2016-05-19 Energy Week

Thursday, May 12:

Electricians with Riggs Distler install solar panels for PSE&G. Tracie Van Auken.

Electricians with Riggs Distler install solar panels for PSE&G. Tracie Van Auken.

  • New Jersey’s largest electric utility wants to dramatically step up the number of ratepayer-supported solar projects it installs on landfills and brownfields. Public Service Electric & Gas Co asked state regulators to allow it to spend $275 million to install 100 MW of solar panels. [Philly.com]
North Dakota, Williston - Bakken - Oil and Gas - Missouri River. Photo Credit: EcoFlight.

North Dakota, Williston – Bakken – Oil and Gas – Missouri River. Photo Credit: EcoFlight.

  • Thousands of oil and gas industry wastewater spills in North Dakota have caused “widespread” contamination from radioactive materials, heavy metals and corrosive salts, putting the health of people and wildlife at risk, researchers from Duke University said in a peer-reviewed study. [DeSmogBlog]
  • The Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station survived a fire, a flood and the close scrutiny of federal regulators. But it may be no match for the market. Omaha Public Power District executives are making recommendations to the board, one of which is to close the plant, as it is too costly to run. [KETV Omaha]

Friday, May 13:

Spiralling global temperatures from 1850-2016.

Spiralling global temperatures from 1850-2016.

  • No need to wait very long for climate change to show up on the earth’s timeline. Climate scientist Ed Hawkins of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science at the University of Reading, UK posted this hypnotic moving image of climate change on Twitter this week. [CleanTechnica]
  • Invenergy will work with Empire State Connector to transport up to 600 MW of wind power in upstate New York to customers in the New York City area. Submarine cables will be buried in the Erie Canal and the Hudson River. The project is expected to cost $1.5 billion [reNews]
  • The Obama administration issued a final rule to cut methane emissions from US oil and gas production. The EPA rule has a goal to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas drilling by up to 45% by 2025, compared to 2012 levels. It will require energy producers to find and repair leaks. [Phys.Org]

Saturday, May 14:

A German startup, Lilium Aviation, is working on a 100% electric jet that may fulfill the promise of the flying car. It says the jet can land or take off from an area the size of a typical garden, can fly about 500 km (310 miles), and recharges overnight from a standard household outlet. [BBC]

Frenchman Raphael Dinelli hopes to fly the Eraole across the Atlantic Ocean.

  • French scientist and yachtsman Raphael Dinelli is preparing to make the first carbon-free transatlantic flight a reality by June 2016. He will attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean in the Eraole, hybrid biplane powered by solar panels and biofuel. The trip will last 60 hours. [CleanTechnica]
  • China is expected to raise its power storage capacity ten-fold to 14.5 GW by 2020. China is the world largest wind and solar power producer, but some regions are estimated to be losing more than 40% of their power because of technical restraints and bottlenecks in the grid. [Reuters]
  • On May 9, several old UK power stations broke down, leading to a growing deficit in the wholesale electricity market. National Grid issued an emergency request for more supplies. Prices spiked accordingly to £1,250 per MWh ($1.79/kWh, wholesale). The price in summer is usually £50. [FT Alphaville]
Offshore wind farm. in Dronten, the Netherlands. AP Photo / Peter Dejong

Offshore wind farm. in Dronten, the Netherlands. AP Photo / Peter Dejong

  • Massachusetts’ omnibus House energy bill will likely come in below Governor Charlie Baker’s proposal for hydropower procurement and below what the offshore wind industry wants to produce and sell to ratepayers, according to a House chairman working on the bill. [wwlp.com]

Sunday, May 15:

Bliss Wind Farm near Eagle, New York. Photo from Windtech at English Wikipedia. CC BY-SA 3.0 unported. Wikimedia Commons.

Bliss Wind Farm near Eagle, New York. Photo from Windtech at English Wikipedia. CC BY-SA 3.0 unported. Wikimedia Commons.

  • Wind turbine construction in the United States has rebounded to its highest level in three years in the aftermath of a long political fight over the future of federal tax credits that support renewable energy projects. More than 8,500 MW of wind power capacity was built last year. [Longview News-Journal]
  • Facebook Inc and Microsoft Corp are joining forces with environmental groups to promote the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance. They hope to develop 60 GW of renewable energy by 2025, enough to replace all coal-fired power plants in the US over the next four years. [domain-B]
  • Power-stingy homes are a must in California. State policies now include a law requiring California’s built environment, tens of millions of structures, to operate twice as efficiently by the year 2030, cutting consumption of electricity and natural gas to half their projected levels. [LA Daily News]

Monday, May 16:

Polysolar glass PVs.

Polysolar glass PVs.

  • An Innovate UK-funded industry group is working on a new generation of transparent solar panel technology that matches the costs and performance of standard high-performance glazing while delivering clean, renewable energy to the buildings in which they are installed. [Power Technology]
  • Shell, Europe’s largest oil company, established a new division to invest in renewable and low-carbon power. The move came days after experts at Chatham House warned international oil companies they must transform their business or face a “short, brutal” end within 10 years. [The Guardian]
Wind farm in UK. Author: Mycatkins. License: Creative Commons. Attribution 2.0 Generic

Wind farm in UK. Author: Mycatkins. License: Creative Commons. Attribution 2.0 Generic

  • Wind farms in the UK produced more power than coal for a whole month for the first time in April, industry body RenewableUK pointed out. According to National Grid statistics, wind generated 2,290 GWh of electricity, while coal provided only 1,755 GWh. [SeeNews Renewables]
  • In the US, CO2 emissions from electricity generation totaled 1,925 million metric tons in 2015, the lowest since 1993 and 21% below their 2005 level. This was partly due to shifts in the electric generation mix, with natural gas and renewables displacing coal-fired power. [Your Renewable News]

Tuesday, May 17:

Coral bleaching, Great Barrier Reef. The once-abundant fish are gone.

Coral bleaching, Great Barrier Reef. The once-abundant fish are gone.

  • Earth experienced the warmest April on record, keeping 2016 on track to be the hottest year yet and by the biggest margin ever. New data released by NASA put this April’s land and sea temperatures at 1.11 degrees Celsius warmer than average April temperatures between 1951 to 1980. [CNN]
  • The Power Company of Wyoming plans to start roadwork this summer for the two-phase 3-GW Chokecherry Sierra Madre wind farm in the southern part of the state. The developer proposes to kick off in August with work on a haul road linking up to a new 14-mile rail spur. [reNews]
  • Last week, Portugal hit a major milestone in its ongoing effort to move to renewable energy. The entire country ran for more than half a week without having to resort to fossil fuels. That’s thanks to a big push toward solar, wind, and hydro power and a little nudge from the EU. [Geek] (UK went without coal for about half the week. A report came from Germany that it had been powered by 100% renewables for a full day, but that might be wrong.)

Wednesday, May 18:

Vestas wind turbines in Austria. Photo by Kwerdenker. CC BY-SA 3.0 unported. Wikimedia Commons.

Vestas wind turbines in Austria. Photo by Kwerdenker. CC BY-SA 3.0 unported. Wikimedia Commons.

  • A record $330 billion has been invested in renewable energy after the crash of oil and gas prices, according to Bloomberg’s Michael Liebreich. Unsubsidized renewable energy prices now outcompete gas, with bids for wind and solar sometimes well below 4¢/kWh. [MyBroadband]
  • The declining use of coal last year sent Arkansas carbon emissions lower than would be required by the Clean Power Plan in the rule’s final year of implementation. Carbon emissions dropped last year to 30.1 million tons. The CPP would limit Arkansas emissions to 30.6 million tons in 2030. [Utility Dive] (Arkansas is one of the states suing over the plan.)

 

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