November 24 Energy News

November 24, 2015

Opinion:

How Renewable Energy Could Make Climate Treaties Moot • Creating an international agreement is an admirable goal, but notably, countries are not racing to zero emissions on their own. It is amazing that no country has performed a study on the benefits and costs of going to 100% clean, renewable energy. [Scientific American]

©iStock.com

©iStock.com

How Virtual Power Plants Can Help Replace Dirty Peaker Plants • A recent Wall Street Journal article highlighted a common problem: How to pay for aging, mostly coal-fired power plants whose only function is as backup for peak demand? One way is to combine distributed power and loads sources in a “virtual” power plant. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶ Sooner than it takes to build a nuclear power station, lithium-air batteries could be helping wind and solar to make coal, oil and nuclear obsolete, according to researchers from the Cambridge University. Five times lighter and five times cheaper than current lithium batteries, Li-air would open the way to our 100% renewable future. [The Ecologist]

World:

¶ A developing country dubbed one of the most vulnerable to climate change has confirmed controversial plans for more coal-fired power stations. The president of the Philippines has told the BBC the new coal plants are needed to meet demands for energy. This comes despite coal’s huge contributions to global warming. [BBC]

The Philippines is regarded as one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. Kate Stephens/BBC

The Philippines is regarded as one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. Kate Stephens/BBC

¶ Richard Branson and other notable business leaders were signatories of a definitive letter of climate action directed to heads of state. Specifically, the letter calls for the Paris (COP21) deal to include a long-term climate goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. Their aim in the process is “the end of business as usual.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ Allianz CEO Oliver Baete said the company will no longer invest in companies if more than 30% of sales come from coal mining or if they generate more than 30% of electricity from the fossil fuel. Allianz manages about €1.8 trillion in assets, focusing on the U.S., Germany, France, Italy, Britain and the Asia-Pacific region. [Newser]

¶ A study concludes that long-term ocean warming worsened deadly floods that hit Australia in 2010/11. During that summer, a series of floods hit Queensland, affecting at least 90 towns, over 200,000 people, killing at least 38 people, causing damage of $2.38 billion (Aus), and reducing Australia’s GDP about $40 billion. [CleanTechnica]

Image Credit: Markus Gebauer / Shutterstock.com

Image Credit: Markus Gebauer / Shutterstock.com

¶ LG Chem has announced it will supply Steag with six 15 MW Li-ion battery systems, while Nidec ASI will provide the necessary PCS and EMS solutions. “With 140 megawatt hours of power, the storage systems will deliver enough energy to supply 10,000 households per day with electricity,” said LG Chem. [pv magazine]

¶ Jordan is set to add 1,600 MW of solar and wind power to the national energy mix by 2016. The renewable energy sector needs an investment of $2.4 billion by 2025, in order to increase the contribution of clean energy sources to the Kingdom’s overall power capacity, says Ibrahim Saif, minister of energy and mineral resources. [AMEinfo]

¶ Investment in renewable sources of energy in Latin America and the Caribbean grew by nearly 50% last year to $23 billion, according to a study released by the Inter-American Development Bank and Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Brazil accounted for $14 billion of that total; Mexico and Chile followed with $2 billion each. [La prensa]

US:

¶ The EU’s renewable energy requirements are forcing coal-based power plants to use biomass fuel. Swaths of woodlands in Southeastern United States are being cut down to fuel the biomass boom across the Atlantic. A report by the Natural Resources Defense Council points out that 15 million acres of unprotected forests are at risk. [Digital Journal]

Europe's biomass boom is putting American forests at risk. Photo by cuellar.

Europe’s biomass boom is putting American forests at risk. Photo by cuellar.

¶ To bring the benefits of solar energy to more of people, especially those who are not wealthy and who otherwise lack easy access to solar power, the Obama administration rolled out a national solar initiative last July. One of its key components, a private-public community solar partnership, is now starting to really come together. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Nuclear power plant owners are welcoming reports that Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants state regulators to mandate that half of the state’s energy come from renewable energy sources by 2030 while creating incentives for nuclear to remain viable in the interim. The governor wants to keep the Ginna and Fitzpatrick nuclear plants going. [RTO Insider]

¶ Builders seeking a net-zero energy home showcase can look to BuiltGreen’s zHome townhome complex in Issaquah, Washington. Several year’s later, the country’s first Net-Zero Energy townhome complex, meets expectations on reducing energy and water consumption, according this newly released white paper. [CleanTechnica]

zHome townhome complex

zHome townhome complex

¶ A research study has found that using more solar power in Arizona could save 15 billion gallons of water annually. Most of the water used in Arizona is for agriculture, but another common usage is for cooling natural gas, coal, and nuclear power plants. Obviously, operating rooftop solar power does not require such water use. [CleanTechnica]

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