2016-04-28 Energy Week

Thursday, April 21:

  • Work on the controversial Northeast Energy Direct pipeline has been suspended by energy giant Kinder Morgan. A company statement blamed the suspension on “inadequate capacity commitments from prospective customers.” The project’s cost was estimated at $3.3 billion. [The Recorder]
A wind farm in Marshalltown, Iowa. Photographer: Timothy Fadek/Bloomberg

A wind farm in Marshalltown, Iowa. Photographer: Timothy Fadek/Bloomberg

  • When world leaders gather in New York on Friday to sign the Paris climate accord, they will do so against a changing backdrop. As the cost of wind and solar power has plummeted, the solid consensus against alternative energy in the US Republican Party has begun to crack. [Bloomberg]
  • The Senate passed a far-reaching energy bill Wednesday that reflects significant changes in US oil and natural gas production and boosts alternative energy sources such as wind and solar power. The Senate passed its first ambitious energy bill in nearly a decade on a vote of 85-12. [Farmington Daily Times]
San Francisco. CC BY 2.0 Germán Poo-Caamaño

San Francisco. CC BY 2.0 Germán Poo-Caamaño

  • San Francisco just took a big step toward its goal of powering the city with 100% renewable electricity by 2025 with the passage of a bill that will require new residential and commercial buildings to include rooftop solar, either solar electric or solar water heating. [Treehugger]
  • Over half of all Americans are exposed to unhealthy levels of either ozone or particulate pollution, putting them at risk for premature death and other serious health effects, including lung cancer, asthma attacks and developmental harm, according to the American Lung Association. [InsideClimate News]
Baseload power plant. National Park Service photo. Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

Baseload power plant. National Park Service photo. Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

  • Opinion: Inflexible baseload power is just what we don’t need • Amory Lovins is absolutely right. It is time to recognize that inflexible baseload power is a dinosaur and a fallacy. We are quickly moving to a more democratic system involving small-scale generators and thousands of individuals. [Financial Times]

Friday, April 22:

  • SunEdison, once the fastest-growing US renewable energy company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after a short-lived but unsustainable binge of debt-fueled acquisitions. The company said it had assets of $20.7 billion and liabilities of $16.1 billion as of September 30. [Yahoo News]
Deforested landscape for tea cultivation in Malaysia. Photo by Myloismylife - Loke Seng Hon. CC BY-SA 3.o unported. Wikimedia Commons

Deforested landscape for tea cultivation in Malaysia. Photo by Myloismylife – Loke Seng Hon. CC BY-SA 3.o unported. Wikimedia Commons

  • “Earth Day: We’re not as doomed as you think” • There are plenty of reasons to be scared about the future: melting glaciers, intensifying heat waves, vanishing rainforests, falling temperature records, bleached out coral, and kids in China don’t know the sky is blue. But it’s not the full picture. [CNN]

Saturday, April 23:

Signing the Paris Agreement is a critical step toward saving the environment. Mokhammad Edliadi CIFOR

Signing the Paris Agreement is a critical step toward saving the environment. Mokhammad Edliadi CIFOR

  • More than 170 nations attended the signing ceremony of the Paris Climate Agreement at the UN. For the Agreement to enter into full force, at least 55 nations comprising 55% of man-made greenhouse gas emissions must ratify it. [Forests News, Center for International Forestry Research]
Lawrence Orsini, founder the company installing the Brooklyn Microgrid project. Credit: Image courtesy of Sasha Santiago

Lawrence Orsini, founder the company installing the Brooklyn Microgrid project. Credit: Image courtesy of Sasha Santiago

  • The Brooklyn Microgrid will operate as a backup option during storms, cyber attacks and other disruptions. But in the long term the infrastructure being installed could set participants on a path to fully owning the electricity their community generates, giving them their own power. [Scientific American]
  • There’s some great news out of the Energy Information Administration: carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity sector – our country’s largest source of the pollution that’s driving climate change – fell significantly in 2015, to their lowest levels since 1993. [Natural Resources Defense Council]
  • The Hinkley Point C nuclear plant has been hit by more delays. EDF, the French energy company promoting the £18-billion reactor scheme, said there would be no final investment decision at least till the summer. Greenpeace said the project is “coming to a grinding halt.” [The Guardian]

Sunday, April 24:

Solar Impulse 2 flew holding patterns for some hours above San Francisco before landing.

Solar Impulse 2 flew holding patterns for some hours above San Francisco before landing.

  • Operating entirely on solar power and batteries in a flight from Hawaii, Solar Impulse 2 touched down in Mountain View, California, on April 23, just before midnight. The plane had taken off on April 21, resuming a journey that had stalled on the island of Oahu for almost 10 months. [CNN]
  • Jeremy Buckingham, a member of the New South Wales parliament’s upper house, lit the surface of the Condamine River with a barbecue lighter to demonstrate the dangers of fracking. He posted a video on his Facebook page on Friday. By Sunday it had 2.2 million views. [The Guardian]

Monday, April 25:

  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced that the amount of solar power installed across the city has tripled since the beginning of 2014. Now, he has launched Solarize NYC, a new citywide program designed to further increase access to solar through community group purchasing campaigns over the next nine years. [Solar Industry]
  • An extensive new scientific analysis published in Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy & Environment says that proved conventional oil reserves as detailed in industry sources are likely “overstated” by half. The author is a former chief economist at Royal Dutch/Shell Group. [Middle East Eye]
Indian transmission lines. Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint

Indian transmission lines. Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint

  • India’s Union power ministry estimates India’s electricity demand in the 2017-22 period to be 20% less than what was originally estimated, thanks to new energy efficiency targets and power-saving devices. Estimates demand in 2022 have been reduced from 298 GW to 239 GW. [Livemint]

Tuesday, April 26:

Candles were lit at a ceremony in Slavutych, a town built to re-house workers who lived near the nuclear plant.

Candles were lit at a ceremony in Slavutych, a town built to re-house workers who lived near the nuclear plant.

  • Ukraine is holding commemorations to mark the 30th anniversary of the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl. The UN-backed Chernobyl Forum estimated up to 9,000 people could eventually die from radiation exposure, although Greenpeace claims the figure could be as high as 93,000. [BBC]
  • EDF has again pushed back the date for making a decision on the 3,200-MW Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant project. The decision at this point will not be made earlier than September, according to French media reports. [Nuclear Street – Nuclear Power Plant News, Jobs, and Careers]

Wednesday, April 27:

Electricity Minister Luis Motta looks at the massive Guri Dam, virtually dry because of the drought. Reuters photo.

Electricity Minister Luis Motta looks at the massive Guri Dam, virtually dry because of the drought. Reuters photo.

Venezuela’s government has imposed a two-day working week for public sector workers as a temporary measure to help it overcome a serious energy crisis. Venezuela is in the middle of a major drought, which has dramatically reduced water levels at its main hydroelectric dam. [BBC]

“Coal for water: crisis incoming”• The world’s rapidly dwindling freshwater resources could be further depleted if plans for hundreds of new coal power plants worldwide go ahead, threatening severe drought and competition, according to a new Greenpeace International report. [The Phuket News]

 

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