2017-04-13 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, April 6:

The Fisk Generating Plant in Chicago, no longer operating (Photo: Seth Anderson / Flickr)

  • “Trump’s Dirty Energy Policies Face Backlash in States Across the Country” • On December 9, as the Obama administration rushed to preserve what it could of its climate legacy before Donald Trump’s inauguration, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, a Republican, signed a bipartisan energy reform package. Illinois is not alone. [Truth-Out]
  • While lithium-ion batteries sold by Tesla and others are perhaps the most widely known storage technology, several other energy storage options are either already on the market, or are fast making their way there. Salt, silicon, and graphite are also hoping to claim a slice of what, by all indications, will be a very large pie. [The Guardian]
  • State officials are allowing two Native American tribes to get involved in the proposed sale of Vermont Yankee. The Vermont Public Service board has ruled that both the Elnu Abenaki and Abenaki Nation of Missisquoi can act as “intervenors” in the state’s review of the plant’s purchase by NorthStar Group Services.[Commons]

Friday, April 7:

Offshore wind power (Getty Images)

  • The world added record levels of renewable energy capacity in 2016, according to the UN, but the bill was almost a quarter lower than the previous year, because of the falling cost of renewables. Investment in renewables capacity was roughly double that in fossil fuels. The cost of offshore wind power has fallen about a third since 2012. [BBC]
  • The Kentucky Coal Mining Museum in Benham, Kentucky, owned by Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, is modernizing with a new form of cheaper energy. The museum, which memorializes Kentucky’s history in coal mining, is switching to solar power to save at least $8,000 to $10,000 per year. [CNN]

Installing flow battery containers (Snohomish PUD)

  • UniEnergy Technologies has installed a new large flow battery on the grid in Washington state. The 2-MW/8-MWh battery system is smaller than recent projects in Southern California and Hawaii, but it is the largest capacity containerized flow battery system in the world. It is housed in 20 connected shipping containers. [Ars Technica UK]

Saturday, April 8:

  • The Senate, dominated by Republicans, is engaging in the rather dramatic maneuver of having a field hearing on climate change right in President Trump’s own backyard. West Palm Beach has agreed to host a hearing on climate change for the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation this coming Monday. [CleanTechnica]

Canals in a Fort Lauderdale neighborhood (Credit: Alamy)

  • The coast of Florida is flooding worse and more often as time goes by, and the change is happening more and more quickly. Just down the coast from Donald Trump’s weekend retreat, the residents and businesses of southern Florida are experiencing regular episodes of water in the streets and flooding in basement parking lots. [BBC]
  • More than 900 government buildings in Chicago will shift their electricity use to “100 percent renewable energy” by 2025 under an ambitious mayoral plan that contrasts sharply with President Donald Trump’s retreat on environmental issues. All together, they consume 8% of all the electricity used in Chicago, nearly 1.8 billion kWh. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Sunday, April 9:

Wind turbines at Feldheim (Photo: Odd Andersen)

  • With a wind farm, solar park, biogas plant, and Germany’s largest battery system, the village of Feldheim is independent of the utility grid, getting all its electricity and heat – a significant factor in an area with sub-zero winter temperatures – from a local grid paid for by residents, the municipality, EU subsidies and loans. [The Hindu]
  • At the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation’s Burlington headquarters, numerous stakeholders met to review the key findings of the Vermont Solar Pathways study and participate in a roundtable discussion about implications for utility planning, economic development, land use, and sustainable energy goals in the state. [vtdigger.org]
  • Tesla inaugurated a solar farm with a capacity of 13 MW on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. It has 54,000 panels connected to 272 Tesla Powerpack lithium-ion batteries for a storage capacity of 52 MWh. The new farm can store surplus energy harvested during sunny days, to supply electricity island at any time, including when it rains. [The Quebec Times]

Monday, April 10:

High voltage power lines (Nyttend, Wikimedia Commons)

  • A request by the state of Massachusetts for a supply of clean, renewable electricity boosts a handful of proposals to cross Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine with transmission lines to help energy-hungry Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut make use of the renewable energy available in Canada. [New Jersey Herald]
  • Fresh off victories in Illinois and New York, the nuclear power industry is now lobbying lawmakers in Connecticut, New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Efforts are bubbling up into proposals, even as court battles in Illinois and New York crank up over the billions of dollars that ratepayers would pay to keep nuclear plants open. [Sharonherald]

Tuesday, April 11:

  • Tesla has inched ahead of General Motors to become the most valuable car company in the United States. The electric-car maker hit a market value of $50.84 billion on Monday, edging past GM, with its market value of $50.79 billion. It’s another milestone for Tesla, which passed Ford, valued at about $45 billion, last week. [CNN]

Florida coast (Screenshot from CNN video)

  • In Florida, speaking before a field hearing of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, one expert after another warned about the dangers that rising sea levels pose to Florida’s coast. They were and gave a clear signal: Much of Florida’s coastline could one day be underwater, including Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. [CNN]
  • The Vermont Public Service Board has approved the sale of 13 TransCanada-owned hydropower facilities on the Connecticut and Deerfield rivers to a Canadian company, ArcLight Capital Partners. The amount of the purchase is not immediately available, but TransCanada had previously estimated its value at more than $1 billion. [HydroWorld]
  • Vermont State Representative Sarah Copeland Hanzas unveiled a plan to phase out the Vermont sales tax and replace it with a carbon tax, helping the state reach its energy goals while supporting local retail business. She will introduce legislation to remove the sales tax as part of a revenue-neutral scheme that would bring in the carbon tax. [Valley News]

Wednesday, April 12:

Solar and wind power in China

  • China’s wind and solar sectors could attract as much as ¥5.4 trillion ($782 billion) in investment between 2016 and 2030 as the country tries to meet its renewable energy targets, according to a report published by Greenpeace. China has pledged to increase non-fossil fuel energy to at least 20% of its total by the end of the next decade. [EnergyInfraPost]
  • The Japanese Prime Minister ordered ministers to formulate a strategy to transform Japan into an emissions-free “hydrogen society,” and called for more efforts on renewable energy. The Environment Minister separately said his ministry will begin drawing up a long-term strategy for increasing renewable energy use. [Japan Today]

Construction at the Vogtle Nuclear Plant in 2011 (Charles C Watson Jr, Wikimedia Commons)

  • Toshiba Corp, whose US nuclear unit Westinghouse Electric Co filed for bankruptcy protection, raised doubts about its ability to survive as a company. In an unaudited financial report, Toshiba projected a $9.2 billion loss for the fiscal year that ended in March of 2017, largely because of the troubles at Westinghouse. [Albany Times Union]

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