August 16 Energy News

August 16, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ The tropical glaciers of South America are dying from soot and rising temperatures, threatening water supplies to communities that have depended on them for centuries. But experts say that the slow process measured in inches of glacial retreat per year also can lead to a sudden, dramatic glacial lake outburst flood. [CTV News]

Tourists walk near the Tuco glacier in Peru. (AP / Martin Mejia)

Tourists walk near the Tuco glacier in Peru. (AP / Martin Mejia)

¶ Greater scrutiny needs to be placed on the mining industry’s energy use, if millions of dollars are to not be wasted, according to the Rocky Mountain Institute-Carbon War Room. The goal of this is to accelerate reduction of CO2 emissions. In gold mines, energy use accounted for an average 22% of overall operational costs. [Mining Technology]

World:

¶ Van Oord has completed installation works on 90% of the wind turbines at the 600-MW Gemini offshore wind farm in the Dutch North Sea. The Dutch company is working on 150 4-MW Siemens machines, using the offshore installation vessels Aeolus and Pacific Osprey. Full commissioning is scheduled for spring 2017. [reNews]

Gemini Windpark photo.

Installing a mast for a turbine. Gemini Windpark photo.

¶ Five renewable projects in Wales are drawing local investor interest. The largest, by Awel Co-op, is building two wind turbines to generate power for 2,500 homes. It is offering 5% per year in interest for 20 years, in return for investment of £50 upwards. The co-op has already raised £1.23 million of the £2 miilion it needs. [BBC News]

¶ A Perth start-up is set to begin trials of its blockchain-based software program that, if successful, could mean the beginning of peer-to-peer energy trading in Australia, in which consumers buy, sell or swap excess solar electricity directly with each other, rather than to the grid for a minimal return. [One Step Off The Grid]

Rooftop solar arrays in Australia. Shutterstock.

Rooftop solar arrays in Australia. Shutterstock.

¶ BHP Billiton, the world’s largest mining company, posted a record loss. Just how much of the commodity price crash was foreseeable is debatable, but just about every big decision BHP made leading up to the sudden glut in iron ore, coal, oil and gas developing has exacerbated the company’s problems. [ABC Online]

¶ University of Queensland is saving $50,000 a year in mowing costs at its Gatton campus solar farm by using sheep to keep the vegetation down. The ABC reports that to mow the grounds used to take 4 days and cost a significant chunk of change. Now, ten sheep help cut mowing costs and seem to be enjoying doing so. [Energy Matters]

Solar panels and sheep at the biggest solar park of the Benelux. Photo by Antalexion. CC BY-SA 4.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Solar panels and sheep at the biggest solar park of the Benelux.
Photo by Antalexion. CC BY-SA 4.0. Wikimedia Commons.

US:

¶ Last week, the Sierra Club issued a report that looks at communities that are planning to move or already have moved to 100% renewable energy in at least one sector, as part of its “Ready for 100” campaign. The cities and towns featured are located around the nation, although the three largest are in eco-conscious California. [pv magazine]

¶ Wind energy still accounts for an extremely small share of all federal energy incentives, according to the most comprehensive review of energy incentives to date. AWEA’s compilation of all available data shows that for every dollar spent on federal energy incentives, wind energy received less than 3 cents. [Windpower Engineering]


¶ It looks like the Koch brothers really are beginning to lose their grip. Last Friday, the Department of the Interior brought the hammer down in favor of offshore wind development in North Carolina, where the fossil-fuel-friendly industrialist brothers are used to wielding an outsized influence on energy policy. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Xcel Energy says it reached a sweeping settlement agreement on renewables and pricing that could change the way electricity is produced and paid for in Colorado – if state regulators sign off on it. The agreement, which would promote renewable energy and community solar projects, is hailed by solar interests. [Denver Business Journal]

Namaste Solar employees put solar panels on a house in Denver. Kathleen Lavine | Denver Business Journal

Namaste Solar employees put solar panels on a house in Denver.
Kathleen Lavine | Denver Business Journal

¶ A Maine company can get value from poop. Casella Organics, which finds uses for organic wastes that don’t involve shoveling the stinky stuff into landfills, has told Pennsylvania regulators it wants to dry sewage sludge into pellets and bring them into Pennsylvania to be used as fuel at coal-fired power plants. [PowerSource]

¶ Fresh from success in New York, the nuclear industry is increasing lobbying in other states. From a meeting of utility regulators in Nashville to the National Conference of State Legislatures’ 2016 Legislative Summit, the industry trying to save a dozen or more nuclear reactors at risk of being shut down. [Environment & Energy Publishing]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: