July 16 Energy News

July 16, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “What You Can Actually Do To Fight Climate Change, According To Science” • Collective action starts with individual choices, and for all the data-driven decision makers out there, the path forward just got a bit clearer. A study in Environmental Research Letters determined which life choices reduce our carbon footprints the most. [Gizmodo Australia]

Twilight (Image: Dennis Yang | Flickr Creative Commons)

¶ “Are Deeper Cuts OPEC’s Only Option?” • Despite the November, 2016 Vienna crude oil agreement among OPEC and certain non-OPEC producers and its subsequent May 2017 extension, the global crude oil market is still burdened with excess supply and may be far from re-balancing. Observers worry about another price crash. [OilPrice.com]

¶ “Six Years After Fukushima, Japan Tries To Quell Its Energy Angst” • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promoted a policy of restarting nuclear reactors, but he is now politically at the weakest point since his 2012 return to power. It is worth assessing how just far Japan’s nuclear revival can go, especially as costs for renewable energy keep falling. [EnergyInfraPost]

Cleanup workers at Fukushima Daiichi

Science and Technology:

¶ Governments may be seriously underestimating the risks of crop disasters. Research by UK Met Office scientists used advanced climate modelling to show that extreme weather events could devastate food production if they occurred in several key areas at the same time. Such an outcome could trigger widespread famine. [The Guardian]

World:

¶ So far, more than 13,000 subscribers have signed up for the 2017 green power program initiated by Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs in 2017, topping the goal of 10,000 for the year, the ministry said. Program subscribers receive a certain amount of green power at a premium price of NT$1.06/kWh (3.5¢/kWh). [Focus Taiwan News Channel]

Wind power in Taiwan (Maggie Chou, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Nearly 100 homes in Uttar Pradesh’s Sarvantara village have been electrified, thanks to an initiative by a student from the UK’s prestigious Imperial College. Clementine Chambon, a final year PhD student, has helped connect the homes with a mini eight-kWh solar energy grid providing around 1,000 people with energy for affordable lighting. [EnergyInfraPost]

¶ Russian hackers are thought to have attacked the UK’s national grid sparking fears that electricity supplies could be cut by cyber terrorists. Security analysts say that a group backed by Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin also targeted the Republic of Ireland’s energy sector and tried to infiltrate control systems. Hacking energy systems is a worldwide problem. [Daily Mail]

UK power grid (Daily Mail stock photo)

US:

¶ President Trump may want to expand offshore oil, but he is facing pushback in a region that is one of the most at risk of climate change and where residents are increasingly turning to renewable energy. Officials of San Mateo County, California, are urging the federal government to maintain protections for three marine sanctuaries. [San Mateo Daily Journal]

¶ Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which had its 40th birthday on July 5, have been innovating and contributing to the Colorado and national economy through seven presidential administrations. The laboratory’s future is uncertain under President Trump, but workers are keeping up hopes. [The Denver Post]

Wind Technology Center (Helen H. Richardson | Denver Post)

¶ Energy legislation in North Carolina presents the governor with a choice between buttressing the state’s bright solar industry and nurturing its nascent wind power business. The legislation could make solar power production more competitive. But the bill includes a moratorium on wind projects through the end of 2018. [Asheville Citizen-Times]

¶ The Energy Information Administration’s monthly Short Term Energy Outlook projects coal will fuel 31.3% of electricity in the US in 2017, compared with 31.1% for natural gas. Coal stood at 30.4% last year, and natural gas was at 33.8%. The coal industry takes the change, small as it is, as welcome news. [Huntington Herald Dispatch]

Coal installation (Lon Wolfe | The Herald-Dispatch)

¶ In Georgia, homeowners with solar power installed buy electric energy at the retail rate of 15¢/kWh. But when they sell power to the electric company, they do so at the wholesale rate of 5¢/kWh. That makes it hard to pay off a solar installation when the system favors utilities. And county commissioners are not helping. [Valdosta Daily Times]

¶ Husqvarna Group, Stockholm, is preparing to build its first solar power generating facility at its current injection molding site in Nashville, Arkansas. The new facility will have a capacity of 1.3 MW. It is expected to reduce the CO2 footprint by approximately 1,000 tons during each year over the 25 years it will operate. [Rental Pulse]

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