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August 2 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Rasberries Can Grow Under Solar Panels!” • What may have been a crazy idea a few years ago, it turns into a project in the Netherlands. A Dutch farm had 10,250 solar panels deployed across 3.2 hectares of raspberry crops to provide renewable energy for the area and create a more sustainable environment for the raspberries to grow in. [Energy Live News]

Raspberries under solar panels (Image: BayWa re)

  • “Deutsche Bank To Discontinue Lending To Coal Miners” • Deutsche Bank announced that it would discontinue doing business with companies that are most exposed to coal mining by 2025 at the latest. Deutsche Bank also said it would cease financing of new projects in the Arctic and of oil sand projects immediately. [EconoTimes]
  • “WEC Pledges To Be Carbon-Neutral By 2050” • WEC Energy Group, which owns We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service, is pledging to go carbon-neutral by 2050, joining a growing list of companies that are looking to step up their carbon reduction goals. It has set a new goal to reduce carbon emissions 70% in the next decade. [Urban Milwaukee]
  • “Largest Floating Solar Park In Europe Connected To Grid In Netherlands” • The largest floating solar power park outside of China was recently completed in the Netherlands by BayWa re’s Dutch subsidiary GroenLeven. It is expected to provide energy for 7,200 homes. It has 72,000 solar panels. And it was built in just seven weeks. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Realistic Proposals Needed To Deal With Coal’s Decline” • State and local governments in coal-producing areas must plan for what budgeting will be like as revenues from coal severance taxes and income taxes from businesses that depend on coal decline. The problem has been around for years, but it needs to be better addressed. [Huntington Herald Dispatch]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

August 1 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “CRI Successfully Demonstrates Chemical Storage With Renewable Methanol” • Carbon Recycling International has shown that its renewable methanol can be used to store surplus renewable energy chemically. CRI developed a process to convert captured CO₂ and hydrogen directly into methanol by use of catalysts. [The Chemical Engineer]

CRI installation making methanol from carbon dioxide in Germany (CRI image)

  • “Oil Giants Post Historic Losses As COVID-19 Obliterates Demand” • With a pandemic and a crude oil glut, the country’s two largest oil giants posted their steepest losses in modern history. ExxonMobil posted a $1.1 billion loss in the year’s second quarter. Chevron Corporation lost $8.3 billion, including a $5.2 billion write-down on assets. [HuffPost]
  • “Tesla Autopilot Accidents: 1 Per 4,530,000 Miles; US Average: 1 Per 479,000 Miles” • Tesla released its quarterly “Tesla Vehicle Safety Report.” The Tesla Q2 figure for accidents was far better than the US average – about 10 times better when the Autopilot is engaged. The figures clearly show that Tesla’s safety features are impressively effective. [CleanTechnica]
  • “GM’s Ultium Battery Factory Is Sprouting Up In Ohio” • When you think of a US automaker building a large EV battery factory, Tesla tends to come to mind, but it’s worth remembering that GM is doing this as well. The company proudly showed off some pictures from the site, to remind people of its progress and cheer on its employees and contractors. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Fossil Fuel Industry Engaging In ‘Pervasive Fraud’ That Threatens Global Economy, Report Warns” • A report from the National Whistleblower Center says deception on the financial risks of climate change by fossil fuel executives is widespread and is likely actionable fraud. Further securities fraud lawsuits against fossil fuel companies can be expected. [DeSmog]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

July 31 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “US Lawmakers Urge Change To Icebreaker Shutdown Rules” • A bipartisan group of 32 US legislators, from across north-east Ohio, sent a letter to state authorities requesting reconsideration of operating restrictions placed on the Icebreaker offshore wind project. Last minute conditions imposed by the authorities had made the project unfeasible. [reNEWS]

Icebreaker pilot project (LEEDCo image)

  • “Flooding From Sea Level Rise Could Cost Our Planet $14.2 Trillion, Study Says” • If the world does nothing to mitigate rising sea levels, it could cost the global economy $14.2 trillion in lost or damaged assets by the end of the century, as larger areas of land, home to millions of people, are inundated, a study in the journal Science Reports says. [CNN]
  • “UK Wind Output Hits Record 64 TWh In 2019” • Total wind generation in the UK rose by 13% in 2019 to a record 64 TWh, the Government’s Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics said. Wind speeds in 2019 were down on 2018, by 0.31 knots on average, but this was more than offset by additional capacity coming online, the government said. [reNEWS]
  • “Australia’s Trilemma Of Providing Good, Fast And Cheap Energy Finally Has A Clear Solution” • Good, fast, cheap. Pick only two” is a maxim that applies to almost any endeavor. The Australian Energy Market Operator’s Integrated System Plan has put paid to that trilemma, at least for energy in Australia with its vast renewable energy resources. [The Guardian]
  • “It’s Time! A Majority Of People In The US Say The Federal Gov’t Should Do More About Climate” • A Pew Research Center study found a majority of US adults want the government to do more about climate change. And not just Democrats. Of those the center calls “Republican leaders,” 83% say climate change is impacting their local community. [CleanTechnica]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

July 30 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “China Is Crushing The USA In Electric Bus Growth. Proterra Wants To Change That” • China already has 420,000 e-buses in operation. The US has only about 600. Proterra has developed a battery-leasing program for local governments that brings the upfront investment in an e-bus down to the same level as that of a legacy diesel. [CleanTechnica]

Proterra bus (Courtesy of Proterra)

  • “Renewables set to replace coal-fired San Juan Generating Station” • With a unanimous vote, the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission ended part of the debate on the future of coal in the Four Corners region. Utility PNM will rely on 100% renewable energy and battery storage to replace coal-fired San Juan Generating Station. [New Mexico Political Report]
  • “World’s Fastest Energy Transition: AEMO Maps Path To 94% Renewables” • The Australian Energy Market Operator says Australia is in the midst of what is likely to be the world’s fastest energy transition. And it finalized its 20-year blueprint to make sure that the shift from coal to a grid dominated by wind, solar, and storage can happen smoothly. [RenewEconomy]
  • “Record EV Sales In Europe” • While the European automotive market is still in recovery mode in June, down 24% year over year, the European passenger plugin vehicle market has returned to the fast track, with almost 93,000 registrations in June, a 95% increase. In fact, it was a record performance – and it came during an industry slump. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Renewables Covered 50% Of Germany’s Power Demand In H1” • Germany’s Federal Environment Agency said this week that renewables generated around 138 billion kWh of electricity in the first six months of 2020, or roughly 10 billion kWh more than in the first half of 2019. Solar PVs accounted for about 28 billion kWh of the total. [pv magazine International]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

VT 2020 Clean Energy Industry Report Issued

Clean Energy Report Identifies Continued Growth Through 2019
State cautions COVID-19 will have an impact for 2020
 
Montpelier, Vermont – The Vermont Public Service Department (PSD) announces the release of the 2020 Vermont Clean Energy Industry Report, the seventh annual report describing the status and characteristics of Vermont’s clean energy industry.
 
With pre-COVID total employment of over 18,900 workers, the clean energy sector is a significant part of the Vermont economy, representing about 6% of all workers. The report shows that the number of clean energy jobs grew by 0.1% between the 2019 and 2020 reporting periods.
Commenting on the report Commissioner June Tierney said, “Although the data for the report were obtained prior to the COVID-19 economic disruptions, the insights and trends gleaned from the report can assist in the policy decisions the State makes as it works toward the Comprehensive Energy Plan’s goals, strives to bring back lost jobs, and helps to revitalize the clean energy industry.”
The PSD’s Clean Energy Development Fund (CEDF) commissioned BW Research Partners Inc. to conduct the study of Vermont’s clean energy cluster and issue the report. 
 
The full report can be found on the PSD’s web site at:  https://publicservice.vermont.gov/renewable_energy/cedf/reports
Commissioner Tierney also said, “The clean energy sector of Vermont’s economy provides good jobs for Vermonters.  As noted in the report, the pandemic has impacted all Vermonters, but the clean energy sector has seen less of decline in jobs than the Vermont economy at large. Moving forward from the current challenges will require that we improve the livelihood of Vermonters while meeting our State’s clean energy goals. 
Important findings of the report include:
  • Vermont continued with modest growth in clean energy jobs through 2019 with a total employment of 18,910 workers.
  • Vermont has a high concentration of clean energy jobs compared to the overall nationwide concentration.
  • There were 13,636 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) clean energy jobs across the state (just under three quarters of Vermont’s clean energy labor force).
  • Since 2014, FTE clean energy jobs grew by about 30%.
  • Energy Efficiency jobs continued to lead the Vermont clean energy workforce with 10,741 workers.
  • Clean Transportation jobs rose to over 1,400 workers—more than doubling since 2014.
  • Renewable Energy jobs continued to contract down to 6,035 workers with losses in some sub-technologies slightly offset by modest job growth in others.
  • The number of positions in the wood fuel segment continued to drop to 1,794 jobs from 1,841 in the previous census conducted in 2018.
  • As a result of the economic impacts from the novel coronavirus, Vermont lost an estimated 2,600 clean energy jobs as of April 2020, representing a 15% decline.

Deutsche Bank Immediately Ends Funding For Oil Sands And Arctic Oil Projects

Deutsche Bank is ending financing for new oil and gas projects in the oil sands and the Arctic region effective immediately, becoming the latest major bank to reconsider lending money to fossil fuel projects in sensitive areas.

Deutsche Bank will no longer finance any new projects in the Arctic or the oil sands and will review all its existing business in the oil and gas industry, the bank said in a statement on Monday.

Deutsche Bank unveiled an updated Fossil Fuels Policy to set new limits on financing business activities that involve oil, gas, or coal, and pledged to end its global business activities in coal mining by 2025 at the latest “in order to help drive the transformation to a sustainable economy.”

Read more at Oilprice.com

July 29 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “1.4 Million Ugandans To Access Reliable And Affordable Energy Under New Initiative” • Millions of people in villages of Uganda are set to access reliable, cheap electricity for the first time under a new off-grid solar scheme that Fenix International, an ENGIE subsidiary, and the European Investment Bank have agreed on. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Off-grid electricity charging a cell phone (Courtesy of Engie)

  • “Nearly 3 Billion Animals Killed Or Displaced In Australia’s Fires, Scientists Say” • Nearly 3 billion animals were killed or displaced by the catastrophic bushfire season that scorched tens of millions of acres across Australia in 2019 and 2020, according to experts. They hope the research will demonstrate the urgent need for action to prevent future disasters. [HuffPost]
  • “Study Finds Renewable Energy Has Created 6,300 Jobs In Rural Colorado” • The renewable energy industry has created 6,334 jobs and generates $388.6 million a year in economic activity in eastern Colorado, according to a study from The Western Way, a Denver-based conservative environmental group. [Colorado Springs Gazette]
  • “Hundreds Of Toxic Superfund Sites Imperiled By Sea-Level Rise, Study Warns” • A new study by the Union of Concerned Scientists concludes that more than 800 hazardous Superfund sites near the Atlantic and Gulf coasts are at risk of flooding in the next 20 years, distributing toxic chemicals, even with low rates of sea level rise. [InsideClimate News]
  • “Why America’s Schools Are Turning Into Solar Power Stations” • On the campus of Galesburg High School in Illinois, there is a football field, a track, eight tennis courts, two baseball and two softball diamonds, and an acre of PVs that can generate nearly 1,800 MWh of electricity per year. The array will knock $40,000 off the school’s energy bill. [HuffPost]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

July 28 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Microsoft Tests Hydrogen Fuel Cells For Backup Power At Datacenters” • In a worldwide first that could jumpstart a long-forecast clean energy economy built around the most abundant element in the universe, hydrogen fuel cells have powered a row of datacenter servers for 48 consecutive hours, according to a Microsoft announcement. [Microsoft]

Hydrogen tanks at data center (Credit: Power Innovations)

  • “Clean-Energy Optimism Soars As World Struggles With The Pandemic’s Fallout” • As companies and governments try work to recover from the Covid-19 crisis, leaders in the renewable energy sector say business is chugging along, attracting new money and new players. The momentum is being fueled by falling costs and popular support. [S&P Global]
  • “EPA Watchdog To Review Trump’s Auto Emissions Rule Changes” • The Trump administration’s overhaul of vehicle emission standards is under review by the EPA inspector general to determine whether it met requirements for “transparency, record-keeping, and docketing, and followed the EPA’s process for developing final regulatory actions.” [CNN]
  • “Era Of Subsidy-Free Offshore Wind Turbines Has Arrived, Researchers Say” • Researchers found that the cost of offshore wind farms in some parts of the world is now so low that they are generating ‘negative subsidies’ that leave energy users financially better off. The paper was published in the academic journal Nature Energy. [RenewEconomy]
  • “US Energy Savings From Light-Duty Plug-In Electric Vehicles Was 44.8 Trillion BTU In 2019” • Due to their efficiency, plug-in electric vehicles use less energy than their counterparts with internal combustion engines. Energy savings in the US due to light-duty PEVs in 2019 are estimated at 44.8 trillion BTU, up 47% from 2018, the DOE says. [CleanTechnica]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

Don’t Plant Mystery Seeds From China!

Officials in a number of states are warning residents not to plant mystery seeds arriving in packages with Chinese markings. The seeds have been shipped to numerous people who did not order them, in several states. Here is an example of a warning that came from the Kansas Department of Agriculture:

KDA Asks Public to Report Receipt of any Unsolicited Packages of Seeds

The Kansas Department of Agriculture has been notified that several Kansas residents have received unsolicited packages containing seeds that appear to have originated from China. The types of seeds in the packages are unknown at this time. The packages were sent by mail; some have been labeled as jewelry and they may have Chinese writing on them. Unsolicited packages of seeds have been received by people in several other states across the United States over the last several days.

If you receive a package of this type, please DO NOT plant these seeds. If they are in sealed packaging, don’t open the sealed package. Instead, please contact KDA’s plant protection and weed control program at 785-564-6698, via email at KDA.PPWC@ks.gov, or at the complaint reporting portion of the KDA website: report a seed complaint.

Unsolicited seeds could be invasive species, could introduce diseases to local plants, or could be harmful to livestock. Invasive species wreak havoc on the environment, displace or destroy native plants and insects and severely damage crops. KDA works to prevent the introduction of invasive species and protect Kansas agriculture.

 

SUN DAY Campaign: Renewables Hit New Record!

Provide More Than One-Quarter Of U.S. Electricity    

Washington DC – Renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) produced significantly more electricity than either coal or nuclear power during the first five months of 2020, according to a SUN DAY Campaign analysis of just-released data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

In May alone, renewable sources accounted for more than one-quarter (25.3%) of the nation’s net electrical generation — an all-time high.

The latest issue of EIA’s “Electric Power Monthly” (with data through May 31, 2020) reveals that solar and wind both showed continued, strong growth, expanding faster than all other energy sources.   

For the period January – May, solar-generated electricity – including distributed solar – expanded by 23.1% (compared to the same period in 2019) and provided nearly 3.3% of the nation’s total. Wind grew by 11.5% and accounted for more than 9.3% of total generation.   

Combined, net electrical generation by wind and solar is 14.2% greater than a year ago and  provided 12.6% – or more than one-eighth – of total U.S. electrical production during the first five months of 2020. Together with hydropower, biomass, and geothermal, renewables provided 22.3% of total electrical output – up from 20.2% a year earlier. 

Moreover, renewables produced over a third (i.e., 34.3%) more electricity than coal through May 2020. In fact, electrical generation by coal was 33.9% lower than a year earlier and accounted for just 16.6% of the nation’s total. As a consequence, in May – for the second month in a row – non-hydro renewables (i.e., biomass, geothermal, solar, wind) generated more electricity than  did coal.  

In addition, renewable energy sources produced  6.1% more electricity than did nuclear power during the same five-month period and have continued to widen the gap. In May alone, renewables outperformed nuclear power by 20.8%. 

EIA’s data for just the month of May also provide an early indication of the possible impacts of the coronavirus and the corresponding economic slowdown on competing energy sources for the balance of the year.   

Net electrical generation by coal in May was 35.3% less than a year earlier while that by nuclear power dropped by 4.1%. Electricity provided by natural gas was unchanged from a year ago.

In comparison, total electrical generation by all renewable energy sources combined rose by 6.4%. Non-hydro renewables alone provided 12.2% more electricity in May 2020 than a year earlier – driven primarily by a 30.1% increase in solar generation and an 8.5% expansion by wind. Geothermal also grew by 5.5% but conventional hydropower’s output dipped by 2.0% and that of biomass fell by 5.2%.   

“For the past two years, the SUN DAY Campaign had been forecasting that 2020 could be the year when renewable energy sources overtook either nuclear power or coal,” noted the organization’s executive director Ken Bossong. “But with each passing month, it is becoming ever more probable that renewables will outpace both this year and then begin closing the gap with natural gas.”