March 25 Energy News

March 25, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ A colorful goop, developed at the University of Toronto, could be a real-life blockbuster. When spread on a strip of metal and subjected to an electric current, it can break apart molecules of water at about three times the rate and far more cheaply than any substance currently available. [The Globe and Mail]

The University of Toronto has developed a catalyst that could improve energy storage. (Marit Mitchell/University of Toronto)

The University of Toronto has developed a catalyst that could improve energy storage. (Marit Mitchell/University of Toronto)


¶ India’s massive solar power capacity addition target is expected to revolutionize the Indian jobs market. According to a report by the Natural Resources and Defense Council, India may end up creating over a million new jobs in its endeavor to have 100 GW of solar capacity by March 2022. [Sustainovate]

¶ Chinese media reported that the country’s National Energy Administration ordered 13 provincial governments to suspend approvals of new coal-fired power plant projects until the end of 2017. Another group of 15 provinces was ordered to delay new construction of projects already approved. [EcoWatch]

China is stopping unnecessary new coal plants. Photo credit: Greenpeace

China is stopping unnecessary new coal plants.
Photo credit: Greenpeace

¶ It is over 3 months since the Basslink interconnector failed, just as hydropower was reduced to nearly nothing by drought. Tasmania has huge wind and solar power resources, which may be key to solving its energy security woes in the long term, but the immediate situation is pressing. [Energy Matters]

¶ The UK won’t struggle to keep the lights on if EDF decides not to proceed with its £18 billion ($25 billion) plan to build a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point, Energy Secretary Amber Rudd said. Britain has nine years to fill any gap in generation created by the loss of a 3.2-GW project. [Bloomberg]

¶ A new UN report says 2015 set a slew of new records for global investment in clean energy, with the bulk of investment in the developing world. But the report also contained a grim punchline when it came to the impact this is having on the broader climate change problem. [Washington Post]

Clean Energy. Image by Desmond1234. CC BY-SA 4.0 International. Wikimedia Commons. 

Clean Energy. Image by Desmond1234.
CC BY-SA 4.0 International. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ A nuclear reactor that began operating almost 40 years ago will be retired at the Ikata plant in Ehime Prefecture, western Japan, for economic reasons, Shikoku Electric Power Co announced. It would cost about ¥200 billion ($1.77 billion) in upgrades for it to pass strict new safety standards. [Asahi Shimbun]


¶ A report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory is the deepest dive on solar’s potential since 2008. It examines the country’s potential for rooftop solar power. According to the report, we could get bout 39% of the country’s electricity consumption, at current levels. [Grist]

Los Angeles

Los Angeles

¶ The mayor of Seattle announced a plan to cut city vehicle fleet greenhouse-gas emissions by 50% by the year 2025 through the use of electric vehicles and biodiesel. Seattle gets most of its electricity from hydroelectric sources, so to cut greenhouse gas emissions, it must do so in transportation. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Omaha-based Tenaska sold or managed 10% of US natural gas in 2014. Now low gas prices have pushed down profits and its CEO believes pairing renewable energy with conventional sources like natural gas “is where the future is” for Tenaska and others in the energy industry. [Omaha World-Herald]

¶ A 12-MW Virginia offshore wind demonstration project has been cleared to install and operate two 6-MW turbines in federal waters off Virginia Beach. The US Bureau of Ocean Energy management has approved the country’s first “research activities plan,” which lays out plans for the turbines and cabling. [reNews]

Virginia Beach (reNews)

Virginia Beach (reNews)

¶ The US Securities and Exchange Commission told Exxon Mobil Corporation to include a climate change resolution in its annual shareholder proxy, according to Reuters. If it is approved, investors would have to be informed on how the company’s profits may be effected by climate change. [Business Finance News]

¶ The Rockefeller Family Fund announced its intention to divest from fossil fuels as quickly as practically possible. The statement singled out ExxonMobil, which has been accused of a cover-up on climate change and interfering in efforts to mitigate it. [The Maritime Executive]

Rockefeller Family Fund Divests from ExxonMobil, Fossil Fuel

Rockefeller Family Fund Divests from ExxonMobil, Fossil Fuel

¶ The Sierra Club Virginia chapter and the Center for Media and Democracy released a report on the influence that ALEC and its political allies have exerted to stymie state climate and clean energy policies in Virginia. The report focuses on ALEC’s efforts to stop the Clean Power Plan. [Augusta Free Press]

¶ LD 1649, presented to Maine’s Joint Energy, Utilities, and Technology Committee last month, would replace the state’s current retail rate net energy metering policy with a system of market-based incentives for residential solar generators. Stakeholders have been voicing opinions. [Utility Dive]

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