May 31 Energy News

May 31, 2015

Book Review:

¶ In a new book, noted environmentalist Lester Brown says the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy will happen much faster than expected.“I think we’re going to see a half-century of change compressed into the next decade,” he says. “And this is partly because the market is beginning to drive this transition.” [PRI]

An electricity power plant smokestack in Berlin, Germany. Photo by Jorge Royan. Wikimedia Commons

An electricity power plant smokestack in Berlin, Germany. Photo by Jorge Royan. Wikimedia Commons

Science and Technology:

¶ After several weeks of delays, a solar plane took off from China Saturday for a historic crossing across the Pacific that organizers hope will end in Hawaii in five days. Solar Impulse 2, with André Borschberg manning the controls, was supposed to fly May 4, but repeated bouts of poor weather delayed it. [CBS News]

¶ The Frankfurt School–UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance has published a new study on economic benefits of hybridizing diesel-powered electric grids with solar PVs. Such grids are usually remote. Significant cost reductions can be had for state-owned utilities operating them. [solarserver.com]

¶ Researchers at Stanford are trying to develop large bioreactors where billions of bacterial methane generators called “methanogens” crank out the gas around the clock. These microbial colonies would be fed carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and clean electricity from electrodes, Stanford News says. [The Green Optimistic]

Phylogenetic tree of methanogens. Art by Crion. Wikimedia Commons. 

Phylogenetic tree of methanogens. They have been in nature for a while. Art by Crion. Wikimedia Commons.

World:

¶ The Palestinian Authority approved a national plan to reach 10% power generation from renewable sources by 2020. The renewable energy push was strengthened after Israel twice briefly cut off power to two West Bank towns over a debt of over $500 million dollars owed the Israeli Electric Company. [Ynetnews]

¶ Four solar developers will be selected to provide a combined capacity of 200 MWp as part of Jordan’s second round of renewable energy independent power producers. The four lowest bidders will sell electricity at tariffs ranging from 6.13¢ per kWh to 7.67¢ per kWh. The record low price is 5.9¢ per kWh. [Venture Magazine]

¶ The New and Renewable Energy Minister of the Indian state of Punjab inaugurated a 2.10-MW solar power plant in a village near the India-Pakistan border. He said the farmers who made India self-reliant in food grains were now all set to become entrepreneurs by harnessing solar power from their fields. [Greentech Lead]

¶ US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz launched several initiatives with other global energy leaders at the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas and the sixth Clean Energy Ministerial in Merida, Mexico. These initiatives will further strengthen momentum in the Western Hemisphere and the world. [Imperial Valley News]

¶ Rooftop solar projects in India stand to be incentivized if a proposal made by the Minister for Coal, Power and New and Renewable Energy is realized. The government is also reportedly in talks with banks to provide loans for clean energy initiatives such as solar rooftop installations as part of home loans. [Greentech Lead]

¶ A magnitude 8.5 earthquake struck off the east coast of Japan, shaking buildings in Tokyo, but geologists said there was no danger of a tsunami and no reports of damage since the quake was extremely deep. There were also no reports of further irregularities at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. [GlobalPost]

US:

¶ Large swaths of green pasture along Massachusetts highways are being transformed into solar power fields that state transportation officials say could save taxpayers $15 million over the next 20 years. Ten sites along Route 3 and the Mass Pike have been selected for the first phase of the project. [Boston Herald]

A view of the Mass Pike, Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Photo by ToddC4176. Wikimedia Commons.

A view of the Mass Pike, Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Photo by ToddC4176. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Cutting US greenhouse gas emissions to the target level announced by the Obama administration won’t require huge policy changes, according to a new report from the World Resources Institute. Reducing emissions by 26% to 28% in the next 10 years can be achieved under existing policies and laws. [Summit County Citizens Voice]

¶ In Chatham County, Georgia, the Solarize program has flipped the switch on panels at four homes over the past few weeks and counts three more under construction. It has contracts on 35 installations in all. Solarize relies on bulk purchases to drive down the cost, and participants’ contracts total of 202 kW. [The Augusta Chronicle]

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