July 26 Energy News

July 26, 2015


¶ “Coal is losing the war” While coal industry supporters blame the EPA for its decline, coal’s enemies also include the vast natural gas industry, rising renewable energy, decreased global demand, Wall Street and deep-pocketed nonprofits that deem coal a public-health threat. And they have recently notched a host of victories that show the war is becoming a rout. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Air pollution at a power plant. US National Park Service photo. This photo is in the public domain because it was prepared by a federal employee for the US government.

Air pollution at a power plant, in the old days before EPA-required improvements. US National Park Service photo. This photo is in the public domain because it was prepared by a federal employee for the US government.

Science and Technology:

¶ Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst are trying to create an ultrasonic device to keep bats away from wind-turbine blades. The scientists want to reduce the number of bats killed by wind turbines by designing a whistle that would attach to a blade and imitate a bat call. The ultrasonic sound produced would alert bats to danger. [WPRI 12 Eyewitness News]

¶ Boeing has a new patent for nuclear engines that use lasers, with the US Patent and Trademark Office’s approval of an application earlier this month. Boeing’s concept for an engine would provide energy-efficient thrust by firing lasers at radioactive material to produce a fusion reaction and could be used to drive spacecraft, rockets and missiles. [International Business Times UK]


¶ An IMF study says worldwide energy subsidies are much greater than previously known. The combination of direct and indirect subsidies is projected at $5.3 trillion in 2015, or 6.5% of global GDP. Most of this arises from countries setting energy taxes below levels fully reflecting damage to the environment associated with fossil fuel consumption. Country-level estimates are available. [imf.org]

¶ Glasgow-based Start Renewable Energy has won a £350,000 contract to supply heat pumps for a system which will, for the first time in the UK, see solar thermal panels used to power district heating. Star will design and build a large-scale heat pump system connected to a solar energy farm to be built in the new town of Cranbrook, now under construction near Exeter. [Herald Scotland]

¶ China’s solar power industry depends on subsidies from the government, but the money available, which the government derives from coal-fired power generation, is dropping as coal prices fall. The government owes 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) to fifteen solar energy companies. Industry representatives say the sector will be stunted as payments are delayed. [WantChinaTimes]

Solar PVs on Chinese rooftops. Photo by Ismoon. GNU Free Documentation License. [Wikimedia Commons] 

Solar PVs on Chinese rooftops. Photo by Ismoon. GNU Free Documentation License. [Wikimedia Commons]

¶ Chinese solar module manufacturer Suntech has supplied Indian utility Adani Power with 36,470 modules for development of a 9.3-MW peak solar power project in Mundra, Gujarat. The solar power project is expected to generate 13 GWh of electricity each year, which would be adequate to meet the electricity requirements of about 32,000 households in Mundra. [Greentech Lead]

¶ Canadian solar company SkyPower Global is to sign an agreement with the energy ministry of Kenya to develop 1-GW of solar power in that country. The project will be developed over five years and is expected to cost $2.2 billion. Africa has recently been getting attention of renewable power developers worldwide, and the SkyPower’s deal is one of many. [Greentech Lead]


¶ The state of Hawaii submitted testimony opposing Hawaiian Electric Industries’ merger with NextEra Energy Inc, as currently proposed. Governor David Ige outlined the reasons for this. “Although I welcome capital investment in Hawaii with respect to energy, any merger or investment must align with the state’s 100 percent renewable energy goal,” Ige says. [North American Windpower]

¶ Village Green Ventures, is building a 1-MW anaerobic digester at the Brunswick Landing business park in Brunswick, Maine. It will have three steel tanks, the largest of which will stand 75 feet tall. Digesters can eat most any kind of organic material, including food waste, sludge, manure and cooking grease. This one is going to need roughly 180 tons of waste each day. [WGME]

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