Fracking Linked to Ohio Tremors
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) said yesterday that recent earthquakes in its northeastern region were likely caused by hydraulic fracturing. Several earthquakes reaching up to magnitude 3.0 struck on March 10 and 11 in Mahoning County near the Ohio-Pennsylvania order. A nearby oil well was being ‘fracked’ at the time of the tremors. This is now the fourth documented case of induced earthquake linked to fracking. Ohio will now be the first state to require seismic monitoring during hydraulic fracking and shut down operations if earthquakes occur.
German Utilities Go to Coal Sans Nuclear
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s 2011 decision to close all 17 of Germany’s nuclear power plants by 2022 struck a blow to German power giant RWE AG’s profit stream, posting its first loss last year since World War II. For a company that has almost no presence in renewables, RWE had no choice but to ramp up production from its profitable coal-fired plants, most of which burn lignite – a cheap, brown colored sedimentary rock that spews more greenhouse gas than any other fossil fuel.
GE Financially Backs Massive 230-MW Solar PV Plant in Japan
GE Energy Financial Services, the energy arm of General Electric, recently announced that it will be financially support a massive 230 MW solar PV power plant to be built in the Japanese city of Setouchi. The total project cost is estimated to be around $777million and GE is planning to invest around $100 – $200 million into the endeavor. The exact details of the deal are not completely clear yet, but GE Energy Financial Services did confirm that it will be an equity investment. When completed, the Setouchi solar project will be the largest in Japan.
Energy Department Proposes Tighter Lightbulb Standards
The Energy Department s planning to strengthen its energy efficiency specifications for certain types of bulbs by up to 12.9 percent over current standards. The proposal could cost companies and consumers $100 million or more to purchase higher-efficiency bulbs, but the department expects that the benefits of the standards to outweigh the costs. The proposal affects general service fluorescent lamps, which are commonly found in office buildings, and incandescent reflector lamps, commonly used in recessed and track lighting.