EIA Unveils Updated Global Energy Portal

EIA International Energy PortalThe U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has gone live with its updated International Energy Portal to improve access for people seeking information on international energy data and trends.

“With most of the future growth in energy consumption expected to occur outside of the United States and with increasingly interconnected world energy markets, a clear perspective on the international energy landscape is critically important, and EIA’s redesigned International Energy Portal makes it easier to gain insight into global energy developments,” said EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski.

According to EIA, the expanded International Energy Portal provides:

  • Increased access to data. The International Energy Portal includes a powerful new data browser that includes historical information on country-level energy use dating back, in many cases, more than 30 years.
  • New user-driven customization. The International Energy Portal introduces many features that enable users to customize their experience with EIA’s international data.
  • New data visualization features. These features include summary graphics of the world’s top energy producers and consumers broken down by energy source. Users can also generate a variety of data visualizations to quickly see how energy production, consumption, reserves, imports, exports, and carbon dioxide emissions have changed over time.
  • Improved access to international analysis. The International Energy Portal links to EIA’s international forecasts and projections such as EIA’s Short-Term Energy Outlook and International Energy Outlook. It also provides access to EIA’s entire library of international reports and analysis.
  • Enhanced data downloads. The International Energy Portal incorporates a complete application programming interface (API) that provides access to EIA’s historical international data.

Catholic Church Becomes Vocal on Climate Change

The United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP21) is still 200 days away but organizations are not waiting until the event gets closer to encourage countries to step up their climate change actions and policies. One such organization is the Catholic Church, representing 1.1 billion globally practicing the faith. Recently Pope Francis endorsed a Catholic petition calling for bold climate action after meeting with the newly created Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM). The Pope’s move was a visual sign that the he intends to lead Catholics into an active response to climate change. He is planning on publishing his encyclical on ecology this June.

Pope Francis is informed about the Catholic Climate Petition by GCCM representatives (Tomás Insua from Argentina and Allen Ottaro from Kenya). Credit: Fotografia Felici

Pope Francis is informed about the Catholic Climate Petition by GCCM representatives (Tomás Insua from Argentina and Allen Ottaro from Kenya). Credit: Fotografia Felici

“Pope Francis was very supportive of the work we are doing to engage Catholics around the world in a coordinated response to climate change,” said Tomás Insua, co-founder of the GCCM from Argentina. “The Pope even joked that we were competing against his encyclical. His endorsement of our work is extremely important to raise awareness within Catholic circles globally, and to collect more signatures.”

The idea for the petition came as a response to Pope Francis’ call last December: “On climate change there is a clear, definitive and ineluctable ethical imperative to act.” The signatures will be presented to world leaders in December 2015, when they meet at COP21 in Paris. The Pope has presented GCCM with the book “The Sun’s Energy in the Vatican” as a gift to emphasize the Holy See’s commitment to renewable energy as a means to address the climate change crisis.

“The support of Pope Francis to the petition is very important as climate change is a great and urgent moral issue,” said Allen Ottaro, director of CYNESA based in Kenya and co-founder of GCCM. “Climate change hits the poorest first and hardest, and will leave an unnecessarily dire legacy for future generations. We Catholics need to step up against climate change and raise a strong voice asking political leaders to take action urgently. I encourage all to sign the petition on our website: www.CatholicClimateMovement.global.”

The Catholic Church is becoming increasingly vocal on climate change. Two weeks ago, the Vatican hosted a high-level summit about climate change and released a declaration that stated: “Human-induced climate change is a scientific reality, and its decisive mitigation is a moral and religious imperative for humanity.”

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1Winning in the category of “website activism,” the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) received a prestigious 2015 Gold Communicator Award from the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts (AIVA) as part of its 21st annual worldwide awards competition. The award goes to sites that “encourage or promote change and public involvement”.
  • JinkoSolar Holding Co., Ltd. has announced that it will supply 50 MW of solar PV panels to Tegnatia, one of Turkey’s leading renewable energy developers.
  • Global Bioenergies and Audi have announced that the first batch of renewable gasoline has been produced. It will be presented to Audi by Global Bioenergies during a press conference to be held in Pomacle on the 21st of May.
  • According to a new report from Navigant Research, total identified microgrid capacity has grown from 4,393 MW in the second quarter of 2014 to more than 12,000 MW today. The new Tracker report tracks data on known grid-tied and remote microgrid projects in the operating, planned/under development, and proposed stages, including specific information is provided on the capacity of systems using diesel, combined heat and power (CHP), solar PV, wind, and fuel cells.

Georgia Power Begins 3×30 Solar Project

Several military bases and soon to be energized by solar power. This week, Georgia Power has begun construction on new solar projects at Georgia Army bases Fort Gordon near Augusta and Fort Stewart near Savannah. At groundbreaking events at the bases last Thursday and Friday, leadership from the company, the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC), the U.S. Army, the U.S. Army Office of Energy Initiatives (OEI) and the General Services Administration (GSA) gathered with community leaders and others to tour the site and mark the beginning of development.

Leaders from Georgia Power, the Georgia Public Service Commission, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Army Office of Energy Initiatives and the General Services Administration break ground on the Georgia 3x30 solar project at Fort Gordon near Augusta, Ga. (PRNewsFoto/Georgia Power)

Leaders from Georgia Power, the Georgia Public Service Commission, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Army Office of Energy Initiatives and the General Services Administration break ground on the Georgia 3×30 solar project at Fort Gordon near Augusta, Ga. (PRNewsFoto/Georgia Power)

Georgia Power and the U.S. Army first announced the Georgia 3×30 solar project in 2014. The project includes the development of three 30 MW solar generation facilities at three separate Army bases throughout the state. The projects, each of which may cover more than 200 acres, are scheduled to be completed and begin delivering power to the state’s electric grid by the end of 2016.

“These solar projects support the Army and their mission to not only strengthen local Georgia bases as economic and community engines, but also their efforts to further the development of renewable energy and enhance national security,” said Kenny Coleman, senior vice president of marketing for Georgia Power during the groundbreaking event. “We’re committed to assisting our customers with all of their energy needs, including providing information and expert advice to help them make informed choices about adding solar – on an Army base or a home rooftop.”

Georgia PSC Commissioners Chuck Eaton and Stan Wise attended the events and noted the combined efforts to bring the solar projects to Georgia and keep rates low for customers. Georgia Power notes that large-scale renewable projects like Georgia 3×30 are adding to Georgia Power’s diverse generation portfolio and fueling the state’s momentum as one of the fastest growing solar markets in the nation.

Military Adds Biodiesel Quality to Fuel Contracts

nBBThe U.S. military has added a quality requirement to its biodiesel buys. This news release from the National Biodiesel Board says the Defense Logistics Agency is letting suppliers know that biodiesel must be certified as coming from either BQ-9000 producers or BQ-9000 marketers.

“As the US military continues to move towards more sustainable, American-made fuels, it’s extremely important that they purchase the highest quality fuel possible,” said National Biodiesel Board Technical Director Scott Fenwick. “The inclusion of the BQ-9000 requirement ensures our military bases and others DLA supplies will be able to use biodiesel seamlessly in their operations.”

As America’s combat logistics support agency, DLA provides the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, other federal agencies and partner nation armed forces with a full spectrum of logistics, acquisition and technical services. DLA sources and provides nearly all of the consumable items America’s military forces need to operate – from food, fuel and energy to uniforms, medical supplies and construction material. In 2014, they supplied 100 million barrels of fuel.

The BQ-9000 program is a unique combination of the ASTM standard for biodiesel, ASTM D6751, and a quality systems program that includes storage, sampling, testing, blending, shipping, distribution, and fuel management practices.

Sen Udall & Friends Unveil National RES Bill

U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and friends, Edward Markey (D-MA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) has introduced a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) they say will pump nearly $300 billion into the economy while combating climate change. The bill would require utilities to generate 30 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030.

New Mexico Senator Tom Udall“A national Renewable Electricity Standard will help slow utility rate increases and boost private investment in states like New Mexico – all while combating climate change,” said Udall, who helped pass RES legislation through the U.S. House of Representatives and has continued to champion the issue as senator. “Investing in homegrown clean energy jobs just makes sense, and that’s why I’m continuing my fight for a national RES. More than half the states – including New Mexico – have widely successful RES policies, and it’s time to go all in. I’ve long pushed for a ‘do it all, do it right’ energy policy, and a RES will help us get there.”

If passed, the federal legislation would create the first national threshold for utilities to provide a certain percentage of their electricity from renewable resources, including wind, solar, biomass and others. It would set an 8 percent requirement by 2016, followed by gradual increases to meet the 30 percent by 2030 goal. More than half of the states already have renewable generation standards with specific timelines and target standards, and the legislation would not preempt stronger standards already implemented by states.

“Our record droughts, burning forests, dying fish, and melting icecaps all point to the urgency of taking on climate change,” said Merkley. “The only answer is burning less fossil fuel and moving toward renewable energy. Senator Udall’s bill would accelerate that transition and is a key to saving both our economy and our environment from the ravages of climate change.” Continue reading

Ecuador Rolls Out Ethanol Program

Gasolina EcopaisPresident Rafael Correa of Ecuador has issued a decree that orders the gradual national roll out of a 10pc ethanol blend in gasoline, using a price index published by Argus Americas Biofuels. The country is branding the ethanol-blend “Ecopais” and the goal is aimed at reducing the country’s growing high-octane gas imports that are blended with locally produced low-octane gas to make 87 octane and 92 octane.

“We are delighted that Ecuador has chosen to base its new ethanol mandate on Argus price assessments, in recognition of our clear methodology and benchmark status in global biofuels markets,” Argus Media Chairman and Chief Executive Adrian Binks said.

A number of Latin American countries have adopted Argus-related pricing in oil and energy markets. The Ecopais announcement follows last year’s decision by state-owned oil company PetroEcuador to price its crude exports against the ASCI benchmark — Argus’ volume-weighted average of US deepwater sour crude deals.

Pricing will be calculated based on the Argus ethanol price plus delivery costs from the U.S. Gulf coast to Ecuador plus a K factor of 18 cents per liter.

What’s the GHG Performance of Polluters?

Next 10 has released, “Green Innovation Index, International Edition,” a report that analyzes and ranks the economic and energy performance of the world’s 50 largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitting countries. The reports reviews country gross domestic product (GDP), emissions, energy productivity, renewable energy generation, clean tech investments and other key metrics. The report find the European Union collectively, and its individual nations, leads the world on several critical indicators.

Green Innovation Index“Some of the world’s largest economies are now decoupling economic growth and energy use, actually growing their GDPs while shrinking their carbon footprints. Last year marked the first time we’ve been able to say conclusively that a drop in global carbon emissions was caused by something other than an economic downtown,” said F. Noel Perry, businessman and founder of the nonpartisan nonprofit group Next 10.

Perry will be presenting the results as part of the events leading up to the Business & Climate Summit taking place at the UNESCO headquarters. The event is also part of Climate Week Paris.

The report finds the European Union ranks as the: #1 producer of renewable energy; #2 in global electric vehicle sales (2014), accounting for 30 percent of sales worldwide; #1 in clean tech IPOs (2014); #2 in clean tech venture capital, attracting just over $1 billion in 2014; #1 in wind energy patents; and #2 in clean tech patents, with 11,000 registered in 2014.

The Green Innovation Index also found that among these nations, plus California:

  • Spain, Germany, Italy, California, Philippines, the EU, Belgium, Netherlands, U.K. andGreece have the greatest share of electricity from renewable sources among top emitters (in order).
  • France leads the world in lowest carbon intensity; Uzbekistan is highest (GHG per GDP).
  • U.S. (with California), the EU, Japan, South Korea, Germany, California, China, Taiwan,France and U.K. (in order) are top ten in clean technology patents (2014).
  • Clean tech venture capital investment declined in the EU (-10 percent), France (-43 percent), Canada (-19 percent), India (-4 percent) and Israel (-11 percent) from 2013-14.
  • U.S. clean tech venture capital investment grew 74 percent (2013-14), California 153 percent.

“This year’s Green Innovation Index, International Edition tracks a clear shift to clean energy around the world. Although fossil fuels still represent a significant portion of our overall energy use, many analysts believe we have reached an important tipping point—globally, we are now adding more capacity for renewable power annually than fossil fuels,” added Doug Henton, chairman and CEO of Collaborative Economics, which developed the Index for Next 10.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1Belltown Power announced it has commissioned four solar projects totaling 50MW in the UK. Belltown’s in house engineering team managed the projects from consent stage through construction and into operations, successfully delivering all four projects ahead of the 31 March deadline for 1.4 ROCs.
  • Pattern Energy Group Inc. has announced it has closed the previously announced acquisition of two operational wind power facilities totaling 351 MW from Wind Capital Group, LLC and its affiliates for a final purchase price of $242 million plus assumed net debt of $102 million. The acquisition includes ownership interests in the 201 MW Post Rock Wind facility in Kansas, and the 150 MW Lost Creek Wind facility in Missouri.
  • Renova Solar, a Palm Desert, CA-based solar installer and SunPower Master Dealer, has received the SunPower “Residential National Dealer of the Year” award for its outstanding performance as a SunPower dealer in 2014.
  • Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) has been named to the Grid Edge 20 – the top 20 companies in the nation that are transforming the energy industry – by Greentech Media. FPL was singled out for its industry-leading approach to the grid, using technology to better manage the electric system and deliver reliable service that ranks among the best in the nation.

AF Academy Candidates Test Their Biodiesel

AFAThose who one day will go off into the wild blue yonder had a chance to test some green fuel – biodiesel. During the U.S. Air Force Academy Prep School’s Dean’s Challenge, cadet candidates tested their biodiesel to learn the applied chemistry of making and using the fuel.

During the Biodiesel Run off, 49 teams tested their alternative fuel made of vegetable oil by racing model cars providing by faculty.

“It’s a practical application of chemistry,” said Kevin McGregor, Prep School Science department head. “Students learned crucial concepts throughout the year on alternative fuels and had a week to prepare their own fuel.”

The competition included 13 preliminary rounds, a semi-final and final round. The winning team crossed the 55-yard course in seven seconds, according to McGregor.

“The cars were identical but the teams loaded their fuel,” he said.

Other activities during the Dean’s Challenge included a Poetry Slam and a Knowledge Bowl.