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Apr 19, 2013

Energy News: The Week in Review (April 8, 2013)

 

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

Climate Progress reported that renewables supplied a whopping 70 percent of electricity for Portugal in the first three months of this year.

The New York Times reported that David Sandalow, acting under secretary of the U.S. DOE, is leaving the agency to take a fellowship at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University.

GreentechMedia, citing Eurostat, reported that Europe was on target to meet its 2020 renewables goals, but may need new policies to maintain that momentum.

Renewable Energy World reported on the rise in shared solar programs.

Greenbiz wrote about why the utility industry is ripe for disruption. In related news, GreentechMedia asked if the utility industry can survive the energy transition. So did Grist in a two-part series here and here.

AutoblogGreen, citing the U.S. DOE, noted that U.S. charging stations increased by 9 percent in the first quarter of the year.

The New York Times reported that San Jose State University will start offering “battery university,” a professional development program intended to train the next generation of battery makers for applications such as electric vehicles and renewable energy.

GreentechMedia, looking at the example of Hawaii, considered when the time is right to “turn off” a solar subsidy. In related news, Renewable Energy World reported that the state’s largest utility has announced a proactive approach to adding more distributed solar to the grid. Meanwhile, Renewables International took a look at solar grid parity in Hawaii.

Climate Progress, citing an Energy Policy study, discussed how 100 percent renewable energy could be cost-effective for Australia by 2030.

The New York Times reported that researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are working on using solar energy to coax more electricity out of natural gas, resulting in a 20 percent reduction in gas consumption and carbon emissions.

GreentechMedia reported that on a recent Sunday afternoon, nearly 29 percent of California’s electricity came from renewables.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance released a new report about “how to solve the climate negotiation problem.”

The Los Angeles Times, citing a UC Berkeley Law School report, noted that California should tighten its fracking regulations. In related news, Greenbiz reported that European banks want more hard data on the risks of fracking.

Greenbiz shared the first part in a series about how smart phones are being used for energy efficiency.

CleanTechnica reported that renewables accounted for 82 percent of new U.S. power capacity in the first quarter of the year.

AutoblogGreen reported that grocer Kroger will add 225 Ecototality charging stations to its stores in the western U.S.

GreentechMedia described the deployment of DC fast charging stations for EVs as a chicken and egg problem.

CleanTechnica reported that costs of turnkey solar system costs in Switzerland dropped 40 percent between 2011 and 2012.

Greenbiz reported that a plan to allow businesses from California and Quebec to trade carbon allowances has taken a step forward.

AutoblogGreen, citing CarMD, noted that hybrid vehicle repair costs are falling, even as standard vehicle repair costs get more expensive.

CleanTechnica, citing an IEA report, noted that solar installations are approaching (or have already surpassed) 100 GW worldwide.

Greenbiz reported that Volvo’s new “I-See” software can reduce long-distance transport fuel consumption by five percent, optimizing how trucks drive over the terrain based on other trucks’ previous data.

AutoblogGreen reported that Smart USA will launch the first U.S. market electric vehicle with a separate rental program for the battery. In related news, the Nissan LEAF offers a battery lease option in the U.K.

CleanTechnica reported that the U.S. DOE has launched an initiative to build a solar performance database.

AutoblogGreen, citing a Navigant Research report, noted that 200,000 plug-in EVs with vehicle-to-building technology will be sold 2012 through 2020.

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