Science and Technology:
¶ Scientists are investigating biofuels as alternatives to fossil fuels. Corn, soybean and sugarcane produce a range of biofuels; however, they add to water scarcity, deforestation, and increased land use. An alternative is microalgae, which can be grown in façade panels on buildings, having little negative environmental impact. [The Fifth Estate]
The BIQ House in Hamburg.
¶ Enginuity Worldwide, of Mexico, Missouri, wants to turn agricultural waste into BioCoal, which it says looks and burns just like regular coal and could help reduce emissions from coal plants.The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality has awarded the a $250,525 grant to research the subject. [Columbus Telegram]
¶ As part of the Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator program, developers Dong Energy, EnBW, E.ON, Iberdrola, RWE, SSE, Statkraft, Statoil and Vattenfall have signed up to the initiative to help reduce the cost of offshore wind to below £100 per MWh by 2020. The developers will invest £6.4 million over the next four years. [edie.net]
The developers’ investment of £6.4 million will be
boosted by £1.5 million from the Scottish Government
¶ Renewable energy will get priority over fossil fuel in Philippine approvals for new plants. That means coal power will be low on the list, Bloomberg reports, citing Gina Lopez, the new energy minister. She said the country should build wind, solar and geothermal projects for both economic and environmental reasons. [EJ Insight]
¶ Russia’s concern about water rights is holding up a $1 billion loan package Mongolia is seeking from China. Mongolia wants to build a hydroelectric dam that would help it ensure independent supplies of energy. The Kremlin said the project could threaten Lake Baikal, 580 kilometers downstream. [The Japan Times]
Workers extract salt near the Russian town of Barnaul in 2011. | AFP-JIJI
¶ Observers have commented that given the wide-spread corruption in the German auto industry, it seemed unlikely that Volkswagen would face any real repercussions from its diesel emissions scandal within Germany. Now, the Ministry of Transport has revealed that it will not fine VW (at all) for its many years of fraud. [CleanTechnica]
¶ Kangaroo Island has long been one of the great icons of Australian tourism. And now the third-biggest island in Australia, which lies just 120 km from Adelaide, wants to make its mark in a different way: by supplying 100% of its electricity needs and much of its transport fuels through locally sourced renewable energy. [The Guardian]
Admiral Arch on Kangaroo Island. Photo: Alamy
¶ ACWA Power Khalladi has confirmed final orders to suppliers and contractors for the construction of its 120-MW Wind Power Project in Jbel Sendouq, in the North of Morocco. The Moroccan National Renewable Energy Strategy / Wind Power plan aims for 2,000 MW Wind Power to be on the country’s grid by 2020. [Zawya]
¶ ABB has refurbished three high voltage direct current converter stations on the power transmission link between Québec and New England. The project was carried out for Hydro-Québec and National Grid. The 1,500 km linkage connects will benefit areas such as Boston with alternative sources of electricity. [CleanTechnology News]
ABB completed a HVDC link from Canada to the US. ABB courtesy photo.
¶ The Airports Authority of India aims to have 146 MW of solar capacity, in line with a plan to make airports energy and water self-sufficient. India’s Civil Aviation Minister said 5.4 MW of solar systems are already producing power at airports in the country, with a further 24.1 MW to go online by December 2016. [SeeNews Renewables]
¶ Germany’s new renewable energy law is not as ambitious as other EU states and lacks stability in volumes for offshore wind, according to WindEurope. The law sets a variable offshore cap to ensure the country reaches its 15 GW wind energy target in the next 15 years, and it replaces feed-in tariffs with auctions. [Financial Times]
Offshore wind farm with substation. Photo by energy.gov.
Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.
¶ Panasonic Corporation of Japan, Tesla’s partner for the lithium-ion battery Gigafactory in Nevada, has revealed that it expects its annual sales of auto-related lithium-ion batteries to more than double within 3 years owing to expected strong and growing demand for Tesla’s products, according to recent reports. [CleanTechnica]
¶ The days when close to 70% of California’s residential solar installations were leased may be over. Tara Kelly, chair of the San Diego chapter of CALSEIA, said most residential customers now prefer owning solar panels. She said about 96% of Sullivan Solar Power’s customers use cash or loans, and only 4% use leases. [CleanTechnica]
Solar PVs being installed. Photo courtesy of Renovate America.
¶ Consumer Reports says, “There has probably never been a better time to switch to solar.” That’s because the cost of a residential solar system today is about the same as purchasing an economy car. Just as that car can help “pay for itself” with lower operating costs, a solar system can also “pay for itself” with lower bills. [Solar Love]
¶ Estimated subsidies for nuclear plants in New York have soared to $965 million over the first two years of the Clean Energy Standard program, the Department of Public Service said in a new proposal. Initial estimates of the subsidies for nuclear facilities were in the range of $59 million to $658 million through 2023. [Albany Times Union]