2017-04-20 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 13:

Wildfire (John McColgan, US DA)

  • There will be a large increase in the number of large, high-intensity forest fires that occur in the coming years and decades, according to a study from the South Dakota State University. The findings are the result of an analysis of around 23,000 fires that occurred worldwide between 2002 and 2013, including 478 “large, high-intensity” fires. [CleanTechnica]
  • Manure-to-biogas, capturing methane gas from decomposing manure and using it as renewable fuel, is old news. But now, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has figured out a new high-tech twist that takes it up to the next level, converting it into an energy-rich substance that can be used as the basis for biofuels and specialty chemicals. [CleanTechnica]
  • New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation rejected National Fuel Gas’ proposed Northern Access pipeline, a pipeline that would have moved gas from the Marcellus shale to markets in Western New York, the Midwest and Canada. The denial of a water quality certification drew a stern response from National Fuel. [Utility Dive]

Friday, April 14:

Jet stream (NOAA image)

  • A research paper examines a previously unknown influence of humans on extreme weather. Carbon emissions lead to warming of the atmosphere in polar regions, and this leads to the jet stream getting stuck in place. This, in turn, leads to extended periods in which the weather persists, producing drought and other extreme weather. [CleanTechnica]
  • EnBW has secured the bulk of the 1.5-GW on offer with its 900-MW He Dreiht project in the German North Sea. The developer won with a bid of zero, which means it is pledging to build and operate the wind farm without the support of a feed-in tariff and relying instead on the market rate. The wind farm is expected to be operational in 2023. [reNews]
  • Advanced Microgrid Solutions announced it will design, install and operate its Hybrid Electric Building systems for Walmart, providing 40 MWh of battery systems for 27 stores in Southern California. AMS says these will improve energy efficiency, guarantee the retailer electricity savings and provide grid services to local utilities. [Energy Matters]

Saturday, April 15:

National Park posters, now and then

  • “Welcome to the post-apocalyptic National Parks” • National parks in the US are already seeing the effects of climate change. Glaciers are melting, whitebark pines are under attack by pests, and wildfires are eating away at acres of land across the US. What will happen to our treasured parks by 2050 if we don’t address climate change? [The Verge]
  • Responding to what they see as “an all-out assault on our environment by the Trump administration,” a coalition of green-energy advocates launched an effort calling for Massachusetts communities to commit to 100% renewable energy while pressing the Legislature to get all its energy from sources like wind and solar. [Recorder]
  • Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore) plans to introduce legislation outlining how the United States can completely wean itself off fossil fuels by 2050, his office said. The bill will be introduced during the week of April 24, shortly before the People’s Climate Movement. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) will co-sponsor the bill, called the “100 By ‘50 Act.” [Huffington Post]

Sunday, April 16:

Sunset at the Sellafield nuclear plant (Dom Crayford | Flickr)

  • “The Nuclear Industry Is Heading Into a Financial Black Hole That Threatens Any Future Expansion” • Any lingering hope that a nuclear power renaissance would help combat climate change appears to have been dashed by the Westinghouse bankruptcy. “There is no one left to invest anymore because renewables are just cheaper.” [Truthdig]
  • EPA administrator Scott Pruitt may have to back up his false claims on greenhouse gases and climate change in court. A lawsuit filed by the watchdog group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility wants him to produce studies backing up his statements questioning the role of CO2 in climate change. [Summit County Citizens Voice]
  • India will add nearly 600 million new electricity consumers by 2040, according to the International Energy Agency. Taking the increasing population into account, along with a high policy priority to make power accessible across India, renewable forms of energy offer the best solution. DC solar products are seeing good traction in rural India. [Firstpost]

Monday, April 17:

Wind turbines at NREL’s National Wind Technology Center south of Boulder (Helen H Richardson, Denver Post)

  • “NREL is a driver of cutting-edge research and industry” • Thanks in part to a federally funded lab that does cutting-edge energy research, America is closer to energy independence than we’ve ever been in modern times. So it’s a shock that in the president’s proposed budget, that lab is on the chopping block. [The Denver Post]
  • Vermont is famous for its natural and mesmerizing landscape that includes a big forest. Unfortunately, a recent report has revealed a decrease in the bird population there. ABC News reported a sharp decline of 14.2% in the bird population over the last 25 years. Climate change, invasive species, and acid rain are among the causes. [Science Times]
  • Indian mobile infrastructure and telecom tower companies are aiming to further cut their carbon footprint by reducing dependency on fossil fuel as a part of a ‘Go Green’ initiative. The sector has already deployed 90,000 diesel-free mobile sites, according to a lobby group Towers and Infrastructure Providers Association. [ETTelecom.com]

Tuesday, April 18:

  • Renewable energy has hit a new record in Germany. It made up just over 41% of Germany’s power supply last month, the most ever at around 19.5 TWh. It’s a good thing, too, because nuclear power production may have fallen to its lowest monthly level since the 1970s – even though no nuclear plant has been shut off since 2015. [CleanTechnica]


  • Energy Secretary Rick Perry ordered the DOE to conduct a study of renewable energy on the US electric grid. His Monday morning memo said that the review would assess whether federal environmental policies have hurt the power grid’s ability to supply baseload power, which depends on fossil fuels, over the past few years. [Washington Examiner]
  • Southern California Edison, General Electric Co, and Wellhead Power Solutions partnered to install 10-MW lithium-ion batteries at two of the utility’s gas generators. During periods of peak demand, the batteries can provide instant power while gas turbines ramp up. They are expected to reduce emissions by at least 60%. [BloombergQuint]

Wednesday, April 19:

  • Despite the hit that many investors in the shale oil industry have taken in recent years because of producers going bust, about $19.8 billion was invested in the sector by private equity funds during the first quarter of 2017, the financial data provider Preqin says. This is a roughly 3-fold increase, year on year, in private investment. [CleanTechnica]

Mountaintop removal site near Pikeville (Kenny Stanley | Berkeley Energy Group via AP)

  • A former strip mine would be converted into a solar farm under a proposal to use it for hundreds of thousands of panels. The Berkeley Energy Group, EDF Renewable Energy, and former Democratic state Auditor Adam Edelen said they are looking at two mountaintop removal sites in the heart of Kentucky’s coal country. [Paducah Sun]
  • A pro-Paris bloc within the administration recruited energy companies for support ahead of a high-level White House meeting, according to two people familiar with the effort who asked not to be identified. ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell are among those endorsing the pact. So are Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband. [Livemint]

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