Solar Power Tower To Produce Enough Energy For 180,000 Homes

The EPA announced its proposed 2014 biofuel blending requirements late last week and reduced the volume requirements for the first time. Oil refining interests and renewable fuels proponents have fought tooth and nail over the Renewable Fuel Standard since its inception and this latest move by the EPA constitutes a small victory for the petroleum refiners. EPA officially acknowledged the existence of a blendwall – threshold beyond which blending ethanol into gasoline can damage engines and cause problems in the marketplace – a major focal point of the debate. [The Hill]

We’ve all heard about wind turbines mutilating bald eagles and cuddly bats, but now the solar folks are dealing with singed bird feathers at concentrated solar power projects, like the new Ivanpah mega-plant in the California desert. The technology uses thousands of mirrors to focus solar radiation onto a single point to super-heat steam that spins an electricity-producing turbine. Apparently these plants can be dangerous to birds and USA Today has photos to prove it. [USA Today]

Post-Fukushima Japan was struggling to meet climate targets and the country just cut its emissions goals. “Since the 2011 disaster, Japan’s nuclear power program, which had provided about 30 percent of the country’s electricity, has ground to a halt amid public anxiety over safety, and the country has had to fill much of the gap by burning fossil fuels.” [New York Times]