2017-06-08 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, June 1:

Climeworks carbon dioxide facility (Credit: Julia Dunlop)

  • The world’s first commercial facility that extracts carbon dioxide from the air and resells it for commercial purposes has opened in Switzerland. The carbon dioxide will be sold and used to grow lettuce. This technology could help cut 1% of global fossil fuel emissions by 2025, according to Climeworks, the system’s developer. [Live Science]
  • Shareholders in ExxonMobil have backed a motion requiring the company to assess the risks from climate change. The plan, proposed by investors including the Church of England, was supported by over 62% of those eligible to vote. Exxon will now have to consider how global efforts to mitigate climate change will impact their business. [BBC]
  • California took a potentially important step closer toward clean energy when the state Senate passed a bill mandating 100% renewable energy by 2045. Lawmakers voted 25 to 13 to pass SB 100, and it now heads to the Assembly. In recent years, several gas-fired and nuclear plants have shut down due to lack of demand. [Courthouse News Service]

Friday, June 2:

Donald Trump (Credit: Reuters)

  • “China likely to lead climate initiatives as Trump quits global pact” • It’s not hard to imagine Chinese president Xi Jinping having a wry smile at both the decision by Donald Trump to pull the US out of the Paris climate accord and the global reaction. Xi is now free to accept the mantle of global leadership on climate action. [The Rakyat Post]
  • “Trump climate deal pullout: The global reaction” • President Donald Trump’s announcement that the US is withdrawing from the 2015 Paris climate agreement has drawn strong reaction from a very few supporters and a great many opponents inside America and around the world. Here are statements from members of both groups. [BBC]

Sunny day flooding in Miami due to rising seas (Photo: B137, Wikimedia Commons)

  • “Paris climate deal: US firms criticise Trump move” • General Electric, Facebook, Goldman Sachs and Walt Disney and other corporate giants condemned the move. Tesla’s Elon Musk and Walt Disney’s Robert Iger both quit seats on White House advisory groups. Goldman Sachs boss Lloyd Blankfein used his first ever tweet to condemn the move. [BBC]
  • Changing from coal to solar energy could prevent over 51,000 premature deaths a year, a study from Michigan Technological University suggests. Around 200,000 people die each year from air pollution in the US and 52,000 of those deaths are from power generation. The eastern US and the Midwest have the most danger due to coal pollution. [Newsy]

Saturday, June 3:


Pittsburgh, before environmental regulations, in the 1950s (via Twitter)

  • Residents in Pittsburgh say it’s ironic that President Donald Trump name-dropped their city during his announcement that the United States was pulling out of a global climate accord. After all, it’s stricter environmental regulations and clean energy policies that transformed their once “smoky city” into a beautiful place to live. [CNN]
  • Democratic state attorneys general – the same group that beat back President Donald Trump’s travel ban in court – are now turning their eyes to climate and environmental issues. As Trump announced the US’ exit from the Paris climate accord, several attorneys general had already begun discussing strategies to battle the administration. [CNN]
  • New York State will seek bids for clean energy projects valued at up to $1.5 billion in a move the Cuomo administration says is aimed at expanding the state’s green energy economy after President Trump’s pulled out of the Paris climate accord. The state expects the investments to result in up to 40,000 clean energy jobs by 2020. [Newsday]

Sunday, June 4:


Satellite measuring sea ice (US Air Force image)

  • In March 2017, when Arctic sea ice is typically at its maximum winter extent, circling US satellites recorded an extent of just 5.57 million square miles, the lowest maximum in the record’s 38-year history. Now, due to budget cuts, the 38-year continuous US Arctic satellite monitoring program is about to end, leaving scientists blind. [The Wire]
  • US states accounting for almost 30% of national gross domestic product have pledged to meet the country’s commitments in the Paris climate agreement by joining the US Climate Alliance. The mayors of 187 US cities, with a total population of 52 million, have also agreed commitment to uphold the Paris agreement goals. [Financial Times]

House with a Tesla solar roof (Rendering courtesy SolarCity)

  • Tesla’s solar roof is off to a good start, and that bodes well for the sprawling solar panel factory that the company plans to open in Buffalo later this year. Less than a month after the company started taking orders for their solar roof tiles, Tesla executives told analysts that the new product already is “sold out well into 2018.” [Buffalo News]

Monday, June 5:

Fish farming and solar power (Photo: CFP)

  • “China steps up clean energy generation efforts” • China already has the world’s largest clean energy capacity, and in 2015, the country’s investment in clean energy exceeded $100 billion, accounting for one-third of the world’s total, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency. And more investment is pouring in. [Global Times]
  • An unprecedented number of solar fuels have been identified thanks to the combined efforts of researchers from Caltech and Berkeley Lab. Solar fuels are chemical fuels produced using the sun. Researcher John Gregoire explained, “Solar fuels technology will provide us clean fuels just as solar cells provide clean electricity.” [Power Technology]
  • US Energy Secretary Rick Perry reassured Japan that America is committed to tackling environmental issues and promoting clean energy even though it is leaving the Paris climate accord. Perry told Japanese counterpart Hiroshige Seko in Tokyo that the US commitment to environmental issues remains unchanged. [The Japan Times]

Tuesday, June 6:

Offshore wind farm (reNews image)

  • Natural Power, Fred Olsen Windcarrier, and SubC Partner have joined forces to offer an offshore wind turbine inspection service that aims to reduce downtime. The partners will officially launch the service at the Offshore Wind Energy 2017 event in London. It will allow clients to choose from a list of inspection services under one contract. [reNews]
  • New York’s attorney general alleges in new court documents that ExxonMobil’s internal accounting practices were a “sham,” misleading its investors on climate risks. The top prosecutor said that its internal figures differed from those it had provided the public, and his office named Rex Tillerson, now US Secretary of State. [Environmental Leader]
  • The Bullrock Corporation of Shelburne, Vermont, received a Certificate of Public Good to construct the state’s largest solar array intended for consumption by Vermonters. The 5.7-MW project will be built on 57 acres in Grande Isle leased from Dream Weaver Farm, allowing the farm to remain in agriculture and avoid development. [Vermont Biz]

Wednesday, June 7:

Chinese workers checking PV modules (© AFP)

  • The US is falling behind other countries in advanced energy technologies, threatening national security and undermining its global influence, former generals and admirals in the US military warn. The military officers’ conclusions follow warnings from businesses about the decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement. [Financial Times]
  • We Are Still In is a group of 125 mayors, nine governors, 183 university presidents, and 902 businesses, including Apple, Google, Ikea, and Target. The group issued a declaration that they continue to support climate action. Many leaders believe that it will be possible to meet the US’s original pledge to reduce emissions, despite Trump. [Fast Company]
  • “Renewable Energy Push Is Strongest in the Reddest States” • Two years ago, Kansas repealed a law requiring that 20% of the state’s electric power come from renewable sources by 2020. But by the time the law was scrapped, that target had already been met. Last year, Kansas generated more than 30% of its power from wind. [New York Times]
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