2017-02-16 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 9:

Declining capacities of new coal plants were going to zero before the Clean Power Plan

Declining capacities of new coal plants were going to zero before the Clean Power Plan

  • “All The King’s Men Cannot Put King Coal Together Again” Even before the new administration took over, it had been widely argued that coal plants would continue shutting down irrespective of whether the Clean Power Plan was implemented. Old coal plants are retiring, and new ones are not being installed. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]
  • On February 7th, the Seattle City Council voted unanimously to stop doing business with Wells Fargo Bank. This is because Wells Fargo has investments in the companies behind the Dakota Access pipeline project. Seattle currently does about $3 billion a year in business with Wells Fargo. The pipeline has 17 investors. [CleanTechnica]
Wind farms accounted for over half of the capacity installed. (Shutterstock)

Wind farms accounted for over half of the capacity installed. (Shutterstock)

  • Renewable energy made up nearly nine-tenths of new power added to Europe’s electricity grids last year, in a sign of the continent’s rapid shift away from fossil fuels, Euractiv’s media partner The Guardian reports. Of the 24.5 GW of new capacity built across the EU in 2016, 21.1 GW (86%) was from wind, solar, biomass and hydro. [EurActiv]

Friday, February 10:

North Carolina wind farm (Avangrid Renewables image)

North Carolina wind farm (Avangrid Renewables image)

  • The first wind farm in North Carolina is now 100% operational even though the state’s top politicians wanted President Donald Trump to nix the $400 million project because they said it’s a national security threat. Avangrid Renewables today announced the wind farm is now generating power, enough to provide for 61,000 homes. [CIO]
  • The troops are mobilizing for a second “deployment.” The Veterans Stand group is once again raising funds for protesters who oppose construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The funds will go toward supplies for the North Dakota protest camp and transportation of veterans to and from Standing Rock Indian Reservation and operations. [CNN]
  • New figures from the American Wind Energy Association show that the United States installed a total of 8,203 MW in 2016. As a result, wind energy has now surpassed hydropower to become the largest source of renewable electric capacity in the United States, and the fourth largest source overall, with a total of 82,183 MW. [CleanTechnica]

Saturday, February 11:

Flow battery in laboratory

Flow battery in laboratory

  • A new type of battery has the ability to revolutionize all the smart devices that rely on storage electricity. Harvard professors at the Engineering Faculty created a flow battery that stores the energy in primary molecules dissolved in water with a neutral pH. The new battery has a long life, losing 1% of its capacity after 1,000 charge cycles. [Stоck Nеws USА]
  • Encouraged by Chinese and EU commitments to low carbon energy, European utilities will not reduce their renewable energy investments if US President Donald Trump lowers US climate goals, electricity lobby Eurelectric said. Trump said during the campaign he would pull the US out of the Paris agreement of 2015. [ETEnergyworld.com]
  • The EPA’s website has begun to transform under Trump’s leadership. Researchers found that Federal climate plans, tribal assistance programs, and references to international cooperation have been stricken. A mention of carbon pollution as a cause of climate change has also been removed and adaptation has been emphasized. [CleanTechnica]

Sunday, February 12:

  • Opinion: “Scott Pruitt’s Misleading Senate Testimony: Will ‘Alternative Science’ Replace Real Science at EPA?” • Scott Pruitt, President Trump’s pick to head the US Environmental Protection Agency, is misrepresenting the scientific data clearly showing that the earth’s atmosphere is warming. He said he believes that global warming is in a “hiatus.” [Energy Collective]
Arctic temperature anomalies

Arctic temperature anomalies

  • Friday’s temperatures very near the North Pole are about 50° F warmer than normal, according to a temperature analysis by NOAA. The warmth is being funneled toward the North Pole as winds converged winds between a monster storm in the North Atlantic and a giant area of high pressure over northern Europe. [Washington Post] (Thanks to Tad Montgomery)
Huge crane at the VC Summer nuclear plant

Huge crane at the VC Summer nuclear plant

  • Recently, one of the largest construction cranes on the planet gently hoisted a 750-ton steam generator into place for a new reactor at the VC Summer Nuclear Station. The heavy lifting isn’t over. It could be just beginning for the $14 billion project, with unanswered questions about Westinghouse, the reactor designer. [Charleston Post Courier]

Monday, February 13:

Headline News:

A hydro generator run by KIUC

A hydro generator run by KIUC

  • A Hawaiian utility co-op is aiming to produce 70% of its energy from renewables by 2030. The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative had already set a target of 50% renewables by 2023 but is set to hit that goal 2018, five years earlier than expected. As recently as 2011 KIUC had a 92% dependency on fossil fuels for generation. [Co-operative News]
  • New Hampshire is behind most of its neighbors in use of renewable energy, and several groups are using this legislative session make sure it stays behind. Led by the Americans for Prosperity, founded by billionaire Koch brothers, they support a bill that would pull the state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. [Foster’s Daily Democrat]
  • If you want to understand why Toshiba Corp is about to report a multi-billion dollar write-down on its nuclear reactor business, the story begins and ends with a onetime pipe manufacturer in Louisiana. The Shaw Group Inc, based in Baton Rouge, looms large in a story of business acquisitions and lack of experience. [The Japan Times]

Tuesday, February 14:

Spillway at the Oroville dam (California Department of Water Resources via Reuters)

Spillway at the Oroville dam (California Department of Water Resources via Reuters)

  • “How Did the Oroville Dam Crisis Get So Dire?” • On Sunday, authorities ordered 188,000 people near the Oroville dam in California to evacuate. Extreme weather, which scientists say was exacerbated by human-caused climate change, moved from drought to saturated in just months, filling a reservoir to levels that proved dangerous. [The Atlantic]
  • A report in Ward’s Auto dated February 7th says EV battery prices are falling faster than expected and could be lower than the magic $100 per kWh mark by 2020. A US Department of Energy goal of achieving a price of $125 by that year is turning out to be much too conservative. Some experts are expecting $80 per kWh. [CleanTechnica]
  • Southwest Power Pool set a wind-penetration record of 52.1% at 4:30 a.m., Feb. 12, becoming the first regional transmission organization in North America to serve more than 50% of its load at a given time with wind energy. The milestone beats a previous North American RTO record of 49.2% that SPP set April 24, 2016. [Satellite PR News]

Wednesday, February 15:

Navajo Generating Station (Shutterstock image)

Navajo Generating Station (Shutterstock image)

  • Coal power is no longer the best energy bargain. And on Monday, the four private utility owners of the Navajo Generating Station, led by the Salt River Project, voted to shut down the plant at the end of 2019, some 25 years ahead of schedule. The closure will deeply hurt the employees, 90% of whom are Native American. [Grist]
  • While the Trump administration appears to have affection for the fossil fuels industry, some states are moving in a different direction, especially on plug-in electric vehicles (PEV). From Massachusetts and New York to California, they and are setting, and achieving, goals to put PEVs on the road, replacing those that burn fossil fuels. [CleanTechnica]
  • Cost overruns at Georgia’s Plant Vogtle nuclear power plant are threatening a financial tsunami at Toshiba Corp. The company projected a $6.3 billion write-down, postponed its earnings report because of allegations of impropriety, and announced that its chairman was resigning – all on the same day, the Wall Street Journal reported. [Atlanta Business Chronicle]
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