April 15 Energy News

April 15, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “From rubble to renewables: Greensburg is back and better than ever” • The city of Greensburg, Kansas was leveled by an F5 tornado on May 4, 2007. The F5 tornado rating means the wind speeds were 261 to 318 mph. When they started to rebuild, they had no idea that they would end up going green, at least not in the beginning. [Omaha Reader]

Greensburg, after the storm

¶ “China’s bold energy vision” • The boldest plan to achieve the targets set by the 2015 Paris climate agreement comes from China. China’s Global Energy Interconnection offers a vision of how to achieve this energy transformation that is breathtaking. It moves electricity from where renewable resources are abundant to where it is needed. [Gulf Times]

¶ “Kit Carson Electric setting national example for renewable energy” • New Mexico co-op Kit Carson Electric Cooperative bought back its power contract in 2016. Now it is building PV arrays for 34% to 44% of its power. It will buy the rest under long-term contracts for renewable power, avoiding fossil fuel price risks. [The Durango Herald]

KCEC solar array (Kit Carson Electric Cooperative image)

Science and Technology:

¶ Polymer Solar Cell efficiency reaches about 13%, which is far from the 20% efficiency of commercial solar panels. They also cannot match the durability of inorganic solar cells. But the potential to mass-produce nontoxic, disposable solar panels using roll-to-roll production makes them attractive for some applications. [The Green Optimistic]

¶ Some eroding mountains may emit greenhouse gases rather than absorbing them as scientists had hypothesized. For decades, researchers believed eroding mountains and newly exposed silicate rocks served as carbon sinks, taking greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. A new study has thrown a wrench into that theory. [The Weather Channel]

Taiwan’s Central Mountain Range (Wikimedia Commons)

¶ According to a study published this month in the journal Nature Geoscience, Antarctica’s frozen underbelly is melting and receding at a rate around five times faster than normal. In the centuries following an ice age, glacier grounding lines should retreat about 82 feet per year, but the ice is retreating at speeds up to 600 feet annually. [KIRO Seattle]

World:

¶ Alinta Energy, a private power company, has unveiled Western Australia’s biggest battery, a 30-MW lithium-ion battery attached to its Newman power station in the Pilbara region. The project, which cost $45 million to build, has 100 individual batteries in it, each of which is capable of powering the typical home for 90 days. [The West Australian]

Newman Power Station (Steven Bradley, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The new head of Korea Electric Power Cor, Kim Jong-kap, pledged to improve profitability of the state-run utility firm and forge a new path forward amid the government’s energy policy shift from coal and nuclear power to natural gas and renewables. In the fourth quarter, the utility firm posted its first quarterly loss in nearly five years. [pulse]

Solar study lamp

¶ The Indian government is will provide 700,000 solar study lamps in five states where rural household electrification levels are low. In Bihar alone, the target is to provide more than 188,400 underprivileged students with solar study lamps. Around 40,570 of such lamps have already been distributed to students by the program. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ New energy power generation surged in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in the first quarter of the year as local authorities sought to improve the energy mix. Wind and solar power generation rose 35% and 38% year on year to 7.6 billion kWh and 2.3 billion kWh, respectively, the grid regulator said. [China.org.cn]

¶ Solar power may become the most preferred alternative electricity source to Nigerians, judging by recent developments. Despite the economic barriers to its growth, Nigeria’s solar power market has moved quickly for consumers, who are fast embracing it to overcome the poor supply from the national electricity grid. [THISDAY Newspapers]

Installing a rooftop solar system

US:

¶ The County of Maui recently joined Drive Electric Hawaiʻi, a collaboration of groups that share a vision to power Hawaiʻi’s ground transportation with 100% renewable energy. Mayor Alan Arakawa signed a memorandum of understanding earlier this month to join the other organizations in the Drive Electric Hawaiʻi Initiative. [Maui Now]

¶ A trial date of October 29 has been set for a landmark lawsuit brought by a group of young Americans. Juliana v. United States was filed in 2015 on behalf of 21 young plaintiffs who allege their constitutional and public trust rights are being violated by the government’s creation of a national energy system that causes climate change. [DeSmog]

Kids demonstrating (Credit: Our Children’s Trust)

¶ The Toiyabe Chapter of the Sierra Club announced its support for a ballot initiative promoting clean energy in Nevada. The ballot initiative would amend the Nevada Constitution to require electric suppliers provide at least 50% of their total electricity from renewable sources, like wind, solar, and geothermal, by the year 2030. [Nevada Appeal]

¶ Since the downturn in mining operations, nearly 1,000 miners have left the Wyoming coal industry. About 5,600 remain. Some were laid off and hired back with different working conditions: less pay, a weaker insurance plan, a temporary position. Other workers are on mandatory overtime or searching for a second job. [Casper Star-Tribune Online]

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