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Here’s what happened in the world of energy this month.
Oil fell to the lowest level it has seen since 2003 this month representing a 70% collapse since mid-2014. This comes at the same time as the West lifts sanctions off of Iran, which could lead to an additional supply glut that could further depress prices.
Increasing renewables to 36% of the global energy mix by 2030 would provide about half emissions reductions needed to hold warming to 2C, says International Renewable Energy Agency at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi.
With almost 3 GW of energy storage capacity either in operation or planned, analysts are predicting that 2016 will be a record year for energy storage. Battery cost reductions, government funding programs and utility tenders led to a 45 percent increase in the global energy storage pipeline in the fourth quarter of 2015 compared to the previous quarter.
In a significant victory for President Obama, a federal appeals panel rejected the effort of 27 states and dozens of corporations to block the administration’s regulation on emissions from coal-fired power plants.
The Obama administration will halt new coal mining on public land for the next three years with immediate effect as it undertakes a review of the “environmental and public health impacts” of coal production
The US navy launched its first aircraft carrier powered partly by biofuels made from beef fat, calling it a milestone toward easing the military’s reliance on foreign oil.
Nuclear power will remain a part of the U.S.'s energy mix over the next few decades, thanks to new funding provided by the Department of Energy. The funding hopes to spur advanced technologies and alternative designs so that the potential of future catastrophes can be mitigated.
Leaders from Afghanistan, Pakistan and India joined the President of Turkmenistan in a breaking ground ceremony for a major natural gas pipeline that could help ease energy deficits in South Asia. The project is estimated to cost $10B and be operational by 2019.
The wind giant Vestas received a firm and unconditional order for 22 3.45 MW wind turbines from one of the largest development and construction firms in Korea. This will be South Korea’s largest wind park in the last 10 years. Delivery and commissioning are expected in 2017.
Latin America is in the throes of a solar power revolution and Chile is leading the way The Latin American region is a fast growing market for solar energy and other forms of renewables. Uruguay announced in late 2015 that 94.5% of its energy comes from renewables and other countries like Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, and Paraguay are closely following.
A New Energy Transition Law in Mexico was published and announced on December 25th, 2015 that sets the groundwork for transitioning generation of power to 35% clean energy by 2024.
Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s state owned clean energy initiative, announced plans to invest in renewable energy projects from the U.A.E. to Morocco to double its power generation capacity from solar and wind plants within a decade to meet rising demand in the region. The country is seeking to diversify its energy supply away from natural gas and plans to generate 24% of its electricity from clean energy sources by 2021
Researchers in the United Arab Emirates have found that local sand could be a useful medium for storing solar energy.
The share of wind power in Denmark’s electricity mix increased from 18.7% in 2005 to 42.1% in 2015 breaking its previously held record. When the wind production exceeds demand, Denmark also exports electricity to the neighbouring countries, incl. Norway, Sweden and Germany.
Africa could be the first region in the world to power its economic development on renewable energy rather than fossil fuels such as coal, according to the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA).
A very ambitious initiative could make Africa the cleanest continent – Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) an African-led plan to add 10,000 MW of additional renewable energy on the continent by 2020, has received over $10 billion in funding from international sources at COP21.
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) have announced $46 million in concessional loans for four renewable energy projects in developing countries. The loans will fund a wind and solar project in Antigua and Barbuda, a solar project in Burkina Faso, a solar and wind project in Cabo Verde, and a solar project in Senegal.