News Article | May 2, 2017
The Australian Photovoltaic Institute (APVI), with data from the Clean Energy Regulator, says the country has a new solar energy record. There are now 6GW of solar power across the country, enough to meet the electricity needs of 1.3 million households. Solar power now makes up 11 per cent of our country’s total electricity generation capacity,” APVI chair Renate Egan said in a statement. In addition, Ms Egan said more solar photovoltaic energy entered the system in 2016 than any other fuel. March saw 6,845 small-scale systems installed nationally with installation rates for March tracking higher than February’s. Power: Vogtle, V.C. Summer Project Owners Buy More Time to Mull Fate of Nuclear Units The owners of the Vogtle and V.C. Summer nuclear expansions separately secured a few more weeks to allow work to continue onsite at each project while they decide how to proceed with the half-built AP1000 reactors after Westinghouse’s financial debacle. In Georgia, owners of the project to expand Plant Vogtle extended an interim assessment agreement with Westinghouse until May 12. But Georgia Power’s parent company Southern Co. also revealed it is negotiating a new service agreement that could engage Westinghouse to provide design, engineering, and procurement services in the event Southern Nuclear Operating Co.—Southern Co.’s nuclear unit operations arm—takes over management of construction at Units 3 and 4. And in South Carolina, owners of the project to expand V.C. Summer extended a similar agreement through June 26. The project owners detailed their concerns and options in a recent ex parte briefing at the South Carolina Public Service Commission (PSC) The state's utilities on Monday set in motion a first-of-its-kind procurement for 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind power by asking Massachusetts regulators to approve a bid process that gives companies some flexibility in setting the size of their projects while requiring them to price out two very different approaches to delivering the electricity to the mainland. The draft request for proposals, or RFP, also raises the possibility that Massachusetts could invite a Rhode Island utility and the state of Connecticut to participate in the solicitation. Legislation authorizing the offshore wind power procurement was approved in 2016. The law allows the state’s utilities to sign contracts for 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind power over the next 10 years. The power price is required to drop with each successive contract. The contracting process is being run by the state’s utilities – Eversource, National Grid, and Unitil – and being monitored by the Baker administration, Attorney General Maura Healey, and the Department of Public Utilities. The three companies vying for offshore wind contracts off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard have very different views about the size of the initial power contract, but have been united in their belief that each firm should build its own transmission line to the mainland. The draft RFP accommodated the varying views on contract size, while leaving the door open to an alternative approach on the transmission line. On the stage of the Offshore Technology Conference, flanked by men and women who work on offshore oil and gas platforms, Secretary of the Department of the Interior Ryan Zinke today signed two secretarial orders aimed at unleashing America’s offshore energy potential and growing the U.S. economy. The first order implements President Trump’s Executive Order signed Friday and directs the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to develop a new five-year plan for oil and gas exploration in offshore waters and reconsider a number of regulations governing those activities. The second order establishes a new position – Counselor to the Secretary for Energy Policy – to coordinate the Interior Department’s energy portfolio that spans nine of the Department’s ten bureaus. Secretary Zinke told industry representatives at the annual Offshore Technology Conference in Houston. "We will conduct a thorough review of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) for oil and gas exploration and listen to state and local stakeholders. We also will conduct a thorough review of regulations that were created with good intentions but have had harmful impacts on America's energy security."
News Article | April 26, 2017
Douglas Adams’ ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy’ begins with his hero, Arthur Dent, belatedly realizing that a fleet of bulldozers is about to demolish his house to make way for a by-pass. As Dent sits down in front of the bulldozers, an alien fleet of spaceships pounces. The aliens are putting a by-pass through the galaxy, which will take out Planet Earth altogether and render Dent’s concerns utterly inconsequential. Today, the inhabitants of Planet Earth, preoccupied as they are with political and financial upheavals and turf wars of all kinds, are facing a similar existential threat that is poised to totally eclipse their current concerns. It is called ‘man-made climate change’. Even now, regardless of our present-day action or inaction, the atmosphere above our earth is dangerously and unstoppably damaged by the carbon we have emitted without thought for its cost. This ongoing damage is called our ‘carbon inheritance’ and it is changing beautiful Planet Earth into uninhabitable Planet Carbon. Historically speaking, our carbon inheritance began with Newcomen’s steam engine in 1712, at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Since then, it has been building up in our thin atmosphere with each tonne of fossil fuel we burn. About two-thirds of Newcomen’s CO emissions are still there, 300 years later. This ever-growing accumulation will remain for hundreds of years, come hell or high water – both, actually: because of global warming, heat waves and forest fires are on the increase, and sea levels are rising. What’s to be done? Switching from fossil fuels to renewables such as solar and wind might seem the obvious answer, but can they, without fossil-fuelled, backup power plants, provide sufficient, secure, reliable energy for when it is dark or the air still? And are there unaccounted-for CO emissions in such ‘green’ solutions? In order to make this assessment we needed to determine, scientifically, a carbon price that was directly attributable to CO emissions – and without regard to politics. As such, it’s actually the only carbon price that really matters. Having achieved this, we now use that price to carry out carbon auditing of power sources – coal, gas, wind, solar, nuclear, biomass, tidal – and of transportation – trains, planes, ships, motor vehicles (including electric vehicles: the electricity has to be generated somewhere) – so that all carbon emitters can be assessed on a ‘level playing field’. Our recently published carbon audit of Hinkley Point C Nuclear Power Station is a case in point, where we compare the gas and wind power alternatives. The audit shows that the carbon cost alone of the equivalent gas fired power plants approximates to the entire lifetime costs of Hinkley. Worse still, when comparing the costs of various combinations of wind with gas-backup, the maximum gas to wind percentage for cost parity with Hinkley is 12%. More than 12% would again exceed Hinkley’s costs. Would the UK National Grid judge 12% of gas-backup adequate to cover the risk of insufficient wind blowing in wind farm areas? Unless we can come up with renewables that don’t require fossil-fuelled backup then, the nuclear option is today’s clear winner for a future of clean electricity. Technology has moved on from the last century disasters of ‘Three Mile Island’, and ‘Chernobyl’. Those undeniably dreadful events took place in the infancy of the nuclear power industry. Even ‘Fukushima’ this century failed not through any fault of its nuclear reactor. It failed because the tsunami breached the diesel backup power to the cooling pumps. PAL has made carbon pricing, based on the actual cost of loss and damage attributable to manmade climate change, a scientifically defendable reality. If we want to make properly informed decisions that deal effectively with climate change, we must measure up projects for the true comparative cost of their carbon impact. Otherwise we simply continue to sit in front of the ‘bulldozers’, thumbing our smart phones, while beautiful Planet Earth becomes uninhabitable Planet Carbon.  Predicting The Price Of Carbon: How to crack the climate change code for good, by Richard H. Clarke, Supplement 1: Hinkley Point C Nuclear Power Station Enhanced Carbon Audit LCA Case Study, by Edward J. Coe and Richard H. Clarke, Predict Ability Ltd, 2016.
News Article | March 28, 2017
Last weekend’s sunny weather was not only good for beers, barbecues and bees, but also drove solar power to break a new UK record. For the first time ever, the amount of electricity demanded by homes and businesses in the afternoon on Saturday was lower than it was in the night, because solar panels on rooftops and in fields cut demand so much. National Grid, which runs the transmission network, described the moment as a “huge milestone”. The company sees the solar power generated on the distribution networks – or local roads of the system – as reduced electricity demand. The sunshine meant that solar power produced six times more electricity than the country’s coal-fired power stations on Saturday. Continued good weather saw solar power generate significant amounts of power on Sunday and Monday too, when it was providing around 15% of electricity generation. Demand on Sunday afternoon was also lower than on Sunday night. Duncan Burt, who manages daily operations at National Grid, said: “Demand being lower in the afternoon than overnight really is turning the hard and fast rules of the past upside down. It’s another fascinating sign of the huge changes we are seeing in Britain’s energy scene.” Electricity demand usually peaks around 4pm to 6pm at this time of year, as people return home from work, with demand lower still at weekends. But the early hours of the morning are usually the quietest for the Berkshire control centre that monitors the grid, so a reversal is dramatic. Chris Goodall, the author of a recent book on how solar power is transforming energy systems, said that, counterintuitively, March is a good time for solar panels in the UK, due to the angle the sun is hitting them and because they operate better in lower temperatures. “A sunny day between the equinoxes can now produce a peak of around 9.5GW. At weekends, when demand is low, this will frequently mean solar is producing well over 25% of the UK power need. This drives coal almost completely out of the mix, as it did at the weekend, and depresses gas use,” he said. Goodall said that by weekends this summer, on windy and sunny days he expected fossil fuels could be providing as little as 15% of the UK’s power. That percentage could fall to zero in coming years as new offshore windfarms are completed, he said. The solar industry hailed the landmark last weekend, and said the government had repeatedly underestimated the technology’s potential. A spokeswoman for the Solar Trade Association said: “This milestone shows the balance of power is shifting, quite literally, away from the old centralised ‘coal-by-wire’ model into the hands of householders, businesses and communities all over the UK who want their own clean solar power.” Solar power installations grew dramatically in 2014 and 2015 (pdf), but new capacity largely collapsed in 2016 after the government axed and reduced subsidies. An independent report, commissioned by the STA, found the UK’s power network could handle four times more solar capacity than there was today without increasing costs for the grid. Other studies (pdf) have also concluded that even a significant expansion of renewable energy would impose only “relatively modest” costs to integrate into the electricity system. A government spokesman said: “This government wants Britain to be one of the best places in the world to invest in clean, flexible energy. Solar power is a great success, with over 11GW of capacity installed in the last five years that’s enough to power more than 2.6 million homes with clean electricity.”
News Article | April 19, 2017
The UK’s energy networks are not ready for a surge in electric cars and solar panels that is coming within the next few years, according to a report. Clusters of the battery powered cars could result in 1% of the UK experiencing unplanned drops in voltage – potentially damaging electronic equipment – without action by 2020, the Green Alliance said. The thinktank warned that as few as six electric vehicles located near one another, most likely in an affluent neighbourhood, could lead to such “brownouts”. Charging one car requires a similar amount of electricity as a typical home uses in three days, and simultaneous demand at a local level could damage networks without costly reinforcements. Ministers also recently called on electric car owners to ensure they are not charging at times of peak energy demand. Network operators want people to use smart chargers, which can defer when cars are topped up, but most of the 12,000-plus charging points in the UK are “dumb”, with smart technology largely only used in pilot projects. The Green Alliance said that by 2025 up to 700,000 electricity users could suffer blackouts due to a lack of non-smart chargers. “The government should say all chargers from now on must be smart. Once they’re in, it’s very expensive to retrofit them,” said Dustin Benton, the author of the report. Distribution network operators, who connect the national grid at a local level to homes and businesses, fear clustering of electric cars, but say such hotspots have not yet become a serious problem for their infrastructure. However, the Green Alliance noted that electric car sales were up 56% last year on 2015 figures, and said falling costs would drive a rapid uptake. The thinktank predicted a similar growth in the next few years in the installation of solar panels, which are already disrupting the energy system. Falling solar power prices mean that by 2020 it will make economic sense for commercial building owners to install solar even without subsidies, the report said. The combination of solar and household batteries such as Tesla’s Powerwall could result in houses being able to supply their own electricity independently for months at a time by 2025, it added. While 850,000 homes in the UK have solar panels, few have installed batteries – but that could change with products launched by one of the big six energy companies. E.ON said on Wednesday that it would begin selling battery and solar packages from £7,500, arguing the combination of the two would elevate solar “to the next level”. The Green Alliance said it thought electric cars and solar would soon be viable without subsidy, which showed the government would no longer be able constrain them – meaning it was vital action was taken now to manage their impact. This impact could include damage to power networks from electric car charging or solar unable to connect to the grid because of bottlenecks. That in turn could trigger “emergency policymaking”, which Benton said would be bad for investment. The thinktank made several recommendations, including a proposal for a new independent system designer, separate from National Grid, to manage the integration of small-scale energy into the wider electricity supply network. “We need to actively govern how we use these technologies,” said Benton. A National Grid spokesman said: “Growing use of solar power and electric cars will change the way the energy system is managed, but National Grid has been consistently dealing with evolution in the energy sector for decades, and these latest changes also present great opportunities. “For example, electric vehicles can be used to help feed energy back into the system at key times, while solar power will play a crucial role in providing clean energy as coal-generated power stops being used.” The body representing distribution network operators said it was already trialling innovative new technologies to more actively manage its members’ networks.
News Article | April 17, 2017
One of the key technologies needed to transform world energy supplies away from fossil fuels and toward clean, renewable sources is a cheap and reliable way of storing and releasing energy. That will enable intermittent supplies such as solar and wind power, with their variable and often unpredictable outputs, to store energy that’s produced when it’s not needed and to release it when it’s needed most (or can be sold for the best price). That was a message that came up repeatedly over the two days of talks and panel discussions at the 12th annual MIT Energy Conference, held on March 3 and 4. But while better, cheaper storage is essential, implementing it faces technical, economic, and policy challenges, several speakers noted. Massachusetts, home to a number of leading startup ventures in the energy storage area, has “a huge opportunity to be a leader” in this burgeoning industry, said Judith Judson, the commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, in one of the conference’s panel discussions. The state is already home to a number of companies working on innovative battery technologies, several of which are based on research from MIT labs. But getting such technologies out into the world is more than just a matter of building a better mousetrap. For one thing, “the role of the utilities to push on this technology is so important,” said Belen Linares, the global research and development director for Spain-based energy company Acciona. “It’s collaborations between schools and industry that are going to give these technologies the real boost they need.” Ravi Manghani, energy storage director for GTM Research, a solar-market analysis firm, who moderated that panel, concluded that what researchers really need to do now is “work on making energy storage less complicated and more boring.” It needs to be the kind of simple technology that can be purchased and then forgotten, he suggested, somewhat like a home water heater. One promising new entry in that sector is Ambri, a company developing grid-scale batteries based on all-liquid active components, a technology developed at MIT in the lab of Donald Sadoway, the John F. Elliott Professor in Materials Science and Engineering. Dana Guernsey, Ambri’s director of corporate development, said that “one of the exciting reasons to be in this industry” is the potential to open up electrification “in places where there is no grid at all. Storage systems will electrify parts of the world that have been dark,” by enabling the construction of small, localized “microgrids” that can serve villages, schools, or small businesses. Consumers can help to bring about that transformation, a number of speakers said. A panel discussion on “the engaged ratepayer” made it clear that utilities are becoming ever more responsive to the needs and wants of their customers, as the business has become more competitive. “The rate of change now in the industry is extraordinary,” said Terry Sobolewski, the chief customer officer of the utility company National Grid. “And it’s almost entirely driven by customers.” In fact, the customer-centric orientation of the companies is now so strong that the formerly universal term “ratepayer” has now been officially discontinued by most of these companies because it implies a one-way relationship, and the companies now really want to stress their responsiveness and engagement, Sobolewski said. Part of that responsiveness includes working with business and industrial customers. “More and more industries are asking for help,” he said, “on ‘how do I integrate renewables into my business?’” The change in attitude, he said, suggests that “we are on the precipice of this transformation.” Accelerating the transformation to non-fossil-fuel energy sources will also require improved analytical tools for gathering data about the performance of buildings and industrial plants using different combinations of energy and efficiency systems, several speakers said. Southern California Edison is making inroads in this area, said Andre Ramirez, a principal advisor to the company. Its 5 million customers, he said, are all now on a “time-of-use” rate system, by default. That kind of rate system allows customers to shift energy-intensive activities, such as running a clothes dryer or charging an electric car, to off-peak periods when the rates may be much lower. Such shifting, if done on a large scale, can greatly reduce the utility’s need to build expensive peak-power generators to handle those loads. “We’re at the leading edge of that change,” Ramirez said. The kind of detailed information that can be gathered over time about residential use can lead to specific, targeted suggestions for energy improvements for a given home or business. But information can also influence other kinds of decisions. For example, “millennials want to work for companies that have a conscience,” including what their energy strategies are and what their values are, said Tim Healy, CEO and chairman of the energy data analysis and management company EnerNOC. Transparency about a company’s business practices, including the details of its actual energy production sources, can be an important part of that, he said. As for the energy systems themselves, innovations in the regulatory system that establishes rates and governs the interactions among power producers, distribution networks, and end-users are a major need at this point. “Regulatory affairs is where the innovation needs to occur,” Healy said. MIT’s Energy Conference is organized annually under the auspices of the MIT Energy Club, which with its 5,000 members, including students, faculty, staff, and alumni, is “the largest energy club anywhere,” said Robert Armstrong, director of the MIT Energy Initiative, in his opening remarks at this year’s event.
News Article | March 25, 2017
On March 25, Saturday, from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m local time, Earth Hour will be observed in 7,000 cities spread in more than 170 countries. The occasion will be marked by the city skylines in most countries going dark. At the anointed hour, lights will go off and all buildings including thousands of global landmarks from Vegas to Giza will go dark to observe the occasion. During the event, people will voluntarily turn off lights and try to reduce emissions in a symbolic way. The event's organizer, World Wildlife Fund, has claimed that this is the largest voluntary action in the world. The abdication of electricity at least for an hour in a year will be supplanted with gestures like dinner under candlelight and cooking in a bonfire. These gestures at a collective level will add solidarity to the efforts in saving energy and of doing something for the planet's preservation. By switching off lights in houses, businesses, and public buildings for one hour, awareness about energy issues, emissions, and climate change are brought to the center stage. Earth Hour brings the issue of energy conservation and energy efficiency to the mainstream by seeking changes in the way energy is used. According to physicist David MacKay, an American uses double the amount of energy than his European counterpart in maintaining the same quality of life. Though the goals of Earth Hour are lofty, there are dissenting voices that doubt its efficacy. Energy blogger Maggie Koerth-Baker is of the view that Earth Hour is not sending an adequate message. The blogger criticizes the media as well, as coverage of Earth Hour has been short on discussions regarding energy efficiency. Also, many people may be disillusioned in knowing that Earth Hour is not contributing much to the actions to combat climate change. Baker says the event limits itself as a symbolic platform to demonstrate to "do something" about global warming. Yet another critic is Bjørn Lomborg, who said many wrong lessons are being taught by Earth Hour. In reality, Earth Hour only increases carbon dioxide emissions. He says the event smacks of symbolism and reveals what is bad about feel-good environmentalism. According to Lomborg, the prime message of Earth Hour is that tackling global warming is easy. All that is required is switching off the lights. The expert says even if the entire world switches off all residential lights for one hour to reduce carbon dioxide emission, that would only match China halting its carbon dioxide emissions for less than four minutes. Lomborg also highlights the paradox that Earth Hour is becoming a cause of higher emissions. There is the finding by National Grid operators in the UK that a mere drop in electricity consumption does not reduce the energy received by the grid and emissions will not be down. This is because, during Earth Hour, even if there is any reduction in CO2, that will be offset by the additional firings of coal and gas stations for resuming electricity supplies later on. Even the cozy candles used during Earth Hour are fossil fuels, which are 100 times less efficient than incandescent light bulbs. Lomborg is also critical of the message from Earth Hour that downplays electricity consumption. Electric power has given humanity huge benefits and allowed mechanization of the world and saved millions of people from backbreaking work. The author says the best idea that can be promoted during Earth Hour is the greening of the world's energy. He also calls for a new policy that replaces subsidy for unreliable solar and wind energy so that green technologies can phase out fossil fuels. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
News Article | April 24, 2017
Great Britain has gone an entire day without using electricity produced from coal for the first time since the industrial revolution says National Grid, the countrys energy utility. The country has gone without coal-produced power numerous times before, but never for an entire day. Instead, the country used power produced from natural gas (50.3 percent), nuclear (21.2 percent), wind (12.2 percent), imports from other countries (8.3 percent), biomass (6.7 percent), and solar (3.6 percent) to power the country on April 21st. The numbers provided by National Grid dont total to 100 percent because of power exports to other countries and hydro production. National Grid can confirm that for the past 24 hours, it has supplied GB's... Continue reading… UK has first coal-free power day since the Industrial Revolution Over half of the energy comes from natural gas; another 21% is nuclear power. Britain powered itself for a day without coal the first time since the industrial revolution It's an important milestone, but there's still a long way to go. Britain has its first day of coal-free power in 135 years Coal power has been a fixture of British culture ever since the country's first plant went live in 1882. It shaped the Industrial Revolution (and the air pollution that followed), ... Britain sees first coal-free day since the Industrial Revolution For the first time since Thomas Edison opened the first power station in London in 1882, Great Britain functioned without any coal-fired power plants last Friday. The milestone marks the first ...
News Article | April 26, 2017
ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dwight Scruggs, senior vice president of client services and business development for Allconnect, a leader in sales and marketing solutions for energy companies, recently served on the panel How Utilities Can Drive More Value for Their Customers at the Energy Thought Summit (ETS) in Austin, TX. “Timely education is key,” said Scruggs, who shared best practices from Allconnect’s work helping utilities nationwide leverage data to enroll customers. “Enhancing the customer experience means educating the customer using their language, not ‘energy speak,’” he said. “And it’s just as important to use analytics to ensure the right people are targeted. It’s hard to motivate someone to act on a program that isn’t right for them.” Patty Durand, president & CEO of SGCC, moderated the panel, which explored utilities’ efforts to enroll customers in a variety of programs such as demand response, low-income and energy efficiency. Panelists agreed that creating awareness and driving enrollment in these programs is different than selling electricity, and they need to meet the customer on their terms. When it comes to energy programs, analytics are the key to a successful, personalized customer experience. Allconnect uses behavior analytics, combined with an interactive training platform for agents, to drive utility product conversion. “Utilities can create a long-standing relationship with their customers and drive enrollments,” said Scruggs. “For example, when customers move, take the time to simply educate them about relevant solutions and create good will. A year later, reach out again and thank them for being a customer. Let them know what products other people who have been in their home for a year are interested in, and ask them if they would like to learn more. People will appreciate it if you keep them aware of their options.” “My conversation with Dwight still resonates,” said H.G. Chissell, founder and CEO of Advanced Energy Group LLC. “In our energy future, a utility can’t simply remain on the other side of a meter that functions as a ‘toll booth;’ that meter needs to become a mutually beneficial handshake between the utility and the customer instead. And that requires trust, respect and understanding.” In addition to Scruggs and Durand, the panel included Felecia Etheridge, chief customer engagement officer at CPS Energy; Debbie Kimberly, vice president of customer energy solutions at Austin Energy; and Terry Sobolewski, chief customer officer at National Grid. Allconnect offers customers a convenient single source to compare and connect integrated media, broadband, home protection, energy and green products. Allconnect’s services are available at allconnect.com, through utility and energy companies representing over 50 million households, and via affiliates. Through more than 20 million annual consumer touch points, the company acquires customers, increases revenue and generates higher customer satisfaction for its partners. Allconnect’s 2016 customer satisfaction score of 86, as measured by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), is the second-highest score of the publicly measured companies in 2016. Founded in 1998, Allconnect is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with additional offices in Lexington, Kentucky and St. George, Utah. For more information, visit allconnect.com or follow the company on Twitter and Facebook.
News Article | April 22, 2017
Friday was Britain’s first ever working day without coal power since the Industrial Revolution, according to the National Grid. The control room tweeted the milestone on Friday. It is the first continuous 24-hour coal-free period for Britain since use of the fossil fuel began. West Burton 1 power station, the only coal-fired plant that had been up and running, went offline on Thursday. The UK has had shorter coal-free periods in 2016, as gas and renewables such as wind and solar play an increasing role in the power mix. The longest continuous period until now had been 19 hours – first achieved on a weekend last May, and matched on Thursday. A National Grid spokesman said the record low was a sign of things to come, with coal-free days becoming increasingly common as the polluting fuel is phased out. Coal has seen significant declines in recent years, accounting for just 9% of electricity generation in 2016, down from around 23% the year before, as coal plants closed or switched to burning biomass such as wood pellets. Britain’s last coal power station will be forced to close in 2025, as part of a government plan to phase out the fossil fuel to meet its climate change commitments. Hannah Martin, head of energy at Greenpeace UK, said: “The first day without coal in Britain since the Industrial Revolution marks a watershed in the energy transition. A decade ago, a day without coal would have been unimaginable, and in 10 years’ time our energy system will have radically transformed again. “The direction of travel is that both in the UK and globally we are already moving towards a low carbon economy. It is a clear message to any new government that they should prioritise making the UK a world leader in clean, green, technology.” Gareth Redmond-King, head of climate and energy at WWF, called the first coal-free working day “a significant milestone in our march towards the green economic revolution”. “Getting rid of coal from our energy mix is exciting and hugely important. But it’s not enough to achieve our international commitments to tackle climate change – we haven’t made anything like the same progress on decarbonising buildings and transport. Whoever forms the next government after the general election, they must prioritise a plan for reducing emissions from all sectors.” Redmond-King said. Britain became the first country to use coal for electricity when Thomas Edison opened the Holborn Viaduct power station in London in 1882. It was reported in the Observer at the time that “a hundred weight of coal properly used will yield 50 horse power for an hour.” And that each horse power “will supply at least a light equivalent to 150 candles”.
News Article | May 1, 2017
Washington Post: EPA Website Removes Climate Science Site From Public View After Two Decades The Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday evening that its website would be “undergoing changes” to better represent the new direction the agency is taking, triggering the removal of several agency websites containing detailed climate data and scientific information. One of the websites that appeared to be gone had been cited to challenge statements made by the EPA’s new administrator, Scott Pruitt. Another provided detailed information on the previous administration’s Clean Power Plan, including fact sheets about greenhouse gas emissions on the state and local levels and how different demographic groups were affected by such emissions. The changes came less than 24 hours before thousands of protesters were set to march in Washington and around the country in support of political action to push back against the Trump administration’s rollbacks of former president Barack Obama’s climate policies. Some of the world's biggest pension funds, seeking long-term returns on green investments, are scouting for deals in India's solar power sector, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is targeting $100 billion in investment in the next five years. Power demand in Asia's third-largest economy is set to surge as the economy grows and more people move into the cities. India estimates peak electricity demand will more than quadruple in the next two decades to 690 gigawatt (GW), which would require rapid growth in generation and transmission capacity. That potential, helped by cheaper solar material costs and government efforts to curb pollution, is drawing global investors, including Canada's top pension fund managers - Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), and Ontario Teacher's Pension Plan (OTPP). The Trump administration is moving to make the United States the world’s leading exporter of natural gas as a central component of both energy and trade policy. But whether global markets, currently awash with gas, will play along remains a long shot over the next several years. Any breakdown of talks to remodel the North American Free Trade Agreement, which set the regulatory framework that allowed gas exports to Mexico to triple over the last six years, could also get in the way. The administration’s ambitions were explained emphatically last month by Gary D. Cohn, director of the National Economic Council, and they were followed up by the Energy Department’s authorization last Tuesday for a Texas export terminal that Exxon Mobil and Qatar Petroleum have pursued for years. Other administration plans include opening the way for more gas exports from Oregon to serve Asia. Newsday: Block Island to Start Getting Power From Wind Turbines Block Island on Monday will formally throw the switch on a first-time connection to the New England energy grid through a new cable to the mainland, and begin receiving power from the country’s first five offshore wind turbines. In an interview Friday, Block Island Power Co. chief executive Jeff Wright said the event will end nearly a century of dependency on loud, smoky diesel-fired power generators that burn about 1 million gallons a year. “We’re so looking forward to the peace and the quiet,” said Wright, alluding to the shutdown of the combustion generators. A switch connecting to the grid via a National Grid cable to the mainland is scheduled to be thrown at 5:30 a.m. “We’re confident in the switch-over.” Business Insider: Elon Musk Revealed New Details About His Tunneling Project Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed new details about his futuristic tunnel-boring project during his TED Talk on Friday. The Boring Company, Musk's latest venture, led by SpaceX engineer Steve Davis, is working on building a network of underground tunnels in Los Angeles that would transport cars on an electric skate. The skate would propel cars through the tunnel at a maximum speed of 130 mph -- fast enough to get from Westwood to Los Angeles in five minutes, Musk said.