January 8 Energy News

January 8, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ Yellow cedar, a type of tree that thrives in soggy soil from Alaska to Northern California and is valued for its commercial and cultural uses could become a noticeable casualty of climate warming, an independent study in the journal Global Change Biology concluded. It cited snow-cover loss that led to colder soil. [The Japan Times]

Yellow cedars grow along Sheep Lake east of the Cascade Crest in Washington state. | AP

Yellow cedars grow along a lake in Washington state. | AP

¶ Alaska’s finances are suffering disproportionately from climate change. Its glaciers lose roughly 42 cubic km (10 cubic miles) of ice per year, its sea ice continues to decline, its shorelines may be eroding at an accelerating rate, its permafrost is melting, and it suffers from forest fires at the greatest rate in 10,000 years. [Ars Technica UK]

World:

¶ Officials in Beijing are creating an environmental police force in a step towards tackling the city’s long-standing smog problem, state media say. The new environmental police would crack down on open-air barbecues, garbage incineration and biomass burning, activities previously overlooked by authorities, among other things. [CNN]

Beijing buildings shrouded in smog

Beijing buildings shrouded in smog

¶ For weeks northern China has been covered in a thick toxic smog. It is one of the worst episodes of air pollution the country has seen, affecting 460 million people. Some cities recorded air quality of 1000 PM2.5, and the WHO considers anything over 25 PM2.5 a health hazard. Estimates say coal causes about 40% of the smog in Beijing. [ABC Online]

¶ Rwanda’s Green Fund expects to reach a milestone of creating 100,000 green jobs this year, according to its program manager. He told Sunday Times that in the next 12 months Rwanda’s Green Fund, a ground-breaking environmental and climate change investment fund, is particularly looking forward to boosting Rwanda’s climate resilience. [The New Times]

The Akanyaru Watershed Protection Project, building terraces and planting trees to prevent soil erosion and landslides (File photo)

The Akanyaru Watershed Protection Project, building terraces and
planting trees to prevent soil erosion and landslides (File photo)

¶ In one of India’s largest tenders for the rooftop solar power projects, 91 companies, including sector majors, lined up to bid in a wide range of tariff – from ₹3 per unit (4¢/kWh) to ₹6.9 per unit. The capital expenditure quoted by the companies is in nominal range of ₹59,000 per kWp ($865/kWp) to ₹79,000 per kWp. [Business Standard]

¶ Dutch railway companies teamed up with energy company Eneco in 2015 to cut train ride emissions. Originally, 2018 was set as the target for changing to 100% renewable power sources. The 100% transition was completed one year ahead of schedule, however, and all Dutch trains are now powered by wind energy. [CleanTechnica]

Dutch train (Image by Sludge G, some rights reserved)

Dutch train (Image by Sludge G, some rights reserved)

¶ India’s Minister of Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy, and Mines will dedicate the largest Street Lighting National Program in the world, currently running in the South Delhi Municipal Corporation. The Energy Efficiency Services Limited, a joint venture under the Ministry of Power, is implementing the program. [Business Standard]

¶ Chinese state-owned China Three Gorges Group is spending heavily to buy or build hydro, wind and solar. Flush with cash and willing to tolerate risks that put off older rivals, CTG and other state-owned utilities are expanding abroad in search of new revenue sources as economic growth and electricity demand at home cool. [The Japan Times]

The Chavantes hydroelectric plant in Brazil's Sao Paulo state (AP)

The Chavantes hydroelectric plant in Brazil’s Sao Paulo state (AP)

¶ The government of Sri Lanka has given the green light to the Ceylon Electricity Board to go ahead with much debated 375-MW Wind Power Plant Complex in Mannar. The Sunday Leader has reliably learned that the Asian Development Bank has given a grant to do a comprehensive feasibility study of the entire Mannar Island. [Sunday Leader]

US:

¶ Automobiles are undergoing a big transition, increasingly better, smarter and cleaner. Especially exciting is the expanded portfolio of low and zero emissions vehicles that help protect air quality, increase our nation’s energy security, and reduce our reliance on foreign oil, a win for the U.S. economy all-around. [The Detroit News]

Tesla Model S (Photo: Richard Vogel / AP)

Tesla Model S (Photo: Richard Vogel / AP)

¶ After eight years of development, TerraCOH is planning a plant in North Dakota. It would use CO2 in a geothermal energy system to produce low-cost, clean electricity. The company would use its patented technology for a big underground battery, effectively storing renewable energy from the wind and sun. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

¶ Since news broke Friday afternoon that Governor Andrew Cuomo reached a tentative deal to close Indian Point nuclear power plant within four years, officials and residents across the state have shared mixed opinions about the controversial subject. Safety, jobs, taxes, and carbon emissions are among the issues. [The Journal News | LoHud.com]

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