2016-10-27 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, October 20:

Desert wind and solar energy (iStock image)

Desert wind and solar energy (iStock image)

  • As the western Energy Imbalance Market continues to yield proven benefits, the California Independent System Operator and El Centro Nacional de Control de Energia have announced that the Mexican electric system operator has agreed to explore participation of its Baja California Norte grid in the real-time market. [North American Windpower]
  • Scientists have accidentally discovered a way to reverse the combustion process, turning carbon dioxide back into the fuel ethanol. Because the materials used are relatively cheap, they believe the process could be used in industrial processes, for example to store excess electricity generated by wind and solar power. [The Independent]
  • The US opened its first new nuclear power plant in 20 years amid growing uncertainty for the industry and the need for regulatory changes at both the state and federal level. The TVA declared the $4.7 billion Unit 2 reactor at the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant open for business, a project that has been decades in the making. [Washington Examiner]

Friday, October 21:

Wind turbines at Dong Energy’s Burbo Bank (Photograph: DONG Energy)

Wind turbines at Dong Energy’s Burbo Bank (Photograph: DONG Energy)

  • As costs on offshore wind keep dropping, installations increase. Last year, almost every third new wind turbine went up offshore. That growth has helped boost the share of wind energy in the European Union’s electricity supply from 2% in the year 2000 to 12% today, according to WindEurope, a business advocacy group. [The Guardian]
  • Next Kraftwerke is delivering the Next Box to connect to its Virtual Power Plant in Northern Europe. The VPP is a distributed network of medium and small power-producing and power-consuming units, provided with Internet of Things connectivity to allow them to talk with and respond to the Next Kraftwerke control center. [CleanTechnica]
  • Michigan’s overall cost of compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan could be relatively low, according to two recent reports. Under the lowest-cost scenarios, a compliance plan in Michigan was projected to cost even less than a plan that did not factor in any CPP requirements at all. [The Peninsula]

Saturday, October 22:

Electric work in Môle-Saint-Nicolas, Haiti

Electric work in Môle-Saint-Nicolas, Haiti

  • A year ago, no one living in Môle-Saint-Nicolas, Haiti, had electricity. By the spring of 2016, the town had a brand new grid, and it will soon run completely on solar and wind energy. Sigora International plans to get electricity to 300,000 people in Haiti by the end of 2017. By the end of 2018, they hope to reach a million people. [Co.Exist]
  • The Dutch cabinet is prepared to help energy company Delta overcome its financial problems but not by putting money into the Borssele nuclear power plant. Closing the nuclear power plant is not an option because of the €1.3 billion price ticket, but keeping the plant open would only be profitable if electricity prices double. [DutchNews.nl]
Bloomberg New Energy Finance oil crash chart

Bloomberg New Energy Finance oil crash chart

  • A Fitch Ratings and Bloomberg both warn of a meltdown in the oil industry. The Fitch report warns that this could begin in 2023, based on “an acceleration of the electrification of transport infrastructure,” which it says “would be resoundingly negative for the oil sector’s credit profile.” Bloomberg says it might be as late as 2028. [Gas 2.0]
  • According to a World Bank report, the cost of climate change mitigation could be reduced 32% by 2030, by increasing global cooperation through carbon trading. There are 40 national jurisdictions and over 20 cities, states, and regions, that are already putting a price on carbon, covering 13% of global greenhouse gas emissions. [CleanTechnica]

Sunday, October 23:

 India One Solar Thermal Power Plant (Brahma Kumaris via Flickr)


India One Solar Thermal Power Plant (Brahma Kumaris via Flickr)

  • “India’s Solar Power Is Set to Outshine Coal” • India wants to provide its entire population with electricity and lift millions out of poverty, but in order to prevent the world overheating it also needs to switch away from fossil fuels. Different analysts disagree on the future of Indian power generation, but solar power costs are dropping. [Truthdig]
Daniel Marsula / Post-Gazette

Daniel Marsula / Post-Gazette

  • “Coal will not recover” • As recently as 10 years ago, coal provided half of America’s electric power needs. Today that number is closer to 30% and falling. Coal is not likely to fade entirely from the scene any time soon, but informed analysts see its share of the US energy mix dropping to less than 20% in the near future. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Monday, October 24:

Grande Prairie wind farm (Megan Farmer / The World Herald)

Grande Prairie wind farm (Megan Farmer / The World Herald)

  • With the Omaha Public Power District’s closure of its Fort Calhoun nuclear plant clearing the way, renewable generation will fill the void left by the 478-MW plant. OPPD will virtually double the portion of renewable energy it receives by the time the new year rolls around, as newly built sources come online. [Omaha World-Herald]
  • A Chicago green-energy developer is proposing the largest infusion of renewable power yet for Long Island, a mix of wind and solar sources in disparate locations as far away as North Carolina and West Virginia. Invenergy already has LIPA approval for a large commercial solar array in Shoreham, New York. [Newsday]

Tuesday, October 25:

Alaskan seal (NOAA image)

Alaskan seal (NOAA image)

  • In a groundbreaking precedent that will likely be felt for decades to come, a federal appeals court in the US has ruled that a species can be listed as “threatened” based on climate change projections. The decision reinstates Endangered Species Act protections for the bearded seals, but it also sets an important precedent. [Gizmodo India]
  • According to the International Renewable Energy Agency, 10% of the 600 million people living off-grid in Africa now use solar energy to power their homes. The decreasing prices of home solar systems in Africa have made this possible, as the cost for solar has dropped below the cost of diesel and kerosene. [Climate Action Programme]
Air sampling station at Mauna Loa observatory (NOAA photo)

Air sampling station at Mauna Loa observatory (NOAA photo)

  • While human emissions of CO2 remained fairly static between 2014 and 2015, the onset of strong El Niño weather phenomena caused a spike in levels of the gas in the atmosphere. The spike results from drought conditions in tropical regions produced by El Niño, which meant that vegetation was less able to absorb the CO2. [BBC]

Wednesday, October 26:

Autumn Morning at Mohonk Preserve (photo by Kate Schoonmaker)

Autumn Morning at Mohonk Preserve (photo by Kate Schoonmaker)

  • New York’s largest nonprofit nature preserve is growing greener thanks to a new partnership with electricity provider Green Mountain Energy Company. The 8,000-acre Mohonk Preserve in Gardiner, NY has signed an agreement with Green Mountain to provide clean electricity to power the site’s facilities. [3BL Media]
  • The Prince of Wales is joining an Anglo-French government initiative to improve the condition of global soils. Ministers from both governments are meeting the prince to discuss how to improve soil health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from farming. Ministers will debate how to store more carbon in soils. [BBC]
Guilford solar array

Guilford solar array

  • VSECU, a member-owned cooperative and not for profit credit union for everybody in Vermont, is going solar. VSECU entered into an innovative partnership with Soveren Solar, through which the credit union will purchase the solar net metering credits produced by a 500-kW solar array to offset its GMP power bill. [Vermont Biz]
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