GM Battery Begins Assembly Of Electric Battery For Its Volt Car

A startup named Aquion recently began commercial-scale production of sodium-ion batteries that solve some lithium-ion toxicity and flammability issues. The company says when scaled up, the batteries could supplant natural gas peaker plants, allowing stored renewable energy to be used during power demand spikes instead of gas. “The batteries could allow the grid to accommodate greater amounts of intermittent renewable energy. As Aquion scales up production and brings down costs, the batteries could also be used instead of a type of natural gas power plant—called a peaker plant—often used to balance supply and demand on the grid.” [MIT Technology Review]

Shell’s Alaska exploratory oil drilling program faced a new setback when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled “the government acted illegally in opening up nearly 30m acres of US Arctic waters to oil exploration six years ago.” The oil major is “reviewing the opinion.” [Financial Times]

Saudi oil minister Ibrahim al-Naimi met IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven in Riyadh on Thursday to discuss the impact US shale oil production could have on global oil prices. “Earlier this week, al-Naimi was quoted by the Saudi Press Agency saying that the kingdom welcomes the new source of energy to keep up with global demand. He made his comments after meeting with U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz on Sunday.” [Associated Press]