2017-07-27 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, July 20:

Offshore oil structure

  • The energy costs of operating the world’s largest oil fields can rise dramatically as extraction rates begin dropping, according to a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change. As extraction begins to ramp down, the net energy from the process can begin to fall rapidly, so that each unit of oil becomes more carbon intensive. [CleanTechnica]
  • SolarReserve has received an environmental approval from the Chilean government to build a 390-MW solar thermal power station with 5,100 MWh of energy storage. This is SolarReserve’s third approval of a solar thermal project that will provide Chile with a continuous, 24-hour supply of energy, at a competitive price. [PennEnergy]
  • Major transmission company Transgrid says 100% renewable energy is both feasible and affordable. It is urging policy makers to “step out in large ways” because incremental change will not deliver climate goals or potential cost savings. Transgrid’s head of regulation said the company would benefit from such a move, but so would consumers. [RenewEconomy]

Friday, July 21:

CSX train (Photo: Don O’Brien, flickr.com, Creative Commons)

  • Just as the Trump Administration was celebrating its “Made in America Week,” the Financial Times reported that CSX is not planning to buy new locomotives to haul additional coal. In fact, it is laying off 700 workers. Its CEO told the Financial Times that “Fossil fuels are dead,” and that “coal is not a long-term issue” for the company. [CleanTechnica]
  • Governor Phil Scott affirmed Vermont’s commitment to meeting the state’s long-term goal of getting 90% of its energy from renewable sources by 2050, and he created a commission to advise him on the best way to do it. He asked the 21-member commission to report back to him with an action plan by July 31, 2018. [Valley News]

Houses of Parliament

  • A report by energy market analysts EnAppSys says renewable energy sources set a host of records in the UK in the second quarter of 2017. Renewable energy was up 56% from the same period last year. Meanwhile the report also showed coal plants struggled in the quarter and produced less than 2% of total generation. [Power Engineering International]

Saturday, July 22:

  • A group of businesses and investors have written to Prime Minister Theresa May, urging her to raise the UK’s ambitions. The group represents thousands of companies with hundreds of billions in revenue, and hundreds of investors managing assets worth more than £19 trillion. The letter is a clarion call from the UK business sector. [CleanTechnica]

Transmission lines (Photo: blickpixel)

  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced plans to rebuild 78 miles of power transmission infrastructure in the North Country. It will help New York meet the Governor’s Clean Energy Standard that mandates that 50% of the state’s consumed electricity comes from renewable energy sources like wind and solar by 2030. [LongIsland.com]
  • The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has issued its first approval of an offshore wind Site Assessment Plan to the Bay State Wind offshore wind farm being developed by DONG Energy and Eversource Energy. The area off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, that has the potential for at least 2 GW of capacity. [CleanTechnica]

Sunday, July 23:

Georgia farmer (Photo: Doug Strickland | Times Free Press)

  • One farmer in Georgia said the past two years brought the worst weather he has ever seen. There were catfish in his corn fields one year and drought the next. Until recently, he hadn’t considered global warming too deeply. He is paying attention now, as climate scientists are predicting increasingly difficult weather. [Chattanooga Times Free Press]
  • Solar prices have fallen 73% in India since 2010. Renewable energy could generate 49% of electricity in India by 2040 because more efficient batteries will provide flexibility of use and boost the reach of renewables, cutting the cost of solar energy by a further 66% over current costs, according to a Bloomberg report. [Hindustan Times]

Monday, July 24:

Towing turbines into place

  • The world’s first full-scale floating wind farm has started to take shape off the north-east coast of Scotland. The technology will allow wind power to be harvested in waters too deep for the current conventional bottom-standing turbines, especially in Japan and the west coast of the US. This will open new markets for offshore wind power. [BBC News]
  • When it comes to tackling rising energy prices, a Queensland council has taken an innovative approach and built its own $50 million solar farm to fully offset all its power needs. The Sunshine Coast Council is now the first local government in Australia with 100% of its electricity consumption from a renewable source. [ABC Online]

September 2013 flood of the Platte River (Photo: US EPA)

  • In September of 2013, severe storms struck Colorado with prolonged, heavy rainfall, dumping more than 17 inches of rain, causing the Platte River to reach record flood levels. Now, in a paper that appeared online at Weather and Climate Extremes, a team of scientists reports that climate change greatly increased the storm’s severity. [Phys.Org]

Tuesday, July 25:

UK wind turbines (Photo: Danny Lawson | PA)

  • Batteries and renewable power are on the verge of bringing about an “epochal transformation” of the UK that could make energy clean, abundant, and very cheap, according to a cabinet minister. He said government plans for a more flexible energy system and £246 million of funding for battery research would “radically” bring down bills. [The Guardian]
  • The midterm congressional elections are still a year away, but hundreds of rookie candidates are crafting policy positions for the first time. Most of them are Democrats, spurred by polls showing their party with the edge for 2018. In previous elections, many candidates glossed over their positions on climate change, but that looks like it could change. [The Hill]
  • “A Cheap Fix for Climate Change? Pay People Not to Chop Down Trees” • A team of researchers has shown that there is a surprisingly cheap and easy way to slow the pace of deforestation in Uganda: Just pay landowners small sums not to cut down their trees. Their study was published in the journal Science. [The New York Times] (Thanks to Tad Montgomery.)

Wednesday, July 26:

Waymo Chrysler

  • The California Department of Transportation, Caltrans, has already begun altering California’s roadways so as to better accommodate the rollout of self-driving vehicles. It is doing so mostly by better accommodating the way that many self-driving vehicles navigate. This news comes from recent comments from the director of Caltrans. [CleanTechnica]
  • Documents released by the California-based Energy and Policy Institute show that a member of President Lyndon B Johnson’s administration warned the Edison Electric Institute industry group at its 1968 annual convention that carbon emissions from fossil fuels could change the climate and trigger “catastrophic effects.” [The Wire]
  • New diesel and petrol cars and vans will be banned in the UK from 2040 in a bid to tackle air pollution, the government is set to announce. Ministers will also unveil a £255 million fund to help councils tackle emissions from diesel vehicles. A £3 billion package of spending on air quality responds to a High Court deadline. [BBC News]

 

 

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