20 Top Energy Stories of 2014

These are my picks for the top 20 energy stories of 2014 ordered chronologically (condensed from a list of 144 picked stories you can find at This Link):

  1. A look at peer-reviewed articles on climate change in scientific journals, from Nov. 12, 2012 through December 31, 2013, found 2,258 articles written by a total of 9,136 authors. Only one article, by a single author, rejected man-made global warming. [CleanTechnica] 1-11
  2. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and University of Connecticut analyzed more than 122,000 home sales near 26 wind facilities in densely populated Massachusetts, yet was unable to find any impacts to nearby home property values. [Windpower Engineering] 1-18
  3. Decommissioning Sellafield nuclear power station in the UK will cost taxpayers at least £70 billion as costs hit “astonishing levels,” senior MPs said yesterday. “What’s worse is that the cost is likely to continue to rise.” [Morning Star Online] 2-11
  4. China’s Premier Li Keqiang has declared war on pollution, outlining significant steps the Chinese government will take to improve air quality. China has suffered from truly epic smog over the last two winters. [EconoMonitor] 3-7
  5. In new estimates released today, WHO reports that in 2012 around 7 million people died – one in eight of total global deaths – as a result of air pollution exposure. This confirms that air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk. [India.Com Health] 3-25
  6. A small county in Northern California has become the first county government in the state to become grid energy positive. Yolo County (population 200,000), just west of Sacramento County, now produces 152 percent more energy from solar panels than it uses. [Christian Science Monitor] 4-18
  7. According to the International Monetary Fund, when you factor in implicit subsidies from the failure to charge for pollution, climate change and other externalities, the post-tax cost of support for fossil fuels comes in at close to $2 trillion each year. [CleanTechnica] 5-3
  8. A decision by parties to an obscure convention has huge implications for Europe’s ageing nuclear reactors. Licence extensions for nuclear reactors must follow EIAs which compare the potential impacts to those of alternatives – including wind, solar and other renewables. [The Ecologist] 6-10
  9. The use of executive powers to regulate greenhouse gas emissions has been reaffirmed by the US Supreme Court in a ruling issued on Monday. This suggests President Obama’s climate policy has solid legal foundations. [Carbon Brief] 6-26
  10. On Saturday and Sunday in Oklahoma, there were seven earthquakes. As of last month, Oklahoma had surpassed California in the number of earthquakes. It’s possible that hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, could have played a role in causing them. [CNN] 7-14
  11. The American Wind Energy Association has just come out with some facts and figures about the so-called hidden cost of wind power. According to AWEA’s calculations the “hidden cost” for conventional power plants in Texas is 17 times more than wind. [CleanTechnica] 7-29
  12. A just-released Department of Energy and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory report pegs utility-scale wind power-purchase agreement pricing as averaging $25 per MWh for projects that negotiated contracts in 2013. That’s cheap power. [Greentech Media] 8-19
  13. Renewable energy sources accounted for 14.3% of net US electrical generation in the first half of the year, according to a new report by the EIA. Last year, the EIA forecast that the US would reach the 14% renewable mark in 2040. [pv magazine] 8-28
  14. One of the most important pieces of news of the summer made virtually no headlines at all, and seemed to only appear on the website of the US Energy Information Administration. It is that 127 of the world’s largest oil and gas companies are running out of cash. [Resilience] 8-31
  15. The transition to a global renewable energy economy could save $71 trillion by the year 2050, according to an IEA report. Put another way, $44 trillion in investment by the year 2050 would translate to about $115 trillion in energy savings ($71 trillion in net savings). [CleanTechnica] 9-7
  16. After a seven-year-long investigation, scientists at the National Audubon Society issued a grim report finding that more than half of the 650 or so bird species in North America may be threatened by global warming. [Canada News] 9-14
  17. Ahead of a UN climate summit, institutional investors managing £15 trillion ($24.6 trillion) of assets are also calling on governments to phase out subsidies for fossil fuels, an estimated £370 billion ($606 billion) worldwide a year, five times the £60 billion paid in renewables subsidies. [The Guardian] 9-19
  18. US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced both countries will curb greenhouse gas emissions over the next two decades. The US would cut its 2005 level of carbon emissions by 26-28% before 2025. China would peak its carbon emissions and get 20% of its energy from zero-carbon sources by 2030. [CNN] 11-12
  19. EON SE, Germany’s largest utility, will break itself up, spinning off fossil fuel power plants into a separate company so it can focus on renewable energy. EON also announced it will write down the value of assets by €4.5 billion, leading to a substantial full-year loss. Even so, the shares had the largest jump in more than two years on the plan. [Businessweek] 12-1
  20. The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant stopped sending electricity to the grid Monday after producing total of 171 billion kWh over its 42-year lifetime. The shutdown came just after noon as the plant completed its 30th operating cycle when workers inserted control rods into the reactor core and stopped the nuclear reaction process. [Washington Times] 12-30

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