Author Archives: geoharvey

Template: 2017-08-03 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 27:

Wind turbines in Oklahoma (US Geological Survey photo, Wikimedia Commons)

  • Power development company Invenergy LLC and General Electric Co announced plans to build the largest wind farm in the United States in Oklahoma, part of a $4.5 billion project to provide electricity to 1.1 million utility customers in the region. The 2-GW Wind Catcher wind farm is scheduled to come online in 2020. [ETEnergyworld.com]
  • According to a new report by Environment America Research and Policy Center, the US generates nearly eight times as much electricity from the sun and the wind as it did in 2007. This is enough to power more than 25 million homes. The average American uses 10% less energy than he or she did 10 years ago. [North American Windpower]

Sonnedix PV plant in Spain (Sonnedix image)

  • Around 3,516 MW of solar projects were selected in Spain’s renewable energy auction for large-scale solar and wind power plants held by the Spanish Ministry of Energy, Tourism, and the Digital Agenda. Provisional data provided by the spokeswoman of Spanish solar association UNEF, the share of wind power was just 720 MW. [pv magazine]

Friday, July 27:

 

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Monday, July 31:

 

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Wednesday, August 2:

 

 

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]

 

 

2017-07-20 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, 13:

Nebraska landowner

  • Many Nebraska landowners are opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline slashing through their land. So they’re fighting the proposed oil pipeline with clean, renewable energy. Activists launched the Solar XL campaign to install solar panels on land that Nebraska locals refuse to sell – directly in the path of the pipeline. [Inhabitat]
  • For the past several years, scientists have been trying to get people to wake up to the dangers that lie ahead in rising seas due to climate change. A study from the Union of Concerned Scientists includes a list naming hundreds of US cities, large and small, that may not make it through the next 20, 50 or 80 years due to sea level rise. [CNN]

Sunrise in Kurnool (Flickr | Pranav)

  • The largest solar park in the world is being grid-synchronized at Kurnool in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It is the first ever solar park to reach 1 GW of grid-tied capacity. The Andhra Pradesh Solar Power Corporation noted on its website that the final 20 MW of the park is scheduled for commissioning by 13 July. [PV-Tech]

Friday, 14:

  • Waste water from fracking has contaminated a watershed in Pennsylvania with organic chemicals, salts, radium, and alkaline earth metals. Some pollutants are associated with endocrine system changes and others with carcinogens. Fracking produces half of the oil and two-thirds of the natural gas extracted in the US. [CleanTechnica]


Solar farm on the face of a dam (Photo: Jamey Stillings)

  • “Japan’s Renewable-Energy Revolution” • A set of images from a series of flights over the Tokyo and Kobe/Osaka regions of Japan show a range of PV projects on former golf courses, quarries, dams, man-made islands, and floating projects on ponds and reservoirs. They add a new look on energy and climate change. [Bloomberg]
  • Indian Railways launched the first solar-powered DEMU (diesel electrical multiple unit) train from the Safdarjung railway station in Delhi. The train will run between railway stations in Delhi and Haryana. Each of six coaches has sixteen 300-W solar panels. The train also has battery backup power, on which it can run for at least 72 hours. [Economic Times]

Saturday, 15:

Wind turbines on a beach

  • Record low renewable energy prices in Chile are here to stay and will likely push power prices even lower, Chile’s energy minister told Reuters, a development that would pressure the nation’s already squeezed diesel and natural gas industries. Chile, with ample solar and wind resources, has become a poster child for renewable energy. [ETEnergyworld.com]
  • Republicans are not all united against renewable energy. The House of Representatives voted down an amendment to block a requirement in the pending National Defense Authorization Act for the armed services to study the impact of climate change on the military. Those who voted against the measure included 43 Republicans. [CleanTechnica]
  • National Grid is holding “community meetings” to gather input and discuss details of its proposed Granite State Power Link project, which would bring hydropower from Canada through New Hampshire to southern New England. The Granite State Power Link project would also cross northeastern Vermont. [New Hampshire Public Radio]

Sunday, 16:

NREL’s Wind Technology Center (Helen H. Richardson | Denver Post)

  • Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which had its 40th birthday on July 5, have been innovating and contributing to the Colorado and national economy through seven presidential administrations. The laboratory’s future is uncertain under President Trump, but workers are keeping up hopes. [The Denver Post]
  • The Energy Information Administration’s monthly Short Term Energy Outlook projects coal will fuel 31.3% of electricity in the US in 2017, compared with 31.1% for natural gas. Coal stood at 30.4% last year, and natural gas was at 33.8%. The coal industry takes the change, small as it is, as welcome news. [Huntington Herald Dispatch]

Monday, 17:

Ruins on Scotland’s Rousay Island coast (Adam Markham)

  • “Heritage at Risk: How Rising Seas Threaten Ancient Coastal Ruins” • The shores of Scotland’s Orkney Islands are dotted with ruins that date to the Stone Age. But after enduring for millennia, these archaeological sites, along with many others from Easter Island to Jamestown, are facing an existential threat from climate change. [Yale Environment 360]
  • Commercial vehicles wing of Tata Motors showcased the first Bio-CNG or bio-methane bus at the Urja Utsav event in Pune, Maharashtra. Along with the new alternative fuel bus, Tata Motors also showcased three engines compatible with bio-methane fuel for light, intermediate, and medium commercial vehicles. [Financial Express]
  • The US-based masterminds behind a microgrid in Brooklyn unveiled their first Australian project in South Australia. They say it could herald the start of an industry-changing, renewable energy sharing revolution. The project will see up to 6 MW of distributed solar generation made available on a local peer-to-peer trading platform. [RenewEconomy]

Tuesday, 18:

Fisherman and solar panels (Kevin Frayer | Getty Images)

  • “How China Floated to the Top in Solar” • After years of growth and pollution, China is changing tact and embracing sustainability – no longer beholden to the singular tenet of growth at any cost. China is now the world’s largest renewable energy investor. And the US has relinquished its leadership role, following the policies of Donald Trump. [Time]
  • Green Mountain Power, the largest utility in Vermont, is promoting another aggressive clean energy offer to its customers. Now through September 30, GMP customers can visit Freedom Nissan in South Burlington and claim a $10,000 rebate on the purchase of a new 2017 Nissan LEAF, by presenting a special code supplied by GMP. [CleanTechnica]
  • ThinkProgress obtained a copy of Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s grid study, and it has many surprises  for those who are not energy experts. They may be unpleasant surprises to Perry and the White House. For instance, a large fraction of America’s aging fleet of coal and nuclear plants are simply not economic to operate anymore. [RenewEconomy]

Wednesday, 19:

Dandelion geothermal system

  • Google set up an independent business outside the Alphabet umbrella called Dandelion. The new company was created to promote new geothermal system technology. Dandelion will attempt to do for residential heating and cooling what SolarCity has done for rooftop solar. It uses new, less expensive, drilling technology. [CleanTechnica]
  • Responding to the US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, California Governor Jerry Brown and Michael Bloomberg have launched America’s Pledge. It is a new initiative that they hope will gather together and quantify all the action being taken by states, cities, and business across the US to meet the agreement’s goals. [CleanTechnica]

Northern Power Systems turbine

  • Northern Power Systems, a wind turbine maker based in Vermont, says it has seen a surge of interest in wind power in distributed energy (behind-the-meter, on-site power generation) applications in the US. Specifically, the advantages have become evident in dairy and farming operations, the company says. [North American Windpower]

2017-07-13 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 6:

Wind Power (Pixabay image)

  • Wind and solar electricity will be the cheapest forms of power generation in every G20 country by 2030, according to a report commissioned by Greenpeace Germany. It also said that in about half of the G20 countries, renewables have produced electricity at rates equal to or lower than those from coal or nuclear since 2015. [reNews]
  • For automakers who report the monthly sales in the US of their plug-in models (which includes most big auto makers but not Tesla), fully electric car in June 2017 were up 102% from June 2016, and plug-in hybrid sales were up 11.5%. For the year through June, fully electric sales were up 96% and plug-in hybrid sales were up 42%. [CleanTechnica]

Pump jack in Midland, Texas (Photo: Michael Stravato, NYT)

  • A federal court has ruled that the EPA cannot suspend a methane emissions rule crafted by the Obama administration. Under EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, the EPA argued that the oil and gas industry has not been allowed to comment on the rules. An appeals court in Washington, DC, rejected that claim in a 2-1 ruling. [San Francisco Chronicle]

Friday, July 7:

  • A report from Morgan Stanley predicts “surprisingly large” reductions in global power sector emissions – even in Trump’s America – as solar and wind energy hurtle towards being the cheapest new sources of electricity generation, with or without ambitious policy targets. The power industry will be steered by economics. [RenewEconomy]

Storm resilience for South Australia (Getty Images)

  • An Australian state will install the world’s largest lithium-ion battery in a “historic” deal with electric car firm Tesla and energy company Neoen. Tesla boss Elon Musk confirmed a promise that Tesla would build the battery within 100 days, or it would be provided for free. The 100-MW/129-MWh battery should be ready this year. [BBC]
  • Speaking by videoconference to the Global Citizens Festival in Hamburg, California Governor Jerry Brown reinforced his reputation as America’s de facto leader on climate change, announcing to cheering crowds that his state would gather leaders from around the world for a global warming summit next year. [The New York Times]]

Saturday, July 8:


Cars in Paris (Image: Pixabay)

  • France has announced plans to ban all petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040, following India’s push to switch to entirely electric vehicles. The country’s Environment Minister revealed the plan as part of a national goal to be carbon neutral by 2050. The French Prime Minister wants France to be the European leader in clean energy. [Interesting Engineering]
  • Massachusetts utilities, in coordination with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, issued a Request for Proposals for long-term contracts for offshore wind energy projects. The RFP, issued under the Energy Diversity Act, calls for bidders to offer from 400 MW to about 800 MW of offshore wind energy capacity. [EnergyOnline]

Wind farm in the Midwest

  • The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approved Xcel Energy’s plan for a huge wind energy expansion in the Upper Midwest. Seven wind farms are planned for Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota, and the plan is for them to be operational by the end of 2020. The projects’ combined capacity is over 1,500 MW. [North American Windpower]

Sunday, July 9:

  • Negotiations over the wording of the final communiqué from the G20 meeting carried on late into Saturday morning. The sticking point? Disagreements over the US’s preferred phrasing for the group’s position on climate change and renewable energy. Bafflingly, the US wanted to state that it will help other nations with access to fossil fuels. [Gizmodo]

Prague Castle

  • A new analysis has been published by researchers involved with Climate Central’s World Weather Attribution program and partners. It concluded that climate warming from anthropogenic greenhouse gasses increased the intensity and frequency of extreme heat in the June 2017 heat wave in Europe by as much as a factor of 10. [CleanTechnica]
  • In the past six years, US rooftop solar panel installations have grown explosively – as much as 900% by one estimate. But that growth is projected to be reversed, with a decline in new installations of 2%, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. This is due in part to well-funded lobbying campaigns in state capitals. [WatertownDailyTimes.com]
  • Southwestern New Hampshire is on its way to becoming a solar-power mecca. Keene, Chesterfield, Fitzwilliam, and Hinsdale have projects at various stages of capturing energy from the sun. The developer of the Fitzwilliam and Hinsdale projects has proposed approximately 30-MW, and up to 65-MW, systems, respectively. [The Keene Sentinel]

Monday, July 10:

Oil site in Saudi Arabia (Reza | Getty Images)

  • The world might be heading for an oil supply shortage following a steep drop in investments and a lack of fresh conventional discoveries, Saudi Aramco’s chief executive Amin Nasser told a conference in Istanbul. He said we should not assume that shale oil and alternative energy can be developed quickly enough to replace oil and gas. [CNBC]
  • France is to close up to 17 nuclear power stations to reach the government’s target of 50% nuclear power by 2015, the Ecology Minister said on Monday. He presented a “climate plan,” though it was short on details on reaching the commitment to reduce the amount of electricity produced in nuclear reactors from the current 75% to 50%. [RFI]

80-MW Tesla PowerPack substation in California (Tesla image)

  • “Everything you need to know about Tesla’s battery in South Australia” • Billionaire Elon Musk has put his money where his mouth is and has promised to solve South Australia’s energy issues by building the world’s largest lithium-ion battery. His promise: If he fails to deliver on the battery within 100 days, it will be free. [NEWS.com.au]

Tuesday, July 11:

  • In Massachusetts, Co-op Power has built up its credentials steadily over the past decade. In a significant milestone, it mounted a $4.3 million community-based fundraising campaign for a biodiesel plant set to go online early next year. It has supported hundreds of rooftop solar installations, and fueled the region’s green job growth. [ilsr.org]

New England countryside

  • This summer, members and employees of Washington Electric Coop, a 100% renewable, 100% member-owned electric utility serving communities in north-central Vermont, are eligible to receive incentives totaling $10,000 on the purchase of a new 2017 Nissan Leaf all electric vehicle from Freedom Nissan in South Burlington. [vtdigger.org]
  • Sonnen unveiled what it calls a major assault on the traditional energy utility business model. It introduced a battery offer modeled on what consumers get from a mobile phone company. An average house consuming around 10,000 kWh a year, or nearly 30 kWh a day, can cut its annual bill of around A$3,400 to just A$480 a year. [CleanTechnica]

Wednesday, July 12:

Infarm’s in-store garden

  • The future of fresh local produce could include distributed farming, with more foods being grown in smaller systems right near the point of sale, instead of everything being shipped in from larger growing operations. Now, Infarm, a Berlin startup, is aiming to put tiny vertical farms into the grocery stores themselves. [CleanTechnica]
  • ViZn Energy Systems Inc is integrating its zinc iron flow battery storage system for a record low price of 4¢/kWh. A ViZn 30-MW, 4-hour system added to a 100 MW solar plant can generate a seven percent internal rate of return with a 4¢/kWh power purchase agreement, 20% below the lowest published values. [AltEnergyMag]

Green Mountain Power solar array

  • Green Mountain Power can seem more like a disruptive high-tech start-up than Vermont’s largest electric utility. It has emerged as a leading national innovator in renewable energy, demonstrating how electricity can be generated, stored, and distributed in ways that are cheaper, cleaner, and more resilient to interruptions. [Triple Pundit]

 

2017-07-06 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 29:

Cape Grim Baseline Air Pollution Station in Tasmania. (Credit: Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization)

  • Scientists are concerned about an unknown cause of a rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide. In one of the most hopeful signs since the global climate crisis became widely known, the amount of carbon dioxide that people are pumping into the air seems to have stabilized. Nevertheless, the amount in the air is still increasing. [New York Times] Thanks to CC Reilly
  • Mississippi Power Co, faced with an ultimatum from state regulators, said it will suspend efforts to build a coal-fueled power plant with carbon capture. The cost of the plant ballooned from $2.9 billion to $7.5 billion and it is three years behind schedule. Instead of running on so-called “clean coal,” it will run on natural gas. [FederalNewsRadio.com]
  • The nation’s electricity grid operators are increasingly turning to more flexible resources and low-cost renewable energy options like wind and solar, rendering outdated the notion that “baseload” generating plants are required to reliably power America’s homes and businesses, according to a new report by The Brattle Group. [Solar Industry]

Friday, June 30:

Liuzhou forest city

  • In 2016, China’s State Council released guidelines forbidding the construction of “bizarre” and “odd-shaped” buildings lacking character or cultural heritage. They want a focus on “economic, green and beautiful.” Newly unveiled plans for Liuzhou Forest City, designed by Stefano Boeri Architetti for southern China, seem to fit the bill. [CNN]
  • Global research institute McKinsey & Company analyzed current energy storage prices and concluded that commercial customers are already feeling the economic benefits of cheaper batteries and falling prices for lithium-ion technology. Battery-pack costs now down to less than $230/kWh, compared to about $1,000/kWh in 2010. [RenewEconomy]
  • President Donald Trump frequently used the word “wealth” on Wednesday when describing natural resources like coal, natural gas, and heavy crude oil, before laying out six ways American businesses could sell off those resources for profit. Trump wants to “revitalize the nuclear energy sector.” Aside from that, he is promoting fossil fuels. [Inverse]

Saturday, July 1:

Map of the pipeline project (Access Northeast)

  • A natural-gas-infrastructure project slated for southern New England came to a screeching halt June 29, when Houston-based Spectra Energy Partners announced that the controversial Access Northeast project is being suspended. The Algonquin natural-gas pipeline included a series of extensions between New York and Massachusetts. [ecoRI news]
  • Lately, crude oil hasn’t looked like a great investment. The Keystone XL pipeline’s operator, TransCanada, is struggling to track down oil producers and refiners who want to invest in transporting crude oil from Canada to the United States. When it proposed the pipeline extension in 2008, a barrel of crude cost $130. Now it’s down to $45. [Grist]

Rooftop solar in Hawaii (Photo Risource Energy)

  • Hawaiian Electric Companies submitted a draft of its plan to modernize the power grids on the five Islands it serves to bring more renewable resources online. The plan shows how the gird modernization will help achieve a consolidated renewable portfolio standard of 48% by 2020. The state mandated RPS calls for 30% by 2020. [Pacific Business News]

Sunday, July 2:

  • When China halted plans for more than 100 new coal-fired power plants this year, even as President Trump vowed to “bring back coal,” the contrast seemed to confirm Beijing’s leadership in the fight against climate change. But China’s energy companies are building or planning to build more than 700 new coal plants worldwide. [New York Times]

Bizzell Library, University of Oklahoma (tylerphotos, Wikimedia Commons)

  • The University of Oklahoma has long been known for weather and climate research, but a high-ranking administrator says an eight-year, $161 million project that has just formally begun puts OU in an entirely new orbit. The contract involves development, deployment and operation of the Geostationary Carbon Cycle Observatory. [Tulsa World]
  • “Utility Spends $7.5 Billion To Prove Clean Coal Is A Cruel Hoax” • In 2010, Southern Company began construction of a “clean coal” generating facility in Mississippi. Working on a $3.5 billion budget, its mission was to prove that the technology worked. Now, 3 years overdue and $4 billion over budget, the company has given up. [CleanTechnica]

Monday, July 3:

Electric train (David Gubler, Wikimedia Commons)

  • Using surplus electricity from renewables to make hydrogen fuel is starting a new era for all forms of heavy transport. Trucks, trains and ships using hydrogen fuel cells for propulsion are no longer just theoretically possible: they have reached the trial stage. And using hydrogen for fuel has come to make economic sense. [eco-business.com]

Green School, Indonesia (Photo: Putu Sayoga | Getty Images)

  • Some 134 million people in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations region do not have access to electricity, and for many of those who have electricity, the supply is unstable. Off-grid distributed energy systems using renewable energy could be a solution to this problem, thanks to the increasing availability of renewable energy technologies. [BRINK]
  • With the country seemingly paralyzed by polarization, two separate announcements in California and Washington, DC last week heralded strange bedfellows coming together to advocate for climate dividends. They include environmentalists in California and big business – including some of the largest oil and gas companies. [HuffPost]

Tuesday, July 4:

Building a floating wind turbine

  • The world’s first commercial-scale floating wind farm, which will be sited 25 km off the coast of Scotland, is nearer to being a reality. According to a press statement, each of the five 5-MW wind turbines has been attached onto a floating substructure in Norway, and they are now ready to be towed into position and anchored to the seabed. [Gulf Today]
  • The amount of solar energy installed on the world’s power grids increased 50% year over year in 2016, according to a report by the International Energy Agency. Between 70 GW and 75 GW solar panels came online, with close to half those installations coming in China, where solar capacity more than doubled last year. [Chron.com]

Goldman Sachs buying power from a wind farm

  • Goldman Sachs became the first US bank to sign a large-scale power purchase agreement for off-site renewable energy. The agreement will make it possible to build a new 68-MW wind farm in Pennsylvania. Goldman Sachs has established a goal to get 100% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. (Interview) [One Step Off The Grid]

Wednesday, July 5:

Cutting forests for palm oil plantations (Credit Dimas Ardian | Getty Images)

  • Over the past several months, historic shareholder resolutions have pushed oil giants, including Exxon, to disclose climate-related risks. Food companies are next, experts say, whether they use or produce palm oil, corn, soy or beef, to name some with the biggest climate impacts. [InsideClimate News]
  • The European Commission has allocated €4 million to a project that will link the French and Irish electricity grids via an undersea cable. The Celtic Interconnector project, called an “obvious solution,” would have a 600-km-long undersea cable with a capacity of 700 MW. [EURACTIV]

Sheringham Shoal Wind Farm (Wikimedia Commons)

  • A wind power project in California aims to capture the Central Coast’s wind. Trident Winds proposes to build a wind farm of 60 to 100 turbines off the coast, from Cayucos to north of Piedras Blancas. The project would have a capacity of 1000 MW. [The San Luis Obispo Tribune]

2017-06-29 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 22:

Philadelphia, committed to 100% clean energy (Shutterstock image)

  • Weeks after its mayor joined hundreds of other mayors across the country denouncing the White House’s move to reject the Paris climate accord, Philadelphia announced it is committing to using 100% clean energy by 2035. Currently, energy used by buildings and industry in Philadelphia accounts for 79% of its carbon pollution. [Curbed Philly]
  • Vermont state and local leaders joined with businesses and nonprofits to announce an initiative to galvanize support for addressing climate change, after the president’s decision to withdraw from the Paris accord. Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger and Governor Phil Scott announced the Vermont Climate Pledge Coalition. [vtdigger.org]

Coal miners (Photo: US National Archives)

  • Researchers from Michigan Technological University published a study saying that ditching coal in favor of solar power would save nearly 52,000 lives in the United States each year. It says external costs of use of coal for generating electricity amount to 27¢/kWh. Bureau of Labor Statistics data says the US has 51,000 coal miners. [CleanTechnica]

Friday, June 23:

Stephen Hawking (Photo: Jemal Countess | Getty Images)

  • “Exxon, Stephen Hawking, greens, and Reagan’s advisors agree on a carbon tax” • What do ExxonMobil, Stephen Hawking, the Nature Conservancy, and a number of former conservative cabinet members have in common? All are founding members of the Climate Leadership Council, which proposed a revenue-neutral carbon tax policy. [The Guardian]

Cattle graze near a wind turbine in Iowa (AP image)

  • President Trump’s put-down of wind energy at his Iowa rally was denounced across the state, which takes pride in its position as a national leader in wind generation. Trump was talking up his support for coal during his speech when he told the audience, “I don’t want to just hope the wind blows to light up your homes and your factories.” [The Japan Times]
  • With the wind turbine setback regulations in place since 2014, Ohio has lost billions of dollars in wind power investment, along with the jobs that would have produced, to its neighbors. Now, Ohio Senate lawmakers have advanced an important fix to wind turbine setback policy in the state’s proposed biennial budget. [AltEnergyMag]

Saturday, June 24:

Biglow wind farm and Mount Hood

  • Portland General Electric, rocked by deep opposition to new fossil-fuel infrastructure earlier this year, is now embracing the public as an ally as it pushes for more renewables. The utility said a big new investment in renewables reflects in part local reaction to President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement. [Portland Business Journal]
  • The Vermont Legislature is supporting the Paris climate agreement despite President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the pact. After some Republicans in the House complained the resolution could commit the state to pay for climate funding, that body passed it in amended form. [Rutland Herald]
  • Technology giant IBM says it has achieved two major commitments four years ahead of schedule in its efforts to help combat climate change. One of the goals it met is to have 20% renewables in its energy mix for the year 2020. The other is a 35% reduction in carbon emissions it planned to have by the same year. [North American Windpower]

Sunday, June 25:

Breckenridge Colorado snow train (Photo: Dave Dugdale, Wikimedia Commons)

  • With the installation of more solar gardens, a continued commitment to energy-efficiency, and fruitful negotiations with Xcel Energy, Breckenridge, Colorado, could draw all of its electricity, public and private, from renewable resources as early as 2035, according to a new plan to be presented to the town council. [Summit Daily News]
  • Vermont lawmakers put off until October the deadline for adopting new rules governing wind turbines, after the Public Service Board offered a major revision in response to concerns it said it heard from legislators and others. A legislative committee postponed the July 1 deadline for adopting new limits for turbine noise. [vtdigger.org]
  • The owners of the VC Summer Nuclear Station believed a detailed construction schedule by their builder was the basis for the timing and cost of adding two reactors at the South Carolina plant. They have learned it doesn’t exist, calling into question repeated assurances that the new units can be built by 2020 for $14 billion. [Charleston Post Courier]

Monday, June 26:

EOS Energy Storage Project (EOS Energy Storage)

  • New York lawmakers unanimously passed a measure requiring the state’s Public Service Commission to set targets to increase the adoption of energy storage in the state through 2030. The new law requires the commission to work with the New York State Energy and Research Development Agency and the Long Island Power Authority. [RTO Insider]
  • Donald Trump will tout surging US exports of oil and natural gas during a week of events aimed at showing the country’s growing energy dominance. He also plans to emphasize that after decades of relying on foreign energy supplies, the US is set to become a net exporter of oil, gas, coal, and new renewable and nuclear technology. [Petroleumworld.com]
  • Solar energy continues to be the fastest growing energy source for US electricity, and now accounts for 2.2% of the US supply. Large-scale solar production in April totaled 4.8 million MWh, a jump of 63% over the same month a year ago, and with the combination of rooftop solar contributed 6.9 million MWh, or 2.2%. [RenewEconomy]

Tuesday, June 27:

Artist’s rendering of Nectar Farms expansion

  • A massive expansion of Nectar Farms in western Victoria will be powered by wind energy with battery storage. The $430 million (A$565 million) project will use the latest hydroponic glasshouse and plant technology. Nectar Farms is now looking to start work on Stage 2 of their expansion plans, which will see the facility grow from 10 to 40 hectares. [The Stawell Times-News]
  • The latest issue of the Energy Information Administration’s Electric Power Monthly shows that renewable energy surpassed nuclear energy in March and April, with renewables at 21.60% versus 20.34% for nuclear in March, and 22.98% versus 19.19% in April. While renewable energy is growing rapidly, nuclear power declines. [Renewable Energy Magazine]CleanTechnica]
  • Last week, a Chinese province conducted a test to show it was possible for the entire region to run solely on green energy. For seven continuous days, over 5 million citizens living in the province survived without use of any fossil fuels, on 100% renewable energy, according to the State-run Xinhua News Agency. [ScienceAlert]

Wednesday, June 28:

NAVYA ARMA autonomous shuttle

  • NAVYA ARMA, the French maker of autonomous shuttles, announced that its first assembly plant outside Europe will be in Michigan. The state has already publicly backed autonomous vehicles on its roads with Governor Rick Snyder, who signed driverless vehicles legislation to be tested in the state, seeking to make it a global leader. [CleanTechnica]
  • Ultra-thin, flexible screen-printed batteries for cheap portable devices and intermittent renewable energy are closer to reality, due to a joint project of two Australian universities to develop technology by battery energy storage firm Printed Energy. The solid state batteries are printed in a roll-to-roll process like a newspaper. [Manufacturers’ Monthly]

Fuel trailer on the back of the bus (Team Fast image)

  • Team Fast, a spin-off company from Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, has found a way formic acid can efficiently carry the ingredients needed for hydrogen fuel cells, used to power electric vehicles. The fuel is a liquid, which means you can transport it easily and refill vehicles quickly, just as with conventional fuels. [BBC]

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]