Renewable energy made up record 21.7% of national electricity market in October

Posted on November 14th, 2016 in environment by Spencer R.




Australia’s renewable energy sector hit a record in October, with 21.7% of electricity in the national electricity market coming from renewables, according to the latest Cedex report.

That represents the biggest proportion of any month since the data was made available by the Australian Energy Market Operator in 2005, according to the report from the engineering consultants Pitt&Sherry and the Australia Institute.

The high proportion of renewables contributed to a drop in emissions from the national electricity market – 0.8% less than a year earlier, meaning they had returned to May 2014 levels.

In the full year to October, renewable energy accounted for 14.7% of supply to the national electricity market, which encompasses the eastern states and South Australia. The lead author of the report, Hugh Saddler from Pitt&Sherry, said that was the biggest share since 1982, when demand was much lower and was satisfied by a lot of hydro.

“It further demonstrates the potential of a combination of renewable sources to produce very large amounts of power, which will help put downward pressure on future price rises as replacement costs impact wholesale prices,” Saddler said.

The report also examined historical retail and wholesale prices, and found a surprising lack of correlation.

Wholesale prices in NSW and Victoria have remained roughly flat for 20 years in real terms, the report found.

Despite that, retail prices in those states have been rising sharply since 2007, nearly doubling over the 20 years.

“There has been much discussion about the effect of coal plant closures, such as Hazelwood, on electricity prices,” Saddler said. “But the data shows that wholesale electricity prices have been effectively flat in real dollars for going on 20 years now.”

That meant the prices rises were not being pushed up by wholesale prices but rather by the retailers and the distribution networks.

“Those concerned about electricity prices for households and business should logically be focused on the distribution and retail side of this issue but, for some reason, we usually hear about production and wholesale concerns from politicians,” Saddler said.


Experts Examine Geothermal Energy as Potential Means to Carbon Neutrality

Posted on November 10th, 2016 in environment by Spencer R.



With many considering geothermal energy as Cornell seeks to reach its ambitious goal of carbon neutrality by 2035, several experts weighed in on the feasibility of relying on the energy source at a panel Monday, using Iceland as an example.

Geothermal energy utilizes heat stored within the Earth, such as hot water, gases or rocks located beneath the Earth’s surface. This energy is renewable and environmentally friendly, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Thorleikur Johannesson, an engineer with over 20 years of experience working with geothermal energy in Iceland, said the energy source is an important resource for the country and is utilized by many of its citizens.

“Ninety percent of all houses in Iceland are entirely heated with geothermal energy,” he said. “All the streets in the center of Reykjavik are heated with geothermal, to get rid of the snow.”

Among other reasons, Johannesson attributes a successful Icelandic geothermal program to high quality low temperature geothermal water, suitable geological formations, large radiators — to squeeze as much heat out of the water before it is reinjected or thrown away. He also pointed out that Iceland’s geothermal engineers have the support of the nation’s politicians.

Prof. Jefferson Tester, chemical and biomolecular engineering, said he believes geothermal energy has real potential as an important renewable energy source in the United States.

“The United States is the largest producer of electricity from geothermal energy in the world,” he said.

Tester added that he hopes the discussion of renewable energy includes geothermal energy — citing its minimal environmental impact and ability to power heat efficiently.

“When you hear about America’s transition to a renewable energy future, [experts and politicians] will talk about providing renewable transportation fuels and they will talk about supplying renewable electricity, but almost never will they talk about how to heat homes, businesses or municipal buildings using renewable resources,” he said.

For geothermal energy to become a contributor to Cornell’s efforts to achieve carbon neutrality, a “different type of technology” will be needed “given the difference between New York State’s resources and Iceland’s,” according to Tester.

“[The administration would need to] invoke engineering methods to emulate the properties of natural geothermal systems found in Iceland,” he said. “This is called an enhanced geothermal system, which would still produce the same temperatures as in Iceland, but would require us to drill deeper into the Earth.”

Kyu-Jung Whang, a member of the Buildings and Properties Committee of the Cornell Board of Trustees, said he is optimistic that using geothermal energy could be cost effective.

“This is an opportunity for Cornell … in fact if [geothermal energy] were to be successful, it could ultimately be the least expensive of the carbon neutral options available for powering our campus, even lower than currently used fossil fuels,” he said.

Because almost all renewable energy projects are expensive, Whang said geothermal energy is one of the only sustainable choices with options for external funding and collaboration.

“At this point in time, the University does not have the funds to complete this proposed project in its entirety,” he said. “We need an incremental approach and the availability of state and other external funding.”

Whang mentioned several other potential obstacles that could hinder the development of a geothermal project.

“There are a lot potential costs,” he said. “What about the public perception on drilling? What about disruption to campus? One of the benefits of Cornell is that we have such a naturally beautiful campus, what impacts would the drilling have on the physical beauty of Cornell?”

While Cornell and its community may find it difficult to overcome some of these challenges, Whang said he was proud of how the faculty and administration have been assisting each other and utilizing different sets of expertise to pursue their carbon goal.

“I really take pride in that we have such a strong collaboration with faculty and that they see us as partners in this endeavor,” he said. “We really support the research initiatives of the faculty in renewable energy.”


Geothermal Energy Can Curb Africa's Energy Shortage and More

Posted on November 10th, 2016 in environment by Spencer R.



A 30 MW well discharging in Menengai Geothermal Development Project

Lucy Wanjiru, aged 65, no longer has to walk over long distances to fetch water for domestic use, thanks to the Menengai Geothermal Development Project in Kenya's Rift Valley, some 180 kilometres northwest of the capital, Nairobi. The project is co-financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Kenya Government and other partners.

Wanjiru, who has resided in the area since 1980, says community members would walk for 12 kilometres in search of clean water. "We used to travel far to get water. Our children, especially girls, would even miss school as they had to allocate that time to look for water," she said.

But not anymore. As part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme, the Geothermal Development Company (GDC), which is implementing the project, has set up 10 giant boreholes, one of which is dedicated to the community. Water from the borehole is pumped into a four million-litre tank, and distributed to neighbouring households through a water kiosk. About 3,000 families and a school are benefitting from the water; livestock too. "We can now drink clean water, wash our clothes, and provide water for our animals. I now walk less than a kilometre to the water point," said Tabitha Karimi, a community member.

The CSR activity is one of the key indirect benefits of the project. The main impact is envisaged on boosting energy supply.

Launched in 2012, the Menengai Geothermal Development Project seeks to develop a geothermal steam field meant to produce enough energy for 400 MW power generation facilities by the private sector and/or in partnership with Government. It aims at addressing Kenya's increasing demand for power, at the same time diversifying sources of power supply by developing the country's huge geothermal potential. The addition is equivalent to 26 percent of the country's total installed generation capacity currently.

By providing additional installed generation capacity and injecting it into the national grid, the project will ultimately result in affordable and reliable electricity supply to more households, businesses and industries, according to Gabriel Negatu, AfDB's Regional Director for Eastern Africa. This additional energy supply into national grid will result in increased electricity connections to benefit about 500,000 households, of which 70,000 are in rural areas. The new connections will also benefit about 300,000 small businesses.


GDC personnel are clear that geothermal energy is clean and environment-friendly, and that it is more relevant now with the biting effects of climate change. "The rise in the use of renewable energy has mainly been necessitated by increased awareness of effects of climate change and the need for countries to employ green energy," says Engineer Cornel Ofwona of GDC.

Foreground: AfDB's Special Envoy on Gender, Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, and GDC's Cornel Ofwona at the Menengai Geothermal Development Project

For now, community members like Wanjiru are not only benefiting indirectly from the project through access to potable water, but are also witnessing employment of youth in the region. Between 30 and 60 youths are gainfully employed monthly, according to GDC.

The company has also embarked on a pilot on direct use of geothermal energy to demonstrate the other benefits of using geothermal apart from power generation. The pilot is in four areas: geothermal-heated aquaculture ponds; geothermal-heated greenhouses; geothermal dairy units; and geothermal-powered laundry.

The direct use technology is set to place Kenya in the same league as United States of America, New Zealand and Iceland, which have reportedly diversified the use of geothermal energy away from traditional electricity generation for growth.

With an estimated potential of over 20,000 MW, geothermal energy could provide an answer to Africa's energy shortage, according to the United Nations Environment Programme. The use of these increasingly affordable technologies, analysts say, would in addition to increasing access to basic services, facilitate the integration and development of African rural populations.


Geothermal Energy At The Center Of Djibouti’s Renewable Transformation

Posted on November 10th, 2016 in environment by Spencer R.




Authorities in Djibouti are working to increase the share of renewables in the energy mix, with a particular focus on harnessing the country’s plentiful geothermal resources.

In early August Djibouti’s Office of Development of Geothermal Energy inked a memorandum of understanding with Japanese conglomerate Toshiba to develop some 50 MW of geothermal energy projects across the country.

Under the terms of the agreement, Toshiba will provide guidance for power plant operations and management, coordinate the development and supply of geothermal generation systems, and train local personnel.


This partnership dovetails with Vision 2035, Djibouti’s long-term development plan, which envisages a full transition from conventional thermal energy to renewable sources by 2020.

Promising geothermal resources

Despite its significant potential, concerted efforts to explore Djibouti’s geothermal sources are relatively recent.

In mid-2013 Djibouti raised $31m from the World Bank, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and other lenders for its Geothermal Power Generation project to conduct exploratory drilling in the Assal Rift.

A survey completed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency in 2014 identified a total of 13 potential geothermal sites, including Lava Lake at Asal-Fiale, as well as sites in Hanle-Garabbayis, Goubet and Gaggade, which together could produce at least 1 GW of electricity, according to press reports.

Harnessing this potential would represent a significant increase on Djibouti’s current installed generation capacity of around 120 MW.

At present, heavy fuel oil or diesel thermal power plants account for approximately one-third of the country’s energy mix, while the remaining two-thirds is supplied through a 150-MW interconnection line from neighbouring, hydropower-rich Ethiopia.

Electricity tariffs impact local business and industry

In addition to fostering greater long-term energy independence, authorities are looking for increased geothermal generation capacity to curb Djibouti’s electricity costs, which are among the highest in the world, according to the AfDB.

The price of electricity in Djibouti is $0.28 per KWh – significantly higher than the average of $0.14 in Africa, $0.07 in East Asia and $0.04 in South Asia.



High electricity tariffs, which comprise about 25 percent of business expenses in the country, also hinder the development of industry and manufacturing, which account for around 37 percent of energy consumption.

According to the World Bank’s 2014 Djibouti Enterprise survey, 49 percent of participating companies rated access to electricity as the biggest obstacle to daily operations, and seven in 10 said they rely on generators.

While a 10 percent decrease in electricity tariffs announced in April will go some way towards resolving cost concerns, in the long term authorities are looking to the cost-saving potential of geothermal power.

The construction of geothermal power plants could reduce the cost of power generation by nearly $0.20 per KWh, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which would bring Djibouti’s electricity prices in line with those in East Asia.

In addition, the replacement of Djibouti’s thermal stations with geothermal-powered facilities would allow the national electricity company, Electricité de Djibouti, to save an estimated $57m per year, Ali Yacoub Mahamoud, minister of energy, told local media.

Development fuels demand growth

Djibouti faces the dual challenge of high electricity costs and rising electricity demand, which is quickly outpacing local energy production and imports. Urbanisation and population growth, as well as a string of mega-infrastructure projects, have seen demand growth accelerate in recent years.

Electricity consumption in Djibouti has increased by 75 percent in the last decade, while production has expanded at a much slower rate, at around 5.7 percent per year for the last 40 years, according to the IRENA “Djibouti Renewable Readiness Assessment” report.

This upward trend is expected to continue, fuelled in large part by ongoing urbanisation.

Electrification remains largely concentrated in urban areas, where about three-quarters of the population lives. Some 61 percent of city residents are connected to the grid, compared to just 14 percent in rural areas, according to data from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

As Djibouti’s per capital energy consumption, currently at 33 KWh per year, moves towards the Africa average of more than 575 KWh per year, as per IRENA figures, peak demand will continue to rise.

The country’s peak annual demand was approximately 90 MW in 2014, but that figure is expected to more than triple to 300 MW by 2020, according to the IEA’s 2015 “World Energy Outlook”.

Tapping available resources, particularly low-cost alternatives such as geothermal, will therefore be key to meeting future energy needs.


Good News: Costa Rica Now Fossil Fuel-Free, Running on Renewable Energy for 2 Months

Posted on November 9th, 2016 in environment by Spencer R.



Costa Rica has turned its back on fossil fuels and is running on renewable energy for two months now, proving that a country did not have to rely on fossil fuel to keep its engine going all year round.

According to a report from the ICE, Costa Rica has relied more than 80 percent of its energy consumption on hydroelectric power since August. The remaining 20 percent was from geothermal (13 percent), wind (7 percent) and solar energy (0.01 percent).


The developing country, who is home to almost five million people, achieved a fossil-free lifestyle by utilizing the heavy rainfall experienced in their area via setting up four hydropower stations. Independent notes that this is the second time for the country to run on renewable power. The first time was last year where it did not use any fossil fuels for 285 days.

The country is also close to completing a large Reventazón hydroelectric project, which will greatly contribute to Costa Rica's effort to going fossil fuel-free. The project includes building five turbines along the Reventazón River that could power half a million households.


“It really is time to debunk the myth that a country has to choose between development on the one hand and environmental protection, renewables, quality of life, on the other," Dr. Monica Araya said in a Ted Talk.

However, despite the success of Costa Rica in using clean energy, the feat may prove to be more difficult for bigger countries. The lack of heavy rainfall and high energy consumption in other countries could hinder them following suit to the Central American country's environment friendly approach on energy.

The Costa Rica government is on a roll and is planning to become the first carbon neutral country in the world by the year 2021.


Africa’s renewable energy pioneers

Posted on November 5th, 2016 in environment by Spencer R.




The fact that Sub-Saharan Africa is beginning to embrace renewables is underlined by the role that two countries, in particular, are playing in promoting the sector. Kenya is encouraging investment in geothermal plants, while Cape Verde offers a vision of power generation entirely free of hydrocarbons.

In 2010, the government of Cape Verde set the ambitious goal of generating 50% of all electricity from renewables by 2020 but it has now gone one step further. It has pledged to produce all electricity from renewables by the same date.

Cape Verde is the only country in Africa to set this ambitious goal and one of very few in the world. Costa Rica is perhaps the only other country with the same passion to make renewable energy such an integral part of its national identity.

Energy has always been expensive in Cape Verde because the country is forced to import all fuel by sea into what is a very small market of just 550,000 people and even this is fragmented because the population is scattered across different islands, each of which operate mini-grids. Although it has no hydrocarbons of its own, the archipelago does possess plentiful and reliable wind and solar resources.

The government set up a new company, Cabeolica, which is now jointly state and private sector owned, to drive development. It developed the first commercial privately-financed wind farm in sub-Saharan Africa and now controls 25.5MW in generating capacity, spread across 30 turbines operating on the country’s four biggest islands. It has been part owned by the Africa Finance Corporation since February.

Even relatively small projects can make a huge difference to countries with limited power sectors. Mauritania was the biggest investor in renewable energy in the world last year in relation to the size of its GDP.

The government of Cape Verde has become a big proponent of renewables and has offered to help other African countries to replicate its 100% reliance on renewable energy. Last year it set up the Centre of Renewable Energy and Industrial Maintenance, with the aim of turning it into a centre of renewables research and development for the wider West African region.

The government is confident that renewable energy will create far more jobs than the fuel import business; employment is something that the archipelago badly needs. Despite its elevation to the status of a middle-income country, its economy is limited, relying heavily on overseas remittances and tourism.

Energy minister Anildo Costa told CNN: “Cape Verde wants to serve as a laboratory. We’ll invest in technological innovations so we can learn over time, and fully adopt those technologies once they become profitable for the country. Given the share of renewable energy in our network, and our intensive experience of these technologies, we should be able to share this experience beyond our borders. We want to have a state of the art renewable energy sector that serves as a reference point for the entire country.”

A renewable energy like no other

At the other end of the scale, Kenya offers a vision of how large scale, on-grid renewable energy projects can be seamlessly fitted into existing power sectors.   Geothermal energy is a renewable technology like no other, in the sense that it provides reliable, base load electricity.

Water is pumped down into hot rocks to produce steam that is then used to drive turbines in the same way as coal, gas or oil-fired plants but without the emissions and air pollution. Unlike solar or wind power, it can enter the transmission grid 24 hours a day, making it easier for power utilities to manage and fitting seamlessly into existing power grids. It also makes it easier for established utilities to retain control of power sectors.

The Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) already has 475MW of installed geothermal capacity out of the total national generating capacity of 2,100MW. It operates three plants at Olkaria, near Naivasha, while a separate 110MW plant in the same area is owned by US firm Ormat Technologies.

Successive governments have unveiled a series of plans to greatly expand the sector, most recently to provide another 2,000MW by 2022 and a total of 5,000MW by 2030. All 5,000MW is to be achieved through the development of the Baringo-Silai block in the northern Kenyan Rift Valley.

The German development bank KfW has agreed to provide a low-interest loan of $90m to finance the drilling of 15 to 20 wells by Hong Kong Offshore Oil Services. The first well was drilled in June.

Robert Pavel Oimeke, the head of renewable energy at the Electricity Regulatory Commission, said: “Our potential for geothermal is huge, and Kenya is proudly now one of the largest steam power producers in the world and leader in Africa; we will to continue exploiting this stable and reliable green resource to power our development needs.”

In addition, the European Union has provided €123m ($135m) to fund the development of the 70MW Olkaria VI plant. Kenya does have the biggest geothermal potential of any African country but it is only one of a dozen countries in and around the Great Rift Valley with the potential to develop geothermal plants. As in Cape Verde, the government is keen to support similar developments across the continent.

It has helped to set up the African Geothermal Centre of Excellence (AGCE) in Kenya to offer masters’ degrees to students from across Africa in steam field management, drilling engineering, reservoir engineering and other relevant fields. It has also hosted conferences to encourage the construction of geothermal plants from Ethiopia in the north to Malawi in the south.



Renewable energy and the future of mining

Posted on November 5th, 2016 in environment by Spencer R.



The climbing cost of fossil fuels and other pressures will increasingly encourage miners to rely more heavily on renewables for their energy-hungry operations, the inaugural Future Energy and Finance conference heard today.

Speaking as part of the precursor to the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC), Sunshine For Mines Operations Lead Alastaire Dick said the time was right for renewables to contribute a greater amount to mines’ energy needs.

“The change nexus is here.  With climate change, public policies, carbon pricing and other pressures on the mining industry, miners need to think differently,” he said.

“For the average mine, 22% of the operational spend is spent on energy.  Think about what shaving one or two per cent off that energy cost would do to your bottom line.”

While miners could be “a slow moving bunch” when it came to adopting change, Mr Dick said the shift to renewable energy was well underway and showed no signs of slowing.

“We’ve got to help overcome the cultural barriers and mindsets.  We’ve got to think about future generations and be that legacy today,” he said.

Apart from reducing energy costs, Mr Dick said the industry also had the opportunity to deliver shared value and reinforce their social licence to operate by embracing renewables.

Other speakers today explored the future of global energy and the implications for financing and investing in energy, along with new technology to increase generation, efficiency and storage.

More than 2,500 mining leaders, policy makers, financiers and other experts from more than 57 countries have converged in Melbourne for IMARC, Australia’s largest international mining and resources event.

IMARC runs until Thursday 10 November 2016 and will cover all aspects of mining, from exploration, investment and production through to optimisation, technology, health and safety, policy and governance.  Decision makers from over 150 mining companies will be in attendance to learn from more than 160 international experts.


Renewable Energy Generation Cheaper Than Conventional Fossil Fuels

Posted on October 11th, 2016 in environment by Spencer R.



Renewable energy generation, including solar panels and windmills, are now increasingly competing with conventional sources like coal and natural gas. The steadily plummeting prices of the eco-friendly energy sources have made them a financially viable and lucrative option not just for environmentalists, but large power companies.

In a stark contrast to the justifications given about the rising electricity rates in the United States, recent buying trends of utility companies strongly indicate renewable energy production is now as competitive, if not cheaper, than conventional fossil fuels. Essentially, the cost of producing electricity using traditional fuel sources isn’t the cheapest option anymore, and eco-friendly sources are able to offer electricity at equal cost to the pollution-causing sources.

The cost of deploying wind and solar power plants has steadily plummeted over the past five years, reports the New York Times. The reduction has ensured renewable generation is now cheaper than coal or natural gas in some regions that are blessed with powerful winds and ample sunlight for major parts of a calendar year.

Executives working for utility companies confirm the trend to switch over to renewable energy sources has risen sharply this year. Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) now have a major portion dedicated to eco-friendly energy sources. Regions like the Great Plains and Southwest have had steady migration to such clean energy sources.

The federal government has been offering generous subsidies to encourage power generating companies to increase their reliance on renewable energy sources. Interestingly, experts now feel that even without the subsidizations, these alternative energy sources could easily compete with traditional sources.

Just how cost-effective is solar and wind energy? According to a recently conducted study by investment banking firm Lazard, the cost to produce a single kilowatt-hour through solar energy plants comes to 5.6 cents. Surprisingly, wind energy can produce the same amount of energy in just 1.4 cents. The costs, however, are owing to the subsidies. Without federal grants, the cost would rise to 7.2 cents and 3.7 cents per kilowatt-hour for solar and wind, respectively.

Although natural gas and coal are the most common fossil fuels used in America for power generation today, they are quite expensive. The cost of producing electricity from natural gas comes to around 6.1 cents per kilowatt-hour, while coal is even more expensive at 7.2 cents. Not to mention, these fossil fuels produce a lot a greenhouse gasses that continually pollute the atmosphere. The environmental impact of these traditional sources is truly taxing in the long run as they have a hugely detrimental impact not only on the environment, but they also erode the quality of life.

Reliability and consistency have always been two of the most vexing problems of renewable energy sources. Only when the sun is shining brightly, and the winds are flowing with force, can the power generation systems operate at their optimum levels. Hence, power companies have to rely on other sources that generate power on a reliable basis. Power companies can’t afford the fluctuations that have always been inherent to renewable energy sources.

However, now that newer technologies have been able to significantly reduce the limitations with high-performance solar cells and high-efficiency windmills, power companies can now confidently rely on them to a large extent, if not completely.

Khalil Shalabi, vice president for energy market operations and resource planning at Austin Energy, said the following.

“Renewables had two issues: One, they were too expensive, and they weren’t dispatchable. They’re not too expensive anymore.”

The average upfront price demanded by the clean energy projects have dropped by more than a third since 2009, owing to the higher production of better efficiency solar panels and windmills. However, power companies are still demanding higher tariffs to justify their switch over to renewable energy sources, reported Chieftain.


Renewable energy now accounts for 11% of Canadian energy

Posted on October 7th, 2016 in environment by Spencer R.



The National Energy Board says a renewable power project building spree between 2005 and 2015 took its share of overall generation in Canada from two per cent to 11 per cent.

NEB chief economist Shelley Milutinovic says the buildup means Canada is the fourth-largest generator in the world of environmentally friendly power from sources including wind, solar, biomass and hydroelectric plants.

Renewable generation capacity grew by 26 per cent from about 75,000 megawatts in 2005 to nearly 95,000 megawatts in 2015, according to the federal regulator’s report, Canada’s Renewable Power Landscape.

The report says hydroelectric power capacity grew by about nine per cent to over 79,000 megawatts during the decade.

Non-hydro renewables such as wind, solar and biomass grew more than six-fold, from 2,360 megawatts in 2005 to 15,600 in 2015.

Meanwhile, coal-fired power capacity declined by 6,230 megawatts and natural gas capacity increased by 8,400 megawatts.

“I think that’s one thing people don’t really understand (is) just how significant on a world scale Canada is on the renewable front,” said Milutinovic.

“It is fourth in the world on renewables after China, the U.S. and Brazil and it’s second in the world in terms of hydro production; only China is bigger.”

She says she expects the trend to renewable power to continue thanks to support from governments and consumers.

“Almost every province and territory has some sort of policy to encourage or promote renewables or support them,” she said.

“Things like Alberta moving off coal by 2030, 50 per cent renewables for power generation in Saskatchewan by 2030, all of those things offer strong support for renewables.”

The report notes that 11 per cent of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions came from the electricity sector in 2014, the latest year for which statistics were available. That’s down from about 16 per cent in 2005.

From 2000 to 2014, emissions from the power sector fell 40 per cent, the report says, due mainly to the phase out of coal in Ontario and initiatives to reduce emissions in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Ontario and Nova Scotia have seen the largest gains in renewable power generation over the decade, with its proportion in Ontario increasing from 23 per cent to 34 per cent and in Nova Scotia from 12 per cent to 24 per cent, the report says.

Hydro is the dominant source of electricity in Canada accounting for 55 per cent of total installed capacity. Four provinces and one territory — British Columbia, Manitoba, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Yukon — derive more than 85 per cent of their power from hydro.

Two provinces and a territory relied primarily on coal or natural gas for electricity in 2015: Alberta (90 per cent), Saskatchewan (83 per cent), and Nunavut (100 per cent).


Designing a geothermal drilling tool that can take the heat

Posted on July 21st, 2016 in environment by Spencer R.

Sandia National Laboratories and a commercial firm have designed a drilling tool that will withstand the heat of geothermal drilling.The downhole hammer attaches to the end of a column of drill pipe and cuts through rock with a rapid hammering action similar to that of a jackhammer. Downhole hammers are not new—the oil and gas and mining industries have used them since the 1950s—but the older design, with its reliance on oil-based lubricants, plastic and rubber O-rings, isn't suited for the hotter temperatures of geothermal drilling.