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Feb 12, 2013

Energy News: The Week in Review (Feb. 4, 2013)


Here’s a cross-section of the energy conversations that took center stage last week:

The White House reported that President Obama named Sally Jewell, CEO of outdoor recreation retailer REI, to be the new Secretary of the Interior.

GreenBiz reported that energy-efficient LED lighting is gaining traction in commercial retrofits.

AutoblogGreen reported that Ford is now offering a mobile app that directs EV and PHEV owners to the nearest charging stations.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance reported that new unsubsidized wind power is now cheaper than new-build coal- and gas-fired power stations in Australia, even without a price on carbon.

In the wake of last weekend’s blizzard, GreentechMedia ran a story revisiting the topic of how to build a more resilient grid.

The World Resources Institute released a new report—“Can the U.S. Get There From Here?”—highlighting opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions using existing federal laws and state actions, and without the need for new legislation from Congress.

Green Car Congress noted that the California governor’s office released an action plan to get 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025.

The Alliance Commission on National Energy Efficiency Policy released a report about doubling U.S. energy productivity by 2030.

The Hill reported that Exelon CEO Christopher Crane told the Chicago Tribune that “excessive” wind power could shutter nuclear plants. (The American Wind Energy Association kicked the utility out of its organization after Exelon vocally opposed last year’s extension of the PTC.)

GreentechMedia reported on the issues facing distributed generation in California.

The EPA released a new online mapping tool charting greenhouse gas emissions from large facilities, sortable by state, greenhouse gas, and other criteria.

GigaOm noted that Better Place—whose business model focuses on swappable EV batteries and a subscription model—cancelled U.S. and Australia efforts to focus on Denmark and Israel.

Colorado College’s latest “Conservation in the West” poll—part of the State of the Rockies Project—reported that residents of six Rocky Mountain states overwhelmingly favored spending more money on solar and wind from a list of seven potential energy sources.

Grist reported that a recent HSBC Global Research study found that deployment of comprehensive climate change policies could cut the value of fossil fuel companies in half.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that a renewed debate is raging over the pros and cons of corn-based ethanol.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration noted that average household expenditures for gasoline accounted for nearly four percent of pre-tax income in 2012.

Building energy analytics company FirstFuel Software reported that operational/behavioral changes could account for half of building energy efficiency savings, at little or no cost compared to retrofits.

The American Wind Energy Association released its latest report, noting that the U.S. installed more wind power in the fourth quarter of 2012 (more than 8,000 MW) than has been installed all-time in the nation for solar (about 6,400 MW).

Fortune ran a story about why more blackouts may be in our future, and how energy storage systems can be part of the solution.

The University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute reported that the average sales-weighted mpg for purchased new vehicles hit an all-time high of 24.5 mpg in January.

GreenBiz reported that utilities in New York and Massachusetts are investing further in energy efficiency programs.

The Bipartisan Policy Center released the report “Capitalizing on the Evolving Power Sector: Policies for a Modern and Reliable U.S. Electric Grid.” 

U.S. News & World Report noted that a new study from the Center for Economic Policy and Research found that a “more European” work schedule could significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

An op-ed in the South China Morning Post called for energy efficiency targets for Hong Kong’s buildings, which consume 90 percent of that city’s electricity.

The Financial Times reported that the pension fund for the City of Seattle is considering divesting its fossil fuel holdings.

Autoblog asked if wireless induction charging could help boost the EV market.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance reported that China—the world’s largest consumer of coal—was also the world’s largest wind market in 2012, accounting for more than one-third of all new capacity.

The Union of Concerned Scientists released a new report highlighting the financial merits of fuel-efficient automobiles.

The New York Times reported that Duke Energy is exploring the option of building a natural gas power plant to replace the Crystal River nuclear plant, which will permanently shut down.

ForConstructionPros.com reported that two new studies from McGraw-Hill Construction and another from Turner Construction found that green building construction and operation remain strong despite a weaker economy.

Image courtesy of the White House.   


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