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This Month in Energy - August 2016

10 minutes to read

This month in energy - August 2016

Here’s what happened in the world of energy this month.

GLOBAL

Toyota, Tesla and Vestas ranked among world’s top green companies.

Toyota, Tesla, Vestas, DONG Energy and Panasonic are among the top ranked companies in the first ever Carbon Clean 200 list, which claims the world’s greenest large companies are outperforming their more polluting counterparts by as much as three to one.

Renewable Energy World Host #SkipTheGrid Social Media Event

On August 23, Renewable Energy World hosted a discussion on social media about the opportunities for the renewable energy sector to drive the adoption of decentralized renewables in emerging global markets.

Can Fire Ice Replace Both Oil And Renewables?

Growing awareness about the repercussions of fossil fuel usage, along with a few other things like the drive to energy independence have ushered in a new era of fossil fuels: the era of methane hydrates. Methane hydrates are, simply put, molecules of natural gas trapped in the crystal structure of frozen water molecules far below the seabed. Back in 2013, the Scientific American wrote that the world’s reserves of this compound, poetically called fire ice, could be as much as 15 times greater than total shale gas reserves.

Elon Musk leads Tesla effort to build house roofs entirely out of solar panels

A new venture spearheaded by Elon Musk will create house roofs made entirely of solar panels, in a sweeping expansion of Tesla’s clean energy ambitions. Tesla has finalized a $2.6bn deal to buy solar power company SolarCity to produce solar “shingles” – photovoltaic material that would be fashioned into the shape of a house roof. changing homes around the world into energy generators.  

NORTH AMERICA

The First US Offshore Wind Farm - Block Island

On the 24th of August, the final pieces of the first US offshore Wind farm were pieced together at Block Island. The five turbines at the Block Island Wind Farm have a capacity of 30 MW, and when they begin spinning in roughly two months’ time are expected to supply enough power to meet the island’s electricity needs nine times over.

Solar Dish sets steamy thermal energy efficiency record

The Australian National University (ANU) has developed a solar dish with an incredibly high sunlight-to-steam conversion rate. Instead of photovoltaic solar panels, which convert the sun's rays directly into electricity, the so-called "Big Dish" reflects them back at a receiver, which converts water into steam. The gas can then be used to power a motor, or stored for long periods as molten salts. This latest breakthrough receiver is an amazing 97 percent efficient.

Nuclear Cooperation Agreements

The US and Mexico are planning a new nuclear power cooperation agreement. AES Premium Members have access to the White House proposal and its draft agreement.

LATIN AMERICA

482MW wind farm to be built in Brazil

Brazil's environment department has confirmed planning approval for the 482MW Coxilha Negra wind farm located in the south of the country. The department, known as Ibama, granted the installation license for the project near Santana do Livramento city last month, it said. The 241-turbine wind farm, one of the largest planned in Brazil, is being developed by local utility Eletrosul. It will feature 2MW turbines.

Costa Rica celebrates 113 days of 100-percent renewable energy (and counting)

Costa Rica has just celebrated over 113 days if 100% renewable energy and counting. After being 99% renewable last year, they are well on the track to remove fossil fuels from their energy mix complete by 2020.

MIDDLE EAST

Fuel Subsidy Regime Falls Like Dominoes Across the Middle East

News broke in the second week of August 2016 that the International Monetary Fund had reached a “tentative” agreement with Egyptian officials regarding a $12 billion loan that the Washington-based pool would pay out over the next three years. It is reported that Egyptians will pay 65 percent of the actual cost of fuel at pumps during the 2016-17 fiscal year, and by the time the IMF distributes the last portions of its massive loan in 2020, the fuel subsidies will be completely dismantled.

QS Energy to deploy technical solutions in the Middle East

QS Energy, a developer of integrated technology solutions for energy industry, is currently engaged in discussions with two of the world’s largest crude oil-producing nations in the Middle East to provide deployment strategies for its AOT viscosity/pressure drop reduction technology

EUROPE

Green light for Apple in Ireland

The tech giant Apple has received the green light from Irish national planners to build a 30 MW onshore wind farm. The power generated by this wind farm will be used to power an apple data center in the west of Ireland.

EIB agrees to invest €62 million in European wind and solar projects

Under a target to put a quarter of its lending towards tackling climate change, the EIB is channeling money through SUSI Partners into wind and solar power. The Swiss investment firm has so far financed 170MW of clean electricity capacity across five EU member states. EU climate commissioner Miguel Arias Canete hailed the deal as “an example of local engagement to transform the energy system”.

Scotland just produced enough wind energy to power the country for an entire day 

For the first time on record, wind turbines have generated more electricity than was used in the whole of Scotland on a single day. An analysis by conservation group WWF Scotland found unseasonably stormy weather saw turbines create about 106 per cent of the total amount of electricity used by every home and business in the country on 7 August.

EU plans to invest in Finland-Estonia gas pipeline

The EU is investing and supporting infrastructure that is needed to unite the energy markets. Today, the European Commission has allocated €187.5 million for the construction of the Balticconnector, the first Estonia-Finland gas pipeline. The Balticconnector will end the gas isolation of Finland and develop the Baltic regional gas market. It contributes to solidarity and security of supply in the entire Baltic region. 

AFRICA

Africa has potential, to become a world reference in renewable energy.

According to a new survey, international investors say Africa’s renewable energy industry is the most promising on the continent. The survey which was conducted by a French research agency Havas Horizons, indicates that investors believe in the ability of Africa to become a world reference for renewable energy. It further states that projects in this particular sector, which was long considered risky, now represent a high potential in realizing higher returns on investment.

How To Solve South Africa’s Energy Crisis

With sun-drenched deserts to the north and the windswept Atlantic on its western coast, South Africa has abundant clean energy reserves. Recently discovered natural gas in neighboring Mozambique could add another relatively clean source of energy for Africa’s largest economy, and yet the South African government has opted to prioritize dirty coal and expensive nuclear as the answer to its ongoing energy crisis.

ASIA

Apple announces environmental progress in China & applauds supplier commitment to clean energy.

Apple in CHINA announced a significant commitment by major supplier Lens Technology to run its Apple operations on entirely renewable energy. 
This unprecedented commitment, combined with zero waste compliance from all final assembly sites, furthers Apple’s efforts to help manufacturers lower their carbon footprint and reduce waste in China, helping to advance China’s transition to a new green economy. 

China, Turkey seal nuclear partnership

Instead of distancing itself from its Western partners after the failed coup attempt of July 15, Turkey is trying to upgrade technological capabilities and secure access to clean energy through the nuclear deal with China. Beijing’s SNPTC is in the race for Turkey’s third nuclear power plant and it offers a number of advantages for the Turks like capacity improvement throughout the entire cycle of nuclear energy generation.