2017-01-05 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.

Because the BCTV studio was closed for the week of December 25 through 31, this edition of Energy Week covers two weeks.

Thursday, December 22:

  • New wind energy is now being contracted for prices as low as 6.45¢/kWh in Ontario, well below the average cost for electricity generation of 11.14 cents as of May 1, 2016. Forecasters expect costs for wind power to continue declining. At the same time, costs for other forms of new or refurbished generation are increasing. [Your Renewable News]

Friday, December 23:

  • 8minutenergy Renewables claims to have “the first operational solar PV installation to beat fossil fuel prices in California.” The 155-MW Springbok 2 Solar Farm in Kern County will provide electricity to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power at $35 to $38 per MWh (adjusted for inflation) over the PPA term. [Greentech Media]
Solar panel road (Photo: Christophe Petit Tesson / EPA)

Solar panel road (Photo: Christophe Petit Tesson / EPA)

  • France has opened what it claims to be the world’s first solar panel road, in a Normandy village. A 1-km (0.6-mile) route in the small village of Tourouvre-au-Perche covered with 2,800 sq m of electricity-generating panels. It cost €5m (£4.2m) to construct and will be used by about 2,000 motorists a day during a two-year test. [The Guardian]

Saturday, December 24:

  • A study from researchers at Lappeenranta University of Technology shows that South America could transition to fully renewable electricity by 2030. The study, by LUT and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, also shows a 100% renewable system is the least costly option and would need little energy storage. [Renewable Energy Focus]
  • Government projections imply that India may see no new thermal power plants installed after 2022. Between 2022 and 2027, the power ministry plans to add 12,000 MW of large hydro capacity, 4,800 MW of nuclear power capacity, around 100,000 MW of renewable energy capacity, but ZERO of thermal power capacity. [CleanTechnica]

Sunday, December 25:

Alberta wind farm (Canadian Wind Energy Association photo)

Alberta wind farm (Canadian Wind Energy Association photo)

  • In 2016, renewable energy surpassed coal as the largest source of installed power capacity. China’s carbon emissions peaked. The German upper house voted to ban gasoline-powered cars by 2030. Vancouver chose to ban natural gas in new buildings, also by 2030. And Canada is well on its way to a renewable future. [The Globe and Mail]

Monday, December 26:


  • “Low Costs of Solar Power & Wind Power Crush Coal, Crush Nuclear, & Beat Natural Gas” • Here are 5 messages for all those who want a better economy, want local energy independence, want to advance the most cost-effective choices for electricity generation, or just want to make logical decisions about energy. [CleanTechnica]

Tuesday, December 27:

NWT ice patch landscape (Photo Credit: T. Andrews / GNWT)

NWT ice patch landscape (Photo Credit: T. Andrews / GNWT)

  • Canadian archeologists are in a race against time. They have been collecting, studying and preserving ancient artifacts – darts, bows and arrows – lost or misplaced by prehistoric hunters and protected by a covering of snow over millennia. Climate change is melting the snow now, exposing the artifacts to decay. [Radio Canada International]
  • To remain competitive in a changing power market, North Dakota’s largest power plant is making operational changes so production can ramp up and down quicker. Now, all generation resources need to be supplemental to wind. Great River Energy is adapting operations at Coal Creek Station to run at either 1146 MW or 300 MW. [Bismarck Tribune]

Wednesday, December 28:

  • Toshiba Corp may have to write off “several billion” dollars because of Westinghouse Electric Company’s purchase a year ago of CB&I Stone & Webster, a US construction firm that specializes in nuclear power projects. Westinghouse had assumed full responsibility for all AP1000 projects under the purchase agreement. [World Nuclear News]
  • Norwegian oil and gas company Statoil has won the offshore wind lease to 79,350 acres off the coast of New York. The winning bid was $42.5 million. The lease gives Statoil the potential to develop up to 1 GW of offshore wind, though 400 to 600 MW is a more likely goal, 14 to 30 miles off the coast of western Long Island. [CleanTechnica]

Thursday, December 29:

  • The head of research, technology and innovation for Engie SA thinks the cost of solar power will drop below $10/MWh (1¢/kWh) before 2025 in the world’s sunniest places. An Engie study of the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region showed it could run entirely on renewable energy for about 20% less than the price of electricity today. [Gas 2.0]

Friday, December 30:

Solar PV park (Author: mdreyno, CC BY-SA)

Solar PV park (Author: mdreyno, CC BY-SA)

  • “Solar Power Is Not Merely Least Expensive” • We’ve seen a lot of commentary on the fact that utility-scale solar power has become the least expensive source of electricity in many places. There is more than that to be found in LCOE analysis, however, and it implies that solar and wind power have greater value than cost data shows. [CleanTechnica]
  • Toshiba shares has fallen over three straight days of heavy losses. The company has now had more than 40% of its value wiped off since 26 December. It comes after the firm’s chairman apologized and warned that its US nuclear business, which brings in about a third of its revenue, may be worth less than previously thought. [BBC]

Saturday, December 31:

  • Electricity prices from Boston to Dallas plunged this year as cheap natural gas cut fuel costs, and wind and solar alternatives came online. Consumers also used less electricity for the second straight year, despite a summer heat wave, amid an industrial slowdown and growing awareness of ways to boost energy efficiency. [Bloomberg]

Sunday, January 1:

Regional flood risks

Regional flood risks

  • The risk of flooding in the US is changing regionally, according to University of Iowa engineers. They determined that the threat of flooding is generally growing in the northern half of the US and declining in the southern half, as regional climates change. The American Southwest and West, meanwhile, are experiencing decreasing flood risk. [ScienceBlog.com]

Monday, January 2:

Fast progress in India (Photo by Thomas Kohler)

Fast progress in India (Photo by Thomas Kohler)

  • India will generate as much as 56.5% of its electricity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2027, the government has estimated in a draft energy plan. Besides the coal-fired plants that are already being built, the country does not need to build new ones, it said. This puts India far ahead of its Paris commitment of 40% by 2030. [India Climate Dialogue]

Tuesday, January 3:

Golden toad (by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via Wikipedia)

Golden toad (by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via Wikipedia)

  • The field of “attribution science” has made immense progress in the last five years. Researchers can now tell people how climate change impacts them, and not in 50 or 100 years, but today. Scientific American interviewed Friederike Otto, deputy director of the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford. [PBS NewsHour]
  • Widespread local plant and animal species extinctions are already occurring as a result of anthropogenic climate change, research from the University of Arizona has found. It showed that local extinctions have now already occurred in 47% of the 976 species analyzed in the study, as a result of climate change caused by human activity. [CleanTechnica]

Wednesday, January 4:

A solar power plant in San Antonio (Credit: Duke Energy / flickr)

A solar power plant in San Antonio (Credit: Duke Energy / flickr)

  • 2016 is shaping up to be a milestone year for energy, and when the final accounting is done, one of the biggest winners is likely to be solar power. For the first time, more electricity-generating capacity from solar power plants is expected to have been built in the US than from natural gas and wind, data from the DOE show. [AlterNet]

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