If it’s not Sustainable, its Condition is Terminal.

March 24, 2018

2,121 regular daily posts, linking 26,177 articles

§ The most recent reported status of US nuclear power plants can be found at the US Nuclear Power Report, a distressingly dull account of NRC news, posted on non-holiday weekdays and Saturdays. As of March 23, out of 99 US-licensed reactors, 6 were at reduced output and 11 not operating.

§ Video: Energy Week: 3/15/18 – China has taken a growing lead over the US for renewable energy. Weather threats are growing. Young Republicans are taking interest in carbon emissions. Renewable energy is a huge investment opportuning. The Arctic is melting in the winter. Climate change is threatening much of the world’s wildlife. And there is more.

March 24 Energy News

March 24, 2018


¶ “Culture Shift: Redirecting Humanity’s Path to a Flourishing Future” • A tax on carbon, big investments in renewable energy, a livable minimum wage, and accessible healthcare – we need all of them. But even taken together they are utterly insufficient to redirect humanity away from impending doom. We need to address the system. [Common Dreams]

Rice Terraces in Yunnan Province, China (Photo:
Jialiang Gao | peace-on-earth.org | Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Grid security falls to industry to self-regulate” • The US power grid is coming under increasing attacks from hackers. A cyber attack against the grid could do as much damage as a bomb, but security experts say rules on dealing with cyber threats are being written mostly by the energy industry, leaving the public in the dark. [The Salem News]

Science and Technology:

¶ A world addled by climate change has seen a four-fold increase in major flooding events since 1980, and a doubling of significant storms, droughts, and heat waves, Europe’s national science academies jointly reported. In Europe, where precise data reaches back decades, the number of severe floods has jumped five fold since 1995. [Sin Chew Jit Poh]

Extreme weather (Photo courtesy: AFP)

¶ Data in a study published this week shows that extreme weather events have become more frequent over the past 36 years. The study shows that man-made climate change has resulted in increasingly frequent extreme weather events such as excess rainfall leading to flooding, coastal flooding, heatwaves, and increased risks of wildfires. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Earth’s life support system is failing. Nearly everywhere, the various forms of non-human life are in decline, according to a series of landmark international reports. This ongoing decline endangers economies, livelihoods, food security, and the quality of life of people everywhere. Nevertheless, there are reasons to hope, the reports say. [National Geographic]

Specimens (Frans Lanting, National Geographic Creative)

¶ Silicon-Valley based Software Motor Company has built a new type of electric motor demonstrating 30% energy savings, with potentially dramatic impact for the HVAC industry. Internet of Things technology has shown promise for industries from manufacturing to healthcare, but had not yet seen broad use in the HVAC industry. [CleanTechnica]


¶ County Durham company Banks Group has been granted permission to build the 22-turbine Lethans wind farm in East Ayrshire, Scotland. The developer has been given approval by ministers for turbines ranging from 136 meters to 176 meters in height. The top power at the wind farm near New Cumnock is expected to be 88 MW. [reNews]

Banks wind farm in the UK (Banks image)

¶ Austria’s largest power provider has announced a plan to invest approximately €100 million ($124 million) in solar and €15 million in recharging stations over the next five years. The plan is part of a €870 million investment program that will address security of supply, renewable energy, and a number of other innovations. [pv magazine International]

¶ Kyushu Electric Power Co reactivated the No 3 reactor at its Genkai nuclear power plant in Saga Prefecture. The 1,180-MW reactor resumed operations for the first time since December 2010, when it went offline for a routine inspection. It is the seventh nuclear reactor to be restarted since the Fukushim Disaster. [The Japan News]

Genkai nuclear plant (IAEA Imagebank, Wikimedia Commons)


¶ San Francisco and Oakland sued five major oil companies, claiming they kept secret for decades their knowledge that their operations were causing global warming. Lawyers for Chevron say they will not contest that climate change is real and accept findings reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Houston-based solar power company Sunnova has this week expanded its offerings to bring it into the solar-plus-storage market alongside its bigger-name competition Tesla and Sunrun, with the introduction of its Sunnova SunSafe solar and home battery storage service. Sunnova’s move follows similar offerings by Tesla and Sunrun. [CleanTechnica]

Installing a solar system (Sunnova)

¶ Despite a surprise veto threat that rattled Congress, President Donald Trump signed a $1.3 trillion spending bill, avoiding a federal government shutdown and sparing energy-related programs the steep cuts once envisioned by the White House. The Senate had worked through the night, passing the legislation by a vote of 65-32. [Platts]

¶ Rod Cushing, of Johnson Controls in North America, said that the University of Hawaii Maui College would most likely be the first campus to supply 100% of its energy requirements. This is sixteen years earlier than expected. The college plans to achieve this through use of “on-site photovoltaic systems coupled with battery storage.” [Study Breaks]

The University of Hawaii (Image via UH)

¶ The state of Colorado has granted electricity users the right to store energy without being subjected to compounded rates for power or unfair barriers in connecting to the grid. Gov John Hickenlooper said reductions in the price of batteries in recent years have now made energy storage a more affordable option for ratepayers. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ Arizona utilities could violate the state’s clean energy standards for nominal penalties under a law Gov Doug Ducey (R) signed March 23. Lawmakers debated the bill for less than two weeks as the bill was fast-tracked. It was preemptively aimed to declaw higher renewable energy mandates a group wants to bring to voters this year. [Bloomberg BNA]

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March 23 Energy News

March 23, 2018


¶ “Wood pellets: Renewable, but not carbon neutral” • In the race to meet clean energy standards, biomass energy is often touted as carbon neutral. To satisfy European Union demand, forests in the United States are clear-cut and turned into wood pellets and shipped overseas, to the tune of 7 million metric tons of pellets annually. [Phys.Org]

Mountains in the southern US (Credit: David Allen)

¶ “California Utilities Say Climate Change Caused Recent Fires, Not Them” • California’s largest public utility companies are defending themselves against lawsuits claiming they were negligent in the way they dealt with debris and brush under power lines. The utilities insist the culprit is climate change and fossil fuels companies. [CleanTechnica]


¶ Global energy demand increased by 2.1% in 2017 at more than twice the previous year’s rate. At the same time, carbon emissions increased for the first time since 2014, jumping by 1.4%. These are the two key messages from the International Energy Agency’s newest resource, the Global Energy and CO2 Status Report, 2017. [CleanTechnica]

Cape Town at sunset (Shutterstock image)

¶ The development of coal-fired power plants continues to fall, with new construction down by 73% between 2015 and 2017, thanks in large part to tighter restrictions in China and a lack of private financing in India. Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and Coal Swarm found a 41% drop in newly completed coal plants in the same time. [CleanTechnica]

¶ US developer Pattern Energy has completed the 33-MW Ohorayama wind farm in Japan’s Kochi prefecture on the island of Shikoku. The project consists of eleven GE 3-MW turbines and will supply electricity to Shikoku Electric Power under a 20-year power purchase agreement. It is Pattern’s first wind farm in Japan. [reNews]

Ohorayama wind facility (Pattern Energy image)

¶ Government authorities in Spanish regions are currently reviewing project proposals with a combined capacity of around 24 GW, according to the Spanish solar association UNEF. The organization’s president said over €4 billion in new investments in solar energy projects will be made in Spain over the next two years. [pv magazine International]

¶ Danish developer Floating Power Plant and Ireland’s DP Energy are moving forward with plans to develop the Katanes wave/wind hybrid project off the coast of Scotland. The partners said they have completed environmental impact assessment screening and are now preparing an EIA scoping report to be submitted to the statutory authorities. [reNews]

Floating power point concept

¶ Engie SA, the 184-year-old power and gas giant, supplied coal that fueled the French Industrial Revolution and excavated the Suez Canal. Now it sees its greatest potential for growth in helping large energy users like hospitals, schools, and airports reduce their bills and carbon emissions, its CEO said in an interview in Singapore. [Bloomberg]

¶ Construction has begun on an 80-MW wind farm in Victoria. It marks the fruition of a Melbourne-based bulk buy renewables project developed by a consortium of 14 of leading local universities, cultural institutions, corporations, and Councils. The milestone comes just months after the project was announced, in November 2017. [RenewEconomy]

Wind Farm in Victoria (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The opening of the United Arab Emirates’ first nuclear reactor, planned to happen last year, has been pushed back to 2019 due to training delays and a failure to meet a tight schedule, two sources told Reuters. The $24.4 billion Barakah power plant is the world’s largest nuclear project under construction and will be the first in the Arab world. [Reuters]


¶ A focus on renewable energy has become top-priority across the US, as dozens of cities have committed to getting 100% of their power from renewables. A bipartisan group of 180 mayors called for increased solar energy usage in an updated letter released by Environment America. The first version was signed by 70 mayors in December. [Smart Cities Dive]

Solar roof

¶ Congress passed a $1.3 trillion federal spending bill after Republicans, in order to get needed Democratic support, agreed to remove provisions that would have gutted environmental and campaign finance laws. EPA funding was not reduced, and the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy saw an increase. [InsideClimate News]

¶ A bill that could give fresh impetus to Fishermen’s Energy’s stalled 24-MW offshore wind project off the coast of New Jersey passed the committee stage in the state’s assembly, according to local media. The bill would require the state Board of Public Utilities  to consider an amended application for a qualified wind energy project. [reNews]

Atlantic City

¶ Environment Massachusetts says the state has the potential to generate more offshore wind energy than any other on the East Coast. They released a report that said if wind turbines were placed in every suitable location off the coast of Massachusetts, they could generate nearly 20 times more electricity than the state used in 2016. [Rhode Island Public Radio]

¶ The Arizona Senate voted in favor of a bill aimed at thwarting a proposed constitutional amendment that would require half of the state’s energy come from renewables by 2030. Th bill provides for a small fine for utilities that violate the standard. According to an Arizona Public Service spokesman, that utility helped craft the legislation. [KJZZ]

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March 22 Energy News

March 22, 2018

Science and Technology:

¶ Under a memorandum of understanding, shipping operator Star Bulk will conduct a two-year study to assess the feasibility of installing solar panels, batteries, and other renewable energy technology provided by Eco Marine Power. The study will examine power from renewable sources for selected ship types on specific routes. [The Motorship]


¶ Scientists from Princeton University proposed a plan in the journal, Nature, to stabilize the continental ice shelves that extend outward from Greenland and Antarctica. They say focusing on those areas will be less expensive and more effective than building sea walls around continents and would buy time to examine other actions. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Siemens Gamesa and start-up Stiesdal Storage Technologies are developing thermal energy storage that uses excess wind, solar, and other renewable energy to heat a “pack bed” of crushed rocks to as high as 600° C. The heat can be used to generate electricity to be sold at prices far below those from gas peakers or batteries. [Recharge]

Siemens Gamesa demonstration project (Siemens Gamesa)


¶ The government of New South Wales identified three priority renewable energy zones that potentially have seven times the capacity of the state’s coal-fired power plants. In a submission to the Australian Energy Markets Operation, it said developing them “could unlock 77,000 megawatts of new generation capacity.” [The Sydney Morning Herald]

¶ The UK offshore wind industry committed to working with the Government on a “transformative” sector deal that could spur £48 billion in new investments in the country’s infrastructure and increase offshore wind capacity to 30 GW by 2030. The deal is expected to  reduce costs for electricity by 9% while more than doubling industry employment. [CleanTechnica]

Offshore wind farm (Shutterstock image)

¶ In a step towards a cleaner environment, the number of coal-based fired power plants under development has seen a steep decline, especially in India and China, according to a report by Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and CoalSwarm. The report warns, however, that emissions from operational plants are still far too high. [Business Standard]

¶ Chinese new energy giant BYD has kicked off its bus chassis production operations in Brazil with the launch of a new electric bus model in the nation’s capital, Brasília. The new BYD D9W was introduced at the 8th World Forum on Water, marking the launch of BYD’s bus chassis production facility in Campinas, Brazil. [CleanTechnica]


¶ Tesla and Fluence are to build two new big battery storage installations in Victoria, with some funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. Tesla will build a 25-MW/50-MWh battery to be near the 60-MW Gannawarra solar farm. Fluence will build a 30-MW/30-MWh grid-connected battery at the Ballarat terminal station. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Tesla has deployed its Powerpack batteries to the Philippines, helping a local solar company construct a 2-MW/2-MWh micro-grid for the town of Paluan, which has been notoriously suffering from power outages for years. The project went online back in December, giving the town round-the-clock electric power for the first time. [Teslarati]

Celebrating solar panels and batteries (Credit: Solar Phils)


¶ Renewable energy is getting cheaper and more popular, even among Republican voters, and that makes now a better time than ever for conservative candidates to support clean energy policies. At the annual Michigan Conservative Energy Forum in Lansing, Republicans rallied around renewable energy and free-market principles. [Energy News Network]

¶ In January, the natural gas tanker Gaselys pulled into a port near Boston. In came from the UK, where it had just topped off. It had come because a series of cold snaps had momentarily made gas prices in New England the highest in the world. The ship’s cargo included gas from Russia. “Sanctions? What sanctions?” teased a Russian tweet. [E&E News]

Russia’s Yamal LNG project (Yamal LNG image)

¶ From Maine to Florida, the winds blowing off the Atlantic Coast could be the power source for a clean energy future, according to a report, Wind Power to Spare: The Enormous Energy Potential of Atlantic Offshore Wind, released by Environment America and Frontier Group. So far, only one wind farm is operating in the country. [Environment America]

¶ Microsoft announced what it calls “the single largest corporate purchase of solar energy ever in the United States,” buying 315 MW from two new solar projects in Virginia as part of its ongoing renewable energy efforts. The power will come from 750,000 solar panels spread across 2,000 acres at the Pleinmont I and II projects. [GeekWire]

Microsoft’s renewable energy footprint (Microsoft Image)

¶ The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission approved unanimously a $1.6 billion plan to build two massive wind farms along the Texas-New Mexico border. The vote is a key step needed for Xcel Energy to move forward with its plans. Texas regulators are expected to act on the proposal in the coming weeks. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ Opposition to a deal for the US to provide nuclear power technology to Saudi Arabia is growing after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said the kingdom would develop a nuclear weapon if Iran did. The reaction in Washington, from members of congress of both parties, is increasingly opposed to the deal. [South China Morning Post]

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March 21 Energy News

March 21, 2018


¶ “Puerto Rico went dark 6 months ago. Here’s how solar energy may speed the recovery” • Six months after Hurricane Maria, and whole towns in Puerto Rico still remain without power. Dozens of organizations work to provide renewable energy to create a resilient future, but there are also a monopoly and Congress to contend with. [PBS NewsHour]

Renewable power for Puerto Rico

¶ “Companies Showing Disconnect Between Climate Risk Awareness & Action” • A report from the CDP (formerly, Carbon Disclosure Project) and the Climate Disclosure Standards Board shows that more than 80% of companies oversee climate change at the board level, but only 1 in 10 give management incentives to act on climate change. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Lying Car Companies Would Rather Poison You With Emissions Than Build Cleaner Cars” • An Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers report offers reasons why the US government should weaken fuel economy and emissions standards put in place by the Obama administration. The report was written by fossil fuels shills. [CleanTechnica]

Traffic (Union of Concerned Scientists image)


¶ Swedish wave energy company Seabased said it has signed one of the first and largest commercial contracts in the wave energy sector, for the delivery of a 100-MW plant near Ada, Ghana. Ghanaian renewable energy company TC’s Energy will own and operate the wave plant, selling electricity under a power purchase agreement. [Renewables Now]

¶ Just yesterday we were talking about an innovative 3D printing company that is making an electric car that cost less than $10,000, largely because it uses only 57 parts compared to the thousands most ordinary cars require. Now, Siemens plans to build a $37 million 3D-printing manufacturing facility in the UK to build parts for cars and aircraft. [CleanTechnica]

Siemens 3D-printing plant

¶ Just minutes before his swearing-in, South Australia premier Steven Marshall commented that the Tesla virtual power plant, the biggest planned aggregated installation of solar and battery storage in the world, was not part of his agenda. The reaction by the public was powerful, and Marshall’s team is already reassuring the community. [RenewEconomy]

¶ The European Union’s scientific research centre has explored the idea of linking the power grids of Europe and China, in order to tap into the immense clean energy potential of the Middle Kingdom and the countries of Central Asia. A study by the EU’s Joint Research Centre into a super-grid link has mapped three potential routes. [EURACTIV]

Benefits and challenges (Shutterstock image)

¶ French renewable energy developer Neoen, the owner of the Tesla big battery in South Australia, has begun work on the Bulgana green power hub in Victoria, again combining a major wind farm with battery storage. The $350 million project will include a 194-MW wind farm and a 20-MW/34-MWh Tesla battery facility. [RenewEconomy]

¶ The UK is well on the way to a new era of subsidy-free renewable energy projects that will largely kill off prospects for new gas power stations, according to industry analysts. Falling costs of wind and solar projects combine with advances in battery technology to unlock about £20 billion of investment between now and 2030. [The Guardian]

UK wind farm (Photo: Alamy)

¶ Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UAE’s Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, broke ground on the world’s biggest concentrated solar power project. The 700-MW project, with the world’s tallest solar tower, is the fourth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai. [Gulf Business News]


¶ US electric generation last year was down 1.5% from the year before, a drop of 105,000 GWh. But both coal and natural gas saw larger declines. Coal use was down by 2.5%, a smaller decline than it has seen recently. But coal’s decline will continue; no new coal plants were opened, and 6.3 GW of coal capacity were retired in 2017. [Ars Technica]

Wind turbines in Colorado (Getty Images)

¶ After reviewing the video recordings from the Uber self-driving car that struck and killed a pedestrian, the chief of police issued a statement saying “it’s very clear it would have been difficult to avoid this collision in any kind of mode (autonomous or human-driven) based on how [the pedestrian] came from the shadows right into the roadway.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ McDonald’s, one of the planet’s most recognizable companies, has become the first restaurant chain in the world to set a greenhouse gas emissions reduction target approved by the Science Based Targets initiative. Its goal is to reduce emissions by 36% at all McDonald’s restaurants and offices by 2030 from a 2015 baseline. [CleanTechnica]


¶ A spokesman for Michigan utility Consumers Energy said, “By 2040, we’re going to stop burning coal here in Michigan to generate electricity, we’re also going to reduce our carbon footprint by 80 percent.” Consumers Energy says its goal was set because renewable sources are less expensive than burning fossil fuels. [Newburgh Gazette]

¶ Santee Cooper’s electric rates will rise sharply as the bills for its failed nuclear project come due, increasing the amount each customer makes puts into the unfinished reactors to $8 to $9 per month. That is the finding of a study of Santee Cooper’s future rates by a conservative think tank, and it is and the utility’s own estimate. [Charleston Post Courier]

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March 20 Energy News

March 20, 2018


¶ “Don’t Bet On A Decline In Chinese Solar PV Production” • China’s the “One Belt One Road” initiative is promising $1.2 trillion for struggling economies worldwide. One of the goals of the program is to marginalize American world influence. The solar panels and other goods the US has subjected to a tariff are tools for the program. [CleanTechnica]

Chinese destroyer Qingdao visiting Pearl Harbor
(Photo: US Navy, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Solar Surprise: Small-Scale Solar A Better Deal Than Big” • For a Public Utilities Commission eyeing the least cost solar energy, the greatest benefit will be at a scale of less than about 10 MW to 20 MW. For a city or community looking to maximize the value of the citizens’ solar investment, smaller systems are best. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “The unholy alliance that explains why renewables are trouncing nuclear” • If recent trends continue, the global share of electricity from renewables excluding hydropower will overtake nuclear in two years. This is only partly because the costs of solar and wind have plunged while nuclear has become almost astoundingly expensive. [RenewEconomy]

Solar power

Science and Technology:

¶ XEV, a company few have ever heard of, is showing off its LSEV 3D-printed electric car at the China 3D Printing Cultural Museum in Shanghai this week. It will be featured next month at the Beijing auto show, according to a China Daily report. The diminutive two-seater could be the world’s first mass-produced 3D-printed EV. [CleanTechnica]


¶ The Danish municipality of Roskilde is stepping into the future. The city council voted that all 20 of the buses serving all of its municipal bus lines will be electric starting in April 2019, it was announced. Achieving this milestone, the Roskilde Municipality is becoming the first in Denmark to convert its fleet to fully electric buses. [CleanTechnica]

Yutong Super Limousine

¶ Australia’s Energy Minister needs unanimous support from the states and territories to implement the federal government’s energy plan. Labor’s defeat in the South Australian state election left only one strong objector, but the Australian Capital Territory insists that the electricity sector cut greenhouse gas pollution. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

¶ Scottish renewables firm Natural Power announced that it has completed the construction of a 10-MW wind park in Ireland for UK-based renewable power producer Element Power. The four-turbine Meenwaun wind farm started generating electricity in December 2017, and this month it is expected to kick off its commercial operations. [Renewables Now]

Wind turbines (Photo: Element Power)

¶ European wind-turbine manufacturers, hungry for growth, have set their sights on Argentina’s booming renewable-energy market. The latest example is Nordex SE, a German turbine supplier that is planning its first assembly plant in Argentina. It is the second time in the past week the country has attracted a European manufacturer. [Bloomberg]

¶ A Victorian border town wants 100% renewable energy by 2022, and the federal Coalition is offering surprise support. Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg described the plan for the Yackandandah minigrid as an “exciting” example of Australia’s transformed energy landscape when he dropped in this month. [Energy Matters]

Yackandandah (Image: Chamber of Commerce)

¶ The Dutch government has begun to follow through on its renewable energy pledges by awarding Swedish firm Vattenfall two contracts for what will be the world’s first wind farms to be built entirely without public money. The Dutch government announced that its call for tender for zero-subsidy offshore wind bids had paid off. [EURACTIV]


¶ The first fatality in the US involving a collision between a pedestrian and a self-driving car happened in Tempe, Arizona. A 49-year-old woman who stepped off a sidewalk to cross the street was struck by an oncoming Uber self-driving car operating in autonomous mode with a human driver on board. Police are investigating. [CleanTechnica]

Uber self driving car, a Volvo XC90

¶ In New York City, St Patrick’s Cathedral is undergoing a $200 million renovation. A geothermal heating and cooling system to replace the steam boiler and air conditioning system, installed nearly 60 years ago, is part of that upgrade. The geothermal system will have 10 wells, 8″ in diameter, drilled into the bedrock beneath the cathedral. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Bay State Wind signed a letter of intent to work with NEC Energy Solutions to develop energy storage system for its 800-MW offshore wind farm. Massachusetts-based NEC Energy Solutions will develop a 55-MW/111-MWh storage system to support the proposed offshore wind farm off the coast near Martha’s Vineyard. [CleanTechnology News]

Offshore windpower

¶ With fracking, the US poised to become the world’s largest oil exporter, and rail shipments will soon increase dramatically. Considering the dangers, the Baltimore city council voted to ban more oil storage facilities and export terminals. All that remains is for the mayor to approve the city council’s action for the ban to go into effect. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Enel Green Power North America Inc has signed new power purchase agreements with Facebook and Adobe for the sale of the energy produced by the 320-MW Rattlesnake Creek wind farm in Nebraska. Rattlesnake Creek is currently under construction and is expected to start operations by the end of this year. [North American Windpower]

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March 19 Energy News

March 19, 2018


¶ “GE Aims Coal-Killing Energy Storage Solution At Willing Customers” • The US DOE recently floated the idea of carving out a place for small coal power plants in the distributed energy landscape of the future, but it looks like the agency’s latest attempt to save coal is a day late and a dollar short. GE is pitching energy storage. [CleanTechnica]

GE energy storage


¶ The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is to set up India’s first offshore wind turbines at an estimated investment of ₹300 crore ($45 million), the ministry’s Joint Secretary said. The MNRE proposed to install four to five wind turbines, each with the capacity to generate minimum of 6 MW of power, possibly starting within six months. [NYOOOZ]

¶ South Korea will draw out a long-term energy plan that aims to reduce its high dependence on nuclear and coal power and expands the portion of renewable sources in the next 22 years, the energy ministry said. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said a working group is discussing an energy plan for the years 2019-2040. [Yonhap News]

Floating solar farm near Seoul

¶ Incoming South Australian Premier Steven Marshall revealed that the new Liberal government will not continue with Jay Weatherill’s plan to install batteries in thousands of low-income households. The Liberal plan will instead focus on means-tested subsidies for battery systems and inter-connectivity with New South Wales. [Gizmodo Australia]

¶ Suzlon announced it has won two projects of 300 MW and 200 MW under the Solar Energy Corporation of India bidding process. The projects are to be implemented in Kutch district in Gujarat. The projects will provide electricity to about 3 million households and curb about 10 million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually. [Business Line]

Suzlon wind turbines

¶ A state government clean energy program means Queensland schools solar energy systems could save more than $10 million a year in power bills each year. Over the next three years, $97 million will be spent to help schools across the state cut their combined energy bill by around 20%. Their annual power bill tops $50 million. [Energy Matters]

¶ Shell is taking tentative steps away from the oil and gas sector, in which it has flourished for over a century, and toward more renewables. In an effort to move towards a less carbon-intensive energy system, Shell has been investing in biofuels, carbon capture and storage technologies, as well as green energies such as wind and solar. [Power Technology]

Bradenstoke solar park (Photo courtesy of Shell)

¶ Saudi Arabia’s crown prince was not holding back any punches: “Without a doubt, if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible.” The crown prince is visiting the United States this week. Washington could refuse to support Arabian nuclear power ambitions, but Arabia could take its business elsewhere. [Stratfor Worldview]

¶ March 17, was a perfectly cloud-free spring day, with high solar production and low overall consumption, and it was perfect for Israel to break its solar power record. At 12:07 PM, solar energy was producing 13.4 % of the total electricity being consumed in the country. It was a new record, according to the Israel Electric Corporation. [The Times of Israel]

Solar tower in the Negev desert (AP | Oded Balilty)

¶ A Japan-led nuclear power plant project in Turkey may cost more than twice as much as initially projected. Japan and Turkey agreed to the project in 2013. The estimated total cost, pegged at around ¥2 trillion ($18.8 billion) at the time, has since ballooned to more than ¥5 trillion yen, according to sources close to the matter. [Nikkei Asian Review]


¶ Worldwide, 1.2 billion people have little or no access to electricity. A man in Grass Valley, Nevada, is on a mission to help solve the energy poverty crisis. Angelo Campus is the CEO of BoxPower Inc, a startup company that provides off-grid communities with affordable microgrid systems in shipping containers. [The Union of Grass Valley]

BoxPower unit at the Nevada County Fairgrounds

¶ The DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy announced $32 million of funding for solid oxide fuel cell research, an idea aimed partly at propping up the US coal industry. The DOE recently floated the idea of putting up money for small modular coal power plants. And Arizona voted a $12 million tax cut for a coal plant. None of these ideas is likely to work. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Each year, the San Diego County Water Authority will save about $100,000 with the commercial-scale storage batteries that were recently installed at the agency’s Twin Oaks Valley Water Treatment Plant near San Marcos. The batteries were installed at no charge as part of an agreement with Santa Clara-based ENGIE Storage. [Times of San Diego]

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March 18 Energy News

March 18, 2018


¶ “How A Handful Of Community Organizers Got NYC To Take On One Of The Most Powerful Industries On Earth” • New York Mayor Bill de Blasio kicked off 2018 by declaring war on the oil industry. But at the start of the story were people who had never had a voice sending a message that could be heard around the world. [CleanTechnica]

New York City

¶ “4 Psychology Lessons That Can Teach Us About Inspiring Climate Action” • We know it is important to educate the public so people understand why climate change is happening, what regions are most at risk, and how its impacts continue to harm our health and economy. Education, however, is the easy part. Behaviors need to change. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “A Contentious Debate: Green Energy vs. Green Space” • Each year, Rhode Island’s forests absorb, on average, 88 tons of carbon dioxide per acre. The state’s 400,000 acres of forest sequester 35 million tons of carbon. But the state’s forests are being cut to build everything from a possible fossil-fuel power plant to solar arrays. [ecoRI news]

Clear-cutting to make room for a solar facility (Douglas Doe)

¶ “Black Ministers In Virginia Tell Koch Brothers To Shove Their Petrodollars” • If anyone wonders why my Irish ire gets inflamed by these two charlatans, perhaps this story will explain why they may be the most dangerous pair in America and why Arnold Schwarzenegger said they deserve to be prosecuted for crimes against humanity. [CleanTechnica]


¶ February is traditionally the slowest selling month in China, but with electric car sales at around 34,000, there’s not much to complain about. Numbers were up 88% year over year, making this by far the best February ever. During the month, BYD stepped into first place, dethroning the Beijing brand BAIC from its leading position. [CleanTechnica]


¶ Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd, a joint venture of the Delhi government and Tata Power, is introducing the Internet of Things to India. It will start with smart meters and an Android app. In the first phase, 250,000 smart meters would be installed in parts of the city. By 2025, 1.6 million smart meters are to be operational. [Economic Times]

¶ Belgium has agreed to provide Mozambique with €12 million ($14.76 million) to promote projects for the production of new and renewable energy in a number of the country’s regions. To that effect, an agreement was formalized by Mozambique’s Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy and the Belgian ambassador. [Journalducameroun.com]

Delivering charcoal (Vanderspuyr, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ An Indian solar panel manufacturing company, Waaree Energies Ltd, has launched a first of its kind, do-it-yourself solar kit called “Pronto.” The kits are available at all Waaree Solar Experience Centres. The company claims that a Pronto solar PV power generating system can deliver at least 30% savings on electricity bills. [Web India 123]

¶ The conservative Liberal Party has won the election of South Australia state, ending the Australian Labor Party’s streak of 16 years in power in the state. Along with promises of tax cuts for small businesses, Marshall’s campaign promised to scaling back the Australian Labor Party approach to renewable energy which he described as reckless. [Xinhua]

Kimberly Clark mill and the Lake Bonney windfarm
(Photo: Fairv8, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ North Korea’s Foreign Minister went to Sweden, prompting speculations about a meeting between US President Trump and Mr Kim Jong-Un, leader of North Korea. Sweden is happy to help resolve tensions on the Korean peninsula arising from the North Korean construction of a nuclear reactor and pursuit of nuclear military power. [The Straits Times]


¶ One of the most famed Apple analysts, Gene Munster, has recently turned his attention to Tesla. His firm, Loup Ventures, made projections on the company’s future.  He predicts growth from 0.5% of the market to 1.5% this year, “Longer-term (10 yrs from now) we believe Tesla can capture 17% of the US auto market share…” [CleanTechnica]

Tesla lineup (Source: Tesla.com)

¶ In a closed-door meeting at the Heritage Foundation, EPA chief Scott Pruitt told a group of conservatives that he has plans for additional science reform at the agency, attendees said. The EPA has not formally shared details of the plan, but it is widely expected to resemble an efforts that Republican lawmakers have been pushing. [Scientific American]

¶ President Trump’s nominee for deputy administrator of the EPA, Andrew Wheeler, has spent much of his career working for less oversight from the agency. He is a longtime aide to Sen James Inhofe, known for his climate-denying antics on the Senate floor. After that job, Wheeler became a lobbyist for the fossil fuels industry. [89.3 KPCC]

Corsa Coal’s Acosta Deep Mine in Pennsylvania, with a US 
flag draped over the mud (Justin Merriman | Getty Images)

¶ Home improvement superstore Lowe’s announced that it was making progress towards reducing its carbon footprint and increasing the energy efficiency of its stores. In 2014, Lowe’s set a goal to reduce its carbon emissions by 20% by 2020. Recently, the company announced that it is on track to achieve its emissions goal. [Artvoice]

¶ Opposition to a Trump administration proposal to allow oil and gas drilling in coastal waters, including those off the Atlantic coast of Massachusetts, continues to grow on Beacon Hill. The state’s Attorney General, Maura Healey, has announced that she is considering taking legal action against the administration over the issue. [Lexington Herald Leader]

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March 17 Energy News

March 17, 2018


¶ “Microbes, Drones, & AI May Be Keys To Farms Of The Future” • Fertilizers, pesticides, and genetically modified seeds are doing a dance of death that is making it harder for farmers to grow crops without using more fertilizers, pesticides, and genetically modified seeds. And they are turning farms into land that is barren for agriculture. [CleanTechnica]

Glennoe Farms, Arkansas

¶ “‘Keep It In The Ground’ Activists Optimistic Despite Oil Boom” • A day after Trump failed to mention climate change in his State of the Union speech, Vermont Sen Bernie Sanders fired up a crowd of activists by mentioning Trump and his Cabinet appointees who lead the administration’s policies for energy and the environment. [Colorado Public Radio]

¶ “Hope from chaos: could political upheaval lead to a new green epoch?” • We face a “cumulative problem”, with temperatures rising relative to the build up of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Based on this, the Paris 1.5° C and 2° C commitments demand total emissions remain within a small and rapidly dwindling “carbon budget.” [Phys.Org]

Offshore windpower (Credit: Dominic Alves | flickr, CC BY)

Science and Technology:

¶ The global ocean power market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of over 10% during the period 2018-2022, according to a market research study, Global Ocean Power Market 2018-2022, by Technavio. The report presents a comprehensive research of the global ocean power market by technology. [Renewable Energy Magazine]


¶ Chinese suppliers of solar panels may be facing epic headwinds in the year ahead, as rising production capacity is set to coincide with growing trade protectionism in the US and India and a downturn in domestic demand. Chinese solar manufacturing supplied 55% to 83% of global demand for various solar products last year. [South China Morning Post]

Solar panels in China

¶ Google confirmed it is investing a further €500 million in expanding a Dutch data center. Google says the expansion is necessary to service the needs of both businesses and consumers as the take up of its cloud services increases. The expansion will take the company’s total investment in the data centre so far to about €1.5 billion. [Data Economy]

¶ Some Rwandans in remote areas of the country have decided not to wait for the government to provide them with electricity. Instead, they invested in off-grid energy to change lives in their villages. One village will soon bid farewell to darkness, thanks to a hydropower project that was designed by a local entrepreneur and built by local people. [KT Press]

Hydropower project in Rwanda

¶ The Canadian federal government’s Western Economic Diversification Ministry announced $7.5 million dollars for projects in the province driven by fourteen First Nations. First Nations Power Authority of Saskatchewan received $600,000 for renewable energy partnerships in First Nations communities and SaskPower. [CTV News]


¶ The former site of a coal mine could be producing solar power by the end of 2020. Plans were unveiled by electricity provider TransAlta for a mine shut down in 2006. Reclamation work had begun the following year to restore it to forest and pasture land. But now, TransAlta believes it’s a prime location for a new solar project. [The Olympian]

Open pit mine in 2004 (Adam Amato | The Chronicle)

¶ In addition to the US federal tax credit for plug-in electric vehicle purchases, there is a smorgasbord of state incentives and policies that affect electric drivers. In fact, according to a report from the NC Clean Energy Technology Center, 43 states and the District of Columbia took some type of action having to do with EVs during 2017. [CleanTechnica]

¶ An expansion underway at the McGinness Hills Geothermal Facility near Austin, Nevada, will make the Ormat Technologies Inc complex the largest geothermal power generating facility in the state, and the largest located on Bureau of Land Management property. Ormat has developed eleven geothermal power plants in Nevada. [Elko Daily Free Press]

McGinness Hills Geothermal Facility

¶ Officials from state and local governments, Alabama Power, and Walmart celebrated the launch of AL Solar A, a 79.2-MW solar energy project developed by Alabama Power to help Walmart reach its corporate renewable energy goals. The project features more than 338,662 solar panels spread across 1,100 acres just south of LaFayette. [AL.com]

¶ In Florida, Gulf Power customers may be surprised to learn that some of the energy they use comes from wind. At the beginning of 2016, Gulf Power became the leading purchaser of wind energy in the state. That year it provided more than 1.7 million MWh of wind-generated energy, enough to power 131,842 houses. [NorthEscambia.com]

Wind turbines

¶ Despite a disaster-stricken 2017, the Federal Emergency Management Agency dropped discussions of climate change from its strategic plan, the document intended to guide the agency’s response to hurricanes, flooding, and wildfires through 2022. The plan projects that “rising natural hazard risk” will drive higher disaster costs. [InsideClimate News]

¶ Russia was behind a cyber intrusion of the business network tied to a nuclear power plant in Kansas, according to allegations made by the DHS and the FBI. The attacks on the Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corp in Burlington, Kansas, was one target of numerous cyberattacks against electric, water, and power plants in the US. [Kansas City Star]

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March 16 Energy News

March 16, 2018


¶ “US utilities have finally realized electric cars may save them” • This year, the Tennessee Valley Authority scrapped its 20-year projections through 2035. It was clear they had drastically underestimated how much renewable energy would depress demand for grid electricity. But EVs offer a bright spot for utilities in the future. [Quartz]

Transmission lines (Reuters | Mike Hutchings)


¶ BayWa is entering the Dutch solar market by taking a 70% stake in a 2-GW project pipeline owned by the GroenLeven Group. GroenLeven will continue to hold a 30% interest. Tariffs have already been secured for about 800 MW of the pipeline, BayWa said. The deal is still subject to final approval from the relevant antitrust authorities. [reNews]

¶ Sumitomo Forestry Co recently released a plan to build the tallest wooden high-rise in the world. At a height of 350 meters and comprised of 90% wood, the building has been dubbed the W350. Wood is considered more environmentally friendly than most other building materials, and much of Japan is covered by unmanaged forest. [CleanTechnica]

Sumitomo Skyscraper (Image via Sumitomo Forestry Co)

¶ German chemicals producer BASF will use 100% renewable power at its headquarters in Ontario and its production plants in Ontario, Alberta, Quebec, and Saskatchewan, under a deal with local wind and hydropower producer Bullfrog Power. Bullfrog said it will produce power renewably to match BASF’s electricity consumption. [Renewables Now]

¶ India’s renewable energy capacity was 65 GW at the end of February 2018, government data shows. The country has set a goal of adding 175 GW of renewables capacity by 2022, of which 100 GW will be solar PV. The lowest tariffs have dropped to ₹2.43/kWh (3.7¢/kWh) for windpower, and solar power is close to matching this. [Renewables Now]

Cleaning solar panels in India (Photo: IBC Solar AG)

¶ British billionaire Sanjeev Gupta revealed plans to build the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery in South Australia. Since its completion last year, the big Tesla battery in South Australia has surpassed expectations, regularly supplementing the state’s power grid to prevent widespread blackouts. Gupta’s battery would be about 20% larger. [Economic Times]


¶ Massachusetts Gov Charlie Baker released a $1.4 billion bond bill that would authorize spending on climate change preparedness and environmental protection. The bill provides $300 million to respond to the impacts of climate change, including $170 million to repair dams and sea walls and help coastal communities. [MassLive.com]

Storm at Lynn, Massachusetts

¶ Georgia Power said that it awarded power purchase agreements for three new solar projects totaling 510 MW to be built in Central, South, and Southwest Georgia through the company’s Renewable Energy Development Initiative. The company expects to add up to 1,600 MW of additional renewable energy by 2021. [Daily Energy Insider]

¶ Xcel Energy filed a stipulation with a coalition of 14 diverse groups, asking the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to approve a process that could lead to $2.5 billion in clean energy investments in rural Colorado, without bill increases. Upper portfolio estimates are 1,000 MW of wind, 700 MW of solar and 700 MW of natural gas. [Windpower Engineering]

Denver, Colorado

¶ The Southern Environmental Law Center and Environmental Defense Fund are suing the EPA for failing to release information about the Heartland Institute’s efforts to attack climate science. Officials at the Heartland Institute, a promoter of climate denial, publicly stated that EPA requested their assistance in a review of climate science. [Augusta Free Press]

¶ Allete Clean Energy will construct, own, and operate an 80-MW wind energy facility near Great Falls, Montana. ACE acquired the South Peak project from Peak Clean Energy and is managing construction. It will supply electricity to NorthWestern Energy under a power sale agreement. The facility is scheduled to be online in 2019. [Electric Light & Power]

Wind farm

¶ The DOE wants to spend $175 million on a program that would include designing at least two small-scale, coal-fired power plants. The units would have a capacity of about 200 MW, roughly one-third the size of a typical generator that uses coal. The assistant secretary for fossil fuel claimed that mini plants could be fired up quickly. [Bloomberg]

¶ According to an alert from the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team, Russia has hacked into many of our government entities and domestic companies in the energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation, and critical manufacturing sectors. This is essentially most of what makes our country go. [Forbes]

Browns Ferry control room (Archives of Les Corrice)

¶ The Arizona Corporation Commission has voted 3-2 not to acknowledge the 15-year plans by electric utilities Arizona Public Service, Tucson Electric Power, and Unisource Energy Services. The body also put a 9-month halt to natural gas development via a 4-1 vote. The ACC suggested a plan calling for 80% clean energy by 2050. [pv magazine USA]

¶ The New Hampshire Senate has passed a bill allowing larger businesses to get into net metering. The bill would increase five-fold the size of net metering systems, from 1 MW, perhaps a size for a midsize store or a town hall, to 5 MW, which might be used by facilities like those of BAE Systems or Foss Manufacturing. [New Hampshire Business Review]

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March 15 Energy News

March 15, 2018


¶ “South Australia’s renewable energy future hanging by a thread” • It is an election that is impossible to call. And too important to ignore. Just two days out from the South Australia state election, a three-way race, the result is in the balance. And so is the fate of South Australia’s status as a world leader in renewable energy. [RenewEconomy]

Artist’s impression of a plant to be built by SolarReserve

¶ “Solar saves carbon faster and more effectively than nuclear power” • Renewable electricity, chiefly from wind and solar power, adds electricity generation and saves carbon faster than nuclear power does or ever has, according to a data-rich new study by Amory Lovins and three colleagues at Rocky Mountain Institute. [Solar Builder]

Science and Technology:

¶ Exposure to common levels of residential air pollution during fetal development is linked with cognitive impairment and the presence of brain abnormalities, a study published in the journal Biological Psychiatry found. Notably, the levels of residential air pollution in question are lower than levels currently considered to be “safe.” [CleanTechnica]

Air pollution

¶ A study published on March 13th in Nature Communications suggests that the northeast region of the US may experience more frequent and stronger winter storms due to rapidly rising temperatures in the Arctic. The study was done by researchers from Atmospheric and Environmental Research and Rutgers University. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Researchers at the University of Maryland claim to have found a way to strip away lignin and hemicellulose from wood. They say that the result, which they call “nanowood” costs less and has insulating qualities that are superior to many insulation materials commonly used in building construction today. Nanowood is also stronger. [CleanTechnica]


¶ US Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke claimed the “carbon footprint on wind [energy] is significant.” But wind power’s carbon footprint is among the smallest of any energy source. The carbon footprints of coal and natural gas are close to 90 and 40 times larger, respectively, the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory says. [FactCheck.org]


¶ The 226-MW Murra Warra Wind Farm Stage One announced financial close after securing investments from developer Renewable Energy Systems and banking giant Macquarie Group. Construction my commence immediately on the 61-turbine development. The Murra Warra Wind Farm Stage One is in northwestern Victoria. [CleanTechnica]

Macarthur Wind Farm

¶ Volkswagen, which is embroiled in ongoing disputes with German diesel car owners, is pushing ahead with plans to introduce an electrified version of all 300 models it sells by 2025. To make that happen, it has committed to buying $25 billion worth of batteries and associated components from three global battery manufacturers. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Australian Renewable Energy Agency has committed to provide partial funding for a A$1 million ($788,900) project in Tasmania, seeking to determine whether wind farms can provide frequency control services to the power grid and whether this is economically viable. The trial will be carried out at the 168-MW Musselroe wind park. [Renewables Now]

Tasmanian wind turbines (Ian Cochrane, CC-BY-SA 2.0 Generic)

¶ Renewable power plants generated over 100% of Portugal’s power for a period of 69 hours in March, local media report. The Portuguese Association of Renewable Energy said Portuguese renewable plants cover 54% of power demand on average, reducing annual imports of fossil fuels by €750 million ($928 million). [Renewables Now]


¶ Encore Renewable Energy has commissioned a 200-kW roof-mounted solar array at the von Trapp Brewing & Bierhall in Stowe, Vermont. The electricity generated by the array will provide a clean source of electricity for Stowe Electric Department, with all renewable energy credits associated with the array being retired. [Solar Power World]

Von Trapp solar array

¶ After breaking a few energy storage records with its battery system projects in Australia, Tesla looks to come back to the US to build a new world’s largest Powerpack battery system in Colorado. Xcel Energy had requested bids for major renewable energy and storage projects in Colorado, and Tesla is one of the companies bidding. [Electrek]

¶ Boston-based developer WinnCompanies has completed the largest community solar project in Washington, DC, with a renewable energy facility installed on the community’s roofs. There are also plans for additional solar projects throughout the city in the near future, with a goal to reduce energy bills for low-income residents. [Curbed DC]

Community solar (Photo via WinnCompanies)

¶ Georgia Power, which announced a goal of 1.6 GW of renewable energy by 2021, is going to hit that goal with solar alone before the end of 2019. The company’s current goal for 2021 includes residential, community solar, and larger projects. Georgia Power already has 970 MW of solar capacity online and 649 MW of large scale project coming. [pv magazine USA]

¶ Southern California electricity provider NRG Energy has announced that it will retire three natural gas-fired power plants across Southern California over the next 10 months. California continues to make progress toward its bold renewable energy generation goals as residents increasingly oppose fossil fuel fired power plants there. [CleanTechnica]

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March 14 Energy News

March 14, 2018


¶ “What I Learned from 14 Years of Shooting ‘Images from a Warming Planet'” • After spending 14 years taking photos of the effects of climate change, Ashley Cooper, spoke of the Paris Agreement. “Having witnessed the scale of the destruction currently being wreaked around the world at a 1° rise and under, this is too little and too late.” [Sustainable Brands]

Lake Hume, Australia

Science and Technology:

¶ About half of all plants and animals in 35 of the world’s most biodiverse places are at risk of extinction due to climate change, a report claims. The report was published the University of East Anglia, the James Cook University, and the WWF. It projected loss of nearly 80,000 plants and animals in 35 diverse and wildlife-rich areas. [CNN]


¶ In Australia, the Greens proposed mandatory fuel efficiency standards, ending the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, and imposing a four-year 17% tax on luxury petrol and diesel cars as part of an electric vehicle policy. They propose that Australia adopt a mandatory fuel efficiency standard of 105 g of CO2 per kilometer by 2022. [The Guardian]

Australian highway (Photo: Southern Stock | Getty Images)

¶ The United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia signed a Memorandum of Understanding that commits the two countries to working together on developing new technologies to reduce carbon emissions. They will share technical knowledge with each other, including information on smart grids, electric vehicles, and carbon capture technology. [CleanTechnica]

¶ An Australian first trial is taking wind farms from passive producers that sell all their output in a slab to more active participants in the energy market. Neoen Australia’s South Australian Hornsdale 2 wind farm carried out a trial that could see wind replace coal, gas, and even pumped hydro in providing energy stability. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

Wind plus storage at Hornsdale (Photo: Tesla)

¶ The UK’s Swindon Borough Council has given the planning green light to Public Power Solutions to build the 50-MW Mannington Depot battery storage project. PPS said it has kicked off discussions with storage developers seeking front-of-meter opportunities to take on the funding and construction of the project. [reNews]

¶ GE Renewable Energy announced the installation of the first GE Haliade 150-6-MW offshore wind turbine at the 396-MW Merkur Offshore Windfarm in Germany, located approximately 35 km north of the island of Borkum, in the North Sea. It will provide enough clean energy to power around 500,000 homes in the region. [Windpower Engineering]

Offshore wind farm

¶ GE Renewable Energy and Fina Enerji signed an agreement to work on eight potential wind projects in Turkey. Together, the wind farms will provide up to 410 MW of power. They will be located in different regions of Turkey. The agreement supports Turkey’s national goal of reaching a capacity of 20 GW of wind power. [North American Windpower]

¶ Transmission system operator 50Hertz Transmission GmbH said it got 53.4% of its power from renewables in 2017, surpassing 50% for the first time. The installed renewable energy capacity in the operator’s area rose to 31 GW last year from about 29 GW in 2016. Its area of distribution is the Northeast of Germany, the former East Germany. [Renewables Now]

Wind farm in the Baltic Sea

¶ The slow-moving small modular reactor market saw some positive activity in recent weeks. Ukraine signed a memorandum of understanding with Holtec International to have Holtec’s SMR-160 nuclear reactors built there. Canada may also develop a design. But one expert predicts the technology would never be commercialized. [Greentech Media]


¶ Arnold Schwarzenegger is steaming mad at oil companies. He plans to do something about their reprehensible, irresponsible behavior that has put billions of people at risk around the world. During an interview with Politico, he said he is personally going to take them to court “for knowingly killing people all over the world.” [CleanTechnica]

Arnold Schwarzenegger

¶ Recently passed legislation in Virginia shifts the renewable energy landscape by finding 5.5 GW of solar and wind energy are in the public interest and expediting the state’s renewable energy project regulatory approval process. It also provides for energy storage. Now, Virginia Gov Ralph Northam signed the 2018 omnibus energy bill into law. [Platts]

¶ The City of Flagstaff and the Hopi Tribe have partnered up to explore development of a 19-MW renewable energy project on land leased from the tribe outside of the city. City officials say the partnership is aimed at helping the city achieve its 100% renewable energy goal for city government operations, with a power purchase agreement. [KAFF News]

Solar farm in Arizona (Purina employee, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Public Service Company of Oklahoma and Walmart, Inc, have reached a settlement agreement on PSO’s proposed Wind Catcher Energy Connection project in the Oklahoma Panhandle. PSO and Walmart are requesting that the Oklahoma Corporation Commission approve the windpower project under the terms of the agreement. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ The largest community solar power project in the state of New York is now complete, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo. It is located in the Sullivan County town of Callicoon. The 2 .7-MW solar array can produce enough power to provide electricity for 350 households and small businesses. It runs on 9,800 individual solar panels. [Albany Times Union]

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March 13 Energy News

March 13, 2018


¶ “Clean Energy Is Key to New England’s Fuel Security” • ISO New England, which operates the New England power grid, filed comments with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, raising concerns that reliance on natural gas could undermine grid security due to potential wintertime shortfalls in gas supply. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

Block Island Wind Farm (National Renewable Energy Lab | flickr)


¶ Late last month, the Solar Energy Corporation of India launched a Request for Proposal for what will be the single largest solar power auction in the country’s history. This tender for 3 GW of capacity will overtake a 2 GW tender launched by the state of Telangana in 2015 to become India’s largest solar power tender ever. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A new analysis from the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group has revealed that cities are actually generating up to 60% more greenhouse gasses than currently estimated due to the impact of trade in goods and services, but this means cities now have even greater opportunities to deliver on the Paris Climate Agreement goals. [CleanTechnica]

Mexico City

¶ Norway has just two fully operational electric-powered ferries, but more are coming. By 2023 the country’s entire ferry fleet will be all-electric or hybrid technology, experts say. Electric cruise liners are also coming there, and elsewhere in Europe, the electrification of maritime travel is gradually beginning to take off. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]

¶ Thirty ore trucks at Sweden’s Aitik mine work 24 hours per day, each hauling 310 ton loads of rocks up steep inclines. Each consumes 100 gallons of diesel oil per hour. Now, with a grant from the Swedish Energy Agency, Caterpillar is converting some of the trucks to run exclusively on electric power taken from overhead wires. [CleanTechnica]

Caterpillar 795F mining truck

¶ A South African court granted an order to stop the state-owned utility from signing deals for renewable power projects worth $4.7 billion, the applicants in the case said. They had argued that the utility already has excess capacity and signing the deals would force coal-fired power plants to shut down, resulting in job losses. [Bloomberg]

¶ The City of Sydney is supporting a $2.25 million Ausgrid program that could boost apartment solar uptake in the area. Ausgrid has the second lowest rate of solar uptake in Australia due to its large number of apartments and commercial buildings, but the project could increase the number of PV installations on such properties. [Energy Matters]

Sydney (Image: Pixabay)

¶ Media reports say Diu (2001 pop 21,576) has become the first union territory in India to be fully powered by solar power. The power department of Diu has set up a total solar power capacity of 13 MW. Of this, 10 MW is in ground-based systems and 3 MW in rooftop systems. The excess power generation is used to offset nighttime needs from the grid. [CleanTechnica]

¶ AGL, the biggest coal generator in Australia, says there will still be too much baseload power in New South Wales, even after the ageing Liddell coal plant is closed in 2022. AGL vowed to replace Liddell with a mixture of wind, solar, battery storage, demand management, a new generator, and an upgrade of the Bayswater coal-fired power station. [RenewEconomy]

Liddell Power Station


¶ Each year, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance rates each state’s energy policies based on how they help or hinder local clean energy action. In 2018, 21 states had a failing grade, 17 were mediocre, 11 had a passing grade, and just 2 excelled at enabling residents to act individually and collectively to take charge of their energy future. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The three largest California electric utilities are well on their way to meeting the state’s mandate of sourcing 33% of energy from renewable sources by 2020. But they did not procure any new renewable energy capacity last year, and the California Public Utilities Commission has proposed they procure nearly none in 2018. [Inhabitat]

California solar array

¶ The Union of Concerned Scientists has updated its information on vehicle emissions and finds that a conventional car in America today needs an average fuel economy of 80 mpg to have the same carbon footprint as a typical EV. Last year, that number was 73 mpg. The reason for the change is that the electric utility grid is getting greener. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Kentucky sunshine captured from about a dozen solar panels will be used to spin the carousel at the Louisville Zoo. The new project, which should be complete by the end of the week, will be among the most highly visible solar installations in the city. And organizers say that visibility is important to help inform the public about solar energy. [89.3 WFPL]

Carousel at the Louisville Zoo (Photo: Ryan Van Velzer)

¶ Calpine Corp wants to suspend its application to build a gas-fired plant near Santa Paula, California. Citing the recent request for offers on renewable energy projects by Southern California Edison, Calpine stated last week that there does not appear to be an opportunity for the Mission Rock Energy Center power plant project. [Ventura County Star]

¶ A three-judge federal appeals court panel heard arguments in a case regarding New York’s zero-emissions credit program for the state’s economically struggling nuclear plants. The legal battle highlights friction of state policy with federal jurisdiction and market integrity. The plaintiffs argue New York’s nuclear subsidy program oversteps its legal authority. [Platts]

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March 12 Energy News

March 12, 2018


¶ “14 Experts Share Their 2018 Electric Vehicle Predictions & Developments” • 2017 was the year the question around the future of EVs went from “If?” to “When?” And so far, 2018 sees continuing momentum. Not a week goes by without some announcement about a new EV, fast charging networks, and battery technology. [CleanTechnica]

2017 electric vehicle news headlines

Science and Technology:

¶ Utilities can increase their efficiency by using more artificial intelligence technology, such as software to predict demand swings in the power grid or control home appliances, according to consultancy Roland Berger. European utilities could achieve efficiency gains of up to a fifth over the next five years using such technology, it said. [Reuters]

¶ In a shocking melting event, half of the ice in the Bering Sea disappeared during a two-week period in February, according to Rick Thoman, a climate scientist with the National Weather Service in Alaska. Brian Brettschneider, a climatologist based in Alaska, posted “overall sea ice extent on February 20 was the lowest on record.” [DesMoinesRegister.com]

Bering Sea bearded seal (Photo: NOAA, Wikimedia Commons)


¶ Heads of the states from 23 nations hailed the efforts of the International Solar Alliance at its founding summit for providing a common platform to work for clean energy. They underlined the importance of clean energy, particularly for developing countries who want to save huge fuel costs and give the planet a cleaner future. [Economic Times]

¶ German energy giant EON plans to take over Innogy, the renewables subsidiary of competitor RWE, in a €20 billion deal, the companies said. The in-principle agreement involving asset swaps is part of a major restructuring of Germany’s energy market, as Europe’s top economy switches from conventional to renewable power. [The Local Germany]

German house with solar PVs (Photo: Andre Laaks | innogy SE)

¶ Forty years after the last streetlight was turned off at Kiritimati Island, a renewable energy company based in South Canterbury, New Zealand, is turning them on again. The 66 lights have been installed as part of the Kiritimati Renewable Energy Project, which includes a 150-kW solar PV plant, reducing dependence on diesel. [Timaru Herald]

¶ Italy’s Ministry of Development submitted to the country’s State-Regions Conference and the Italian Regulatory Authority for Energy, Networks and Environment a draft decree for the introduction of a new incentive scheme. It includes a mixed wind-solar auction mechanism for about 4.8 GW of projects over 1 MW. [pv magazine International]

Italian solar array (Image: Meeco)

¶ Carnegie Clean Energy has revealed plans to develop a 10-MW solar farm, with up to 10 MWh of battery storage, in an industrial area of Western Australia. The developer said it had secured in-principle approval to negotiate a lease to build, own, and operate a battery equipped solar farm at  a heavy industry hub north-east of Bunbury. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Turkey’s first nuclear power plant is unlikely to be ready in 2023, as planned. Rosatom is looking for Turkish partners for 49% of the power plant, but has had difficulties in finding partners at a local level. Rosatom is negotiating with four Turkish companies the join financing of the project, but little progress has been made so far. [Finance Appraise]

Nuclear power plant

¶ After seven years, most of the nuclear refugees from Futaba, where the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdown took place, have resigned themselves to the fact that they must build new lives elsewhere and will never be able to return home. They cling to memories of the past, while officials maintain optimism about a future for the town. [Kyodo News Plus]


¶ For the Winnebago Tribe and people, the battle for sovereignty is taking place in a field and on roofs across their reservation. It is a battle for energy independence that can best be seen in the black solar panels that the tribe has installed on rooftops and at its solar farm. Since 2008, the tribe has installed nearly 1,000 of the panels. [Sioux City Journal]

Solar array of the Winnebago Tribe (Photo: Ho-Chunk Inc)

¶ Cherryland Electric Cooperative, a utility in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula, is taking part in a pilot program to help low-income customers cut their power bills through renewable energy and energy waste reduction efforts. Officials say the coop expects to help lower energy bills for 50 low-income households. [Petoskey News-Review]

¶ SCANA Corp knew its contractors were mismanaging millions of dollars in construction materials soon after work at the VC Summer Nuclear Station began in 2013, but the company was unable to stop the waste before it had to abandon the $9 billion project. Records suggest SCANA never got its contractors to correct the problems. [Charleston Post Courier]

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March 11 Energy News

March 11, 2018


¶ “As The Climate Changes And The Earth Warms, Where’s The Safest Place On Earth To Live?” • From the most populous cities to the loneliest, isolated islets, everyone, everywhere will be affected in some way by climate change. Not everyone’s circumstances are equal, though, and climate change resilience varies widely from place to place. [IFLScience]

The Power of Nature (Zacarias Pereira da Mata | Shutterstock)

¶ “Electric Car Myth Buster – Efficiency” • The merchants of doubt paid for by the Koch brothers and the fossil fuel industry are out in full force, incorrectly publishing article after article about how electric cars are just as bad for the environment as gas and diesel ones, or possibly even worse than cars powered by gasoline or diesel engines. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Renewable Energy Has More Economic Benefits Than You Know” • Renewable energy is already cheaper than other energy options in most of the world, but it comes with other economic and societal benefits as well. Because of the number of countries investing in renewable energy, this article has just a short listing of benefits. [CleanTechnica]

Senftenberg Solarpark

Science and Technology:

¶ Increasing temperatures and glacial caving continue as Mother Nature gets hotter, at the top of our world as elsewhere. A recent update from The Guardian notes that the increasing temperature from recent weather data is worrying the scientists who firmly watch the effects of climate change and know what they could mean for human wellbeing. [CleanTechnica]


¶ India and France announced before the International Solar Alliance summit that they will partner to start a solar revolution. India wants to be a leader for developing nations in clean energy. France is looking for markets to sell its innovations and try to bridge the gap United States left open when it exited from the Paris Agreement. [The Sunday Guardian]

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Emmanuel Macron

¶ French President Emmanuel Macron today said $1 trillion will be needed to achieve one TW of solar power capacity by 2030. Speaking alongside Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the first conference of the International Solar Alliance, he mentioned the financing and regulation hurdles for achieving the target that need to be cleared. [Economic Times]

¶ Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi presented a 10-point action plan to promote the use of solar energy at the founding conference of the International Solar Alliance in New Delhi. Addressing the conference, which was founded by India, he said India will generate 175 GW of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2022. [The Statesman]

Indian solar thermal plant (Bkwcreator, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Traditional sources of energy are still favored in Japan. But seven years after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, Fukushima Prefecture remains committed to becoming an international center for renewable-energy research and a domestic pioneer by meeting 100% of its energy demand via renewables by 2040. [The Japan Times]

¶ They bowed their heads, hands clasped or palms firmly pressed together. They stood in grassy areas or roadsides overlooking the choppy sea. In Japan’s capital, they lit candles and offered flowers. Some dabbed at tears. Japanese marked the seventh anniversary of a tsunami that took more than 18,000 lives and triggered a nuclear disaster. [NBC4i.com]

Tsunami anniversary (Yusuke Ogata | Kyodo News via AP)


¶ Climate change is expected to drive demand for clean energy in the decades ahead, giving an edge to countries that invest in low-carbon technologies. President Trump is pushing to cut spending on clean energy research, undermining any hope for US competitiveness as the chief economic rivals aim to double public funding for the same. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Although factors such as poor planning and population growth are exacerbating droughts in some regions, there is one common culprit that is behind the water crises around the globe: climate change. And climate change is not a future event. In fact, it is already affecting three big American cities and the daily lives of millions. [CleanTechnica]

Los Angeles

¶ Two years ago, residents of Maine’s Mount Desert Island formed A Climate to Thrive, seeking to help MDI “become an epicenter of citizen engagement, environmental sustainability and economic vitality.” A big part of that vision is to make MDI energy-independent by 2030, relying solely on local, renewable power. [Press Herald]

¶ Coal producer Murray Energy has lobbied on the latest bill to roll back what it called “expensive, job-killing Renewable Energy Mandates” in Ohio. Meanwhile the company has been fighting for government intervention to prevent the closure of the old and uncompetitive coal-fired power plants, which it depends on as customers. [pv magazine USA]

Coal-fired power plant (Tony Webster, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ A regional developer and operator of large-scale commercial solar energy installations is proposing a $10 million, 7-MW project in Lenox, Massachusetts. Syncarpha Capital’s project could power 200 to 500 homes and small businesses through cost-saving community solar agreements, the project developer told the Planning Board. [Berkshire Eagle]

¶ Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has been pushing the idea of nationally televised debates challenging climate science. But John Kelly, the embattled White House chief of staff, killed the idea for fear it could become “a damaging spectacle,” according to a report in The New York Times. [ThinkProgress]

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March 10 Energy News

March 10, 2018


¶ “Changing Course: Coal Country Students Working For A Power Switch” • Arlie Boggs Elementary sits between Kentucky’s two tallest mountains in a remote area that once had a booming coal economy. Ten years ago there were over a thousand coal miners employed here in Letcher county. Today, there are just 28. [Ohio Valley ReSource]

Kudzu grows near a coal preparation plant in eastern
Kentucky (Photo: Jeff Young | Ohio Valley ReSource)

Science and Technology:

¶ A collaboration project between MIT and a private company, Commonwealth Fusion Systems, is using a new, relatively cheap material to make extra-strong magnets, a crucial part of nuclear fusion reactors. The head of the fusion company involved told the Guardian that he could “put carbon-free fusion power on the grid in 15 years.” [Grist]

¶ A team of scientists from RMIT University in Melbourne have figured out to build rechargeable “proton” batteries from abundant carbon and water, instead of lithium. If the new battery technology is commercialized, it could allow for less expensive Powerwall-type home or grid storage to back up solar panels or windmills. [Engadget]

Battery demonstration (RMIT image)


¶ Nitrogen oxides, pollutants that are closely associated with diesel fuel combustion in diesel cars and trucks, cause the early deaths of around 6,000 people a year in Germany, the country’s Federal Environmental Agency has revealed. Only recently, a German court ruled that cities have the right to ban diesel vehicles. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Some hydroelectric dams on European rivers are expected to see greatly reduced water flows with the decline of Alpine glaciers due to climate change. Executives at the Compagnie Nationale du Rhone hydropower group have reportedly begun planning to increase greatly their investments in renewable energy projects. [CleanTechnica]

European hydropower facility

¶ The European Investment Bank provided €1.05 billion ($1.29 billion) in new funding for global solar projects in 2017, the most finance it has provided in one year for the sector. India received most of the money, with a total of €640 million going to new PV investments. Mexico and Peru were also recipients in 2017, as well as 13 EU countries, EIB said. [reNews]

¶ The Spanish autonomous community of Andalusia closed 2017 with 7,895 MW of installed renewable energy capacity. Data from the Observatory of the Association of Renewable Energies of Andalusia said wind power is the region’s top green energy source with 3,338 MW, and it can supply power for 1.44 million households. [Renewables Now]

Wind turbines in Spain (petter palander, CC-BY-SA 2.0 Generic)

¶ Brazil’s Ministry of Mines and Energy announced updates of conditions for contracting power supplies for consumer markets in the country’s isolated areas. The initiative was developed to guarantee the supply of electric power to over 200 localities in the north of Brazil that have no connection to the national grid system. [pv magazine International]


¶ New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that 22 utility-scale solar farms, three wind farms and one hydro project were selected for contract awards at an average price of 2.117¢/kWh ($21.17/MWh) to help the state meet its clean energy goals. The renewable energy projects will collectively add over 1,380 MW of capacity. [Platts]

Wind farm in New York (Windtech, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ New York Governor Cuomo said he had formally asked for the state to be excluded from a federal offshore drilling program that proposes to make over 90% of the total US offshore acreage available to oil and gas drilling. Cuomo said drilling would threaten the state’s ocean resources and endanger efforts toward a cleaner energy economy. [Business Insider]

¶ While steel company CEOs say tariffs will bring back American jobs, numerous trade experts, industry groups, politicians and even members of the aluminum industry argue tariffs will not revitalize US manufacturing and could harm other segments of the economy in the process. The clean energy industry is one of those segments. [Greentech Media]

Steel working (Shutterstock image)

¶ In 2015, 21 children and young adults, in conjunction with Our Children’s Trust, filed a lawsuit claiming that US climate policies violated their constitutional rights. The government asked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a lower courts’s refusal to dismiss the case. A three judge panel ruled that the case can proceed. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Florida Power & Light Co has integrated a 40-MWh battery-storage system into its 74.5-MW Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center in Charlotte County, Florida. FPL notes that this is the largest solar-plus-storage system in the US. The batteries will extend power delivery into evening hours and add power as needed to meet peak demand. [Solar Industry]

Babcock Ranch solar array

¶ Officials at Same Sun of Vermont say that they are aware of concerns about the solar industry, but also that their business is doing well and expanding. They even hope to hire several new employees this year. Same Sun recently moved to a new space in Rutland, where it has been able to add a solar awning and an EV car-charging station. [Rutland Herald]

¶ The Clean Power Coalition of Southeast Wisconsin held a press conference announcing results of independent testing of dust found covering homes, cars, and a neighborhood playground near coal-burning power plants in Milwaukee. It was coal dust. Coal dust contains toxic metals, including lead, mercury, and arsenic. [urbanmilwaukee]

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March 9 Energy News

March 9, 2018


¶ “Offshore wind firms up the ante in Europe” • Offshore wind used to be portrayed as the costly renewable energy option that only got developed if onshore wind was too difficult to build or sell to the public. But, with the industry sinking money into ever more efficient technology, the sector is starting to stand on its own two feet. [Petroleum Economist]

Towing a floating wind turbine

Science and Technology:

¶ Software Motor Company claims its switched reluctance motors will cut energy use by 20–50% compared to Nema Premium motors in the 1-5 hp (0.75-3.7 kW) range, and will typically pay for themselves within 6 to 36 months. SMC and the US DOE’s National Renewable Energy Labs are presenting a webinar on March 12 2018. [CleanTechnica]


¶ The city of Katowice in Poland has begun using drones outfitted with various air quality sensors to locate illegal emissions sources and otherwise hard-to-find offenders. Poland reportedly has something of a problem with regard to the burning of illegal fuel materials in households and buildings, leading to air pollution problems. [CleanTechnica]


¶ The companies currently committed to the RE100 campaign will need to procure an estimated 172 TWh (172,000 GWh) more clean energy generation by 2030 to meet their renewable energy targets, according to a new report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, “RE100 Signatories to Spur $94 billion Investment Opportunity.” [Windpower Engineering]

¶ The right-wing Polish government seems to be making a 180-degree turnaround on sustainable energy in the country, and investors look eagerly forward to new renewable energy auctions later this year. The winners of the 2017 renewable capacity sell-off are set to erect the first PV plants under the scheme as early as this summer. [Renewables Now]

Wind turbines in Poland (Author: Karolina Kabat)


¶ Fracking will make the US the largest supplier of oil and gas in the world by 2023, Fatih Birol, head of the International Energy Agency told the press at the CERAWeek energy conference. At the event, which was hosted by IHS Markit in Houston last week, he said, “About 80% of the global oil production growth comes from the US.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ The US will supply much of the world’s additional oil for the next few years, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency. Over the next three years, the US will cover 80% of the world’s demand growth, the IEA says. Canada, Brazil, and Norway will cover the remainder, leaving no room for more OPEC supply. [CleanTechnica]

California pumpjacks (Arne Hückelheim, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Ohio-based Fifth Third Bank has become the first Fortune 500 company, the first bank, and the first RE100 member to achieve its goal of securing 100% of its power with renewables in a single Power Purchase Agreement from a single project. The project is an 80-MW solar project in North Carolina being developed by SunEnergy1. [CleanTechnica]

¶ While California and other solar-heavy states are leading on energy storage targets, experts say Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York, with political support, could quickly close the gap. A senior Union of Concerned Scientists analyst said we are “going there” because costs of storage and renewable technology are falling. [Energy News Network]

A 2-MW battery near Sterling, Massachusetts

¶ General Motors is powering its operations in Flint, Michigan, with clean energy from Consumer Energy’s 44-MW Cross Winds 2 wind farm. Electricity from the project located in Tuscola County is being supplied to GM’s metal center and engine operations in Flint. The wind farm has been operational since coming on line in January. [reNews]

¶ Last year, the Trump administration announced it would withdraw the US from the Paris climate agreement and repeal the Clean Power Plan. But a study from a group of researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that the US can meet its commitment to the international climate agreement without the Clean Power Plan. [Michigan Radio]

Wind turbine (cwwycoff1 | Flickr)

¶ David Blittersdorf, president and CEO of AllEarth Renewables, Inc, announced that the proposed Kidder Hill Community Wind installation in Lowell, Vermont has been suspended. Citing a turbulent climate for renewable wind energy in Vermont and the urgent need for renewables to be built, he said resources will go elsewhere. [AltEnergyMag]

¶ A report by Synapse Energy Economics and Food & Water Watch shows that with new wind and solar sources, investments in storage, energy efficiency, and smart grid management, the Los Angeles Department of Power and Water can achieve a 100% clean energy system by the 2030 without raising costs for its ratepayers. [Windpower Engineering]

Los Angeles

¶ Oklahoma Gas & Electric and SunPower Corp have completed a 10-MW solar PV power plant in Covington, Oklahoma. The Covington solar plant is expected to generate enough electricity to serve the needs of over 1,000 average Oklahoma homes. OG&E owns the renewable energy credits associated with the system. [Solar Industry]

¶ By a 107-1 vote, South Carolina lawmakers advanced a measure addressing utility bills in the wake of failure of the VC Summer nuclear plant construction. Now the state’s Senate will consider the measure. That chamber has yet to agree to previous House measures that included cutting customers’ payments for the shuttered project. [Utility Products]

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March 8 Energy News

March 8, 2018


¶ “China’s Power Move” • Over the past decade, Beijing has undeniably dealt a blow to the United States in the clean energy technology market. China is now the world’s dominant producer of solar panels, wind turbines, and batteries as it continues to capture strategic, advanced technology markets. Beijing has its eye on power lines next. [Scientific American]

Solar power at a fish pond (China News Service, Getty Images)

¶ “FirstEnergy lobbying seeks to thwart the public’s interest in lower electricity rates” • Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejection of the US DOE proposal to prop up coal and nuclear was a big win for American families, competitive markets, and the environment. But it was a setback for two politically powerful Ohio companies. [cleveland.com]

Science and Technology:

¶ In a paper in energy-related journal Joule, researchers said that some studies and models used to predict how whole energy systems may run on near-100% renewable energy by 2050 may fail to take into account “real-world challenges” or to consider power transmission, energy storage, and requirements for system operability. [Clean Energy News]

Renewable energy

¶ A major report released this week by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration highlights a growing threat facing coastal communities in all parts of the United States. As sea levels rise due to global warming, the kind of flooding currently experienced only in storms will happen during normal high tides. [CNN]


¶ Finnish consultancy Poyry has been chosen by Clic Innovation to manage an energy storage project on the Aland archipelago in the Baltic Sea. The storage system is part of six pilot schemes backed by the Finnish government to supply the 30,000 inhabitants of the 6500 islands that make up Aland with renewable energy. [reNews]

Wind turbine (Pixabay image)

¶ UN Secretary-General António Guterres has announced the appointment of US businessman and philanthropist Michael Bloomberg as his Special Envoy for Climate Action. Bloomberg was a promoted from a position as Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change. In the new position, he will engage leaders on a worldwide basis. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The UK has continued to reduce carbon emissions. Driving that decarbonization was a further 19% decline in coal use, marking the continuation of a trend that has seen emissions from UK electricity cut in half since 2012. (There are, it should be noted, legitimate questions to be had about biomass replacing coal in this transition.) [Treehugger]

Offshore windpower (Some rights reserved by NHD-INFO)

¶ The Climate Council has released its latest report, Clean & Reliable Energy: Roadmap To A Renewable Future. The report features 12 key policy principles for any national energy and climate policy framework, including calls for the rollout of a minimum 50%-70% renewable energy target across Australia by 2030. [EcoGeneration]

¶ Energy groups risk wasting $1.6 trillion, about a third of their investments to 2025, by assuming that current emissions-cutting policies will not be tightened up in the light of the latest science and international climate change goals, according to the think tank Carbon Tracker, in a report, Mind the gap: the $1.6 trillion energy transition risk. [Forbes]

Oil sands project in Alberta (AP | Eamon Mac Mahon)


¶ Groups of Republican college students, “Students For Carbon Dividends,” are organizing support for a plan put forth by James Baker, and George Schultz, Secretaries of State under George W. H. Bush and Ronald Reagan, respectively. The Baker/Schultz plan is simple. It would impose a tax of $40 a ton on all carbon emissions. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The US is making economic and energy efficiency gains as renewable and sustainable energy projects continue to get built, and Oklahoma is doing its part and then some, according to Ethan Zindler, the head of US research at Bloomberg’s New Energy Finance. He discussed Oklahoma’s role with legislators and state-based reporters. [NewsOK.com]

Oklahoma wind turbines

¶ The US energy storage market is officially growing up. GTM Research’s US Energy Storage Monitor 2017 Year in Review says it installed 431 MWh of grid-connected energy storage in 2017, surpassing 1 GWh of cumulative capacity installed between 2013 and 2017. Its forecasts predict that figure will nearly double re in 2018 alone. [CleanTechnica]

¶ ABB is to provide microgrids to the Alaskan communities of Deering and Buckland, which are both north of the Arctic Circle, to boost supplies of electricity generated by wind power and reduce costs associated with diesel power. The technology includes the ABB Ability Microgrid Plus automation system and PowerStore storage technology. [reNews]

Alaskan village of Buckland (NANA Archives)

¶ President Trump’s plans to slap a 25% tariff on imported steel and a 10% levy on non-American aluminum, if enacted, would likely trigger a rapid increase in prices that could force GE to re-value its $134 billion backlog across its power, renewable energy, and oil & gas businesses, a move its customers would likely resist. [TheStreet.com]

¶ The CEO of city-owned San Antonio utility CPS Energy said it wants to generate at least 50% of its power from renewable sources by 2040, part of a plan that includes 550 MW of battery storage, as it reduces its dependence on fossil fuels. But the utility will continue to operate its coal and natural gas-fired power plants. [POWER magazine]

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March 7 Energy News

March 7, 2018


¶ “Michigan farmers, residents praise wind power” • Research from the University of Michigan found that farmers with wind turbines on their property are more likely to pass their farm lands on to their children and twice as likely to continue investing in their homes and property as farmers lacking wind energy resources. [Yale Climate Connections]

Michigan wind turbines

Science and Technology:

¶ Research from International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, “Scenarios towards limiting global mean temperature increase below 1.5 °C“, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, says there are several ways to limit global warming to the Paris Agreement’s goal of 1.5° C by 2100, but the circumstances must be right. [CleanTechnica]


¶ In December 2017, Gujarat had 5,526 MW of wind power generation capacity, the second highest state in India after Tamil Nadu, with a little over 7,800 MW. While the southern state is likely to remain at the top, Gujarat will see significant addition in wind power capacity over the next five years, and it is likely to cross 10,000 MW. [SteelGuru]

Gujarat wind power

¶ The European Commission said it approved the acquisition of sole control over Westinghouse Electric UK Holdings Limited of the UK and TSB Nuclear Energy Services Inc of the US (together Westinghouse), by asset manager Brookfield of Canada, under the EU Merger Regulation. Westinghouse is a supplier for the nuclear industry. [New Europe]

¶ France’s Secretary of State for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, Sébastien Lecornu, announced that the government will launch a preliminary study into the feasibility of harnessing energy from tidal zones in Brittany and Normandy. The plan aligns with France’s commitment to developing a low-carbon economy. [South UE Summit]

Tidal Brittany (Massimo Shanti | Shutterstock.com)

¶ The South African Department of Energy said “very urgent attention” is being put on getting outstanding power purchase agreements signed with renewable energy independent power producers. The DoE director-general said agreement was needed on how to ensure that the program’s financial modelling was sustainable. [Creamer Media’s Engineering News]

¶ The South Australian government announced plans to help renewable energy developer Neoen build a 50-MW hydrogen “electrolyser.” It is to be powered by a new complex combining 300 MW of wind and solar with battery storage, enabling the manufacture of large quantities of “renewable hydrogen,” a green alternative to LNG. [RenewEconomy]

Proposed Crystal Brook wind farm (Source: Neoen)

¶ An auction to award 500 MW of windpower contracts in the Indian state of Maharashtra saw tariffs firming up, breaking a streak of plummeting prices for electricity generated from the wind. Adani Green Energy and KCT Renewable Energy offered to supply electricity at ₹2.85 per unit (4.39¢/kWh) in their bids for 75 MW each. [Economic Times]


¶ The Supreme Court for New Mexico affirmed a final order by state regulators to allow Public Service Company of New Mexico to replace lost generation from two shuttered units at its 1,800-MW coal-fired San Juan Regional Generation Station with coal and nuclear resources. The replacement is planned to be from existing plants. [POWER magazine]

San Juan Generating Station (Courtesy: Kip Malone | PNM)

¶ Electricity in California would all come from sources like wind and solar if a bill in the Assembly becomes law. Senate Bill 100 boosts the state’s renewable electricity requirement to 60% by 2030. The bill also sets a goal of getting 100% of electricity from non-carbon emitting sources by 2045, Democratic state Senator Nancy Skinner said. [Capital Public Radio News]

¶ Solar power generation in Crook County, Oregon, took a big step forward this past fall and is poised to continue growing in the years ahead. SunPower Corp, which is headquartered in California’s Silicon Valley, announced construction of the Gala Solar Power Plant. By late October, the 56-MW facility was completed and operational. [OPB News]

Gala Solar Power Plant in Crook County (Courtesy: Avangrid)

¶ A federal judge in San Francisco ordered parties in a landmark global warming lawsuit to hold what may be the first-ever US court hearing on the climate science. The preceding, scheduled for March 21, will feature lawyers for Exxon, BP, Chevron, and other oil companies pitted against those for San Francisco and Oakland. [McClatchy Washington Bureau]

¶ On March 4, the California Independent System Operator saw a record percentage of demand served by solar, at 49.95%. The previous record was 47.2 %, set in May, 2017. On March 5, CAISO set another solar record, hitting a new peak for solar production of 10,411 MW. The previous record was 9,913 MW set in June, 2017. [Greentech Media]

Solar in the Golden State (Photo: Shutterstock)

¶ Kohler Co announced a 15-year agreement to purchase 100 MW of wind power per year from the Diamond Vista wind farm located near Salina, Kansas. Enel Green Power North America will construct the project this year and will be the long-term owner and operator of the nearly 300 MW wind project. The project is under construction. [EnerCom Inc.]

¶ A utility industry watchdog group claims that emails between Georgia Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols and Georgia Power suggest Echols is too “cozy” with the company that he regulates. The decisions of Georgia PSC, the state agency that regulates natural gas and telecommunications, have a big impact on Georgians’ wallets. [WABE 90.1 FM]

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March 6 Energy News

March 6, 2018


¶ “How Lies, Greed, & Mismanagement Blew Up The ‘Clean Coal’ Myth” • The clean coal and carbon capture process was promised to make electricity with the lowest carbon footprint of any fossil fuel. The problem is, they lied. Despite investments of hundreds of millions of dollars by the federal government, the technology does not work. [CleanTechnica]

Kemper “clean coal” plant


¶ It has been more than 40 years since Mazda licensed Wankel engine technology, and since then the company has used it in many applications. Now, Mazda says it may use a small version of its rotary power plant as a range extender engine for plug-in hybrid vehicles. Once again, its compact dimensions and low weight could make it ideal. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Costs have fallen in the latest French onshore wind tender. There were 22 projects awarded with a total capacity of 508.4 MW. The average winning price was €65/MWh (8.0¢/kWh), according to published results. Earlier auctions produced awards of over €72/MWh. Altogether, 900 MW of bids were submitted to the auction. [CleanTechnica]

Wind turbine in France

¶ Tech giant Microsoft said it signed its first renewable energy deal in India for powering its new facility in Bengaluru. Microsoft will purchase 3 MW of solar-powered electricity from Atria Power for its new office building in the city, meeting 80% of the projected electricity needs at the facility, a statement from the company said. [India Today]

¶ Swedish power company Vattenfall announced that it plans to invest €100 million in large-scale solar energy generation over the next two years, as part of the company’s plans to become fossil free within a generation. Vattenfall plans to develop in areas where existing infrastructure can be used to reduce the overall cost of a project. [CleanTechnica]

Vattenfall’s Parc Cynog project in Wales

¶ In Australia, 3.5 million solar panels were installed on rooftops last year, surpassing the previous record, which had been set in 2012. Their total capacity of 1,057 MW will produce power equivalent to a medium-sized coal-fired power station. In Australia, a fully installed 5-KW system has an average price of A$5,930 ($4,610). [The Guardian]

¶ Australia’s top gas distribution network operator, Australian Gas Infrastructure Group, plans to mix hydrogen into its supplies to take advantage of excess renewable generation. The company announced plans for an A$11.4 million ($8.9 million) hydrogen power-to-gas demonstration plant, to be built in Adelaide, South Australia. [Greentech Media]

Gas infrastructure in Australia

¶ In a study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology based on research conducted by an international team of scientists, explicit evidence of uranium and other radioactive materials has been found in the surrounding environment of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors. Clearly, it was released from the damaged reactor. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Albany, Western Australia, could be completely energy self-sufficient by 2028, Mayor Dennis Wellington says, with the city to take the first step in the green dream next week. Speaking to the Albany Advertiser, Mr Wellington said works to remove the city from the State power grid must start now, to be certain of future energy supplies. [The West Australian]

Albany Wind Farm (Photo: Ashvij Puta Photography)


¶ Despite last week’s heavy snowfall, Tahoe ski resorts know they cannot predict how strong each winter will be. After they have suffered through drought years, out of nowhere, last year, Tahoe was deluged with so much precipitation that avalanches are now a regular concern. As the climate changes, business is becoming unpredictable. [Modesto Bee]

¶ A survey from SoonerPoll has revealed that Oklahomans are overwhelmingly in support of the 2-GW Wind Catcher Energy Connection set to be developed Invenergy and GE Renewable Energy. The $4.5 billion project will be the world’s second largest wind farm when it is finished. It will consist of 800 GE 2.5-MW wind turbines. [CleanTechnica]

Wind farm

¶ The Illinois Commerce Commission issued its draft order of the Illinois Power Agency’s Long Term Renewable Resources Procurement Plan. Included are renewable energy programs and mechanisms to finance and regulate projects, such as community solar and assistance for lower-income households and non-profit organizations. [pv magazine USA]

¶ The Internal Revenue Service released a private letter ruling determining that a residential energy storage facility may qualify for federal solar tax credits, as it is charged completely by an onsite solar array. The ruling only applies to a single case, but it indicates how agency staff views application of tax law in a specific situation. [Utility Dive]

Installing a rooftop solar system

¶ There is only one member of Congress who currently holds a PhD in science, but Bill Foster (D-IL), a physicist who formerly worked at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, may soon have some company. More than 60 candidates running for federal office in 2018 have backgrounds in science and technology, according to HuffPost. [The Scientist]

¶ Newly-released communications highlight the high level of angst just months into construction of the VC Summer Nuclear Station. Westinghouse even asked that disagreements not be made public. But the problems that plagued the reactors from the start led to Westinghouse going bankrupt and doomed the $9 billion project. [Charleston Post Courier]

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March 5 Energy News

March 5, 2018


¶ “300 Electric Buses Make No News In Poland” • I was amazed to learn that one of the Polish cities, Katowice, is planning to purchase 300 electric buses and very little is said about it in the press or social media. This is a really big story for any city that is outside China. So, why was there no media frenzy in the local news? [CleanTechnica]

Polish electric buses (Source: Agencja Gazeta)

¶ “Climate Action Makes (Business) Sense for US Utilities” • DTE Energy, Consumers Energy, Duke Energy, and many other utilities are committing to cutting emissions, at just the time the Trump administration is working to roll back climate and clean energy action. Why? Because it just makes good business sense. [Natural Resources Defense Council]


¶ “Notre-Dame: Cracks in the Cathedral” • The Catholic Church in France has launched an urgent appeal for funds to save the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris. Parts of the 850-year-old Gothic masterpiece are starting to crumble, because of pollution that is eating the stone. There are fears the structure itself could become unstable. [BBC]

Unhappy Notre-Dame Gargoyle (Chosovi, Wikimedia Commons)


¶ The Chilean energy regulatory agency, the Comisión Nacional de Energía de Chile, has announced that the country will use Blockchain technology for national energy grid. The CNE will use Blockchain to authenticate information, such as marginal costs, average market prices, fuel prices, and compliance with the renewable energy law. [TOINNOV]

¶ The Oman Power and Water Procurement Company received 28 requests for qualifications for a 500-MW tendered solar plant, to be located in Ibri, 300 km west of Muscat. The project will be the country’s first large utility-scale PV independent power project. It will be built at an estimated cost of around $500 million. [pv magazine International]

Oman (Image: Flickr, Jeffrey Zabinski)

¶ Sembcorp Energy India Ltd said it has been awarded a 300-MW project, in a wind power auction. With this order, SEIL has bagged a combined capacity of 800 MW from the three auctions, by far the largest combined capacity that has been won by an independent power producer. The Solar Energy Corporation of India confirmed the award. [Livemint]

¶ Jamaica Public Service Company announced the start of construction of a new hybrid storage facility set to provide reserve power to the country’s grid. The project will cost of $21.6 million and will feature a combination of lithium-ion batteries and flywheel technology, for a total energy storage capacity of 24.5 MW. [pv magazine International]

Jamaica (Image: James Willamor)

¶ The Australian government-owned Snowy Hydro 2.0 could flood the market with cheap energy, curbing investment in dispatchable capacity or storage in a few years’ time, analysts say. Energy analysts and generators are concerned that changes in price may be driven more by political issues rather than the market. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

¶ Roving jellyfish and seaweed are unwanted guests at nuclear power stations. Now the marine algae have hit again, forcing one plant in Scotland to partially power down just as freezing temperatures were pushing up demand for electricity. During the cold weather, excessive amounts of seaweed shut one reactor at the Torness station down. [The Guardian]

Torness nuclear power station (Photo: Alamy)


¶ Onyx Renewable Partners, LLC, is installing 1,260 home solar systems at Fort Riley, in Kansas, at no cost to the military. The systems will reduce electric consumption at the homes by 37%. Corvias, a private company managing the post’s housing, will use the savings from reduced electricity costs to pay the energy company for its work. [Manhattan Mercury]

¶ New projections from the Energy Information Administration estimate that Americans will be less dependent on coal, that coal production will fall, and that coal capacity in the nation’s power plants is likely to decline in coming years, according to an annual report released last month. The war on coal, in short, is over. And coal lost. [The Hill]

Beautiful, clean coal (Getty Images)

¶ The first community solar garden on the Near North Side of Minneapolis will rise this spring on a church rooftop, thanks to a coalition of faith partners, clean-energy advocates, industry experts, job trainers, and community members. It will provide enough electricity for the church, a mosque, and 26 households. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

¶ Cities in California are suing ExxonMobil and other companies over climate damage, saying they hid risks they knew were real. Exxon responded with a novel legal tactic. Exxon alleges the local government officials are defrauding buyers of municipal bonds by not disclosing to lenders the climate risks they have claimed in their lawsuits. [McClatchy Washington Bureau]

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March 4 Energy News

March 4, 2018

Science and Technology:

¶ Scientists have installed ocean acidity sensors in Alaska, in the Kachemak Bay. Ocean water acidification is due to high levels of carbon dioxide that are absorbed by the water and this leads to lowering the pH levels in addition to climate change. Lower pH levels of the seawater have been proved to negatively impact marine animals. [Health Thoroughfare]

Kachemak Bay

¶ Researchers at Concordia University in Montreal have found a way to significantly reduce carbon emissions produced by both residential and non-residential buildings, while also cutting costs. They found that by prioritizing reducing carbon emissions rather than costs, they could cut costs by 75% while also reducing emissions by 59%. [Infosurhoy]


¶ In four burglaries, 600 bitcoin mining computers, valued at nearly $2 million, were stolen in Iceland. Authorities have already arrested 11 people, but have not recovered the machines. Reportedly, police are monitoring electric usage throughout the country, as the computers will use a lot of electricity when they are turned on. [CryptoGlobe]

Bitcoin miners (Shutterstock image)

¶ The CEO of Volkswagen reportedly said that while company execs are not “against” the retrofitting of old diesel car exhaust systems to make them cleaner, the company cannot afford to pay for such a course of action. The comment follows court ruling to allow German city authorities to ban diesel cars due to air pollution concerns. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The government of Egypt has revised up its 2018 economic growth forecast to between 5.3% and 5.5%, and nowhere is investor enthusiasm more evident than in the energy sector. Egypt’s Zohr gas field, the largest in the Mediterranean, will make it a net exporter. But renewables are the latest interest of the Egyptian government. [Arab News]

Zohr gas field (AFP image)

¶ The Islamic Republic of Iran and Italy have clinched a contract on the construction of a solar power station. The agreement was signed between Iran’s Industrial Development and Renovation Organization and the Italian Carlo Mascar Company in Tehran. The 100-MW plant is to be built about 90 km east of Tehran, the Iranian capital. [IFP News]

¶ A geothermal energy park, about 50 miles from Nairobi, sits over the East African Rift, a huge fracture in the earth’s crust that also cuts through Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, and other countries. Steam from the area helped generate 47% of Kenya’s electricity in 2015, with hydropower, at nearly 35%, generating much of the rest. [The Independent]

KenGen Olkaria power plant (Getty Images)

¶ BBVA, a major bank based in Spain, pledged to help mobilize $122.7 billion (€100 billion) in sustainable infrastructures, green finance, social entrepreneurship, and financial inclusion through 2025 under its Pledge 2025 program. BBVA also promised that 70% of its energy consumption will be from renewable sources by 2025. [OilPrice.com]


¶ More than $200 million worth of materials are expected to arrive in Puerto Rico this month to help the Army Corps of Engineers hit its goal of 95% power restoration goal by the end of the month. Over 7,000 poles and nearly 400 miles of conductor wire are expected in the next two weeks, the Corps district commander said. [CNN]

Linemen at work in Puerto Rico

¶ The Lawai Solar and Energy Project will install a 28-MW solar PV system and a 100 MWh, five-hour duration energy storage system on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. Samsung SDI will be providing about 13,000 battery modules for the system. Energy storage systems combined with solar and wind power can reduce dependency on fossil fuels. [The Korea Herald]

¶ While large-scale commercial solar projects have been controversial in Kittitas County, Washington, residential solar is a different story. A county moratorium on commercial solar facilities does not apply to residential solar, and there is lots of interest in solar power among people who want to install solar panels on their homes. [Daily Record-News]

Kittitas County solar power (Brian Myrick | Daily Record)

¶ Scientists have found dramatically declining snowpack across the American West over the past six decades that will likely cause water shortages in the region that cannot be managed by building new reservoirs, according to a study led by researchers from Oregon State University and the University of California, Los Angeles. [The Register-Guard]

¶ The CEO of Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems said his company partnered with NuScale Power to create what he called the county’s first nuclear production company. The company plans to create a small modular nuclear reactor at Idaho National Laboratory in Idaho Falls, with an expected completion date of January 2026. [The Herald Journal]

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March 3 Energy News

March 3, 2018


¶ “The Koch Brothers Have Been Waging A War On America For 50 Years. This Is How They Are Winning.” • The Koch Brothers stand as a symbol of everything that is wrong with America today. If they have their way, America will still be using coal and fossil fuels to power its economy – what’s left of it – far into the future. [CleanTechnica]

Mt Rushmore reacts


¶ The world’s largest solar park, set up at an investment of ₹16,500 crore ($2.48 billion) in Karnataka, was launched by the state’s Chief Minister. The 2,000 MW park, called “Shakti Sthala,” covers 13,000 acres spread over five villages and is a benchmark in the unique people’s participation in power model put on ground, according to officials. [NYOOOZ]

¶ A recent decision by the Supreme Court of Brazil upholds earlier changes to laws that were intended to weaken protections for the Amazon and other natural environments. To be more specific, the Supreme Court has upheld legal changes that greatly reduce the penalties for past illegal deforestation in the region, among other things. [CleanTechnica]

Amazon forest destruction

¶ Tunisia will invest about $5 billion in electricity and energy projects, between 2018 and 2020, according to its government. The electrical projects include the construction of a submarine power-transmission line to Italy, with a capacity of 600 MW. The infrastructure to link the country to Italy is expected to cost over $ 735 million. [The North Africa Post]

¶ Australia’s federal government announced it will acquire stakes in Snowy Hydro Ltd owned by New South Wales and Victoria. The deal may lead to the Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro project, increasing its size from 5 GW to 7.5 GW. The two state governments will get a total of A$6 billion ($4.6 billion, €3.8 billion) for their stakes. [Renewables Now]

Snowy Hydro power station (Image: Snowy Hydro Ltd)


¶ Oregon utility Portland General Electric Co unveiled a draft request for proposals looking to add 100 MW of renewable power generation. The bids should be of at least 10 MW and can involve geothermal, biomass, biogas, solar, wind, and hydropower technologies. The utility’s timeframe for portfolio additions is 2020-2021. [Renewables Now]

¶ SunPower introduced Helix Storage, a new storage solution that utilizes intelligent software to manage electricity costs for commercial solar customers. The storage solution’s intelligent software control system predicts energy consumption from the grid and automatically dispatches stored solar electricity from the battery. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

SunPower solar array (SunPower image)

¶ Florida Power & Light Company has unveiled plans for four more solar plants in the state. They will have a combined capacity of 298 MW. All four plants, each of which will have a capacity of 74.5 MW, are scheduled to be up and running by mid-2019, FPL said. Construction on the plants will begin during this year. [reNews]

¶ Utilities on three Hawaiian islands have put out a request for proposals to build wind and solar projects, with an option of energy storage.Three of the four utilities that comprise HECO participated in the RFP, representing service areas on O’ahu, Maui and the big island. These seek 220 MW, 60 MW and 20 MW, respectively. [pv magazine USA]

University of Hawaii (Travis.Thurston, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said it expects to see record-breaking prices and demand for power this summer that could require it to take emergency measures, possibly forcing customers to curb power usage. Factors it cited include delayed power supply projects and the closure of three major coal-fired power plants. [Denton Record Chronicle]

¶ In Oklahoma, the long-simmering tensions between the fossil fuel and renewable power industries have broken out into a statehouse policy war over windpower. It has eliminated the state’s renewable energy tax-credit program and threatens to further undermine financial support for the burgeoning wind industry. [Longview News-Journal]

Oklahoma (Edyta Blaszczyk | Odessa American File Photo)

¶ Significant energy legislation in Virginia awaits the governor’s signature. It could produce investments in efficiency of over $1 billion during the next decade, paving the way for the state to lower its rising electric bills, create jobs for a sound economy, and reduce costly climate change pollution from power plants. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

¶ Facing the risks of earthquakes, rising heat, and increasing energy demands, Los Angeles is kicking off a strategy to make itself more resilient, city officials said. The plans to strengthen infrastructure and promote renewable energy aim to combine preparations for earthquakes and wildfires with chronic stresses such as climate change. [Reuters]

Downtown Los Angeles (Thomas Pintaric, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ M&T Bank has provided $22.4 million in equipment lease financing for Cianbro Corporation to complete the construction and commissioning of the largest solar producing energy facility in Maine. The Pittsfield Solar Project will be the largest solar array in New England. It will have a capacity of 9.9 MW-AC. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ A South Carolina judge has refused to dismiss five lawsuits alleging wrongful acts by SCE&G cost its ratepayers almost $2 billion in connection with the VC Summer debacle. A state law had allowed SCE&G to increase its ratepayers’ electric bills nine times to pay for two nuclear reactors, but construction of the reactors has been abandoned. [The State]

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March 2 Energy News

March 2, 2018


¶ “Bending to the water’s will” • In flood-prone Bangladesh, resilience can mean letting water have its way. As climate change brings threats of rising seas and stronger storms, people who have spent years building barricades are considering what was once unthinkable: letting the water in and be resilient by bending, not resisting. [Science Magazine]

Artificial island in Bangladesh

¶ “Trump’s attack on booming clean energy sector hurts American workers” • A rapidly growing US clean energy sector means good jobs across the country. The fastest growing jobs are in solar and wind power. But despite all the rhetoric about supporting American jobs, the Trump Administration keeps trying to downshift. [The Hill]

Science and Technology:

¶ A report published in the journal Environmental Research Letters employed radiocarbon dating to examine the content of river and lake waters in Canada’s Northwest Territories in 2014. It found an increasing prevalence of older dissolved carbon and carbon dioxide in the waters as the summer advanced. This is not good news. [ScienceAlert]

Land in the Arctic (Kingrobby | iStock)

¶ The rate at which sea level rise is occurring is continuing to increase every year, according to a  study that was published in the journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. What the new research suggests is that at current rates of increase, sea levels will rise by more than 65 centimeters (26 inches) by 2100. [CleanTechnica]


¶ The air pollution mitigation plans currently in place in the UK are not enough on their own, and they need to be improved, the union’s High Court has ruled, recent reports said. The ruling follows from a legal complaint issued by lawyers working for Client Earth, which was intended to spur the government to action on the growing problem. [CleanTechnica]

Air pollution in London

¶ Toy manufacturer Lego has announced it is to make some of its pieces, including leaves, bushes and trees, from sustainable, plant-based plastic. The material will be sourced from sugarcane and production of the pieces, or “elements,” has already started. They will be launched this year, the Danish business said in a statement. [CNBC]

¶ Switzerland’s ABB is supplying a microgrid and storage system to help Jamaica integrate renewable solar and wind energy into its power supply. ABB says the installation of its ABB Ability system, a 24.5-MW microgrid facility, will help the large tropical island reduce its use of fossil fuels and lower its carbon footprint. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Munro Wind Farm (© Jamaica Public Service Company)

¶ The “frozen soil wall” erected around the crippled reactor buildings at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant at huge taxpayer expense appears limited in keeping groundwater from flowing in. TEPCO, the plant’s owner, said that the flow of radioactive water has been reduced by half because of the underground barrier. [Asahi Shimbun]

¶ Canadian Solar has secured finance totalling $149 million from Shinsei Bank for the 53.4-MW Oita Hijimachi PV plant in Japan. Construction of the project, located on Kyushu Island in southern Japan, started in November last year. Oita Hijimachi, which will consist of 160,000 solar panels, is expected to come online in May 2019. [reNews]

Solar farm (Credit: Canadian Solar)


¶ In a move with far-reaching implications for electric grids, Illinois regulators approved Commonwealth Edison’s cutting-edge microgrid cluster in Chicago. As the nation’s first utility-scale microgrid cluster, the $25 million project is expected to demonstrate what some believe will eventually become a grid-of-microgrids. [Microgrid Knowledge]

¶ US Independent power producer sPower is to sell electricity from its 220-MW Prevailing wind farm in South Dakota to an unnamed utility under a 30-year agreement. Construction of the project is scheduled to start later this year, sPower said. The wind farm is expected to generate over $56 million in tax revenue over the life of the project. [reNews]

sPower wind farm

¶ Florida Power & Light Company has completed construction of four solar plants in the state, totalling 298 MW. Each of the four projects has a capacity of 74.5 MW. They are added to four other facilities with the same capacity that came online in January. FPL said it now operates solar installations totalling 930 MW in the state of Florida. [reNews]

¶ GE Renewable Energy has unveiled a 12-MW offshore wind turbine, named the Haliade-X, that it claims will produce 45% more power than any machine currently on the market. The direct drive machine will feature a 220-meter rotor with blades of 107 metres, made by LM Wind Power. It will offer a gross capacity factor of 63%. [reNews]

GE Haliade-X wind turbine (GE image)

¶ L’Oréal USA announced its plans to achieve carbon neutrality in 2019 for all 21 of its US manufacturing and distribution facilities with a financially sustainable approach that could potentially serve as a model to support new renewable natural gas projects in the future. L’Oréal USA will buy landfill gas from a facility in Kentucky. [User-generated content]

¶ The NRC accepted a nuclear power plant part manufacturer’s proposal to build a high-level, underground nuclear waste facility in southeast New Mexico. Holtec International plans tostore up to 8,680 metric tons of waste at the site, initially. The 1,045-acre facility, if it is approved, would store spent nuclear fuel rods, according to the NRC. [Los Alamos Monitor]

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March 1 Energy News

March 1, 2018


¶ “Is Bitcoin a Waste of Electricity, or Something Worse?” • Money is supposed to be a means of buying things. Now, the nation’s hottest investment is buying money. And while Bitcoin mining may not be labor intensive, it diverts time, energy and capital from other, more productive activities that economists say could fuel faster growth. [New York Times]

Computer to mine Bitcoin (Jacob Hannah | The New York Times)


¶ Environmental Action Germany sued authorities in Stuttgart and Düsseldorf last year to make them ban diesel-powered vehicles. The group argued that bans were needed to keep air quality in those cities within EU pollution limits. The court agreed with the environmentalists, opening the door to diesel bans in many German cities. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The sun has not shone on Cape Morris Jesup, Greenland’s northernmost point, since October 11. These should be among the coldest weeks of the year for the cape. But over the weekend, the weather station there recorded an air temperature of 43° F, more than 50° above normal for this time of year. Meanwhile, Europe is freezing cold. [The Atlantic]

Snow in Rome (Alessandra Tarantino | AP)

¶ The CEO of Hydro-Québec said it has “received hundreds of applications” from cryptocurrency miners in the past few weeks, for a total of over 9,000 MW of energy. That is about one-quarter of the utility’s total generating capacity of 37,000 MW. Hydro-Québec said last month it was in talks with more than 30 such companies. [Montreal Gazette]

¶ Microsoft Corp said it will buy solar power from the Sunseap Group in Singapore. It is Microsoft’s first renewable energy deal in Asia. Microsoft will purchase 100% of the electricity generated from Sunseap’s 60-MW solar power project for 20 years. The project consists of hundreds of rooftop solar arrays across the city-state. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Small solar system

¶ SENER, an engineering and technology group, and ACCIONA Industrial connected a 100-MW Concentrated Solar Power plant to 132-kV ESKOM Distribution line in South Africa. The Kathu Solar Park CSP Plant will supply enough clean energy for about 179,000 homes, according to an estimate by the South African Department of Energy. [BizNis Africa]

¶ Victorian customers of electricity retailer Powershop can expect to pay around $70 less a year for their electricity costs starting this month, after the company announced a price cut it said was “all thanks to renewable energy.” The upstart retailer announced the price reductions of around 5% would begin on March 1. [RenewEconomy]

Kennedy wind and solar farm

¶ Nick Xenophon’s newly formed SA Best party says that having 90% renewable energy in South Australia by 2030 is perfectly feasible. But it stresses that this is not a target, unlike Labor’s 75% ambition for 2025. The debate in South Australia is very unlike that in the country as a whole, but then, SA is far ahead of the rest of the country. [RenewEconomy]

¶ The Ukrainian-German project Solar Chernobyl is preparing to launch a solar farm next to the Chernobyl nuclear reactors. Due to go online early in 2018, the 1-MW installation features 3,800 photovoltaic panels and will be capable of powering as many as 2,000 homes. A further 99 MW are planned for a future development. [Atlas Obscura]

Unfinished Reactor 5 building, now long abandoned


¶ Visa has pledged to use 100% renewable electricity across global operations by the end of 2019. The payments giant has also joined the RE100, a global initiative of some of the world’s biggest businesses, all committed to renewable power.Other members of the RE100 include Apple, HSBC, Microsoft and Tetra Pak. [CNBC]

¶ The Students for Carbon Dividends, a new coalition of student groups, includes 23 College Republican clubs, 6 Democratic clubs, and 5 environmental groups from schools across the country. The inclusion of Republican voices in the climate-change discussion offers some hope of future bipartisan cooperation on the issue. [Curbed]

Smokestacks (Shutterstock image)

¶ California officials, schoolchildren and at least one billionaire denounced the Trump administration’s plan to scrap Obama-era limits on power plant emissions in blistering comments to US officials visiting a state leading the fight against climate change. Officials from Pacific coast states turned out to make clear the extent of their opposition. [The Japan Times]

¶ Massachusetts Gov Charlie Baker and all eleven members of the state’s congressional delegation urged that the Trump administration back away from its plan to open new areas off the US East Coast to oil and gas drilling. They note that the North Atlantic has largely not been eligible for oil and gas drilling for over 30 years. [MassLive.com]

Pelicans and an offshore oil rig (AP Photo | Mark J Terrill, File)

¶ Eversource is asking New Hampshire regulators to reconsider rejection of the Northern Pass project. The utility filed a motion with the state Site Evaluation Committee. Eversource says the SEC should rehear the case because it did not do required diligence in discussing all the criteria the project had to meet to get a permit. [New Hampshire Public Radio]

¶ The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities approved an order to put into effect Gov Phil Murphy’s executive order calling for full implementation of the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act. It is moving the state toward a 1.1-GW offshore wind solicitation. The BPU is starting with an offshore wind energy taskforce. [North American Windpower]

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February 28 Energy News

February 28, 2018

Science and Technology:

¶ Temperatures in the Arctic have soared well above freezing this week, marking the highest temperatures recorded in the region during winter, scientists from the Danish Meteorological Institute said. Temperatures from February in eastern Greenland and the central Arctic are averaging about 15°C (27°F) warmer than seasonal norms. [CNN]

Sun pillar forming as the sun rises over the Arctic (Rear Admiral Harley D Nygren, NOAA Corps, ret, Wikimedia Commons)


¶ Energy Efficiency Services Limited, which is owned by the government of India, announced that it will procure 10,000 electric cars through a global tender to supply them to the government of Andhra Pradesh. EESL has already given orders for 500 electric sedans last year and is planning to float additional tenders. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A report from Coal India, a state-owned coal mining company that supplies 84% of the country’s coal, said, “With the increasing threat of climate change impacting humanity (irrespective of the US position) and the global funding focus on renewables, it is a matter of time when alternative clean energy would displace coal.” [CleanTechnica]


¶ Sharp Corporation and Vietnam’s Gia Lai Electricity JSC agreed to build a 48-MW solar plant in Thua Thien Hue Province on Vietnam’s central coast, the Japanese JCN Newswire said. The plant is expected to start operations in September 2018, to generate enough power for 32,628 average households in Vietnam. [VnExpress International]

¶ Siemens Gamesa announced that it had signed an agreement securing the right to implement up to 1 GW of onshore wind capacity in Turkey. Siemens Gamesa will supply, install, and commission up to 1 GW of wind turbines. The agreement also includes the possibility of at least 700 MW worth of extra wind projects by 2022. [CleanTechnica]

Siemens Gamesa wind farm

¶ Indian Railways will soon launch tenders to set up large-scale solar power projects working towards its overall solar power target of 5 GW. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has announced that Indian Railways will soon float solar power tenders to set up 3 GW of capacity, to be set up over surplus land that the Railways owns. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A 90 hectare solar farm capable of powering 15,000 households has been proposed for Gregadoo, New South Wales. Solar energy company Green Switch Australia’s commercial director Simon Grasby said the farm would be made up of about 122,000 solar panels. It would have a capacity of 47 MW and would be on what is now grazing land. [Daily Advertiser]

Solar farm in Australia

¶ In Tokyo District Court, a TEPCO employee testified that in 2008 he was in charge of estimating the height of a tsunami that might hit the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. He estimated that it could be as high as 15.7 meters. He testified that he was asked to decrease his estimate. The tsunami that wrecked the plant was nearly that size. [NHK WORLD]


¶ A Rocky Mountain Institute report says the community-scale solar segment in the US has shown itself to be the fastest growing part of the industry, thanks to a 40% decline in the levelized cost of energy for these systems over the last two years. The report is careful to highlight that remaining institutional barriers are inhibiting growth. [CleanTechnica]

Community solar garden in Colorado

¶ Shaun O’Rourke, director of stormwater management and climate resiliency at the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank, said that the financing agency is halfway through writing a state resiliency plan, which will be sent to Gov Gina Raimondo on behalf of the Executive Climate Change Coordination Council by July 1. [ecoRI news]

¶ Wind and solar power could meet 80% of US demand for electricity, as long as improvements are made in transmission and storage, researchers said. Until a few years ago, these energy sources were thought to be capable of supplying only about 20% to 30% of US needs, the report in Energy and Environmental Science said. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Hybrid power plant

¶ The University of California launched its Carbon Neutrality Initiative in 2013, aiming for carbon neutrality by 2025. Now, a 27-member team of researchers, students, facilities managers, and sustainability officers has released a feasible strategy showing how to replace its fossil-fuel natural gas with climate-friendlier options. [University of California]

¶ North Carolina has had remarkable growth in solar power. Now, a report by Southern Alliance Clean Energy shows that solar power is growing in other southeastern states. Neighboring South Carolina is also on a path for ambitious solar deployment, with Florida and Georgia also emerging as significant state markets. [pv magazine USA]

South Carolina solar array (South Carolina Electricity & Gas)

¶ Xcel Energy has reached an agreement with rural electric cooperatives and others as it looks for regulatory approval to build two massive wind farms along the Texas-New Mexico border. Proposed deals with a number of parties would guarantee that customers see a positive net benefit from the wind farms for the first 10 years of operation. [KVIA El Paso]

¶ Lightsource BP has signed a 25-year power purchase and asset acquisition agreement with Mid-Kansas Electric Company. The 20-MW project will be built starting in 2019, and will be owned and operated by Lightsource BP. Mid-Kansas will purchase all of the energy from the facility. It will be the largest solar facility in the state. [Solar Power World]

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February 27 Energy News

February 27, 2018


¶ “China Will Lead In Autonomous Cars Despite Advances In US Testing & Technology” • The technology that makes it possible for cars to drive themselves is getting better all the time. As with electric cars, much of the push for autonomous vehicles comes from China, and odds are that China will be where AVs will gain widespread popularity first. [CleanTechnica]

Waymo AV arriving in Michigan


¶ The Generali Group, a leading European insurers, announced that their Board of Directors approved a new climate change strategy of divesting from coal-related activities and investments while ramping up involvement in “green” sectors. By 2020, they will divest €2 billion worth of coal assets and put €3.5 billion into green investments. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Danish tech news magazine Ingeniøren reports today that 18 years of hard work has resulted in the startup infinityPV finally commercializing products with printed solar PV foil. The polymer solar cells are non-toxic and at the end of their useful life they can be burned without creating any contaminating byproducts. [CleanTechnica]

Organic solar cell production (Credit: infinitypv.com)

¶ Philippine power generating company Phinma Energy Corp will next year start building a 40-MW wind park in Guimaras province, aiming to switch on the facility by 2020, according to a report in BusinessMirror. The proposed facility will use 16 turbines. Each of those machines will have a capacity of between 2.3 MW and 2.5 MW. [Renewables Now]

¶ Ontario is partnering with Toronto Hydro and Renewable Energy Systems Canada Inc to design and build a battery energy storage facility for the Eglinton Crosstown light rail transit line at a new station in Toronto. Energy-Storage News reported the energy storage system will be 10-MW/30-MWh, using lithium-ion batteries. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Artist’s rendering of Light Rail Transit car (Ontario.ca)

¶ A fast-growing pipeline of large-scale PV projects is creating thousands of jobs in Australia. In Renewable Energy Index, Green Energy Markets reported that 2,273 MW of solar farms are being built in the country. Combined with the rooftop solar segment, there are over 10,000 Australians working in the solar installation and construction. [pv magazine International]

¶ The number of cities reporting they are mainly powered by clean energy has more than doubled since 2015. Data published by the not-for-profit environmental impact researcher CDP found that 101 of the more than 570 cities on its books sourced at least 70% of their electricity from renewable sources in 2017, compared to 42 in 2015. [The Guardian]

The Nesjavellir geothermal plant in Iceland (Photo: Alamy)

¶ India had a 22% growth in power generation from renewable energy sources in the first ten months of the current financial year (April-December 2017), thanks largely to the recent massive ramp up in solar capacity, data from Central Electricity Authority indicated. Renewable energy’s share in total generation stood at 8%. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ After becoming the world’s first airport to be fully powered by solar energy, Cochin International Airport Limited in India is set to help counterparts in Ghana take this clean energy path as well. According to reports published earlier this month, CIAL will help set up 1.5 MW of solar power projects at three airports in the country.  [CleanTechnica]

New terminal at Cochin International Airport

¶ The Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak announced that the ministry will hold a tender for Turkey’s first offshore wind power plant, and that the wind farm will be the largest of its kind in the world. The wind power farm will be built in the Aegean Sea. Turkey has potential for 32,000 MW in offshore wind power. [Daily Sabah]


¶ The New York Public Service Commission last week approved two measures that will to help the state achieve its target of 1,500 MW of energy storage target by 2025. One was a Consolidated Edison Co plan to expand the use of battery storage systems in its service territory by simplifying the process for private owners. [Utility Dive]

New York

¶ American solar manufacturer SunPower has announced plans to restructure in the wake of Donald Trump’s imposition of a 30% tariff on solar modules and cells following a Section 201 trade case. The plans will see the company cut up to 250 jobs, and it will incur restructuring costs of between $20 million and $30 million. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Limiting fossil fuel production on federal lands would reduce both global oil consumption and overall carbon emissions, according to a study by the Stockholm Environment Institute, a research organization focused on sustainable development. The study specifically examined the policies proposed in the “Keep It in the Ground Act.” [DeSmog]

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (Credit: Alaska
Region US Fish & Wildlife Service, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

¶ Two new lawsuits have been filed by groups of residents of St Louis living near radioactive waste sites, according to recent reports. Named as the defendants are Exelon Corp, Republic Services, Cotter Corp, and 7 others. The nuclear waste materials have come from a number of sources, some dating all the way to the Manhattan Project. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Energy Secretary Rick Perry will travel to London to discuss nuclear energy with officials from Saudi Arabia, as the Trump administration pursues a deal to build reactors in the kingdom, according to two people familiar with the plans. Perry scrapped a trip to New Delhi to create an opening for him to lead an inter-agency delegation. [Bloomberg]

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February 26 Energy News

February 26, 2018

Science and Technology:

¶ Temperatures in the Arctic are increasing twice as fast as the global average and sea ice is retreating quicker than predicted. While humans react slowly to the problem at hand, evidence suggests that animals are on the move. In the cold Arctic, invasive species are drawn to regions where they could not previously have survived. [ScienceNordic]

Researchers in the Arctic (Photo: Kristine Engel Arendt)


¶ The Asia Pacific region is expected to add more than 500 GW of non-hydro renewables capacity by 2027. This is almost twice the 290 GW addition expected in Western Europe and North America combined. The Asia Pacific share of total global renewables capacity is likely to increase from 45% in 2017 to 51% in 2027. [Singapore Business Review]

¶ Last week, 16 Volkswagen e-Golf sedans began patrolling the streets of Paris. They are part of a one-year test to determine the suitability of electric cars for the demands of police work, according to New Mobility. The electric patrol cars will be used in all districts of Paris except three without adequate charging infrastructure. [CleanTechnica]

Paris electric police car

¶ Iran plans to build a new solar power plant in the Zarandieh town of Markazi Province as part of a project mainly funded by a South Korean company. The company will provide 70% ($44 million) of the money needed to build the plant. The solar power plant will be built within the next 15 months with a production capacity of 17 MW. [IFP News]

¶ Vestas topped the wind turbine supplier charts in 2017, boosted by a wide geographic diversification strategy, according to preliminary data from consultancy FTI Intelligence. Siemens Gamesa came in second, mainly due to the merger between Siemens Wind Power and Gamesa. Chinese supplier Goldwind ranked third. [reNews]

Vestas V112 turbine (Credit: Vestas)

¶ Clean energy player Avaada Power plans to invest ₹25,000 crore ($3.76 billion) in the sector and develop 5,000 MW capacity in largely solar and wind projects in the next four years, a senior company executive said. The plan is to add 1,000 MW to 1,500 MW of new power capacity each year, with aggressive rooftop solar investment. [Economic Times]

¶ A city awash with electric vehicles driven by workers on their way home from high-tech, cutting edge digital businesses powered by renewable energy – it sounds like San Francisco but if Adelaide’s Lord Mayor has his way, it could be South Australia’s capital. The city has quickly become Australia’s green leader. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

San Francisco, an image to emulate

¶ ReNew Power, a leading Indian clean energy company, signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the CII Partnership Summit to invest ₹13,000 crore ($1.95 billion) in renewable energy projects. The MoU envisages developing 1,000 MW of installed capacity for solar power and another 1,000 MW of windpower over the next five years. [The Hindu]

¶ Groupe Renault has announced a program where it will show how re-employing second-life batteries can support a local “smart island” ecosystem. Renault announced the small Portuguese island of Porto Santo is getting a pilot program, teaming up with Empresa de Electricitade da Madeira and the Madeira Regional Government. [Tech Xplore]

Porto Santo (Photo: Moxmarco, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Saudi Arabia is in talks with American nuclear firms to enter the nuclear power business and erect as many as 16 nuclear reactors, purportedly only to generate electricity over 25 years, a New York Times report said. But the report also said there are growing signs that the Saudis want to have the option of building nuclear weapons. [Tasnim News Agency]

¶ The head of TEPCO said the Japanese company remains committed to renewables development, and he vowed to expand the company’s business beyond its home market. The future of the company has been in question since its nuclear fleet was shut down in the wake of the March 2011 meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi. [pv magazine International]

Japanese solar installation (Image: Canadian Solar)


¶ All across America, states and utility companies are including energy storage options in their planning. GTM Research sees battery storage growing nearly tenfold in the next 5 years, from 295 MW in 2017 to 2.5 GW in 2022, of which almost half is projected to be “behind the meter,” operating as part of microgrids. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Beech trees are dominating the woodlands of the northeastern United States as the climate changes, and that could be bad news for the forests and people who work in them, according to a group of scientists. The scientists say the move toward beech-heavy forests is associated with higher temperatures and precipitation. [Maine Public]

Some are unhealthy. (Brian E Roth | University of Maine | via AP)

¶ A large swath of the utility industry, including 2,000 public utilities represented by the American Public Power Association, is facing a familiar fight with the federal government over the Trump administration’s proposed sell-off and privatization of federally owned utility companies such as the massive Tennessee Valley Authority. [Washington Examiner]

¶ Natural gas will continue to replace coal due to its competitive edge in prices, according to energy experts on Sunday. As the price of natural gas maintains a competitive edge over coal for fueling power plants, three coal-fueled power plants have retired in the Texas so far this year. The retirements are not expected to lead to shortages. [Xinhua]

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February 25 Energy News

February 25, 2018


¶ “Higher power bills? How a SCANA bankruptcy could affect ratepayers, South Carolinians” • A SCANA bankruptcy resulting from the failure of the VC Summer nuclear plant’s expansion, could take years to resolve, drive up rates, destroy the value of investments, and cost hundreds of millions of dollars in legal fees alone. [The State]

SCANA nuclear expansion project (Sammy Fretwell | The State)

Science and Technology:

¶ Untangling the causes of mass mortality events is difficult. In some cases, there is a clear connection to climate change. In other cases, there might be no connection, or a masked connection might exist. Nevertheless, climate change will cause the events to become more common, and scientists worry that they may lead to extinctions. [The Guardian]

¶ The commercial proliferation of organic polymer solar cells has been halted by expensive raw materials, longevity issues, and lower efficiency compared to inorganic solar cells. However, their light weight, transparency, flexibility and roll-to-roll production capability suggest they may find potential niche market opportunities. [pv magazine India]

Organic solar cells (Image: Phys.org)

¶ The Amazon rainforest is undoubtedly a significant part of the Earth. Its health is directly linked to the health of the planet as well, as it holds huge amounts of carbon. Sadly, it has been adulterated by deforestation and the effects of climate change, and some scientists wonder if there is still a chance to save our biggest tropical rainforest. [Tech Times]

¶ University of Colorado researchers found that drier summers and a decline in average snowpack over the past four decades have hindered the establishment of spruce and fir trees in subalpine regions of the Front Range. The study, published by the journal Ecology, suggests that climate warming is taking its toll on forest health. [Boulder Daily Camera]

Colorado forest (Courtesy of the University of Colorado)


¶ An exec at DHL (Deutsche Post) is quoted as saying that the payback period on the Tesla Semi, the period of time that it takes to pay off the difference in initial costs as compared to a conventional diesel semi truck, would be under 1.5 years. So after only 1.5 years, the company is already experiencing net savings … while using cleaner trucks. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Argentine people can now generate their own energy through clean and unconventional sources, incorporating surpluses into the public grid, thanks to a new law. This is an important novelty in a country embarked on a slow and difficult process, with a still uncertain end, to replace fossil fuels with cleaner power generation. [Inter Press Service]

Bus stop in Buenos Aires (Courtesy of Sustentator)

¶ The Philippine province of Guimaras has been bent on leading the country away from burning coal. On February 24, during the visit of Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior, Guimaras Governor Samuel Gumarin and the municipal mayors of the island made a brave declaration: Guimaras is the first coal-free province in Visayas. [Rappler]

¶ The Benban Solar Park near Aswan, Egypt, aims to reach 1.6 GW to 2.0 GW of solar power capacity by the middle of 2019. The projects will receive no incentives, however, it will be given a 25 year contract to sell its electricity at 7.8¢/kWh to the state-owned Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company, with the cost pegged to the US dollar. [Electrek]

Solar array in Egypt

¶ This year the University of Newcastle will switch on what may be one of the largest projects of rooftop solar PV installations at any Australian university. The 2.0-MW system will see more than 6000 panels installed across about 25 buildings at the Callaghan campus with additional panels being installed at the Ourimbah campus. [Newcastle Herald]


¶ Yuri Horwitz, co-founder and CEO of Sol Systems, says he and his company expect solar power to be the dominant form of new electricity generation by 2022. A report dated February 15, 2018 lists three reasons why we might believe solar will be ascendant in the US market over the next 4 years in spite of new tariffs on imported solar products. [CleanTechnica]

Solar farm

¶ Electric power is expensive in Hawaii, and with high humidity and temperatures, classrooms need air conditioning. Together, sets of solar panels and 300 Tesla Powerwall batteries will provide 1,000 Hawaiian classrooms with affordable AC, so students can focus on lessons, instead of dreaming about class trips to Alaska. [Digital Trends]

¶ Virginia lawmakers are set to vote on a major overhaul of how the state regulates Dominion Energy. The legislation makes it easier to get approval for renewable energy projects and grid upgrades. It also gives Dominion new ways to account for various costs, and this could ultimately cost customers an average of $120 per year. [The Charlottesville Newsplex]

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February 24 Energy News

February 24, 2018


¶ Germany’s Federal Network Agency announced the winners from its first onshore wind and solar auctions for 2018, awarding more than 900 MW to over 100 separate projects. The successful wind energy bids were up slightly from those of a similar auction in November, but solar power prices have fallen below those of windpower. [CleanTechnica]

Solar power in Germany

¶ A new report published this week by GTM Research, Global Solar PV Tracker Market Shares and Shipments 2018, shows that the amount of solar PV trackers shipped in 2017 has increased 32% year-over-year, to 14.5 GW. The California-based company NEXTracker retains its top spot and accounted for a third of all trackers sold last year. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Asian Development Bank signed a loan equivalent of up with $235 million to B Grimm Power Public Company Limited, one of the largest power producers in Thailand, to develop and enhance renewable energy capacity in Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Viet Nam. [Modern Diplomacy]

Wind turbines along a shore

¶ The Irish Government has announced plans to spend €22 billion over the next four years to aid the country’s journey to a low-carbon and climate resilient economy. Energy efficiency, renewables, agriculture, transport, and climate adaptation are all covered under the scheme, which has an initial target date of 2021. [Climate Action Programme]

¶ Austria filed a legal complaint with the European Court of Justice against the European Union’s approval for the expansion of the Paks Nuclear Power Plant in Hungary. Nuclear power already currently meets 40% of the country’s electricity needs. Paks 2 would add two more nuclear units with a capacity of 1.2 GW each. [CleanTechnica]

Paks Nuclear Plant

¶ A paradigm shift from depleting conventional to sustainable resources for electricity generation will drive the global solar PV module market size, MarketStudyReport.com said in its research report, Solar PV Module Market. The report projects that the solar PV module market size will exceed $30 billion worldwide by 2024. [The Financial]


¶ A study by the Environmental Defense Fund finds that methane escaping from fracking operations in Pennsylvania “causes the same near term climate pollution as 11 coal-fired power plants” and is “five times higher than what oil and gas companies report” to the state. An earlier assessment found similar results for New Mexico. [CleanTechnica]

Gas Well (via EDF)

¶ BlackRock has almost $5 billion invested in the renewable power sector, according to Jim Barry, the global head of BlackRock Infrastructure Investment Group. Barry offered an insight into why this shift was taking place. “What’s driving it now, is not that people want to be green, it’s not about climate – it’s cost,” he said. [CNBC]

¶ Residents of the Alaskan island of Unalaska know the island’s wind is strong. It can blow over 100 miles per hour. In 2005, a study funded by the city council to look at the potential of windpower found that there was no technology strong enough to withstand Unalaska’s wind. Now, the technology has changed, and they are looking again. [KUCB]

Unalaska (Credit: Berett Wilber | KUCB)

¶ The mayors of Honolulu, Hawaii, Maui, and Kauai counties joined 236 mayors from 47 US states and territories in signing a joint letter opposing the Trump Administration’s proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan. Together, they represent over 51 million Americans, according to a press release sent jointly by all four mayors’ offices. [Honolulu Star-Advertiser]

¶ For the third time in three years, California energy officials are working to expand governance of the electric power grid to become a regional function covering up to 14 states. Opponents of the plan, which would fundamentally rewrite how electricity is managed across most of the West, are steeling for another fight. [The San Diego Union-Tribune]

CAISO control center (David Butow | For The Times)

¶ Despite robust growth in earnings, the head of New Jersey’s largest power utility told Wall Street analysts he would make good on his pledge to close the state’s remaining nuclear power plants unless lawmakers agree to a surcharge to keep them profitable. That surcharge would come in the form of higher utility bills for customers. [NorthJersey.com]

¶ In Washington state, the Snohomish County Public Utility District plans to locate a microgrid and technology center, a new local office and training center, a vehicle-to-grid charging station for the utility’s electric fleet, battery storage, a substation, and a backup data center on 25 acres east of the Arlington Municipal Airport. [Arlington Times]

Arlington Municipal Airport (Joe Mabel, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The Rhode Island Convention Center Authority will buy more than half of its power from a local renewable energy company by the end of this year. They made an agreement with Green Development, LLC to buy up to 8.3 million kWh of wind energy each year at a discounted rate. They use about 11 million kWh annually. [Rhode Island Public Radio]

¶ South Carolina’s electric cooperatives plan to sue Santee Cooper to stop the public utility from charging customers for VC Summer. The two business groups had a long-held relationship, but an economic crisis is consuming the state. The decision to file a legal claim comes half a year after the nuclear project was abandoned. [Charleston Post Courier]

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February 23 Energy News

February 23, 2018


¶ “How General Electric gambled on fossil fuel power, and lost” • Last March, executives at GE’s power-plant business gave Wall Street a surprisingly bullish forecast for the year. Despite flat demand for new natural gas power plants, they said, GE Power’s revenue and profit would rise. But GE’s forecast turned out to be a mirage. [Daily Times]

Nodding donkey

¶ “The new power generation” • The way nations power themselves is changing, and Britain is no exception. Advances in technology and the continued fall in the cost of renewable power mean that the potential for new, green power systems in Britain is much greater than even a decade ago. And now, batteries open a whole new potential. [Prospect]

Science and Technology:

¶ Conservationists say two iconic New Hampshire animals, moose and loons, show how climate change will reshape the region. On the same day they talked about their research at the Audubon Society in Concord, New Hampshire set new records for winter warmth. It was 48° on the snowless Mount Washington summit. [New Hampshire Public Radio]

Loons (Credit: AcrylicArtist | Morguefile)

¶ Siberia’s permafrost is melting, with huge holes appearing in it. One of the biggest craters, known by the local Yakutian people as the “doorway to the underworld,” is growing so rapidly that it’s uncovering long-buried forests, carcasses, and 200,000 years of historical climate records. The Batagaika crater is what is termed a megaslump or thermokarst. [ScienceAlert]


¶ Solar storage batteries are projected to grow at a rate of up to 300%. The news is that a battery manufacturing plant will be built in South Australia, and a residential battery power rebate will also kick off in that state. German battery maker Sonnen will have its new manufacturing plant near Adelaide, creating hundreds of jobs. [Tech Guide]

House with rooftop solar power

¶ Aiming to reduce the dependence on coal and gas for power generation, the government of Gujarat will begun working on a new hybrid energy policy. Under the new policy it will provide greater focus on solar and wind-based power, and promote wind and solar power based units that share the same land and transmission grid. [EnergyInfraPost]

¶ Southeast Asian countries are on course to meet their aspirational renewable energy target of a 23% share of total primary energy supply by 2025, according to analysis from the International Renewable Energy Agency. Achieving this target would also significantly improve the access to affordable clean energy in the region. [Modern Diplomacy]

Wind turbines along the shore

¶ Coal power plants are likely to end up as underutilized or stranded assets in 10 years or less, given the rapid pace of renewables, a top official of First Philippine Holdings said. As more renewables come onto the grid, the shape of demand changes, and renewable-energy technology, though intermittent, can adapt better than coal. [Business Mirror]


¶ UPS been evaluating 50 Workhorse vans. They are up to four times more efficient than the diesel-powered vehicles they replace and have far lower tailpipe emissions. Importantly, those 50 trucks have acquisition costs comparable to conventional vehicles without subsidies, according to a joint press release from Workhorse and UPS. [CleanTechnica]

Workhorse UPS prototype

¶ Numerous organizations have filed lawsuits against Exxon in recent times in relation to anthropogenic climate change. Now, the oil giant has filed lawsuits against a large collection of people associated with these suits, alleging conspiracy. Among those being sued are the New York and Massachusetts attorneys general. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Grape grower Sun World International, LLC, published its first corporate social responsibility report. It details the goals that The Better Future Project, Sun World’s CSR program, aims to achieve by 2022 and progress made to date. Sun World’s environmental initiatives focus on renewable energy, water conservation and soil and bee health. [FreshPlaza]

Sun World CEO Merrill Dibble

¶ Altus Power America, Inc and Reservoir Road Holdings LLC completed two 648 kW DC solar systems in Highgate, Vermont. Converting unusable land into renewable energy, the two arrays are built over old gravel pits. Altus funded the construction and development of the projects and will serve as the long-term owner and operator. [Solar Industry]

¶ The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative and AES Distributed Energy held a groundbreaking for the Lawai solar and energy storage project on the Garden Isle’s south shore. The project will consist of a 28-MW solar system and a 100 MWh energy storage component, which will be able to deliver peak power for up to five hours. [Pacific Business News (Honolulu)]

Preparing for site blessing and dedication (Courtesy of KIUC)

¶ In a win for solar power in New York, the state’s Public Service Commission released an order expected to encourage more communities to pursue shared solar projects. It increases the maximum size of community solar projects eligible for credits from 2 MW to 5 MW. This is expected to reduce soft costs of solar power. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

¶ A plan to subsidize now-profitable New Jersey nuclear plants with higher rates for customers moved forward and is now part of a larger piece of legislation that includes additional ratepayer-funded incentives for renewable power and energy efficiency. Democratic leaders in both houses wanted renewable energy subsidies in a separate bill. [NorthJersey.com]

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February 22 Energy News

February 22, 2018

Science and Technology:

¶ A study found that the methane escaping from oil and gas industry sites in Pennsylvania “causes the same near-term climate pollution as 11 coal-fired power plants.” And that is “five times higher than what oil and gas companies report” to the state, according to Environmental Defense Fund analysis based on 16 peer-reviewed studies. [ThinkProgress]

Flaring gas (Photo: Carolyn Cole | LA Times via Getty Images)


¶ The High Court in London ruled the UK government’s current stance on air pollution is “unlawful.” It is the third court case the UK government has lost to ClientEarth, an organization of environmental activist lawyers. According to the Royal College of Physicians, air pollution contributes to nearly 40,000 deaths in the UK each year. [Futurism]

¶ The British government pushed to weaken EU controls on biomass energy, even though the technology will undermine efforts to contain global warming, researchers found. The UK successfully rewrote a proposal to almost quadruple the potential size of wood burning plants before they had to meet efficiency criteria. [DeSmog UK]

Drax and Eggborough power stations (Photo: Alan Murray Rust)

¶ According to Autocar, Porsche has stopped installing diesel engines in any of its vehicles, effective immediately. The move is certainly tied to recent developments that have tarnished the once glittering reputation of diesel. German regulators ordered Audi to recall 127,000 cars fitted with the latest Euro 6 spec diesel engines last month. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Indian renewable energy company Avaada Power Pvt Ltd said it signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of Uttar Pradesh to develop 1.6 GW of solar projects in the state. The company will invest $1.55 billion (€1.26 billion) to develop the projects, which will be located across four of the state’s districts. [Renewables Now]

Welspun solar park (Photo: Welspun Renewables)

¶ Germany’s Senvion has been awarded a 101.2-MW project from India’s ReNew Power to deliver the Bhuwad Wind Project in Gujarat. The project will comprise 44 Senvion 2.3M120 turbines. They are expected to produce enough clean energy to supply the power needs of almost 100,000 Indian homes. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ The Scottish Government has awarded a development team funding to carry out a feasibility study into developing a hydrogen-powered ferry service to some of Scotland’s remote island communities. Point and Sandwick Trust is leading the project. The hydrogen would be manufactured using local community-owned wind power. [reNews]

Wind power (Pixabay image)

¶ ReNew Power Ventures said it has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Uttar Pradesh government to invest ₹8,000 crore ($1.2 billion) for 1,200 MW of renewable energy capacity, a move which can create 12,000 jobs in the state. The projects include 1,000 MW of solar and 200 MW of waste-to-energy projects. [ETEnergyworld.com]


¶ A high estimate of the number of birds killed by collisions with US wind turbines and their towers each year is 573,000, though researchers said the actual number is probably between 140,000 and 328,000. Even the highest of those numbers is very small compared to the number killed generating the same amount of power from fossil fuels. [CleanTechnica]

Wind turbines

¶ First Solar has planned an enormous 200-MW solar project, using its new Series 6 modules, for Central Georgia. A 30-year power contract for the project has been approved by Georgia regulators. It is one of several projects awarded under Georgia Power’s latest solicitation through its Renewable Energy Development Initiative. [pv magazine USA]

¶ A new solar farm is to be constructed to provide Walt Disney World in Florida with more renewable energy. Disney World already receives 5 MW of energy from the 9-hectare Hidden Mickey solar farm. The new solar complex will be made up of 518,000 solar panel modules across 110 hectares, providing a much greater energy output. [Blooloop]

Solar array

¶ A group looking to promote solar in Arizona will seek to amend the state’s constitution to get a huge uptick in the amount of renewable energy required to be produced by state utilities. They are promoting a ballot initiative so the voters could decide to have the state get 50% of its power from renewable sources by 2030. [Phoenix Business Journal]

¶ California utility Pacific Gas and Electric Co, part of PG&E Corporation, announced that it has achieved its home state’s 2020 renewable energy goal three years ahead of schedule. The company said that 33% of its electricity in 2017 came from renewables such as solar, wind, geothermal, biomass and small hydroelectric sources. [Renewables Now]

Solar panels in California (Photo: Walmart Corp)

¶ The New Orleans City Council’s utility committee approved a proposal on February 21 to build a $210 million gas-fired peaking power plant in the city. This is over the objections of opponents that included affordable energy advocates and environmental and social justice groups. Entergy New Orleans has long pushed for the plant. [NOLA.com]

¶ The NRC proposed a $145,000 fine for safety violations at Plant Vogtle, saying investigators found at least 13 system operators at the plant who on multiple occasions neglected to perform required rounds, then made false log entries saying the checks were completed. The civil penalty was filed against Southern Nuclear Co. [Chattanooga Times Free Press]

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