Mega-Project – BC’s Peace River Site C Dam to Break Ground Next Summer

“Clark said that it’s unknown how much the project will add to BC Hydro customers’ bills, but that the cabinet reached the decision after careful analysis and much discussion.”

Source: thetyee.ca

>” […] British Columbia plans to start construction of the $8.8-billion Site C dam on the Peace River next summer, Premier Christy Clark said today in a controversial announcement that was welcomed by some and panned by others.

“Once it is built, it is going to benefit British Columbians for generations, and that is why we have decided to go ahead with the Site C clean energy project,” Clark said at a press conference at the provincial legislature.

Clark said that it’s unknown how much the project will add to BC Hydro customers’ bills, but that the cabinet reached the decision after careful analysis and much discussion.

Site C was the most affordable, reliable and sustainable option available to meet B.C.’s growing power needs, she said. Over the next 20 years, the government is estimating that demand for energy will increase by 40 per cent as both the population and industry grows. Roughly one-third of that power is expected for residential use.

First proposed some 30 years ago, Site C will be the third of a series of dams on the Peace River and will flood an 83-kilometre long stretch of the river to generate 1,100 megawatt hours of electricity, enough to power 450,000 homes per year.

“If you accept the premise British Columbia is going to grow, then you also accept the premise we’re going to need more power,” said Clark. That power will come from a variety of sources, including the Site C dam, which will have a lifespan of 100 years, she said. […]

Impacts ‘that can’t be mitigated’: CEO

BC Hydro President and CEO Jessica McDonald said the Crown corporation has spent seven years consulting with First Nations. “We acknowledge and respect that there are impacts,” she said. “There are impacts that can’t be mitigated.”

Discussions are continuing and there are hopes they’ll reach an agreement on accommodation, she said. Courts have ruled that in certain situations it may be necessary to compensate an aboriginal group for any adverse impacts a project may have on its treaty rights. Compensation could include habitat replacement, job skills or training, or cash.

Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett said the project is in the long-term best interest of the province, though he acknowledged it comes at a cost to people in the Peace River valley. “There are impacts to people who live in the Northeast, and nobody is happy about that,” he said.

It’s a major project and worth building, he said. “It’s big, it’s expensive, it’s a huge project, but it’s eight per cent of the total electricity needs in the province.” […] “<

 

 

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University Researchers Find Abandoned Wells Leak Substantial Quantities of GHG’s (Methane)

After testing a sample of abandoned oil and natural gas wells in northwestern Pennsylvania, the researchers found that many of the old wells leaked substantial quantities of methane.

Source: www.princeton.edu

>” […] To conduct the research, the team placed enclosures called flux chambers over the tops of the wells. They also placed flux chambers nearby to measure the background emissions from the terrain and make sure the methane was emitted from the wells and not the surrounding area.

Although all the wells registered some level of methane, about 15 percent emitted the gas at a markedly higher level — thousands of times greater than the lower-level wells. Denise Mauzerall, a Princeton professor and a member of the research team, said a critical task is to discover the characteristics of these super-emitting wells.

Mauzerall said the relatively low number of high-emitting wells could offer a workable solution: while trying to plug every abandoned well in the country might be too costly to be realistic, dealing with the smaller number of high emitters could be possible.

“The fact that most of the methane is coming out of a small number of wells should make it easier to address if we can identify the high-emitting wells,” said Mauzerall, who has a joint appointment as a professor of civil and environmental engineering and as a professor of public and international affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School.

The researchers have used their results to extrapolate total methane emissions from abandoned wells in Pennsylvania, although they stress that the results are preliminary because of the relatively small sample. But based on that data, they estimate that emissions from abandoned wells represents as much as 10 percent of methane from human activities in Pennsylvania — about the same amount as caused by current oil and gas production. Also, unlike working wells, which have productive lifetimes of 10 to 15 years, abandoned wells can continue to leak methane for decades.

“This may be a significant source,” Mauzerall said. “There is no single silver bullet but if it turns out that we can cap or capture the methane coming off these really big emitters, that would make a substantial difference.” […]”<

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Swedish Stirling Engine Generator Converts Low Quality Landfill Gas to Energy in Poland

Swedish Stirling Engine generator specialist, Cleanergy supplies its GasBox generators to two landfill sites in Poland for the production of energy from low quality methane gas emitted from two major, following a successful pilot project earlier in the year.

Source: www.waste-management-world.com

>” […] GasBox – the centrepiece of its Combined Heat & Power (CHP) system – has been specifically developed to generate electricity and heat from low-quality methane gas produced by the decomposition of organic matter at the 2000+ landfill sites across Europe, most of which are more than 10 years old.

According to Cleanergy, many such landfill sites choose to flare the methane they produce.

The European Union Landfill Directive of 1999 states that flaring is only an option if it is impossible to extract energy from the methane gas. But up until today, older landfill sites have often broken these directives because the gas combustion engines traditionally used at newer landfills where methane levels are above 40% simply cannot produce electricity from lower grade, ‘dirty’ methane.

However, at the two Polish landfill sites the methane was released straight into the atmosphere rather than being flared.  To address this, Cleanergy’s GasBox was deployed at the Regional Centre of Waste Management in Domaszkowice in Poland in August.

This 25 hectare landfill site closed in the  2000. Since the installation of the GasBox, the electricity generated has been used to power equipment and to heat and electrify buildings at the site.

Following this success, Cleanergy’s CHP system has also been deployed at the Waste Neutralisation Enterprise in Sulnówko, a 7.5 hectare landfill site.

Anders Koritz, CEO at Cleanergy commented: “We developed our GasBox to meet a specific need – a complete CHP system that can run on low-grade methane gas. Sure enough the industry response since our launch in June has been amazing.”

According to Cleanergy its GasBox addresses this specific problem and is able to produce both electricity and heat from a methane gas concentration down to 18%.

Installed inside a modular container, Cleanergy’s GasBox is an autonomous and flexible stirling engine unit. Also inside the container is a real-time power management system with remote access; a fuel pipe; plus a heat and electricity connection to a house/factory/warehouse with optional grid functionality.

With a claimed ROI of three to five years, the company said that its GasBox is now commercially deployed at several locations in Norway, Slovenia, Sweden (in collaboration with the Swedish Energy Agency) and the UK. […]”<

 

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Indiana Landfill Gas Energy Project Starts Operations

Republic Services recently announced the start of operations at its latest landfill gas-to-energy project. The new 6 MW project at County Line Landfill involves four engines operating at one energy generation facility.

Source: biomassmagazine.com

>” […] Landfill gas is a natural byproduct of decomposing waste. This project involves extracting gas from within the landfill, processing the extracted gas, and then distributing the processed gas to a generation facility where it is converted into energy that supplies the local electric grid.

According to the U.S. EPA, landfill gas-to-energy projects also reduce reliance on non-renewable energy resources, such as coal or petroleum. The EPA estimates that three megawatts of energy produced from landfill gas is equivalent to preventing carbon emissions generated by the consumption of 16.6 million gallons of gasoline. Based on EPA calculations, the new County Line Landfill gas-to-energy project prevents carbon emissions equivalent to the consumption of more than 32 million gallons of gasoline.

Republic Services partnered with Aria Energy on the design, development and management of the new project. Republic Services and Aria Energy have partnered on four projects to date with a combined generation capacity of more than 39.6 megawatts of electrical power. Republic and Aria are currently working on two additional projects, which combined are expected to create another 15 megawatts of electrical power.

Republic Services has implemented 73 landfill gas-to-energy projects nationwide. Together, these projects harness enough electricity to power or heat approximately 400,000 households. According to the EPA, the combined environmental benefits from these projects are equal to removing more than 4 million cars from our roads or planting more than 4.5 million acres of trees each year. […]”<

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New Alberta Oilsands Projects to Start Up Despite Falling Oil Prices

Oil producers are set to be squeezed as a total of 14 new oilsands projects are scheduled to start next year while crude prices continue to fall

Source: business.financialpost.com

” […] “There is a lot of crude coming on next year,” Juan Osuna, IHS Energy Inc.’s senior director for North American oil said in a phone interview Dec. 12. Producers “aren’t going to be happy, they will make a greater effort to cut costs, but they have been prepared for this.”

Western Canadian Select fell to US$39.38 a barrel Monday, the lowest since April 2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The grade, which has higher sulfur content than U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate, sold at an average US$18.78 a- barrel discount in the past year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Oilsands projects slated to start next year include ConocoPhillips and Total SA’s joint 118,000 barrel a day Surmont project and the 40,000-barrel-a-day expansion of Cenovus Energy Inc.’s Foster Creek project […]

Sunrise Project

Husky Energy Inc. said last week it began steam operations on its Sunrise crude project with the first phase set to begin pumping oil by early next year.

While oilsands producers may curtail future development, most existing operations won’t be shut and ones under construction will go ahead because of the investments involved and potential harm to future output, Osuna said.

Cenovus said Dec. 11 production would rise 9 per cent to 129,000 barrels a day from its Foster Creek and Christina Lake projects next year even as it lowered its spending plan by about 15 per cent.

Canada’s oilsands output is projected to rise to 3.7 million barrels a day by 2020 from 1.98 million last year, according to a report last month by the Canadian Energy Research Institute.

Brent oil traded near US$61 a barrel Monday as the United Arab Emirates said the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will resist output cuts even if prices slump as low as US$40. […]”<

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$200m Demand Management Program Approved in NYC to Defer $1 billion SubStation to 2026

The NYPSC approved Con Ed of New York’s proposed $200 million Brooklyn/Queens Demand Management Program that would relieve overloads in the city.

Source: www.rtoinsider.com

>” […] Con Ed’s proposed Brooklyn/Queens Demand Management Program is consistent with the state’s “Reforming the Energy Vision” program to restructure the electricity market with greater reliance on technology and distributed resources, the commission said. “The commission is making a significant step forward toward a regulatory paradigm where utilities incorporate alternatives to traditional infrastructure investment when considering how to meet their planning and reliability needs,” the order states.

Commission Chair Audrey Zibelman added that because of the recent D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision striking down federal jurisdiction over demand response in wholesale markets, it’s important for state regulators to set market rules for that resource.

Con Ed said the feeders serving the Brownsville No. 1 and 2 substations began to experience overloads in 2013 and would be overloaded by 69 MW for 40 to 48 hours during the summer by 2018. A new substation, transmission subfeeders and a switching station would cost $1 billion, according to the company. The PSC accepted the company’s estimate of the DM Program’s costs and ordered a cap of $200 million.

The program would include 52 MW of non-traditional utility-side and customer-side relief, including about 41 MW of energy efficiency, demand management and distributed generation, and 11 MW of utility-side battery energy storage. This will include incentives to upgrade building “envelopes,” improve air conditioning efficiency of equipment, encourage greater use of energy controls, and establish energy storage, distributed generation or microgrids.

This will be supplemented by approximately 17 MW of traditional utility infrastructure investment, consisting of 6 MW of capacitors and 11 MW of load transfers from the affected area to other networks.  […]”<

 

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Applying Intelligent Efficiency to the Transportation Sector

A new report from ACEEE, Energy Savings from Information and Communications Technologies in Personal Travel,estimates that aggressively incorporating a handful of ICT strategies could reduce energy consumption in transportation by almost 13% by 2030.

Source: aceee.org

>” […] Intelligent efficiency is the use of information and communications technologies (ICT) to improve the overall productivity and efficiency of a given sector.

In transportation, intelligent efficiency can affect the way we travel by providing us with real-time feedback and information on fuel economy, making it easier for us to use alternatives to driving such as public transit and bicycles, and by moving traffic away from peak travel times and consolidating travelers into fewer vehicles.

[…] The strategies discussed in the report include:

  • Car and bike sharing
  • Real-time transit information
  • In-vehicle feedback
  • Vehicle-to-vehicle communications and driver assist applications
  • ICT-based transportation demand management programs (TDM)

The report aims to provide readers with a sense of the relative magnitude of energy savings possible from these strategies, and is by no means a definitive overall estimate. ICT could be incorporated in many additional ways in the transportation sector. The strategies described here are simply the tip of the iceberg when it comes to implementation. Studies from Europe have shown that reductions could be as high as 26% if we consider the whole universe of strategies and options. […]”<

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Oil Price Slump Good News for Solar Power?

As global oil prices hit a five-year low, the fossil fuel industry is facing a gathering storm that could spell great news for the solar power industry.

Source: www.pv-magazine.com

” […]

Some analysts had suggested that cheaper oil could initially cause problems for the solar industry. With utilities able – but not guaranteed – to pass on gains to the consumer, the thirst for renewable energy could wane, analysts warned. “Such a scenario could destroy value on existing renewable energy projects and make it difficult to raise financing for future projects,” Peter Atherton, utility analyst at Liberum Capital, told the Guardian.

However, Deutsche Bank energy analyst Vishal Shah yesterday released a report that suggested there would be “limited/no impact from recent oil price weakness” on the solar industry, with PPA prices in the U.S. immune from oil fluctuations. In China, Shah added, government appetite to tackle air pollution also protects the solar industry from external volatility, while the U.S. residential solar market is even more insulated from external forces, which spells good news for companies like Solar City.

In Japan, energy advisor to the government and senior fellow at Mitsui Global Strategic Studies Institute Takashi Hongo told Bloomberg that “renewables are supported by policies, and that is not something that will be amended quickly just because oil prices fall,” suggesting there will be hardly any negative impact to the solar industry.

A warning shot was fired from Lin Boqiang, director of the Energy Economics Research Center at China’s Xiamen University, however. “If oil stays at current prices or weakens through the first half of next year, the impact on new energy would be massive,” Boqiang told Bloomberg. “Weakening oil prices would hamper the competitiveness of new energy.”

[…]

“The fact that oil is so unpredictable is one of the reasons why we must move to renewable energy, which has a completely predictable cost of zero for fuel,” urged Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change at the opening of the COP20 climate conference in Peru.

A changing tide
Following oil’s dramatic price fall last week, this week began with two seismic announcements that could hammer a further nail into the fossil fuel coffin. First, German utility E.ON announced that it is to pivot away from fossil fuels by 2016, pouring the majority of its resources into the development of renewable energy sources.

Then, a day later, the Bank of England (BOE) wrote a letter to the U.K. government’s Environment Audit Committee announcing that it is to formally begin examining the risks fossil fuel companies pose to financial stability.

BOE governor Mark Carney expressed his concern that much of the world’s proven coal, oil and gas reserves may be “unburnable” if the world is to keep global warming within safe limits.

“In light of discussions with officials, we will be deepening and widening our inquiry into the topic,” wrote Carney. “I expect the Financial Policy Committee to also consider this issue as part of its regular horizon-scanning work on financial stability risks.” […]”

Read more: http://www.pv-magazine.com/news/details/beitrag/is-the-oil-price-slump-a-boon-for-solar_100017395/#ixzz3LrUAGr88

 

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Embodied Energy – A Measure of Sustainability in Buildings & Construction

Embodied energy in building materials has been studied for the past several decades by researchers interested in the relationship between building materials, construction processes, and their environmental impacts.

Source: www.canadianarchitect.com

>” […]

What is embodied energy?
There are two forms of embodied energy in buildings:

· Initial embodied energy; and
· Recurring embodied energy

1.  The initial embodied energy in buildings represents the non-renewable energy consumed in the acquisition of raw materials, their processing, manufacturing, transportation to site, and construction. This initial embodied energy has two components:

  • Direct energy the energy used to transport building products to the site, and then to construct the building; and
  • Indirect energy the energy used to acquire, process, and manufacture the building materials, including any transportation related to these activities.

2.  The recurring embodied energy in buildings represents the non-renewable energy consumed to maintain, repair, restore, refurbish or replace materials, components or systems during the life of the building.

As buildings become more energy-efficient, the ratio of embodied energy to lifetime consumption increases. Clearly, for buildings claiming to be “zero-energy” or “autonomous”, the energy used in construction and final disposal takes on a new significance. […]”<

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5 Reasons Oil Prices Are Dropping

Key contributing factors in the fall in oil prices range from surprise production levels in Libya to, in-fighting between OPEC members and EU economic outlook…

Source: oilprice.com

“> […]

1. The U.S. Oil Boom
America’s oil boom is well documented. Shale oil production has grown by roughly 4 million barrels per day (mbpd) since 2008. Imports from OPEC have been cut in half and for the first time in 30 years, the U.S. has stopped importing crude from Nigeria.

2. Libya is Back
Because of internal strife, analysts have until recently assumed that Libya’s output would hover around 150,000-250,000 thousand barrels per day. It turns out that Libya has sorted out their disruptions much quicker than anticipated, producing 810,000 barrels per day in September. […]

3. OPEC Infighting 
There have been numerous reports about the discord between OPEC members, leading many to believe that OPEC will not be able to reign in production like it has done so in the past. The Saudis and Kuwaitis have reportedly been in an oil price war, repeatedly lowering their prices in order to maintain their market share in Asia. […]

4. Negative European Economic Outlook
European Central Bank president Mario Draghi has left investors concerned about the continent’s slow growth. Germany’s exports were down 5.8 percent in August, stoking the fears of anxious investors that the EU’s largest economy had double dipped into recession last quarter. Across the Eurozone, the IMF again lowered its growth forecast to 0.8 percent in 2014 and 1.3 percent in 2015.

5. Tepid Asian Demand 
Beyond slow economic growth and currency depreciation, a number of Asian countries have begun cutting energy subsidies, resulting in higher fuel costs despite a drop in global oil prices. […]”<

 

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