Volume 3, Issue 9
April 17, 2017 – April 23, 2017
Jason Mulderrig | Will Atkinson | Rohit Dilip | Anushka Dasgupta

Portland commits to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050
April 12, 2017 | CNBC | Anmar Frangoul                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           The city of Portland, Oregon has announced its intent to meet its electricity needs with renewables by 2035, and then convert its remaining energy to renewables by 2050. Other cities (e.g. Chicago) and businesses (e.g. Google,Nike) have also made ambitious sustainable energy goals, demonstrating their greater political will and capacity for rapid change compared to the federal government. -WA

The effectiveness of US energy efficiency building labels
March 27, 2017 | Nature Energy | Omar Isaac Asensio & Magali A. Delmas                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       The lack of public sensitivity to issues such as energy efficiency is one of the largest issues facing society today. Information programs seem to be a natural solution. This paper examines the efficacy of energy efficiency building labels as an information program. By using monthly electricity consumption data for thousands of buildings, they find that energy savings range from 18% to 30% depending on the program. However, their findings also indicate that these programs have minimal effect on smaller buildings, which account for the majority of building emissions. -RD

Startup says it can make compressed-air energy storage scheme dirt cheap
April 12, 2017 | Ars Technica | Megan Geuss
Canadian energy company Hydrostor has just finished the its two year pilot project that proved the worth of a new compressed air energy system (CAES) design. Typically, CAESs work by compressing air into some sort of chamber using electricity from the grid in off-peak hours. Then, during peak hours, the compressed air is heated with natural gas and expanded, and the work done through the expansion makes electricity for the grid. But Hydrostor’s so called “adiabatic CAES” eliminates the use of natural gas by storing the heat generated by the air compressors into a thermal management system, and releasing that same heat into the compressed air during the expansion process. Hydrostor is now pursuing projects that would eliminate coal or natural gas plants from the grid, for a fraction of the cost. -JPM

Demand Energy Breaks Ground on Groundbreaking Solar-Storage Microgrid in New York City
April 14, 2017 | MicroGridMedia | Andrew Burger
Work has started recently in New York City on the city’s first solar+storage microgrid system, which will serve commercial and residential needs in the Marcus Garvey Village in Brooklyn. The system will be made of a 400 kW solar system, 400 kW fuel cell, and a 300 kW/1.2 MWh lithium ion battery. The workings within the microgrid and between the microgrid and the ConEdison utility grid will be controlled by optimization computer code. This novel project was chosen over the conventional option of greatly expanding the local substation, a project with a heavy price tag of over $1 billion. -JPM

Fossil Fuels:
Russia Could Soon Control a U.S. Oil Company
April 10, 2017 | CNNMoney | Heather LongLast year, Venezuela’s struggling state-owned oil company took out a loan from Russia’s state-owned oil company. The twist? The deal includes a large stake in Citgo as collateral. If and when Venezuela gets behind on its payments, Russia could easily come into possession of an ownership stake in Citgo. That’s a little concerning in light of Russia’s habit of using energy resources as political leverage, but at 800,000 barrels of oil daily, Citgo only represents a small fraction of oil handled in the U.S. -AD

Deliberating the perceived risks, benefits, and societal implications of shale gas and oil extraction by hydraulic fracturing in the US and UK
April 10, 2017 |  Nature Energy | Thomas et al.
Recent spikes in shale gas and oil production, along with the changing political climate, has generally increased interest in prospective future development. Opposition to these practices ranges from political in nature to environmental concerns revolving around fracking. This study reports on public perception around shale development in the US and UK, and specifically targets areas that have not been exposed to shale development. Generally speaking, they find that most people consider shale development to be a risky practice. -RD