December 10 Energy News

December 10, 2014

Science and Technology:

¶   Vitruvian Energy has a waste-to-energy project, converting sewage treatment biosolids and other organic waste into ethyl-3-ethoxybutyrate (EEB). EEB can be blended at rates up to 20% in gas and diesel engines without any modification to the engine. In some cases it can be used straight as a fuel for generating electricity. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Yet another scientific study has undermined one of the shoutiest claims of the anti-wind movement – that inaudible sound waves (or infrasound) emitted by wind turbines causes people living close by to wind farms to get sick, with a litany of symptoms ranging from anxiety and migraine to heart disease. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Proponents of carbon capture and storage (CCS) say it is the only feasible way to mitigate climate change because coal and natural gas are cheap. A study has now revealed how much it CCS would cost. It would be $17.6 trillion for the initial investment, and CCS power plants will use 10% to 40% more energy than non-CCS ones. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶   Danish turbine manufacturer Vestas has signed a memorandum of understanding with Vietnam’s Phu Cuong Group to develop a 170-MW wind farm. The project will be sited in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang and is Phu Cuong Group’s first venture in a pipeline of 800 MW. [reNews]

¶   Canada’s carbon pollution target for 2020 could have been nearly met if the country had widely implemented some successful regional policies six years ago, a report suggests. The report comes on the heels of a warning from Environment Canada that the country will only get halfway to its 17% reduction goal. [CBC.ca]

¶   A tire-fueled plant at Avonmouth, near the English city of Bristol, looks set to be given the green light. It would grind tires into crumb form, with the solid waste then converted into liquid petroleum gas, synthetic diesel oil and carbon black. Electricity also produced from the waste tires would supply power to more than 10,000 homes. [Insider Media]

¶   Oil prices have plummeted in recent months, from $115 a barrel in June to less than $70. That dramatic shift could increase greenhouse gas emissions in the short term, as consumers take advantage of cheap fuel. It also gives policymakers a “golden opportunity” to scrap fossil fuel subsidies and bring in carbon pricing. [RTCC]

¶   Official National Grid figures showed that on Sunday 7 December an average of 7.315 GW of power was produced by wind farms, beating the previous record of 7.234 GW set on 3 January this year. This means around 43% of all homes were powered by wind that day, trade body RenewableUK said. [Business Green]

¶   The German government aims to shut down the country’s nuclear power plants by 2022. The expansion of the renewable energy sector is proceeding at full speed as wholesale electricity prices slump. Conventional power is unprofitable. Operators of conventional plants are making losses amounting to billions of euros. [Deutsche Welle]

US:

¶   The US installed 1,354 MW of solar PV in the third quarter of 2014, up 41% over the same period last year. The country’s cumulative solar PV capacity is now 16.1 GW. The US residential segment exceeded 300 MW for the first time for the quarter, with more than half coming online without any state incentives to help it along. [CleanTechnica]

¶   In the first major congressional call on the EPA to further strengthen the proposed Clean Power Plan from its existing targets, a group of eleven Senators emphasized that it is essential for the plan to hit the target levels of emissions reductions necessary to avoid the most harmful effects of climate change. [Eurasia Review]

¶   While coal-powered mines are still the number 1 source for electricity in North Dakota, wind energy is closing the gap. Basin Electric Cooperative co-op members decided to produce 10% of their power with renewables, and within a few years went past that threshold to 19%. Now, 13% of their power is from wind and close to 6% from hydro. [Tribune-Review]

¶   A large farm in western Michigan plans to start producing electricity from manure produced by its 3,000-plus dairy cows. MLive.com reports that Sustainable Partners LLC says it has been selected to build a 1.4 MW anaerobic digester at Beaver Creek Farm in Coopersville at a cost of over $8 million. [Greenfield Daily Reporter]

¶   E.ON is spinning off its fossil fuel plants. In the US, costs of solar and wind energy are dropping fast, and customers are getting control of their electricity usage, putting utilities on the defensive. Some US power companies might embrace change as E.ON has. Although not a regulated utility, NRG Energy may be closest. [Greentech Media]

¶  Mary Powell, President & CEO of Green Mountain Power, Vermont’s largest utility, was just named Power-Gen 2014 Woman of the Year. Judges selected Powell because of how she has advanced the power generation industry, the positive impact she has made on her community, and her leadership. [Marketwired]

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