New Zealand government scientists are looking at ways to extract natural gas frozen in ice beneath the seabed after finding an enormous deposit off the country’s east coast. A solid band of methane hydrates extending from the top of the South island to Poverty Bay in the North Island had been identified during a six-year study by the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences. The deposit has been deemed “world class in its quantity and quality.”  Scientists estimated that if only a fraction of the deposit could be recovered economically, it would be the main source of natural gas for New Zealand for many decades.  New Zealand had some of the most extensive deposits of the frozen form of methane in the world. The largest deposit on the east of the North Island covered about 50,000 square kilometres.

The share of electricity generated from renewable resources in New Zealand last year was 80%, a 5% increase from 2013. The government attributed this rise to the growth in geothermal electricity generation, which more than doubled in the last decade. New Zealand hopes to have 90% of its electricity supplies from renewable resources by 2025. Currently hydro accounts for 55% of New Zealand’s total electricity production.

Global wind energy installations grew by 42% in 2014. A report from Navigant Research highlighted the importance of China, Germany, and the United States in increasing the footprint for wind generated electricity last year. 51.2 gigawatts (GW) of new wind capacity was installed in 2014 bringing the cumulative installed capacity world wide up to 372 GW.  Asia now leads as the continent with the most wind capacity with 37.3% of of the globe’s wind power capacity. Europe is second with 35.8%.

The UK and Norway have agreed to build the world’s longest undersea energy interconnector – a method of linking up electricity and natural gas networks – to provide the energy for almost 750,000 British homes. The two-way 1,400 MW electricity cable will run from Blyth in Northumberland to Kvilldal, in Rogaland, on the Norwegian side. Completion is planned for 2021. The link will give Britain access to Norwegian hydropower at the flick of a switch, to replace wind turbines in the UK when the wind is not blowing. The UK already has electricity interconnectors with France, Ireland and the Netherlands, and wants to add more to meet expected future demand for energy.

Norway’s Statoil announced the discovery of roughly 1 trillion and 1.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas off the coast of the East African country of Tanzania. Statoil said its eight discoveries in this area to date combine for approximately 22 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves. Tanzania is among the growing number of emerging natural gas producers in East Africa.

A study by the UN and Bloomberg (Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2015) found total electric power generation from non-hydro renewable energy sources reached 9.1% of global electrical energy production in 2014, up from 8.5% in 2013. Non-hydro renewable energy includes wind, solar, biomass and waste-to-power, geothermal, small hydro and marine power.

In 2014 2014 solar and wind accounted for 92% of total worldwide investments in renewable power. These expenditures added 49 GW of wind capacity and 46 GW of solar PV capacity globally.

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