January 29 Energy News

January 29, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ Rising temperatures could boost mercury levels in fish by up to seven times what they currently are, Swedish researchers say. A study suggests that climate change could be driving up levels of methylmercury, through a mechanism that has not previously been recognized. The study was published in the journal, Science Advances. [BBC]

Recovering sediment cores for study (Erik Lundberg)

Recovering sediment cores for study (Erik Lundberg)

¶ A study indicates that tiny floating particles can grow semi-solid around pollutants, allowing them to last longer and travel much farther than what previous global climate models said. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, from fossil fuel burning, forest fires, and biofuel consumption can travel across the Pacific Ocean. [CCTV]

¶ For the past few years, the winter season in Bangladesh has been getting shorter, and experts suspect this is because of climate-related changes. A meteorologist for the Bangladesh Meteorological Department said abuse of natural resources, such as establishments on wetlands and shrinking water bodies, may also be partly to blame. [The Daily Star]

Walking to market in chilly weather (Photo: Star)

Walking to market in chilly weather (Photo: Star)


¶ As far as the eye can see, line after line of solar panels stretch out in the midday sun in the village of Chandrasan in the eastern Gujarat district of India. The village which squeezes in 80 more people per sq km than India’s already crowded average of 441. But the solar panels take up no land, as they are installed over an irrigation canal. [The Sentinel]

¶ The Ayrshire mining community of Cumnock is poised to become Scotland’s fully “Green Town.” The plan is to make the town carbon neutral, creating a model for the rest of Scotland. There are proposals for the community to run its own hi-tech energy system based on sun, wind, and water power, along with smart technologies. [Herald Scotland]

Black Law wind farm in Scotland

Black Law wind farm in Scotland

¶ Sri Lanka’s Auditor General has recommended that a formal and practical Annual Procurement Plan be put in place to avoid malpractices in coal purchases by the Government. This comes after estimated losses of over Rs. 4,145.43 million ($27.6 million) due to irregularities in coal purchases between 2009 and 2016. [The Sunday Times Sri Lanka]

¶ About 100 protesters marched at Wales’ largest coal-fired power station calling for its closure. The protest at Aberthaw, in the Vale of Glamorgan also called for more renewable energy jobs. In September, the European Court of Justice found the plant had been emitting illegally high levels of air pollution. [BBC South East Wales]

Protest in Aberthaw

Protest in Aberthaw

¶ Only 13% of the evacuees from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in five municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture have returned home after evacuation orders were lifted, according to local authorities. Some residents may be reluctant to return to their homes due to fear of exposing children to radiation, the authorities said. [Japan Today]

¶ Ireland just took a big step toward cutting coal and oil out of the picture. Its Parliament has passed a bill that would stop the country from investing in fossil fuels as part of an €8 billion ($8.6 billion) government fund. If the measure becomes law, it would make Ireland the first country to eliminate public funding for fossil fuel sources completely. [Engadget]

Power plant in Ireland (Reuters / Phil Noble)

Power plant in Ireland (Reuters / Phil Noble)


¶ Renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, could soon fill the void left by the downfall of coal after a bill passed the Virginia House of Delegates. The bill deals with the costs of pumped hydroelectricity and storage facilities that are located in the coalfield region of the commonwealth. It passed on a 98-1 vote. [Kingsport Times News]

¶ Jobs in solar power are currently growing at about 20% per year, a rate 12 times faster than the rest of the US economy, a report from Environmental Defense Fund says. It adds that jobs in wind power are growing at roughly the same rate, and wind-turbine technician is now the fastest-growing profession in the country overall. [Mother Nature Network]

Riverside California (Photo: Tony Webster / Flickr)

Riverside California (Photo: Tony Webster / Flickr)

¶ A Minnesota solar power subsidy program could be killed,
and the renewable energy fund that largely pays for it could be significantly revamped. The Made in Minnesota program has approved 1,105 small-scale solar projects and is estimated to
have created 495 jobs, but the new legislature is attacking it as
a boondoggle. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

¶ Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is now buying 100% of its electricity from renewable energy sources through the use of renewable energy credits. Previously, they made up 50% of the University’s electrical supply. Only 40 other universities and colleges have reported to the EPA that they use 100% renewable electricity. [Alton Telegraph]

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