2016-01-14 Energy Week

Thursday, January 7:

  • Enel Green Power and the mini-grid technology provider Powerhive are partnering on developing solar-powered mini-grids in rural Kenya. The $12 million project will involve work in 100 different villages in Kenya, with 93% of the financing for the project coming via Enel Green Power, and 7% via Powerhive. [CleanTechnica]
Image by William Warby (some rights reserved)

Image by William Warby (some rights reserved)

  • SolarFest, one of Vermont’s longest running celebrations of solar power and renewable energy could be calling the Southern Vermont Arts Center in Manchester a home for its annual 3-day festival this coming July. SolarFest has been a platform for renewable energy advocates, vendors, and artists for 20 years. [The Manchester Journal]
  • TransCanada will sue the US government for $15 billion (US) for blocking its controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline linking Canada with the Gulf of Mexico. TransCanada said the denial of a permit to complete the pipeline “was arbitrary and unjustified,” and exceeded the president’s constitutional powers. [Business Recorder]
  • California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency Wednesday for the Porter Ranch area in the wake of the ongoing gas leak from a facility in Aliso Viejo in Southern California. The massive leak began in October and has prompted the relocation of thousands of households from the area. [Inland Empire News]
Operations are underway to stop the gas leak.

Operations are underway to stop the gas leak.

Friday, January 8:

  • German wind power generation jumped from 57.3 TWh in 2014 to 86 TWh in 2015. Renewables met 32.5% of Germany’s power needs last year, up by more than 5 percentage points on 2014. Onshore wind farms produced 39% more year-on-year, while offshore generation surged nearly fivefold. [SeeNews Renewables]
German renewable generation by type. Agora Energiewende image

German renewable generation by type. Agora Energiewende image

  • A massive report suggests a framework on how the US can get to 100% renewable energy sources by 2050. 100% Clean and Renewable Wind, Water and Sunlight all-sector Roadmaps for the 50 United States suggests this is possible even within 35 years and what 100% renewable energy in the US could consist of. [CleanTechnica]

Saturday, January 9:

  • The world’s largest operational offshore wind farm, London Array, has set a new record for power generated by an offshore wind farm. December 2015 saw its 175 turbines generate 369,000 MWh of electricity, beating a previous record of 317,000 MWh set last November. The capacity factor for the month was 78.9%. [Windpower Engineering]
The London Array set records. Image from londonarray.com.

The London Array set records. Image from londonarray.com.

  • Tom Vilsack, secretary of the US Department of Agriculture, went to Vermont to announce a $46 million program funded by his agency to support energy efficiency investments in the state. The Vermont Energy Investment Corp will administer the loans to homeowners, small businesses, and towns. [BurlingtonFreePress.com]
  • A report by the US government’s NREL and Berkeley Lab finds a 3.6% reduction in fossil fuel generation and up to $3.9 billion in net savings for electricity customers in 2013, as well as reduced water use and the creation of 200,000 jobs. State-level Renewable Portfolio Standards are important for the benefits. [pv magazine]

Sunday, January 10:

  • California Governor Jerry Brown is back with his plan to cut petroleum use in California in half by 2030, despite its legislative defeat last year by a faction of pro-oil Assembly Democrats heavily influenced by a big money industry campaign. This year things may be different. [Huffington Post]
  • When the Hoke County commissioners approved plans for a 200-acre solar farm last week, a signal was sent out across the state: North Carolina’s solar boom isn’t over despite the termination of a generous tax credit that sparked rapid growth over the last decade. [Fayetteville Observer]
Solar farm construction in North Carolina. Duke Energy photo

Solar farm construction in North Carolina. Duke Energy photo

Monday, January 11:

  • Data compiled from daily reports by California’s major grid manager indicate that in 2015, solar became the No 1 source of renewable energy in the state. Not only did solar beat wind power for the first time, but it also topped drought-depleted hydropower, the long-standing leader. [KQED]
  • Power output from Scottish wind turbines rose to record levels in 2015, producing enough electricity to power 97% of the country’s homes, a report from WWF Scotland suggests. In six out of 12 months, wind supplied more than 100% of Scottish household needs. [Scottish Daily Record]
Pic: PA

Pic: PA

Tuesday, January 12:

  • The methane and other pollutants spewing from a gas well in California is invisible to the naked eye, making it hard to comprehend just how large the leak is. Fortunately, the California Air Resources Board has been taking periodic measurements, which we can use to make some comparisons. [BBC]
Equipment on a ridge in Southern California Gas Company’s vast Aliso Canyon facility, site of the gas leak. Photo by Scott L from Los Angeles, USA. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Equipment on a ridge in Southern California Gas Company’s vast Aliso Canyon facility, site of the gas leak. Photo by Scott L from Los Angeles, USA. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

  • Latin America is changing. Uruguay gets 94.5% of its energy from renewable sources, including solar. Costa Rica’s numbers are even higher. Brazil and Paraguay get most of their electricity needs from renewables, mostly hydroelectric power. But Chile is the solar leader. [Latin Correspondent]
  • The renewable-energy industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors of Vermont’s economy. But as siting of solar and wind projects generates public outcry in the state’s communities, some lawmakers want to give municipalities more control over the fate of projects. [Vermont Public Radio]

Wednesday, January 13:

  • America’s gathering offshore revolution • An article in Nature asserts that if the US were to exploit all its offshore resources, including in more difficult deep-water sites, it would be able to generate more than 4,000 GW of electricity, about four times more than it needs to power the country. [GCR]
The Walney wind farm off the coast of Cumbria, UK, in the Irish Sea. The US wants to follow Europe’s lead on offshore wind. (Wikimedia Commons)

The Walney wind farm off the coast of Cumbria, UK, in the Irish Sea.
The US wants to follow Europe’s lead on offshore wind. (Wikimedia Commons)

  • China was the world’s leading market in 2015, bringing its renewable installed capacity to over 900 GW, says research and consulting firm GlobalData. China led the world for annual capacity additions in solar, biopower, small hydropower, and onshore wind in 2015. [Today’s Energy Solutions]
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