The Daily Beast reported that American consumers and businesses face substantial electricity rate increases “for the foreseeable future” as the country struggles to modernize its aging infrastructure. From Alaska to Georgia and Wyoming to Florida, utilities are seeking permission to pass on hundreds of millions of dollars in new charges to customers to help upgrade the electric grid and build new or retrofitted power plants that comply with tougher environmental regulations. “You’re seeing rate hikes everywhere because this is a widespread, national problem” said Bill Richardson, former New Mexico governor and Clinton-era energy secretary.

An Iberia airlines Airbus A320 has completed Spain’s first commercial biofuel flight, reducing CO2 emissions by 20% according to PODER360. The flight from Madrid to Barcelona burned a mixture of 75% conventional A-1 jet fuel and 25% biofuel derived from the camelina sativa plant. The camelina sativa plant is an inedible oil plant.

REVE told us that Paris, France is launching the first electric car sharing project as it attempts to clear its traffic-clogged boulevards and reduce automobile emissions.  Starting this month visitors to Paris will be able to lease electric cars at 33 stations around the city. Customers can pay between 5 euros and 7 euros for every half-hour use or register for a yearly, weekly or 24-hour package with different costs and necessary identity cards, driving licences and an uncashed deposit. Fully charged, the four-seated “Bluecar” can reach a top speed of 130 km an hour and has a range of 250 km with a single charge. While initially there will be 66 EVs, the city plans on having 250 available by December and 2000 by summer 2012. By then there should be 1000 stations in the city.  The BBC also covered this story.

Speaking of electric cars, plugincars revealed that to be successful, EVs must beat the 3 minute gas fill up. In an interview with Shai Agassi, founder of Better Place (a European company that installs networks for EV charging and battery swapping) we learned that the biggest competitor to EVs is the 3 minute gasoline fill-up at the pumps:

When I’m competing against gasoline, I have to be better than gasoline. No gas station in the world will stay in business if it offered a half-hour fill-up. It doesn’t exist. Nobody advertises: “We do fill-ups in a half hour.” So we don’t see that as competition. My competition is a three-minute fill-up at a ubiquitous gas or petrol station across the country. And we can beat that. Now, if somebody thinks they can do better than that, with any technology, they’re my friend. Because they also end oil.

plugincars gave us 8 tips to extend the battery life on our electric cars.

From REVE we found out that Saudi Arabia has opened its first solar energy photovoltaic plant.  It is the first solar plant in the Kingdom and has a capacity of 500 kW.  It will reduce the n of 28,000 barrels of diesel oil on Farasan Island.  Saudi Arabia is attempting to use renewable energy to replace the domestic use of fossil fuels so that it can export the latter and make a better return on its petroleum investments.

The Philippines will have a geothermal power plant coming on stream in 2013 according to REVE.  The electricity output of the 20 MW Maibarara geothermal energy project will be delivered to Luzon’s power grid.

TheGreenCar informed us that geothermal power capacity is to double by 2020. A new study by Pike Research says that large scale investments into geothermal power could see an increase in global capacity of 134 per cent this decade. Currently there is an installed capacity of 10.7 GW spread across 26 countries with the US the global leader with 3.1 GW of installed capacity. Nearly all of the current capacity comes from conventional geothermal sources. However, enhanced geothermal systems and co-produced wells could offer opportunities for expansion, including in rift zones and volcanically active regions. The study forecasts that US geothermal capacity will reach 4.2 GW in 2020 and would represent almost 30 per cent of total worldwide geothermal capacity. The Asia Pacific region would have the highest capacity among world regions with 5.9 GW of geothermal power.

Climate Spectator told us how the Canadian province of Nova Scotia plants to replace 25% of its coal power generation with renewable energy by 2015.  The province is focusing on wind and tidal power and has introduced the highest feed-in-tarrifs in North America for small wind projects and the highest feed-in-tariffs on the planet for small power plants driven by ocean tides. Nearly 90 percent of Nova Scotia’s electricity is generated by coal.

Australia is on its way to becoming the new Qatar of liquified natural gas (LNG) according to Upstream. The Downunder country could become the world’s biggest producer of LNG by 2020 as seven large production plants plan to start operating later in the decade.  While these is strong demand for LNG now, particularly in Asia with Japan’s Fukushima problems, some believe that Australia could end up flooding world markets by the end of the decade, potentially triggering a global gas glut as surplus cargoes flood world markets and pressure spot prices lower. In order to protect its investments, Qatar will have to try to lock-in as many customers as it can before Australian LNG hits the market.




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