2016-02-11 Energy Week

Thursday, February 4:

Image via Armando Maynez / Flickr

Image via Armando Maynez / Flickr

  • According to a statement released by the government-run Costa Rican Institute of Electricity, the country used renewable sources for 99% of its energy in 2015. The small Central American nation used a mix of geothermal, hydroelectric, wind, solar, and biomass energy. That’s fantastic news! [Unicorn Booty]
  • Seemingly unrelated events in the last few weeks suggest that coal’s role in India’s future may be far more tenuous than widely portrayed. Courts ruled on pollution, private power companies are dumping coal projects in favour of solar, and Coal India doesn’t know what to do about huge stockpiles of unwanted coal. [End Coal]
  • A report from research and consulting firm Synapse Energy Economics examines state-by-state impacts of Clean Power Plan options and found that using strong energy efficiency policies in state plans can produce significant electricity bill savings for consumers while reducing carbon pollution. [Biomass Magazine]
  • The Georgia Mountain Community Wind farm announced that its annual energy production exceeded expectations by more than 22%, producing more than 33,000,000 kWh of Vermont-made renewable energy in 2015. This represents enough renewable energy to power more than 5,500 Vermont households. [vtdigger.org]

Friday, February 5:

Our economy is growing; our energy consumption is not. We can have a healthy economy and consume less at the same time. Credit BNEF

Our economy is growing; our energy consumption is not.
We can have a healthy economy and consume less at the same time. Credit BNEF

  • In a stunning trend with broad implications, the economy has grown significantly since 2007, while electricity consumption has been flat, and total energy demand dropped. The economy has grown 10% since 2007, while primary energy consumption has fallen by 2.4%, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. [ThinkProgress]
  • County prosecutors filed a criminal misdemeanor charge against Southern California Gas Co. According to the District Attorney’s Office, SoCalGas is being charged because they allegedly failed to report the leak at Porter Ranch immediately. Meanwhile, the company now also faces a wrongful death lawsuit. [Lawyer Herald]
  • According to data just released in the 2016 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook – a project of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, produced for the Business Council for Sustainable Energy – the shift to renewables may be happening a lot faster than the EPA thought that it would less than a year ago. [HeraldNet]

Saturday, February 6:

  • Global energy efficiency investment will reach $5.8 trillion by the year 2030, according to a report from the International Renewable Energy Authority. By 2030, yearly energy efficiency investment will total around $385 billion, the report says. The focus will be buildings, manufacturing, and transportation. [Sustainnovate]
  • ISO New England’s chief operating officer reported that total capacity is projected to decrease by 396 MW in 2016, but then increase by almost 9.8 GW in the following three years. About 4.1 GW of that total is wind and other renewables. ISO New England’s peak load in January was 19,412 MW. [Platts]

Sunday, February 7:

2015 September Arctic sea extent compared to 1981-2000 average portrayed by yellow line (NASA)

2015 September Arctic sea extent compared to 1981-2000 average portrayed by yellow line (NASA)

  • The ice cover across the Arctic hit a new low throughout January. The Colorado-based National Snow and Ice Data Center tracked the lowest ice extent ever for January. The record-low ice extent was driven by unusually high air temperatures over the Arctic Ocean – more than 6° C (10.8° F) above average. [Nunatsiaq News]
  • Does shrinking ice in the Arctic lead to worse snow storms along the East Coast? It’s very possible says leading Arctic researcher Judah Cohen. In Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston, at least five of the top 10 snow storms on record have occurred since 1990. [Washington Post]
US Oil Inventories. Source EIA

US Oil Inventories. Source EIA

  • The US now has nearly 503 million barrels of commercial crude oil stockpiled, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday. It’s the highest level of supply for this time of the year in at least 80 years. Certain key storage locations are now “bumping up against storage and logistical constraints.” [CNN]

Monday, February 8:

Whitelee windfarm in Eaglesham is the UK’s largest onshore windfarm. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL

Whitelee windfarm in Eaglesham is the UK’s largest onshore windfarm. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL

  • Wind power provided almost half of Scotland’s entire energy needs last month, According to WWF Scotland. January had 22 days when the wind generated sufficient power for every home in the country. Wind turbines supplied a total of 1,125,544 MWh to the national grid. [Scotsman]
  • The combination of hydropower, wind, solar and other forms of renewable energy will generate more electricity than coal by 2030, according to the Paris-based International Energy Agency. Of the renewables the agency predicts will grow, wind power is the largest segment. [Wheeling Intelligencer]

Tuesday, February 9:

Texas wind farm.

Texas wind farm.

  • The fourth annual Sustainable Energy in America Factbook highlights the record year for utility-scale and distributed low-carbon electric generation. One of the most significant pieces of the report is the data on prices and decarbonization, which shows that decarbonizing has not led to higher prices. [Greentech Media]
  • Green power is cheap enough to compete with fossil fuels and will buck the trend of falling investment in oil and gas as it can offer long-term returns sheltered from political risk, industry analysts say. Oil prices have dropped 75% since mid-2014, leading to predictions of falling petro-chemical investment. [Reuters UK]
Wind power silhouette

Wind power silhouette

  • The wind industry has surpassed the hydro industry as the third largest player in the European electricity grid in terms of capacity, and is fast closing the gap on the coal and gas sectors that continue to dominate the continent’s power mix. Wind energy now provides a total of 142 GW of capacity in Europe. [Business Green]
  • President Obama said the US would tax each barrel of oil imported or exported, with some of that revenue can be used for transportation. He said, “Some of that revenue can be used for the investments in basic research and technology that’s going to be needed for the energy sources of the future.” [CNSNews.com]

Wednesday, February 10:

The wind is always blowing somewhere. Photo: Andrei Mayatnik via Shutterstock

The wind is always blowing somewhere. Photo: Andrei Mayatnik via Shutterstock

  • A new study suggests we don’t actually need to store power from the wind and sun. Because the wind is always blowing somewhere in the US, and a cloudy day in one city will be sunny elsewhere, researchers suggest we just need a bigger grid, and better power lines that could send energy wherever it’s needed. [Co.Exist]
  • Obama’s clean power plan may be on hold, Coal’s fate is not • The US Supreme Court may have put President Barack Obama’s most aggressive plan to curb power-plant emissions on hold, but that’s not going to save coal from a shrinking market, or stop some states and utilities from moving on their own. [Energy Voice]
  • The Union of Concerned Scientists released a report giving the history of an Eastern Interconnect working group in 2010 to 2012, which developed research showing the eastern US could cut carbon by 42% and reach 30% renewable energy by 2030. The numbers exceed those required under the Clean Power Plan. [Utility Dive]

 

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