2017-02-09 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, February 2:

Faraday Future’s FF 91 prototype (Photo: AFP / Reuters)

Faraday Future’s FF 91 prototype (Photo: AFP / Reuters)

  • “Surge in electric cars may blindside big oil” • Oil companies are underestimating the global market for electric vehicles and could be caught unaware by weakened demand for petrol within a decade, according to a report, jointly issued by financial think tank Carbon Tracker and the Grantham Institute, both based in London. [Guardian]
  • The Iraqi government is warning that a pair of pending deals with GE could be at risk from President Donald Trump’s travel ban, according to internal State Department documents. GE has sizable interests in Iraq, including power contracts worth more than a billion dollars and hundreds of employees in the country. [POLITICO.eu]
  • Latest issue of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s monthly “Energy Infrastructure Update,” tells us that newly installed capacity from renewable sources totaled 16,124 MW, or 61.5% of the total, surpassing combined installations for natural gas (8,689 MW), nuclear power (1,270 MW), oil (58 MW), and coal (45 MW). [Sun & Wind Energy]

Friday, February 3:

Decline in UK coal use

Decline in UK coal use

  • A new report from The Economist Intelligence Unit has concluded that Europe’s coal consumption has been in long-term decline, and the region’s reliance on it is not as uniformly high as many assume. Much of the decline in coal for Europe has been centered in the UK, which has been closing coal power plants regularly. [CleanTechnica]
  • A fund meant to spur Vermont’s small-scale renewable energy developments will expire by 2018 unless legislators find another source of revenue, according to a legislative report published this month. The state’s Clean Energy Development Fund holds more than $5 million, but the payments that generated that amount have ceased. [vtdigger.org]
  • “Not just Toshiba – the global nuclear industry is in crisis everywhere” • The collapse of Toshiba, the direct result of its failing nuclear ventures, is indicative of a crisis faced by nuclear contractors and utilities worldwide. Another sign of the poor outlook for the industry: no major commodity had a worse 2016 than uranium. [The Ecologist]

Saturday, February 4:

Solar power in New Mexico (credit: Depositphotos)

Solar power in New Mexico (credit: Depositphotos)

  • Two Democratics in the New Mexico Senate have proposed a dramatic expansion of the state’s renewable portfolio standards to 80% by 2040, from its current goal of 20% by 2020. The state would then be among the most aggressive on carbon emissions. Hawaii is targeting 100% renewables by 2045, and California wants to reach 50% by 2030. [Utility Dive]
A wind farm in Copenhagen (Kim Hansen)

A wind farm in Copenhagen (Kim Hansen)

  • Denmark’s DONG Energy, already a leader in green energy technologies, has announced that they will become 100% coal-free by 2023. DONG Energy had ditched oil and gas last year. The company has created a portfolio of renewables, based on leading technologies in offshore wind, bioenergy, and energy solutions. [Digital Journal]
  • A group of US Senators from western states with windpower resources has re-introduced the Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act, S. 282. This bipartisan legislation works toward an “all of the above” energy strategy by simplifying the permitting process for wind, solar, and geothermal projects on public lands. [Windpower Engineering]

Sunday, February 5:

Ninh Binh Province (Dinkum, Wikimedia Commons)

Ninh Binh Province (Dinkum, Wikimedia Commons)

  • Urgent action is needed to prevent salt intrusion causing severe damage to rice production and loss of drinking water in Vietnam and Bangladesh, according to reports by the World Bank and the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research. The reports say sea level rise threatens large areas of land that is currently highly productive. [The Daily Star]
  • The Trump administration’s strict restrictions on immigration, declarations about climate change, reported overtures to an anti-vaccine activist, and pledge to repeal of the Affordable Care Act have turned some in the science community into militants. They will march in Washington, and perhaps in other cities, on April 22, Earth Day. [NBCNews.com]
  • An article in the Mail on Sunday stunningly claims, “World leaders were duped into investing billions over manipulated global warming data.” It accuses the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of manipulating data. However, a fact check by independent researchers validates the data that NOAA published. [Carbon Brief]

Monday, February 6:

Soy beans in a no-till field (Credit: US Department of Agriculture)

Soy beans in a no-till field (Credit: US Department of Agriculture)

  • In America’s breadbasket, the economic realities of climate change are a critical business issue, but frank discussion is often complicated by politics and social pressure, so they get disguised as something else. Perhaps no one is as aware of the climate and its impact on the earth than a farmer, and the New York Times recently featured one from Kansas. [HPPR]
  • South Australian company 1414 Degrees developed technology to store electricity as thermal energy by heating and melting containers full of silicon, at a tenth of the cost for lithium-ion batteries. Silicon is the second most abundant element in the earth’s crust, and one tonne can store enough energy to power 28 houses for a day. [Electronics News]
Australian wind turbines

Australian wind turbines

  • The Australian Energy Market Operator says it is confident that adjustments made to wind farm software will prevent the South Australia blackout from being repeated. He said the blackout in South Australia in September, which has set off a huge political debate about renewable energy across the country, would not be repeated. [RenewEconomy]

Tuesday, February 7:

Solar powered house in Germany

Solar powered house in Germany

  • Opinion: “6 reasons the clean energy revolution doesn’t need Trump’s blessing” • As much as Trump and his oil-soaked administration want to make fossil fuels great again, the global clean energy revolution is getting to the point of being unstoppable. Here are a few reasons the renewables revolution will continue without Trump’s blessing. [Inhabitat]
  • According to Greentech Media, SunShot has shattered its 2020 goal of reaching $1.00 per watt for utility-scale solar utility costs 3 years earlier. Founded back in 2011 when Stephen Chu was the US DOE Secretary, the SunShot goal was to get utility-scale costs down to $1.00/watt. In 2011, the costs stood at about $4.00/watt. [CleanTechnica]
  • Southern California Gas Co, Los Angeles, along with CR&R Environmental, a waste management company in Stanton, California, announced they have begun construction of an eight-inch pipeline that will bring carbon-neutral renewable natural gas into the SoCalGas distribution system for the first time. [Waste Today Magazine]

Wednesday, February 8:

Lots of rooftop solar in Sweden

Lots of rooftop solar in Sweden

  • The Swedish city of Malmö is one of the greenest in Europe. The Västra Hamnen district uses 100% renewable energy, for power and heat. It is climate neutral, with absolutely no carbon emissions. The area has extensive bike trails, and a public bus system that runs entirely on biogas, a methane-based alternative to gasoline. [Beloit College Round Table]
  • The US Army Corps of Engineers will grant an easement in North Dakota for the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, allowing the project to move toward completion despite the protests. President Donald Trump had signed executive actions to advance approval of this pipeline and others almost as soon as he took office. [CNN]
Flaring gas at an oil refinery in Washington

Flaring gas at an oil refinery in Washington

  • With former Secretary of State Jim Baker leading, a group of Republican senior statesmen are pushing for a carbon tax to combat the effects of climate change. In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, they argued, “there is mounting evidence of problems with the atmosphere that are growing too compelling to ignore.” [Voice of America]
  • Vermont Electric Cooperative announced its 2017 Energy Transformation Program. The 2017 opportunities include financial incentives for members who install cold-climate heat pumps, purchase or lease electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, or transition away from generators to power their homes or businesses. [vtdigger.org]
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