November 28 Energy News

November 28, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ Rising levels of carbon dioxide in the oceans are changing the makeup of plankton. While the shift in numbers could certainly be fortunate for animals that eat one type with a burgeoning population, researchers are unsure exactly which animals those are. That is worrisome because it shows just how little is known about the ecosystems. [Science Recorder]

Recent research shows that higher levels of carbon dioxide may be leading to a rise in the numbers of tiny phytoplankton known as coccolithophores.

Recent research shows that higher levels of carbon dioxide may be leading to a rise in the numbers of tiny phytoplankton known as coccolithophores.

¶ Canadian researchers say they have developed a power cell that generates electrical energy using the photosynthesis of blue-green algae, generating renewable energy while removing carbon from the atmosphere. During photosynthesis, electrons are released and can be drawn off into an external circuit, producing an electric current. [ABC Online]

World:

¶ The prestigious London School of Economics announced this week that it would divest from its £97.2 million in investments in coal and tar sands companies. Research published by magazine Corporate Knights concluded that the LSE endowment had lost $3 million due to not having divested 3 years ago. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Recently, the US released analysis of the country’s 2014 carbon emissions. It showed that growth in carbon emissions is declining even as economic activity expands. A new report indicates the same held true globally. Even though the global economy expanded by 3% last year, carbon emissions only rose by 0.5%. [Ars Technica]

Emissions trends: China flattening, US flat, and EU dropping. But be very afraid of India's growth. Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency

Emissions trends: China flattening, US flat, and EU dropping. But be very afraid of India’s growth. Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency

¶ Quenching India’s energy demand will take $140 billion a year in new investments, and while India has deregulated much of its energy sector and has recently issued a “historic climate pledge”, growing demand could prompt policymakers to usher in a broader swath of energy investments, especially in renewables. [Rapid News Network]

¶ In the next five years, China would invest 200 billion yuan ($31 billion) in building power grids in its northwest province of Xinjiang to connect the region to the country’s east, Pakistan and central Asian countries. Resources-rich Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region would create “Power Silk Road” transmission lines by 2020. [Daily Times]

¶ Latin America is one of the fastest-growing solar markets worldwide, spurred on by high solar resources and surging electricity demand, resulting in 280% installation growth in 2015 compared to 2014. The Latin American solar market may dip slightly in 2016, but is expected to rebound strongly between 2017–2020. [CleanTechnica]

Visita Planta Abengoa in Chile. Image by Ministerio Bienes Nacionales. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Visita Planta Abengoa in Chile. Image by Ministerio Bienes Nacionales. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ BP’s CEO Bob Dudley talked about climate change and the role oil and gas companies can play in the transition to a low carbon future. BP management believes the best course of action would be for the parties at the UN conference to reach an agreement on carbon pricing, either with taxes or by cap-and-trade. [Business Finance News]

¶ Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority said that it has confirmed active faults at the site of the No 1 reactor at Tohoku Electric Power Co’s Higashidori nuclear plant and will base discussions on the restart of the idled reactor on the assumption that the faults will move. Tohoku Electric denies the existence of such faults. [The Japan Times]

US:

¶ Texas has by far the most potential for solar and wind generation in the United States, which means the Lone Star state might be even more energy-rich in the 21st century than it has been in the past. In addition, the state’s energy sector is trending cleaner due to market forces for a number of important reasons. [Breaking Energy]

Nodding donkey and housing under construction in Texas.

Nodding donkey and housing under construction in Texas.

¶ With climate negotiators gathering in Paris, calls are intensifying to make all polluters pay a price for carbon dioxide and other planet-warming emissions. Many economists back the approach as a market-friendly way to cut greenhouse gasses. The US Congress is hostile to the idea, but it’s gaining traction elsewhere. [Voice of America]

¶ For more than three decades, people from the Marshall islands have moved in the thousands to the landlocked Ozark Mountains for better education, jobs and health care, thanks to an agreement that lets them live and work in the US. The connection makes it an obvious destination for those facing a new threat: global warming. [Fox News]

Climate change poses an existential threat to places like the Marshall Islands, which protrude only 6 feet (2 meters) above sea level in most places. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

Climate change poses an existential threat to places like the Marshall Islands, which protrude only 6 feet (2 meters) above sea level in most places. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

¶ Six years ago, the owner California’s last operating nuclear power plant announced it would seek an extended license for its aging reactors. Now, with a much changed power landscape, it is evaluating whether to meet the costly state environmental requirements it needs. If it decides not to, California’s nuclear power age would end. [Manteca Bulletin]

¶ Officials in Vernon, Vermont, are shooting for a Town Meeting day referendum on the possibility of building a 600-MW, gas-fired power plant somewhere near the Vermont Yankee site. Officials also are asking the project’s lead advocate, a resident of Winhall, Vermont, to narrow in on a site for the plant by early 2016. [The Keene Sentinel]

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