1. The Department of the Interior has given the green light to a power transmission line that is intended to bring power from Google, Inc.- backed offshore wind farms in the Northeast of the US to the mainland. Environmental impact studies will take 18 months to two years. The US, unlike Germany, so far has no offshore wind farms, and the US electricity grid needs to be re-done so as to bring power from such sources to consumers.
2. Inexpensive natural gas is being preferred to coal in the US, so that coal electricity generation has fallen 19 percent in the past year and now accounts for only 36% of US power. Natural gas is cleaner than coal, though it still pumps carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This is sort of like getting the good news that you’re being poisoned, but it isn’t with arsenic but rather something much more slow-acting.
3. Coal burning in the US will likely soon be phased out, since natural gas will likely stay inexpensive and EPA limits on carbon dioxide emissions are harder and harder for coal plants to meet. This according to a new Bloomberg Report.
4. The average American is willing to pay a 13% premium for power from wind and solar, over dirty sources such as coal, petroleum and natural gas.
5. A new design for a power-generating buoy powered by ocean waves is showing promise.
6. ReNew Power Ltd. is investing $1.1 billion in wind farms to generate electricity in India. Indian has little petroleum or natural gas so far, but enormous potential for wind and solar power generation.
7. “Big Solar” ran into some problems in the US, but the wave of the near future may anyway be “small solar”.
8. Saudi Arabia is investing $100 billion in solar energy for domestic electricity generation. Since it doesn’t have so much gas or coal, Saudi Arabia uses petroleum to generate electricity, which is relatively rare. But the more its uses its oil for such domestic purposes, the less money it can make from selling its oil abroad. Hence, solar for electricity generation in the kingdom.
10. Two geothermal companies have signed contracts worth $700 million to explore geothermal energy in Kenya. Underground steam could bring electricity to many parts of rural Kenya.
By. Professor Juan Cole