January 25 Energy News

January 25, 2018


¶ “A truly great home is a net-zero home” • Building responsibly is a big passion of mine. A home should not just protect us and keep our families safe. It should also impact our environment positively. It should be made with products that withstand the elements so they don’t wind up in the landfill. It should use its own energy and water. [National Post]

Net-zero home (Effect Home Builders image)

¶ “Natural Gas And The New Deathprint For Energy” • Tuesday afternoon saw a horribly fatal accident in Oklahoma when natural gas exploded at an oil and gas well outside of Quinton, killing five workers. If wind or solar killed that many people, it would be front page news. If nuclear did, it there would be mobs with pitchforks. [Forbes]

Science and Technology:

¶ About 11.5 billion sandwiches a year are eaten in the UK, according to the British Sandwich Association. Researchers at the University of Manchester calculated the carbon footprint of 40 different types of sandwiches, both pre-packaged and home-made. They found the sandwiches equivalent to the annual use of 8.6 million cars. [The Independent]

Sandwiches (Getty Images)


¶ French President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to shut all of his country’s coal-fired power plants by 2021. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, he said, “We’ve also decided to make France a model in the fight against climate change.” Mr Macron’s speech stressed the economic benefits of innovation. [SteelGuru]

¶ Over $90 billion in investments have now been pledged for the development of electric vehicles and associated battery tech by the world’s top auto manufacturers, according to Reuters analysis. This includes $52 billion by automakers in Germany, $21 billion by those in China, and at least $19 billion by automakers in the US. [CleanTechnica]

Volkswagen ID concept car

¶ Building solar and wind farms requires land, and there are many companies looking for areas without much economic value to build them in. People living in poor rural areas are vulnerable to land grabbing. Inhabitat reports that people in one Mexican town may have found a way to protect themselves from predatory energy companies. [Green Matters]

¶ China wasted less wind power last year with both curtailment volume and rate dropping, official data indicated. China’s wind power curtailment volume fell by 7.8 billion kWh in 2017 compared with that in 2016, while its curtailment rate dropped 5.2% year on year, according to the country’s National Energy Administration. [Xinhua]

Chinese wind turbines (Photo: 大漠1208, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The EU is to provide €578 million ($717 million) to build a power link between Spain and France to carry excess Spanish renewable energy and ease one of Europe’s worst network bottlenecks, an EU source said. A 370-km (230-mile) Franco-Spanish subsea power cable will be built across the Bay of Biscay, west of the Pyrenees. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ The CEO of PPC Renewables and the mayor of the Greek island of Santorini, announced a partnership to build a waste management and energy production facility that will use a geothermal field on the island. This is done in cooperation with the Municipality of Santorini and the Ministry of the Aegean and Island Policy. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

Santorini (Photo: Maggie Meng | flickr, creative commons)

¶ E.ON aims to offset a looming drop in profit from its German nuclear plants, which are being phased out by 2022, by increasing earnings from networks, renewables and retail, one of its board members said. Germany is getting out of nuclear power after Japan’s Fukushima disaster and E.ON’s plants are scheduled to close. [Reuters]

¶ A boom in wind farms is fuelling a jobs surge in the Australian renewable energy industry with 17% employment growth in the sector in December. There are now 79 wind farms operating in the country and at least another six due to be built this year. The rapid growth is helping Australia hit its Renewable Energy Target. The Sydney Morning Herald]

Manufacturing wind turbine towers (Photo: Jessica Shapiro)


¶ Fluence Energy Storage is developing the world’s largest battery energy storage facility as part of a $2 billion repowering project in Long Beach, California. The battery will combine with efficient combined-cycle gas capacity to replace ageing natural gas peaking plants, meeting local reliability needs within the California’s environmental goals. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The recently announced 30% solar tariff could be offset and overwhelmed by new plans announced this week by the Rocky Mountain Institute and 35 solar energy industry leaders. They committed to developing an ultra-low-cost solar product to reduce costs to the point that fully installed costs would only reach $0.50 per watt. [CleanTechnica]

Solar panels in the desert

¶ Maine Gov Paul LePage imposed a moratorium on new wind energy permits in his state and established a commission that will meet behind closed doors to study the economic impacts of wind turbines on the state’s tourism industry. It will be exempt from Maine’s Freedom of Access laws and will not have to meet in public. [Lewiston Sun Journal]

¶ Wind power is forecast to surpass hydroelectricity for the first time as the nation’s top source of renewable electricity sometime in the next year, the Energy Information Administration said. The sector is expected to produce 6.4% of utility-scale electricity in 2018, and 6.9% in 2019, propelled by a national construction boom. [HuffPost]

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