2017-04-06 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, March 30:

Cleadale church, Eigg (Credit: Alamy)

  • In 2008, the island of Eigg became the world’s first community to launch an off-grid electric system powered by wind, water and solar. Today, Eigg continues to set an example of how societies could meet their energy needs without access to a national grid. Getting electricity without a grid is a challenge that affects nearly one-fifth of the world’s population. [BBC]
  • Vermont State regulators have approved a massive Windsor County solar array that will be four times the size of any such project built in Vermont so far. The Coolidge Solar project, to be built in Ludlow and Cavendish, will have a capacity of 20 MW. The largest existing array in Vermont is just under 5 MW, state officials said. [Valley News]

Drilling on public lands (Ed Andrieski / AP)

  • Energy companies could pay the US government higher royalties for oil, gas and other resources extracted from public land, under a review Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke authorized. The two-year review is designed to determine whether Americans are getting a fair return for those natural resources, he said in an interview. [Chicago Tribune]

Friday, March 31:

Gigafactory

  • Just after its merger with Solar City to build a factory that will be used for the production of Tesla battery cells, now as a part of the infrastructural plan, Tesla is in plans to build world’s largest solar panel rooftop on the roof of Nevada’s Gigafactory. The construction of this green energy facility will be completed by 2018. [The Legman News]
  • Italian power provider Enel announced that construction work has begun on the largest PV plant on the American continent. It is the 754-MW Villanueva project, which is in the Mexican state of Coahuila. The company is investing €650 million in the project, and it is scheduled for completion in the second half of 2018. [pv magazine]

Wind turbine technician students (Liz Martin / The Gazette)

  • A new Iowa Policy Project report claims that Iowa’s electricity prices, which are appreciably lower than the national average, can be attributed to the state’s growing wind industry. The project’s lead environmental scientist said the data shows the cost gap between Iowa and other states is increasing. [The Gazette: Eastern Iowa Breaking News and Headlines]

Saturday, April 1:

  • The top court in India has gone ahead and banned the sale of vehicles running on Euro III standards (and older) in a bid to reduce the country’s growing air pollution problems. The ban becomes effective as of April 1. According to one expert, there are around ₹120 billion ($1.85 billion) worth of unsold Euro III stock in the country. [CleanTechnica]

Sunset over the Ocean, off of Molokai Hawaii (Rose_Braverman, Wikimedia Commons)

  • At the recent Maui Energy Conference, officials from Hawaiian Electric Company detailed a plan that would make Molokai the first island in Hawaii to completely kick the fossil fuel habit. The 2,000 power customers on Molokai are currently drawing on the 12-MW oil-fueled Palaau Power Plant, as well as 2.36 MW of solar power. [Hawaiipublicradio]
  • This week, a who’s who of leading brands all publicly committed to staying the course on fighting climate change. Mars, Anheuser-Busch, Nestlé, General Mills, Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, General Electric, the Gap, and Walmart all weighed in following the announcement of Trump’s executive order to roll back the Clean Power Plan. [Forbes]
  • The EPA has issued more details of a plan for laying off 25% of its employees and scrapping more than 50 programs. The lost programs include pesticide safety, water runoff control, and environmental cooperation with Mexico and Canada under NAFTA. The agency is considering a rollback in fuel efficiency standards. [Santa Fe New Mexican]

Sunday, April 2:

Australian renewable energy (Tim Phillips Photos / Getty Images)

  • In Australia, Labor will abandon the renewable energy target after 2020 because an emissions intensity scheme will be sufficient to reach the goal of 50% renewable energy by 2030. The shadow assistant treasurer firmed the opposition’s plan to reach the goal while possibly ruling out extending the existing renewable energy target. [The Guardian]
  • The US Energy Information Administration has published data revealing that the country’s 2016 energy production dropped over year-over-year. This is the first such drop since 2009. Most of the decline was in coal, whose output fell 18% compared to 2015. Output from other energy sources also dipped, but solar and wind power grew. [Engadget]

Monday, April 3:

Supreme court in 2006 (Steve Petteway, Wikimedia Commons)

  • The Tenth Anniversary of Massachusetts v. EPA • On April 2, 2007, The Supreme Court forcefully rejected the Bush EPA’s “laundry list of reasons” not to address climate pollution. The high Court held that protection of human health and the environment from air pollution must be rooted in science, not expediency or politics. [Environmental Defense Fund]
  • The Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will deliver a snub to Donald Trump over his stance on the environment today, signing a climate change pact with one of the US President’s bitter rivals. She will pose with California Governor Jerry Brown in a show of unity against the ditching of Obama-era policies tackling global warming. [The Scottish Sun]

Tuesday, April 4:

People in line to reserve a Tesla Model 3 in 2016 (Aaron Muszalski, Wikimedia Commons)

  • Tesla’s market value has overtaken that of Ford after shares in the electric car maker added more than 7%. At the close of trading Tesla had a market value of $49 billion (£38 billion), compared with Ford’s value of $46 billion. Tesla’s shares rose after the company announced record vehicle deliveries in the first three months of the year. [BBC]
  • At the urging of the Sierra Club, the EPA’s scientific integrity official is reviewing Trump-appointed EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s comments to see if they violate the agency’s scientific integrity policy. The policy requires that all agency employees, including Pruitt, “communicate with honesty, integrity, and transparency.” [Mashable]

Scottish wind turbines (Stephen Wilkes | Iconica | Getty Images)

  • Scottish wind turbines sent more than 1.2 million MWh of electricity to the National Grid in March, according to new analysis of data. In a news release, WWF Scotland said that turbines produced enough electricity to meet the electrical needs of 136% of Scottish households, an increase of 81% compared to March 2016. [CNBC]

Wednesday, April 5:

  • Reuters surveyed 32 utilities with operations in the 26 states that sued former President Barack Obama’s administration to block its Clean Power Plan. Most of them have no plans to alter their multi-billion dollar, years-long shift away from coal, suggesting demand for the fuel will keep falling despite Trump’s efforts. [Thomson Reuters Foundation]

Hurricane Andrew in 1992 (NASA)

  • A sweeping piece of legislation that aims to improve forecasts for everything from Category 5 hurricanes to El Nino has passed both houses of Congress. The Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017, HR 353, will become the first major weather legislation enacted since the early 1990s if signed by the president. [Washington Post]
  • PacifiCorp, which now generates nearly 60% of its electricity from coal, is planning to make a big new commitment to wind power. The six-state utility released a long-range power plan that foresees building 1,100 MW of new wind power capacity while also retrofitting an additional 900 MW, all by the end of 2020. [Portland Business Journal]
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