Obama Pledges $2B in Energy Efficiency Funding, Commends Wal-Mart’s Solar Roofs
President Obama took the stage at a Wal-Mart store in Mountain View, California, to announce several plans to improve energy efficiency and announce commitments by big retailers supporting solar PV. The president announced his plans to invest another $2 billion in energy upgrades for federal establishments within the next three years. Obama also lauded Wal-Mart’s accomplishment of having the most installed on-site solar capacity of any company in the country. Wal-Mart announced plans to double its solar PV capacity and buy or produce 7 billion kilowatt hours of renewable energy by the end of the decade.
Solar to Bail California Out of Summer Hydropower Shortage
California, a state facing record drought that has dried up hydropower supplies, will have enough electrical capacity to supply peak demands this summer. Demand in the state is anticipated to reach 47,351 megawatts when rising temperatures boost air-conditioner use. California will have around 56,550 megawatts on-hand when demand peaks, with 3,243 MW of new capacity mostly from solar and gas-fired power plants that will be online by the 1st of June.
Lithuania Offered LNG Cheaper Than Gazprom
Lithuania, one of four European Union members that fully depends on Russia for natural gas, will pay less for shipments from countries such as Qatar for pipeline supplies from its eastern neighbor. The nation will be able to start importing fuel via a new regasification terminal in January and partly replace shipments from Russia, for which it now pays the highest price in the EU. Lithuania currently relies on OAO Gazprom for all its natural gas and is fighting the Russian pipeline gas export monopoly to reduce prices it claims are at least a quarter more than other European buyers pay.
Venezuela to Ration Electricity After Colombia Cuts Natural Gas
The Venezuelan government announced the start of electricity and water rationing in western Zulia state in Caracas to handle demand. Shortages of everything from water to flour to car parts come after three months of protests against the government that has left at least 41 people dead. Colombia stopped natural gas sales to Venezuela recently to preserve fuel during the El Nino dry spell. The last electricity crisis prompted by El Nino in 2009 contributed to six consecutive quarters of economic turmoil in Venezuela.