April 28 Energy News

April 28, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ A new record for train speed was recently set in Japan by the company Central Japan Railway… Twice in the same week, actually. Breaking a twelve year old record, the train made it to a speed of 590 km/h (366.6 milers per hour). A couple of days later, the train managed to hit 603 km/h (374.7 miles per hour). [CleanTechnica]

Maglev train in Japan

Maglev train in Japan

¶ Utility distribution microgrids are emerging as a new platform that can accommodate innovative technology while also opening up alternative business models for utilities as the energy industry transforms. In short, microgrids optimize and aggregate diverse resources and allow for two-way exchanges. [Intelligent Utility]


¶ US denial propagandists, funded by conventional energy companies and a foundation controlled by a conservative petrochemical billionaire, will try to persuade the Vatican that global warming does not exist. It is a counter-event for a summit on climate change being held by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Chairman of the Carbon Trust and former chairman of Shell UK James Smith called on oil and gas companies to “change profoundly over the next couple of decades … if costly climate damage is to be avoided.” He said companies based on fossil fuels need to begin “tackling climate change” sooner, rather than later. [CleanTechnica]

¶ According to the Japanese industry ministry, nuclear power is the most cost-effective method of generating electricity, even when factoring in increased safety fees, accident compensation and other related expenses following the Fukushima Disaster. They base this on the assumption that plants have become safer. [Asahi Shimbun] (No need to comment.)

¶ Reliance Power Ltd exited a proposed $5.7 billion power and coal mine project in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand after failing to secure land. Reliance Power failed to get land for six years after winning a tariff bid for the 3,960-megawatt project. The company will instead focus on renewable energy, it said. [Bloomberg]

¶ British financial services company HSBC, in a research report, The Rise of Renewables, says renewable energy is becoming mainstream, as the world shifts from “green idealism” to “hard economics.” Now, on the merits of costs, green technology will win out over fossil fuels, whose assets will be stranded. [RenewEconomy]

¶ An Australian energy scientist says if extreme weather events become more frequent, homes and communities may need to investigate back-up power supplies. Last week, at the height a storm, more than 200,000 homes across the Hunter Region lost power. Around 10,000 homes still have no electricity. [ABC Online]

¶ In a first for South Africa, Calgro M3 is soon to launch a subsidiary that will operate completely off the national electricity grid, by generating its own renewable energy to run all aspects of the business, including that subsidiary’s administration office. The issue is a reliable supply of electric power. [www.sagoodnews.co.za]


¶ Capitol Reef National Park, located in south-central Utah, has been called a hidden treasure, featuring cliffs, domes and bridges in the Waterpocket Fold. But according to the National Parks Service, the view of the park could be better, so it is pressing for a crackdown on emissions at two coal-fired power plants. [Utah Public Radio]

The Environmental Protection Agency is aiming for natural visibility conditions by 2064. photo from the National Parks Service

The Environmental Protection Agency is aiming for natural visibility conditions by 2064. Photo from the National Parks Service

¶ An advanced flow battery system has been established at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia. The system is from ViZn Energy Systems, based in Kalispell, Montana. The microgrid-scale system uses non-acid Zinc/Iron chemistry. ViZn batteries are made as 80-kW/160-kWh and 1-MW/3-MWh. [CleanTechnica]

¶ AES Energy Storage unveiled a portion of its deployment roadmap, which includes the addition of battery-based storage resources across the US, South America, and Europe. Projects in construction or late stage development are expected to deliver 260 MW of interconnected battery-based energy storage. [AltEnergyMag]

¶ The US DOE announced its 2014 Hydropower Market Report, the first ever report of its type on hydropower in the US. The report says most hydropower projects built over the past decade have added electric generating equipment to dams that were previously not powered. There is 77 GW of available resources. [HydroWorld]

¶ The US has taken another big step in the transition beyond coal to clean energy as the nation’s first offshore wind project broke ground. It is being installed off Block Island, 12 miles off the coast of Rhode Island. This project will provide 30 MW, enough for the island’s residents, cutting their electric bills 40%. [Huffington Post]

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