April 11 Energy News

April 11, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ CyboEnergy, based in Rancho Cordova, California, patented a solar power mini-Inverter that it says has the key merits of both central inverters and microinverters. The inverter design has multiple input channels, solving partial shading problems and making rooftop solar safer to install and operate. [WebWire]

¶ A study in Nature Climate Change shows that electric vehicle batteries have been getting cheaper much faster than expected. From 2007 to 2011, average battery costs for battery-powered electric vehicles fell by about 14% a year. The cost of batteries is about what the International Energy Agency predicted for 2020. [UK Progressive Magazine]

World:

Solar farm in India

Solar farm in India

¶ Renewables 2014, the global status report on renewable energy by the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century, says that the “evolution of renewable energy over the past decade has surpassed all expectations.” It makes clear that India has become a significant player in the emerging sector. [The Hindu]

¶ US President Barack Obama met with Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís Friday at the Summit of the Americas. The two leaders briefly discussed climate change and renewable energy, among other topics. Solís noted that Costa Rica has produced all of its electricity this year through renewable power. [The Tico Times]

¶ A robot designed to withstand high levels of radiation was sent to inspect a reactor’ containment vessel at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. It stopped responding three hours into the operation. TEPCO hoped to take a look inside the vessel containing one of the three reactors that had meltdown. [Sputnik International]

US:

The 2010 BP Disaster. US Coast Guard Photo

The 2010 BP Disaster. US Coast Guard Photo

¶ The Obama administration is planning to impose a major new regulation on offshore oil and gas drilling to try to prevent the kind of explosions that caused the catastrophic BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, administration officials said Friday. The announcement will be made on the anniversary of the event. [New York Times]

¶ A report, “The Economics of Load Defection,” examines the economics for commercial and residential customers in five US markets. It shows that grid-connected solar-storage systems are already more cost-effective than grid-supplied electricity in places with high electric costs, and increasingly so in others. [Energy Collective]

¶ Indiana added 59 MW of solar electric capacity in 2014, bringing its total to 112 MW. That is enough clean energy to power more than 12,000 homes, and is nearly as much as the entire country had installed by 2004. It was the second straight year in which over 50 MW of solar capacity was installed in the state. [RealEstateRama]

¶ There is a magical place in California called the Geysers, a natural wonder spanning 45 square miles of geothermal hot springs fed by the Earth’s molten core. Harnessed as a power plant, the site is the world’s largest geothermal electricity production facility, providing energy for parts of the North Bay area. [SFGate]

¶ The electricity and natural gas savings from efficiency surpassed the 2010-2012 energy-savings goals of the California Public Utilities Commission and the state’s four large investor-owned utilities themselves. The programs paid for themselves and put more than $750 million back into consumers’ pockets. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

¶ With the lesson of Hurricane Sandy in mind, New York aims to get ahead on adapting to climate change by modernizing and integrating renewables into its power grid and making its infrastructure better able to withstand extreme weather. Its smart grid research is likely to influence the rest of the country. [Tribune-Review]

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