Energy News for week ending May 1, 2020

Texas | Cheapest in the Word | Supercapacitor | Betty and Nike

Happy Friday afternoon.

We start with a blog post from David Byrne of the Talking Heads. Seriously. He has a blog named Reasons to Be Cheerful (which makes me think more of Ian Dury and the Blockheads, but this is not a music newsletter). It is a long and thoughtful piece, and definitely worth a read. From the post, “Can’t We all be Like Texas? Last week, oil prices went negative. There is nowhere to store the oil being pumped out of the ground because demand, due to the coronavirus, has collapsed. There is less flying, less driving and fewer factories operating. So oil producers and their financial backers have been paying folks to take their oil. There are jokes going around that if you had a big storage tank in your basement, you could get paid to take some oil and sell it at a huge profit when, and if, the price goes up again. West Texas is oil country. But there is something else going on in West Texas: it is a world capital of wind energy. Last year, Texas got more of its energy from wind — 23.4 percent — than any other U.S. state. In fact, if Texas were a country (which some might argue it is) it would rank fifth in the world in wind power generation, just behind Germany and India. Wind in oil country may seem like a contradiction, but to Texans it makes perfect sense…All this focus on wind may seem surprising — we all know West Texas is oil country, and that the entire state often leans to the right politically. What’s encouraging is that, in this respect, Texans are behaving like conservatives are supposed to: they are ignoring ideological and partisan dogma and instead doing what makes economic sense. Wind has been forecast to be cheaper than oil in the long run — once the transmission lines and windmills are up, the costs, in theory, drop way down.”

To provide a proof point for Byrne’s economic benefit statement there is this from Bloomberg, Solar and Wind Cheapest Sources of Power in Most of the World.

For our new technology feature this week, we bring you a couple of solar stories and one for storage. Engineers make a promising material stable enough for use in solar cells, Purdue and Are Solar Windows The Next Big Renewable Breakthrough?, Oilprice.com

And from Popular Mechanics, “How to Turn Coal, Tar, and Pitch Into Useful Stuff—with Lasers! From petroleum trash to treasure. In a future where we no longer process and burn up our heavy hydrocarbons like coal, tar, and pitch, could they have new life as sophisticated manufactured goods? Researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology have published a new paper in Science Advances describing case studies for new ways to use these complex chemicals. ‘In a sense, what the team did is the inverse of traditional processing of fossil fuels, in which the complex mix of hydrocarbons undergoes stage after stage of breaking down chemical bonds and separating out different compounds,’ MIT said in a statement. ‘In this work, the various kinds of heavy hydrocarbon complexes were used just as they are, making use of the wide variety of properties to be found in the different materials.’…Using this technique, the team applied different materials to make ‘a supercapacitor to store electricity, a flexible strain gauge, and a transparent heater.’”

As for Betty and Nike. These stories have nothing to do with energy. But I’m sharing them because: A. I like cats and the weather. B. I like dogs and the Patriots (but not necessarily in that order or together). And C. Who can’t use some good and funny animal stories these days? These two became stars because of WFH. Enjoy!

How ‘Betty the Weathercat’ became a star on TV news in Indiana, Washington Post

Please! Let Bill Belichick’s Dog Coach the Patriots, Wall St. Journal

Have a wonderful weekend and stay well.

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

The coal industry was already struggling. Now it’s getting hammered by coronavirus, NPR State Impact

Critics of LNG Plan Say Army Corps Failed to Assess Impacts Before Issuing Permit, NJ Spotlight

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

A Satellite Lets Scientists See Antarctica’s Melting Like Never Before, New York Times

Government probe finds companies claiming carbon capture tax credit didn’t follow EPA requirements, The Hill

Renewables Giants May Get Even Bigger as Crisis Tightens Finance Markets, Greentech Media

How Concern Over Climate Change Correlates With Coronavirus Responses, Morning Consult

Solar and Wind Cheapest Sources of Power in Most of the World, Bloomberg

Emissions Declines Will Set Records This Year. But It’s Not Good News., New York Times

Clean Energy Center’s financial woes continue to mount, CommonWealth Magazine

Shell and BP Slash Spending but Renewables Largely Spared, Greentech Media

Billions in Clean Energy Loans Go Unused as Coronavirus Ravages Economy, New York Times

The Biomass Fiasco, Counterpunch.org

 

Wind

Mayflower Wind airs offshore plans, MV Times

5 Orsted US Offshore Wind Projects Face Possible Delay Due to COVID-19, Permitting Challenges, Greentech Media

Offshore Wind Finding Direction in U.S., Power Magazine

Ipswich still waiting for answers on complicated process to remove broken wind turbine, localne.ws

Struggling Distributed Wind Sector Eyes Role in Microgrids Market, Greentech Media

Can We All Be Like Texas?, Reasons to be Cheerful

Avangrid Withdraws Guidance due to Coronavirus, Vineyard Wind Uncertainty, Greentech Media

Judge strikes plan to put wind turbines on Bethlehem Authority land, The Morning Call

US wind industry weathers COVID-19 to deliver 1,800 more megawatts in first quarter, Daily Energy Insider

 

Solar

AG sues solar array developer over environmental damage in Williamsburg, Daily Hampshire Gazette

More Money for Brownfield Solar Offered, But Better Land Protection Needed, EcoRI

Engineers make a promising material stable enough for use in solar cells, Purdue

How Northeast state solar programs are reacting to COVID-19, Solar Power World

Standard Solar’s Wallingford, Vermont, 3.2 MW Brownfield Solar Project for Renewable Energy Program Complete, Electric Energy Online

After the Coronavirus pandemic, expect solar energy to change farming for the better, redgreenandblue.org

Torrington’s O&G debuts 1.3 megawatt solar array at Southbury quarry, Litchfield County Times

So, What Exactly Is Community Solar,? Greentech Media

Are Solar Windows The Next Big Renewable Breakthrough?, Oilprice.com

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

Mass. energy efficiency program goes virtual to help with rise in home electricity use, Boston 25 News

New Incentives Help University Save Energy, Money, UMassLowell

New York expedites energy efficiency vendor payments to bolster industry rattled by COVID-19, Utility Dive

Reading Municipal Light Department offering lawn equipment rebates, Wicked Local

How to Turn Coal, Tar, and Pitch Into Useful Stuff—with Lasers!, Popular Mechanics

Size Matters: Energy Storage Scales Up To Beat Down Fossil Fuels, CleanTechnica

 

EVs

Electric vehicle roadmap released for CT, Middletown News

Could Hydrogen Fuel Cells Revive, Threaten Battery Technology In Cars,? Forbes.com

 

Nuclear

30 Years Later, This Big Boy Fusion Reactor Is Almost Ready to Turn On, Scientific American

Accelerating reactor decommissioning, Nuclear Engineering International

Curtain lowers on nuke plant a stone’s throw from Manhattan, AP News

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

CMP corridor proponents appeal decision to allow anti-powerline ballot question, Bangor Daily News

Residential electricity use increasing amid pandemic, Western Mass News

GE, Siemens, Utilities Take Hits From Coronavirus, Power Magazine

5 Key Threats for US Utilities as Earnings Season Kicks Off, Greentech Media

Maine PUC examining the impacts of COVID-19 on customers, utilities, Daily Energy Insider

 

Editorial/Opinion

Letter: Nuclear power must compete in the deregulated market, Telegram.com

The pandemic’s impact on our electric grid and those who maintain it, Hartford Courant

Letter to the Editor: Not a good deal, Daily Bull Dog

Post-COVID-19: A positive outlook for the commercial solar industry, Utility Dive

States Standing Strong on Clean Energy Commitments Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Greentech Media

Michael Moore’s green energy takedown—worse than Netflix’s Goop series,? Ars-Technica

Opinion: A No-Cost Way to Save US Clean Energy Jobs During the Crisis, Greentech Media

Op-Ed: Batteries Can Help NJ Achieve Clean-Energy Goals, Save Money for Ratepayers, NJ spotlight

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Filed under Climate Change, New England Energy News, Northeast Energy News, nuclear, offshore wind, solar

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