Author Archives: geoharvey

2017-11-22 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

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, November 16:

Airbus Vahana

  • The Airbus Vahana project is ready for flight testing, just as Boeing, Uber, and others jumping into the electric plane game and electric airplanes and other vertical take-off and landing aircraft taking off. The Airbus Vahana project says it will not need a runway, will be self-piloted, and can automatically detect and avoid obstacles and other aircraft. [CleanTechnica]
  • Puerto Rico just met the halfway mark to restoring power, and the lights went out. Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló had just tweeted that power was back to 50% of utility customers when the outage hit San Juan. Fifty-six days after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico is still experiencing the longest blackout in US history. [Grist]
  • At least 15 countries have joined an international alliance to phase out coal from power generation before 2030, delegates at UN climate talks in Bonn said on Thursday. The alliance aims to have 50 members by the next UN climate summit in 2018 to be held in Poland’s Katowice, one of Europe’s most polluted cities. [Reuters]

Friday, November 17:

Tesla Roadster 2.0

  • Elon Musk unexpectedly disappeared from stage during the Tesla Semi Truck unveiling, and then to everyone’s surprise, a Tesla Roadster 2.0 appeared. The base model will be the fastest production car ever made when it comes to market in 2020. Musk said, “The point of all this is just to give a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars.”  [CleanTechnica]
  • Instead of traditional 25-year deals, Indian power distributors are negotiating ten-year agreements with coal power providers. The distributors believe the development of renewables and storage makes long term agreements redundant because solar and wind have become the country’s least expensive power resources. [Power Engineering International]
  • TransCanada announced that it has shut down the Keystone pipeline in South Dakota because it discovered 210,000 gallons of oil has spilled from the pipeline. The state of Nebraska will decide next week if it will allow a stretch of the Keystone pipeline to be built through the state. Waterways or wildlife areas appear not to have been impacted. [Anadolu Agency]

Saturday, November 18:

Norwegian offshore oil rig (Photo: Norsk olje og gass, Wikimedia Commons)

  • Norway’s government has been told its state-run fund should drop its investments in oil and gas stocks, worth £28 billion ($37 billion). Norges Bank, the fund’s manager, said the step would make the country “less vulnerable to a permanent drop in oil and gas prices.” Its advice was not based on a price forecast or the sector’s sustainability. [BBC News]
  • Siemens is to release 2% of its global workforce, mainly in Germany, as its power and gas division continues to suffer from the onslaught of clean energy expansion. “The market is burning to the ground,” Siemens board member Janina Kugel, who is in charge of group human resources, told journalists in a call. [Power Engineering International]
  • A major New England transmission line planned by Eversource Energy and Hydro-Quebec has won a Presidential Permit from the US DOE. The federal permit marks a significant milestone for the $1.6 billion, 192-mile Northern Pass, first proposed in 2010. The line would carry electricity from Canada to the New England power grid. []
  • Investors are now better able to gauge the climate risks likely to impact their investments thanks to a new risk management tool developed by Deutsche Asset Management and Four Twenty Seven and published for COP23, which maps more than a million physical corporate locations alongside climate models to assess their climate risk. [CleanTechnica]

Sunday, November 19:

Corn field and ethanol plant (Photo: Associated Press)

  • A study showed that Wisconsin ranked 9th in carbon dioxide releases due to farming practices. Converting unused land to produce crops for ethanol production releases a lot of carbon dioxide from the soil. The authors said most of the state’s new farm land had previously been pastures or forests, with some wetlands. [Wisconsin State Farmer]
  • A cost-effective catalyst has been developed to recycle two of the main causes behind climate change – carbon dioxide and methane. In a study, published in the journal Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, scientists have described how they created an advanced nickel-based catalyst to create synthesis gas for fuel or chemical feedstock. [The Indian Express]

BYD bus being tested in New York City (Photo: Marc A. Hermann | MTA New York City Transit)

  • Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer BYD will be opening its first assembly facility in Canada next year in Ontario. This is in anticipation of surging demand for electric trucks in the country, the company has revealed. BYD chose to move into Canada because it has a friendlier environment for EVs than the US currently has. [CleanTechnica]
  • The Hydrogen Council coalition launched its first quantified study of the role of hydrogen, developed with support from McKinsey and Company. It shows that hydrogen could generate $2.5 trillion worth of business, creating more than 30 million jobs by 2050, and it could account for almost 20% of final energy consumed by then. [The Peninsula Qatar]

Monday, November 20:

Warming seas, melting ice (NASA photo, Wikimedia Commons)

  • One of the fathers of climate science is calling for a wave of lawsuits against governments and fossil fuel companies that are delaying action on what he describes as the growing, mortal threat of global warming. Former NASA scientist James Hansen says the litigate-to-mitigate campaign is needed alongside political mobilization. [The Guardian]
  • China, the world’s biggest carbon emitter, is poised to install a record amount of solar-power capacity this year, prompting researchers to boost forecasts as much as 80%. About 54 GW of solar power will be put in place this year, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said, raising a forecast of more than 30 GW that BNEF made in July. [Bloomberg]

Ujjani Dam

  • In order to prevent mass-scale evaporation of water, the state government of Maharashtra has given a nod to a proposal that involves setting up floating solar panels on the reservoir at Ujjani Dam. The solar panels will be set up on a water surface of 4,640 acres, to generate 1,000 MW of electricity, making it one of the largest projects of its type. [EnergyInfraPost]
  • Australia’s chief scientist contradicted the government’s claims that Labor’s 50% ­renewables target by 2030 is “a road to ruin.” Dr Alan Finkel is issuing a major report that shows the plan for more renewable energy sources will not lead to major blackouts despite the government’s claims that the “huge renewable target” is irresponsible and “crazy.” [PerthNow]

Tuesday, November 21:



2017-11-16 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

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, November 9:

Solar Farm in Thailand (Asian Development Bank image, CC BY 2.0)

  • A global transition to 100% renewable electricity, far from being a long-term vision, is happening now, a study says. It is the work of Finland’s Lappeenranta University of Technology and the Energy Watch Group, and it was published at the UN climate change conference, COP23. The conference is now underway in Bonn, Germany. []
  • Exposure to particulate matter air pollution is responsible for more than 10.7 million cases of the development of chronic kidney disease per year, according to a study. Chronic kidney disease is just one of a long list of reasons moving away from petrol/gas and diesel cars, and coal-fired power plants, would benefit public health greatly. [CleanTechnica]
  • The European Commission published its annual climate action progress report this week. Between 1990 and 2016 the European Union has cut greenhouse gas emissions by 23% while at the same time growing its economy by 53%. This proves again that environmental action need not negatively affect the financial bottom line. [CleanTechnica]

Friday, November 10:

  • “Cities Stand United on Paris Agreement at COP23” • Cities face a new reality of monster storms, unprecedented flooding, dangerous and record-breaking heat and drought, wildfires, and other challenges. More than 350 US “Climate Mayors” have pledged to commit to reduce emissions 80% by 2050, as laid out in Paris. [Natural Resources Defense Council]
  • Self-driving systems don’t have to be perfect to save tens of thousands of lives, the RAND Corporation says in a report, The Enemy of Good: Estimating the Cost of Waiting for Nearly Perfect. If autonomous vehicles systems drive only slightly better than humans, they could prevent hundreds of thousands of fatalities worldwide over the next 30 years. [CleanTechnica]

Protecting future generations (Photo: Pezibear | Pixabay)

  • The federal government is ignoring threats to life presented by climate change, according to a claim of a lawsuit against Trump administration officials. The suit was filed in federal court in Philadelphia, on behalf of two Pennsylvania children and the Clean Air Council. Donald Trump, Scott Pruitt, and Rick Perry are named as defendants. [Public News Service]

Saturday, November 11:

  • Senate Republicans have put forward their own tax reform plan this week which, unlike the tax reform bill proposed by the House, does not take aim at renewable energy provisions such as the wind Production Tax Credit. The House plan proposed eliminating the vehicle tax credit and added a retroactive tax hike on the wind industry. [CleanTechnica]

Wisconsin farmland (Dairyland Power Cooperative image)

  • Officials of Dairyland Power inaugurated a $167 million wind farm in the southwestern part of Wisconsin. The 98-MW Quilt Block project, with 49 turbines, is the state’s fourth largest wind farm and boosts the Wisconsin’s wind capacity by 15%. It is expected to provide enough energy for over 35,000 average households. [The Courier Life News]
  • Practically the entire island of Puerto Rico went dark again after a major power line repaired by Whitefish Energy failed. Even though that the failure may have had nothing to do with Whitefish’s work, it is still a demonstration that microgrids and renewable energy are the way to go for grid resiliency and reliability. [CleanTechnica]

Sunday, November 12:

Kauai (Photo: Christopher Michel, Wikimedia Commons)

  • Stories of Kauai are turning heads at the United Nations Climate Conference. The island’s strides in clean energy, along with the progress in the rest of the state, are catching attention. Sen Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, is part of a five-person legislative delegation representing the American people at the UN Climate Conference. []
  • Pope Francis blasted “shortsighted human activity” for global warming and rising sea levels and urged leaders at climate talks in Germany to take a global outlook as they negotiate ways to curb heat-trapping emissions. Francis met with a delegation of Pacific leaders and told them he shares their concerns about rising sea levels. [CTV News]

Indian Schoolboy with his face covered by a handkerchief

  • “Letter from Bonn: Pollution Killing More Indians Than Wars, Govt Must Understand Urgency of Now” • India loses more people to pollution than it would possibly to a war. Yet, successive governments resort to ad hoc measures, lacking implementation of a long term strategy to ensure clean air to people and address their right to life. [News18]

Monday, November 13:

  • Electric buses have been selling like hotcakes in China. The EV-loving city Shenzhen is taking it one step further. In Shenzhen, electric buses will make up all public bus transportation by the end of this year. The city already has 14,000 electric buses on the streets, with only has a few hundred diesel-powered buses left to replace. [CleanTechnica]

Coal-burning power plant

  • According to Agora Energiewende, shutting down twenty lignite-burning power plants in Germany would not lead to electricity shortages in the country, even during the coldest parts of the winter; it would only mean a reduction in the amount of electricity is exported. It would also get the country halfway to its carbon reduction goals. [CleanTechnica]
  • Global emissions of CO2 in 2017 are projected to rise for the first time in four years, dashing hopes that a peak might soon be reached. The main cause of the expected growth is greater use of coal in China as its economy expanded. Researchers are unsure of whether the rise in emissions is a one-off or the start of a new period of CO2 build-up. [BBC News]

Tuesday, November 14:

After the walkout, only reporters and a few White House guests remained  (Twitter image)

  • At their sole function at COP23, US delegates promoted “clean” fossil fuels as a solution to reduce emissions. The Governor of California Jerry Brown ridiculed the attempt to promote fossil fuels, and dozens of activists chanted “Keep it in the ground” over the speech of executive director of the United States Energy Association. [Deutsche Welle]
  • Protesters interrupted an event sponsored by the US climate delegation at the UN climate summit in Bonn, Germany on Monday with a repackaged version of the song “God Bless the USA” before staging a mass walkout. Then the room was empty, aside from the press, panelists, and White House guests in the front row. [Common Dreams]

New York Smog

  • The Rocky Mountain Institute published a report at COP23 that provides cities worldwide with “22 ready-to-implement, no-regrets solutions that have proven success” to help move them toward climate-neutrality and provide results within a year. The solutions in The Carbon-Free City Handbook have been proven in use. [CleanTechnica]

Wednesday, November 15:

  • In 1992, 1,700 independent scientists signed the “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity.” The letter warned that if environmental damage was not stopped, our future was at risk. Over 16,000 scientists from 184 countries published a second warning. It says things are alarmingly worse and we must act quickly. [CNN]

Offshore wind farm (Pixabay image)

  • Wind power will be the EU’s leading source of electricity soon after 2030, boosted by strong growth both onshore and offshore wind plants, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency. The “World Energy Outlook 2017” report also said that solar PVs will be the largest source of clean power globally by 2040. [reNews]
  • Over 450,000 Rwandan households are expected to get power in the next five years following the launch of Rwanda Renewable Energy Fund project. Financing for the $50 million project was done by the World Bank. The fund is intended to increase off-grid solar energy access for those who do not have power, mostly in rural areas. [News Ghana] ($111.11 per household)

2017-11-09 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

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, November 2:

Renewable energy (Photo: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez | Getty Images)

  • A report says at least $1 trillion are being invested globally in ways to reduce the threat of climate change, including renewable power, energy efficiency, and public transportation. Investments like these may make it possible for the world’s governments to meet their commitments under the Paris agreement on climate change. [The Guardian]
  • Ten years after PetroChina peaked on its first day of trading in Shanghai, the state-owned energy producer has lost about $800 billion of market value, a sum large enough to circle the Earth 31 times with $100 bills. In current dollar terms, it’s the world’s biggest-ever wipeout of shareholder wealth. And it may only get worse. [Montreal Gazette]
  • President Trump has declared an end to the “war on coal.” But coal country is grappling with powerful market force. More evidence of coal’s challenges came as Armstrong Energy, a western Kentucky coal company, filed for bankruptcy protection. Armstrong recently warned it would lay off workers at two of its facilities. [KVIA El Paso]

Friday, November 3:

Wind farm construction (Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg)

  • “Renewables Are Starting to Crush Aging US Nukes, Coal Plants” • In parts of the US, it has become a less expensive proposition to build new solar and wind farms and use their power than to keep the existing, and aging, fleet of coal and nuclear generators producing electricity, according to financial adviser Lazard Ltd. [Bloomberg]
  • US Energy Secretary Rick Perry suggested that the expansion of fossil fuel use in Africa would help protect people there from sexual assault. The comment was followed by a swift rebuke from environmental activists. The Sierra Club, which campaigns for increased use of wind and solar power, called for Perry to resign. [The Japan Times]

Offshore wind farm

  • The states of Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island released reports setting out contexts for development of offshore windpower in the Northeast and revealing potential economic benefits. The Northeast could see offshore wind deployment of between 4,000 and 8,000 MW by 2030, creating up to 36,000 jobs. [Offshore Wind Journal]
  • Louisville, Kentucky, has problems with air pollution, and some areas of the city are worse than others. Residents in the poorer neighborhoods of Louisville, those closest to Louisville’s industrial areas, have life expectancy that is 11 years shorter than those in more upscale neighborhoods where trees, parks, and green spaces are common. [CleanTechnica]

Saturday, November 4:

Thunder Ranch wind farm

  • “Long-Awaited US Tax Reform Signals Continued Undermining Of Renewables” • US Republicans finally published their proposed tax plan to much ballyhoo and recriminations, not only among Democrats but also in the country’s renewable energy industry, which will likely lose thousands of jobs and billions in investments if it passes. [CleanTechnica]
  • Renewable energy may offer emissions-free electricity, but it isn’t always easy for electrical grids to integrate that energy. Dutch company Alfen is launching their answer to the dilemma. The Cellular Smart Grid Platform allows a central grid to be divided into smaller cells that can operate independently, if necessary, and even self-heal. [Inhabitat]

Sunday, November 5:

Melting sea ice (Photo: David Goldman | AP)

  • President Trump is accused of deliberately obstructing research on global warming, blocking a critically important technique for investigating sea-ice cover at the poles. The row has erupted after a key polar satellite broke down a few days ago, leaving the US with only three ageing ones, and the only backup was ordered dismantled. [The Guardian]
  • The Trump Administration released a sweeping federal climate report concluding that the Earth is warming at an alarming rate due to human activity. The congressionally mandated report said the Earth is undergoing its warmest period “in the history of modern civilization,” fueled primarily by rising levels of carbon dioxide. [Bloomberg]
  • To the anger of environmentalists, a Trump adviser is expected to take part in a presentation in at COP23, the UN’s climate conference in Bonn, promoting coal as a solution to climate change. Separately, a group of governors will say that the US is still committed to climate action despite Mr Trump’s rejection of the Paris agreement. [BBC News]

Monday, November 6:

Nashville’s Music City Center (Credit: Roofmeadow)

  • Despite the lack of renewable-energy-friendly policies and the reluctance from Republican-led state legislatures to address climate change, states across the South and Appalachia are rapidly expanding their solar markets. Utilities are investing in solar projects, which are now cost-competitive with coal and gas. [InsideClimate News]
  • Lazard has released its annual Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis (LCOE 11.0), with analysis of power costs. It shows a continued decline in the cost of generating electricity from alternative energy technologies, especially utility-scale solar and wind, but energy storage is not yet cost competitive in most applications. [ThinkGeoEnergy]
  • As Rick Perry makes one laughable statement after another, the Department of Energy goes about its renewable energy mission, full steam ahead. A new article appeared on the DOE’s website on November 3 under the title, “Concentrating Solar Power Could Provide the Flexibility and Reliability the US Electric Grid Needs.” [CleanTechnica]

Tuesday, November 7:

Wind Catcher project in Oklahoma

  • American Electric Power announced it is increasing capital investment in its regulated operations and new, renewable generation over the next three years to provide more advanced, cleaner energy solutions for its customers. The company plans to invest $1.8 billion in new renewable generation during 2018 to 2020. [Digital Journal]
  • Strong winds and storms in October helped Scottish turbines produce more than 1.7 million MWh of electricity for the National Grid. Wind power provided more than 100% of electricity demand for Scotland on 15 days during October and supplied enough electricity to power all of Scotland’s homes on 28 days. [Aberdeen Evening Express]

Miraah solar plant

  • Petroleum Development Oman and GlassPoint Solar have announced completion of the first block of one of the world’s largest solar plants, the 1,021-MW Miraah solar plant in Oman. Each of the 36 blocks has a separate greenhouse protecting its solar array from the harsh conditions on the oilfield, such as strong winds and dust storms. [CleanTechnica]

Wednesday, November 8:

  • The US is now a party of one in its stance on climate change. Syria will join the Paris climate agreement, leaving the US as the only country in the world not signed on to the landmark climate deal. Syrian officials announced their intention to ratify the accord at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn on Tuesday. [CNN]

Flooding in downtown Houston (Photo: Jason Dearen | AP)

  • “White House admits Trump climate policies will destroy all US coastal property” • The massive climate report released by the Trump administration makes clear that its climate policies will destroy every last bit of US (and global) coastal property in the decades to come, and over $1 trillion in US coastal property will eventually be valueless. [ThinkProgress]
  • In its mania to prove how horrible the Clean Power Plan is, the EPA has rejiggered the numbers and found that the Clean Power Plan could save more lives than the Obama officials thought. Oddly enough, the means that rolling back its provisions could lead to between 40,000 and 100,000 more premature deaths in America by the year 2050. [CleanTechnica]
  • Digital technologies are set to transform the global energy landscape, making it more reliable and sustainable, a report by the International Energy Agency says. Demand side response from buildings, industry, and transport could provide 185 GW of flexibility, avoiding $270 billion of new infrastructure investment through 2040. []

2017-11-02 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

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, October 26:

The historical victim (Historical Picture Archive | Getty)

  • “Donald Trump, Bird Killer” • He campaigned as a guardian of birds against windpower. His secretary of the Department of Interior, Ryan Zinke, recently noted renewable energy’s risks to birds in arguing against using public lands for solar power. Now, his administration is pushing policies that could send billions of birds to their deaths. [New Republic]
  • An unwritten UK Government promise of “no subsidies” for onshore wind could end up costing more than £1 billion over the next four to five years relative to other technologies. A report from the Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit outlines reasons why the UK Government may want to revisit its policy on onshore wind installations. [CleanTechnica]

Kaua’i (Photo: MariaMichelle | Pixabay)

  • SunPower has announced that it has been chosen by AES Distributed Energy to supply its modular Oasis power blocks for the largest solar and battery storage project to date not only in Kaua’i, but in Hawaii. The 28-MW PV plant will be accompanied by 20 MW of batteries, with a five-hour duration, for a 100 MWh rating. [pv magazine International]

Friday, October 27:

  • After extended debate, Vermont lawmakers imposed new statewide limits on wind power that are meant to prevent sound from disturbing neighbors’ health and sleep. Some renewable energy advocates claim the restrictions will effectively stop the construction of large wind projects, which deliver the lowest cost energy in the area. []

Organic Valley’s Cashton Office Building (PRNewsfoto | Organic Valley)

  • Organic Valley, America’s largest organic farmer co-operative, will be one of the largest food companies in the world to use 100% renewable electricity. It is working with the Upper Midwest Municipal Energy Group and OneEnergy Renewables in solar community partnership, with over 12 MW of solar installations in Wisconsin. [Co-operative News]
  • NextEra Energy, whose holdings include Seabrook Nuclear Station, has hopes of making money on the largest proposed solar site in New Hampshire, but several other sites are in the works. Combined, the projects proposed in New Hampshire total 210 MW of capacity, triple the state’s solar capacity in 2016. [New Hampshire Business Review]

Saturday, October 28:

Boris Johnson’s cycle superhighway in London

  • The C40 Fossil-Fuel-Free Streets Declaration was signed by the mayors of twelve of the world’s largest, most economically important cities, paving the way for the cities in question to transition completely away from internal combustion engine vehicles and to create zero-emissions areas in their cities by 2030. [CleanTechnica]
  • Help from Vermont is going to Puerto Rico. Joseph Mangum, of Sunnyside Solar in West Brattleboro, is heading to Puerto Rico with five solar systems for towns in the island’s interior. The systems were partly paid for by the first $5,000 of a $20,000 gofundme campaign. He is also taking food, water purification systems, and seeds. [Green Energy Times]
  • On Monday and Tuesday, the wind blew hard enough for wind turbines to meet all of the electricity needs of MidAmerican’s customers in Iowa, a spokesperson said. MidAmerican’s goal is to produce 100% of its power with renewable resources, and it has been investing in windpower. There are 670,000 MidAmerican electric customers in Iowa. [KCCI Des Moines]

Sunday, October 29:

Fall colors in Pennsylvania (David Mckeown | AP)

  • Across the US, the year’s first freeze has been arriving further and further into the calendar, according to more than a century of measurements from weather stations nationwide. Scientists say it is yet another sign of the changing climate, with both good and bad consequences, more fruits and vegetables, but also more allergies and pests. [The Olympian]
  • “How Fossil Fuel Allies Are Tearing Apart Ohio’s Embrace of Clean Energy” • As fossil fuel interests mobilized at the national level to fight proposals to mitigate climate change that threaten their profits, they made Ohio a priority for fighting clean energy policy at the state level. Now, they are getting laws passed that benefit only themselves. [InsideClimate News]

Chinese factory (Photo: High Contrast, Wikimedia Commons)

  • China is getting serious about pollution. Up to 40% of its factories have recently been closed at least temporarily as the country has struggled to meet its year-end pollution reduction goals, sources say. Officials from more than 80,000 factories have been charged with criminal offences relating to emissions over the past year. [CleanTechnica]

Monday, October 30:

  • OhmConnect aggregates a network of residential subscribers across the territories of California’s three major utilities: Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric. When demand is high and peaking plants could come online, a text message is sent, and subscribers who cut their loads earn money. [InsideClimate News]

Wind farm in Queensland (Photo: Leonard Low, Wikimedia Commons)

  • Elon Musk said he cannot believe the mess Australia finds itself, in regard to its power supply problems. He is building the world’s largest lithium-ion battery to secure South Australia’s power supply. But he had no idea of the firestorm of how to power Australia, he had walked into. He warned that the choice is to move to renewables or collapse. [Gatton Star]
  • Lancaster, California, had a 17% jobless rate and a housing market dominated by foreclosures when its Republican mayor met with a tech innovator planning a solar thermal plant. The mayor, seeing a way to bring jobs to town, read everything he could about renewable energy. What he learned about climate change terrified him. [HuffPost]

Tuesday, October 31:

Navajo Generating Station

  • “Trump Admin. Desperate To Keep Coal Power Plant Alive With Taxpayer Dollars” • Trump supporters have repeated often, “government shouldn’t be picking winners and losers.” Now, the administration is trying to prop up the Navajo Generating Station in Arizona with taxpayer dollars, perfectly illustrating the depth of the lie. [CleanTechnica]
  • In mid-December, National Grid Plc will start an automated trading system that pays hospitals and research facilities at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus to sell electricity from their onsite solar panels, batteries, and other generators to doctors’ offices and businesses, the first power market ever designed within a single utility service area. [Bloomberg]

Storm in the Dominican Republic (Photo: MIGUEL montojo Wikimedia Commons)

  • A poor country in the Caribbean did a good deal better than Florida with Hurricane Irma. In fact, as far as hurricane preparedness goes, the Dominican Republic beat the US hands down. After losing many power lines and over 40% of their generating capacity, the grid was still operating, partly thanks to two backup battery systems. [CleanTechnica]

Wednesday, November 1:

  • While nearly 70% of Puerto Rico remains without power six weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated the island, eleven United Nations human rights experts have issued a joint statement decrying the “absence of adequate emergency response” by the US. The storm has put a spotlight on Puerto Rico’s colonial history with the US. [eNews Park Forest]
  • Efforts to restore electricity to Puerto Rico nearly six weeks after Hurricane Maria are shifting as Whitefish Energy, a tiny Montana contractor, was removed. The Army Corps of Engineers, which is leading the federal power restoration effort, said it planned to boost the size of a contract awarded to Fluor Corp by $600 million, to $840 million. [Nasdaq]

Wind turbines in a storm (Getty Images)

  • During the weekend starting October 28, so much energy was created by German windstorms, that it was being given away for free. Output equivalent to that of 40 nuclear power plants was generated during the storms, causing the wholesale prices to fall below zero. Output from windpower rose to as much as 39,409 MW. [Energy Digital]

2017-10-26 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

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, October 19:

Trees and power lines downed by Hurricane Maria (Photo: SSgt.Michelle Y Alvarez-Rea, USAF)

  • “A more climate-resilient Puerto Rico?” • As Puerto Rico faces a devastating humanitarian crisis, an emerging viewpoint is that the island should think twice about restoring its electrical system as it’s existed in the past. Instead, this reasoning goes, Puerto Rico should plan for more resilient, distributed infrastructure. [Yale Climate Connections]
  • “What is electricity resilience worth to you?” • Power outages are a nuisance to some, an economic burden to others, and even lethal in some cases. It is impossible to place a price on electric resilience that could be applied to everyone. So it is crucial that customers know what power loss could cost them as they weigh needs for microgrids. [Microgrid Knowledge]

Looking at insects

  • It’s known as the windscreen phenomenon. When you stop your car after a drive, there seem to be far fewer squashed insects than there used to be. Scientists have long suspected that insects are in dramatic decline, but new evidence confirms this. German research suggests flying insects have declined by more than 75% over almost 30 years. [BBC News]

Friday, October 20:

  • Green Mountain Power wants to build Vermont’s second commercial renewable energy storage battery near its solar array in Panton. The $3 million Tesla battery will store about 1 MW of power which will come off of the solar array nearby. The new battery will allow GMP to store renewable energy for helping meet peak grid demand. [Vermont Public Radio]
  • Assembly of the ITER reactor, a nuclear fusion project costing €20 billion ($24 billion), will begin in France in May of 2018. But with wind-farm developers starting to promise subsidy-free power by 2025 and electricity demand stagnating, even the project’s supporters are asking whether ITER will ever make sense. [The Edge Markets MY]

Inner Mongolian landscape (Photo: Kevin Frayer | Getty Images)

  • “Pollution’s Annual Price Tag? $4.6 Trillion and 9 Million Dead” Pollution in all its forms killed 9 million people in 2015 and, by one measure, led to economic damage of $4.6 trillion, according to a new estimate by medical researchers who hope to put the health costs of toxic air, water and soil higher on the global agenda. [Yahoo News]
  • A nuclear power plant in Switzerland is set to operate flexibly after a software upgrade. The 1010-MW Goesgen pressurized water reactor plant can vary its output between 50% and 100% per cent of its installed capacity, with power ramps of up to 30 MW per minute, responding to changing supply and demand. [Power Engineering International]

Saturday, October 21:

Madison County’s solar array (Photo: Ellen Abbot | WRVO News)

  • The sun will be the source of electricity for about 70% of the government complex in Madison County, New York, from now on. Tucked between some cornfields and brush on a rural Madison County road, are more than 7,500 ground-mounted solar panels. They will save the county $3 million over the next 25 years. [WRVO Public Media]
  • Nissan will roll out its vehicle-to-grid energy program promising the average customer will enjoy virtually free home electricity. The scheme, announced at an event in Oslo, was tested in Denmark and is to begin its European rollout next year. The trial involving a fleet of e-NV200 vans resulted in weekly revenue of €40 ($47) per vehicle. [Ward’s Auto]

Sunday, October 22:

Aerobic workout under the stacks

  • “Trump’s moves to ease regulations, revive coal industry bring little relief” • As the Trump administration dismantles programs dealing with climate change, it invokes the suffering of those whose livelihoods depend on coal. But with the end to what has been called the “war on coal,” Homer City, Pennsylvania, is not any less under siege. [Tribune-Review]
  • Researchers from Stanford University have developed a cheap alternative to lithium-ion batteries. They created a sodium-based battery that can store the same amount of energy as a lithium-based battery at less than 80% of the cost. There have been sodium-based batteries in the past, but this new approach may be more cost-effective. [Futurism]

Installing the solar panel for a house (BBOXX image)

  • With the government of Rwanda seeking to increase access to electricity to 100% by 2024, sector players say that subsidization of off-grid power will go a long way in reaching energy targets. A system with three lights, a 100-watt panel, and 55-amp hour battery goes for Rwf400,000 ($474) or Rwf12,000 ($14.22) monthly. [The New Times]

Monday, October 23:

Mesocosms for acidification research (Maike Nicolai | Geomar)

  • All sea life will be affected because carbon dioxide emissions are making the oceans more acidic, a major new report will say. The eight-year study from more than 250 scientists finds that infant sea creatures will be especially harmed. The number of baby cod growing to adulthood could fall to a quarter or less of what it is today. [BBC News]
  • Scientists at MIT say they devised a cost-effective way to capture wasted methane and turn it into fuel or chemical feed stocks. Instead of venting it into the air, the process could allow companies to turn that wasted gas into money. Fossil fuel companies that are deaf to the plight of the earth can hear a dollar bill crinkling at 40 paces. [CleanTechnica]

Ophelia in red, with major hurricane tracks (Credit: Spillo)

  • Hurricane Ophelia paid a visit to Ireland earlier this month with sustained winds of 119 miles per hour. Do you remember any other hurricanes hitting Ireland? Probably not. Ophelia was what is commonly known as an outlier. It was the most powerful hurricane in the eastern Atlantic ocean ever recorded and way beyond the norm. [CleanTechnica]

Tuesday, October 24:

  • A government report is sounding an alarm over the threat of costs of climate change. The US government has spent more than $350 billion over the past decade in response to extreme weather and fire events, and the GAO report estimated the US would incur far higher costs as the years progress if global emission rates don’t go down. [CNN]

Flooding in Houston after Hurricane Harvey (Public domain photo: Staff Sgt Daniel J Martinez, US Air National Guard)

  • “The importance of grid resilience during severe storm conditions” • With increasingly powerful storms, the Dominican Republic set a surprising example during September’s storms. It used battery-based energy storage to keep its grid operating, despite damage to power lines and 40% of its generating assets being forced offline. [pv magazine USA]
  • Massive insect population declines indicate we are “currently on course for ecological Armageddon,” one scientist said. The causes are unknown, but one likely culprit is widespread use of pesticides. A recent UN report has denounced using pesticides on such a massive scale and claims they kill 200,000 people annually. [CleanTechnica]

Wednesday, October 25:

Downtown Whitefish, Montana, home of Whitefish Energy, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and a major donor to Trump campaign (Photo: WikiCapa, Wikimedia Commons)g global warming to below 2 degrees – a 6% improvement from 2016. [CleanTechnica]

  • “‘Can You Say Corruption?’ Puerto Rico Contract for Trump-Connected Raises Concerns” • A $300 million no-bid contract to restore Puerto Rico’s electrical grid was awarded to a two-year-old company whose financiers have important connections to the Trump administration. It had two employees when the hurricane struck. [Common Dreams]
  • Entrepreneur Elon Musk has followed through on his plan to boost power resources in Puerto Rico after it was devastated by Hurricane Maria. Mr Musk’s firm, Tesla, has set up solar panels and energy storage batteries at Hospital del Niño, a children’s hospital in San Juan. He said on Twitter this was the “first of many” such projects. [BBC News]

Block Island wind farm (Photo: Ionna22, Wikimedia Commons)

  • On Block Island, it used to be that electric clocks could not keep time and appliances that wore out years ahead of schedule because of Block Island’s poor “quality” electricity, running at anywhere from 59 to 61 hz. Now powered almost entirely by wind turbines, the electric grid is not only more reliable, but of higher quality. [Into the Wind]

2017-10-19 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

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, October 12:

Energy Storage

  • MIT researchers have developed an “air-breathing” battery that could store electricity for very long periods for about one-fifth the cost of current technologies, with minimal location restraints and zero emissions. Systems that could store electricity for multiple days to entire seasons would cost about $20 to $30 per kWh of storage capacity. [Gears Of Biz]
  • EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s decision to “withdraw” the Obama-era Clean Power Plan is intended as a sign to coal miners that “the war on coal is over.” Nevertheless, experts are confident the repeal will not bring coal back, and a number of states are continuing to move forward with their own climate change initiatives. [CleanTechnica]

Floating solar array in China (Reuters image)

  • China aims to boost its large-scale energy storage capacity over the next decade, the government’s central planner said, in a major push to deal with stranded renewable power in the west of the country. China generated 5.9 trillion kWh of power in 2016, of which 25.6% came from hydro, wind, nuclear and solar power stations. [Nasdaq]

Friday, October 13:

  • Southern California Gas Co and the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory installed a bioreactor to test power-to-gas technology as a way to store excess renewable power. In the facility, renewable energy produces hydrogen, and archaea microorganisms in the bioreactor consume hydrogen and carbon dioxide to produce methane. [Renewables Now]

Solar power in winter (Photo: 1010uk via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

  • “Pioneering Community Solar in the Granite State” • Legal and regulatory roadblocks forced solar advocates in Keene, New Hampshire, to develop a comprehensive framework for adding a 43-kW rooftop array to Monadnock Food Co-op, whose focus on sustainability and downtown location made it a natural partner. []
  • Queensland’s tender for 400 MW of large-scale renewables and 100 MW of energy storage has received 115 proposals from 79 different entities with a wide range of technologies. Proposals included 2.2 GW of wind, 6.4 GW of solar, around 500 MW of other renewable energy technologies, and 6 GW of energy storage proposals. [Energy Storage News]

Saturday, October 14:

Renewable energy technology (Photo: SolarCity)

  • Congress has approved a loan of nearly $5 billion loan that will further burden the already bankrupt US territory of Puerto Rico. But various solar companies and nonprofits are continuing to work together to offer aid to the storm-ravaged island while also promoting a more sustainable future and resilient energy system. [Common Dreams]
  • California has put its utilities on notice: When you’re putting together your next integrated resource plans, you’d better have non-gas generating options for meeting peak demand. That’s what Governor Jerry Brown mandated to utilities when he signed SB 338 into law yesterday, requiring that peak loads be met by alternatives to fossil fuels. []
  • Wind energy is expected to overtake coal in Texas news that two large coal-fired power plants are set to close in the next year. The utility firm Luminant announced that it would close the Sandow Power Plant and the Big Brown Power Plant in early 2018. The plants have a capacity of 2,300 MW, enough to power 2.1 million Texas homes. [Washington Examiner]

Sunday, October 15:

Solar array seeded with a pollinator habitat by Prairie Restorations, Inc (Photo: Courtesy of PRI)

  • “Clean energy provides jobs boom in state” • Clean Energy Economy Minnesota released an analysis showing that Minnesota gained 2892 clean energy jobs over the last year, a growth rate almost four times faster than the rest of the economy. The clean energy sector now employs over 57,000 people across the state. [St. Cloud Times]
  • “Zombie oil” that ought to stay in the ground is kept alive thanks to federal and state governments feeding it billions of dollars, a study shows. The subsidies are not cash handouts. They’re a mix of tax breaks, tax credits, and regulations that forego government revenue, transfer liability, or provide services at below-market rates. [Motherboard en_us]

The Nuna 9 solar car (Photo: David Mariuz | AAP)

  • A futuristic car that not only uses the sun as power but supplies energy back to the grid has been hailed as “the future” as the annual World Solar Challenge wrapped up in Australia. The Dutch entrant, Nuna 9, won the race for the third-straight time, crossing the finish line after travelling at an average speed of 81.2 kmh (55.5 mph). [The Guardian]

Monday, October 16:

  • The news of Luminant closing coal-burning power plants in Texas boosts the expected capacity of 2018 power plant closures to over 13,600 MW, or a whopping 79% more than the known closures for this year. It is not a record high (nearly 18,000 MW went offline in 2015), but it is clear that Trump administration claims that it will save coal are foundering. [Engadget]

Inside the nacelle of a Vestas turbine (Glen Stubbe | Star Tribune)

  • Wind technician is the fastest growing occupation in the US. As utilities rapidly increase the amount of power they get from wind farms, workers who climb hundreds of feet to keep turbines running smoothly are in high demand. Students in Minnesota’s wind power training programs sometimes get jobs before they graduate. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]
  • The France-based energy giant Total, along with partner energy group Erg, is now looking to expedite the sale of its Italian gas/petrol station network, TotalErg, due to investor worries about the impact of the growing electric vehicle market. TotalErg operates around 2,600 gas/petrol service stations throughout Italy. [CleanTechnica]

Tuesday, October 17:

Large solar array in the Southwest (Credit: Array Technologies Inc)

  • Increasing amounts of renewable energy has sparked worries in the federal government over grid reliability and resilience. But some grid operators are successfully demonstrating that large amounts of intermittent resources can be integrated and sustain system reliability as successfully as, for example, a natural gas plant. [Utility Dive]
  • Arizona had faced some of the nation’s steepest emissions cuts under the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. But Arizona utilities and regulators said they plan to continue working toward the lower carbon emission goals that had been set in the plan, even though EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said this week that the agency is scrapping the program. [Arizona Daily Sun]

Battery storage (AES image)

  • Ireland and Northern Ireland’s integrated electricity system could save €19 million a year from 2019-20 by using battery-based energy storage to stabilize the grid, according to a report by Queen’s University Belfast. It showed that 360 MW of battery storage could provide the same fast frequency response as 3 GW of conventional power. [reNews]

Wednesday, October 18:

AR1500 at MeyGen Phase 1A (Atlantis image)

  • Atlantis Resources has redeployed the fourth and final 1.5MW turbine at its MeyGen Phase 1A tidal array in the Pentland Firth in waters off northern Scotland. Following final completion testing, MeyGen Phase 1A is expected to formally complete its construction phase. It should enter into its 25-year operational phase within the coming weeks. [reNews]
  • Over a quarter of the 1,675 companies that owned or developed coal-fired power capacity since 2010 have entirely left the coal power business, according to research from CoalSwarm and Greenpeace. This represents nearly 370 large coal-fired power plants, and equivalent to nearly half a trillion dollars in assets retired or not developed. []

The final turbine being put into place at the wind farm

  • The world’s first floating wind farm is being opened today in waters off the northeast coast of Scotland. The £210 million ($277 million) development, which will be opened by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, is a partnership between Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable power company, and Norwegian energy giant Statoil. It will power about 20,000 homes. [The Scotsman]

2017-10-12 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

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, October 5:

Solar power in China

  • Solar energy was the fastest-growing source of electric power last year, a new International Energy Agency report said, amid the “birth of a new era” for the renewable energy sector. Last year was the first time solar energy growth had surpassed any other fuel as a source of power, the report said, surpassing the net growth in coal. [Deutsche Welle]
  • China accounted for more than 40% of capacity growth in renewable energy in 2016, and this was in a record year for worldwide renewables, according to an International Energy Agency study. Last year, new solar capacity around the world grew by 50%, reaching more than 74 GW, with China accounting for almost half of that expansion. [China Daily]
  • American Wind Energy Association’s CEO Tom Kiernan appeared before the House Energy and Commerce Committee where he said that, thanks to technological advances, wind farms are now competitive with other energy technologies with regard to reliability and resiliency. AWEA endorsed market-based solutions. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Friday, October 6:

Transmission lines (Image: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire)

  • The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis has released a report documenting the gathering momentum of the disruption of the electricity markets by renewables. It describes impacts of renewable resources on electricity prices as a key driver of this change, and provides eleven case studies revealing the trend. [RenewEconomy]
  • The California ISO identified eight trends shaping the power sector. Those trends include energy efficiency, decline of gas-fired generation, growth of wind and solar, and decarbonization. The grid operator called for a reduction in fossil-fuel use and a focus on regulatory policy to use clean energy resources to base operations. [Utility dive]

Wind turbines (Photo: Ian Rutherford)

  • Wind turbines generated over twice as much power as Scotland needed on October 2. WWF Scotland analyzed wind power data and found that wind turbines in Scotland provided 86,467 MWh of electricity to the National Grid on that day. Scotland’s total electricity consumption, including homes, business and industry, for the day was 41,866 MWh. [The Scotsman]

Saturday, October 7:

  • Secretary of Energy Rick Perry addressed his agency’s recent proposed rule to provide cost recovery for baseload coal and nuclear generators, saying it is “not a directive” for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Washington Examiner reports. FERC Commissioner Robert Powelson said he would quit before voting for the rule. [Utility Dive]

Elon Musk at the unveiling of the Big Battery (Screenshot from Tesla presentation video)

  • Elon Musk did not need 100 days after obtaining a connection agreement to switch on the Tesla big battery in South Australia. The battery was up and running, providing power for unveiling the first demonstration, less than 100 minutes after the ink dried on the connection deal. Installation is still continuing, but Elon Musk made his point. [RenewEconomy]
  • The upside of Twitter showed in an exchange between Gov Ricardo Rossello of Puerto Rico, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Gov Rossello was seemingly sending a desperate plea for help to someone increasingly asked for it. He needed support rebuilding the collapsed grid in Puerto Rico. Ever so swiftly, Elon Musk responded positively. [CleanTechnica]

Sunday, October 8:

Cooling towers (Photo: Gerry Machen, CC BY 2.0)

  • The anniversary of the death of St Francis of Assisi saw about 40 Catholic institutions announcing their faith-centric divestment from the fossil fuel industry and its ancillaries. The value of the divestment was not disclosed, but thought to be in the tune of $5.5 trillion. This sum is four times more than any previous church records. [World Religion News]
  • Puerto Rico’s Gov Ricardo Rosselló and Tesla chief Elon Musk had a 25-minute phone conversation in which the two discussed relief efforts as well as Tesla playing a leading role, Rosselló said in an interview with USA TODAY. Teams from Tesla and Puerto Rico’s energy sector will continue the talks early next week, Rosselló said. [USA TODAY]
  • Elizabeth Mine, whose excavations left a moonscape of waste rock and tailings that leached orange effluent into nearby streams, is a “brownfield” that has been transformed into a “greenfield” that will generate 5 MW of electricity. It will power annual needs of about 1,200 Vermont homes for decades to come, its promoters say. [Valley News]

Monday, October 9:

Puerto Rico is in Need

  • An appeal for help for Puerto Rico: Here is a chance to help people stand up to a president who makes light of disaster by throwing out paper towels, a moment right up there with “Let them eat cake.” We are all in this together, and together, we can make things better. Please help Joseph, Rosemary, and their family. [CleanTechnica]
  • Hurricane Nate, which pummeled the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama at Category 1 status early Sunday, has made the 2017 hurricane season one of the worst on record since 1893 and possibly earlier, just in terms of numbers of hurricanes. And US territories have never before been hit by three category 4 storms in one season. [Gizmodo]

Installing a large system in Rwanda (Credit: BBOXX)

  • Some 1.2 billion people around the world have no access to electric power. In Rwanda, for example, less than 20% of the population live in homes that enjoy electricity, a fact that stymies development and reinforces poverty. It is a huge problem, but to some people, it is a statistic that rings not of hopelessness, but of opportunity. [BBC News]

Tuesday, October 10:

Iowa wind turbines (Photo: Zach Boyden-Holmes | The Register)

  • EPA head Scott Pruitt’s plan to repeal the Clean Power Plan is unlikely to stop Iowa’s nation-leading adoption of wind energy, say environmental advocates, electric associations, and a number of government leaders. Iowa’s attorney general said he and other states’ attorneys general plan to challenge Pruitt’s efforts in court. []
  • In South Australia, a record was set with 47.8% of the state’s electricity demand being met by rooftop solar systems. This was a result of low grid demand, during a weekend with moderate early spring temperatures, with few air conditioners switched on, combined with excellent rooftop solar output, producing a stunning 538.54 MW. [CleanTechnica]

Offshore wind farm (Credit: © StockphotoVideo | Fotolia)

  • There is considerable opportunity for generating wind power in the open ocean, according to research from the Carnegie Institution for Science published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In wintertime, North Atlantic wind farms could provide sufficient energy to meet all of civilization’s current needs. [Science Daily]

Wednesday, October 11:

Lapeer solar farm (DTE image)

  • Michigan, which experiences harsh, cold winters, is now home to a 200,000 panel solar array on a 250-acre site. The Lapeer solar park is operational and generating enough renewable energy to power 11,000 homes. It is one of the largest utility-owned solar parks east of the Mississippi River, Detroit based DTE Energy said in a statement. [CNBC]
  • “What’s the Real Story on the Future of Coal?” • Analysis from the Union of Concerned Scientists tracks the changes in the nation’s fleet of 1,256 coal-fired electric generating units from 2008 to 2016, and concludes that 38% of the nation’s coal generating capacity is less economic to run than alternatives. [Union of Concerned Scientists]
  • A public-private partnership is pushing ahead with plans to build the nation’s largest wind farm, the second largest in the world, in western Oklahoma. The 2,000-MW Wind Catcher Energy Connection Project is a collaborative venture by Invenergy, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company. [KUAR]