2017-05-11 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, May 4:

Indian Point nuclear plant

  • “With Renewables Surging, Nuclear And Petroleum Battle Over Subsidies” • If the petroleum industry keeps fighting subsidies for nuclear power, the nuclear industry will go after petroleum-industry tax breaks, the president of the Nuclear Energy Institute said. He said if people compare nuclear subsidies with petroleum tax breaks, nuclear will fare well. [Forbes]
  • “Carbon Capture And Storage: An Expensive Option For Reducing U.S. CO2 Emissions” • While many technologies can reduce power sector emissions, carbon capture and storage has gained support in Congress. Analysis shows coal with CCS will always need significant subsidies to complete economically with wind and solar. [Forbes]
  • Legal issues are now the sticking point in discussions in the Trump administration over whether to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, according to a person close to the talks. The lawyers aren’t sure whether the US would expose itself legally if it remains in the Paris agreement, but decreases its carbon reduction goals. [CNN]

Friday, May 5:

Wind turbines in Sheffield (Toby Talbot | AP File)

  • The Vermont Public Service Board held a series of meetings on proposed sound standards for wind turbines. The board released its draft version of the new rules in March, and its members held four meetings this week to hear from the public and from wind and sound experts as they get ready to finalize the sound standards. [Vermont Public Radio]
  • The US has no plan yet for how to meet its 2020 climate target and has made no analysis of the impact of recent policy changes, according to an official submission to the UN. The US submission for the Multilateral Assessment, which was published this week, says “jobs, economic growth and energy independence” are its priority. [Carbon Brief]
  • Utility-scale solar installations grew at an annualized rate of 72% from 2010 to 2016, according to the Energy Information Administration. Though the first utility-scale solar plants were installed in the mid-1980s, but more than half of all currently operating solar capacity came online over the last two years. [Power Engineering Magazine]

Saturday, May 6:

The Fort McMurray fire caused C$3.7 billion in damages. (Credit: Jonathen Hayward | The Canadian Press)

  • Decades of increasing temperatures in Alaska have lengthened the fire season and dried out vegetation, especially in the forest floor, and created conditions for busier fire season with bigger and more frequent wildfires, according to one study. Other studies say increased lightning strikes will bring more fires and that they will be bigger. [KUAC]
  • “Missing EPA Webpage Could Be Violation of Federal Law” • When EPA’s climate change pages were shuttered for revisions reflecting the administration’s views, users are told they can check out a snapshot of the entire EPA site from the day before Trump took office. But in the archived snapshot, pages relating to climate change are missing. [Seeker]
  • US EPA administrator Scott Pruitt said grid reliability is threatened by potential over-reliance on gas-fired electric generation. He said he believes we have a need for power plants to have fuel stockpiles (ie, coal) nearby in the event of supply disruptions. The US has lost 54 GW of coal capacity and added 34 GW of gas capacity since 2012. [Argus Media]

Sunday, May 7:

Gloucester, Massachusetts (Fletcher6, Wikimedia Commons)

  • Some communities in Massachusetts are boosting their use of renewable energy, bypassing basic electric service to negotiate contracts with third-party generators. Two of the programs are running, and eight more are under development. Those 10 communities’ plans could result in 17 MW of new wind turbines. [Wicked Local Brewster]

Installing solar panels in Millvale, Pennsylvania (Reid Frazier | The Allegheny Front)

  • The reality coal miners face is that coal jobs have shrunk by 40% since 2011. What is growing is the number of jobs in renewables. Solar power accounts for just under 1.5% [actually, well over 2% – ghh] of electricity in the US, and yet, according to the DOE, there are more than twice as many jobs in solar as in coal. [Tri States Public Radio]

Monday, May 8:

  • The European Commission approved three schemes to support electricity generation from small-scale onshore wind, solar, and sewage gas installations in France. The schemes will enable France to develop over 17 GW of additional renewable energy over the next decade, including 15 GW of onshore wind power and 2.1 GW of solar. [Power Technology]

Arctic melt ponds (Photo courtesy of NOAA)

  • “Trump failure to lead on climate doesn’t faze UN policymakers in Bonn” • Policymakers from nearly 200 countries are gathering in Bonn for talks aimed at fulfilling the Paris Agreement. They are unfazed by Trump’s threat to withdraw from the accord. It seems likely China would step into the leadership gap left by the US. [Mongabay.com]
  • The Climate Solutions Caucus, is a place representatives concerned about climate change can meet to exchange ideas about how the federal government should respond to environmental challenges. We might assume that most of those people would be Democrats, but in fact half of the caucus members are Republicans. [CleanTechnica]

Tuesday, May 9:

  • Emmanuel Macron, a centrist, pro-EU French presidential candidate, won two thirds of the vote in a run-off against the far right’s Marine Le Pen. He promised to promote international cooperation on climate change in his victory speech. He supports ending the use of coal, a carbon price, and trade sanctions on polluting countries. [Climate Home]

Antelopes in Wyoming (Photo: Jay Calderon/The Desert Sun)

  • The US added more than 11 GW of solar power last year, according to a report released by the Energy Information Administration. This means the US has nearly 50% more solar power than it did a year earlier. And the American Wind Energy Association says the wind industry had its best first quarter since 2009. [The Desert Sun]
  • More than two hundred institutional investors worth the tidy sum of $15 trillion have just put the Trump Administration on notice that climate change has put their assets at risk. The notice comes in the form of a newly published letter to the G7 group of seven industrialized nations and the G20 group of 20 major economies. [CleanTechnica]
  • The School for International Training, in Brattleboro, Vermont, received a $100,000 grant from Windham Regional Commission to install a solar energy system. Its benefits will include enhancing the curriculum at the SIT Graduate Institute. The project will be installed in partnership with Dynamic Organics, based in Putney, Vermont. [vtdigger.org]

Wednesday, May 10:

Casco Bay Lobster boat (KPWM Spotter, Wikimedia Commons)

  • New restrictions are coming to Southern New England’s lobster fishery in an attempt to save their populations in the area. Numbers of lobsters have dwindled as climate changed has warmed waters. An arm of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission voted to pursue new management measures to try to slow their decline. [The Providence Journal]
  • Solar power tariff dropped to a record low of ₹2.62 per unit (4.05¢/kWh) in an auction for Bhadla solar park in Rajasthan. This price is lower than the average rate of power generated by the coal-fuelled power generation utility, NTPC Ltd, at ₹3.20 per unit. The price is considered a major milestone toward powering India. [Deccan Herald]

Distributed and remote off-grid solar plus storage growth

  • Navigant Research published its latest Distributed Solar PV Plus Energy Storage Systems report this week. It says the global annual market for the deployment of distributed solar PV plus energy storage is expected to exceed $49 billion and reach 27.4 GW by 2026. The largest growth is expected to be in the Asia Pacific region. [CleanTechnica]
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