November 21 Energy News

November 21, 2015


Nuking Clean Energy:  How Nuclear Power Makes Wind and Solar Harder • Nuclear is a barrier to a clean-energy future, not a piece of it. Nuclear is so expensive that there’s little room left in a utility budget to build wind and solar, but more importantly, it makes high levels of wind and solar become harder to achieve. [Energy Collective]

Science and Technology:

¶ By adopting bicycles and electric bikes for just 10% of urban trips, we would save some $24 trillion between now and 2050, as well as reducing GHG emissions from motor vehicles by about 11%, according to a report from the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy. About 6% of urban trips are already on bicycles. [CleanTechnica]

Commuter bikes at Alewife Station, near Boston, Massachusetts. Photo by agr. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons. 

Commuter bikes at Alewife Station, near Boston, Massachusetts. Photo by agr. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons

¶ Though many believe the lifetime of a solar panel is twenty-five years, a number of older models have exceeded this. When Kyocera tested a 30-year-old module last year, it discovered it was still operating at 90.4% of capacity. There are 37-year-old Arco Solar (now SolarWorld USA) panels in operation. [CleanTechnica]

¶ After a staggering 90% decline, it is hoped that the population of the iconic monarch butterfly will recover following coordinated efforts of North American governments. The insects have been damaged by illegal logging and pesticide use that have destroyed the milkweed plants they depend on for food and to lay their eggs. [Columbus Dispatch]


¶ Spain has made renewable energy a top priority, and the investment has paid off: 42% of Spain’s electricity came from renewable sources in 2013. The majority comes from wind power, but solar provided 13% of the country’s energy and is growing. Spain is also home to the largest solar farm in the world, Andasol. (Photos) [Tech Insider]

International Energy Agency photo

International Energy Agency photo

¶ South African utility Eskom, which is known for regular power outages, has gone 104 days without any load shedding, leading observers to comment that it is now relatively stable. Important among the leading causes of the new stability are various renewable sources of electricity, which have recently gone online. [The Citizen]

¶ Thanks to the abundance of hydropower in Quebec, Manitoba, and British Columbia, Canada already obtains 65% of its electricity from clean energy sources. But a report from the Canadian Council on Renewable Electricity concludes that to meet its climate targets, Canada needs to double its renewable capacity. [CleanTechnica]

Image from Powering Climate Prosperity: Canada’s Renewable Electricity Advantage

Image from Powering Climate Prosperity: Canada’s Renewable Electricity Advantage

¶ Coal plants in Thailand cause an estimated 1,550 premature deaths every year, according to new research by Harvard University and Greenpeace Southeast Asia. That number of could climb to 5,300 per year if plans to expand electricity production by building new coal-fired plants go ahead, the study found. [ThaiVisa News]

¶ Luxembourg will join Austria’s legal challenge to the UK’s support package for the Hinkley C nuclear power station, which totals €108 billion. Meanwhile EDF has laid off 65 engineers working on the project in Paris, and the EU Commission has initiated proceedings against Hungary over its Paks II nuclear project with Rosatom. [The Ecologist]

¶ Irish wind hit a new peak output earlier this week with favourable weather conditions helping wind farms to supply almost 50% of electricity demand. Wind output hit some 2035 MW or enough to meet 46% of the country’s electricity demand. It is the first time that the country has broken the 2-GW barrier. [reNews]

Gaelectric wind farm (Gaelectric)

Gaelectric wind farm (Gaelectric)


¶ A smart home service, OhmConnect, launched an online store offering California customers cash back rebates on such products as smart thermostats, smart plugs, home automation, and EV charging brands. OhmConnect can sync with all these products, sending users cash back rebates for automatically using less energy. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The city of Portland, Oregon, has unanimously passed a new resolution to block the expansion of new fossil fuel storage and transport activities in the city. The resolution is the first of its kind to be passed in the US, and represents a pretty big victory for activists concerned about climate change. It can serve as an example. [EV Obsession]

¶ It appears the wind industry is not at a complete standstill in northwestern Ohio. Amazon Web Services announced Thursday it is partnering with EDP Renewables to build and operate a 100-M wind farm in Paulding County. The power would be enough to provide electricity for 29,000 homes in the US in a year. [Times Bulletin]

Ohio wind farm.

Ohio wind farm.

¶ Cheaper Canadian power is a myth, according to two former Maine public utilities commissioners who spoke about Maine’s energy future at the University of Southern Maine. The panelists agree that Maine should take another approach for its energy future: invest in energy efficiency and foster offshore wind development. [Maine Public Broadcasting]

¶ The Massachusetts legislature recessed formal sessions for the year earlier this week without renewing a solar power incentive program. It leaves many solar power projects across the state in limbo. Lawmakers were torn between arguments from environmental activists and solar developers and lobbying by utility companies. [WAMC]

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