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October 16 Green Energy News

Opinion:

  • “Pa. backs fossil fuels instead of clean energy” Governor Corbett has signed letters demanding that the EPA reconsider its proposed rule to limit carbon dioxide pollution, and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection refuses to allow its own Climate Change Advisory Committee to advise on how to implement the rule. [GoErie.com]
  • “In Minnesota, jobs are the newest sign of climate change” Will Steger: On my arctic expeditions, I was an eyewitness to the devastating effects of climate change. Today, I am celebrating because of people like Jon Kramer, whose solar company has grown from a two-person business in 2010 to employ 20 today. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

Science and Technology:

  • US-based aerospace giant Lockheed Martin says it has devised a new type of miniature nuclear fusion power generator. In the announcement of October 15, the defence technology company said its new compact fusion reactor could be developed and deployed in as little as ten years. [The Australian]
  • An international scientific study, published today in the journal Nature, says the argument that fracking can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by eliminating a need for coal is misguided because the amount of extra fossil fuel it will produce will cancel out the benefits of its lower pollution content. [eco-business.com]

World:

  • The price of oil has gone down because of high production levels from Saudi Arabia. In order to protect market share, the Saudi’s have decided to keep producing at current levels. While they are still making a good profit, US producers cannot break even with crude oil prices hovering around $80/bbl. [Resilience]
  • In early March, when Russia first sent troops into Ukraine, oil was trading comfortably above $100 per barrel. Now, it is around $81, a three-year low. That’s tough for Russia since the country relies heavily on oil revenues to bankroll its budget – over half of the government’s revenues come from oil and gas. [CNN Money]
  • Nissan Motor Corporation has begun testing a system to use electric vehicle technology to help power grids cope with peaks in demand. The energy management system could also make electricity from renewable sources, like the wind or sun, more viable by storing power to be used during periods of high demand. [Autocar Professional]
  • Germany’s renewable energy surcharge is set to decrease for the first time in 2015, from 6.24 euro cents per kWh of power to 6.17 cents, raising the prospect of lower energy prices for households. But the move attracted criticism from the Green Party, which pushed for deeper cuts. EurActiv Germany reports. [EurActiv]
  • India announced draft rules to auction 1,000 megawatts of solar capacity in Andhra Pradesh as Prime Minister Narendra Modi accelerates clean-energy deployment. Companies will be invited shortly to bid for contracts to build plants at a solar park in the southern state. [Businessweek]
  • Environment Minister Ian Hunter said this week’s successful passage of the Pastoral Land Management Bill through the Lower House cemented South Australia’s reputation as the national leader in renewable energy and would provide a major boost for economic development in regional areas. [Roxby Downs Sun]
  • A decline in Chinese power consumption has been mainly led by a slower economy and milder temperatures. Rising pollution is also a major concern for the Chinese economy, and it is dealing with excess debt and capacity. As a result, the Chinese government placed greater emphasis on environmental sustainability. [Market Realist]

US:

  • The renewable power that Vermont homeowners and businesses generate has more than doubled since 2012, according to a report by the Department of Public Service on the state’s net-metering program. This growth is expected to continue ahead of looming uncertainty over the federal solar tax credit for solar PVs. [Reformer]
  • The Texas Public Utility Commission is looking at whether to charge wind and solar farms higher transmission fees than fossil fuel and nuclear plants. The premise is that renewable power is variable by nature, requiring more backup than coal-fired or natural gas-fired plants. [Dallas Morning News]
  • Vermont Electric Power Co is building a high-resolution forecast tool that aims to provide accurate, localized weather predictions. The two-year project will cost $16.6 million. The project aims to predict weather up to two days in advance, to manage the grid better by predicting solar and wind energy generation. [vtdigger.org]
  • Marylanders really, really want to get more of their electricity from renewable sources like solar and wind, a new poll by George Mason University finds. Most also apparently back government mandates to make it happen, even if they have to pay a little more for their power. [Baltimore Sun]

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