March 20 Energy News

March 20, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ If you live on the East Coast of the United States, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has just released some statistics that may surprise you: Globally, this has been the hottest winter on record, topping the previous record (2007) by 0.05°F. Only the East Coast of the US was below average. [ThinkProgress]

¶ Wave power company Aquamarine Power has claimed “exceptional results” following lengthy sea trials of its Oyster 800 wave machine. The Edinburgh-based firm spent months testing the device at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney. It said operational data verified engineering projections. [BBC]

¶ Solar Impulse 2 landed in Myanmar on Thursday night, the latest leg of a round-the-world trip aimed at highlighting clean energy. Dozens of trees had to be cleared for its giant mobile hangar. Towering shrubs along the runway also needed to be trimmed to accommodate the plane’s 72-meter wing span. [CT Post]


¶ The Latin American country of Costa Rica has achieved the milestone of generating 100% of its energy from renewable resources, with a combination of hydropower and geothermal, for 75 days in a row. About 13% of the energy came from geothermal in 2010, and the country is building more plants. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The worldwide capacity of distributed energy storage systems is expected to increase nearly 10-fold over the next 3 years, according to a new report from Navigant Research, which analyzed the global market for distributed energy storage systems through 2024. This results partly from rapid innovation. [CleanTechnica]

¶ At its Annual Account Press Conference 2015, the BMW Group announced that, for the first time in the history of the Group, 51% of its electricity worldwide is being supplied from renewable sources. BMW has a goal of increasing the share of renewable energy to 100% over the coming years. [The FINANCIAL]

¶ The first major eclipse of the solar age is placing unprecedented strain on Europe’s electricity grids this morning as power panels switch off and then on again, as the moon blocks about 80% of the sun’s light across Europe from about 8 am to 11 am London time. This is particularly important in Germany. [Bloomberg] (Spoiler: the grid did fine.)

¶ The Australian Industry Minister offered the Clean Energy Council, which represents renewables producers, 1000 GWh hours more for large-scale renewable power generation by 2020. He said it was his final offer and he would not go higher. The opposition rejected the compromise as too low. [The Australian]

¶ The Japanese Environment Ministry has selected three offshore wind energy sites with combined capacity of 1.42 GW to help increase renewable power. Iwate Prefecture and the town of Hirono were selected to study community acceptance and environmental impact of a 200 MW offshore wind farm. [Climate Action Programme]

¶ TEPCO said almost all the nuclear fuel in the No. 1 reactor at the Fukushima plant likely melted in the Fukushima Disaster. The plant operator said that internal observations using cosmic rays reinforce earlier suspicions that all the fuel had melted and dropped to the bottom of the containment vessel. [Asahi Shimbun]


¶ Growing by 105%, New York had the seventh most new solar capacity added last year in the nation, according to the recently-released US Solar Market Insight 2014 Year in Review. New York added 147 MW of solar electric capacity, bringing its total to 397 MW, enough to supply about 70,000 homes. [AltEnergyMag]

Omega Center for Sustainable Living at Rhinebeck, New York. Photo by Andy Milford from Dahlonega, GA. From Wikimedia Commons.

Omega Center for Sustainable Living at Rhinebeck, New York. Photo by Andy Milford from Dahlonega, GA. From Wikimedia Commons.

¶ A little-known solar financing plan will benefit Massachusetts taxpayers and low-income tenants with $60 million over two decades. SunEdison solar arrays will provide 39.5 MW of nameplate capacity at ten Massachusetts locations. The net metering credits they earn will be credited sixteen housing authorities. [NewEnergyNews]

¶ Philip Morris USA is partnering with Dominion Virginia Power under the Solar Partnership Program to produce the largest solar installation undertaken in Virginia so far. Dominion is installing about 8,000 ground-mounted solar panels at the PM USA facility in Chesterfield County to build 2,450 kW solar farm. [RenewablesBiz]

¶ President Obama ordered the federal government to cut its emissions of greenhouse gases by 40% and ramp up use of renewable energy sources to 30% of the federal government’s consumption. The White House said taxpayers could save up to $18 billion in electricity costs while reducing greenhouse gases. [SFGate]

¶ A conference at the University of Vermont March 23 and 24, “Power from the North,” will put context around the questions of where Vermont and New England’s growing need for power will be satisfied. Quebec has abundant power, but there are political, environmental, economic and policy issues to examine. [Vermont Biz]

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