2016-08-11 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, August 4:

Guilin, China

Guilin, China

  • Opinion: “What I Saw in China Will Help Change the World” • Air pollution is blamed for 1 million premature deaths a year in China and for reducing life expectancy by nearly 25 months. China alone accounts for 27% of the global carbon footprint. But the country is doing a lot to fight climate change . [Natural Resources Defense Council]
  • Opinion: “Institutional investors are heeding climate warnings. Should you, too?” • Most people recognize that climate change is a risk for life on Earth. But a warming planet is likely to be dangerous to investment portfolios, too. Institutional money managers are coming to realize it, and retail investors should pay heed as well. [The Globe and Mail]
  • California is the first in the country to publish a draft blueprint for fulfilling the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, for cutting existing power plant emissions. The state’s landmark cap-and-trade program for carbon emissions and proposed amendments to extend that system will be used for compliance. [Environment & Energy Publishing]

Friday, August 5:

Apple solar array.

Apple solar array.

  • SiliconBeat reports that Apple received approval to begin selling off its excess renewable energy. The approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission means Apple will be able to start selling excess energy generated from its solar farms and other renewable energy facilities it has located in Nevada, Arizona, and California. [9 to 5 Mac]
Some politicians blame wind farms for supply problems. Photo: Bloomberg

Some politicians blame wind farms for supply problems. Photo: Bloomberg

  • AGL said the batteries it plans to install in and around Adelaide will be linked with solar panel arrays in a system that would be the “world’s largest virtual power plant.” The company hopes the system will help meet demand peaks and avoid the need to source electricity from local power stations. [The Sydney Morning Herald]
  • “Nuclear Power Is Losing Money At An Astonishing Rate” • Half of the existing nuclear power plants are no longer profitable. The New York Times and others have tried to blame renewable energy, but the admittedly astounding price drops of renewables aren’t the primary cause of the industry’s woes. [ThinkProgress]

Saturday, August 6:

With no access to power lines or plenty of cow manure, Pa Deng' s villagers have turned to faeces. (Photo: AFP)

With no access to power lines or plenty of cow manure, Pa Deng’ s villagers have turned to faeces. (Photo: AFP)

  • Nestled in a deep pocket of forest, off Thailand’s electrical grid, villagers in Pa Deng have become early adopters and evangelists for an unusual alternative energy source: poop. After successfully lighting up their homes with solar panels and stoves fueled by cow dung, the villagers are now clean energy crusaders. [Deccan Chronicle]
Walney Wind Farm in the Irish Sea. DONG photo.

Walney Wind Farm in the Irish Sea. DONG photo.

  • US grid operator ISO-New England is mulling a request from DONG Energy, which is seeking an 800-MW of grid capacity for its planned 1-GW Bay State wind farm off the Massachusetts coast. DONG wants the link at Brayton Point power station, where an existing 1-GW coal plant is scheduled to close next year. [reNews]
  • The White House Council on Environmental Quality directed Federal agencies to consider the impacts of their actions on climate change in all decision-making. According to the White House, “Federal agencies are required to consider and disclose the potential effects of their actions and decisions on the environment.” [CleanTechnica]
  • Hampshire College is constructing the largest campus solar power array in New England. The project will put 15,000 solar panels on 19 acres of campus land to generate 4.7 MW of electricity and includes a battery storage system. Hampshire College will be able to boast that 100% of its electricity will come from renewable energy. [WAMC]

Sunday, August 7:

Manything turns old smartphones into video monitoring devices. Photograph: Manything

Manything turns old smartphones into video monitoring devices. Photograph: Manything

  • Old smartphones can give us new opportunities. “There are around one billion idle smartphones in America,” the head of a startup business says. “They’re just sitting in drawers at the moment destined for landfill. Yet they’ve got a GPS, two cameras, a microphone, a processor and five or six other useful sensors.” [The Guardian]
  • A California project would have 100 turbines on platforms tethered to ocean floor floating 33 miles off the coast. Trident Winds, a Seattle-based company, plans to place the turbines off the coast of Morro Bay. The turbines would be affixed to floating platforms, which would be tethered to the sea floor using cables. [Seeker]

Monday, August 8:

  • Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin and Public Service Department Commissioner Chris Recchia announced today that the PSD has reached an agreement with Green Mountain Power that, pending Public Service Board approval, will result in a 0.93% rate increase for GMP customers in the coming year. [vtdigger.org]
Sam Villella wants to add more panels, but a new electric co-op fee is holding him back. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Sam Villella wants to add more panels, but a new electric co-op fee is holding him back. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

  • Electric co-ops across Minnesota have instituted fees on new residential solar arrays based on a 2015 law, and renewable energy advocates are angry. Lyon-Lincoln Electric charges a customer $49 per month for a rooftop solar connection. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission is investigating the fees. [Duluth News Tribune]

Tuesday, August 9:

  • EDF’s decision to invest in the £18 billion Hinkley Point nuclear plant should be declared invalid, French trade unions have said. The unions at the French firm said senior board members knew that the UK government was considering delaying its final decision, but did not disclose this before last month’s vote. [The Guardian]
Solar panels were used to charge devices during a power outage on the Aran Islands. A little power is better than none at all.

Solar panels were used to charge devices during a power outage on the Aran Islands. A little power is better than none at all.

  • A prolonged electricity blackout affecting two of the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland has given renewed impetus to making the islands carbon-neutral and independent, according to a local renewable-energy project. The outage began when a submarine cable was broken on Friday and lasted until Monday night. [Irish Times]
  • A festive feeling took hold as Governor Charlie Baker signed an energy bill that could launch an offshore wind industry in Massachusetts. New Bedford is poised to benefit from offshore wind development, potentially at the $113 million, state-funded Marine Commerce Terminal just inside the hurricane barrier. [SouthCoastToday.com]

Wednesday, August 10:

  • Alaska averaging 33.9° over seven months may not seem warm to folks in the Lower 48. But that just proves they haven’t lived there. A not-far-above-freezing high from January 1 to July 31 is a virtual heat wave. This year’s average is 8.1° above the 20th century average of 25.8°. So far, 2016 has been the hottest year on record. [CNN]
Power can be created where salt water meets fresh. (Photo: 27707 / Pixabay)

Power can be created where salt water meets fresh, such as at this estuary. (Photo: 27707 / Pixabay)

  • A team of international scientists from Switzerland and the United States developed a powerful osmosis power plant capable of generating more power than any osmotic power generator that has come before. An osmosis power plant creates power by use of a membrane separates salt water from fresh. [Nature World News]
  • New figures from GTM Research have revealed that the United States currently has 10 GW of utility-scale solar PV projects currently under construction. In 2015, the entire US solar sector installed a record 7,286 MW. In 2015, the country’s utility solar sector grew 6%, but 2016 may see a growth rate of over 100%. [CleanTechnica]
  • The Massachusetts legislature passed a bill to make the state one of only three to have an energy storage mandate, and Governor Charlie Baker (R) signed the landmark measure on August 9. Massachusetts began paving the way for more far-reaching storage policies over a year ago with an energy storage initiative. [Utility Dive]
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