A Look Back on a Year of Energy News
As 2014 comes to an end, we conclude yet another year of moving forward in the world of energy. Our Glenmoore heating experts chose five of their favorite energy stories from this year to share:
Crude Oil Prices Plummet
We’re sure you’ve noticed this story… Starting at the end of July, the price of crude oil per barrel quickly started dropping. On July 30th, it closed at $104.29; the next day, at $100; now, at the end of the year, oil is around $55 per barrel (a nearly 50% drop in price). All over the country, gas prices have fallen rapidly (some to less than $2 a gallon), which in turn has boosted the sales of trucks and SUVs, but hindered the sales of fuel-efficient electric and hybrid cars.
Tesla Announces a Massive Battery Factory
This year, Tesla Motors teamed up with Governor Brian Sandoval to announce the creation of a 5 billion-dollar, 5 million-square-foot facility in Reno, Nevada. The “gigafactory” will produce lithium ion batteries for the car company’s electric cars and will be the largest of its kind. People in the area can expect to see over 6,000 new jobs and by 2020, a production of about 500,000 batteries every year.
Ivanpah Solar Power Facility Opens
On February 13th, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System formerly opened and was dubbed the largest solar thermal power station in the country. Located in the Mojave Desert in California, it’s composed of over 173,000 heliostats and has a gross capacity of 392 megawatts. The project, which cost about $2.2 million, was developed by Bechtel and BrightSource Energy.
World-Record Set for Energy Consumption
The year 2014 was a record-setting year for the entire world. In June, BP released its annual Statistical Review of World Energy, which notes the statistics for oil, natural gas, nuclear power, coal, and renewable energy consumption and production. The global production of oil set a new record, rising by over 557,000 barrels per day. Other notables were:
- The U.S. increased its oil production to the most in its history
- Asia output more solar energy than Europe for the first time
- 80% of energy consumption growth was due to emerging economies
- Oil demand in the U.S. grew at a faster pace than in China
Largest Wind Turbine Opens
On January 28th, the world’s largest wind turbine came to life in Osterild, Scotland. Located at the Danish National Test Centre for Large Wind Turbines, this turbine stands at 720 feet tall and has 260-foot blades that can generate 8 megawatts of power. Developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Vestas, the turbine is said to go into production next year and will produce enough energy to power 7,500 average European homes.