Energy policy and energy use are not forces of nature beyond our control. It's all about choices; different choices set us off on different paths, but don't prevent us from switching course. Which energy sources we decide to use can be changed at any time, with varying degrees of difficulty. Today's energy news illustrates that amply.
UK's Nuclear Subsidies Illegal, Campaigners Say
Energy Fair has filed a complaint with the European Commission alleging that the UK's support for nuclear power is illegal, as the nation's carbon floor price and feed-in tariffs "amount to state aid for the nuclear industry" and violated EU regulations on competition, according to BBC News.
In case you needed more convincing, CNN Money has a decent summary of the arguments surrounding construction of the the Northern Gateway pipeline and the Obama administration's rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline. As for assertions by House Speak Boehner that if KXL isn't built that the oil will just be shipped through Canada and out to China through the Northern Gateway pipeline, "It's not a question of either or...that [talk] is just politically convenient."
US Military Planning Solar Path For Bases To Be Off-Grid For Months
By opening up western military bases to private solar development,
the U.S. Department of Defense could generate a total of seven gigawatts of solar energy at four installations in the California desert, according to the findings of a feasibility study released this month by the agency’s Office of Installations and Environment. That’s as much as the combined production of seven nuclear power plants, or two-thirds of the electricity that the military uses nationwide each year. (PV Magazine)
BP's Energy Outlook Report Says Renewables Will Outpace Fossil Fuels...
...But still won't result in net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
The company's annual Energy Outlook Report, released this week, predicts that the global switch in favor of renewable energy means that the sector, including biofuels, will grow at an average of 8 percent a year through to 2030. It will far outpace natural gas, the fastest growing fossil fuel, which is expected to expand at 2 percent a year.But the report also predicts that, with global energy demand likely to grow 39 percent over the period, the renewables sector will still only account for about 19 percent of global energy output by 2030, with fossil fuels accounting for the remaining 81 percent. (GreenBiz)
Call me cynical, but considering BP's retreat from supporting renewable energy I find their conclusions too convenient for them—especially when there have been countless reports produced showing how we can much more rapidly move away from fossil fuels, and therefore reduce BP profits.
Volcanoes As Power Plants (Redux)
We've covered efforts to tap into the massive geothermal power potential of volcanoes in the past, but CoExist has another look that's worth taking a peek at. A taste:
One of the zanier sounding experiments (PDF) involving what’s known as Enhanced Geothermal Systems tech involves the Newberry Volcano in Bend, Oregon, artificial wells, and several million gallons of water. AltaRock Energy and Davenport Newberry Holding, backed by Google, the DOE, and others, have been exploring ways to tap into thermal energy at the Pacific Northwest volcano. This summer, the companies are planning to test the site to see if it will be commercially viable to create a geothermal power plant in the area.