2016-03-10 Energy Week

Thursday, March 3:

Wind turbines in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Photo by Fletcher6. CC BY-SA 3.0 unported. Wikimedia Commons.

Wind turbines in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Photo by Fletcher6. CC BY-SA 3.0 unported. Wikimedia Commons.

  • Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo made it official that the omnibus energy bill scheduled to come up for a vote in April will include provisions to encourage the development of offshore wind power and create a competitive procurement process for renewables. [CommonWealth magazine]
  • Plans were unveiled for a community-owned Cornish wind farm that could be the first in the UK to operate without government subsidy. New plans have the same number of turbines of the same height as an earlier scheme, but new technology allows a 50% increase in output. [Windpower Engineering]
  • Changes in UK government energy policy have chased off investors and may have added £120 a year to household bills, according to a parliamentary report. Funding U-turns on windfarms and energy efficiency schemes have reduced investor confidence and increased funding costs. [The Guardian]

Friday, March 4:

Ontario wind turbine. Image via Shutterstock

Ontario wind turbine. Image via Shutterstock

  • The Canadian province of Ontario will invest $100 million into “green energy” projects in its push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 37% by 2030. Ontario’s premier said this will help the province cut greenhouse gas emissions while improving local business prospects. [CleanTechnica]
  • The US energy storage market grew a phenomenal 243% in 2015, the largest year on record, according to new figures from GTM Research. The US energy storage market deployed 112 MW in the fourth quarter, bringing the full year 2015 to a record 221 MW. The figure for 2014 was 65 MW. [CleanTechnica]
  • Nearly 49% of electricity provided to the Big Island by the Hawaii Electric Light Co in 2015 came from renewable energy, according to a statement from HELCO’s parent company, Hawaiian Electric. Maui County reached 35% renewable and Oahu is at nearly half that level. [Honolulu Civil Beat]
  • A group of engineers in the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission say they have identified a design flaw in nearly all nuclear reactors in the country that should result in their mandatory shutdown unless operators fix the problem, Reuters reports. The issue became known in 2012. [Utility Dive]

Saturday, March 5:

Image by Holgar Ellgard (CC BY-SA 3.0 unported license)

Image by Holgar Ellgard (CC BY-SA 3.0 unported license)

  • A parliamentary committee in Sweden proposed a way to bring the nation to carbon neutrality by 2045. It would achieve this huge goal by reducing domestic emissions by 85% from 1990 levels. The rest could be offset by investing in international projects that cut carbon emissions. [CleanTechnica]
Colstrip power plant.

Colstrip power plant.

  • Actions by two separate state legislatures could lead to the future closure of all four coal-fired power plants at Colstrip, Montana. On Wednesday, Oregon’s legislature passed a bill to eliminate use of coal-fired electricity within 20 years. Washington state followed suit on Friday. [KTVQ Billings News]
  • Supreme Court Chief Justice John G Roberts Jr rejected a request to stay the Mercury and Air Toxic Standards rule, which was adopted by the EPA three years ago to tighten restrictions on a class of harmful pollutants, that are byproducts of burning coal. [Washington Post]

Sunday, March 6:

Iditarod start in Anchorage, 2008. In those days, they did not have to import snow. Photo by David Weekly from Cupertino, CA. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Iditarod start in Anchorage, 2008. In those days, they did not have to import snow. Photo by David Weekly from Cupertino, CA. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

  • This winter was a no-show throughout most of Alaska, forcing officials in charge of the iconic sled dog race known as the Iditarod to bring seven rail cars of snow from Fairbanks to Anchorage, where the race starts. A tarp will cover the snow in Anchorage in case it rains. [Mashable]
Icebergs float in a bay off Ammassalik Island, Greenland. (AP photo / John McConnico)

Icebergs float in a bay off Ammassalik Island,
Greenland. (AP photo / John McConnico)

  • The National Snow and Ice Data Center reports that Arctic sea ice extent is running not only well below average, but also below levels seen during 2012, which went on to set the all-time record for lowest Arctic ice extent (which occurs in the late summer or early fall). [Bowling Green Daily News]
  • Electrification has been done in 6,000 of the 18,500 villages in India that had been without electricity, and the renewable energy capacity has reached 39.5 GW, a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was told. Progress of the initiative is being tracked in real-time. [The Hindu]

Monday, March 7:

High-voltage direct current transmission lines could help transfer electricity over long distances much more efficiently and make renewable energy more viable. Credit: Chris Hunkeler/Flickr

High-voltage direct current transmission lines could help transfer electricity over long distances much more efficiently and make renewable energy more viable. Credit: Chris Hunkeler/Flickr

  • A NOAA study shows that by building new high-tech transmission lines, the US could cut energy sector global warming emissions by 80% within 15 years, while keeping consumer costs low and meeting increased demand. The idea came from studying the national weather map. [PRI]
Renewables could be a better answer to India’s power problems.

Renewables could be a better answer to India’s power problems.

  • Opinion: Australian coal v renewables: how much will it cost to bring electricity to India’s poor? • The Australian government continues to claim that coal will play a vital role in bringing cheap energy to developing nations. But is that really the case? (Spoiler: No.) [EconoTimes]
  • The nuclear disaster has cost Japanese taxpayers almost $100 billion despite government claims TEPCO is footing the bill, according to calculations by the Financial Times. Almost five years after the disaster, the figure shows how the public have shouldered most of the disaster’s cost. [CNBC]

Tuesday, March 8:

Data center operator Switch will open a super green facility in Grand Rapids.

Data center operator Switch will open a super green facility in Grand Rapids.

  • A Nevada-based data center operator, Switch, would convert a pyramid-shaped building that once housed a research center near Grand Rapids into a data center that operates 100% on renewable power. The Michigan Public Service Commission will review the contract. [Crain’s Detroit Business]
Kentish Flats offshore wind farm (Vattenfall image)

Kentish Flats offshore wind farm (Vattenfall image)

  • Developers Vattenfall and ScottishPower Renewables are eyeing over 5 GW of offshore wind farm projects off the UK coast. The Crown Estate has signed off on final plans for Round 3 offshore wind farms. SPR has committed to two new projects of up to 800 MW in the East Anglia zone. [reNews]
  • The Florida Supreme Court is set to weigh in on a controversial ballot measure that purports to strengthen the legal rights of homeowners with rooftop solar panels. But the measure was created by an organization financed by the major electric utilities and groups with ties to the Koch brothers. [Grist]

Wednesday, March 9:

Emily Cole, co-founder and chief science officer of Liquid Light.

Emily Cole, co-founder and chief science officer of Liquid Light.

  • Liquid Light is a startup company pioneering a process to convert carbon dioxide into chemicals that can be used to make consumer products. The company developed a catalyst that can combine carbon dioxide with water and electricity, to make liquid fuels and chemicals to replace petroleum. [CNN]

03-09 eia graph

  • Nearly 18 GW of electric generating capacity was retired in 2015 in the US. More than 80% of the retired capacity was conventional steam coal. The coal-fired generating units retired in 2015 tended to be older and smaller in capacity than the coal generation fleet that continues to operate. [CleanTechnica]
  • Threatened wildlife including turtle doves and skylarks could benefit from a scheme which has been launched to create natural habitats at solar farm sites. Wildlife charity RSPB and clean tech company Anesco aim to boost wildlife at the firm’s solar farms across England and Wales. [Yorkshire Post]
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