May 17 Energy News

May 17, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ Earth experienced the warmest April on record, keeping 2016 on track to be the hottest year yet and by the biggest margin ever. New data released by NASA put this April’s land and sea temperatures at 1.11 degrees Celsius warmer than average April temperatures between 1951 to 1980. [CNN]

Coral bleaching, Great Barrier Reef

Coral bleaching, Great Barrier Reef

¶ The Ford Motor Company announced that it will use foam and plastic parts sourced from reclaimed carbon dioxide. Ford plans to transition its seating and underhood foam and plastic parts to materials made with reclaimed carbon dioxide, following a test period. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ Around 12,000 people have been urged to leave Canada’s oil sands camps near the fire-hit town of Fort McMurray as a resurgent wildfire heads towards them. The vast fire now covers 930 square miles. It had moved away from the city but recently started to threaten the area again. [BBC]

The wildfires have devastated parts of Fort McMurray.

The wildfires have devastated parts of Fort McMurray.

¶ The global anti-fossil fuel campaign Break Free wrapped up 12 days of protests on Monday, with more than 30,000 activists calling for a shift away from fossil fuels. Organizers said it was the “largest global civil disobedience in the history of the climate movement.” [eco-business.com]

¶ Plans by Japan to build dozens of coal-fired power stations will cause at least 10,000 premature deaths, according to a study, as the country struggles to fulfil its climate change obligations five years after the Fukushima disaster closed down almost all of its nuclear plants. [The Guardian]

¶ Altogether the UK’s electricity system was coal-free for almost a third of last week, the Financial Times reported. On May 12th and 13th, the UK went almost the entire day without drawing on coal-fired generators, with natural gas, wind and solar stepping in to fill the breach. [Business Green]

UK Electric supplies for May 12.

UK Electric supplies for May 12. Coal is at the bottom, almost invisible, below the gray area representing nuclear power.

¶ Wrapping up the G-7 environment ministers’ meeting, Tamayo Marukawa, as chairwoman of the talks, hailed the group’s “strong political will” to implement the Paris accord. But Japan is unclear on a plan for renewables, and she pointed out weaknesses in relying on nuclear power. [The Japan Times]

¶ The world’s largest floating windfarm is set to be erected off the coast of Scotland and could be operating by the end of 2017. Five floating 6-MW turbines will be tethered to the bottom of the seabed 16 miles (25 km) in deeper water than any other development in the UK. [Daily Mail]

¶ More than 1.5 million households in Australia have rooftop solar. And in a few months time, 40 Tasmanian homes will be acting as mini power stations, not just producing energy for their own consumption and to export back into the grid, but actively trading the power they generate. [The Guardian]

Bruny Island has huge spikes of power demand during the holiday season. Photo by Dave Hunt/AAP

Bruny Island has huge spikes of power demand
during the holiday season. Photo by Dave Hunt/AAP

¶ A new poll indicates 64% of Australians would be more likely to vote for a party with plans to source 100% of Australia’s energy from renewables. The Reachtel poll of 2,400 Australians also indicates 56.1% would be more likely to vote for a party with a policy to phase out coal power. [Energy Matters]

¶ Last week, Portugal hit a major milestone in its ongoing effort to move to renewable energy. The entire country ran for more than half a week without having to resort to fossil fuels. That’s thanks to a big push toward solar, wind, and hydro power and a little nudge from the EU. [Geek]

US:

¶ The Fish and Wildlife Service is trying to fix the problem of bird kills, but in a way that may seem counterintuitive. The agency released a proposed revision to their eagle management strategies on May 6. But instead of putting stricter rules in place, it’s doing the opposite. [High Country News]

NREL researcher Jason Roadman and veterinarian Seth Oster release a Bald Eagle. Photo by Dennis Schroeder and John de la Rosa / NREL

NREL scientists release a Bald Eagle. Photo by
Dennis Schroeder and John de la Rosa / NREL

¶ In the first three months of 2016, the US grid added 18 MW of new natural gas generating capacity. It added a whopping 1,291 MW of new renewables. The renewables were primarily wind (707 MW) and solar (522 MW). We also added some biomass (33 MW) and hydropower (29 MW). [ThinkProgress]

¶ Enel has begun construction of the 150-MW Lindahl wind project in North Dakota. The company expects to complete the $220-million (€194 million) project by 2017. It will be able to produce some 625 GWh per year, enough to power over 50,000 average US homes. [SeeNews Renewables]

Wind farm in USA. Author: Tripp. License: Creative Commons. Attribution 2.0 Generic

Wind farm in USA. Author: Tripp. License:
Creative Commons. Attribution 2.0 Generic

¶ The Power Company of Wyoming plans to start roadwork this summer for the two-phase 3-GW Chokecherry Sierra Madre wind farm in the southern part of the state. The developer proposes to kick off in August with work on a haul road linking up to a new 14-mile rail spur. [reNews]

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