May 4 Energy News

May 4, 2015

Science and Technology:

E. coli exists in a wide variety of strains, some of which are beginning to pop up in renewable fuel and “green” chemical applications. One of these is involved in a new artificial photosynthesis study from UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The basic concept is to mimic natural photosynthesis. [CleanTechnica]

How the artificial leaf works.

How the artificial leaf works.


¶ According to analysis by the conservation charity of WeatherEnergy data, for Scottish homes with PV panels, there was enough sunshine last month to meet 113% of the power needs of an average home in Edinburgh. In Aberdeen, Glasgow and Inverness the percentage was 111%, 106%, 104%, respectively. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ A report from the French government’s environment and energy agency body that showed shifting to 100% renewable energy by 2050 is feasible. The report found it would cost little more than the existing 75% nuclear power supply. But the case for 100% renewables is not being discussed by the government. [Green Left Weekly]

¶ Research from commercial law firm EMW shows that 20,655 green energy patents were filed globally in 2014, for solar power, wind energy, biofuels and waste-generated energy – down from 35,590 in 2012. EMW said this sharp decline has been mainly caused by oversupply in the solar panel market. [The Guardian]

¶ The government of Bangladesh is considering amending its policy on renewable energy to increase use of solar and wind power by allowing private businesses to own large power plants. Large solar and wind power plants can be set up only on government lands under existing regulations. That may soon change. [Financial Express Bangladesh]

¶ Brown coal’s share of the main Australian electricity grid has surged to its highest level since September 2012, increasing the sector’s greenhouse gas emissions. The data came as climate change ministers from around the country met to discuss how state governments might co-operate on emissions. [Sydney Morning Herald]

Australian coal plant.

Australian coal plant.

¶ The Australian federal government could agree to a higher renewable energy target before the end of the week as it finds itself isolated on the issue and sees a need to bring uncertainty to an end. Cabinet is likely to discuss the matter now that the Labor leader agreed to accept a 2020 target of 30,000 GWh. [The Australian Financial Review]

¶ The International Atomic Energy Agency delayed a report about meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to give Japanese officials another chance to explain radiation leaking into the Pacific Ocean. The IAEA’s report on plans to decommission the stricken reactors will be published in “mid-May.” [Bloomberg]


¶ In Northern California, there lies a relic from the heyday of US nuclear power, shut down in 1976. The remaining cost to decommission the plant will be about $441 million, according to its owner, PG&E Corp. Nuclear operators are supposed to lay up enough money to cover the costs, but most haven’t. [The Japan Times]

Humbolt Bay Power Plant. Photo from the US Department of Energy.

Humbolt Bay Power Plant. Photo from the US Department of Energy.

¶ NextEra Energy Resources has been awarded a bid to develop solar power array projects in New Mexico. The two projects include a 50-MW solar array on 640 acres in Doña Ana County, and a second array, expected to be the largest in the state, will generate 150 MW, on 2,770 acres in Otero County. [Las Cruces Sun-News]

¶ A number of billionaires are committed to carbon-free energy. Warren Buffett invested $15 billion in solar and wind energy by early 2014. Ted Turner is working with coal-heavy Southern Company to acquire solar and wind plants. Philip Anschutz is working on a 3,000-MW wind farm in Wyoming. [Independent Online]

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