December 4 Energy News

December 4, 2014

Science and Technology:

¶   This year is on track to be one of the hottest, if not the hottest, year on record, a UN agency reported Wednesday. The head of the World Meteorological Organization pointed out that provisional information for 2014 means that 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all occurred in the 21st century, adding “There is no standstill in global warming.” [CNN]

¶   Toshiba Corporation announced the development of a new technology that uses solar energy to generate carbon compounds from CO2 and water, and to deliver a viable chemical feedstock or fuel with potential for use in industry. Toshiba introduced the technology at the 2014 International Conference on Artificial Photosynthesis. []


¶   The European wind market is expected to stabilise this year, after a decline in 2013, with a 2.5% year-over-year growth. And while short-term outlooks for Europe’s wind energy industry show declining wind demand, consulting firm MAKE believe that, in the long term, the European wind market will grow 2.1% per year between 2014 to 2023. [CleanTechnica]

¶   A recent Pembina Institute fact sheet discusses how wind energy is subsidizing Albertan ratepayers. During 2013, the average price for wind energy was 5.5¢ in Alberta, lower than hydro (9.8¢), natural gas (8.3¢), coal (7.7¢), and peaker (21.4¢). Generators usually prefer natural gas to wind because the profit margin is bigger and revenues are more certain. [CleanTechnica]

¶   A short-circuit has impaired part of a nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine, causing power shortages in parts of the country but putting no one in danger of radiation, the country’s newly appointed energy minister said Wednesday. Emergency repairs should be finished by Friday, according to the Energy Ministry. [CNN]

¶   Environmental groups are demanding tighter rules on climate finance for poor nations after an Associated Press investigation showed Japan bankrolled coal-fired power plants with money earmarked for fighting global warming. Japan included $1 billion in loans for new coal plants in the climate finance it reported to the UN in 2010-12. [Daily Journal]

¶   Solar power will prosper without subsidies in Britain as early as 2020, says a report which used the experience of Germany to project the outlook for solar costs in Britain and impacts on utilities. In 2015, solar PVs will overtake both gas and coal to become the number one generating technology in annual installations. [AltEnergyMag]

¶   Irish energy emissions decreased significantly last year, resulting in a slight overall reduction in the country’s production of greenhouse gases. Energy sector emissions decreased by 11.1% due to greater use of power from renewable resources like wind and biomass. This was mostly offset by emissions increases in other sectors. [Irish Examiner]

¶   The German government adopted a broad catalog of energy measures, ranging from new subsidies for homeowners who insulate their houses to mandatory emissions cuts for energy producers. Berlin said the steps would ensure Germany meets its target of cutting CO2 emissions by 40% from their 1990 level by 2020. [Wall Street Journal]


¶   A major new petroleum industry campaign is afoot to shoot down clean energy regulations in all three West Coast states, which is no surprise because that’s what the US petroleum industry should be doing in the face of a shrinking domestic market. While the “oil conspiracy” may meet with some short term success, it’s not going to hold up for long. [CleanTechnica]

¶   As opposition grows against the coal plant bailout cases before the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, Sierra Club is blanketing the state again with ads slamming state utilities for trying to prop up their outdated plants by increasing customers’ bills. Three utilities are requesting bailouts for all of Ohio’s remaining coal plants. [RenewablesBiz]

¶   US lawmakers today voted to reinstate renewable energy tax credits through the end of 2014, rather than a multi-year extension as the wind power sector and others had urged. The production tax credit expired in 2013. The House voted 378-46 in favor of the one-year extenders package and sent the legislation to the US Senate. [reNews]

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