March 11 Energy News

March 11, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ The rate of ocean warming has nearly doubled since 1992 compared with the previous three decades. And the warming has reached deeper waters, scientists reported Friday. The findings are important because the world’s oceans provide one of the best records of the excess energy trapped on Earth by increased greenhouse gases. [InsideClimate News]

Ocean environment at risk
(Credit: Torsten Blackwood / AFP / Getty Images)

¶ Climate change may be increasing the footprint of Lyme disease. Higher temperatures encourage the reproduction of mice, which are both natural reservoirs for the bacteria that cause Lyme disease and carriers of the ticks that spread the infection to humans. People also spend more time out doors, increasing exposure risks. [Huffington Post]

World:

¶ A unanimous vote of the Ottawa city council approved a proposal to build a new cross-town rapid transit corridor. The system will start with 24 new stations along Baseline and Heron roads. The stations are to be built about 600 meters apart. The goal is to make cross-town travel more convenient and faster on mass transit than driving. [CleanTechnica]

Rapid transit corridor (City of Ottawa)

¶ The Netherlands’ PV market has probably set another growth record in 2016. The country is expected to have installed around 525 MW of PV installations last year, according to provisional figures. If this is confirmed, the country’s cumulative PV capacity will have reached about 2,040 MW as of the end of December 2016. [pv magazine]

¶ The next UK government auction setting prices for new renewable power projects will open in April. Clark MacFarlane, managing director for offshore wind for Siemens, said it could see offshore wind costs fall below new nuclear. The cost of producing electricity from UK offshore wind farms has fallen 32% in the past four years. [Yahoo Finance]

British offshore wind power (Reuters / Toby Melville)

¶ Researchers at Lappeenranta University of Technology in Finland say that major oil-producing countries in the Middle East and North Africa region could use renewable energy resources to develop lucrative energy systems within two decades. Iran could benefit financially from a transition to a fully renewable electricity system by 2030. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The UK’s first domestic vehicle-to-grid unit was installed at a home in Loughborough to research the potential for hooking up electric vehicle batteries to the national electric system. Cenex, the UK’s Centre of Excellence for low carbon and fuel cell technologies, said it is the first car-to-grid bi-directional charging. [www.businessgreen.com]

Electric car charging

¶ Saturday, March 11, 2017 marks the sixth anniversary of the Fukushima Disaster. It’s staggering to learn that more than 70,000 people still have not gone home due to contamination concerns and that clean-up efforts at the nuclear facility continue to fail while the price tag rises, with some estimates nearing $200 billion. [Clean Energy News]

US:

¶ A proposed White House budget for NOAA could put coastal communities around the nation at a major disadvantage as they struggle to adapt to threats from sea-level rise, severe storms and other climate-related events, scientists and other experts said. Many of the coastal communities are in states that voted for Trump. [The Providence Journal]

Abandoned house in Cedarville, New Jersey
(Bloomberg / Christopher Goodney)

¶ Volkswagen has pleaded guilty to three charges, conspiracy to commit fraud, obstruction of justice, and entry of goods by false statement, as part of a $4.3 billion agreement with the US regulators over the diesel emissions scandal. VW general counsel Manfred Doess said the criminal acts occurred in both Germany and the United States. [BBC]

¶ Wastewater and drinking water treatment plants are usually major energy hogs. So when St Cloud, Minnesota, wanted to trim utility bills, it took look at a wastewater treatment plant. Now solar panels and methane gas from a digester are used to produce electricity. And other cities are paying attention. [Minnesota Public Radio News]

Solar panels at St Cloud (Kirsti Marohn | MPR News)

¶ An important committee of the New Mexico House of Representatives voted on a bipartisan basis to advance Senate Bill 227, which would require the state government to install solar energy panels on its 750 buildings, so long as it would provide a net savings on utility costs and not require any upfront costs. [Silver City Sun-News]

¶ Analysis by the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign backs up Michael Bloomberg’s assertion that the US will meet its climate commitments: Coal retirements and new clean energy through 2025 will reduce US carbon emissions by at least 437 million metric tons. That accounts for 60% of America’s commitments under the Paris agreement. [Triple Pundit]

Chicago is one of a number of US cities that have set climate goals. (Image credit: Pixabay – no attribution required)

¶ A new analysis of the US wind energy sector by Navigant Consulting could see the sector drive up to 248,000 jobs and $85 billion in economic activity over the next four years. Navigant believes that number will only increase, with 35,000 MW of new wind power capacity through 2020. And that is with Trump as president. [CleanTechnica]

¶ At an international energy conference held in Houston last week, Trump officials disparaged climate science. But the Saudi Arabian energy minister called on his colleagues to find ways to “minimize the carbon footprint of fossil fuels.” He was not alone, as he was joined by CEOs of ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell in the position. [Houston Chronicle]

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