August 19 Energy News

August 19, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ Hybrid renewable technologies providing stable power for islands are test-beds for study. El Hierro, one of the Spanish Canary Islands, operates a stand-alone electric grid to serve its population of 11,000 and run power-hungry desalination plants. With a goal to be 100% renewably powered, Hawaii is the largest island to aim for a full-renewables grid strategy. [GreenBiz]

Hawaii, the Canary Islands and Alaska's Kodiak Island are among the isles making waves with ambitious renewable energy goals. Shutterstock / Filip Fuxa

Hawaii, the Canary Islands and Alaska’s Kodiak Island are among the isles making waves with ambitious renewable energy goals. Shutterstock / Filip Fuxa

¶ Researchers from Australia’s Monash University used solar cells to power a device that splits water into a fuel with world record efficiency. The system, which is referred to as an emulation of photosynthesis, uses solar power to drive an electrochemical process that generates hydrogen fuel at more than 22% efficiency, breaking previous records of 18%. [Energy Matters]

World:

¶ Up to $44 trillion could be going up in smoke if the world does not act on climate change, according to the latest piece of research from US banking giant Citigroup. The study examines two scenarios: one is what Citi describe as an “‘inaction’ on climate change scenario”, and another scenario looks at what could happen if a low carbon, “different energy mix” is pursued. [CNBC]

¶ It probably surprises nobody to learn that coal produces more of the world’s electricity than any other fuel. But it many would be surprised to learn that renewables have taken second place. Electricity generation from renewable sources has overtaken natural gas to become the second largest source of electricity worldwide, the International Energy Agency has announced. [eco-business.com]

Electricity generation from renewable sources has overtaken natural gas to become the second largest source of electricity worldwide. Image: Shutterstock

Electricity generation from renewable sources has overtaken natural gas to become the second largest source of electricity worldwide. Image: Shutterstock

¶ Scottish Renewables has revealed the latest figures for how the sector fares in the country. Around 42,000 solar schemes, 2,557 small wind projects, 204 hydro-electric schemes are amongst some of the renewable methods being used to power homes. Inverurie in Aberdeenshire is Scotland’s solar capital with the town boasting about 10,000 250-W solar panels. [Energy Voice]

¶ Installed solar power capacity in India grew to 3,744 MW by March 2015 from 14 MW in 2010, according to a study by Deloitte and Confederation of Indian Industry. It says less than 1% of India’s solar energy potential is being harvested. Solar power is growing quickly because it is the least expensive way to get power to many of the 300 million people who currently go without. [Greentech Lead]

US:

¶ The Northern Pass project would transmit power from hydroelectric plants in Quebec through New Hampshire. Eversource Operations, the firm proposing the 192-mile power line, unveiled a new plan. It includes burying an unprecedented 60 miles of transmission lines through the most fragile areas. It would also reduce the transmission capacity from previous goals. [Bangor Daily News]

¶ Nitrous oxide emissions from agricultural operations in the central United States may be greatly underestimated, and in some instances are as much as 40% higher than previously thought, according to a new study. It is a potent greenhouse gas. It is produced from nitrogen fertilizer and manure applications, evolving directly from fields and indirectly, as it gets into waterways. [CleanTechnica]

Image: eutrophication&hypoxia

Image: eutrophication&hypoxia

¶ The North American unit of German inverter maker SMA Solar Technology AG announced an order to supply 700 MW of central inverters for solar power plants in California. SMA will provide 317 units of its Sunny Central 2200-US inverter, which has been designed specifically for the US market, for seven utility-scale systems that range in size from 50 MW to 150 MW. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Royal Dutch Shell has been granted a permit to commence deep-sea drilling in the Arctic Ocean. Drilling shallow wells in the area had already begun, but a lack of documentation and precautionary equipment prevented drilling deep enough to strike oil. The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management predicts the possibility of one or more oil spills in the next decade. [Business Finance News]

¶ Florida Power & Light got pushback Tuesday from South Florida officials and other critics as it requested $34.2 million from customers to continue planning a pair of nuclear reactors at its Turkey Point complex. The request, if approved by the Florida Public Service Commission in October, would add a cost for new nuclear power of 34¢ on a typical residential bill. [CBS Local]

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