QUICK NEWS, January 6: THE BIGGEST U.S. METHANE LEAK EVER LEAKS ON; THE BIGGEST BIG SOLAR BUILDER MOVES AHEAD; WIND STILL AIMING AT KITE HEIGHTS
THE BIGGEST U.S. METHANE LEAK EVER LEAKS ON A single gas well leak is California's biggest contributor to climate change; Rupture of Aliso Canyon well has released more than 77,000 metric tons of methane and refocused attention on America’s accident-prone infrastructure
Suzanne Goldenberg, 5 January 2016 (The Guardian)
“The single biggest contributor to climate change in California is a blown-out natural gas well more than 8,700ft underground...at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage site [owned and operated by SoCalGas which] has released more than 77,000 metric tons of the powerful climate pollutant methane since the rupture was first detected on 23 October [and it has now been revealed that the company removed a blow-out preventer at the bottom of the well in 1979]…Methane is a fast-acting climate pollutant – more than 80 times more powerful than carbon dioxide over a 20-year time frame…Experts believe the breach, which has forced the evacuation of hundreds of residents from the town of Porter Ranch, is the largest ever in the US…Locals have complained of headaches, sore throats, nosebleeds and nausea…About 1,000 people are suing the company…The leak is unlikely to be brought under control before late February – and even that timetable depends on work crews’ success in locating and plugging a 7-inch pipe deep underground…The release of methane from the ruptured well has now slowed…[but is] widely seen as the climate equivalent of the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico…” click here for more
TOP BIG SOLAR BUILDER MOVES AHEAD First Solar, Inc.'s Worst Moves in 2015; First Solar, Inc. was the best-performing large solar company in 2015, but it may not be investing enough to keep that lead for long.
Travis Hoium, January 5, 2015 (The Motley Fool)
“2015 was a great year for [investors in world-leading utility-scale solar developer] First Solar...The stock is up over 50%...and the company made some positive steps in improving its competitive position long term…But First Solar has also left some opportunities on the table…[Its earnings and gross margin were down on the systems First Solar is providing panels for and/or engineering, but for which it is not performing the development. Management says this also reduced risk that will be less of a factor now that the federal investment tax credit has been extended for five years]…First Solar has [also done far less than companies like SolarCity and Sun Power] to adapt to new technologies that it knows will be necessary [to mitigate solar variability]…First Solar won't need the same technologies as some competitors, particularly in the residential solar space…But utility-scale projects will be under pressure as they take over more of the grid [but it should be doing more]…” click here for more
WIND STILL AIMING AT KITE HEIGHTS The Next Big Trend In Wind Energy?
Michael McDonald, 5 January 2016 (OilPrice.com)
“A new take on wind energy is starting to emerge…Traditional wind energy relies on turbines…but a new group of companies [wants to use kites flying offshore. They would reduce environmentalists’] protests about installing new turbines…since they would generally be tethered far offshore…[More importantly,] kite-based wind power represents an opportunity to save money, and decrease power costs by rethinking the wind energy supply chain because onshore and offshore kites are] likely to be much less costly to install…[Kites could be] developed without Government subsidies and offers a technology that can be deployed in locations where conventional wind can’t…Competitors in the space [include KPS Power Solutions,] Altaeros Energies, Ampyx Power, and SkySails....Google is backing a company called Makani…[The biggest challenge] will be proving that the kites are durable enough…” click here for more