Power Engineering introduced us to the carbon footprint of power generation. “Generation of electricity is the single major contributor of CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions. The carbon footprint varies with the technology adopted in the generation and operation of the plant.” The post teaches us how the carbon footprint is measured and what the carbon footprint is of the different renewable and non-renewable energy sources.

sbs told us which countries have some form of carbon pricing scheme.

xinhaunet reported that China is building the largest electric power transmission line capacity. Construction has started on the worlds largest Ultra High Voltage Direct Current (UHVDC) power line. Operating at 800 kV, the system will connect Hami prefecture in eastern Xinjiang with the central city of Zhengzhou, along a 2,210-km-long power line and is designed to handle 8 million kW of power when it commences operation in 2014. The purpose of the line is to bring electricity from the energy rich west to the booming central and eastern regions of the country. It appears that China is confident that time and technology has solved the issue of energy losses associated with DC power transmission over long distances – Edison’s dream.

The end of Peak Oil was a topic this week. Adelaide Now had Peak oil debate is over, say experts while examiner wrote Peak oil debate is over, and U.S. energy independence will be obtained by 2020. Add to the mix the Edmonton Journal U.S. shale boom, Europe glut alter energy landscape. The common theme is that the Canadian tar sands coupled with the booming shale gas and oil bonanza is turning North America into the New Middle East. In addition we have the potential for a surplus of conventional natural gas in Europe in addition to its own shale gas deposits. China, of course, also has vast shale gas deposits.

OILPRICE discussed how China and the US are competing for Canada’s energy assets. Canada’s proven petroleum reserves are 174 billion barrels, making it the world’s third-largest holder of reserves after Venezuela and Saudi Arabia.  97% of these reserves are unconventional, mainly from oil sands bitumen deposits. Canada is currently the single largest foreign supplier of energy to the United States, providing 20% of U.S. oil imports and 18% of U.S. natural gas imports. In addition, the country is a major supplier of electricity to the US, primarily generated by renewable hydroelectric power to New England, New York, the Upper Midwest, the Pacific Northwest, and California. And its uranium powers 104 US nuclear reactors. However, as Americans debate the environmental consequences of importing Canadian tar sands crude oil, China has no qualms whatsoever. Indeed the Chinese have offered to finance the construction of a refinery for the tar sands crude as well as a pipeline to ship it to the Pacific coast where it can be loaded onto tankers headed for China. OILPRICE says “If Washington wishes to retain its prominence there, then it must take note of this uncomfortable new reality and adjust its policies accordingly.”

The State Journal remarked that coal to natural gas conversion by owners of coal-fired plants in the US midwest is not an easy decision. Many coal plants will need replacement in this region over the next decade and utilities have to decide whether to continue with coal or move to the currently cheaper natural gas. However, the decision is not simple. Many industrial customers demand a heavy, steady supply of inexpensive power and the utilities are wary of natural gas’ history of price volatility. What would happen to the price of natural gas if suddenly every utility wanted more? Additionally there may not be enough pipeline capacity to satisfy all the potential demand.

Energy Tribune addressed Europe’s other power crisis: energy. An energy crisis is looming in Europe – a crisis entirely of the EU’s own policy-making. A dramatic move away from dependence on Russian natural gas and nuclear to a new dependence on renewable energy could lead to energy shortages on the continent as early as next winter. “EU energy policies have created an unsustainable, publicly-subsidized, market-skewing ‘green’ energy bubble, eschewed a cheap fossil fuels policy and realistic alternatives to Russian gas imports. Together those failed policies have resulted in the double double-whammy of soaring of energy prices and, as is now being reported, diminishing European industrial competitiveness.”

The Independent wondered if a new French nuclear policy could have disastrous consequences for the UK. During his election campaign, new French president Francois Hollande pledged to close 24 of France’s 58 nuclear reactors and to reduce reliance on atomic power. He is unlikely to provide support to French companies with plans to build new nuclear plants in the UK.  German companies are already pulling out of the UK as their country has announced it will close all of its nuclear reactors. In the end the UK may be dependent on China and Russia to build its nuclear future. “The handing over of such sensitive technology to China or Russia is certain to re-ignite concerns. But we may have little option. Coal and gas mean carbon emissions which we are legally obliged to reduce, renewables can’t yet fill the gap and ultimately we have to keep on the lights.”

Bloomberg thought the lights will stay on during the UK’s coming energy crunch. The business site believes that the economic slowdown in Europe will be severe enough to enable Britain to retire old coal, oil and nuclear power plants on schedule, without risking black-outs between 2015 and 2020. Analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance finds that a combination of increased renewable energy capacity, along with already-planned, additional natural gas-fired capacity, will provide most of the extra electricity needed through to 2030. Renewable energy, nuclear power, energy efficiency and retrofits to existing plants should be able to meet all additional needs from 2020 onwards. You can download the analysis at the site.

The world’s first hybrid solar-geothermal power plant opened at Stillwater, Nevada posted Electric Vehicle News. (See video)  The facility combines 26 MW of photovoltaic solar generating capacity with 33 MW of baseload geothermal power, demonstrating how a single power plant can deliver renewable peak and baseload power. The plant has the capacity to power more than 50,000 local homes.

The Vancouver Sun reported that coconuts, wind and the Sun will power Pacific nations. Tiny Pacific nations are abandoning diesel fuel for renewable energy to provide transportation fuels and to generate electricity. Using coconut biofuel and solar panels, Tokelau plans to become self-sufficient in energy this year. Similar plans are underway in places like the Cook Islands and Tuvalu in the Pacific and St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean.

Bloomberg has a white paper that finds that solar PV is becoming competitive with conventional electrical power sources. You can download the paper at the site.

The wind power boom in Mexico was explored by Climate Spectator. “Producing just 3 megawatts of wind power in 2005, Mexico now has nearly 400 times that, and will have 2 gigawatts (GW) by the end of 2012…By the beginning of next year, Mexico’s installed wind power potential should equal almost 4 per cent of the country’s own energy needs.”

Still on wind power, Energy Tribune says the wheels are coming off the gravy train. Governments are beginning to remove subsidies to wind projects as their budgets are stressed by the economic recession.  In addition wind is turning out to be more expensive than conventional sources to generate electricity (hydro, coal, natural gas) and biomass. Without the tax subsidies, many experts believe the on-shore and off-shore wind industry will collapse.

Power Engineering told us that El Salvador will add 689 MW of renewable energy through 2026.  The plan is for the country to obtain its electricity from a multitude of sources – geothermal, hydro, biomass, solar and biogas.

Ahmedabad, India is going to LED lighting to save money and energy we learned from Daily News & Analysis. The city plans to replace conventional street lights with light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which will maintain the same illumination level. The effect will be to reduce electricity costs and increase energy conservation. 18,000 sodium lights will be replaced by 45 W, 80 W and 110 W LEDs and within 3 years electricity costs should be cut by 50%.

GIZMODO posted Philadelphia’s Subway Trains Are Becoming Rolling Power Factories. In an effort to conserve energy, South East Pennsylvania Transit Authority has outfitted its light-rail trains with regenerative braking technology. Like hybrid cars, they power the system every time they slow down. The pilot program is designed to absorb the energy generated by slowing trains in five downtown Philadelphia subway stations and feed it into a 800-kW, 400-kW-hour battery at a nearby substation. When a train slows as it approaches a station, it uses an electric motor to convert kinetic energy to electrical, and then dumps the excess charge into the overhead third rail. A six-car train can generate as much as 3 MW in 15 seconds of braking. The trains are equipped with battery systems that can reabsorb this excess electrical energy to charge or transfer it to the Letterly Substation in Kensington. This allows the system to power its trains with the on-board batteries when prices are at their daily peak, reduce load on the metropolitan power grid, and even earn the transportation authority some money when the electricity is bid back into power markets.





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