2016-02-25 Energy Week

Thursday, February 18:

Construction at Block Island (Deepwater Wind photo)

Construction at Block Island (Deepwater Wind photo)

  • Deepwater Wind’s 30-MW Block Island offshore wind project was selected in a 34-GW New England capacity auction. The wind farm committed to supply 6.8 MW. The auction was to cover projected demand starting in 2019-20. It closed at $7.03/kW after four rounds of competitive bidding. [reNews]
  • Peru awarded 185 MW of solar PV projects at an average price of $48/MWh in a renewable energy solicitation. Bloomberg New Energy Finance Head of Solar Analysis Jenny Chase says that she has never seen a contract for power from solar PV this cheap in any nation that does not offer tax breaks. [pv magazine]
  • About a third of the world’s publicly traded oil companies are at high risk of going bankrupt this year, according to a report from consulting and audit firm Deloitte. The firm put out its findings after closely examining 500 publicly traded oil and natural gas exploration and production companies worldwide. [Greentech Media]

Friday, February 19:

Built in 1843, this Austrian weir became a 15-kW hydroelectric power station. Photo by Herzi Pinki. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Built in 1843, this Austrian weir became a 15-kW hydroelectric power station. Photo by Herzi Pinki. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

  • Austria’s biggest utility is seeking to expand a network of “virtual power plants” where energy flows from customers with their own generators. Purchases from solar, wind, biomass and hydro plants, often located at the premises of existing power customers, rose to 100 MW last year from 4 MW in 2014. [Bloomberg]
  • A leaking gas well near the US city of Los Angeles which has been polluting the air for four months has been “permanently sealed,” officials say. The Southern California Gas Company had been pumping in heavy fluids and cement to seal the well. The natural gas leak has caused thousands to relocate. [BBC]
The top 10 hottest years on record. Temperatures are in Fahrenheit.

The top 10 hottest years on record. Temperatures are in Fahrenheit.

  • It’s official: 2015 was the hottest year on record, beating out 2014 by the widest margin in 136 years of record keeping, US government agencies announced Wednesday. The last globally record cold year was 1911, while 15 of the 16 hottest years on record have occurred since 2001, according to NASA. [Climate Central]

Saturday, February 20:

Al Gore struck a note of optimism during his TED2016 talk in Vancouver. “Change can happen faster than we think,” he argued.

Al Gore struck a note of optimism during his TED2016 talk in Vancouver. “Change can happen faster than we think,” he argued.

  • 6 Reasons Al Gore Believes ‘We Will Prevail’ in Climate Fight • Al Gore admitted to the TED2016 audience in Vancouver on Wednesday, “every night on the news is like a nature hike through the Book of Revelation.” But he maintained, “I am extremely optimistic. We are going to win this. We will prevail.” [EcoWatch]
  • Smart microgrids provide higher reliability and more efficient operation of distributed generation assets than conventional systems. Siemens is participating in a community energy resiliency grant program in New York State and optimizing electrical generation at a Native American reservation in California. [Justmeans]
NASA’s plot of global temperature anomalies for January 2016. Credit: NASA GISS

NASA’s plot of global temperature anomalies for January 2016. Credit: NASA GISS

  • After record heat in 2015, January 2016 is continuing the trend. It was the hottest January on record and Arctic sea ice extent was at a record low level for the third time this year. El Niño has certainly played a role in this latest record, but scientists have concluded that this effect was fairly minor overall. [The Weather Network]

Sunday, February 21:

Credit: Riversimple

Credit: Riversimple

  • Welsh startup Riversimple unveiled its prototype car. Four in-hub motors use recovery braking to charge supercapacitors that then release electricity back for acceleration. The hydrogen fuel cells don’t power acceleration; they just maintain the car’s speed. As a result, its 1.5-kg tank of hydrogen can carry it 300 miles. [BBC]
  • At an event in Colchester, Vermont, Republican presidential candidate John Kasich was asked about climate change. He said, “I know that human beings affect the climate. I know it’s an apostasy in the Republican Party to say that. I guess that’s what I’ve always been – being able to challenge some of the status quo.” [BurlingtonFreePress.com]
  • Ford Motor Co dropped its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). In leaving ALEC, Ford joins companies such as Google, Microsoft and others that have concerns about the group’s position denying climate change and other stances they deem to be anti-environmental. [Bloomberg BNA]

Monday, February 22:

New US solar installations by year. GTM graph.

New US solar installations by year. GTM graph.

  • Figures released by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association ahead of their scheduled US Solar Market Insight report, which is due out March 9, say the US solar PV industry installed a record 7,286 MW of solar PV in 2015. This was 29.5% of all new capacity, and beat out natural gas. [CleanTechnica]
  • Bernie Sanders hasn’t proposed eliminating conventional oil and gas drilling or coal mining on private land, but he believes that fracking, is especially problematic. He wants to halt fracking not just on public land but on private land too. How would he actually do that? He has a list of six things that he could do to stop it. [Grist]
  • Americana “big box” stores could host around 62.3 GW of rooftop solar PV capacity, enough to generate enough electricity to provide for the equivalent needs of roughly 7 million US households, according to a report. The stores have about 4.5 billion square feet of space that can be developed. [CleanTechnica]

Tuesday, February 23:

 

Proterra electric bus

Proterra electric bus

  • A new analysis of a recent 12-vehicle Proterra electric bus demonstration (put on by Foothill Transit in California) by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory has found that these buses possess an average fuel economy roughly 4 times higher than that of baseline compressed natural gas buses. [CleanTechnica]
  • A study published in Nature Climate Change suggests that if the United States reduces emissions from the transportation and electricity sectors in order to meet those targets, 295,000 American lives could be saved by 2030. The study also estimated the near-term economic benefits could be over three times the cost. [IEEE Spectrum]
  • The capacity of wind power generation worldwide reached 432.42 GW at the end of 2015, up 17% from a year earlier and surpassing nuclear energy for the first time, according to data released by global industry bodies. The generation capacity of wind farms newly built in 2015 was a record 63.01 GW. [The Japan Times]

Wednesday, February 24:

Chimneys spew pollution in an ailing industrial city in China’s northeast. Mark Henley / Ropi / Zuma Press

Chimneys spew pollution in an ailing industrial city in China’s northeast. Mark Henley / Ropi / Zuma Press

  • The world’s top coal producer, and the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, will shut down 1,000 coal-fired power plants this year. It’s a move that will simultaneously cool off China’s over-supply of dirty coal and help tackle the country’s air pollution crisis. Deeper cuts are to come. [Mother Jones]
The Crescent Dunes solar project outside of Tonopah, Nevada. Photo: SolarReserve

The Crescent Dunes solar project outside of Tonopah, Nevada. Photo: SolarReserve

  • SolarReserve’s Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project, which began testing operations last fall, has reached full production. The complex is the first utility-scale project with an integrated energy storage system allowing it to continue generating 24 hours a day. [CanadianManufacturing.com]
  • New York’s Public Service Commission said it is speeding up a “rescue plan” to keep the FitzPatrick nuclear complex in upstate New York running, after the power generator said a proposal made last month wouldn’t come in time to save it. The agency said it would offer “expedited financial support.” [Daily News]
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