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Midweek Update: October 29, 2014; Vol. 3, No. 41, October 27, 2014

(1) Smart Meter Fire Issue Heats up; SaskPower CEO Resigns; Nevada PUC Begins Investigation; (2) Underground Electrical Explosions in Indianapolis;  Read Details in Spotlight Section;

Pub Note-10-27-2

A solar flare surges off the lower left hand of the sun in this image captured by NASA's SDO on Oct. 19, 2014. The image was captured in extreme ultraviolet wavelength of 131 Angstroms – a wavelength that can see the intense heat of a flare and that is typically colorized in teal. Image Credit: NASA/SDO

The sun emitted a significant solar flare on Oct. 19, 2014, peaking at 1:01 a.m. EDT. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which is always observing the sun, captured this image of the event in extreme ultraviolet wavelength of 131 Angstroms – a wavelength that can see the intense heat of a flare and that is typically colorized in teal.

This flare is classified as an X1.1-class flare. X-class denotes the most intense flares, while the number provides more information about its strength. An X2 flare is twice as intense as an X1, and an X3 is three times as intense.

Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however -- when intense enough -- they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel. The solar flares also affect the glbal weather patterns on earth.

A few weeks ago, Smart Energy Universe revamped the layout for articles in the Oil and Gas category and is grouping articles together in the following areas:

  • Pipelines
  • Exploration and Production
  • LNG/Shale
  • Financials/Operations

This has made it faster to locate articles in the area readers are looking for. We continue to receive positive responses on this change.

Similarly, the restructured Renewable section is presenting articles in specific sub-groups. This has made it useful convenient to our readers. Similarly, SEU is planning to restructure Utility News and Smart Grid Categories and rearrange news items appropriate to these Categories. You will be informed soon when we make this change.

As before, this week’s edition of Smart Energy Universe features all our popular features:

This Week in Climate Change –Climate Change continues to make headlines. We are bringing some news items on Climate Change which may be of interest to our readers.

“Editor’s Choice” has the ‘Feature Articles’ highlighted in green to make them easy find. To read the articles click on the Spotlight or appropriate Category Button this will take you to the page with the Spotlight or Feature Articles. Be sure to read Editors Choice to catch up with the top happenings of the week.

SEU’s Smart Energy Virtual Townhall: Poll results of the latest SEU Question of the Week deals with the Question: “ If the coming winter turns out to be severe, will Europe be able to manage residential heating and commercial manufacturing power requirements?” (Spotlight)

SEU “Viewpoint”:This week’s ViewPoint deals with “The Potential for Dynamic Distribution Grid Architecture to Create a New Energy Marketplace” of Wisconsin Energy Institute, and provides SEU views.

Options for the New Global Climate Agreement: The Paris agreement should be a hybrid of top-down and bottom-up approaches to deliver both broad participation and strong ambition. Key elements should include a legal agreement, a rules-based accountability system, and a dynamic element building ambition over time; Countries will likely decide for themselves the form and level of their “nationally determined contributions” to the agreement, but these must be quantifiable and be supported by domestic policies. (Spotlight)

Proposal for Near-Term Energy Policy-Keidanren, Japan: From the perspective of ensuring energy security and securing an economically efficient electric power supply, nuclear power is an exceptionally important energy source, and therefore, the Government should provide the general public with a lucid explanation of the necessity of nuclear power and promote efforts to create the conditions required for its continued utilization as an important base-load power source. (Spotlight)

Modern Technology, Oil Demand and Well Decline Rates Ensure a Strong Outlook for the Future of Oil Industry: In addition, as existing wells decline, more and more new wells need to be drilled to keep up with demand. Offsetting of oil decline rates for both existing and new wells, therefore, is high on the industry’s agenda for good reason. It is a critical factor to understand future trends in the oil industry. Contributed article from GE. (Spotlight)

US China Cooperation Could Make Major Difference to Emissions Gap: If the US and China were to adopt global best practice in their domestic action on climate, together, the world’s largest emitters could close the 2020 emissions gap by 23%. (Spotlight)

Strong Temperature Increase and Shrinking Sea Ice in Arctic Alaska: Barrow, the most northerly community in Alaska, observed a warming of 1.51°C for the time period of 1921-2012. This represents about twice the global value, and is in agreement with the well-known polar amplification. For the time period of 1979-2012, high quality sea ice data are available, showing a strong decrease in sea ice concentrations of 14% and 16% for the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, respectively, the two marginal seas bordering Northern Alaska. (Spotlight)

EU Climate Agreement:The three targets for 2030 agreed by European leaders are: to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent compared to 1990 levels; to improve energy efficiency to 27 per cent compared with business as usual; and to increase the share of renewable energy in the mix to 27 per cent. This less ambitious plan thrilled the utilities, but disappointed environmentalists and renewable energy proponents. (Spotlight)

Launch of World Energy Outlook 2014 Special Edition on Africa: The report presents the resources analysis of Africa, issues confronted by the African Countries, and future energy outlook. It presents case studies of Nigeria, Mozambique, and others, to illustrate their progress in energy arena. (Spotlight)

NASA Begins Sixth Year of Airborne Antarctic Ice Change Study: NASA is carrying out its sixth consecutive year of Operation IceBridge research flights over Antarctica to study changes in the continent’s ice sheet, glaciers and sea ice. This year’s airborne campaign will revisit a section of the Antarctic ice sheet that recently was found to be in irreversible decline. (Spotlight)

NY Energy Prices Expected to be Lower this Winter (Utility/Feature): The New York State Public Service Commission, in an effort to avoid a repeat of last winter’s large price increases, announced that utilities and third-party energy providers have agreed to provide customers with more information and more refined tools to help customers manage their energy bills. With the Commission’s encouragement, more ESCOs are now offering fixed price products that consumers seeking price certainty may want to consider purchasing.

NIST's Cloud Computing Roadmap Details Research Requirements and Action Plans (Utility/Feature): The document lays out 10 requirements necessary for the federal government cloud adoption, including developing international standards, security solutions, and clear and consistent categories of cloud services.

Massachusetts Tops California as Most Energy-Efficient State, while Arkansas, D.C., Kentucky, and Wisconsin are Most Improved (Utility/Feature): The report found that in 2014 Massachusetts (#1) continues to edge out California (#2) as the most energy-efficient state in the nation for the fourth year in a row. Following these states in the top 10 are: Rhode Island (marking the state's first time in top five), Oregon, and Vermont (all tied for #3); Connecticut (#6); New York (#7); Washington (#8); Maryland (#9); and Minnesota (#10).

New Poll Finds Americans Concerned About Proposed EPA Power Plant Regulations (Utility News/Feature): A plurality of voters- 47 percent- oppose the regulations. Opposition to the rule is stronger in many of the states that stand to be hit hardest by the rule's expected energy price increases and job loss impacts.

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