wind Farm, Offshore Nova Scotia

Beothuk Energy Announces Offshore Wind Farm, Offshore Nova Scotia

Wednesday, December 23:

  • A social enterprise formed by local residents in New South Wales, has become Australia’s first community-owned electricity supplier after raising the $3 million of capital required for it to list on the Australian stock exchange. Enova will get its energy entirely from renewable resources. [eco-business.com]
Australian community-owned electricity provider Enova will begin operating in early 2016, and will buy renewable energy from the grid and from renewable energy generators to sell to customers. Image: Shutterstock

Australian community-owned electricity provider Enova will begin operating in early 2016, and will buy renewable energy from the grid and from renewable energy generators to sell to customers. Image: Shutterstock

Note: This is the Windorah solar farm in Queensland, Australia. The site is owned by Ergon, which has a brochure describing it HERE.

Thursday, December 24:

  • Opinion: Did Woodland, North Carolina really ban solar farms because they “suck up the sun?” • A closer look shows rational reasons why Woodland residents opposed a solar farm. But there are also kooky beliefs, misinformation, and opposition to anything that weans us off fossil fuels. [Treehugger]
Screen capture Google Street View/ Woodland

Screen capture Google Street View/ Woodland

Friday, December 25:

  • The small Alpine town of Albertville, which is best known for having hosted the 1992 Winter Olympics, has recently become home to a new type of power plant. Bacteria bred in whey are hard at work generating biogas, a clean, renewable energy source that can also be used to produce electricity. [VICE News]
Beaufort Cheese Cave. Photo by Florian Pépellin. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons

Beaufort Cheese Cave. Photo by Florian Pépellin. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons

  • Opinion: WOW! UK power stations slash CO2 emissions 23% in just two years • There have been lots of interesting energy-related headlines coming out of Britain recently: Renewables beat coal for an entire quarter, Britain pledged to end coal use by 2025, and most major cities are going to 100% renewable energy. [Treehugger] (NOTE: The cuts in emissions resulted from policies of the previous government, not this one.)
  • China realized universal power access when power was brought to a remote group of 39,800 people without electricity. The light came on Wednesday in the last two villages in the country without power. Two thirds of households are connected to the national grid while the rest use PV devices. [ecns]

Saturday, December 26:

  • Hydropower plants have operated on five of the 23 locks and dams on the three major rivers in the Army Corps of Engineers’ Pittsburgh District since the 1980s. Right now, 13 hydropower projects at some stage of federal permitting review. If all are built, they would have a combined capacity of 212 MW. [PowerSource]
ocks and dams on the Monongahela River. Bill Wade / Post-Gazette

Locks and dams on the Monongahela River. Bill Wade / Post-Gazette

Sunday, December 27:

  • Africa could be the first region in the world to power its economic development on renewable energy rather than fossil fuels, according to the head of the International Energy Agency. He said government pushes to get electricity to Africans without access will help support this, as will falling costs of renewable energy. [Climate Central]
Wind farm in Cape Town, South Africa. Credit: jbdodane/flickr

Wind farm in Cape Town, South Africa. Credit: jbdodane/flickr

Monday, December 28:

  • Two similar stories: Scotland met its target for community or local ownership of renewables five years early. Capacity of 508 MW is now operational; the target was 500 MW by 2020. Energy Minister Fergus Ewing foresees continued growth. Last year, renewables returned over £10 million to communities. [The Edinburgh Reporter] and
    Wind power output in Estonia hit 5,210.47 MWh on December 25 and 4,925.12 MWh on December 26. Estonia has long surpassed its renewable energy target for 2020. The country reached a 25.6% renewables share in gross final consumption of energy in 2013; its goal was 25% by 2020. [SeeNews Renewables]
  • The Nigerian Minister of Environment, said the government is planning to develop about 13,000 MW of off-grid electricity from solar energy. She said the government was working on the possibility of diversifying the country’s energy mix and laid emphases on renewable energy and efficient gas power. [NAIJ.COM]

Tuesday, December 29:

  • Scientists from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory developed an organic aqueous flow battery expected to cost $180 per kWh, a projected savings of about 60% as compared to standard flow batteries. The electrolytes can be a drop-in replacement for those in existing batteries. [IHS Electronics360]
PNNL researcher Xiaoliang Wei prepares a small demonstration organic flow battery. (Source: PNNL)

PNNL researcher Xiaoliang Wei prepares a small demonstration organic flow battery. (Source: PNNL)

  • There was no white Christmas for the eastern half of the US this year. Instead, there are record-highs: 86° in Tampa, 83° in Houston, 67° in Boston, 68° in Burlington, Vermont, and 66° in New York City, just to name a few. They end the globe’s hottest year with an exclamation point. [Greentech Media]

Wednesday, December 30:

  • Martin Luther King III: How the polluter-backed National Black Chamber misleads minorities • The National Black Chamber of Commerce has been warning communities of color that the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan will cause job losses and generate higher energy bills. Neither is true. [Washington Post]

Thursday, December 31:

  • Battery storage is already showing itself as a hotly contested race in the US, even before the 2016 expected retail launch of the Tesla Powerwall. This storage race has been fueled by German-based Sonnenbatterie launching its plug-and-play home battery system in the US prior to Christmas. [CleanTechnica]
Image via Sonnenbatterie

Image via Sonnenbatterie

Friday, January 1:

  • Dr Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies, recently tweeted some charts about CO2 and global temperatures. They tell a compelling story. Climate change has not slowed down; it has been unrelenting. The result, unless we act vigorously, is disaster on many fronts. [CleanTechnica]
Corelation of global temperature and atmospheric CO2 content.

Corelation of global temperature and atmospheric CO2 content.

Saturday, January 2:

  • Wind and solar power are set for a construction boom in spite of a glut of cheap fossil fuels. Orders for 2016 solar and wind are up sharply, from the United States to China to the developing economies of Africa and Latin America, all in defiance of stubbornly low prices for coal and natural gas. [Dallas Morning News]
Photovoltaic power panels stand at Abaste’s El Bonillo Solar Plant while wind turbines spin at a wind farm on the background in El Bonillo, Albacete province, Spain.

Photovoltaic power panels stand at Abaste’s El Bonillo Solar Plant while wind turbines spin at a wind farm on the background in El Bonillo, Albacete province, Spain.

Sunday, January 3:

  • WindStream Energy Technologies (India) Private limited, in collaboration with the US company, has started assembling small vertical turbines with imported parts in Hyderabad. The silent turbines can be installed on any rooftop along with solar panels, to produce a hybrid home energy system. [The Hindu]
Hybrid renewable home power generation using solar panels and wind turbines. Photo: C.V. Subrahmanyam

Hybrid renewable home power generation using solar panels and wind turbines. Photo: C.V. Subrahmanyam

Monday, January 4:

  • Wärtsilä will supply a 47-MW Smart Power Generation power plant to Rochester Public Utilities in Minnesota. Five Wärtsilä 34SG natural gas engines will replace aged coal and gas turbine-based capacity. Efficiency will be nearly doubled, and hourly carbon emissions are reduced by 50%. [Industrial PRIME]
Wärtsilä 34SG engines at Pearsall Power Plant, located in Texas (Image: Wärtsilä)

Wärtsilä 34SG engines at Pearsall Power Plant, located in Texas (Image: Wärtsilä)

Note: The Wärtsilä RT-flex96C is the world’s largest diesel engine.

Tuesday, January 5:

  • A natural gas leak in California is a problem for the industry, and so is the latest news from Oklahoma, which has been dealing with its own natural gas issues in the form of unprecedented swarms of earthquakes. Just last Tuesday a big one hit the town of Edmund, measuring 4.3 on the Richter scale. [CleanTechnica]
Seismicity Map - 1970 to May 27, 2015

Seismicity Map – 1970 to May 27, 2015

Wednesday, January 6:

  • On January 1, strict rules for construction came into effect in Germany. Heating new buildings without using renewable energy is no longer permitted. Oil heaters cannot be used at all anymore. A new primary energy requirement that is 25% lower than the previous threshold. [Sun & Wind Energy]
AHeating systems that use fossil fuels will have a hard time complying to new regulations in Germany. (Photo: dpa)

Heating systems that use fossil fuels will have a hard time complying to new regulations in Germany. (Photo: dpa)

  • Western Australia would not be able to privatize its electricity assets even if they were given away, because the popularity of rooftop solar panels has made state-owned power stations unprofitable, a renewable energy expert has said. The grid is over capacity and solar power is growing. [The Guardian]
  • Vermont regulators granted permission for a 154-mile power transmission line, known as the New England Clean Power Link, designed to bring hydroelectric power from Canada to southern New England. The power line, which has not yet received federal approval, uses Vermont as a corridor. [Vermont Public Radio]
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