2016-08-25 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.

Since the previous show was recorded on Tuesday, this show has nine days’ news.

Tuesday, August 16:

Solar panels and sheep at the biggest solar park of the Benelux. Photo by Antalexion. CC BY-SA 4.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Solar panels and sheep at the biggest solar park of the Benelux. Photo by Antalexion. CC BY-SA 4.0. Wikimedia Commons.

  • University of Queensland is saving $50,000 a year in mowing costs at its Gatton campus solar farm by using sheep to keep the vegetation down. The ABC reports that to mow the grounds used to take 4 days and cost a significant chunk of change. Now, ten sheep help cut mowing costs and seem to be enjoying doing so. [Energy Matters]

08-16 energy incentives

  • Wind energy still accounts for an extremely small share of all federal energy incentives, according to the most comprehensive review of energy incentives to date. AWEA’s compilation of all available data shows that for every dollar spent on federal energy incentives, wind energy received less than 3 cents. [Windpower Engineering]

Wednesday, August 17:

  • The Netherlands may soon approve of an outright ban on new cars fueled by gasoline or diesel fuel by the year 2025. Only zero-emissions cars powered by batteries or hydrogen fuel cells would be permitted. Germany may not be far behind, with growing murmurs in support of a ban on conventional cars by 2030. [CleanTechnica]
  • The federal government calls the impact of carbon dioxide the “social cost of carbon,” and the EPA set a price at $36 per metric ton of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere. A group of refrigerator makers sued, calling the price “arbitrary and capricious,” but a federal district court ruled against them unanimously. [CleanTechnica]

Thursday, August 18:

Road closed due to weather. FEMA photo. Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

Road closed due to weather. FEMA photo, after Hurricane Katrina. Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

  • July was the world’s hottest month ever, according to NASA, the tenth month in a row to break temperature records globally. Since October 2015, every month has set a new global record for hottest temperatures, but the rise may slow down soon. A developing La Nina weather pattern may help, though probably not until 2017. [CNN]
  • Electric utilities cannot pass on to their Massachusetts ratepayers the costs of financing new natural gas pipelines, the state’s highest court ruled on Wednesday. The unanimous decision from the Supreme Judicial Court was cheered by environmental groups, which had dubbed the proposed tariffs a “pipeline tax.” [Boston Herald]
Wind turbines in North Dakota. USFWS Mountain-Prairie photo. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Wind turbines in North Dakota. USFWS Mountain-Prairie photo. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

  • Wind energy pricing remains attractive to utility and commercial purchasers, according to an annual report released by the US Department of Energy and prepared by the Electricity Markets & Policy Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The levelized long-term price of wind power averages around 2¢/kWh. [EurekAlert]
  • Vermont’s largest electric utility has committed to purchase 14 hydroelectric dams in New England and to get power from two others, a buy that will net Green Mountain Power an added 17 MW of energy production for just over $20 million. The dams will help the company meet statutory renewability requirements. [vtdigger.org]

Friday, August 19:

 Final turbine installed at Block Island. Deepwater Wind photo.


Final turbine installed at Block Island. Deepwater Wind photo.

  • Fred Olsen jack-up vessel Brave Tern has lifted the final turbine at the 30-MW Block Island project in Rhode Island, a long-awaited milestone for America’s first offshore wind farm. “The Block Island wind farm is now fully constructed,” Deepwater Wind’s CEO said on Twitter. Crews are working on electrical connections. [reNews]
  • The recent power supply auction in Chile got a solar bid of $29.1/MWh (€25.65/MWh) for the Maria ElenaPV park, built by SunEdison. That bid marks the world’s record lowest for solar. The previous record was an offer of $29.9/MWh for the 800-MW third phase of a 5-GW solar power complex in Dubai. [SeeNews Renewables]

Saturday, August 20:

Hydrogen fuel cell cars fueling, Fountain Valley, California.

Hydrogen fuel cell cars fueling, Fountain Valley, California.

  • When produced using renewable energy, hydrogen could cost nearly the equivalent of 50-cent-per-gallon gasoline, according to a study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The NREL plan assumes large-scale production of hydrogen through electrolysis, but with renewable energy used for power. [Green Car Reports]
  • The oil and gas sector is headed for much more “turbulent times” beyond the ongoing oil bust, former Vice President Al Gore said in an interview with the Houston Chronicle. He said the industry will go through the same pains as the coal sector unless it adopts more renewable and sustainable sources of power and fuel. [Houston Chronicle]

Sunday, August 21:

Crystal Serenity.

Crystal Serenity.

  • In a rare endeavor, Crystal Serenity has embarked on a 32-night journey through the Northwest Passage, the Arctic region north of Canada that was unattainable until just 100 years ago. Crystal Serenity is about to become the largest ship ever to attempt the Northwest Passage. There are nearly 1,000 passengers aboard. [RusTourismNews]
  • At least three municipalities in Finland are considering founding solar parks within their city limits to create energy from the sun. In one community about an hour north of Helsinki, a biogas facility would make use of biomass from the local community and agriculture, in addition to the solar-powered electricity. [YLE News]

Monday, August 22:

  • Opinion: “UK energy mix faces seismic shift” • These last weeks have been a time when an inescapable set of signals emerges, all pointing in the same direction. The idea that renewables are not competitive with fossil fuels and nuclear power has lost all basis in fact. It’s time to wake up to the energy revolution. [Climate Home]
The ANU solar thermal dish. Image: Stuart Hay, ANU

The ANU solar thermal dish. Image: Stuart Hay, ANU

  • A team of Australian National University scientists brought economically competitive solar thermal energy generation closer to reality. They hit a record in efficiency for the technology with a design that boosts conversion of sunlight to steam to 97%. This could produce a 10% reduction in the cost of solar thermal electricity. [RenewEconomy]

Tuesday, August 23:

Arctic Sunrise.

Arctic Sunrise.

  • Navigating through the icy waters of the Arctic, a Greenpeace ship is delivering solar panels to the Inuit community of Clyde River, Nunavut. Delivering solar panels and a team to install the systems for the Clyde River community is Greenpeace’s way of offering a better solution to meet increasing demands for energy. [CleanTechnica]
  • A strong national commitment to nuclear energy goes hand in hand with weak performance on climate change targets, researchers at the University of Sussex and the Vienna School of International Studies have found. Pro-nuclear countries have been slow to implement wind, solar, and hydropower technologies. [(e) Science News]

Wednesday, August 24:

Specialist ships are needed to build offshore wind turbines. Nightman1965 / shutterstock.

Specialist ships are needed to build offshore wind turbines. Nightman1965 / shutterstock.

  • A study of the UK’s offshore wind energy potential has suggested that the total amount of economically feasible installed capacity offshore might be up to 675 GW. This could provide more than six times the UK’s present electricity demand. Steady winds and shallow waters make offshore wind in the UK especially attractive. [CleanTechnica]
  • Green Mountain Power and Efficiency Vermont are partnering on a community-wide rapid energy transformation project in Panton to reduce energy costs, lower fossil fuel use, and improve comfort. The project is called eVolve Panton, and it will put Panton at the forefront of energy innovation in Vermont. [Vermont Biz]
  • As residents of Louisiana this week struggle to recover from a 1,000-year flood, “one of the worst floods in modern history,” there is a chance that federal aid may not be so forthcoming thanks to a trio of Bayou State Republicans, who back in 2013 voted against helping victims of another storm: Hurricane Sandy. [eNews Park Forest]
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