May 8 Energy News

May 8, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ For the first time, the global average concentration of CO2 has surpassed 400 ppm for an entire month. NOAA’s lead greenhouse gas scientist pointed out that humans burning fossil fuels have caused global carbon dioxide levels to rise more than 120 ppm since pre-industrial times, with half of that since 1980.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ Grid operators have overcome the technical barriers to integrating 30% solar PV or 40% wind on their systems. Now only the economics stand in the way, because the value of renewables to utilities can decline as their penetrations increase. But, new research shows that barrier could be ready to crumble as well. [Utility Dive]


¶ Unconventional drilling (ie, fracking) creates a huge amount of waste, some of which is being sprayed onto farmer’s fields. The most economical disposal method is to dump the waste on agricultural land. This includes the grasslands, where animals graze, and crop lands. The waste also is spread into water. [CleanTechnica]

Fracking waste being spread on Albertan fields; natural gas facility fracking at Rosebud, Alberta  

Fracking waste being spread on Albertan fields near a natural gas facility fracking at Rosebud, Alberta

¶ Germany’s anticipated installation figures for offshore wind this year are 2071 MW, nearly four times the country’s 529 MW installed during 2014, according to GlobalData, a global research and consulting firm. The report details the global quarterly intake for wind turbines, both onshore and offshore. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Chinese system of power generation is turning green far more quickly than any other system of comparable size on the planet. Fossil fuel use has begun to decline, and though nuclear power growing, its growth is very slow compared to renewable power. Solar alone added more than nuclear last year. [Project Syndicate]

¶ The Australian government and Labor are agreeing on revisions to the Renewable Energy Target that would cut the large-scale RET down to 33,000 GWh in 2020 from 41,000 GWh. The small-scale RET, which supports rooftop solar PV and also solar and heat-pump water heaters, would be left untouched. [Business Spectator]
… However, the deal to end the lengthy stand-off over Australia’s renewable energy target hit a dramatic late hitch after Labor accused the Coalition of trying to include the burning of wood waste as a renewable energy source. The government introduced the idea as a last-minute amendment. [The Guardian]

¶ SheerWind Inc, a developer of wind-power systems based in Chaska, Minnesota, has signed a licensing agreement that will allow its technology to be marketed in Denmark. The agreement is with E-Venturi, and the first pilot project is expected to be built in Denmark before the end of the year. [AltEnergyMag]

¶ Italy’s biggest utility will invest 27% more in renewable energy in the years ahead even as a slump in oil prices makes it more difficult for solar and wind power to compete with fossil fuels on price. Enel Green Power SpA plans to increase annual capital spending to €2.1 billion through 2017, up from €1.66 in 2014. [Bloomberg]

¶ The French nuclear power dynamo has started to stall. New plants meant to showcase the industry’s most advanced technology are years behind schedule and billions of euros over budget. Worse, recently discovered problems at one site have raised new doubts about when, or even if, they will be completed. [New York Times]


¶ Bank of America, one of the largest banks in the United States, has decided to slash its financing for coal mining projects, as it now considers the sector as a “highly risky” one to invest on. The bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility executive said the decision has been made an ongoing policy on the sector. []

Bank of America considers the coal sector too risky.

Bank of America considers the coal sector too risky.

¶ The hoopla around Tesla’s battery continues apace, with Tesla founder and chairman Elon Musk saying that demand for the stationary energy storage is “just nutty,” and the Powerwall home system is already sold out through mid-2016. Tesla has already received about 38,000 sales reservations. [RenewEconomy]

¶ A group of solar energy advocates interrupted Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good’s opening remarks at the company’s annual meeting. Hulking security guards escorted them out, but the protest continued from stockholders. Duke’s CEO pointed out that the company had closed coal-burning plants and is taking up solar. [WFAE]

¶ In Colorado, UnitedWind, a Brooklyn-based company expanding to the West, partners with national banks to provide financing for everyday people who want to harvest the wind. The company works with homeowners, farms, and businesses. If you want your own wind turbine, you can lease it and get the profit. [CBS Local]



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