July 31 Energy News

July 31, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Mysterious craters blowing out of Russia could mean trouble for the whole planet” • In Siberia, temperature rises are causing mysterious giant craters, but more dire consequences could be in store. Permafrost melting is causing collapses of railways and roads and sinking building foundations, as powerful greenhouse gasses are released. [South China Morning Post]

Siberian crater

Science and Technology:

¶ A study from Aalto University found that solar energy could be used to cover between 53% and 81% of annual domestic heating energy consumption in Finland. The study considered heat that could be stored seasonally. The findings relate, in approximation, to the potentials in neighboring countries at the same latitude as well. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Alphabet Inc’s secretive X skunk works has another idea that could save the world. This one, code-named Malta, involves vats of salt and antifreeze. It can be located almost anywhere, has the potential to last longer than lithium-ion batteries and compete on price with new hydroelectric plants and other existing clean energy storage. [Bloomberg]

Malta’s grid-scale energy storage technology (Source: X)

¶ Researchers at the Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka in Malaysia incorporated demand response scenarios in simulated network case studies based on 100 urban low-voltage network samples. Their research showed the significance that demand response can have on network operations with different levels of PV penetration. [pvbuzz media]

World:

¶ A Dene hamlet in the Northwest Territory made history last year by becoming the first in Canada’s North to replace its old diesel generator with a combination of diesel, batteries and a solar array. It used diesel as a backup and during the winter, and use the sun for everything else. Twelve months later, things have worked out as planned. [National Post]

Colville Lake, NWT (Wikipedia Commons)

¶ The European passenger plug-in market had a near-record month in June, with 28,000 registrations, up 54% over the same month last year. For the year through June, the market is up 30% this year, with the EV share now standing at a record 1.5%. The Renault Zoe hatchback is once again the continent’s best seller. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A Japanese consortium has taken a 60% stake in a portfolio of five wind farms owned by Invis Energy in Ireland. Invis will retain a 40% stake. Together, the wind farms constitute a 223-MW portfolio. Four of the wind farms are operating; the final project is under construction and due to be commissioned in the first quarter of 2018. [reNews]

Wind farm in County Kerry (Image: Invis Energy)

¶ Microgrids are networks that connect and co-ordinate power sources and loads in a small area, They are not as publicized as renewable energy from the sun and the wind, energy storage, or electric vehicles, but they are becoming increasingly important. Horizon Power manages more than 40 of them across Western Australia. [The West Australian]

¶ French energy major EDF has pointed towards a more renewable future after collapsing nuclear power prices in the UK sent its earnings down by one-fifth. In its results disclosure for the first half of the year released late last week, the firm reported EBITDA for the period of €7 billion, down one-fifth year-on-year. [Clean Energy News]

Renewable energy

¶ Delegates at both the New South Wales and Tasmanian Labor Conferences held over the weekend kept up the pressure on the Federal Labor Party to stick with a carbon price policy. They urged the party’s leadership to take immediate steps to meet the emissions target outlined by Australia’s Climate Change Authority. [Energy Matters]

¶ The Met Office’s State Of The Climate study for 2016 said last year was 0.5° C warmer across the UK than the average between 1981 and 2010. There was 4% more sunshine. The summer was drier and the winter was wetter, but the overall amount of rainfall was below normal. These changes are not isolated. They are part of a growing trend. [The Weather Channel]

The sunniest year on record

¶ A government advisory body has compiled a draft blueprint for recovering nuclear fuel debris from the three reactors that melted down at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, it has been learned. The aim is to start the project in 2021 and to complete decommissioning sometime 30 to 40 years after the disaster occurred. [The Japan News]

US:

¶ The Senate Appropriations Committee wants to save ARPA-E, the advanced energy research division President Donald Trump proposed eliminating. The House budget plan would eliminate ARPA-E, but the Senate committee’s report recommended not only maintaining the division, but also increasing its budget 8% to $330 million. [Houston Chronicle]

Photobioreactor

¶ An obscure state rule is being used to prevent Massachusetts private companies and property owners from getting net-metering credits for multiple sources of renewable energy on a single parcel of land. One company is pushing back against the rule, arguing that the Department of Public Utilities erred in its interpretation. [The Salem News]

¶ Plug Power Inc, makes hydrogen fuel cells, and for years has struggled to find customers. No longer. In April, Amazon.com Inc agreed to try out the technology in forklift fleets at 10 of its warehouses. And in July, Wal-Mart Stores Inc committed to double, to 58, the number of its warehouses that use forklifts running on Power Plug cells. [Bloomberg]

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