2016-07-07 Energy Week

Visitors Please Note: This blog is maintained to assist in developing a TV show, Energy Week with George Harvey and Tom Finnell. It is usually posted in incomplete form, and is updated with news until it is completed, usually on Wednesday. The source is geoharvey.wordpress.com.

Within a few days of the last update, the show may be seen, along with older shows, at this link on the BCTV website: Energy Week Series.

Thursday, June 30:

A 2.3-MW floating solar array in Kasai City, Japan.

A 2.3-MW floating solar array in Kasai City, Japan.

  • “Floating Solar: A Win-Win for Drought-Stricken Lakes in U.S.” • Floating PV projects are increasingly used around the world. One prime spot for them could be the US Southwest, where they could prevent evaporation in major man-made reservoirs as they make energy. [Yale Environment 360]
  • “The End of the Era of Baseload Power Plants” • PG&E’s plan to close the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant marks a historic transition for the electric power industry. While it ends nuclear power in California, it also ushers in an entirely new paradigm for our electric system. [Greentech Media]
Solar panels during installation on a San Diego home. Courtesy San Diego County News Center

Solar panels during installation on a San Diego home. Courtesy San Diego County News Center

  • The San Diego region reached a milestone on Wednesday, as private, rooftop solar power produces 5% of the city’s peak electricity demand. San Diego Gas & Electric and major solar installers cheered the milestone in what has become a $1 billion local industry. [Times of San Diego]

Friday, July 1:

Smoke stacks. Photo: Jon Sullivan / Flickr

Smoke stacks. Photo: Jon Sullivan / Flickr

  • “Coal Is Literally Killing Us” • Taken together, the Clean Power Plan’s reductions in atmospheric pollutants associated with coal would reduce problems with heart disease, asthma, and other diseases enough save us of a whopping $38 billion a year in the US. [Natural Resources Defense Council]
  • The North American Climate, Energy and Environment Partnership announced Wednesday in Ottawa has much to say about clean power generation, renewable energy and efficiency but barely a word about natural gas, save for methane emissions reduction goals. [Natural Gas Intelligence]
  • Bringing off-shore wind energy to the US electric system for the first time took a major step forward this past weekend with the landing of a 20-mile undersea cable from Scarborough State Beach in Narragansett, Rhode Island, to the wind project, and then to Crescent Beach on Block Island. [Digital Journal]

Saturday, July 2:

Wind farms on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Mexico. L Hernández / Associated Press

Wind farms on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Mexico. L Hernández / Associated Press

  • “North American energy deal places focus on Mexico” • Although Canada already far exceeds its own goals for the trilateral pledge to generate half of North America’s electricity from carbon free sources by 2025, and the United States has a clear path forward, Mexico faces a number of major hurdles. [Science Magazine]
The researchers believe that healing of the ozone hole has begun in the stratosphere above Antarctica. SPL

The researchers believe that healing of the ozone hole has begun in the stratosphere above Antarctica. SPL

  • Researchers say they have found the first clear evidence that the thinning in the ozone layer above Antarctica is starting to heal. The scientists said that in September 2015 the hole was around 4 million square kilometers smaller than it was in the year 2000 – an area roughly the size of India. [BBC]

Sunday, July 3:

US Fish and Wildlife Service research vessel, the R/V Tiglax, stops at Attu Island, the most western of the Aleutian Islands. (Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News)

US Fish and Wildlife Service research vessel, the R/V Tiglax, stops at Attu Island, the most western of the Aleutian Islands. (Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News)

  • An ecology professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage is leading a long-term project to examine seabirds, what they eat and how that reflects ocean conditions in a rapidly warming climate. Increasingly, their diets include large quantities of plastic particles that float in the waters of the Bering Sea. [Alaska Dispatch News]
  • Working out how to use some of New Zealand’s vast stores of renewable energy to fuel the transport sector may be the country’s next big challenge. Renewable energy now contributes about 82% of New Zealand’s electricity, but the picture is not quite so rosy when you look at the country’s total energy use. [Stuff.co.nz]
  • The Kit Carson Electric Cooperative agreed to pay $37 million to get out of a wholesale power contract with Tri-State Generation and Transmission, which it blames for holding back renewable energy development. Under the contract, the co-op could generate only 5% of its own power from solar sources. [Santa Fe New Mexican]

Monday, July 4:

The Wilbur Dam. Tennessee Valley Authority photo. Public domain.

The Wilbur Dam. Tennessee Valley Authority photo. Public domain.

  • More than $1.2 billion will go to upgrading aging hydropower projects in the Southeast, under an agreement signed by federal agencies, the Tennessee Valley Authority and an association representing customers. It aims to modernize projects along the Cumberland River over the next 20 years. [Electric Co-op Today]
  • Households account for about 18% of total energy use in the Beijing region but produce 50% of black carbon emissions and 69% of organic carbon emissions, according to research by institutions including Princeton, the University of California Berkeley, Peking University and Tsinghua University. [Science 2.0]
  • Irish renewable energy developer BNRG has pledged $200 million to develop solar energy in the United States. Local developers in New England and Oregon have given BNRG the rights to develop 140 MW of utility-scale solar energy. The construction and installation are scheduled to begin next year. [Energy Digital]

Tuesday, July 5:

 Renewable energy on a Northumberland homestead. Photo by Oliver Dixon. CC BY-SA 2.0 generic. Wikimedia Commons.


Renewable energy on a Northumberland homestead. Photo by Oliver Dixon. CC BY-SA 2.0 generic. Wikimedia Commons.

  • Renewable electricity development in the UK is advancing well, but slow progress in other sectors means the country will miss 2020 renewables targets, a National Grid report says. The report’s most optimistic scenario is that the UK will only consume 12% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. [reNews]
  • Research from MIT says various different energy storage options make economic sense at current prices for some renewable energy projects. The energy storage options profiled by the study included: battery systems, pumped hydroelectric storage, and compressed air energy storage, among others. [CleanTechnica]
  • Renewable energy accounted for nearly 25% of global electrical capacity in 2015, according to a new study by REN21. Renewable power also saw its largest annual increase in capacity ever in 2015. Wind and solar PV had record additions again this year, accounting for about 77% of new installations. [ACHR NEWS]

Wednesday, July 6:

  • Nuclear plants have estimated fixed costs that range from 5¢/kWh to 7¢/kWh, depending on age and the specific reactor. New wind power has unsubsidized costs in the 3.5¢/kWh range. At those costs, new wind can produce more GHG-free electricity cheaper than keeping aging nuclear power plants running. [CleanTechnica]
Protesters gather outside Exxon’s shareholders meeting in Dallas. Ben Torres/Redux

Protesters gather outside Exxon’s shareholders meeting in Dallas. Ben Torres/Redux

  • “Did Exxon Lie About Global Warming?” • In the case against Exxon, the plaintiffs do not have to show that the company injured a specific victim or conspired to hide what it knew about climate science, just that Exxon did not tell its own investors the truth about the investment risks of climate change. [RollingStone.com] (Thanks to Tad Montgomery)
A high-tech system in a rural setting.

A high-tech system in a rural setting.

  • In January, Chhotkei in Orissa became India’s first smart village powered by Smart NanoGrid technology developed by SunMoksha. Power comes from a 30-kW solar plant, and meters and sensors collect data on energy usage and system health. This makes it possible to schedule power use and maintenance. [India Live Today]
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