2017-04-27 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 20:

Lake Tahoe

  • South Lake Tahoe, California became the 26th municipality in the US and the latest in a growing coalition of communities to commit to 100% renewable electricity. The city council approved a measure that sets a goal to switch entirely to renewable sources of electricity by 2032. Winter tourism is the region’s leading industry. [Windpower Engineering]
  • “Fusion reactors: Not what they’re cracked up to be” • After having worked on nuclear fusion experiments for 25 years at the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, I began to look at fusion more dispassionately. I concluded that a fusion reactor would be far from perfect, and in some ways close to the opposite. [Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists]
  • San Francisco reached an ambitious goal to reduce greenhouse gases locally two years ahead of schedule, according to city officials. Recently compiled figures show the city’s overall greenhouse gas emissions had fallen to 28% below 1990 levels by 2015. The city’s goal, set in 2008, was to hit 25% below 1990 levels by 2017. [SFBay]

Friday, April 21:

Rendering of the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project (Courtesy: Tidal Lagoon Power)

  • The Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon is projected to cost £1.3 billion and generate enough electricity for 155,000 homes, over a lifespan of 120 years. A report from Seafish takes a different look at it. Prospects for cultivating mussels, oysters, scallops, clams, cockles and seaweed in the proposed project are promising, it says. [TheFishSite.com]
  • Eos Energy Storage, producer of the cost Znyth battery, announced new forward pricing for the company’s Eos Aurora DC Battery System at a record-breaking low cost. The company is taking orders for volume purchases at a price of $160/kWh for shipment in 2017 and $95 per usable kWh for shipment in 2022. [Windpower Engineering]

  • When it comes to clean energy, Vermont is second only to California, according to a nationwide assessment of states by the Union of Concerned Scientists. Vermont came in at the top in two of the 12 categories used in its study, including the per capita creation of jobs in the clean energy economy, and the state’s carbon reduction target. [Rutland Herald]

Saturday, April 22:

  • Oil giant Exxon Mobil will not be allowed to resume drilling in Russia after US President Donald Trump vowed to uphold sanctions. It had been reported that Exxon, the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, had sought a dispensation. The US and European Union imposed economic sanctions on Russia in 2014. [BBC News]
  • Britain went a full day without using coal to generate electricity for the first time since the Industrial Revolution, the National Grid says. Friday is thought to be the first time the nation has not used coal to generate electricity since the world’s first centralized public coal-fired generator opened in 1882, at Holborn Viaduct in London. [BBC]
  • Members of the planning commission in Vernon, Vermont, have drawn up a plan, “Re-energizing Vernon.” In it, they explore the possibility of a multi-fuel, clean-energy, affordable micro-grid on the site of the closed Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. Important components would include the 32-MW Vernon dam and batteries. [Rutland Herald]

Sunday, April 23:

Lilium Electric VTOL Taxi, from behind (Courtesy: Lilium)

  • And another vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft takes to the sky, this time it was the first successful test flight of the Lilium Electric VTOL Taxi. The Lilium Electric VTOL Taxi will have a range of 187 miles and a top speed of 187 MPH. It would be an on-demand, all-electric airway taxi system that is quiet and free of traffic. [CleanTechnica]
  • Volkswagen AG has been sentenced to 3 years probation by a US federal judge in relation to the $4.3 billion diesel emissions cheating scandal. That includes independent oversight of the company. The company released a statement acknowledging fault and saying, “Volkswagen today is not the same company it was 19 months ago” [CleanTechnica]

Monday, April 24:

Rows of solar panels (SolaireDirect image)

  • From Norway to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, big oil producers are becoming big backers of renewable-energy. Now, Nigeria has signed two agreements with solar developers to guarantee payment risks for 50-MW and 70-MW solar farms. The oil and gas sector makes up 35% of Nigeria’s GDP and 90% of its exports. [ImpactAlpha]
  • Many US cities are setting green energy goals. Some, like Chicago, shoot for 100% renewable energy by the year 2025. Further south, Houston says, “We have NO problem,” with nearly 90% of its municipal electricity already being generated by renewable sources. Part of that comes from the recently built SolaireHolman plant. [ENGINEERING.com]
  • Affluent countries like Germany and Japan are typically the ones associated with renewables. But the nation with the highest portion of solar generation in its electricity mix last year was not affluent. It was Honduras, a nation of 8 million people with a gross domestic product of only $5,000 per capita and serious social problems. [pv magazine USA]

Tuesday, April 25:

Site of the 754-MW solar project (Credit: Enel)

  • Mexico will soon have a starring solar project, the largest in the entire Americas, showing off a new leading role in renewables, driven by a major energy market reform. Italian power giant Enel is set to develop the record 754-MW project, adding to the largest solar plants completed or under construction in both Chile and Brazil. [PV-Tech]
  • If anyone doubts renewable energy is the future, they need only to look at job numbers. According to a recent report from the Environmental Defense Fund, employers in the renewables sector are hiring people 12 times faster than the rest of the economy. Within the sector, small businesses dominate, with 70% of jobs. [Sustainable Brands]

By 2040, wind and solar would account for 45% of the global power mix. (Photo: Alamy Stock Photo)

  • “Tory windfarm policy endangers cheap energy in UK, commission finds” • A Shell-sponsored group says wind is “increasingly the cheapest form of electricity.” Conservative opposition to windfarms risks the UK missing out on one of the cheapest sources of electricity, according to the head of the Shell-funded industry group. [The Guardian]

Wednesday, April 26:

  • President Donald Trump will order the Interior Department to review locations for offshore oil and gas exploration and consider selling drilling rights in territory that former President Barack Obama put off limits, according to people briefed on the order, who spoke on the condition of anonymity before it is issued. [Bloomberg]

Brave Tern at work (Photo: Deepwater Wind)

  • “Is Trump warming to wind power?” • Trump’s position on wind may be shifting. During the election, the narrative on wind wasn’t looking good. Trump promised a national energy policy that prioritized domestic fossil fuels over renewables. But the narrative seem to be shifting, and the biggest game-changer for Trump seems to be jobs. [WorkBoat]
  • US Energy Secretary Rick Perry said the US should renegotiate the Paris accord on climate change instead of abandoning it, while criticizing Germany for allowing its fossil-fuel emissions to rise. The remarks put Perry among a group of advisers urging President Donald Trump to stick with the United Nations accord that he vowed to scrap. [BOE Report]
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