2017-06-22 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 15:

Installing solar in Tanzania (Photo: Photo Christabel Ligami)

  • In Tanzania, an international collaborative called the Maasai Stoves and Solar Project has begun to change the roles of women by introducing the use of clean-energy cookstoves and solar power to the Maasai community. The project trains women to distribute and install cookstoves and solar panels in their traditional mud houses. [Earth Island Journal]
  • A federal judge ruled that the federal permits authorizing the Dakota Access pipeline to cross the Missouri River just upstream of the Standing Rock reservation, which resulted from one of the Trump administration’s first orders, violated the law in certain critical respects. The court is considering whether pipeline operations should be shut off. [Māori Television]
  • Massachusetts lawmakers are considering bills that would advance the state’s interest in microgrids and require the consideration of non-wires alternatives before utilities make investments in grid upgrades. The bill, H 1725, would also direct utilities to offer time-of-use rate options by 2018 and put limits on fixed charge increases. [Utility Dive]

Friday, June 16:

Geothermal power plant (Gretar Ívarsson | Wikimedia)

  • While the fossil fuel industry still has a big chunk of the market and a staunch ally in President Donald Trump, experts generally agree that renewable energy will rule in the future. Now, a new study is warning energy companies to start adopting green sources if they want to stay in business. The study was conducted by Wood Mackenzie. [EconoTimes]
  • Renewable energy sources like wind and solar are expected to see their costs plummet even further over the coming decades. According to BNEF’s New Energy Outlook 2017 report, offshore wind costs will absolutely plummet, dropping 71% by 2040, and the levelized the costs of electricity from solar and onshore wind will drop 66% and 47%, respectively. [CleanTechnica]
  • Republican lawmakers peppered EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt with tough questions on proposed budget cuts that many feared would result in drastic changes to their states. At a House hearing on the White House’s proposed EPA budget, a number of GOP members of Congress objected to the proposed cuts of over 30%. [CNN]

Saturday, June 17:

The difference pollution makes for Beijing

  • A notification posted online this week by the Legislative Affairs Office, which reports to the Chinese cabinet, indicates that all manufacturers will be required to generate EV credits that equal 8% of sales in 2018, 10% by 2019, and 12% by 2020. The credits are computed based on the level of electrification of the cars produced. [CleanTechnica]
  • Vivint Solar had a surprisingly good first quarter, and this was followed by a promising financial agreement. In Early June, Vivint announced that it expanding was its services into Colorado and returning to Nevada. Now, as we hit the halfway mark of the month, the company announced that it would be expanding its services into Vermont. [CleanTechnica]
  • As batteries and new sources of flexibility bolster the installed capacity of renewables, their market shares will be reaching 49% in India, 55% in China, 74% penetration in Germany, and 38% in the US by 2040, according to the newly released Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s annual long-term analysis of the future of energy. [ABP LIVE]

Sunday, June 18:

Solar array (Thinkstock image)

  • “Solar power gaining ground” • Solar power, once so costly it made economic sense only in spaceships, is becoming cheap enough that it will push coal and even natural-gas plants out of business faster than previously forecast. The scenario suggests green energy is taking root more quickly than most experts anticipate. [GoErie.com]
  • Worldwide, $10.2 trillion will be invested in power generation from 2017 to 2040, with renewable power sources such as wind and solar getting almost three quarters of that, the report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance said. But $5.3 trillion more in renewable power would be needed to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2° C. [Climate Central]

Workers drilling for oil (Photo: Marie D. De Jesus, Staff | © 2017 Houston Chronicle)

  • Falling oil prices crushed corporate revenue streams in Houston last year, plunging sales in the region to even lower levels than in the Great Recession eight years ago. In 2016, revenue for Houston’s 100 biggest public companies dropped to $561.7 billion, down from the $976.7 billion they collected at the height of the oil boom in 2014. [Houston Chronicle]

Monday, June 19:

BPA dam on the Columbia River (Alan Berner | The Seattle Times)

  • Bonneville Power Administration, which supplies power in the Northwest, has seen lower demand for power from public utilities and major industrial customers, which all have been working to increase energy conservation. While sale revenue has sagged, BPA operating costs have increased, so retail rates are expected to increase. [The Seattle Times]
  • According to data released today by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Walmart’s climate emissions continue to rise. This is after Walmart pledged to become more of an environmental leader. ILSR says the company scaled back its renewable power projects here in the US. Its clean energy projects fell 16% since 2013. (Video) [WHAG]

Tuesday, June 20:

Baffin Wind Power Project (Photo: Eddie Seal | Bloomberg)

  • “Texas Is Too Windy and Sunny for Old Energy Companies to Make Money” • South Texas is to wind power what Napa Valley is to wine and Georgia is to peaches. For not only does the state’s Gulf Coast generate strong evening gusts, but it also blows fiercely in the middle of the day, just as electricity consumption is peaking. [Bloomberg]
  • “UK’s ‘stunning Sunday’ of 70% low-carbon power offers glimpse of near future” • Once again, renewable power hit records in the UK. An upshot of more renewable power on the grid is that as demand for power on the grid reduces, so also do prices. With high wind output last week, the UK recorded its first negative power prices. [pv magazine]

Wednesday, June 21:

Midwest wind turbines

  • “New report: Adding renewables keeps the lights on and money in America’s pockets” • This week, a new report from Analysis Group looked at how technological progress has affected electric grid reliability and power markets. One of the top takeaways is that adding renewables creates a more diverse, reliable system. [HuffPost]
  • Welsh Power has left its previous supplier in favor of DONG. It is now the largest multi-site customer in DONG Energy’s history, and the contract means a doubling of the number of UK sites receiving power from the company. A DONG announcement puts it 27 years ahead of the schedule it had for the Paris climate change agreement. [NW Evening Mail]
  • Replacing coal-fired power plants with solar power installations could save nearly 52,000 lives every year, a study from the Michigan Technological University found. This is the probable number of people would will not die of things such as asthma and congestive heart failure if harmful emissions from coal-fired plants are eliminated. [Nasdaq]


The 150-Kw array in Guilford by Soveren Solar (Beyond My Ken, Wikimedia commons)

  • The annual Vermont Clean Energy Industry Report released by the Department of Public Service emphasizes Vermont’s climate economy as a “promising source of economic growth and employment opportunity.” The clean energy sector saw a 7.7% increase in employment over the last year to over 19,080 jobs. [Windpower Engineering]
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