2017-03-02 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 23:


  • In Nepal, some communities are looking to harness the energy water produces with micro-hydropower systems. According to the Nepal Micro Hydropower Development Association, over 3,300 micro hydro plants are providing energy to villages around the country. In many places, impact has been significant for villagers. [CNBC]
  • In the years from 2005 to 2014, there were at least 6,648 spills at hydraulically fractured oil and gas wells in just four of the states where fracking is done, according to analysis published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. The states that were in the study were New Mexico, Colorado, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania. [CleanTechnica]
  • FirstEnergy, based in Akron, Ohio, made it clear that it is leaving the competitive power plant business, closing or selling all of its plants, including its nuclear plants, by the middle of next year. Closing the plants, which would probably take several years, would also have little impact on customer bills or power supplies. [cleveland.com]

Friday, February 24:

Relying on the Colorado River for survival (Erik A Ellison, Wikimedia Commons)

Relying on the Colorado River for survival (Erik A Ellison, Wikimedia Commons)

  • In the years of 2000 to 2014, Colorado River flows declined to around 81% of the 20th-century average. Researchers found that the higher temperatures in the region since 2000 are responsible for between one-sixth to one-half of the river flow reductions seen since 2000. Forty million people rely on the river for their survival. [CleanTechnica]
  • The main Standing Rock protest camp near the Dakota Access Pipeline was cleared Thursday, a day after a deadline to leave the area expired, authorities said. There were arrests, but no major conflict after police did not enter the camp. About 100 protesters left voluntarily. Protesters chanted, waved flags, and played drums as they left. [CNN]
  • Riverkeeper and the Natural Resources Defense Council claim a new study it commissioned puts to rest any lingering doubts over replacement power and shows that the closure of the Indian Point nuclear power plant can be done clean and green, without big increases in electric bills. Indian Points power units will be offline by 2021. [Mid-Hudson News]

Saturday, February 25:

Rhodium nanoparticles (Photo: Chad Scales)

Rhodium nanoparticles (Photo: Chad Scales)

  • Scientists at Duke University have used rhodium for a solar powered system that converts carbon dioxide into methane, which can be used as a replacement for natural gas. The idea could enable capturing waste gas from industrial operations and converting it to fuel. Rhodium is a rare element used in the jewelry trade. [CleanTechnica]
  • California utility San Diego Gas & Electric put into service the largest lithium-ion storage battery in the world, wrapping up a fast-track procurement process that began less than a year ago. The 30-MW, 120-MWh system is part of an expedited response by the state to the loss of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility last year. [POWER magazine]
  • New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is again pushing for ExxonMobil to disclose how climate change will impact its corporate bottom line. He voice a concern that Exxon has not ensured its resilience in a lower carbon future. The state pension fund has investment in ExxonMobil valued at $973.6 million. [Albany Times Union]

Sunday, February 26:

In the distance, the coal-burning Stuart station, near Manchester

In the distance, the coal-burning Stuart station, near Manchester

  • Manchester, Ohio is a mass of closed storefronts, with a couple of restaurants and one bar. Its 2,000 residents rely on two coal-burning power plants to provide jobs and keep the local economy afloat. Both are closing in 2018, and the closest town with available work is an hour away. They are looking to Donald Trump to save them. [CNN]
  • For 40 years the National Renewable Energy Laboratory has conducted unique scientific research and worked with industry to make sources such as solar, wind and biofuels increasingly big parts of America’s energy supply. But the Trump administration has roughly 1,700 NREL employees wondering what’s ahead. [Colorado Public Radio]

Monday, February 27:

  • Renewable energy will fill the demand for power in India in the next seven to eight years. According to an estimate by The Energy and Resource Institute, power produced by renewable energy sources will increase from 5.6% to 34% by 2030 whereas production share of coal based energy will decrease from present 73% to 56%. [Web India]


  • A new study by energy experts from the Australian National University suggests that a 100% renewable energy electricity grid, with 90% of power coming from wind and solar, will be a less expensive future option than a coal or gas-fired network in Australia. Most of the current fleet of coal generators are due to retire before 2030. [RenewEconomy]
  • With electricity prices depressed, Public Service Enterprise Group, based in Newark, New Jersey, has been quietly lobbying policymakers to help its nuclear plants, much the way New York has approved subsidies to keep reactors in the state operating. PSEG, which owns three units in South Jersey, is in discussions with policymakers. [NJ Spotlight]

Tuesday, February 28:

Severe dislocation in Bangladesh (Photo: Mufti Munir / AFP/Getty Images)

Severe dislocation in Bangladesh (Photo: Mufti Munir / AFP/Getty Images)

  • Oil giant Shell’s farsighted 1991 film, titled Climate of Concern, set out with crystal clarity how the world was warming and that serious consequences could well result. It said climate change was happening “at a rate faster than at any time since the end of the ice age – change too fast perhaps for life to adapt, without severe dislocation.” [The Guardian]
  • Tesla will end up hiring around 54% more workers for the Gigafactory project than was initially supposed, according to the executive director of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development. Initial estimates were that 6,500 jobs would be created by the Gigafactory project. Now, the forecast is for more than 10,000. [CleanTechnica]
  • Legislation to require all California electricity providers to supply power generated 100% from renewable resources such as wind and solar by 2045 has been introduced by Senate President Kevin de Leon as Senate Bill 584. Current standards require 33% renewable power by 2020 and 50% by 2030. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

Wednesday, March 1:

Yes, this is a power plant. (Courtesy: Stem Inc)

Yes, this is a power plant. (Courtesy: Stem Inc)

  • The Hawaiian Electric Co and technology service company Stem Inc have successfully tested nearly 1 MW of energy storage systems at 29 commercial sites on Oahu, the companies said. The system is a “virtual power plant,” controlled by computer. It is providing better real-time grid operations, according to HECO. [POWER magazine]
  • A study published by the Australian National University claims that pumped hydro storage could be used to help build a secure and cheap Australian electricity grid with 100% renewable energy sources. The 100% renewable energy grid would rely primarily on wind and solar PVs supported by off-river pumped hydro storage. [CleanTechnica]
  • China has managed to reduce its coal consumption for a third straight year as the energy-hungry country struggles to reduce its dependency on the heavily polluting fuel. According to a report from the National Bureau of Statistics, coal consumption fell by an annual rate of 4.7% in 2016. Coal production fell even more, by 9%. [Press TV]
Lowell Mountain (Photo: Andrew Stein / VTDigger)

Lowell Mountain (Photo: Andrew Stein / VTDigger)

  • Vermont Electric Power Co and IBM announced a new venture that will have the computing giant analyzing weather and electric meter data to anticipate conditions on the grid as increasing reliance on wind and solar energy makes that important. The effort is predicted to save Vermonters money, possibly through smart grid technology. [vtdigger.org]

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