Argentina announced it plans to auction offshore oil and gas exploration rights next year, in the hope of developing fields off its Atlantic coast like those in neighboring Brazil. “There is a high probability that the subsalt basin that exists on the coast of Brazil continues south and so we see the discovery of any formation of oil and conventional gas in the area as very attractive. It could be very profitable for the country,” Energy Minister Juan Jose Aranguren aaid. Last week Brazil attracted a record US$1.19 billion in its 14th round of bidding for oil exploration and production rights.

Australia has announced a new energy policy by rejecting a plan to generate 42% of the country’s electricity from wind and solar energy, The federal instead plans to require electric utility companies to provide a certain minimum amount of power from coal, natural gas and hydroelectric generation. Reliance on solar and wind generation would be let to the decision of each state. In addition, the new policy change will end subsidies paid to wind and solar generators starting in 2020, to help reduce costs for consumers. Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said that coal and gas would generate 64% to 72% of Australia’s electricity by 2030. The government has accused some states, such as South Australia, of irresponsibly switching to intermittent renewable energy sources at the cost of ensuring reliable supply, including suffering state-wide blackouts last year.

The Netherlands announced it will close all of its coal-fired electric generation plants by 2030.  This includes three that were built in 2015. The Netherlands joins other European countries — France, the UK, and Denmark — who have all decided to phase out coal completely from their grids in the coming decades. In addition to the coal announcement, the Netherlands said it will ban the sale of new petrol powered automobiles that same year.

Market research firm Global Data forecasts moderate growth for the global biogas power market between 2012 and 2025, expecting it to climb from 50,516 gigawatt-hours to 130,321 GWh at an average annual rate of 7.6%.  Biogas is gaining popularity across the world as it can be produced through anaerobic digestion or fermentation of organic wastes along with effluents from agricultural, industrial as well as municipal wastewater treatment plants. Biogas generated at these plants is being used to produce electricity and heat. It is also being used to power motor vehicles and as a fuel for different industrial applications. Energy Business Review lists some of the world’s largest biogas plants here.

Europe’s largest energy-from-waste plant for municipal solid waste is to be built in Istanbul, Turkey. Starting in 2021 the plant will process 1 million tonnes of waste per annum generating around 70 megawatts of electricity. This represents 15% of the city’s municipal solid waste.

The city of Bristol, England has the first vehicle in the country that collects commercial food waste and is powered by that same waste. The collection vehicle runs on biomethane that has been produced by the anaerobic digestion of food waste and sewage from houses in Bristol, Bath and the surrounding area. The collected waste produces biogas which is either used to produce electricity or is converted into enriched biomethane, which is injected into the natural gas grid. At this stage it can be used as fuel for vehicles or to supply local homes with heat.

Low cost European airline EasyJet says it will be flying all-electric commercial passenger planes within the next ten years. The airline is working with Wright Electric to develop a lightweight battery that can be used in a short-haul commercial plane. The target range is 330 miles which would enable it to operate popular routes such as London to Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Cologne, Glasgow and Edinburgh as well as Geneva to Paris, Nice, Pisa, Toulouse, Venice and Brussels.

Researchers at the US Carnegie Institution studied the wind power potential of the North Atlantic ocean and found that in some areas ocean-based wind farms could generate at least three times more power than those on land. They also concluded that new giant ocean-based wind farms are able to tap into the energy of the winds throughout much of the atmosphere, while on the other hand wind farms on land remain constrained by the near-surface wind resources. Moreover, their computer model showed that in the winter, North Atlantic wind farms could provide sufficient energy to meet all of civilization’s current needs.

Renewable Energy Focus looks at the problem of what to do with “spent” wind turbine blades.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,