April 4 Energy News

April 4, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ A UK-based team of researchers has created a graphene-based sieve capable of removing salt from seawater, possibly with only minimal energy input. The development could aid the millions of people without ready access to clean drinking water. The graphene oxide sieve will now be tested against desalination membranes. [BBC]

A need for clean water (EPA photo)


¶ A surge in the use of wind and solar energy helped Europe to cut its fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by about 10% in 2015, an authoritative new report found. Energy use from renewables rose to 16.7% of Europe’s total, up from 15% in 2013, and accounted for 77% of the continent’s new power capacity. [The Guardian]

¶ Vattenfall signed a new grid storage agreement with BMW for the purchase of new lithium-ion batteries to store electricity generated by the company’s wind turbine facilities. The batteries will be the same 33-kWh batteries used by BMW to power its i3 electric sedans. The contract calls for the delivery of 1,000 batteries a year. [CleanTechnica]

Egmond aan Zee wind farm (Vattenfall photo)

¶ Gamesa and Siemens Wind Power have completed their merger. The transaction creates a giant new player with a presence in more than 90 countries, an industrial footprint in key wind markets, and an installed capacity of 75 GW. The company has an order backlog of €21 billion (£17.91 billion, $22.38 billion). [Energy Live News]

¶ Scottish wind turbines sent more than 1.2 million MWh of electricity to the National Grid in March, according to new analysis of data. In a news release, WWF Scotland said that turbines produced enough electricity to meet the electrical needs of 136% of Scottish households, an increase of 81% compared to March 2016. [CNBC]

Scottish wind turbines (Stephen Wilkes | Iconica | Getty Images)

¶ Germany has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2020, and to halving emissions from energy production by 2030. Experts say the only way to reach these targets is moving from fossil fuels to renewable energies. But the mining company RWE is planning the expansion of some of Europe’s biggest coal mines. [Deutsche Welle]

¶ Vikram Solar, an Indian solar manufacturer and developer, commissioned two 65-MW solar PV plants in Rajasthan for the National Thermal Power Corporation.Vikram Solar now has an installed solar portfolio in India of 275 MW. NTPC has a corporate goal of 1 GW of renewable capacity installed by the end of 2017. [pv magazine]

Bhadla Solar Park

¶ The bankruptcy of Westinghouse Electric Co may be a blow to Toshiba Corp’s international nuclear ambitions, but the Japanese conglomerate still has a profitable business at home. Toshiba has many businesses, from memory chips to railroads. It maintains nuclear reactors, and it gets income from the Fukushima clean-up. [Japan Today]


¶ Iron Mountain Data Centers has announced that it has signed an agreement to power its data centers using renewable energy from a new wind farm in Ringer Hill, Pennsylvania. The 15-year wind power purchasing agreement will see the data storage and IT management company use 25 MW of the wind farm’s capacity. [The Stack]

The Allegheny Front wind farm

¶ At the urging of the Sierra Club, the EPA’s scientific integrity official is reviewing Trump-appointed EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s comments to see if they violate the agency’s scientific integrity policy. The policy requires that all agency employees, including Pruitt, “communicate with honesty, integrity, and transparency.” [Mashable]

¶ The Wild Horse Wind Facility east of Ellensburg, Washington, can generate enough electricity each year to power 70,000 homes. It also generates plenty of curiosity as one of the few wind farms in the nation that lets people get close to the 220-foot turbines. Reportedly, visitors enjoy views of the turbines and like the sounds they make. [KING5.com]

Wild Horse Wind Facility (Wikipedia)

¶ Details behind Volkswagen’s dieselgate-funded Electrify America initiative have finally been revealed, as the global auto manufacturer continues to settle with governments around the world with settlements topping $22 billion. The initiative will go beyond installing electric vehicle chargers and promoting electric vehicles. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Tesla’s market value has overtaken that of Ford after shares in the electric car maker added more than 7%. At the close of trading Tesla had a market value of $49 billion (£38 billion), compared with Ford’s value of $46 billion. Tesla’s shares rose after the company announced record vehicle deliveries in the first three months of the year. [BBC]

People in line to reserve a Tesla Model 3
(Aaron Muszalski, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ 7-Eleven has agreed to power 425 of its Texas stores with nothing but wind energy for 96 months. The arrangement reached with Dallas-based TXU Energy, a residential and commercial energy provider, begins June 1, 2018, and is expected to reduce 7-Eleven’s carbon footprint by 6.7%. Texas has over 10,000 wind turbines. [CSPDailyNews.com]

¶ The US EPA withdrew a proposed framework to help states comply with the Clean Power Plan, days after President Donald Trump told the agency to reconsider the rule. The framework would have offered states a “model rule” they could use to set up emissions trading programs to meet their Clean Power Plan targets. [Argus Media]

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