April 4 Energy News

April 4, 2015

Opinion:

¶ “Fission may fizzle as nuclear power reacts to economics” Proponents of the nuclear power sector say their technology is the perfect way to fill a void as coal plants close. But they also acknowledge that in the age of cheap natural gas, the economic headwinds might be too strong to allow a nuclear renaissance. [Houston Chronicle]

World:

Energy is a key issue in the election

Energy is a key issue in the election

¶ Energy was identified as a key issue in A Manifesto for Yorkshire, published by The Yorkshire Post to ensure this region’s challenges are addressed in the election campaign. The manifesto calls for the next Government to support the Humber’s ambition to become the Silicon Valley of the offshore wind industry. [Yorkshire Post]

¶ The World Bank is supporting Kenya’s efforts to improve the quality of electricity supply for its citizens with a loan of $457.5 million. The country is working on solar, nuclear, wind, and geothermal power sources. It is drilling one of the world’s biggest geothermal wells (about 50 wells have been sunk). [Ventures Africa]

¶ The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis estimates that the share of coal-generated electricity in China will decline from 72.5% in 2014 to 60% in 2020. While last year’s drop in coal use may have been a technical blip, Chinese coal consumption is expected to peak very soon, probably next year. [Journal of Turkish Weekly]

¶ The sharp drop off of drilling activity in the offshore oil and gas industry, including the UK’s North Sea, means offshore services contractors are now seriously under-employed. Day rates have been dramatically reduced. And industry experts predict the capital expenditures savings could be in the order of 15-20%. [Proactive Investors UK]

US:

¶ Since President Obama took office, solar electricity generation has increased 20 fold, doubling last year alone. The solar industry is adding good-paying jobs 10 times faster than the rest of the economy. The Administration intends to drive growth in the solar industry further while also supporting our veterans. [Imperial Valley News]

Prairie - CC BY 2.0 Joshua Mayer

Prairie – CC BY 2.0 Joshua Mayer

¶ A new study from researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison shows that corn and soy, two crops commonly used for biofuels, are expanding into previously un-farmed prairie. Ethanol has driven up the domestic demand for corn. In 2014, over 40% of corn grown in the US was used to make ethanol. [Treehugger]

¶ California broke ground Tuesday on its $68 billion high-speed rail method, promising to combat international warming while whisking travelers among Los Angeles and San Francisco in much less than 3 hours. The train is a step toward California getting half its power from renewable power by 2030. [Connecticut Bulletin Standard]

¶ Minnesota Power reported 2014 energy savings in its annual Conservation Improvement Program filing. Total energy saved in 2014 was 2.5% of eligible retail sales, well above the state goal of 1.5%. Minnesota Power has delivered at or above the 1.5% savings target since the goal went into effect in 2010. [Herald Review]

¶ Some Florida lawmakers and lobbyists say that anyone who has attempted to expand the rooftop solar industry has been ostracized. The reason, they say, is that Florida’s largest utilities have invested heavily in state political campaigns; they have put $12 million into the campaigns of state lawmakers since 2010. [TBO.com]

¶ Research from Duke University on jobs relating to electricity production says jobs based on coal declined by nearly 50,000 from 2008 to 2012. The figures for coal are probably even starker since 2012, as the rate of coal plant retirement has increased. During the same period, wind and solar added about 79,000 jobs. [Greentech Media]

¶ New wind turbine technology is a game changer for clean energy opportunities. Taller turbines and longer blades are capable of capturing more wind, which results in generating more electricity and reducing costs. In just five years, wind turbines have greatly evolved and are now more suitable for the South. [Clean Energy News]

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