2016-07-28 Energy Week

Visitors Please Note: This blog is maintained to assist in developing a TV show, Energy Week with George Harvey and Tom Finnell. The post is put up 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, July 21:

Rendering of the project Donald Trump opposed, saying it would ruin the view from his golf course. (Vattenfall image)

Rendering of the project Donald Trump opposed, saying it would ruin the view from his golf course. (Vattenfall image)

  • Vattenfall has committed to the construction of the 92.4-MW Aberdeen offshore wind farm off northeast Scotland for £300 million. The Swedish utility acquired the 25% stake in the project previously controlled by Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group ahead of the final investment decision. [reNews]
  • It’s no news that Greenland is in serious trouble, but now, research has helped quantify just how bad its problems are. A satellite study, published last week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, suggests that the Greenland ice sheet lost a whopping 1 trillion tonnes of ice between the years 2011 and 2014 alone. [The Independent]
  • New York, Massachusetts, and Maryland have filed lawsuits in their respective state courts seeking millions of dollars in damages from VW for emissions from diesel engines. The attorneys general for each state say they will name people who lied, who destroyed evidence, and who, in upper management, knew and failed to act. [gas2]

Friday, July 22:

The vast tropical forests of Amazonia account for almost one-fifth of the world’s terrestrial vegetation carbon stock.

The vast tropical forests of Amazonia account for almost one-fifth of the world’s terrestrial vegetation carbon stock.

  • A recent drought shut down the Amazon Basin’s carbon sink, the ability of a natural zone to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, by killing trees and slowing trees’ growth rates, a study has shown. In the first basin-wide study of the impacts of the 2010 drought, data showed trees’ mortality rate went up while growth rates declined. [BBC]
  • Elon Musk, Tesla Motors chief executive, has unveiled a ‘master plan’ for his company to broaden its product portfolio into electric trucks and buses, car sharing and solar energy systems. The strategy additionally includes plans to go into more competitive markets to develop car and ride-sharing programs. [E&T magazine]
  • A coalition of over 150 local businesses and institutions ranging from farms and credit unions, to hotels, main street shops, manufacturers and solar companies has sent a joint letter to the Vermont Public Service Board urging the regulators to support renewable energy and protect the state’s net energy metering program. [Solar Industry]

Saturday, July 23:

Perhaps this abandoned coal mine in West Virginia is a valuable antique. Photo by ForestWander. CC BY-SA 3.0 US. Wikimedia Commons.

Perhaps this abandoned coal mine in West Virginia is a valuable antique. Photo by ForestWander. CC BY-SA 3.0 US. Wikimedia Commons.

  • Ambitious pro-coal plans were put on full display at the Republican National Convention. But the same day that US Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) spoke to the convention in support of the coal industry, a federal court issued a ruling that upheld the EPA’s veto of the notorious Spruce No 1 mine in her home state. [CleanTechnica]
  • Lawyers for Entergy say the company will support a proposal to provide $1 billion in subsidies to nuclear power plants struggling to remain profitable. This comes after the Public Service Commission changed the proposal’s language, removing requirements that the plant be licensed and be struggling financially. [The Journal News | LoHud.com]

Sunday, July 24:

Solar Impulse 2 taking off.

Solar Impulse 2 taking off.

  • An aircraft powered by solar energy has left Egypt on the last leg of the first ever fuel-free flight around the world. Solar Impulse 2 climbed out of Cairo on Sunday in darkness, bound for Abu Dhabi. The journey should take between 48 and 72 hours. The carbon fibre plane set off on its epic challenge in March last year. [euronews]
  • Opinion: “The Switch: soon solar will be the cheapest power everywhere” • Solar is already the cheapest available power across large swathes of the tropics, writes Chris Goodall – its cost down 99.7% since the early 70s. Soon it will be the cheapest electricity everywhere, providing clean, secure, affordable energy for all. [The Ecologist]

  • According to the United Nations weather agency, global temperatures for the first six months of 2016 have been high enough to set this year up as the hottest year in recorded human history. Considering the heat waves we are in, the idea that we are currently in the midst of the hottest year in history isn’t too hard to believe. [The Inquisitr]
  • This spring, there has been a dramatic decline in the health of Eastern white pines across New England and Northeast Pennsylvania. Needles on trees have turned color and fallen from the trees. The severely affected trees decline further and die. The cause is not entirely known, but climate change may be part of the problem. [Scranton Times-Tribune]

Monday, July 25:

Parabolic trough solar thermal electric power plant at Kramer Junction, California. Photo by kjkolb. CC BY-SA 2.5. Wikimedia Commons

Parabolic trough solar thermal electric power plant at Kramer Junction, California. Photo by kjkolb. CC BY-SA 2.5. Wikimedia Commons

  • Solana Beach could become the first city in San Diego County to create its own power company, with the goal of moving to 100% renewable energy. The city is searching for a company to provide a power system based completely on solar, wind, geothermal, or other renewable sources of electricity. [The San Diego Union-Tribune]
Wind turbines in South Australia. Photo by Fairv8. CC BY-SA 4.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Wind turbines in South Australia. Photo by Fairv8. CC BY-SA 4.0. Wikimedia Commons.

  • “Why fossil fuel industry needs South Australia ‘experiment’ to fail” • Price spikes, such as what recently happened in South Australia, used to be an important part of the business model for coal and gas generators. With the advent of renewable power, the spikes have all but gone away, so when one comes, they blame renewables. [RenewEconomy]
  • With four days of convention activities, energy consumption and emissions will rise around Philadelphia. To help offset this increased energy usage, WGL Energy Services, Inc has donated enough carbon offsets to cover the hotel stays of all 28,000 convention attendees for all four days of the Democratic event. [Stockhouse]

Tuesday, July 26:

Completing a dream: the first Round-the-World solar flight in history. Solar Impulse blog.

Completing a dream: the first Round-the-World solar flight in history. Solar Impulse blog.

  • More than a year after it first took to the skies, Solar Impulse 2 has completed an epic around-the-world journey without burning a single drop of fuel. The revolutionary single-seat solar-powered plane touched down Tuesday morning in Abu Dhabi, at the same airport from which it took off back in March 2015. [Huffington Post]
Wind power costs and capacity.

Wind power costs and capacity.

  • “Clean Energy Is Booming in Historically Red States – and It’s Splitting Conservatives Apart” • Policy fights pitt right-wing grassroots activists against well-funded conservative advocacy groups aligned with fossil fuel producers and power utilities. Fossil fuels have the upper hand for now, but the situation may be shifting. [AlterNet]
  • Climate change is leaving migratory birds with nowhere to go. A study showed that the Arctic region is rapidly becoming unsuitable for shorebird breeding as global warming heightens. Published in the journal Global Change Biology, it said migratory bird breeding in the Arctic could be wiped out by the year 2070. [Nature World News]
  • Six weeks after Trump appeared before petroleum producers in North Dakota and gave a speech tailor-made to win their support, the fossil fuel industry seems unexcited about responding. Of the $63.5 million Trump and the Super PACS raised in June, about $580,000 came from people connected to the fossil fuel industry. [InsideClimate News‎]
Wind turbine near the coast, Ireland. Author: Harry Pears. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

Wind turbine near the coast, Ireland. Author: Harry Pears. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

  • The Celtic Interconnector, a roughly 700-MW link between France and Ireland to increase competition and support the growth of renewables, is entering the Initial Design and Pre-Consultation phase. EirGrid Plc and RTE completed feasibility studies for the €1-billion project, and they agreed to move to the next phase. [SeeNews Renewables]

Wednesday, July 27:

  • If anthropogenic global warming is to be limited to under 2° Celsius (3.6° Fahrenheit) then technology will need to be developed to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, in addition to completely ceasing greenhouse gas emissions by 2085, according to a study from the National Center for Atmospheric Research. [CleanTechnica]
  • The US reached 74,821 MW installed wind power capacity by mid-2016 and there are now more than 18,200 MW of wind farms under construction or in advanced stages of development. The American Wind Energy Association said activity approached record levels in the second quarter with record low wind costs. [SeeNews Renewables]
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