December 1 Energy News

December 1, 2014


¶   “Oil price slump to trigger new US debt default crisis as OPEC waits” By encouraging ever more drilling in pursuit of lower oil prices, the US DOE has unleashed a potential economic monster and pitched heavily debt-laden shale oil drilling companies into an impossible battle for market share against some of the world’s most powerful low-cost producers. [The Telegraph]

Science and Technology:

¶   Climate change will be the cause of roughly 250,000 “extra” deaths a year by 2030, according to a recent report from the World Health Organization on climate change and human health. Of this figure, about 48,000 will be from diarrhea; 60,000 from malaria; 95,000 from under-nutrition during childhood; and 38,000 from heat exposure. [CleanTechnica]


¶   EON SE, Germany’s largest utility, will break itself up, spinning off fossil fuel power plants into a separate company so it can focus on renewable energy. EON also announced it will write down the value of assets by €4.5 billion, leading to a substantial full-year loss. Even so, the shares had the largest jump in more than two years on the plan. [Businessweek]

¶   West Australian Energy Minister Mike Nahan has instructed the state-owned utility Horizon Power to investigate renewables-based micro-grids as a means of providing cheaper and more reliable power to regional areas. Nahan had been a fierce critic of renewables, but says the stretched-out grid is too expensive and unreliable. [RenewEconomy]

¶   Scientists using a comprehensive computer model that simulates German energy supply and demand say they have demonstrated that there are several economically viable ways to achieve a low-carbon future, using existing technologies. They used real data from 2011 and 2012 and ran millions of simulations to optimize the model. [New York Times]

¶   After Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the country should consider nuclear power, Prime Minister Tony Abbott declared he had no objection. “If we are to dramatically reduce emissions, we have to remember that the one absolutely proven way of generating emissions-free baseload power is through nuclear,” he said. [Perth Now]


¶   New utility-scale solar projects in the US are being installed much more slowly than in 2013, with new capacity down 31% year on year, according to the Federal Electricity Regulatory Commission. In the first ten months of 2014, just 1,801 MW of utility-scale solar projects were installed, compared to 2,628 MW in the first ten months of 2013. [CleanTechnica]

¶   National Grid has filed comments on the EPA’s Clean Energy Power Plan and issued a statement supporting the proposed regulations, which aim to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing power plants. National Grid US president Tom King. says expanding access to energy efficiency was an especially exciting aspect of the plan. [PennEnergy]

¶   The East Texas Electric Cooperative and Northeast Texas Electric Cooperative joined forces to bring renewable wind energy to power up to 56,000 homes. The member-owned electric cooperatives signed Renewable Energy Purchase Agreements for wind generation from Apex Clean Energy subsidiary Grant Wind LLC. [Tyler Morning Telegraph]

¶   A competitive lease sale of 742,000 acres off the coast of Massachusetts will be offered for commercial wind energy development on January 29, 2015. According to the US DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the area could provide up to 5 GW, enough electricity to power over 1.4 million homes, or half the homes in Massachusetts. [Oliver Reports]

¶   Michigan’s two largest utilities are mounting a major public relations effort to make legislators and electric customers aware that a shortage of power generation reserve could occur starting in 2016. The utilities blame the planned retirement of nine coal-fired power plants in Michigan over the next two years. [Crain’s Detroit Business]

¶   A new report found that better energy storage could significantly increase the use of renewable energy in the United States. The study also urges the development of hybrid systems in which one form of renewable energy, such as solar, is available while the other, such as wind, is minimal. Such systems are already in use in a number of places around the world. [SmartMeters]

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