India Plans Its Biggest Solar Power Auction
The Indian government is planning on auctioning 1,500 megawatts of solar-power capacity, the country’s biggest to date. Power Minister Piyush Goyal believes that solar electricity may supply power as cheaply as coal five years earlier than expected. He said that solar electricity has the ability to become cost –competitive with fossil-based grid power by 2017, instead of 2022. India have used competitive bidding to minimize renewable-energy subsidies which drove the cost of solar by about half since its first auction in 2010. Of the 1,500 megawatts, a third will be required to use locally made panels.
Bankruptcies Reflects Coal’s Plight
The coal industry, after fueling the U.S.’ growth for much of the past century, is now being overrun by a surplus of cheap natural gas and tighter regulations, pushing a number of companies to the brink of insolvency. James River Coal Co., more than $800 million in debt, is among at least a dozen coal-producers in the country to enter bankruptcy since 2003. Because of the natural gas glut caused by the fracking boom, the power sector is seen to be using 3 percent less coal next year and is not expected to recover to 2011 levels by 2040.
2014 Posted the Hottest June on Record
The earth just experienced its hottest June since record keeping began more than 130 years ago. According to data by the National Climatic Data Center, the global temperature last month was 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average, beating the previous 1998 record by 0.05 degrees. Experts say that El Nino, the climate phenomenon characterized by drought brought about by warm waters from the eastern tropical Pacific , has the potential to further intensify global temperature by year’s end.
Yellow Light Increases Growth of Biofuel-Producing Algae
Different algae strains, under different conditions, will produce varying amounts of lipids that can be extracted and refined into fuel. One major problem of the technology is that the amount of biofuel that can be collected from algae does not have the required energy density relative to the cost needed to extract and generate fuel. Recently, a team from the University of Toronto in Canada observed that lipid production increases lipid production fourfold by subjecting the algae to yellow light. Aaron Wheeler, director of the university’s research group, says that through microfluidic algae screening that they were able to identify this new phenomenon.