RenewEconomy: Energy Storage 'Mega-Shift' Ahead, Concludes Report

The key role energy storage will play in the electricity grids of the future -- and the vital importance of investing in and testing the various emerging battery storage technologies -- has been highlighted in a major report published by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency on Monday, which predicts a 40 percent to 60 percent price plunge for certain battery technologies by 2020.

The 130-page report prepared by AECOM predicts a “mega-shift” to energy storage adoption, driven by demand -- from both the supply side, as networks work to adapt to increasing distributed and renewable energy capacity, and from consumers wishing to store their solar energy -- and by the rapidly changing economic proposition; a proposition, the report says, that will see the costs of lithium-ion batteries fall by 60 percent in less than five years, and by 40 percent for flow batteries.

The Register: Vodafone Adopts Hydrogen Fuel Cells to Dodge African Outages

Vodafone in South Africa plans to avoid the recent problems it has had with South African power outages with more hydrogen-powered fuel-cell base stations.

To support remote mobile cell sites, Vodafone puts in on-site generation and microwave backhaul. The sites can be dedicated to 2G, 3G or 4G, or use multiple technologies.

Most mobile-phone base stations that are too remote for mains power run with a diesel generator, but with an eye to CO2 emissions, Vodafone is keen to reduce the use of diesel. It’s also noisy and smelly -- which limits where it can be used -- and significantly, it is valuable.

UPI: Gas Prices in Steady Decline, Says AAA

A weakening market for crude oil and the resolution of U.S. refinery issues has pushed retail gasoline prices down for 20 days straight, the motor club AAA found.

AAA reports a national average retail price for a gallon of regular unleaded at $2.64 per gallon, about 1 cent less than Monday and 5.4 cents, or 4.3 percent, less than one month ago.

Politico: Why Obama's Epic Climate Plan Isn't Such a Big Deal

Under Obama's climate plan, the electricity sector’s emissions are expected to drop 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, up from 30 percent in the draft. The plan now anticipates renewable energy to rise to 28 percent of the grid’s capacity by 2030, instead of 22 percent, and coal to drop to 27 percent of capacity, instead of 31 percent.

That’s nice, but by the end of this year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the power sector’s emissions will already be down 15.4 percent from 2005 levels -- about half the anticipated reductions in just a decade, and before the plan goes into effect. In other words, even under the strengthened plan, the rate of decarbonization is expected to slow over the next 15 years. What, did you think the strongest action ever taken to combat climate change would actually accelerate the nation’s efforts to combat climate change?

The New Yorker: Is Your Thermostat Sexist?

What if you’re not a 40-year-old, 154-pound man in a business suit? What if you’re a woman? According to a study that appears Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, you’re probably cold. For the study, Boris Kingma and Wouter van Marken Lichtenbelt, a pair of researchers at Maastricht University, in the Netherlands, asked 16 young women to enter a climate chamber one by one. Each of the participants wore underwear, sport socks, a cotton T-shirt, and cotton-polyester sweatpants, for a grand total of about 0.58 on the clo scale.

That the study appears in Nature Climate Change tells us something about its potential ramifications for the planet. Power plants spew out a third of this country’s carbon-dioxide pollution, which is why they are the targets of President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which was announced on Monday. But where does the electricity that they generate end up?