February 29 Energy News

February 29, 2016

Opinion:

The Size of the California Methane Leak Isn’t the Scariest Part of the Story • Though methane is a powerful greenhouse gas and the Aliso Canyon event was huge, we see an even bigger problem. There are hundreds of similar gas storage facilities, and nothing is monitoring them. [Smithsonian.com]

Thousands of residents of Porter Ranch were evacuated in the wake of the methane leak. (Ted Soqui / Ted Soqui Photography / Corbis)

Thousands of residents of Porter Ranch were evacuated in the wake of the methane leak. (Ted Soqui / Ted Soqui Photography / Corbis)

Put A Price On Carbon Or Face Trillions Of Dollars Of Costs & Massive Food Security & Migration Challenges • Don’t call it a carbon tax. Everybody hates the idea of taxes. But unless society addresses the damage done by burning fossil fuels, the world is on a collision course with reality. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶ BioMason is a North Carolina startup company that makes bricks without heat or clay. About 8% of global carbon emissions come from making bricks, according to the company’s co-founder, citing information from the EPA. The BioMason process creates no carbon emissions. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ The first electricity has been generated and delivered to the grid from the 600-MW Gemini wind farm in the Dutch North Sea. Two 110-km cables relay power from the wind park to the shore, where electricity is distributed through the TenneT high voltage grid from Eemshaven. [reNews]

Turbines going in at Gemini (Gemini)

Turbines going in at Gemini (Gemini)

¶ Clean Energy Canada’s latest global analysis found that a record $367-billion (US) was invested in renewable power in 2015, a third of a trillion dollars. That’s serious money, nearly 50% more than was invested in power from fossil fuels. The trend is driven by economics. [The Globe and Mail]

¶ GE says it will build the world’s largest biomass-fired power plant in Belgium. Mechelen-based Belgian Eco Energy chose GE Steam Power Systems to provide the overall design, engineering and construction of the greenfield project for 215-MW, 100% biomass-fired, power plant. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Wind energy has reached a milestone in South Africa and is now feeding over 1 GW of power to the country’s electricity grid. South Africa still gets 87.4% of net domestic electricity production comes from coal. The contribution of renewables, wind and solar PV, last year was about 1%. [ITWeb]

In 2011, there were just 10 turbines in SA. Now the country has 13 large wind farms, consisting of over 495 turbines.

In 2011, there were just 10 turbines in SA. Now the country has 13 large wind farms, consisting of over 495 turbines.

¶ The UK’s biggest energy lobbying group has shifted its position on green energy and will start campaigning for low-carbon alternatives for the first time, in what environmental campaigners are describing as a watershed moment. The chief executive of Energy UK said the shift is urgent. [The Guardian]

¶ China’s CO2 emissions fell 1% to 2% in 2015 as the cooling Asian economy used 2% to 4% less coal, according to a Greenpeace analysis of the data. China also confirmed it broke two clean energy world records in 2015 –installing 32.5 GW of wind and 18.3 GW of solar power. [Climate Home]

¶ Australia’s biggest climate polluters increased their emissions in the year to July 2015, according to data from Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator. Even some of those companies have called policy to curb emissions, including shutting down the oldest or dirtiest coal-fired power stations. [The Guardian]

The Australian Conservation Foundation called on the federal government to close Australia’s coal-fired power stations in phases. Photograph: Meredith O'Shea for the Guardian

The Australian Conservation Foundation called on the federal government to close Australia’s coal-fired power stations in phases. Photograph: Meredith O’Shea for the Guardian

US:

¶ San Francisco’s renewable energy program appears to be off to a strong start. The City began auto-enrolling existing PG&E customers into CleanPowerSF on February 1. Customers who wish to remain with PG&E may opt out, but just eight have done so as thousands were enrolled. [San Francisco Examiner]

¶ As many as 49 wind turbines will be installed in Seymour Township, Wisconsin, in 2017. EDP Renewables project leaders say the effort will create around a dozen full-time jobs and support more than 200 temporary construction jobs. The project will have a capacity of 98 MW. [Dubuque Telegraph Herald]

Wind turbines in Wisconsin. Photo by Royalbroil. CC BY-SA 3.0 unported. Wikimedia Commons.

Wind turbines in Wisconsin. Photo by Royalbroil. CC BY-SA 3.0 unported. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ In the past six years, the federal government has provided $366 million to New Jersey to promote clean energy and energy efficiency, according to a new report issued Friday by the White House. In New Jersey, renewable-energy generation increased by almost 90% since 2008. [NJ Spotlight]

¶ A construction project would expand a natural gas pipeline across property of the Indian Point nuclear plant in New York. Elected officials, residents and environmental activists are criticizing the project, saying that a rupture of the pipeline could unleash a nuclear catastrophe. [New York Times]

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