April 17 Energy News

April 17, 2017


¶ “NREL is a driver of cutting-edge research and industry” • Thanks in part to a federally funded lab that does cutting-edge energy research, America is closer to energy independence than we’ve ever been in modern times. So it’s a shock that in the president’s proposed budget, that lab is on the chopping block. [The Denver Post]

Wind turbines at NREL’s National Wind Technology Center
south of Boulder (Helen H Richardson, Denver Post)

¶ “Grid unlocked: Consumers are driving Asia’s energy revolution” • All across Asia, rising expectations from consumers are driving the disruption of utilities, forcing well-entrenched electricity providers to change. Ahead of Asian Utility Week 2017, Eco-Business looks at the trend and its implications for the electricity supply. [eco-business.com]

Science and Technology:

¶ The Tesla Gigafactory produces lithium-ion batteries for Tesla vehicles and alternative energy sources. And, in a recent video, CEO and founder Elon Musk was actually quoted as saying: “We actually did the calculations to figure out what it would take to transition the whole world to sustainable energy. You’d need 100 Gigafactories.” [Futurism]

Leonardo DiCaprio at the Gigafactory (screen shot)

¶ Vermont is famous for its natural and mesmerizing landscape that includes a big forest. Unfortunately, a recent report has revealed a decrease in the bird population there. ABC News reported a sharp decline of 14.2% in the bird population over the last 25 years. Climate change, invasive species, and acid rain are among the causes. [Science Times]


¶ Some Japanese farmers have begun looking to biogas technology to allow them to turn their properties into power plants, giving them a way to transform animal and other waste into profits. Biogas is consists mainly of methane that can be produced through fermentation of organic materials such as livestock waste or food waste. [The Japan Times]

A potato field using liquid residues from a
local biogas power plant as fertilizer (Kyodo)

¶ Indian mobile infrastructure and telecom tower companies are aiming to further cut their carbon footprint by reducing dependency on fossil fuel as a part of a ‘Go Green’ initiative. The sector has already deployed 90,000 diesel-free mobile sites, according to a lobby group Towers and Infrastructure Providers Association. [ETTelecom.com]

¶ Record low temperatures and unseasonable rainfall over the past week were a glimpse into the potential, intensifying effects of climate change in Cambodia, experts said, a phenomenon that studies suggest could seriously hinder future agricultural productivity through flooding, unpredictable rains and warming of up to 5° C by 2050. [The Cambodia Daily]

Storm-felled tree outside The Cambodia Daily’s office
in Phnom Penh (Douglas Steele | The Cambodia Daily)

¶ Three more Apple suppliers committed to using 100% renewable energy to manufacture its components, an executive of the company told Bloomberg Technology. Biel Crystal Manufactory, based in Hong Kong; Compal Electronics, of Taiwan; and Sunwoda Electronics, of Shenzhen City, China, have made the pledge. [Energy Manager Today]

¶ WWF, Greenpeace and other UK environmental groups urged the prime minister not to water down legislation on climate change and wildlife protection after Brexit. The UK government had promised it would leave the environment in a better state for future generations, but the groups expressed concerns about backtracking. [BBC]

Over half of UK wildlife is in decline. (Science Photo Library)

¶ Saudi Arabia will develop 30 solar and wind projects over the next 10 years as part of the kingdom’s $50 billion program to boost power generation and cut its oil consumption. The world’s biggest crude oil exporter will get 10% of its power from renewables by 2023, its Energy Minister said. It also plans to build nuclear plants. [Bloomberg]


¶ The story of a solar push and pull in Florida goes on, this time with a good note: Floridians for Solar Choice writes that a Gulf Power settlement means customers will not have to face a huge fixed charge for having rooftop solar power. Gulf Power had proposed a charge was $50 every month, making it hard to save money with solar power. [CleanTechnica]

Rooftop solar in Florida

¶ Cities across the US are working to limit their emissions of climate-change gases, turning to solar power, and using other tactics. A report, Shining Cities 2017, rates cities for solar power. It says that solar-energy policies are more critical to successful solar adoption than any other factor, even including the number of days of sunshine. [Green Car Reports]

¶ Carbon fuels cause climate change and pollution, costing all of us money. The Citizens’ Climate Lobby is advocating for a fee to be charged against carbon at the point it enters the US economy. The group’s single mission is to lobby all 535 members of Congress each year for a carbon fee. Indiana has seven chapters working on that. [Terre Haute Tribune Star]

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