February 23 Energy News

February 23, 2017

World:

¶ For the first time ever, a study by climate research institute Climate Analytics calculated what a cost-effective fossil fuel exit strategy would look like. The study focused on keeping global warming at 1.5° C until the end of this century. All coal-fired power plants in the EU need to be shut down by 2030, but that is just a start. [Deutsche Welle]

The cheapest way to reduce fossil fuel emissions  is to phase out coal and replace it with renewables.

The cheapest way to reduce fossil fuel emissions
is to phase out coal and replace it with renewables.

¶ The German city of Stuttgart will have occasional selective bans of diesel cars during periods of high pollution beginning in 2018, state officials in Baden-Württemberg say. The intent of the selective-bans is to limit diesel pollution within the state’s capital city during periods when air pollution levels are already quite high. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A ComRes survey has found 85% of British adults are in favor of price support for renewables including onshore wind and solar. The survey for the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit showed less than 30% think gas power should be subsidised, the same proportion as for nuclear, with 19% wanting support for coal. [reNews]

Goole Fields (Image: Innogy UK Renewables)

Goole Fields (Image: Innogy UK Renewables)

¶ Countries in the EU, including the UK, are throwing away money by subsidizing the burning of wood for energy, according to an independent report. While burning some forms of wood waste can indeed reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in practice the growing use of wood energy in the EU is actually increasing emissions. [New Scientist]

¶ In a direct challenge to the Australian Coalition’s coal-based political campaign, Labor would put fossil fuels in a secondary place. It is calling on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to join a major promotion of wind and solar investment. The objective is to get a slice of the worldwide investment in renewables over the next 20 years. [NEWS.com.au]

Toora Wind Farm in South Gippsland, Victoria

Toora Wind Farm in South Gippsland, Victoria

¶ The Indian government has approved a plan to double the capacity of solar parks and ultra-mega solar power projects to 40,000 MW from 20,000 MW. The power minister told news reporters a roadmap would be finalized shortly to set up at least 50 solar parks, each with a capacity of 500 MW except in hilly areas. [Times of India]

¶ In Nepal, some communities are looking to harness the energy water produces with micro-hydropower systems. According to the Nepal Micro Hydropower Development Association, over 3,300 micro hydro plants are providing energy to villages around the country. In many places, impact has been significant for villagers. [CNBC]

River in Nepal (Anil Simkhada, Wikimedia Commons)

River in Nepal (Anil Simkhada, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Pakistan’s Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources has opposed a proposed ban on setting up new power plants using natural gas, which is being considered as part of a plan of capping consumption of different fuel sources for power generation. It supports restrictions on the installation of power plants using imported coal or oil. [The Express Tribune]

¶ The Indian government approved a 900-MW hydro power project to be set up in Sankhuwasabha district of Nepal at a cost of ₹5,723.72 crore ($860 million). The decision to approve the Arun-III project was taken in New Delhi at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. [News Nation]

Hydro dam (Image: PTI)

Hydro dam (Image: PTI)

US:

¶ Over 7,500 pages of emails from the Oklahoma attorney general’s office shed light on EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s relationship with Devon Energy, including allowing its top lobbyists to draft and edit letters sent to top federal officials on his behalf. They were obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy through an open records request. [CNN]

¶ The future of ethanol, which critics deride as a boondoggle and backers laud as crucial to the nation’s energy mix, was thought to be in jeopardy, given some of the Trump administration appointments. But the new president sent a message to the ethanol industry that delighted its members. [The San Diego Union-Tribune]

Pumping ethanol into a truck (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

Pumping ethanol into a truck (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

¶ In the years from 2005 to 2014, there were at least 6,648 spills at hydraulically fractured oil and gas wells in just four of the states where fracking is done, according to analysis published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. The states that were in the study were New Mexico, Colorado, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The historic St Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan has activated a geothermal heating plant, part of a series of environmentally friendly upgrades. The Archdiocese of New York said that the geothermal plant is comprised of ten wells, up to 2,200 feet deep, that were drilled along the north and south sides of the cathedral. [PennEnergy]

Saint Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan (Jean-Christophe BENOIST, Wikimedia Commons)

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan
(Jean-Christophe BENOIST, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Madison Gas and Electric announced plans to build and operate a 66-MW wind farm near Saratoga, Iowa. The project would consist of 33 turbines at a site in Howard County and serve MGE customers in Wisconsin. Construction would be complete by the end 2018, the company said. The project would cost about $107 million. [reNews]

¶ FirstEnergy, based in Akron, Ohio, made it clear that it is leaving the competitive power plant business, closing or selling all of its plants, including its nuclear plants, by the middle of next year. Closing the plants, which would probably take several years, would also have little impact on customer bills or power supplies. [cleveland.com]

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