December 19 Energy News

December 19, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ The United States and Europe are among the world’s largest emitters of nitrogen dioxide, but both have also shown the most dramatic reductions in these emissions between 2005 and 2014, according to new global NASA satellite maps. Nitrogen dioxide is a major respiratory pollutant in urban smog. [CNN]

This map shows the average concentration of nitrogen dioxide in the lowest parts of the atmosphere in 2014. NASA image.

This map shows the average concentration of nitrogen dioxide in the lowest parts of the atmosphere in 2014. NASA image.


¶ Australian households and businesses added another 60 MW of rooftop solar in November, taking the overall figure for the year to date to 654 MW. Businesses added 143 MW of rooftop solar capacity. About 510 MW of rooftop solar capacity has been added at households in the year to date. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Cars were forced off the road and factories closed in Beijing on Saturday after the city was again blanketed by hazardous smog. The government issued a level-four red alert, the most serious, on Friday. The alert, the second in as many weeks, means schools have to close and half the vehicles banned. [BBC]

¶ On Friday, workers at Britain’s last operating deep coal mine finished their final shift, emerging, soot-blackened and live on television news channels, to cheers, applause and tears. The last haul of coal from the pit is destined for a mining museum as a once-mighty industry fades into history. []

Britain's last coal miners. Photo by John Giles / PA via AP.

Britain’s last coal miners. Photo by John Giles / PA via AP.

¶ Energy analysts from the UK-based investment bank Barclays gave quick analysis of the results of COP21. Lead analyst Mark Lewis says the implications for the fossil fuel industry are profound, and will likely cause it to suffer a loss in revenue of around $33 trillion (US) out to 2040 over business as usual. [CleanTechnica]

¶ You would think after convening in Paris for a week that the world’s leaders could have reached some sort of consensus about whether nuclear would be part of the climate future. But the issue now seems as murky as ever. Each of the countries is free to choose its own route to lowering carbon emissions. [RealClearEnergy]

¶ The Costa Rican Electricity Institute said it used renewable resources for 99% of its electricity this year and for 285 days renewables covered 100% of energy needs. The small Central American country is aspirational for other countries wanting to cut their fossil-fuel use and reduce global warming. [The West Australian]

Costa Rica boasts 99% renewable energy in 2015

Costa Rica boasts 99% renewable energy in 2015


¶ According to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, wind turbines in Texas set a state-record for wind generated electricity of 12.97 GW on the day before Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving Day itself, wind power in Texas provided 43.55% of the state’s total electricity demand. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Enel Green Power North America has brought online the 74-MW Little Elk wind farm in Oklahoma. The $130 million Little Elk project, which is located in Kiowa and Washita Counties adjacent to EGP’s existing 150-MW Rocky Ridge wind farm, is able to generate more than 330 GWh a year. [reNews]

Image: sxc5

Image: sxc5

¶ Vermont’s climate advocates and members of the renewable energy industry are celebrating a move by Congress to renew tax credits for wind and solar projects. Congress reached an agreement this week for a five-year extension of tax credits for installing solar projects and the operation of wind projects. [Rutland Herald]

¶ Looking to cut greenhouse-gas emissions and reduce fuel costs in one blow, UPS Inc will power two of its regional truck fleets with renewable natural gas captured from decomposing landfills, the company said. Trucks in Memphis, Tennessee, and Jackson, Mississippi, will burn the landfill gas. [DC Velocity]

¶ The US lifted a 40-year-old ban on the export of oil, paving the way for energy deficient countries to import oil. The ban was lifted when President Barack Obama on Saturday signed into law the Omnibus US$1.8 trillion spending package and tax bill for the current fiscal ending September 30, 2016. [The Malaysian Insider]

A worker walks past oil pipes at a refinery in Wuhan, Hubei province in this March 23, 2012 file photo. China is expected to report commodities output data on November 11, 2015.  REUTERS/Stringer/FilesTHE ASIA FILE - NOV 11 2015

A worker walks past oil pipes at a refinery in China. Reuters / Stringer / Files The Asia File – Nov 11 2015

¶ The plunging price of oil has hurt the stock price of some solar and wind investments, but industry experts say it is having surprisingly little impact on renewable energy industries in the US. The Solar Energy Industries Association reports that 2015 is on track to show record growth for solar power. [Big News]

¶ Vermont Technical College in Randolph, Vermont, will use more renewable energy to reduce its operating costs while providing new educational opportunities with the installation of a 500-kW solar farm. The solar farm has its Certificate of Public Good and may be complete by February. [Solar Novus Today]

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