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

August 20, 2018

2,271 regular daily posts, linking 28,488 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 August 20, out of 99 US-licensed reactors, 9 were at reduced output and 1 not operating.

§ Video: Energy Week, Number 277, August 16, 2018: Wind and solar power do not need a lot of water, and that is important. Renewable energy companies are having a hard time finding workers, but coal companies are not looking. Black widow spiders are heading north because of climate change. Renewable energy could be nearly free by 2030, an analyst at UBS said. And there is more.


August 20 Energy News

August 20, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Turnbull just showed what happens when ‘ideology and idiocy take charge of energy policy'” • Some parts of the government do not believe in climate change. Their ideological ties to the coal-based power systems built 40 to 50 years ago has scuttled every attempt to develop credible climate change energy policy over the past 10 years. [The Guardian]

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at a Snowy Hydro
power station in 2017 (Photo: Alex Ellinghausen | AA)

¶ “The Liberal party is self-destructing over energy. Here’s what you need to know” • The Turnbull government has flipped and flopped its position on the national energy guarantee with a remarkable tempo, even by the lowly standards of current Australian parliament. So how on earth did we get here? We’ve compiled this handy explainer. [The Guardian]

Science and Technology:

¶ “Tesla Model 3 Is The Most Efficient Electric Car On Highways” • New aggregated data from A Better Route Planner show that Tesla Model 3 efficiency is the highest of any production car at highway speeds. This outstanding efficiency, which is combined with great supercharging speeds, makes the Model 3 the best road tripping EV in production. [CleanTechnica]

Tesla Model 3

World:

¶ “What to look out for in SA’s new energy plan” • The South African Ministry of Energy is to release an updated electricity plan this month. Analysts hope it will launch the country’s power sector into a modern sustainable, clean power future, and that outdated and financially unfeasible facets of previous plans will be laid to rest. [The South African]

¶ “CEA working on optimised power system cost for 2030” • India’s Central Electricity Authority has undertaken a study to ascertain the cheapest power mix in 2030, its Chairman Pankaj Batra said. According to estimates by the Ministry of Power, the share of renewable energy in India’s electricity mix is set to increase to around 55% by 2030. [News Nation]

Transmission lines (News Nation File Photo)

¶ “Swiss startup ‘storing’ renewable energy in concrete towers” • Borrowing from pumped hydro energy storage principles, a Swiss startup is building energy storage systems using cranes and blocks of concrete instead of water and dams. The towers require much more space than lithium batteries unit of energy, but they last longer and use no chemicals. [OODA Loop]

¶ “ALPS system at Fukushima No 1 plant failing to remove more than tritium from toxic cooling water” • The tritium-tainted water piling up at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has been found to contain more radioactive substances than just tritium, defying the defunct plant’s special treatment system, Kyodo News has learned. [The Japan Times]

Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant (KYODO)

Australia:

¶ “Turnbull dumps emissions from NEG in final act of capitulation” • The Turnbull Coalition government has effectively dumped the emissions component from the proposed National Energy Guarantee, in what could be prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s final act of capitulation to the far right forces within the government parties. [RenewEconomy]

¶ “NEG is dead without emissions target, says ACT” • The Australian Capital Territory slammed the Turnbull government’s “complete capitulation” on the NEG’s emissions reduction pillar, saying it has killed off any hope the much maligned policy will do anything to address climate change – and any chance it might win the approval of the states. [RenewEconomy]

Yallourn W Power Station (Marcus Wong, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announces Climate Change Fund money to reduce energy costs” • Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced that $35 million would be given to about 250 manufacturing businesses to install energy efficient equipment and meters to track energy use. And $24.5 million will go to low-income renters for home efficiency. [ABC News]

¶ “Game changer for solar in Victoria” • The government of Victoria announced a $1.24 billion funding package to install solar on 650,000 Victorian homes over the next decade, adding about 2,000 MW of solar power. Environment Victoria, a leading charity, called the deal a game-changer and a breath of fresh air in the energy debate. [EcoGeneration]

Rooftop solar (Image: Shutterstock cc: OFC Pictures)

US:

¶ “Murray Energy Bankrolls Opposition To Lake Erie Icebreaker Wind Farm – #CleanTechnica Investigation” • We learned that Murray Energy, the largest privately owned US coal company, has bankrolled opposition to the 20.7-MW Icebreaker Wind project on Lake Erie. It may not be illegal, but it has been described by some involved as deceptive. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Mine cleanup funds at risk as coal power suppliers lose customers” • The defection of local electric cooperatives from a Colorado power wholesaler could imperil cleanup funds for coal mines, a complaint to federal regulators says. The funds, which are guaranteed by Tri-State Generation and Transmission, have no outside backing. [Energy News Network]

Part of a strip mine (Mark Olalde, Energy News Network)

¶ “Apple Agrees to Develop New Wind and Solar Energy Farms” • Apple, Akamai, Etsy, and Swiss Re announced an agreement to develop two new wind and solar energy farms in Illinois and Virginia. Spearheaded by Apple, the new projects will generate 290 MW and feed it into the PJM electric grid serving much of the Eastern US. [Chasing Markets]

¶ “GPA to sign contracts for 120 MW of solar power” • Guam Power Authority said its customers will save millions of dollars a year in fuel charges, as it gets ready to sign 25-year contracts with two companies to provide 120 MW of solar energy. The power agency is required to produce at least 25% of its power using renewable energy by 2035. [Pacific Daily News]

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August 19 Energy News

August 19, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “It’s the end of the Earth as we know it. Read all about it!” • It is hard to get ordinary people engaged, so hats off to the crack team of Earth scientists, led by climate change professor Will Steffen, whose peer-reviewed report on how emissions are driving the Earth into an irreversible hothouse state has been downloaded more than 270,000 times to date. [The Guardian]

Melting Arctic ice (MB Photography | Getty Images)

¶ “Trump’s Power Plant Proposal May Increase US Carbon Pollution” • Donald Trump is poised to replace former President Barack Obama’s plan to cut power plant emissions with one that could actually increase them. The move is one of a series of actions that represent significant retreats from the fight against climate change. [Bloomberg]

¶ “How hydrogen could shake up Canada’s energy sector” • The use of hydrogen is still in its infancy, but it is growing in Canada. It is the most abundant element in the universe and could change the country’s transportation, electricity, and energy sectors. The interest in hydrogen vehicles is largely because they are regarded as emission-free. [CBC.ca]

Hydrogen powered Toyota

Science and Technology:

¶ “Abrupt Thaw of Permafrost Beneath Lakes Could Significantly Affect Climate Change Models” • Methane released by thawing permafrost from some Arctic lakes could significantly accelerate climate change, a 12-year study led by the University of Alaska Fairbanks showed. The study was published in the journal Nature Communications. [Astrobiology Magazine]

World:

¶ “Tilos, Greece | Renewable Resort: Greek Island To Run On Wind, Solar Power” • When the blades start turning on its 800-kW wind turbine, the small Greek island of Tilos will become the first in the Mediterranean to run exclusively on wind and solar power. Though the winter population is 400, as many as 3,000 people visit in the summer. [STL.News]

Tilos (Nikos Laskaridis, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “With Brexit looming, energy sector builds new links to Europe” • The UK’s energy system is set to become much more dependent on the EU, despite Brexit. Today there are four cables linking the UK with other countries, providing around 6% of the UK’s power. But with eleven new connections, 20% of the electric power could be imported. [The Guardian]

¶ “Solar boom ‘bringing hundreds of jobs’ to Queensland’s Darling Downs” • A renewable energy boom across Queensland’s Darling Downs is bringing the region’s economy back to life after a downturn caused by coal seam gas development slowing earlier than expected. One council alone approved one wind farm and eleven solar projects worth $6 billion. [ABC News]

Queensland solar farm

US:

¶ “Ryan Zinke concedes that climate change is a factor in raging wildfires” • Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke recently said things that landed him squarely in a debate over how forests are managed. In one interview, he blamed “environmental terrorist groups” for the California wildfires. He later admitted a connection between the fires and climate change. [The Seattle Times]

¶ “The US Military Now Has The Money It Needs to Prepare For Climate Change” • President Trump signed into law the John S McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019. The $716 billion military spending bill funds the military’s operations. Included in it are funds to help the military prepare for climate change. [ScienceAlert]

Waiting out a dust storm (Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Solar power farm a first for Northeast Tennessee” • Officials with BrightRidge, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and Silicon Ranch Corp, an energy company based in Nashville, broke ground on what they say is the first solar power plant in Northeast Tennessee. The 5-MW plant is set to be operational by the end of this year. [Johnson City Press]

¶ “News study warns fracking is destroying US water supply” • A study from Duke University puts into perspective the affects fracking has on the US water supply. The researchers, who published the peer-reviewed findings in Science Advances, used years of data to draw the conclusion that fracking is destroying the country’s water. [NationofChange]

Pump jack (Image Credit: Clean Water Action)

¶ “Trump to unveil plan for coal-fired power plants” • President Trump plans to unveil a proposal this week that would empower states to establish emission standards for coal-fired power plants rather than speeding their retirement. The proposal is part of a major overhaul of former President Obama’s signature climate policy. [Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette]

¶ “Board meeting for state-owned utility Santee Cooper cancelled, bonds downgraded” • South Carolina’s state-owned utility opted to postpone this month’s meeting without rescheduling, just as Moody’s downgraded its bonds. The state leaders continue to grapple with the fallout from a multibillion-dollar nuclear construction debacle. [ABC News 4]

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August 18 Energy News

August 18, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “When Fossil Fuel Money Talks, the DNC Listens” • Lately, the Democratic Party leadership faced a difficult decision relating to global climate change and money-in-politics. Unfortunately, it decided to pass a resolution expressing gratitude for donations from workers in the energy industry and their “employers’ political action committees.” [Sierra Magazine]

Donkey money

World:

¶ “Saudi Arabia & Iran Rekindle Oil Pricing War” • The rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran is increasingly evident in the oil pricing policies of the two large producers. Both countries are reigniting the market share and pricing war ahead of the returning US sanctions on Iranian oil. Iran is cutting prices, and Saudi Arabia is boosting production. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “China Files Complaint With WTO Over US Solar Tariffs” • China has filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization regarding the US import tariffs on solar PV products, which it believes violate WTO regulations. Since a 30% tariff on imported solar cells and modules was announced in January, the global solar industry has been in flux [CleanTechnica]

Solar manufacturing

¶ “Tesla Sues Ontario” • The new Ontario government has kneecapped a popular electric vehicle incentive program, and Tesla is now taking it to court. The complaint is not that policy changed. It is that the government worked out a special deal for people who had bought or ordered their cars before the policy change but excluded Tesla buyers. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Berlin ‘could hit’ 2020 targets” • Berlin could meet 2020 climate targets by shutting down one third of Germany’s coal-fired power plants and offering an extra 9 GW of capacity for wind and solar projects, according to Greenpeace research. A study lists 14 older power stations with a combined capacity of 6.1 GW that would need to be shut down. [reNews]

Pollution (SXC image)

¶ “Indonesian court rejects bid to stop coal power plant expansion” • An Indonesian court rejected a legal challenge from local residents trying to halt expansion of a coal power plant on the holiday island of Bali, according to Greenpeace. Residents near the Celukan Bawang power plant had tried to stop the planned expansion due to pollution fears. [Reuters]

¶ “Key takeaways from the latest UK energy statistics release – including record renewable electricity use” • Coal is declining, more energy is being imported and renewable electricity has hit record figures. These are just some of the key takeaways of the latest data from the UK government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. [Compelo]

Power transmission lines

¶ “European Commission approves Danish renewables support measures” • The European Commission approved three Danish schemes to support wind and solar power production under EU State Aid rules. Denmark aims to supply 50% of its energy consumption from renewable sources by 2030 and become free of fossil fuels by 2050. [S&P Global Platts]

¶ “CWP gets nod to create 470-MW renewables hub in New South Wales” • CWP Renewables announced that it has secured planning approval to add around 200 MW of solar and storage power capacity to its 270-MW Sapphire wind project in New South Wales. The Sapphire Renewable Energy Hub will be the largest one of its kind globally. [Renewables Now]

Wind and solar together (Photo: Gerry Machen)

¶ “Milestone: World’s First AP1000 Nuclear Reactor Reaches Full Power” • The world’s first AP1000 nuclear reactor – Sanmen 1 in China’s Zhejiang province – commenced 100% power operation for the first time, China National Nuclear Corp said. China now has a total of 38 nuclear plants with a total installed capacity of 36.9 GW. [EnerCom Inc]

US:

¶ “Wind energy potential dwarfs today’s electricity use, report says” • Winds blowing off the Atlantic coast could provide four times more electricity each year than the region currently uses, according to a report from Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center. Just two wind leases off the New Jersey coast could power 1.5 million homes. [Press of Atlantic City]

Block Island wind farm (provided)

¶ “Billion-Dollar Hydropower Plant Gets An “Invisible” Makeover” • Where can you drop a massive new 300-MW hydropower plant without anybody noticing? Finding new sites for hydropower has difficult technical, environmental, and political challenges. But we might take a look at Duke Energy’s latest hydropower project in South Carolina. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Michigan coal plant closures helping push small utility to clean energy” • Plans by Michigan’s two major utilities to close coal plants within the next 15 years are having a ripple effect on smaller companies that purchase power from them. Traverse City Light and Power is a case in point, as it has taken on the job of finding renewable resources. [Energy News Network]

Belle River Power Plant (Photo: Tom, Creative Commons)

¶ “Redundancy Failed at Reagan International Airport, Causing 90-minute Outage” • A 90-minute power outage at Reagan International Airport happened after redundancy built into the power system failed, a Dominion Energy spokesman said. Two utility feeds both failed. Dominion is investigating exactly what went wrong. [Microgrid Knowledge]

¶ “State Has 75,000 Clean Energy Jobs” • A report on clean energy say 2.5 percent of Wisconsin’s workforce has jobs that involve renewable energy or efficiency. The bulk of those jobs are in construction or manufacturing and are concentrated in Dane, Milwaukee, and Waukesha counties, but they are found in all of the state’s 72 counties. [urbanmilwaukee]

Have an engagingly delightful day.

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August 17 Energy News

August 17, 2018

World:

¶ “EU backs Norway and Germany power link” • A power grid link between Norway and Germany is being backed by the European Investment Bank. It signed a €100-million financing agreement with TenneT, one of Europe’s major electricity transmission system operators. The the 624-km, 1.4-GW interconnector will go under the North Sea. [Energy Reporters]

Sysen Dam in Norway

¶ “Wind power generation greatly increases in Azerbaijan” • Wind farms in Azerbaijan produced 14.1 million kWh of electricity in January to July 2018, which is 63.9% more than they did in the same period of last year. Also, solar power plants generated 23.4 million kWh hours of electricity, according to the State Statistics Committee, Trend reported. [AzerNews]

¶ “Solar irrigation leads move to low-carbon energy sourcing” • A World Bank report estimated in 2015 that there were 1.34 million diesel-fired irrigation pumps in Bangladesh. The government plans to replace at least 10,000 diesel-fired pumps with solar-powered ones by 2020 to reduce the use of fossil fuel to check against carbon emissions. [newagebd.net]

Solar power for irrigation (Sony Ramany)

¶ “Canada’s WindRiver gets green light for 75-MW pumped storage project” • The Alberta Utilities Commission has given the thumbs-up to a 75-MW pumped storage project by a WindRiver Power Corp subsidiary, it was announced. The Canyon Creek project will use existing infrastructure from a decommissioned open-pit coal mine. [Renewables Now]

¶ “UNSW wind power test lab will be an Australian first” • World-leading UNSW Sydney researcher Professor Joe Dong has secured more than $2 million in funding from Chinese wind power giant Goldwind for research projects including an Australian-first lab to test wind technology. Goldwind is the largest wind technology company in China. [UNSW Newsroom]

Wind turbines (iStock image)

¶ “‘No need for new coal:’ Sun Metals formally opens solar farm in ‘George’ town” • A 125-MW solar farm in north Queensland is the first large-scale solar farm to be built directly by a major energy user in Australia. It signalled the start of the shift of Australian heavy industry away from “baseload” coal power and to renewable energy. [RenewEconomy]

¶ “‘Tens of thousands’ of workers exposed to radiation risks in Fukushima cleanup, UN rights experts say” • Three UN human rights experts criticized the Japanese government for allegedly exploiting and putting at risk the lives of “tens of thousands” of people engaged in cleanup operations at and around the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant. [The Japan Times]

Decommissioning work (Kyodo image)

¶ “US firm pulls out of building Hitachi nuclear plant in Britain” • Bechtel Corp is to withdraw from its key role in building a UK nuclear power plant due to concerns over the profitability of the project, sources said. Costs estimated by Bechtel are higher than those of Hitachi, which is leading the project’, so they cannot agree on the price tag. [Asahi Shimbun]

US:

¶ “New 9.8-MW Solar Farm In Gallup, New Mexico, Will Save City $785,000 In First 8 Years” • By taking advantage of otherwise unusable land in a floodplain, and with financing provided by the solar company itself, Gallup, New Mexico, will benefit from a new 9.8-MW solar farm, saving an estimated $785,000 in energy costs in the first 8 years. [CleanTechnica]

Gallup’s solar array (Standard Solar image)

¶ “New Jersey Plans Path Toward 100% Clean Energy By 2050” • The New Jersey Energy Master Plan Committee will host a series of public meetings in September, launching a process to shape converting the state’s energy production profile to 100% clean energy sources by 2050, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities announced. [North American Windpower]

¶ “Arizona renewable energy referendum meets signature requirement” • Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona’s initiative to impose a 50% by 2030 renewable energy mandate passed another one of the hurdles standing between it and its place on the ballot in November. A review of petition signatures showed the number was sufficient to move on. [pv magazine USA]

Window Rock (Ben FrantzDale, Wikipedia Commons)

¶ “Engie flush for Texas wind” • Engie North America has secured a $320 million (€281 million) financing package and a power price hedge for the 200-MW Live Oak wind project in Texas. The utility raised the construction and tax equity funding through Bank of America Merrill Lynch, with BofAML Global Commodities providing the power hedge. [reNews]

¶ “Plan To Build 75 Wind Turbines Along Colorado-Wyoming Border Takes Shape” • A regional energy project entering final planning stages is set to become one of northern Colorado’s largest sources of wind power. When finished the Roundhouse Renewable Energy Project will deliver roughly 150 MW of energy to Colorado communities. [KUNC]

Turbines in a wind farm (Courtesy of NCAR/UCAR)

¶ “Offshore Wind Energy Market in the United States to hit $5 billion by 2024” • The US offshore wind power market is set to have annual installations of more than 1 GW by 2024, propelled by discovery of new potential sites and significant investment to scale up the supply chain. Investment valued at $60 billion by 2024 is predicted by a report. [REVE]

¶ “Tribal Communities Across The US Get Federal Funding For Wind, Solar” • The DOE announced nearly $9 million in funding for 15 tribal energy projects, including wind and solar facilities. The funding is designed to help Native American and Alaska Native communities harness their vast undeveloped energy resources. [North American Windpower]

Have a delightfully worthwhile day.

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August 16 Energy News

August 16, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “The message of a scorching 2018: We’re not prepared for global warming” • This summer of fire and swelter looks a lot like the future that scientists are warning about for the era of climate change, and it is revealing in real time how unprepared much of the world remains for life on a hotter planet. The disruptions to everyday life have been devastating. [SBS]

Rhine River at Düsseldorf

¶ “Climate Change ‘Skepticism’: 6 Overlapping Drivers” • A burning question for most of the world is why do climate change deniers deny the so-strongly supported science. Here are six important reasons why people deny science. With them, however, is a glimmer of hope for those of us who understand the problem more objectively. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶ “Boeing, Airbus, GE, & Aerospace Leaders Confirm Electric Flight Will Take Many Shapes & Forms” • Electric aviation is knocking at the door of every aerospace industry. But electric aircraft come in more shapes and forms than land-bound EVs. Electric air mobility is already getting off the ground, and much more is coming. [CleanTechnica]

eVTOL Volante

World:

¶ “Tesla wins contract for another massive battery system with Powerpacks” • It is estimated that Tesla’s 100-MW/129-MWh Powerpack project in South Australia reduced the grid service cost by 90%. Infigen Energy, wanting to duplicate that success, ordered a 25-MW/52-MWh energy storage system for the 278.5-MW Lake Bonney Wind Farm in the same state. [Electrek]

¶ “Juwi bags EPC deals for 250 MW of S African solar projects” • Juwi Renewable Energies, part of renewables developer Juwi Group, sealed ZAR 3 billion ($206 million, €181 million) worth of contracts to build, operate, and maintain 250 MW of solar parks in South Africa. The contracts are for three projects ranging from 78 MW to 86 MW. [Renewables Now]

Solar farm (Photo: Michele Lamberti, CC-BY-SA 2.0 Generic)

¶ “E.ON offers EV drivers ‘850 free miles’ with new energy tariff” • E.ON has become the latest energy supplier to launch a 100% renewable electricity tariff tailor-made for electric vehicle owners. The company is offering customers who sign up a cash incentive of £30 annually, which it says is the equivalent of 850 free driving miles per year. [businessgreen.com]

¶ “OPT adds spice to Chile wave” • US wave developer Ocean Power Technologies signed an agreement with Enel Green Power to develop a potential installation off the coast of Chile. OPT will evaluate a PB3 PowerBuoy deployment through a detailed feasibility study as an autonomous offshore platform hosting oceanographic sensor systems. [reNews]

PB3 PowerBuoy (OPT image)

¶ “US sanctions force British Quercus out of Iran’s energy sector” • The US sanctions on Tehran led British renewable energy investor Quercus to cancel a €500 million ($570 million) solar power plant in Iran, Iranian news reported. The US imposed santions after pulling out of a nuclear agreement achieved after two years of negotiations. [AzerNews]

US:

¶ “EPA Staff Claim Fuel Economy Rollback Based On Junk Science” • The EPA and the Transportation Department have taken the position that vehicle fuel economy standards put in place under President Obama should be relaxed. But the EPA’s own experts say that the new policy initiative is based on flawed assumptions. [CleanTechnica]

Traffic congestion

¶ “California’s Zero-Carbon Bill Aims To Set Climate Example” • California lawmakers want to prove that the state can wean its electric power sector off of fossil fuels, using a bill expected to receive a final vote before the end of August. If enacted, Senate Bill 100 would make California the second state to adopt a 100% renewables mandate. [Bloomberg BNA]

¶ “Wells Fargo backs 52-MW solar project in Florida” • US bank Wells Fargo & Co said it committed the capital in construction debt, as well as the tax-equity funding of $35 million (€31 million) for a 52-MW solar project in Florida. Solar company Origis Energy USA is the developer and will provide the balance of the project’s capital. [Renewables Now]

Georgetown University solar project (Origis Energy image)

¶ “Dominion buying 240 MW in Virginia solar power projects” • Dominion Energy is buying two planned Virginia solar farms totaling 240 MW. Work on both the 142-MW Colonial Trail West and 98-MW Spring Grove farms is scheduled to begin next year, with the former to be operational by December 2019 and the later by October 2020. [Electric Light & Power]

¶ “A coal company and Interior teamed up to save a power plant” • In September 2017, Peabody Energy Corp sent the Interior Department a game plan for keeping the coal-burning, 2,100-MW Navajo Generating Station in Arizona operating. A Peabody mine supplies coal to the plant. The plant is a symbol of Trump’s support for the coal industry. [E&E News]

Navajo Generating Station (Wolfgang Moroder | Wikipedia)

¶ “Solar Energy Becoming Increasingly Popular In Florida As Homeowners Save Money On Power Bills” • The US installed more solar energy than any other source of electricity in the first quarter of this year. And it’s becoming increasingly popular in Florida, where there’s no shortage of rays. For some people, going solar is a no-brainer. [CBS Miami]

¶ “Attorneys for SCE&G customers ask for all money collected since nuclear cancellation” • Attorneys suing South Carolina Electric & Gas say the utility should have to refund $452 million, everything it collected for its failed nuclear project in the past year. They say the law does not allow charges for plants that have been abandoned. [Charleston Post Courier]

Have an excitingly comfy day.

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August 15 Energy News

August 15, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Claimed power price cuts from energy guarantee are ‘virtually meaningless'” • The Turnbull government is trumpeting power price reductions to result from its national energy guarantee, but analysis from the Australia Institute’s chief economist says that subsidies for coal-fired power stations will render those forecasts “virtually meaningless.” [The Guardian]

Liddell Power Station (Dan Himbrechts | AAP)

Science and Technology:

¶ “Rising Temperatures Could Cause Common Songbird Population To Collapse” • University of Missouri researchers said numbers of a common songbird, the Acadian flycatcher, could decline greatly within this century if the climate continues to warm. In fact, it is possible it could be driven into near extinction in just 90 years. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Solar Farms Can Become Pollinator Habitats & Help Save the Bees!” • At the US DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory, researchers are investigating ways to reinvigorate pollinator habitats at solar farms. They hope their work can help rehabilitate pollinator populations that play a crucial role in national and global agricultural industries. [CleanTechnica]

Bees at work

World:

¶ “Caribbean Nations Partner With Global Superstars & Corporate Giants For $1 Billion Climate Accelerator” • A coalition of 26 Caribbean nations, over 40 private sector giants, 8-time Olympic gold medal winner Usain Bolt, and global music superstar Sean Paul intend to make the Caribbean region the world’s first climate-smart zone. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Argentine water utility AySA seeks to procure renewable energy” • Argentine public water utility Agua y Saneamientos Argentinos SA is looking to procure renewable energy in line with a law that requires large users to cover a portion of their power consumption with renewables. AySA is seeking bids for 10 MW of power over 10 years. [Renewables Now]

Renewable energy (Gerry Machen, CC No Derivs 2.0)

¶ “Modus Group to embark on 35-MW solar project in Ukraine” • Lithuania’s Modus Group said it will invest €30 million ($34.2 million) building a 35-MW solar power plant in Ukraine. The group has a strategy to expand its renewables business in Europe and this is its first investment in Ukraine. The project will be built by two Modus business units. [Renewables Now]

¶ “New ‘Power Grid Action Plan’ to accelerate network development” • Technical fixes, better communication, and smoother planning procedures can accelerate Germany’s grid expansion, the energy minister said. He has a new plan for a modernised power grid, which he said is essential for the move to renewable energy. [Clean Energy Wire]

Power lines (Pixabay image)

¶ “Sanjeev Gupta unveils $1 billion SA energy plan” • Billionaire industrialist Sanjeev Gupta launched a $1 billion, 1-GW renewable energy plan based in South Australia’s mid-north. He says it will lead Australian industry’s transition to more competitive power. The project will feature 280 MW of solar power and a battery larger than Elon Musk’s. [InDaily]

¶ “Two in five London businesses consider renewable energy a ‘fad’” • Research from Haven Power, one of the UK’s largest business electricity suppliers, reveals that 40% of London business decision makers think renewable energy is a passing fad. They say cost as the biggest barrier preventing businesses from changing to sustainable practices. [London Loves Business]

Renewable energy

¶ “Germany’s RWE output, earnings hit by coal, lignite, nuclear plant closures, lower margins in H1” • Coal, lignite, and nuclear plant closures as well as falling generation margins hit RWE’s first half 2018 financial performance. Output from conventional plants in Germany declined 18% on year, mainly due to closing one coal plant and one nuclear reactor. [S&P Global Platts]

¶ “Hydro, wind and solar output rises as gas generation slumps” • The latest quarterly report from the Australian Energy Market Operator shows that Australia experienced a significant jump in output from hydro power, and wind and solar farms in the second quarter of 2018, mostly at the expense of gas generation and some black coal output. [RenewEconomy]

Acciona wind farm

US:

¶ “Sunrun Installs 91 MW In Mixed Second Quarter” • In its second-quarter earnings report, US residential solar company Sunrun confirmed itself as the country’s leading solar installer for the quarter by installing a total of 91 MW of new capacity. It was Sunrun’s best ever quarter, despite earnings that were well below expectations. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Maryland launches a community solar power pilot program” • A new community solar power pilot program has been launched in Maryland. About 200 MW in community solar projects have been authorized so far by the General Assembly, over three years. This amount of power is about equal to providing electricity to about 40,000 homes. [Hydrogen Fuel News]

Community solar project

¶ “Traverse City Light & Power Board Votes To Use 100 Percent Renewable Energy By 2040” • Traverse City, Michigan, is now one step closer to running on 100% renewable energy. In a five to one vote, The Traverse City Light & Power board voted to accept a three-step plan with an end goal of getting 100% of their energy from renewable sources by 2040. [9&10 News]

¶ “Kit Carson’s new solar farm a step on the path toward 100% renewables” • Another 4,000 solar panels have been erected in the service territory of Taos-based Kit Carson Electric Cooperative. Kit Carson now has 10 MW of solar capacity, enough to supply 25% of the daytime load of the coop members. And it says more is coming. [Mountain Town News]

Have a fabulously worthwhile day.

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August 14 Energy News

August 14, 2018

Science and Technology:

¶ “Minesto to fly Wales kite” • Minesto, a Swedish company, is poised to start subsea testing of its 500-kW tidal kite off the coast of Wales after completing initial commissioning sea trials. The company said the DG500 will undergo “flying” full subsea trajectories off Holyhead as part of the next phase of tests, which cover power take-off and generation. [reNews]

DG500 tidal kite (Minesto image)

¶ “New ‘flow battery’ could charge electric vehicles in seconds, say researchers” • A new type of energy storage system could revolutionise energy storage and drop the charging time of electric cars from hours to seconds, claim its creators. Electric cars based on the flow battery could be charged in seconds, as the electrolyte is a pumpable liquid. [Envirotec]

¶ “Renewable Energy Could “Effectively Be Free” by 2030, Says UBS Analyst” • A research analyst at Swiss investment bank UBS believes the cost of energy renewables could be so near to zero by 2030 “it will effectively be free.” Renewables could soon be less expensive than all other energy sources, and that this “is great news for the planet.” [Inverse]

Wind turbines

World:

¶ “National Energy Guarantee endorsed by Coalition party room despite backbench concern” • Australia’s Coalition party room approved the plan for the NEG after debate, in which former prime minister Tony Abbott expressed strong concerns. The NEG aims to cut emissions in the electricity sector by 26%, decrease energy bills, and ensure reliability. [ABC News]

¶ “731.5 Megawatt Borssele III & IV Offshore Wind Farms Reach Financial Close” • The Blauwwind Consortium announced that it had reached financial close on the Borssele III/IV wind farms set to be constructed in the Dutch North Sea with a total installed capacity of 731.5 MW. Commercial power production is expected to begin in 2021. [CleanTechnica]

Gwynt y Mor wind farm

¶ “62% Of Capacity Added In Q2 2018 In India Came From Solar” • According to latest data released by various agencies of the Indian government, India added more solar power capacity in Q2 2018 than in any second quarter. A total of 1,372 MW of solar power capacity was added during the quarter. That was 62% of capacity change. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Female Solar Engineers Bring Hope To Farmers In Togo” • In Agome-Sevah, a village in the southeast of Togo, farmers are now smiling and hope to rise out of poverty due to solar electricity installed in the entire village by four illiterate women. One maize farmer said his wife would no longer have to walk miles to have corn ground. [CleanTechnica]

Installing a solar system (Photo: Lar Bolands)

¶ “India Cancels 2.4 GW of Solar Capacity Awarded In Largest Tender” • In a shocking decision by the Solar Energy Corporation of India, five major solar developers lost 2.4 GW of capacity they had secured last month in the. The reason given for the action was that the spread of price bids was too wide, and that the tariff bids quoted were high. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Ratch’s 42.5-MW solar project in Queensland delivers first power” • The 42.5-MW Collinsville solar project in Queensland has started to generate electricity, according to developer Ratch Australia Corp. The project is undergoing a staged testing and commissioning process and is expected to reach full commercial operation in September. [Renewables Now]

Collinsville Solar PV Project (collinsvillesolar.com.au)

¶ “First virtual power plant enters UK Balancing Mechanism” • Energy technology innovator Limejump entered the Balancing Mechanism with the first virtual power plant admitted into the market. UK regulator Ofgem allowed the move after Limejump built a portfolio of renewable generators, batteries, and demand response assets. [Power Engineering International]

¶ “Renewables step into the breach to counteract power plant problems during Europe’s heat wave” • Europe’s summer heat wave has had a significant impact on power plants, with nuclear and coal plants either reducing their output or closing down temporarily. Renewables compensated for serious shutdowns and curtailments over the summer months. [REVE]

Wind turbine in a desert

¶ “Blow for coal power as EU carbon emissions price hits 10-year high” • The amount polluters pay for emitting carbon in the EU has hit a 10-year high, in a blow for coal power station owners and a boost for renewable energy. The price of carbon in the bloc’s emissions trading scheme reached €18 (£16, $20.55) per tonne, triple the level of a year ago. [The Guardian]

US:

¶ “Of New Power Generation, How Much is on the Roof? Quarterly Update – 2018 Q1” • Over the past year, distributed generation, which is electricity produced locally from rooftop solar on homes and businesses or in nearby community solar gardens, has provided on average 18.5% of the electric power that came from new capacity. [CleanTechnica]

Please click on the image to enlarge it.

¶ “EIA Data Undermines Trump’s Love Affair With Coal and Nuclear” • Reports published over recent weeks by the Energy Information Administration and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission show that coal and nuclear continue their decline across the country. Meanwhile installations of renewable energy continue to increase. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Siemens to help California city save millions through solar energy” • An energy savings performance contract with Siemens will allow the city of Wasco to use energy savings to fund a solar project situated on a former burn dump. The renewable energy produced will help offset approximately 60% of the city’s current energy usage. [pv magazine USA]

Have a thoroughly copacetic day.

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August 13 Energy News

August 13, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “People are not the worst – they are the only hope for the planet” • If we attribute the ruination of the planet to human nature, we are essentially giving up. If we blame everyone, we let the real culprits of the hook, seeing the multinational that pumps pollutants into the atmosphere as like to the pensioner who has forgotten his recycled bag. [The Guardian]

Pro-Earth (Photo: Etienne Laurent | EPA)

¶ “Consumers are not the big winners out of National Energy Guarantee” • As with any policy change, it is worth asking who benefits from the NEG. The answers include Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg, and the big three energy companies – AGL, Origin and Energy Australia. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

World:

¶ “Electric Car Growth Produces Battery Shortages, Carmakers Cannot Match Production With Demand” • The rapidly increasing demand for successful, fairly affordable, long-range EVs has taken both battery manufacturers and car companies by surprise. For car makers, demand exceeded expectations, and battery shortages are evident. [CleanTechnica]

Mercedes EQA Concept

¶ “Five-Fold Growth In Solar Panels On Commercial Buildings” • A “perfect storm” of rising energy prices, improved technology, and cheaper prices has led to a five-fold growth in the number of Australian commercial premises now installing alternative sources of energy such as solar panels. The increase has come to 400% in three years. [Commercial Real Estate News]

¶ “Weather alarms highlight need to accelerate low-carbon economy” • India is seeing its weather patterns changing, and researchers believe climate change may not only challenge the country’s development pathways but also pose a serious threat to its economy. A World Bank report said climate change could cost India 2.8% of its GDP. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Pollution

¶ “Barking: Coalition back-benchers promised a world of coal” • Reports in the Daily Telegraph and the Australian Financial Review said the Turnbull government was committing to “underwrite” multi billion dollar investments to build new coal-fired generators as way of getting the National Energy Guarantee past Coalition back-benchers. [RenewEconomy]

¶ “Amid Kerala floods, IMD issues heavy rain warning for Uttarakhand” • Even as Kerala battled floods, state-run weather forecaster India Meteorological Department has issued very-heavy rain warning for Uttrakhand as well, raising concerns over India’s vulnerability to extreme rainfall events which have recorded a steady rise over recent years. [Livemint]

Uttrakhand flash floods in 2013 (Photo: PTI)

¶ “China sets up International Investment Alliance for Renewable Energy” • Although the Chinese government has recently scaled back solar energy development, it has created a new, large alliance to reach more foreign markets. In addition to focusing on the shipment of PV modules, it will also address financing, EPC, and O&M services. [pv magazine International]

¶ “Iran Responds to Trump Sanctions by Importing Uranium” • Days after President Trump signed an executive order reinstating economic sanctions, Iran announced they will bring back the second batch of uranium that was transferred to Russia as part of the nuclear deal. Iran reopened a nuclear power plant that had been idle for nine years. [Breaking Israel News]

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaking at the Bushehr
Nuclear Plant (Hossein Heidarpour, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ “UH Mānoa launches ambitious renewable energy project” • Several rooftop PV systems at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, including a large PV canopy on the top deck of the main parking structure, will generate about 2 MW of electricity. The PVs are part of a new effort to move the campus toward its goal of net-zero electricity use. [UH System Current News]

¶ “Many Hoped for a Rebound in Kentucky Coal Jobs Under Trump; It Has Not Happened” • The number of coal jobs edged downward in Kentucky between April and the end of June, illustrating the continued struggles the industry has faced despite President Donald Trum’s campaign promise to “put our miners back to work.” [hamodia.com]

Coal mining, largely without miners

¶ “Maryland opens solar-power subscriptions to all” • Solar developers, offering discounted electric rates, are looking for hundreds of subscribers for six Maryland power projects. The General Assembly authorized the pilot program in 2015, but local opposition and concerns about the loss of agricultural land have slowed progress. [Washington Post]

¶ “Utility companies may soon provide loans for energy upgrades” • Alaskan utility companies are looking at offering loans for energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy systems to be paid back through “on-bill financing” on monthly utility bills. Loans can be for solar panels, heating systems, or high-efficiency appliances. [KTUU.com]

Have an enjoyably worthwhile day,

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August 12 Energy News

August 12, 2018

Science and Technology:

¶ “Airbus Zephyr Solar Powered Plane Sets New Record, Stays Aloft For 26 Days” • An Airbus Zephyr S solar-powered plane took off from Arizona on July 11 and stayed aloft for 25 days, 23 hours, and 57 minutes. The plane has a wingspan of 82 feet and weighs a feather-light 165 pounds. Its two propellers were powered by solar panels and batteries. [CleanTechnica]

Airbus Zephyr S

¶ “Black Widow Spiders Are Heading North Due To Climate Change” • As the climate change warms, black widow spiders are moving north. Canadian researchers published a report saying that over the past 60 years the northernmost point black widow spiders live has moved north, into southern Canada. They believe this is due to climate change. [Newsweek]

¶ “Mountain Goats Influenced By Climate Change” • US wildlife scientists are studying mountain goats, which they believe could reveal important information not only about climate change, but how it affects wildlife. Observing wild animals in their natural environments is no small task, as a fair amount of treacherous terrain must be tackled. [Gaming Post]

Mountain goats in the Yukon

World:

¶ “Shanghai Government Opens Arms To Tesla Gigafactory 3” • According to an official Shanghai government video, Tesla’s Chinese gigafactory will be in “Lingang.”  This would seem to be Nanhui New City, a planned urban area that is a bit infamous as a ghost city. The population of the city may begin with the large number of Tesla employees. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Surge in number of community-owned renewable energy projects in Scotland” • The Community Empowerment Act and the Local Energy Challenge Fund are among efforts that have helped communities develop their own low-carbon energy. Now 456 Scottish communities benefit from wind, solar, hydro, heat pump, and biomass projects. [The National]

Westruther, Scotland (Renata, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Israel to stop using coal by 2025-2030” • Israel will stop using coal between 2025 and 2030, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said. The governmental decided to close four out of eight coal units at Israel’s power stations by the summer of 2022. The four coal units produce a quarter of Israel’s air pollution, according to the ministry. [SundiataPost]

¶ “Mexico’s largest wind farm to be inaugurated Monday” • A new wind farm that will be Mexico’s largest and one of the biggest in Latin America is being inaugurated in Reynosa, Tamaulipas. The $600-million Reynosa I project will have the capacity to produce 424 MW of energy, which is enough to supply the annual power needs of 900,000 people. [Mexico News Daily]

Reynosa I wind farm in Tamaulipas

¶ “Vestas to deliver 112 MW turnkey solution for Palisade’s Granville Harbour Wind Farm, will power more than 46,000 Tasmanian households” • Palisade Investment Partners Limited ordered 112 MW of Vestas wind turbines for a wind farm in Tasmania. The wind farm will provide power for over 46,000 local homes. [Bay City Observer]

¶ “Russia on an international offensive to sell its nuclear plants” • Russia is stepping up its overseas sales of nuclear power plants, with state-run nuclear energy company Rosatom agreeing in July to cooperate in building a plant in the Central Asian country of Uzbekistan and reaching an accord with China to build a plant in that country. [Nikkei Asian Review]

Installing a reactor dome (Getty Images)

US:

¶ “Xcel Energy wants Pueblo City Council’s support on energy plan” • Xcel Energy’s area manager for Southern Colorado wants the Pueblo City Council’s support for the utility’s Colorado Energy Plan. It calls for decommissioning two coal-fired units at its Comanche Station south of Pueblo and replacing them with solar and wind power. [Pueblo West View]

¶ “California’s Climate Goals May Go Up in Smoke Because of Recent Wildfires” • California blazes are spewing enough carbon into the air to undo some of the good done by the state’s climate policies. What is even worse is that climate-warming compounds will continue to be released by the charred forests long after the fires are extinguished. [Times of San Diego]

Fire in Orange County (Courtesy Cleveland National Forest)

¶ “Green groups to protest Canadian, New England leaders’ meeting in Stowe” • Vermont environmental groups will protest at the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers conference in Stowe, starting August 12. The 350Vermont and the Sierra Club are among those saying regional leaders have done little to stem climate change. [vtdigger.org]

¶ “Protecting the power grid: TVA beefs up security as cyber threats grow” • Within the Tennessee Valley Authority’s new cybersecurity center, where two dozen computer technology specialists stare at their terminals to scan email messages, twitter feeds, and network activity looking to spot any signs of cyber threats. [Chattanooga Times Free Press]

TVA cybersecurity center

¶ “SunCrate© and Leading Technology Providers Deliver Critical Power Support to Puerto Rico School Children” • Eleven months after Hurricane Maria, 140 students in the picturesque Yabucoa district have reliable power for their school. Electricity is provided by an innovative module pioneered by SunCrate Energy with Black & Veatch support. [The Bakersfield Californian]

¶ “Monsanto ordered to pay $289 million as jury rules weed-killer caused man’s cancer” • A jury ruled that Monsanto was liable for a terminally ill man’s cancer, awarding $289 million in damages. The jury found that the company had “fought science” and had neglected to warn him of the dangers of its product, Roundup. Monsanto said it will appeal. [The Guardian]

Have a stunningly lovely day.

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August 11 Energy News

August 11, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “5 GW of renewable plans hang in the balance following re-enaction of Iranian sanctions” • President Trump re-imposed sanctions on Iran while many solar companies were actively developing massive project pipelines. These are now in jeopardy, even with the recently imposed EU blocking statute designed to protect them. [pv magazine International]

Solar array (Image: Gruppo Maresca)

Science and Technology:

¶ “Smoke Alert: Thick plume triggers weekend air alert for all of Minnesota” • A huge smoke plume is pushing across Minnesota. Rising from wildfires in western Canada, it covers much of North America. We may not be able to blame climate change for an individual smoke event, but we can blame it for their increased frequency. [Minnesota Public Radio News]

World:

¶ “Africa’s mini grid sector preparing to take off” •  Universal access to electricity by 2030 may require investments in mini-grids of $187 billion, with sub-Saharan Africa the most important region. The Africa Mini-grid Developers Association was launched last April with a fund for results-based financing promoting mini-grids as one of its objectives. [Renewables Now]

Rural Ethiopia (Photo: Ninara)

¶ “Algeria seeks to have schools run on renewable energy” • The Algerian Minister of Interior, the Minister of Interior and Local Government, and local authorities said the government plans to equip all primary schools in the country with renewable energy in the next three years. Nationwide, 500 schools are already solar powered. [The North Africa Post]

¶ “Wello set to ride Scots wave” • Finnish wave developer Wello is on track to install the second of three 1-MW Penguin devices at the European Marine Energy Centre off Orkney by the year-end. The device, with improved power, is being constructed at the Netaman shipyard in the Estonian capital Tallinn is expected to be completed in the autumn. [reNews]

Penguin wave device (Wello image)

¶ “Peak Power Deploying Energy Storage to Target Rising Global Adjustment Charges” • Peak Power, headquartered in Toronto, has signed an agreement with Starlight Investments, to install up to 2350 kW of energy storage systems that can deliver 4700 kWh of energy in Toronto. The project could save up to 25% on electric bills. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ “Prime Minister Chastanet, President Clinton, And President Figueres Open Historic 3-MW Solar Farm In Saint Lucia” • Pres Bill Clinton, Saint Lucia Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, former President Figueres of Costa Rica, and Rocky Mountain Institute’s trustees officially opened a 3-MW solar farm of the St Lucia Electricity Services Limited. [STL.News]

Solar array

US:

¶ “California wildfires: Thousands evacuated as Lake Elsinore threatened” • More than 21,000 people have been evacuated from the path of a fast-moving wildfire in Southern California. The blaze, called the Holy fire, threatened homes around Lake Elsinore in Orange County. The fire is just one of at least 18 wildfires raging across California. [BBC]

¶ “Electric Flight Dominates Air Mobility News At The 2018 International EAA AirVenture Oshkosh Event” • This year’s 2018 EAA AirVenture Oshkosh was well worth the travel to get there, as it aimed to show a clearer picture of our near future mobility. Electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft, air taxis, and electric planes are getting popular. [CleanTechnica]

The Black Fly, a personal air mobility vehicle

¶ “At America First Energy Conference, solar power is dumb, climate change is fake” • Messages from the America First Energy Conference included that pumping out carbon dioxide makes the planet greener, the UN puts out fake science about climate change to control the global energy market, and wind and solar energy are simply “dumb.” [New York Post]

¶ “Renewable energy employment in Indiana surges” • More than 83,000 Indiana residents work at clean energy jobs according to Clean Energy Trust analysis. That is more than all the waiters and waitresses, computer programmers, lawyers, and web developers in Indiana combined, according to data from the Department of Labor Employment Statistics. [Country 103.9 WRBI]

Clean energy

¶ “Two Wisconsin utilities are increasing solar and wind power as they dramatically cut coal use to combat climate change” • The two largest public utilities in Wisconsin are making bigger stakes in renewable energy and pledge far deeper cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases than previously predicted. They are reducing their use of coal. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

¶ “Rural electric cooperatives look at cutting the cord” • More Colorado electric co-ops are looking for ways divorce themselves from wholesale provider Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association. Several have complained about Tri-State’s power costs and the wholesaler-imposed limits on developing local renewable energy. [The Durango Herald]

Solar array (Courtesy of Kit Carson Electric Cooperative)

¶ “Tucson Power Plant Switching From Coal To Natural Gas” • A Tucson power plant will replace two coal-fired generators with ten natural-gas engines. The old units were installed in the 1950s, and the move to natural gas will lead to lower emissions overall. But the change will mean more nitrogen oxide pollution which leads to higher ozone levels. [KJZZ]

¶ “US nuclear units shut as low power prices threaten more retirements” • When Exelon’s Oyster Creek nuclear plant is taken off the grid at the end of September and permanently shuts down, it will mark the start of a busy period of US nuclear power plant closures driven by low power prices that are placing dozens more units at risk. [S&P Global Platts]

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August 10 Energy News

August 10, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “The NEG’s failure to factor in climate change will cost our Pacific neighbours dearly” • As political leaders from across the country meet to determine the fate of the embattled National Energy Guarantee, they must be under no illusion as to how Australia’s backwardness on climate change is perceived by our Pacific island neighbours. [ABC News]

Children and the sea (Photo: Darren James)

World:

¶ “Ontario’s provincial power company buys US renewable energy firm for $388 Million” • Ontario’s government-owned power company is making its first foray outside the province. It made a deal to buy Eagle Creek Renewable Energy, based in New Jersey, for $388 million. Eagle Creek’s 63 small hydropower facilities have a total 216 MW of capacity. [National Observer]

¶ “Siemens Gamesa Norway joy” • Siemens Gamesa is to supply 51 wind turbines totalling 208 MW to the Engie’s Tonstad wind farm in Norway. The order covers the turbines well as a long-term service agreement. Electricity from the project will be sold to a subsidiary of Norwegian aluminium producer Hydro under a 25-year power purchase agreement. [reNews]

Wind turbine (Image: Siemens Gamesa)

¶ “Mainstream Aurora rises in Chile” • Mainstream Renewable Power has installed the first of 43 turbines at its 129-MW Aurora wind farm in Chile. The $210 million project will comprise Senvion 3-MW machines with heights of 180 metres and rotor diameters of 122 metres. The project is located in the Los Lagos region of southern Chile. [reNews]

¶ “Portugal Announces Extensive Solar Power Plans During Record-Breaking Heat Wave” • After getting 103% of its national electricity needs in March from renewables, the country proved that it is indeed becoming a green energy leader. Hydro supplies 55% of Portugal’s renewable energy, and 42% is from wind; now it is turning to solar power. [South EU Summit]

Hydropower project in Portugal (Wikimedia Commons)

Australia:

¶ “Energy plan shuts out WA and risks $2 billion in renewables investment, McGowan government says” • Western Australia says the NEG excluded it in a move that creates investment uncertainty and threatens $2 billion worth of renewable energy projects. The head of the board that drafted the policy, described the concerns as “silly.” [The Sydney Morning Herald]

¶ “States give conditional support to National Energy Guarantee, but more talks to come” • The Turnbull Government is a step closer to settling a national policy on electricity and emissions. The Federal Government released a draft of the energy bill and the states will now wait to see what happens in Coalition party discusses of the policy next week. [ABC News]

Mt Miller wind farm

¶ “National Energy Guarantee to next be discussed on Tuesday” • Energy ministers agreed in-principle to support the NEG. If a Coalition party room meeting agrees and energy ministers give it final approval, a draft legislation on changes to current law will be released for public consultation over a four-week period before Parliament considers it. [Tasmania Examiner]

¶ “Flow Power contract to underpin Windlab’s new Queensland wind farm” • Flow Power, a rapidly expanding business-focused retailer, has signed another contract with a new renewable energy project, the Lakeland wind farm, adding to the growing portfolio of wind and solar projects it is using to deliver cheaper electricity to corporate customers. [RenewEconomy]

Musselroe wind farm

US:

¶ “US Renewables Are Closing In on Nuclear Generation” • The US nuclear industry has been stalled for decades. Now cheap wind and solar deployments are taking a lead over it. In the first five months of 2018, renewables produced 20.17% of US electricity and nuclear produced 20.14%, according to data from the Energy Information Administration. [Greentech Media]

¶ “Danish Firm Moving big into U.S. Wind Energy Development” • Danish offshore wind farm developer Ørsted is making a big move onshore by acquiring a major renewable energy company in the US. Ørsted announced it is buying 100% of Lincoln Clean Energy for about $580 million (€500 million ) from I Squared Capital. [Electric Light & Power]

Parts waiting to be assembled into a wind turbine

¶ “Richard Branson-Owned Clean Energy Firm Buys Solar Plant Damaged By Hurricane Maria” • BMR Energy, a clean energy company owned by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, has stepped in to acquire a 4-MW solar plant on St Croix which was damaged by Hurricane Maria and has been running below 45% capacity ever since. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Missouri’s clean energy industry is growing but some employers say hiring is not easy” • Clean energy companies in Missouri are finding it difficult to hire qualified workers, even as the number of residents in the state working in energy efficiency, electric transportation, and renewable energy grows. The shortage of job seekers could take its toll. [KBIA]

Solar array in Missouri (Maria Altman | St Louis Public Radio)

¶ “NY examines offshore links” • The New York Power Authority is leading a study into European offshore wind transmission models to help guide development of the sector. The study will assess best practices for connecting offshore wind projects to mainland grids and examine ways costs have been reduced, focusing on physical design. [reNews]

¶ “Walmart Releases Global Responsibility Report, Inches Closer to 100% Renewable Energy Goal” • Walmart released a summary of its eleventh annual Global Responsibility Report, highlighting the company’s progress in fiscal year 2018 to increase economic opportunity, strengthen local communities, and enhance supply chain sustainability. [Energy Manager Today]

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August 9 Energy News

August 9, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “You probably have no idea just how much water is needed to produce electricity” • Despite the growth of renewable-energy, most electricity is still generated by fossil fuel or nuclear fuel. The trouble is that thermal electricity generation, a category that includes coal, natural gas, and nuclear power, does not just require fuel, but also a lot of water. [Quartz]

Thermal power plant (Photo: Yves Herman | Reuters)

¶ “What Are Coastal Nuclear Power Plants Doing to Address Climate Threats?” • By the time the $25 billion Hinkley Point C nuclear station is finished, possibly in 2028, the concrete seawall will be enough, the UK regulator and French engineers say, to withstand the strongest storm surge, the greatest tsunami and the highest sea-level rise. But will it? [Ensia]

¶ “US Wind Industry ‘Full Steam Ahead’ Despite Wind Catcher Cancellation” • It’s American Wind Week, and the U.S. wind industry has a lot to celebrate. Wind power has become the country’s largest source of renewable energy capacity. Today, the industry employs more than 105,000 U.S. workers and is building more power than ever before. [Greentech Media]

Invenergy wind farm (Photo:Invenergy)

World:

¶ “$20 Billion Pledged For Middle Eastern Energy Projects By Chinese President” • Loans of $20 billion and $1.6 billion in financial aid was recently pledged by Chinese President Xi Jinping to countries in the Middle East to help boost economic growth. The aid will be used for projects involving oil and gas, nuclear power, and clean energy.

 [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Newest Solar Tenders In Egypt Come In Under 3 Cents Per kWh” • The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is leading a campaign to bring 1.4 GW of solar power to Egypt. One of the 16 proposed projects is the 200-MW Kom Ombo. The bid from Fotowatio Renewable Ventures was the lowest, at just under 2.8¢/kWh. [CleanTechnica]

Egyptian solar array (Credit: Complete Energy Solutions)

¶ “TRIG profit surges 51%” • The Renewables Infrastructure Group saw its pre-tax profit increase 51% to £47.3 million in the first half of 2018, up from £31.3 million in the same period of last year. The company said its results were boosted by higher than expected power prices and increased output, which helped offset slower wind speeds. [reNews]

¶ “Eon green earnings grow” • Eon reported adjusted earnings from renewables up 15% to €236 million in the first six months of 2018, from €205 million last year. The German company said the growth was due to increased output came despite unfavourable wind conditions, as a result of newly commissioned onshore and offshore wind farms. [reNews]

Humber Gateway offshore wind farm (Eon image)

¶ “UK government to review role of wind, solar, links in capacity market” • The UK government has opened a review of the Capacity Market to ensure the policy remains fit for purpose five years after introduction. Participation of wind and solar could increase competition, auction liquidity and value for money for consumers. [S&P Global Platts]

¶ “Dairy giant to power cheese plant with 100% renewable energy” • Dairy manufacturer Dale Farm, based in Northern Ireland, has announced that it is now running one of its cheese manufacturing plants with 100% renewable energy after bringing its own solar farm online earlier this month. The 5-MW solar plant is co-located with a cheese plant. [edie.net]

Solar farm at the cheese facility (Photo: Brian Morrison)

US:

¶ “If You Blinked, You Missed The Big Offshore Wind News – Almost!” • The mighty offshore wind energy beast of the USA is finally beginning to stir, just in time to celebrate American Wind Week. The White House has been notably silent on American Wind Week so far, but the DOE has been filling in the gaps with some vigorous shout-outs. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Illinois solar program continues to develop, solar job numbers begin to grow” • The Illinois Power Agency made more moves toward full operation of solar programs under the Future Energy Jobs Act by launching the Adjustable Block Program website for potential vendors of PV systems. The site will be open for vendor registration in November. [pv magazine USA]

Solar installation (Photo: Cadmus Group)

¶ “Solar With Storage Surges as Gas Falls” • Solar-with-storage projects are surging in many states by beating gas plants on economics and reliability. By 2026, the US is expected to add storage capacity equal to 35 nuclear plants, generating $4 billion in annual savings. Some big utilities are already replacing gas facilities with batteries. [Common Dreams]

¶ “Largo, Florida, Commits To 100% Clean Energy” • The city commission of Largo, Florida, approved the city’s commitment to transition to 100% clean, renewable energy. Largo, which is located in the Tampa Bay Area, represents the fourth city in Florida and the 75th in the U.S. to establish this goal, according to the Sierra Club. [Solar Industry]

Trees in Florida

¶ “Kewaunee farm breaks ground on renewable energy project” • A dairy farm in Wisconsin is turning waste into energy. Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy broke ground on a project that will create renewable natural gas from dairy cow manure. It is the second anaerobic digester in the country whose product will refined to fuel vehicles. [Fox11online.com]

¶ “Costs For Vogtle Nuclear Expansion Jump By $1.1 Billion” • The expansion at the Vogtle nuclear plant, already years late and billions over budget, will cost an additional $1.1 billion. In their second quarter 2018 earnings call, company officials told investors the estimated cost to complete the project increased from $7.3 billion to $8.4 billion. [WABE 90.1 FM]

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August 8 Energy News

August 8, 2018

World:

¶ “China’s Qinghai province runs on renewables for 216 hours” • Qinghai province reached a milestone for renewable energy by running on renewables for a full 216-hour period. The province was powered entirely by wind, solar and hydropower for nine days at the end of June, according to wind turbine manufacturer Goldwind. [Energy Digital]

Qinghai

¶ “Polish Government Approves Amendment To Support More Renewable Energy” • An amendment was approved by the upper house of the Polish parliament to support more investment in green energy. This might be a step in the right direction for a country which relies heavily on coal, but it still needs to receive the President’s signature. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Ireland Approves Renewable Energy Support Scheme, Aiming For 2019 Auction” • In late July, the Irish Government approved its long-awaited Renewable Electricity Support Scheme. The first RESS auction is set to take place next year and is designed to deliver “shovel ready” projects to get Ireland back on track to meet EU emissions goals. [CleanTechnica]

Irish wind farm

¶ “Dominican Republic to add 240 MW of wind, solar in coming months” • A Dominican Republic Electrical Industry Association announcement said that 240.3 MW of wind and solar projects will be connected to its grid in the coming months. Five large-scale renewable energy projects include 182.3 MW of wind power and 58 MW of solar capacity. [Renewables Now]

¶ “City of Strasbourg pushing a green revolution with geothermal as large part of it” • A few km north of Strasbourg, a well drilled to a depth of 4,680 m can get water at 220° C, the hottest well of France at this depth. The site will eventually supply a hot water and heating network for public institutions, businesses, and over 20,000 housing units. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

Strasbourg (Valentin R | flickr, creative commons)

¶ “France approves 720 MW of new solar power” • The French government gave the go ahead to 103 new solar power projects. The Ministry of Ecology and Solidary Transition said they represent an estimated 720 MW of power capacity. France has a target set by the ministry to tender 2,450 MW of new solar energy each year. [Climate Action Programme]

¶ “British Virgin Islands Turn To Renewable Energy After Hurricane Irma” • With winds of 185 miles per hour, Irma left the British Virgin Islands with 400 miles of uprooted electrical cables. Like most small islands, BVI depended on traditional energy sources, but post-Irma they have found new opportunities with renewable energy. [Green Matters]

Cruz Bay St Johns

Australia:

¶ “Victoria toughens negotiating stance on national energy guarantee” • The state of Victoria made four demands for its approval of Australia’s NEG. Emissions reduction targets must increase over time; future targets will need to be set by regulation; the targets will need to be set every three years; and the emissions registry must be fully transparent. [The Guardian]

¶ “Blockchain enables Australia’s peer-to-peer power trading kick-off” • Cheap solar electricity will be traded among neighboring residents in apartment blocks in Western Australia, in a project supported by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. The trading scheme uses Power Ledger, a computer technology based on blockchain. [Energy Storage News]

Solar powered homes in Western Australia
(Smart Energy Council | Yolk Property Group)

¶ “Energy minister rejects Victorian demand” • Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg has torpedoed a list of demands from Victoria that could have secured the state’s support for the Turnbull government’s energy policy. State and territory energy ministers will meet with Mr Frydenberg in Sydney on Friday to discuss the design of the National Energy Guarantee. [SBS]

US:

¶ “Gulf Of Mexico Dead Zone Is 3 Times Larger Than Long-Term Targets” • NOAA predicts that the Gulf of Mexico dead zone, an area of low to no oxygen that can kill fish and other marine life, will be about average in dimension by the end of the summer. Unfortunately, that means the dead zone is three times larger than long-term established targets. [CleanTechnica]

Mississippi-Atchafalaya River Basin (EPA image)

¶ “Study Finds California Can Close 28 Natural Gas Plants Immediately Without Affecting Electricity Reliability” • California can retire at least 28 of its natural gas plants because they are not needed to meet its electricity needs and do not help for carbon emissions goals, analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists said. [Union of Concerned Scientists]

¶ “Raimondo vows emission curbs in energy plan” • Gov Gina Raimondo called for mandatory emissions restrictions in Rhode Island as part of her plan to remake the state’s energy system and increase investments in clean power sources. She announced her energy plan in the offices of Deepwater Wind, builder of the first US offshore wind farm. [newportri.com]

Block Island Wind Farm (Ionna22, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Partnership grow local renewable energy” • The Vermont Public Power Supply Authority and Encore Renewable Energy announced a partnership to pursue development of about 10 MW of solar capacity on behalf of VPPSA’s Member municipal utilities. Encore will lead design, development, financing, and construction of solar projects. [Vermont Biz]

¶ “NJ Politics Digest: Feds Might Quash State Plan to Have Residents Bail Out Nuke Plant” • Earlier this year, New Jersey adopted legislation forcing ratepayers to pay subsidies to help bail out a nuclear power plant. But the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled that state subsidies of nuclear and renewable energy are “unjust and unreasonable.” [Observer]

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August 7 Energy News

August 7, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Electric power sector reduces emissions with shift from coal” • While the President of the US has repeatedly signaled an interest in propping up the coal industry, the market has spoken to the contrary. Coal is being displaced by natural gas and renewable energy resources, this has led to a reduction in air pollutant from electricity generation. [Energy News Network]

Solar panels and a wind turbine

Science and Technology:

¶ “‘Hothouse Earth’ risks even if CO2 emissions slashed” • We could soon cross a threshold leading to boiling hot temperatures and towering seas in the centuries to come, researchers believe. Even if countries succeed in meeting their CO2 targets, we could still set off  irreversible changes. Their study shows this could happen if global warming is only 2° C. [BBC]

¶ “Climate change driven by humans made heat wave ‘twice as likely'” • Climate change caused by human activities made the current European heat wave more than twice as likely to occur, say scientists. Their preliminary report found that the “signal of climate change is unambiguous,” in this summer’s heat. The heat wave in the Arctic is unprecedented. [BBC]

Reservoir in the UK (Getty Image)

World:

¶ “Pope urges action on clean energy” • Pope Francis has said climate change is a challenge of “epochal proportions” and that the world must convert to clean fuel. “Civilisation requires energy, but energy use must not destroy civilisation,” he said. He was speaking to a group of oil company executives at the end of a two-day conference in the Vatican. [BBC]

¶ “China Installs 24.3 Gigawatts In First Half Of 2018” • China’s National Energy Administration announced last week that the country installed a total of 24.3 GW worth of new solar capacity throughout the first half of the year, made up of only 12.6 GW worth of utility-scale solar but an impressive 12.24 GW worth of distributed solar. [CleanTechnica]

Solar array over water

¶ “Senvion signs 205 MW wind energy project in Chile” • Senvion signed a conditional contract with GPG and Grupo Ibereólica Renovables to supply 89 wind turbines with a total wind power capacity of 204.7 MW for the Cabo Leones II wind farm in the Atacama region in Chile. It is Senvion’s largest project in the country. Installation will start in 2020. [REVE]

¶ “Scots bed down at Riffgrund 2” • Attollo Offshore, a Scottish outfit, deployed an accommodation vessel at Orsted’s 450-MW Borkum Riffgrund 2 offshore wind farm in the German North Sea. The vessel will provide accommodation and construction support for connecting and commissioning the project’s high voltage substation, Attollo said. [reNews]

Jack-up vessel (Image: Attollo Offshore)

¶ “Enel signs deal to build €1.2 billion wind farms in South Africa” • Enel has reached financial close on a fleet of new South African wind farms. The wind farms will provide South Africa with 700 MW of renewable energy capacity. Enel put up €230 million of its own money and secured €950 million in financing in a deal with Absa and Nedbank. [Climate Action Programme]

¶ “Germany Bulldozes Old Villages For Coal Despite Lower Emissions Goals” • Germany enjoys a reputation as a pioneer of clean energy. But centuries-old villages across the country are being bulldozed to make way to mine brown coal. Protestors are trying to save the 800-year-old village of Pödelwitz, with its medieval timber-framed buildings. [NPR]

Bulldozing medieval villages for this (Martin Meissner | AP)

US:

¶ “GTM Research Predicts More Battery Storage, Lower Prices For Residential Solar” • A study from GTM Research predicts that in five years, 90% of residential solar systems will include battery storage. In its most recent industry analysis, it goes on to predict the cost of residential solar will continue to drop from $2.95 per watt to $2.00 per watt by 2023. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “California wildfire declared ‘largest in state’s history'” • The Mendocino Complex Fire has grown to become the largest active wildfire in the history of California, officials said. The fires have spread rapidly in recent days to burn 283,800 acres. Governor Jerry Brown has spoken of devastating wildfires fuelled by climate change as “the new normal.” [BBC]

California firefighters (Reuters image)

¶ “Kona Brewing Company Signs PPA for Solar-Plus-Battery Storage” • Kona Brewing Co signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with EnSync, Inc and a subsidiary to build a solar-plus-battery system for a new brewery being built in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. The system is expected to meet a quarter of the brewery’s electricity needs. [Energy Manager Today]

¶ “How Wyoming Wind Farms Help Idaho Replace Coal” • Idaho is in a bit of a pickle when it comes to energy security, but a new development hints at a way out. State regulators approved a $2 billion, 1,150-MW group of four new wind farms that can take Idaho out of its wind energy doldrums and help stabilize weaknesses in its electricity plan. [CleanTechnica]

Wind farm

¶ “Maui Electric Establishes Local Partnerships to Stabilize Grid” • Maui Electric Company, along with commercial and industrial customers, filled the current capacity of its expanded Fast Demand Response program this month. The program is set up to help businesses save on their electric bills and maintain grid stability with renewable resources. [Maui Now]

¶ “SC electric rates to drop Tuesday after judge denies SCE&G bid to block 15-percent cut” • A federal judge allowed a temporary rate cut opposed by utility SCE&G to take effect in South Carolina. The legal issue started when SCE&G abandoned construction of two new nuclear reactors after collecting ratepayer money to build the reactors. [The State]

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August 6 Energy News

August 6, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “What should be India’s priority: Energy security or ‘America first’?” • Speculation is rife that oil imports from Iran could slow down from August when some US sanctions against Tehran take effect. However, for now, there is reason to cheer for those who want to see India stand its ground and refuse to buckle under the US pressure. [Modern Diplomacy]

Oil pump jacks

¶ “Sub-zero power prices: traditional power plants battle a problem South Africans will envy” • Wind and solar farms are sprouting up in more areas, pushing power prices to zero or even below more often in more places. That is adding to headaches for generators from NRG Energy in California to RWE in Germany and Origin Energy in Australia. [Business Day]

Science and Technology:

¶ “Fusion start-ups hope to revolutionize energy in the coming decades” • A group of start-up companies hopes to capitalize on nuclear fusion to turn abundant fuels into carbon-neutral energy. They want to commercialize fusion by the 2030s to sell energy and address climate change. [Chemical & Engineering News] (Half of the fuel is tritium, a synthetic isotope. GHH)

General Fusion’s main reactor (General Fusion image)

World:

¶ “LGUs going green, rejecting coal projects” • More Philippine local government units (LGUs) are likely to turn their backs on coal with environmental and climate-justice advocates predicting a shift toward renewable energy and sustainable development. Over P1 trillion ($19 billion) of coal plants in the pipeline could become stranded assets. [Business Mirror]

¶ “Siemens Gamesa, Van Oord awarded €500 million Dutch wind farm contract” • Spanish wind turbine maker Siemens Gamesa was awarded a €500 million contract in the Netherlands, in partnership with Dutch marine contractor Van Oord. The 380-MW wind farm is to be built on Ijselmeer lake. It is expected to power around 30,000 households. [Energy Digital]

Offshore wind at sunset

¶ “World’s first thermal battery plant to be unveiled in Andhra Pradesh today” • The world’s first-ever facility to create thermal batteries is being inaugurated in Andhra Pradesh, ANI reported. The thermal batteries will be manufactured by Bharat Energy Storage Technology Private Limited. They are expected to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. [The Indian Express]

¶ “World now has 1 TW of wind and solar capacity, 2 TW expected in 2023” • The global wind and solar power capacity has reached 1 TW at the end of June and is expected to double in five years, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said. The 1,013 GW of currently installed capacity is almost equally divided between wind and solar. [Renewables Now]

Wind and solar together (Photo: Gerry Machen)

¶ “Clean power surges recast energy mix” • State Grid, China’s main power supplier that runs the majority of the nation’s electricity distribution networks, saw its new-energy power generation reach 187.1 billion kWh during the first five months of this year, a year-on-year increase of 41%. This comes as China is reducing greenhouse gas emissions. [China.org.cn]

Australia:

¶ “Australia’s Turnbull: ‘Now we are the land of droughts'” • Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull warned that Australia has become a “land of drought.” It is still winter, but 99% of New South Wales, which is Australia’s most populous state and provides around a quarter of the country’s agricultural output, is currently going through a drought. [BBC]

New South Wales (Reuters)

¶ “Energy stalemate deepens as governments dig in over climate action” • The Australian government says the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) will cut both costs and emissions. Critics say it will drive up power prices, stymie investment in renewables, and do little for the climate. The energy ministers must be unanimous to adopt it. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

¶ “Global wind energy giants blast weak emissions target in national plan” • Two of the world’s biggest wind turbine makers, GE and Goldwind, have weighed in against the NEG. They are calling for a more ambitious target because it may leave the electricity sector contributing only a tiny portion of Australia’s Paris climate goal. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

Australian wind turbine (Ben Cordia, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Most Australians want more renewables to help lower power prices – poll” • Over 70% of Australians want the government to set a high renewable energy target to put downward pressure on power prices, a ReachTel poll said. The poll was released as environmentalists are pressuring state governments to reject the NEG. [The Guardian]

US:

¶ “Facebook data center in Oregon to be supported by renewable energy” • A Facebook data center in Oregon is to be supported by 100% solar power under a new partnership with Pacific Power. The collaboration will see 437 MW of new solar power developments, including two projects in the Prineville area, Pacific Power said in a statement. [Parker City News]

Prineville (Ryoga-2003, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Facebook likes clean energy as corporate purchasing sets record” • Still trying to recover from the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook is the world’s biggest corporate buyer of renewable energy for 2018. BNEF figures show the company has already secured 1.1 GW of green power this year, leading record corporate purchases. [pv magazine International]

¶ “Renewable Jobs Goal in Doubt as Solar Jobs Decline” • Rhode Island’s green-energy industry is slowing down. Jobs grew 3.6% in 2017, after an increase of 11% in 2016 and 40% in 2015. The 561-job increase casts doubt on Gov Gina Raimondo’s goal of achieving 20,000 “clean-tech” jobs by 2020. As of the end of 2017, the sector had 15,866 jobs. [ecoRI news]

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August 5 Energy News

August 5, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Our climate plans are in pieces as killer summer shreds records” • Deadly fires have scorched swaths of the Northern Hemisphere this summer, from California to Arctic Sweden and down to Greece on the sunny Mediterranean. Drought in Europe has turned verdant land barren, while people in Japan and Korea are dying from record-breaking heat. [CNN]

California wildfire

¶ “A high-stakes debate looms on wildfire costs” • A raging debate is emerging over who should pay for the damage of California wildfires. PG&E and other utilities say it is unfair to make them pay for damage caused by power equipment, unless they were negligent. Under the present rules, utilities are on the hook regardless of fault. [Santa Rosa Press Democrat]

World:

¶ “How Investment in Renewable Energy Can Reduce Poverty in Zambia” • In the past, 98% of Zambia’s electricity came from hydro plants, but with a continuing drought, energy industry experts advise hydroelectric-reliant countries like Zambia to invest in alternative energy. The Zambian government has responded to the crisis with a number of initiatives. [Borgen Project]

Rooftop solar system in Zambia

¶ “India’s Renewable Investments Near $20 Billion” • For the first time in history, investing in India’s renewable energy sector surpassed that of traditional fossil fuel-based power production. India achieved this feat in 2017, according to the recent numbers released in the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Investment 2018 report. [OilPrice.com]

¶ “Conservative MPs who called for onshore wind ban out of step with constituents, poll reveals” • Three years ago, 79 Conservative MPs signed an open letter in which they called for a block on new onshore developments in England. New polling for 10:10 Climate Action suggests that nearly 75% of their constituents disagree with them. [The Independent]

Wind farm (Adrian Dennis | AFP | Getty Images)

¶ “New efforts at Edmonton Heritage Festival aim to make it more eco-friendly” • Thousands of people are expected to pass through Edmonton’s Heritage Festival this weekend and organizers are stepping up efforts to reduce the event’s carbon footprint. A large solar array with 42 modules was set up to power the newcomers tent at the festival. [Globalnews.ca]

¶ “Hot weather forces 4 French nuclear reactors to shut down” • Four French nuclear reactors in three power plants near the Rhine and the Rhone Rivers have had to be temporarily shut down. EDF said this was done to avoid overheating the rivers. Nuclear power plants use water from the rivers to cool their reactors, but this heats the rivers. [WTNH.com]

Fessenheim nuclear plant (Florival fr, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ “11 GW of Texas solar would complement existing wind power” • A study by UT-Austin finds that 11 GW of solar power would be the optimal capacity to complement existing wind generation in meeting electricity demand of Texas throughout the year. While the results reflect a carbon price scenario, they may still provide near-term guidance. [pv magazine USA]

¶ “Alliant Energy will eliminate coal from energy mix by 2050” • Alliant Energy says it will eliminate coal from its energy mix by 2050. The company also has a goal to cut carbon emissions by 80%. While the Paris Accord calls for reducing carbon 32% below 2005 levels by 2030, Alliant Energy’s plans enable a 40% reduction by that time. [REVE]

Power lines

¶ “AG Sides with Power-Plant Opponents in Water Case” • Rhode Island’s attorney general is supporting a court case that challenges the proposed Burrillville power plant. He filed an amicus brief, or letter of support, saying the town of Johnston is not allowed to sell water it buys from Providence to the proposed Clear River Energy Center. [ecoRI news]

¶ “Solar powering major portion of Ogden Rescue Mission” • In Utah, officials at the Ogden Rescue Mission say a PV system there will free up money to help Ogden’s homeless better. Work has been completed on a 131-panel rooftop solar array at the mission. Officials say it will help the organization save more than $6,000 a year on energy costs. [Standard-Examiner]

Ogden Rescue Mission PVs (Matt Herp | Standard-Examiner)

¶ “New solar farm to locate in Edgecombe” • Invenergy, which is based in Chicago, will be constructing a $100-million-plus solar farm in North Carolina. Reportedly, development and permitting are ongoing for the 600-acres Edgecombe Solar Farm. It is expected to bring $2.5 million in new tax revenue to Edgecombe County. [Rocky Mount Telegram]

¶ “Developer Franklin L. Haney reportedly offered $10 million to Trump attorney to help secure federal loan for Bellefonte” • The president’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, was offered $10 million to secure $5 billion in federal loan guarantees for development of a former TVA nuclear plant, The Wall Street Journal reported. [Chattanooga Times Free Press]

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August 4 Energy News

August 4, 2018

World:

¶ “Europe heat wave: Side effects felt by zoo animals, sprout farmers and more” • Europe could break an all-time temperature record in the next few days. And parts of southern Spain and Portugal are forecast to go above 47° C (116.6° F), surpassing national records. Here are photos of some of the things the heat wave has caused in Europe. [BBC]

Kebnekaise glacier, no longer the highest point in Sweden (AFP)

¶ “Germany’s power system weathers heat wave despite fossil plant curbs” • As Germany is in an extended heat wave and drought, with temperatures rising up to 40° C, some of its coal and nuclear power stations struggle to keep operations running because of cooling problems. But wind and solar power are meeting demand. [Clean Energy Wire]

¶ “Lloyds Banking Group Moves To Cease Financing New Coal-Fired Power” • Lloyds Banking Group announced new policies to solidify its support for the transition to a low-carbon economy by ceasing new funding for coal-fired power stations or thermal coal mines. This is a continuation of climate policies Lloyds already has in place. [CleanTechnica]

Lloyds Bank

¶ “Corporate Giants Are Buying so Much Clean Power This Year They Already Broke 2017’s Record” • Non-utility companies and agencies, acting to curb climate change have agreed to buy 7.2 GW of clean energy worldwide so far this year, already shattering the record of 5.4 GW for all of 2017, according to a report from Bloomberg NEF. [Bloomberg]

¶ “IFC-GAIA Partnership To Boost Africa’s Renewable Energy Development” • According to reports, the International Finance Corporation announced its partnership with Gaia Energy. The new platform will begin with a pipeline of 22 projects in nine countries in Africa and is expected to generate more than 3 GW of clean energy. [Technology Magazine]

Solar array

¶ “Subsidy-Free Solar Plant Inaugurated in Portugal” • A WElink Energy’s solar plant in Portugal has been inaugurated. The plant’s construction began in July 2017, and it has been in operation since last June. It is the first solar plant on the Iberian Peninsula, and one of the largest in Europe, to be developed without any public subsidies. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ “Enel and Carnegie Clean Energy to Collaborate on Wave Energy Generator Development” • Australian developer Carnegie Clean Energy Limited and Enel Green Power signed an agreement for developing CCE’s CETO 6 wave energy generator. They will work together to identify and develop opportunities for the CETO 6 system. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Wave energy system

¶ “UK power market transition: Big Six under pressure” • The UK’s Big Six energy firms’ market share of domestic customers is dwindling and fell to a record low in 2017, as smaller rivals lured customers away with cheaper deals. The six largest electricity suppliers’ market share dropped to 78% at the end of 2017 from 85% a year earlier. [Power Technology]

¶ “Drought-hit Queensland community welcomes ground-breaking renewable energy park” • A hybrid wind, solar, and battery storage facility, the first of its kind in Australia, is being built in Queensland. The Kennedy Energy Park will combine 12 wind turbines, 55,000 solar panels and 4 MWh of battery storage, to deliver an average of 50 MW. [ABC News]

Wind turbine blade (Nathalie Fernbach | ABC North Queensland)

US:

¶ “New York deals setback to $900M power plant in Joe Percoco corruption case” • New York’s environmental regulators dealt a setback to a controversial $900 million power plant set to open within weeks. The Department of Environmental Conservation denied a key air-quality permit renewal application for the gas-powered plant. [The Journal News | LoHud.com]

¶ “California’s EV Growth Benefits Outweigh Energy System Costs, Report Says” • Next 10, a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank, took a close look at how California’s grid might be challenged or helped by the rise of EVs. It found that with rapid EV growth, the energy system will require upgrades, but the costs are likely to be lower than the benefits. [Energy Manager Today]

Charging station (Jimmy Baikovicius | Flickr Creative Commons)

¶ “Cactus Flats Wind Facility in Texas is Operational” • Southern Power announced that the 148-MW Cactus Flats Wind Facility in Concho County, Texas is operational. The electric energy and associated renewable energy credits are being sold under two separate power purchase agreements with General Mills and General Motors. [PR Newswire]

¶ “Northam announces Coastal Virginia offshore wind energy demonstration project” • Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced that Dominion Energy is filing for State Corporation Commission approval to build an offshore wind demonstration project. Dominion Energy is partnering with Ørsted on the two-turbine project. [REVE]

Offshore windpower

¶ “Coal piles up at power plant as cheap natural gas wrecks Eastern Kentucky’s economy” • Kentucky Power’s Mitchell plant could not generate electricity as cheaply as facilities fueled by natural gas, so the regional grid manager has ordered power from it less often. It has a long-term contract to buy coal, which it wants to sell. [Lexington Herald Leader]

¶ “Construction in full swing at 221-MW wind project of Pattern Dev” • Pattern Development said today that construction on the 221-MW Grady Wind project in Curry County, New Mexico is getting fully underway. Grady Wind is expected to generate enough electricity to provide for the annual needs of almost 90,000 New Mexico homes. [Renewables Now]

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August 3 Energy News

August 3, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Reconciling energy and Indigenous rights” •  In 2007, Canada was one of four countries to vote against the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It signed in 2010, but has made little progress on the issue. Because it prioritizes oil sands, mining, fracking, and pipelines over indigenous rights, all its people suffer consequences. [Pique Newsmagazine]

Canadian pipeline (Shutterstock image)

¶ “More Signs That Renewable Energy Is Winning” • As the US administration rolls back environmental regulations, many observers have predicted that the trend to clean power would nevertheless continue. They were right. States are supporting clean power, corporate buyers are moving to wind and solar, and political bias is beginning to wilt. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ “More than 5,500 British churches to convert to renewable energy” • Over 5,500 British churches have decided to convert to renewable energy to fight climate change, as the greatest challenge of the time. They are not only Church of England congregations, but also many of the UK’s Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Quaker, and Salvation Army. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Salisbury Cathedral (Courtesy of Andrew Dunn)

¶ “Brett Martin sources power from 6.42-MWp Lightsource BP solar farm” • Specialist plastic products provider Brett Martin, based in Northern Ireland, said it is sourcing its power from a 6.42-MW solar system funded and developed by Lightsource BP. The installation is hard-wired directly into Brett Martin’s facility located nearby. [Renewables Now]

¶ “Westinghouse purchase pulls it out of bankruptcy” • Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management finalised its acquisition of nuclear contractor Westinghouse Electric Company from Toshiba. The move marks a financial revival from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for Westinghouse, as a restructured company. [Power Technology]

Westinghouse sign in New York (Credit: Richard Huppertz)

¶ “Canada Envisions Small Nuclear Reactors Producing Power And Hydrogen In Remote Towns” • The federally owned Canadian Nuclear Laboratories hopes to prove the viability of small modular reactors by 2026 and use them not only to produce power, but to produce hydrogen that can decarbonize Canada’s transportation sector. [Forbes]

US:

¶ “Trump Administration Unveils Its Plan to Relax Car Pollution Rules” • The Trump administration put forth its long-awaited proposal to freeze antipollution and fuel-efficiency standards for cars, significantly weakening one of President Barack Obama’s signature policies to combat global warming. The change is a challenge to states’ rights. [New York Times]

Sacramento (Rich Pedroncelli | AP)

¶ “These States Are Going to War Over Trump Eliminating Car Emissions Rules” • After the proposal to cut Obama-era fuel economy standards, twenty state attorneys general vowed to act. A joint statement says, “The Administration’s proposal to weaken these rules will cause the American people to breathe dirtier air and pay higher prices at the pump.” [Mother Jones]

¶ “Invenergy dishes out Texas dose” • Novartis is to supply 100 MW of electricity from its Santa Rita East wind farm in Texas to pharmaceutical company Novartis under a 12-year virtual power purchase agreement. The agreement will see the power delivered to Electric Reliability Council of Texas and help reduce Novartis’s greenhouse gas emissions. [reNews]

Wind farm (Invenergy image)

¶ “CleanChoice Offers New Wind Program In New York, Illinois” • CleanChoice Energy, a renewable energy company that offers clean electricity to customers across the country, has launched a new plan that allows residents and businesses of New York and Illinois to purchase 100% of their energy from in-state wind projects. [North American Windpower]

¶ “PUC Signs Off On Molokai Renewable Energy Project” • The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission cleared the way for a large-scare renewable energy project on Molokai. It approved a power purchase agreement for the island’s first grid-scale solar and battery energy storage project, a move that should reduce customer power rates. [Honolulu Civil Beat]

Molokai (Cory Lum | Civil Beat)

¶ “Tesla Energy – Rapid Growth In Solar Roof & Energy Storage Demand Outstripping Supply” • Tesla’s shareholder letter and conference call spoke to the status of Tesla energy products. As utilities, energy companies, commercial entities, and homeowners quickly realize the benefits of battery storage, the picture will look increasingly brighter. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Alternative Energy Program Could Help State’s Utilities Meet Renewable Goals 10 Years Early” • A report from researchers at UCLA’s Luskin Center for Innovation studied how community choice aggregation impacts California’s power grid. It found that at the current rate of adoption, community choice could serve a majority of consumers within a decade. [KPBS]

Ivanpah solar station (Credit: Associated Press)

¶ “New wind farm in Randolph County will help power Facebook data center in Ohio” • A wind farm in eastern Indiana is expected to be used by Facebook for power at its Midwest data center. More than 50 turbines are to be built and installed in Randolph County by alternative energy company EDP Renewables North America. [Palladium-Item]

¶ “Judge keeps rate cuts for failed South Carolina nuclear project in limbo” • A federal judge refused to end a lawsuit by South Carolina Electric Gas that seeks to stop a temporary rate cut for customers who continue to pay for the utility’s abandoned nuclear reactor project. The 15% rate cut was set to begin appearing on SCE&G bills. [Charleston Post Courier]

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August 2 Energy News

August 2, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “NY Times Magazine Devotes Entire Issue To One Devastating Story On Climate Change” • This Sunday’s NY Times Magazine is entirely devoted to a single devastating story by Nathaniel Rich called “Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change.” Now available online, it is another profoundly upsetting reminder of what is going wrong. [Gothamist]

California wildfire (John G Mabanglo | EPA-EFE | Shutterstock)

Science and Technology:

¶ “Climate change-driven droughts are getting hotter, study finds” • Dry months are getting hotter in large parts of the US. In a study, researchers report that temperatures during droughts have been rising faster than in average climates in recent decades, and they point to concurrent changes in atmospheric water vapor as a driver of the surge. [Science Daily]

¶ “Grim report card for planet ranks 2017 one of hottest years in recorded history” • Last year was one of the hottest in recorded history, according to a new study released by the American Meteorological Society. The State of the Climate in 2017 report is compelling evidence that our planet is warming faster than at any point in modern history. [CNN]

Violent winter storm

World:

¶ “Italy’s Enel expects to exceed 2020 renewable addition target” • Italy’s largest power company Enel said it expects to beat its own renewable addition targets by 2020, as it pivots its generating model away from coal and grows its renewable footprint. Enel’s CEO said 90% of its 7.8-GW target of new additions for 2020 is already secured. [S&P Global Platts]

¶ “First English AD plant certified under ADCS performance scheme” • Bore Hill Farm Biodigester is the first English anaerobic digestion plant to receive a new certification recognising good operational, environmental, and health and safety performance. The plant processes food waste to create fertiliser, heat, and electricity. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

AD plant (Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association image)

¶ “NRA OKs plan to bury radioactive waste from nuke plant decommissioning for 100,000 years” • Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority plans to require that highly radioactive waste from nuclear reactor decommissioning be buried underground at least 70 meters deep for about 100,000 years until the waste becomes no longer hazardous. [The Mainichi]

¶ “India just pushed its booming solar industry into chaos” • The Indian government notified a 25% safeguard duty on imported solar panels for two years. The duty is meant to protect domestic manufacturers. It is now bound to hike solar power tariffs in India since around 90% of panels the sector uses are made in China and Malaysia. [Quartz]

Indian Solar array

US:

¶ “Renewable energy provides more electricity than nuclear power in over half of US states” • Analysis by the SUN DAY Campaign of state-by-state data in the EIA’s “Electric Power Monthly” report reveals that renewable sources now provide more electric power than nuclear reactors in over half the states and more electricity than coal in a third. [Solar Power World]

¶ “Plum deal for US food giant” • Lincoln Clean Energy is to sell electricity to US food company JM Smucker from the 230-MW Plum Creek wind farm in Nebraska. Under the terms of the long-term power purchase agreement, JM Smucker will buy 60 MW from the project starting in 2020. The deal will provide for about 50% of the company’s power. [reNews]

Wind power on a farm (Pixabay image)

¶ “Trump’s Pro-Science Pick To Lead White House Science Office” • After a long delay, President Trump announced his nomination for the top White House science advisor, meteorologist Kelvin Droegemeier. Droegemeier is an expert in extreme weather events and has served on the faculty at the University of Oklahoma in Norman for 33 years. [Forbes]

¶ “Supreme Court Says Kids Can Sue Trump Over Climate Change” • The Supreme Court rejected a Trump administration effort to stop a climate change lawsuit filed by 21 youth plaintiffs, who argue that the US government violated their constitutional rights by allowing fossil fuel production to continue, despite knowing its effects on the planet. [HuffPost]

Youth plaintiffs (Robin Loznak | Our Childrens Trust)

¶ “DC Circuit tosses challenge to ISO-NE renewable energy market rules” • The DC Circuit Court of Appeals upheld ISO-New England market rules that enhance renewable energy, rebuking a challenge from natural gas generators. The ruling is a win for state policies that seek to influence the generation mix in wholesale power markets. [Utility DIve]

¶ “How can the US reach the cutting edge of offshore wind R&D? DOE seeks input” • The DOE is seeking input on how to put the nation at the cutting edge of wind power development, according to two Requests for Information published in the Federal Register. This comes despite the president’s apparent aversion to wind energy development. [Utility Dive]

Offshore wind turbines

¶ “Offshore wind prices look competitive” • Vineyard Wind, the developer of the first major offshore wind farm is promising to deliver wholesale power to Massachusetts at prices that are far below what Cape Wind was offering nearly a decade ago and not much more expensive than hydro-electricity just procured from Canada. [CommonWealth magazine]

¶ “Entergy to sell Pilgrim, Palisades to JV decommissioning company” • Entergy’s Pilgrim nuclear reactor in Massachusetts and Palisades nuclear reactor in Michigan will be bought and decommissioned decades sooner than previously planned by a joint venture of Holtec International and SNC-Lavalin, a joint statement said. [S&P Global Platts]

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August 1 Energy News

August 1, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Clearly, the climate crisis is upon us” • This summer’s sizzling temperatures, savage droughts, raging wildfires, floods and acute water shortages – from Japan to the Arctic Circle, California to Greece – are surely evidence beyond any reasonable doubt that the climate crisis is upon us now. This is the new normal – until it gets worse. [CNN]

Fighting a wildfire

¶ “Rising seas could knock out the internet – and sooner than scientists thought” • From severe coastal flooding to unusually destructive hurricanes, climate change-related sea level rise is being blamed for some big environmental ills. Now comes a new worry: Rising seas could flood the underground cables that carry the internet. [NBCNews.com]

Science and Technology:

¶ “Demand For Biodegradable Plastics Expected To Surge” • Biodegradable plastics is a double-digit growth industry coming into its own from increased regulations and bans against plastic bags and other single-use plastic items. Concerns about plastic waste in the environment are contributing to worldwide demand for biodegradable plastics. [CleanTechnica]

Biodegradable plastic tableware

¶ “Cobalt-Free Battery Technology Under Development By Conamix” • The world could face cobalt shortages in several years, according to Bloomberg. Also, there are numerous ethical issues with cobalt. But cobalt is in the lithium batteries, and has been important. Conamix, a New York startup, is developing cobalt-free batteries. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ “UK Clean Electricity Surpassed 50% In 2017 As Renewables Soar” • The latest figures published by the UK Government show that renewable and clean energy sources continue to skyrocket, hitting 29.3% and 50.1% respectively, and led by another strong year for wind energy generation. Clean energy is defined as renewables plus nuclear. [CleanTechnica]

Offshore windpower

¶ “Africa To Add 30 GW Of Wind By 2027” • A report published by Market Analyst Sohaib Malik from MAKE Consulting focusing on the African wind energy sector forecasts capacity additions worth 30 GW between 2018 and 2027, led by South Africa, Egypt, and Morocco, which will account for more than two-thirds of the new capacity. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “China Set To Exceed 210 Gigawatt Wind Power Target By 2020” • China’s recently-announced switch from a Feed-in Tariff scheme to a competitive auction mechanism is expected to help the country surpass its national cumulative wind power target of 210 GW by 2020 and install more than 20 GW per year on average over the next 10 years. [CleanTechnica]

Wind farm in China

¶ “Record-Breaking Solar and Wind Farms Are Emerging from the Sands of Egypt” • The Egyptian government wants to get 42% of its energy sector powered by renewables by 2025. One project is by a local startup. Once it’s completed, the Benban Solar Park will be the largest solar plant in the world, according to the Los Angeles Times. [Inverse]

¶ “Island crofters lay CfD marker” • Crofters on Stornoway are planning to bid four community-owned island wind farms, ranging from 5 MW to 40 MW, into the UK’s upcoming Contracts for Difference auction. Four townships in the Outer Hebrides will seek capacity under the remote island wind element of the CfD round due before next May. [reNews]

Croft in the Hebrides (Credit: Mi9)

¶ “ESB full modelling shows wind and solar at standstill from 2022 with NEG” • The modelling to be released to support Australia’s National Energy Guarantee will show that the Energy Security Board assumes that the construction of wind and solar projects will come to a complete standstill from 2022 due to the low emissions reduction target. [RenewEconomy]

US:

¶ “Massachusetts passes compromise clean energy bill” • A compromise clean energy bill was passed by Massachusetts lawmakers, though it is less ambitious than the bill the state Senate passed in June. The legislation, which is now going to the governor’s desk, “falls far short” of the Senate’s version,  the Sierra Club said.  [Renewables Now]

Roadside solar power (MassDOT, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “California, Hawaii Lead Surge In Residential Battery Storage In Q1” • A report from Greentech Media and the Energy Storage Association finds residential battery storage in the US surged in Q1 of 2018. In total, 36 MWh of behind the meter residential storage were installed, equal to the amount installed in the previous three quarters combined. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Large Solar-Plus-Storage Projects Planned Near Las Vegas” • Two planned solar projects in Nevada would be the first in that state to include battery storage, part of an increasing trend. The proposed Gemini Solar Project is for 690 MW of PV capacity and up to 200 MW of storage. Yellow Pine Solar Project is to have capacities totalling 500 MW. [Power magazine]

Solar array in Nevada (Photo: USAF, Airman 1st
Class Nadine Y. Barclay, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Judge rebuffs utility, won’t throw out all clean-energy-drive petitions” • Arizonans cannot be blocked from voting on a renewable energy proposal solely because organizers might have violated state election law, a judge ruled. But the state’s largest electric company may still try to block the Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona initiative. [Arizona Daily Star]

¶ “Nuclear Operators Scramble To Make Reactors Flexible Enough For New Energy Economy” • Nuclear operators are trying to figure out how to deal with the inflexible nature of nuclear reactors, which are optimized to run at maximum capacity. Some are considering using excess power to desalinate brackish water or to make hydrogen. [Forbes]

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July 31 Energy News

July 31, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Nuclear power is ‘ridiculously expensive’ compared to solar, says longtime nuclear advocate” • A longtime nuclear industry advocate and former head of the International Energy Agency now says nuclear is too expensive compared to solar. Meanwhile, Bloomberg has repeatedly shown existing US nuclear power plants are “bleeding cash.” [ThinkProgress]

Cooling towers at a nuclear plant (Sean Gallup | Getty Images)

¶ “Australia renewables boom rolls on, but NEG shadow looms” • The scale of Australia’s large-scale renewable energy construction boom can be seen in a jaw-dropping chart, unveiled at the Australian Clean Energy Summit. The chief of the Clean Energy Council said, “Wind and solar is now the lowest-cost generation it is possible to build.” [RenewEconomy]

World:

¶ “The Future Of Electric Aviation Is Developing In Scandinavia” • Norway has just conducted its first successful electric flight under a coordinated initiative to electrify its domestic aviation by 2040. Supported by the government, the project is handled by the state-owned airport operator Avinor, Scandinavian Airlines, Widerøe Airlines, and others. [CleanTechnica]

Oslo Airport

¶ “Repsol, Enagás join forces to produce hydrogen from solar energy” • Two months after announcing its intention to turn to renewables, Spanish oil giant Repsol named of its first technology partner. It will team up with Enagás, a Spanish energy company and European transmission system operator, to produce renewable hydrogen. [pv magazine International]

¶ “Toyota Rolls Out Version 2.0 Of Its Hydrogen Fuel Cell Truck, Dubbed The ‘Beta Truck'” • Toyota unveiled version 2.0 of its hydrogen fuel cell electric Class 8 truck at a seminar at the Center for Automotive Research. The Beta truck will be able to travel more than 300 miles per fill up, an increase from the 200 mile range of the Alpha truck. [CleanTechnica]

Toyota hydrogen fuel cell truck

¶ “Renewables covered 31% of French electricity consumption in Q2” • Renewable energy sources covered 31% of French electricity consumption in second quarter, its highest level since the 1960s, electricity grid operator RTE said. RTE, a unit of state utility EDF, said there had been a sharp increase in French hydropower generation. [ETEnergyworld.com]
Hydropower

¶ “Energy Absolute to seize battery storage market” • A Thai-based renewable energy technology company, Energy Absolute, plans to invest $3 billion in a battery factory, hedging on Southeast Asia’s uptake of electric vehicles and smart grids. As a small first phase, a plant with a production capacity of 1 GWh, is slated to open in Q3 of 2019. [ESI Africa]

Batteries (Stock image)

¶ “EDF curbs nuclear output by 2.5 GW amid cooling issues” • EDF has curtailed the production at four French nuclear reactors by about 2.5 GW due to cooling issues amid an ongoing hot spell, transparency data showed. Daily peak power demand is likely to remain below 55 GW on working days this week, after exceeding 57 GW last week. [Montel]

¶ “Allow nuclear waste disposal under national parks, say MPs” • Highly radioactive nuclear waste could be permanently buried under national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty. The chairman of a parliamentary committee backing the plan took the view that safety matters should “prevail over environmental concerns in this case.” [The Guardian]

Lake District national park in Cumbria
(Photo: Jonathan Allison | Getty Images)

US:

¶ “Ohio Residents Exercise Community Choice to Bill Themselves for Public Solar” • Residents of Athens, Ohio, passed a carbon fee ballot initiative to add 0.2¢/kWh to rates for Community Choice Aggregation members. The first-of-its-kind carbon fee would support installing PVs on public buildings and provide resources for public investment. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Solar panel glut is muting effect of Trump tariffs on imports: SunPower” • A steep global decline in the price of solar modules is nearly offsetting the effect of the Trump administration’s 30% tariff on imported panels, the chief executive of SunPower said. The module price has dropped 12% since China reduced internal incentives. [ETEnergyWorld.com]

Solar array

¶ “Fort Collins staff crafting goal for 100% renewable electricity by 2030” • Platte River Power Authority, the electric utility for Fort Collins, Colorado, plans to end use of coal-generated electricity. It projects its delivered electricity will be about 32% renewable in 2018 and about 50% renewable by 2021, after new wind and solar facilities come online. [The Coloradoan]

¶ “Panasonic To Increase Gigafactory Cell Production More Than 30% By End Of 2018” • Panasonic is ramping up its 2170 battery cell production “more than 30%” at the Gigafactory by the end of 2018, Japanese publication Nikkan reported. Panasonic will add battery cell production lines in response to increased demand for Tesla’s Model 3. [CleanTechnica]

Tesla Gigafactory

¶ “GHG worsens just as climate commission releases report” • The Vermont Climate Action report sets forth goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and dealing with the effects of climate change. It also contains discouraging news about the rise of GHG emissions in Vermont, which will make achieving ambitious goals challenging. [Vermont Biz]

¶ “sonnen Demonstrates The Power Of Solar + Storage Microgrids In Puerto Rico” • sonnen was one of the early movers to help solve the problems caused by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. It committed to bring 15 microgrid systems to the island. Now the 11th system is finished, with 9 kW of PVs and 24-kWh of batteries in the region of Lares. [CleanTechnica]

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July 30 Energy News

July 30, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Alaska Is Offering Entrepreneurs a Huge Renewable Energy Opportunity” • It seems ironic that Alaska, known in the lower 48 for its oil pipeline, would now be promoting alternative energy. But oil prices are down, and the state is in a recession. For one renewable energy entrepreneur, “It’s a great place to prove your concept and get some traction.” [Entrepreneur]

Alaska (Stephan Zirwes | Getty Images)

Science and Technology:

¶ “The EV Safety Advantage” • Electric cars are now known for being quick. They are known for being clean. They are known for being quiet and smooth to drive. However, one of their biggest benefits is something seldom discussed or even acknowledged. Major independent government agencies rate EVs as the safest cars to drive. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ “Ørsted’s wind power pivot: the story so far” • In 2017, Ørsted abandoned the oil and gas market, refocusing on becoming a prime player in the burgeoning global wind turbine market. How is it doing? Ørsted’s interim report for the first quarter of 2018 indicated that the period’s operating profits grew 68%, year-on-year. [Power Technology]

Ørsted wind farm off Yorkshire (Courtesy of Ørsted)

¶ “At 62.8 GW, India using just 7% of renewable energy potential” • Economic Times reported that India is using just 7% of the energy it could potentially generate using wind, solar, biomass, and small hydro resources. But capacity is building up and with it the share of renewables in India’s energy mix. It is up from 5.6% in 2015-16 to 8.0% in 2017-18. [SteelGuru]

¶ “China Electric Car Sales Up 77% In June” • EV sales in China were up 77% in July, compared to the same month last year. This is a smaller increase than earlier months this year, which were in triple digits, because China has cut subsidies to vehicles with ranges of less than 150 km. Growth of sales of EVs with longer range is expected to continue. [CleanTechnica]

BAIC EX360

¶ “Six charts show mixed progress for UK renewables” • The latest data from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, shows that coal supplied just 5% of UK energy in 2017, down from 20% only five years earlier. British onshore and offshore wind power rose by 34% last year, compared to 2016, though solar grew only 11%. [Carbon Brief]

¶ “Lekela reaches financial close on Senegal’s first utility-scale wind farm” • Renewable power company Lekela said it has reached financial close on its Taiba N’Diaye wind power project in the West African nation of Senegal. It will be the country’s first wind farm. Its capacity will be almost 160 MW and it will be fully operational in less than two years. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Wind turbines (Christian Hartmann | Reuters)

¶ “CEFC helps deliver 1,100 MW renewables in 2017/18 – says “considerably more work to do”” • A year of record investment by the Australian government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation has helped deliver ten large-scale solar projects and four wind farms in the past 12 months, a report shows. Their total capacity is 1,100 MW. [RenewEconomy]

¶ “Tender launched for 68-MW wind farm in Russia’s Leningrad region” • Russian Association of Wind Power Industry members are invited to take part in a tender for the design and construction of a 68.4-MW wind project in Leningrad Oblast. WWES Sviritsa launched the competitive selection in an open request for prices without a prequalification process. [Renewables Now]

Wind farm (Maret Hosemann, Creative Commons 2.0 Generic)

¶ “Renewables beat fossil fuels, and are getting cheaper” • A study by Bernstein documents the persistent drop in the levelized cost of electricity from renewable generation with projections of future cost potentials. It argues that the cost of wind and solar power is likely to be well below the cost of fossil fuel generation nearly everywhere. [RenewEconomy]

US:

¶ “Latest climate change projections ominous for Iowa” • In 1991, climate scientists believed that climate change in the Midwest would lead to a warmer, wetter climate, including warmer winters and more rain in spring and early summer. They were right. New climate projections for Iowa may make you sweat – and build a dam around your home! [The Gazette]

Flooding in Iowa in 2016 (Jim Slosiarek | The Gazette)

¶ “Critics Challenge ‘Fundamental Flaws’ in Energy Department LNG Export Study Draft” • The DOE missed the mark in its draft Liquefied Natural Gas study, ignoring economic costs associated with climate change and the growth of the renewable energy industry, according to public comments filed with the DOE by dozens of environmental groups. [DeSmog]

¶ “The US Is Still The Global Natural Gas King” • Data from the 2018 BP Statistical Review of World Energy show that last year the US maintained its lead as the global natural gas powerhouse. In 2017, the US produced an average of 71.1 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas. That is a 1.0% increase from 2016 production, and about 20% of the world total. [Forbes]

Natural gas delivery in Japan (Tomohiro Ohsumi | Bloomberg)

¶ “California set to spend $3 billion increasing efficiency of Hoover Dam” • The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has expressed aims to build a pump station and pipeline at the Hoover Dam in order to boost the capacity of the 80-year-old facility with wind and solar energy. The dam operates at about 20% of its potential capacity. [Energy Digital]

¶ “NRC Officials Talk Oyster Creek Decommissioning At Public Hearing” • The NRC held a public hearing for residents of Lacey Township and surrounding municipalities of New Jersey on the shutdown of the nearby Oyster Creek Generating Station. Spent fuel storage and plant decommissioning were among the topics of discussion. [Jersey Shore Online]

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July 29 Energy News

July 29, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Hottest Four Years Ever? 2015. 2016. 2017. 2018?” • “The impacts of climate change are no longer subtle,” the director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University told CNN. “We are seeing them play out in real time in the form of unprecedented heat waves, floods, droughts and wildfires. And we’ve seen them all this summer.” [Common Dreams]

Carr Fire near Redding, California (Noah Berger | AP)

¶ “Is Japan Finally Turning Away From Coal?” • The country’s dependence on fossil fuels has been growing since the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and consequential Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. However, to their credit, financial institutions in Japan are beginning to catch on to the risks inherent to a national coal addiction. [The Diplomat]

¶ “Benefits of Personal Energy Independence” • The concept of energy independence entered the US national consciousness in the early 1970’s, when a series of embargoes and price hikes at the hands of Arab nations made the unstable nature of reliance on foreign oil obvious. President Nixon promised us we would be energy independent in 10 years. [Mother Earth News]

Solar tracking system

World:

¶ “France, Portugal, Spain agree to build undersea power line” • After a meeting in Lisbon, leaders from the three countries announced a deal to finance construction of a power line nearly 300 kilometres long in the Bay of Biscay linking south-west France to northern Spain. The aim is to integrate electricity links between the Iberian Peninsula and Europe. [RFI]

¶ “Europe May Thrive On Renewable Energy Despite Unpredictable Weather” • Scientists modelled the impact of renewable energy on the electricity sector out to the year 2030 based on 30 years of weather data. The work suggests Europe can comfortably get at least 35% of its electric power from wind and solar energy, regardless of weather. [Irish Tech News]

Installing a solar array (skeeze | Pixabay)

¶ “Big boost for Yogi’s UP” • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched projects involving an investment of ₹60,000 crore ($9.02 billion). The projects materialised after the Uttar Pradesh Investors Summit, which led to investment for renewable energy, infrastructure, power, Information Technology, electronics, and tourism, an official release said. [Financial Express]

¶ “D and G windfarm to power Nestlé” • Nestlé, the world’s largest food and drink company, opened a new wind farm in Dumfries and Galloway, with which it hopes to supply around half of the electricity demands of its operations in the UK and Ireland. The farm’s nine turbines will now produce around 125 GWh of power per annum. [The Scottish Farmer]

Minsca Wind farm in Dumfries and Galloway (Walter Baxter, 
Minsca Wind Farm | CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Uganda becomes the first African country to de-risk small and medium scale renewables” • Uganda is the first African country to sign an agreement with the Regional Liquidity Support Facility. Under the program, RLSF will offer protection to new small and mid-sized renewable energy projects, up to 50 MW, in Sub-Sahara Africa. [IT News Africa]

US:

¶ “Why Maine towns and cities are investing in solar projects” • Moving away from fossil fuel-driven energy feels like the right thing to do, to many residents of Maine communities. But it also is good for a town’s bottom line. Solar projects on rooftops, in closed landfills, and in other places have taken off in many of the state’s municipalities. [Bangor Daily News]

Lincolnville municipal array (Josh Gerritsen | Town of Lincolnville)

¶ “EPA reverses Pruitt-era rule on diesel emissions” • The EPA will now enforce an Obama-era rule that limits diesel truck emissions, reversing one of the final decisions of the Pruitt era. In a memo, acting administrator Wheeler listed problems with Pruitt’s replacement rule, but did not say whether a different replacement was to come. [CNN]

¶ “Tiny Power: Hybrid Microgrid Aids Rural Puerto Rico, Alaskan Arctic” • A hybrid microgrid kit in a shipping container offers a reliable, renewable power source in areas suffering through emergencies. When devastating weather events like Hurricane Maria leave regions without power, the kit can bring important services online. [Efficient Gov]

BoxPower system (Facebook image)

¶ “The precious metal sparking a new gold rush” • Cobalt mining has not happened at any sort of scale in the US for decades, but a handful of mining companies are staking claims at sites in Idaho, Montana, and Alaska. Interest in cobalt is growing because it is a key component in the lithium-ion batteries that power electronic devices and electric cars. [BBC]

¶ “Massive solar panels to power apartments at Pepperell Mill in Biddeford” • Work on Maine’s largest solar energy project will begin this fall. US Senator Angus King, Pepperell Mill Campus CEO Doug Sanford, and Revision Energy Co-Founder Phil Coupe were on hand to announce a solar project. It will power Pepperell Mill’s apartments. [Biddeford Journal Tribune]

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July 28 Energy News

July 28, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “House Republicans Deeply Confused about Why Puerto Rico Might Benefit from Wind and Solar Power” • Republicans on the Natural Resources Committee seemed befuddled as officials from the DOE, led by none other than Rick Perry, repeatedly insisted that renewable energy is an economical way to repower Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. [The Intercept]

Power line work (Getty Images)

¶ “How Russian Attacks On Democracy & The USA Relate To Cleantech” • Russia’s economy is heavily centered around oil & gas, with 30% of the country’s GDP and 50% of the state budget coming from that sector. Overall, the Russian economy is not very strong, and oil oligarchs have many reasons to launder this money into Western societies. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶ “2018 is on pace to be the 4th-hottest year on record” • Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows that 2018 is on pace to be the fourth hottest year on record. Only three other years have been hotter: 2015, 2016 and 2017. Experts say that the obvious trend of rising temperatures is a clear indicator of global warming. [CNN]

2018 temperatures (Please click on the image to enlarge it)

World:

¶ “SunExchange And Powerhive Partner To Bring Solar Power To 175,000 Kenyans” • Sun Exchange, a micro-leasing marketplace for solar systems, and Powerhive, a provider of rural mini-grid systems, partnered to provide solar power to 175,000 Kenyans. They expect to raise $23 million dollars locally to install 150 solar power projects in Kenya. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Stolen! Thieves Exit Warehouse With Cobalt Worth Almost $10 Million” • About 112 tonnes of cobalt was stolen from a secure area in a warehouse in Rotterdam. Cobalt is a key component of lithium-ion batteries, and the battery industry uses more than 40% of the world’s cobalt supply. This has pushed price of cobalt up to about $82,500 per tonne. [CleanTechnica]

Cobaltite (Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Doug Ford’s energy shake-up could wind up costing Ontario” • Promising to reduce electricity bills, the new Ontario government is cancelling 758 renewable energy projects as part of an industry shakeup. The company heading up the White Pines wind project has signalled its intention to seek $100 million in damages, and it is not alone. [Macleans.ca]

¶ “New York PE Firm to Develop Morocco Win Farm” • A New York private equity company, Brookstone Partners, says it is raising cash to develop the first phase of a 900-MW wind farm in a remote part of Morocco, between the Sahara Desert and Atlantic Ocean. It thinks the project has value for a cryptocurrency and data center. [Bloomberg Businessweek Middle East]

Wind farm

¶ “Hot Weather Spells Trouble For Nuclear Power Plants” • In Europe, nuclear power plants have been forced to cut back electricity production because of warmer-than-usual seawater. Plants in Finland, Sweden, and Germany have been affected by a heat wave that has broken records in Scandinavia and the British Isles. [New Hampshire Public Radio]

US:

¶ “US Wind Capacity Surpasses 90 GW As Record Construction Levels Continue” • The US wind energy industry currently has a record amount of wind capacity under construction. It just came out of a second quarter which installed 626 MW of new capacity, pushing the country’s cumulative wind energy capacity total over the 90 GW mark. [CleanTechnica]

Santa Rita wind farm in Texas

¶ “Puget Sound Energy looks elsewhere for power as pollution-test failure idles most of Montana coal plant” • A failure to meet air-pollution standards has largely shut down two of the four units of a Montana coal plant that generates power for Puget Sound Energy. But PSE still has plenty of alternative sources for the electricity it needs. [The Seattle Times]

¶ “Network Of Tesla Powerwall Batteries Saves Green Mountain Power $500,000 During Heat Wave” • Green Mountain Power is using a virtual power plant including 2,000 Tesla Powerwall batteries in homes across Vermont to beat the heat. That system saved GMP $500,000 in just one week this month as temperatures soared into the 90s. [CleanTechnica]

Tesla Powerwall at a home

¶ “AEP Kills Wind Catcher Plan After Texas Rejects Biggest US Wind Farm” • American Electric Power Co is canceling its $4.5 billion Wind Catcher power plant after Texas rejected what would have been the largest-ever US wind farm. Texas regulators rejected the 2-GW project saying it did not offer enough in benefits for ratepayers. [Bloomberg]

¶ “US Wind Installations To Surge Before PTC Phase-Out In 2021” • The US wind energy industry is expected to install more than 30 GW of new capacity over the next three years as developers look to take advantage of the wind energy Production Tax Credit that will begin phasing out in 2021. The PTC will drop 20% each year after 2020. [CleanTechnica]

Block Island wind farm

¶ “As Economics Improve, Solar Shines in Rural America” • Under the Solar Utility Network Deployment Acceleration program run by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association with a cost share arrangement from the DOE, rural electric co-ops are on track to own or buy 1 GW of solar power generation capacity by 2019. [IEEE Spectrum]

¶ “Owner of Iowa’s lone nuclear plant plans to shutter it by 2020” • NextEra Energy, owner of the Duane Arnold Energy Center, says it will retire the nuclear plant in late 2020, five years early. Alliant Energy, the plant’s largest customer, has agreed to pay NextEra $110 million to shorten its agreement so it can switch to wind power to save money. [DesMoinesRegister.com]

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July 27 Energy News

July 27, 2018

World:

¶ “Wind and solar power could provide more than third of Europe’s energy by 2030” • By trading energy between countries with different weather, Europe could make the most of wind and solar power, a study of future of weather and energy in Europe indicated. Europe could use renewables for over two-thirds of its electricity by 2030. [Imperial College London]

Solar and wind power

¶ “Utility of Munich successfully drills first well of ambitious geothermal heating project” • A report by TiefeGeothermie said the city utility of Munich, Stadtwerke München, announced that drilling of its first well for the new planned combined heat and power plant South in Munich has been successful. Drilling took about three months. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

¶ “Finns fire 50 MW start gun” • A long-term corporate power purchase agreement has been signed for power generated by a 50-MW wind farm in Finland, and CPC Finland started construction. The wind farm will feature 12 Vestas 4.2-MW turbines, and the company said the wind farm is being built without any need for subsidies. [reNews]

Wind farm (Pixabay image)

¶ “Punjab approves renewable projects of Rs 100 crore” • The Punjab government approved renewable energy projects worth ₹100 crore ($15 million), its energy minister said. The approvals cover nine small hydro projects totalling 5.55 MW capacity, one bio-CNG project involving, and a bio-Coal Plant, all to be set up by private players. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Australia:

¶ “Renewables power ahead in Australia” • Analysis by Green Energy Markets shows the National Electricity Market is on track to get 33% renewable electricity by 2020, with some states doing much better. But the report claims solar jobs will be lost unless the National Energy Guarantee’s 26% emissions reduction target is lifted. [pv magazine International]

Solar power (Image: First Solar)

¶ “Renewable crude oil made using sewage? It’s happening in Australia” • The Australian Renewable Energy Agency has given A$4 million ($2.96) in funding to a project looking to turn sewage into renewable crude oil, which will eventually provide fuel to power cars and jets. What you flush down the loo could be made into jet fuel. [Compelo]

¶ “State sitting in clean power top spot” • Projections by the Green Energy Markets’ June Renewable Energy Index show that Tasmania will be producing 99.6% of the power it consumes with renewables in less than two years. If the projects in Tasmania’s pipeline are all built, it will produce over 120% of the power it needs and become an exporter. [The Advocate]

Tasmania (Advocate file photo)

¶ “Victoria’s biggest solar farm reaches financial close, to power steel works” • The Numurkah solar farm has reached financial close and will begin construction next week. At 100 MW (AC), it will be the largest solar facility in Victoria, at least for a while. The $198 million facility will help power the Laverton step works in the state. [RenewEconomy]

US:

¶ “OPPD partner’s wind power project will continue utility’s renewable energy growth” • Once a new private wind power project in Nebraska comes online in late 2019, Omaha Public Power District’s renewable portion of its energy mix would make up 40%, a spokeswoman confirmed. The figure was less than 20% as in 2016. [Omaha World-Herald]

Grande Prairie Wind Project (Megan Farmer | The World-Herald)

¶ “Georgia Power seeks more than 100 MW of solar RFPs” • Georgia Power is continuing to grow renewable energy in Georgia through the Renewable Energy Development Initiative, originally approved by the Georgia Public Service Commission in 2016. The company is now accepting bids for over 100 MW of new distributed solar power. [Solar Power World]

¶ “Top Interior officials ordered parks to end science policy, emails show” • Policy enacted in the final weeks of the Obama administration elevated the role of science for decision-making and emphasized that parks should take precautionary steps to protect natural and historic treasures. Newly released emails show how that policy was rescinded. [PRI]

Grand Canyon (Credit: Stephanie Keith | Reuters)

¶ “Report Knocks Rhode Island for Dirty Renewables” • A national study by the environmental advocacy group Food & Water Watch draws attention to Rhode Island’s use of highly polluting wood and other questionable “clean energy” sources that the state considers renewable. The recent report grades 29 states and Washington, DC. [ecoRI news]

¶ “Tesla, Others Help Puerto Ricans Go Solar” • The US territory is turning to renewable energy sources to keep the lights on during tropical storms. Ten months after Hurricane Maria, a heavy rain or wind is enough to cause power loss in many areas. But homes and businesses are beginning to switch to solar PVs for energy. [U.S. News & World Report]

Solar installation in Puerto Rico (Dennis M Rivera Pichardo | AP)

¶ “Revised Settlement Over Shutdown Costs for former Edison Nuclear Plant Approved” • A revised settlement over shutdown costs for the San Onofre nuclear power plant was approved by the California Public Utilities Commission. It pushes more of the $5.5 billion tab onto shareholders of majority parent Edison International. [Los Angeles Business Journal]

¶ “Uranium leaked at South Carolina nuclear fuel plant but regulators think water supply isn’t threatened” • Some uranium leaked through a hole in the floor of a nuclear fuel plant in South Carolina. State health officials say they do not think it threatens water supplies.The plant makes fuel rods for commercial nuclear reactors. [The Japan Times]

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July 26 Energy News

July 26, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Deaths Rise As Earth Swelters – Could Global Warming Be Responsible?” • It has been brutally hot this July all over the world. The temperature touched 106°F, the highest temperature ever recorded in Japan, and 44 people have already died in heat wave. Heat all over the world has led to wildfires. Even the ocean is warming alarmingly. [CleanTechnica]

California wildfire

¶ “Beijing Bids to Extend its Global Clean Energy Lead” • China has firmly established itself as the world’s dominant manufacturer of clean energy technologies. It has been the largest producer of solar PVs for over a decade. Economically and strategically, China is well set to benefit  from the global shift toward clean energy technologies. [The Jamestown Foundation]

¶ “Government’s last-minute approval of fracking an example of its profoundly dated thinking” • The move flies in the face of the National Infrastructure Commission’s recommendation that ministers seize the “golden opportunity” presented by renewable sources to provide 50% of the UK’s requirements by 2030 without adding to bills. [The Independent]

Drilling for shale gas (PA)

Science and Technology:

¶ The rate at which our planet is warming has been found to be a critical factor in explaining declines of bird and mammal species, according to new research by University College London and Zoological Society of London. The study, published in Global Change Biology, examined 987 populations of 481 species across the globe. [Infosurhoy]

¶ Tropical species loss has become dire. A study in the journal Nature warned that a global biodiversity collapse is imminent unless we take urgent and significant action. An international team of researchers warns that failure to act quickly and decisively will greatly increase the risk of an irreversible species loss in the most diverse areas on Earth. [Earth.com]

In the tropics (Alexander Lees | Manchester Metropolitan University)

World:

¶ The Queensland government warns it may block the Turnbull government’s signature energy plan, saying that it will not sign any deal that undermines the state’s ambitious renewable energy target. Backing for the National Energy Guarantee hinges on how Queensland’s target of making 50% of its electricity renewable by 2030 is affected. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

¶ Thirty-one new solar power plants with a total of over 1,000 MW of capacity will be installed in Portugal by 2021, according to an article in Dinheiro Vivo. The total value of the projects has been stated to be about 800 million euros. The Portuguese Energy Secretary of State said the installations would triple the country’s solar capacity. [CleanTechnica]

Portugal

¶ Yorkshire Water is demolishing an old sewage sludge incinerator to make way for a £40-million state-of-the-art facility energy and recycling centre converting human waste into electricity. The new ‘poo-power’ technology, formally called anaerobic digestion, will also reduce nitric oxide emissions from the site and help improve air quality. [Huddersfield Examiner]

¶ The cost of EDF’s new Flamanville nuclear reactor has swelled to over three times the original budget after more issues came to light in the construction process. EDF said target construction costs had risen by €400 million to €10.9 billion ($12.7 billion). Already seven years behind schedule, the project will be delayed by yet another year. [The New Economy]

Flamanville nuclear power plant

US:

¶ Federal enforcement of corporate wrongdoing declined badly during Donald Trump’s first year in office, analysis from Public Citizen, a government watchdog, shows. A prime example is the EPA, where the report said penalties during Trump’s first year dropped 94%, from $23 billion in Obama’s last year to $1.4 billion in Trump’s first year. [Wisconsin Gazette]

¶ The Bureau of Land Management will no longer require oil and gas companies, land developers, and other companies to pay into government funds set up to offset damage they do to natural resources and wildlife habitats when operating on public lands. Payments for off-site “compensatory mitigation” will now be voluntary. [ThinkProgress]

Colorado (Helen H. Richardson | The Denver Post via Getty Images)

¶ Dominion Energy Virginia has filed plans with state regulator to bolster the US state’s grid and add up to 3 GW of new wind and solar power by 2022. The plans have been filed with the State Corporation Commission for approval under the state’s Grid Transformation and Security Act, which became effective in Virginia earlier this month. [reNews]

¶ MidAmerican Energy’s 2-GW Wind XI project continues to roll out across Iowa with new announcements confirming another 341 MW of capacity in the Arbor Hill and Ivester wind farms. Last May, MidAmerican Energy announced that it intends to be the first investor-owned electric utility in the US to meet 100% of its demand with renewable power. [CleanTechnica]

Beaver Creek wind farm

¶ Configuring Puerto Rico’s electric system into 10 mini-grids could bring the island much-needed resiliency at a competitive price, a white paper issued by Siemens said. Under the definition put forward by Siemens, mini-grids are like microgrids but larger. One mini-grid, for example, could encompass San Juan, which requires about 513 MW. [Microgrid Knowledge]

¶ Nuclear power has little future in the US, according to a recent paper. It says that the country is unlikely to see many new reactors in coming decades, unless there are major policy changes. That means the only two nuclear reactors currently under construction in the country, which are in Georgia, could be the last ones built in the US for years. [WABE 90.1 FM]

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July 25 Energy News

July 25, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “The $3 Billion Plan to Turn Hoover Dam Into a Giant Battery” • Hoover Dam was one of the great engineering feats of the 20th century. As a project, it has been likened to the pyramids. Now it is the focus of a 21st-century challenge, to turn the dam into a vast reservoir of excess electricity, fed by the solar farms and wind turbines. [New York Times]

Hoover Dam’s turbines

¶ “Mapped: The US nuclear power plants ‘at risk’ of shutting down” • Nuclear power plants generate half of the US’s low-carbon electricity. However, record low gas prices associated with the US fracking boom have made many existing nuclear plants uncompetitive. Over half of the US nuclear plants are scheduled to close in the next decade. [Carbon Brief]

Science and Technology:

¶ Wildfires have been sweeping through coastal towns east of the Greek capital, Athens. Fires are also raging in Sweden, as far north as the Arctic Circle, and have caused huge damage in countries including Portugal, the UK and the US in recent months. Up to 90% are started by humans, but they are intensified by land use and climate change. [BBC]

One of 80 drought-driven fires in Sweden (Getty Images)

World:

¶ Researchers from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, in collaboration with the University of Notre Dame, found that wind energy has “considerable potential” in Saudi Arabia, a country much better known for its reliance on oil. A recent Saudi auction produced prices of bids for wind power of $21.30/MWh to $33.86/MWh. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Global adjustment charges, which the government of Ontario set up about 10 years ago, have led to higher electricity fees. NRStor and IHI Energy Storage signed contracts for eight behind-the-meter energy storage projects designed to help with those high costs. The contracts are for 42 MWh of lithium-ion batteries, due online in 2019.​ [Utility Week]

Toronto

¶ Japanese ICT company Fujitsu has announced it has joined RE100, the international initiative led by The Climate Group in partnership with the Carbon Disclosure Project which encourages businesses to commit to sourcing 100% of the electricity they use from renewable sources. Fujitsu is Japan’s first Gold Member of RE100. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ South Australia’s energy minister says the state is on track to have 75% of its electricity from renewables by 2025. Because of the low costs of renewables, it is meeting a target that the current government does not support. Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull once described the Labor renewable energy policy as “ideology and idiocy in equal measure.” [The Guardian]

Bungala solar power plant (Photo: The Guardian)

¶ The state of Victoria is likely to meet its 40% renewable energy goal five years early, in 2020 rather than the targeted 2025, according to the latest analysis from Green Energy Markets. The latest Renewable Index Report from GEM says Australia got 20.2% of its electricity from renewable energy sources in the month of June. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Chinese solar manufacturer LONGi Solar announced that it has signed a $600 million supply agreement with an unnamed major US power plant developer for its high-efficiency monocrystalline modules. Mark Osborne, Senior News Editor at PV-Tech, believes that this is the largest module supply contract LONGi has signed with a US developer. [CleanTechnica]

LONGi Solar modules

US:

¶ Cuba has over five times as much cobalt as the US, but current US foreign policy stance restricts business dealings with Cuba. Panasonic, which supplies all of Tesla’s batteries, has concerns that cobalt delivered to the company from Canada may have been mined in Cuba, so it felt constrained to suspend business with its source there. [CleanTechnica]

¶ About 6.5% of the total national renewable energy potential is on tribal land, a DOE source says. Historically this was not developed because of lack of access to capital. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 made loan guarantees available on tribal lands, but the program was not funded until the US Congress passed the Fiscal Year 2017 Omnibus Spending Bill. [CleanTechnica]

Landscape with reflections

¶ Environment Massachusetts is pushing for the state to get 100% of its energy from renewable sources. The organization joined with those heading local renewable energy projects to release its agenda, or roadmap, to do so. As it announced its efforts, it highlighted achievements that had already been made in regions of the state. [iBerkshires.com]

¶ EDP Renewables North America is to sell electricity from the 125-MW Timber Road 4 wind farm in Ohio to an unnamed “commercial and industrial entity” under two 15-year power purchase agreements. Supply will start when Timber Road 4 comes online next year, EDPR said. It has now contracted 2.2 GW of wind energy PPAs in the US. [reNews]

EDPR wind farm (EDPR image)

¶ Renewable energy projects are on the rise in New Hampshire as communities look to save money and reduce the risks of climate change. Recently, Claremont had a ribbon-cutting ceremony to show of a new solar array. Its 432 panels will help power the city’s highest energy user, the wastewater treatment plant, with the cleanest power possible. [WMUR Manchester]

¶ The Vermont Public Utility Commission issued an order providing guidelines for alternative regulation proposals it says are necessary in order to continue advancing the state’s energy goals.  The order said proposals must advance the state’s energy goals, be open and transparent, enable innovation, and benefit the consumer. [Utility Dive]

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July 24 Energy News

July 24, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Inside Alaska’s battles over land, sea and life” • There is a gold and oil rush underway in Alaska. It began when Donald Trump set out to deregulate the environment. It has brought dismay to fishermen and wildlife guides, conservationists and native tribes who believe that Alaska’s true wealth lies in its wilderness and biodiversity. [CNN]

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

¶ “NRDC: Breakthrough Republican Climate Plan Still Falls Short” • Rep Carlos Curbelo of Florida introduced a carbon tax, one of the first credible proposals by a congressional Republican to address climate change. But the plan will not cut carbon pollution enough to safeguard the climate, and so it is just a conversation starter. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

¶ “Electricity plan would all but hit emissions goal before it starts” • The Turnbull government’s National Energy Guarantee, the centerpiece of its climate change and electricity policy, would help cut an average Australian household’s power bills by A$50 (US $37) in its first year. But it does little to cut carbon emissions over the decade to 2030. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

Morwell power station (Marcus Wong, Wikimedia Commons)

Science and Technology:

¶ A group of researchers has developed an open-source computing tool that calculates the environmental impact of residential buildings, including the CO2 emissions in each phase of a building project. A building’s carbon footprint will be obtained digitally, from its conception, through every stage of the construction process. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Students at the Technical University of Eindhoven in The Netherlands created Noah, one of the most innovative electric cars since the original Tesla Roadster. Its frame is made of rigid material created from flax and sugar. It is called “the most circular car in the world,” since most of it can be recycled or repurposed at the end of its useful life. [CleanTechnica]

Noah’s frame and suspension

World:

¶ In its latest report, the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association, working with Altai Consulting, has highlighted the impact and the benefits of off-grid solar home systems in improving the quality of life for African households. The report sheds light on how PV systems can help governments of developing nations create ample employment opportunities. [Mercom India]

¶ TEPCO Holdings will pursue renewable energy projects worth tens of billions of dollars in a sharp turn away from nuclear power and an effort that will require finding partners abroad, the power company’s president told Nikkei. TEPCO is aiming to develop renewable energy installations in Japan and overseas that produce 6 GW to 7 GW of power. [Nikkei Asian Review]

Floating wind turbine (© Reuters)

¶ BYD and Changan Automobile have spun up a joint venture to manufacture and sell electric vehicle batteries. The enterprise is based in the sprawling metropolis of Chongqing, China. It is focused on spooling up a battery production facility with a total production capacity of 10 GWh, which is being split into two nearly equal phases. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The UK Government’s plan to introduce new auctions to secure renewable energy sources could mean that the UK’s offshore wind capacity may nearly double over the next decade, according to RenewableUK. They called the recent announcement a ringing endorsement by Government of the UK’s world-leading offshore wind industry. [Maritime Journal]

Offshore wind farm (Vattenfall image)

¶ Philippine communities are pushing back against new “clean coal” plants. Packaged as “clean and environment-friendly,” the two new 670-MW coal-burning power plants will be built close to an intact rain forest in a northern region of the country. Locals resisting the $1.5 billion project say it will destroy the environment and ruin livelihoods. [eco-business.com]

¶ The southern Indian state of Karnataka is now a renewable energy leader. It has surpassed Tamil Nadu to become the country’s biggest renewable power producer with an installed capacity of 12.3 GW. In comparison, the state’s coal power capacity is around 9.8 GW. The move to renewable power was based on its low cost compared to coal. [Quartz]

Renewable power (Fred Lancelot | Reuters)

US:

¶ The Trump administration will seek to revoke California’s authority to regulate automobile greenhouse gas emissions in a proposed revision of Obama-era standards, according to three people familiar with the plan. The proposal, expected to be released this week, sets up a high-stakes battle over the state’s ability to regulate air pollution. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Washington Geological Survey is planning to drill two test wells at two geothermal sites at Mount Baker and Mount St. Helen in the State of Washington to explore the possibility of further geothermal development. Local news in the State of Washington report that there will be some test drilling done near Mount Baker at Baker Lake. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

Mount Baker (photo: ensteele | Flickr, creative commons)

¶ Since Vermont’s Green Mountain Power was certified as a benefit corporation (B Corp) in 2014, it has found financial success while maintaining social and environmental sustainability: a triple bottom line. Despite engaging in conventionally “poor” business practices, its net income is still growing, and even outpacing peers in the utility industry. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Canadian renewable power producer BluEarth Renewables LP said it has completed the purchase of a 795-MW wind project portfolio in Wyoming. This acquisition adds to BluEarth’s existing development portfolio, which includes more than 400 MW of projects in advanced development stages and a pipeline of early-stage opportunities. [Renewables Now]

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July 23 Energy News

July 23, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “10+ Million Fires, 19,000 Deaths, And 70,000 Injuries From Internal Combustion Vehicles” • Over 10 million highway vehicle fires caused about 19,000 deaths and over 70,000 injuries in the US from 1980–2015, the National Fire Protection Association says. But some mainstream news outlets ignore those fires and seem to report the rare Tesla fires obsessively. [CleanTechnica]

YouTube screen shot

¶ “Reverse power flow: How solar + batteries shift power from utilities to consumers” • For 100 years, the US electric grid has been controlled by electric utilities, public regulators, and grid operators. But the economics of coal and nuclear power plants, relying on operating at high capacities around the clock, are being undermined by PVs and batteries. [Red, Green, and Blue]

¶ “Skyscrapers Full of Lettuce Promise an Eco-Friendly Alternative to Outdoor Farming. There’s Just One Problem.” • “Vertical farming can allow former cropland to go back to nature and reverse the plundering of the earth,” a New Yorker article said. But vertical farming also uses a lot of energy, and we need to take care where it comes form. [Mother Jones]

Vertical farming (Image: Jun Cen)

World:

¶ Almost half of all major businesses in Australia are switching to clean, affordable and reliable renewable energy in a bid to take control of soaring power bills and tackle intensifying climate change. But for small to medium-size businesses, making a switch is not so straightforward, so local government has an important role to play. [Queensland Country Life]

¶ Sanjeev Gupta, the British billionaire who rescued the Whyalla steelworks from administration and is spending more than $2 billion on clean energy and green steel developments in regional South Australia says most Australians are yet to grasp that solar power is now a cheaper option than new coal-fired electricity. He intends to prove it. [The Guardian]

Sanjeev Gupta (Photo: Bloomberg via Getty Images)

¶ The Philippine Department of Energy is working on establishing renewable energy zones to maximize the country’s renewable resources, a ranking official said. The department released a draft of a circular, “Establishment and Development of Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) in the Country,” to get comments from stakeholders. [The Manila Times]

¶ The British government said it will provide up to £557 million ($732 million) of funding for the next clean electricity auctions for less-established renewables. The next so-called contracts for difference allocation round for renewable energy technologies such as offshore wind will open by May 2019, the government said. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Fishing in an offshore wind farm

¶ In Malaysia, up to seven Independent Power Producer agreements could be cancelled as part of a 10-year plan to be unveiled soon. Four have already been voided without any cost incurred, the energy minister said, and another four are under review. She said Malaysia needs a long-term goal of producing cheaper and cleaner energy. [The New Paper]

¶ Global coal prices have been on a steady rise and hit a six-year high early this month, putting pressure on the power generation industry in Malaysia. Coal plays a large role in Malaysia’s energy scheme, as it provides 53% of peninsular the country’s power. All of Malaysia’s coal is imported, with costs are entirely dependent on the global market. [The Star Online]

Coal barge (Reuters image)

¶ Wealthy governments have been accused of promoting fossil fuels in Africa at the expense of clean energy. Analysis showed 60% of public aid for energy projects was spent on fossil fuels, compared with just 18% on renewables. Oil Change International  estimated aid to Africa’s energy sector was $59.5 billion (£45.3bn) between 2014 and 2016. [The Guardian]

US:

¶ At the end of 2017, the numbers of Arkansas PV systems and accounts that net meter were almost double what they were a year before and more than 40 times the what they were in 2007, according to the Arkansas Public Service Commission. And while the state’s PV capacity is not large at 9 MW, it is continuing to grow. [Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette]

Arkansas installation (Charlie Kaijo | NWA Democrat-Gazette)

¶ The Daily Hampshire Gazette reports that CVE North America Inc wants to install 17,280 solar modules across two 10-acre parcels in Westhampton, Massachusetts. Together, they would produce nearly 5 MW of power. Local utility Eversource has entered into an agreement with CVE for the power, according to the special permit application. [The State]

¶ The New England Hydropower Company says it wants to place a small scale hydropower plant in Hugh Moore Park along the Delaware and Lehigh Historic Canal Corridor in Pennsylvania. It recently presented its plans to Northampton County Council, which voted to match a state grant for this project, in any amount up to $1.5 million. [WFMZ Allentown]

Delaware and Lehigh Canal

¶ Following in the steps of growing number of municipalities, New Brunswick, New Jersey, now proposes to buy electricity in bulk to get a low rate for all households, and to seek a supplier that will employ environmentally-friendly renewable energy sources. The city is moving forward on a plan to bring in more renewable energy resources. [TAPinto.net]

¶ The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska already boasts 400 kW of installed solar panels, more than nearly any other Midwestern American Indian tribe. It doesn’t plan to stop there. The American Indian tribe expects to learn later this summer whether it will receive a federal grant to pay half the cost of an additional 300 kW. [Lincoln Journal Star]

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July 22 Energy News

July 22, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Can Atlanta Run Entirely On Renewable Energy by 2035?” • Atlanta is working to put flesh on a framework to run entirely on renewable power by 2035. That covers both municipal operations, including Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, and all the lights, appliances, and air conditioners in town. Here is a plan for how to do it. [Sierra Magazine]

Atlanta (Sierra Club photo)

¶ “With EPA rule change, worries linger for those near coal ash ponds” • As one of his first major acts at the EPA, Andrew Wheeler, the acting administrator, signed and finalized new standards overseeing coal ash. Critics of the new coal ash rules say they are a gift to industry and a continued burden for those communities near coal ash sites. [CNN]

¶ “Oil industry plans to keep workers safe – by firing them and having robots do their jobs” • The oil and gas industry is finally acknowledging how dangerous conditions can be for its workers, after years of touting their safety record. This sudden honesty comes with a new safety solution, which is to fire the workers and replace them with robots. [NationofChange]

Deepwater Horizon (Credit: US Coast Guard, public domain)

¶ “3 Natural Gas & Climate Myths” • Many people see natural gas as a part of the answer for climate change. But arguments in support of natural gas are based on outdated or incorrect information – sometimes tending toward wishful thinking. So we are setting the record straight on three common myths about natural gas and our climate. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶ As CO2 rises in the atmosphere, which leads to the planet warming, the balance between photosynthesis and respiration can shift in individual plants. In a new study published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers have found that in warmer conditions plants change how they use carbon – using more for growth. [Phys.Org]

Plant and ladybug (CC0 Public Domain)

¶ A new combination of materials developed by Stanford researchers may lead to a rechargeable battery able to store the large amounts of power. The technology is a flow battery with the negative side consisting of a combination of potassium and sodium that is liquid at room temperature. It is a promising step toward a high density battery. [pvbuzz media]

World:

¶ PowerLink, the high-voltage system operator in Queensland, signed an agreement with Pacific Hydro for a project of up to 500 MW, the first part of the Haughton solar farm. But PowerLink says it has far more than that in its pipeline, with more than 150 enquiries or applications for nearly 30,000 MW, almost all from renewable sources. [CleanTechnica]

Solar farm (Pixabay | Creative Commons)

¶ The Billion Tree Tsunami project in Pakistan has been a success. About 730 million trees were regrown using various forestry measures for regeneration, and three hundred million seedlings were planted using about 40 different species in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The enormous project was only started several years ago. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Modelling released by respected energy analysts Reputex shows that a National Energy Guarantee with the emission targets of the Australian government will not lead to any new renewable energy infrastructure and thus no reduction in carbon pollution. It also finds that a higher emissions target will lead to lower electricity bills for us all. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

Coddrington wind farm in Victoria (Photo: Jessica Shapiro)

¶ A South African brewery may be the first in Africa to go carbon-neutral as businesses adjust to climate change and consumers are more careful about what they buy. In a village near Cape Town, Darling Brewery decreased its carbon footprint with efficiency, then took it to zero by buying carbon credits at a reforestation project in Zimbabwe. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ Collie shire council, in the heart of the last remaining coal mining and coal generation district in West Australia, discussed seeking quotes for rooftop solar. One provider said solar would deliver electricity cost savings of $446,106 over 10 years. The council voted against installing rooftop PVs because “we should be burning more coal.” [RenewEconomy]

Coal-burning power station

¶ Masako Sakata, an award-winning Japanese documentary film director, took the long route to answer a gnawing question: how is it that Japan is still wedded to atomic power while Germany decided to phase out its nuclear plants by 2022 in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster? Her latest film “Morgen” set for release this fall in Tokyo. [The Mainichi]

US:

¶ In May of last year, the 120,000 PV solar panels at the Kayenta Solar Plant, the first utility-scale solar plant on the Navajo Nation, went operational. Now, the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority that owns the Kayenta plant is pushing ahead with two more solar projects on the reservation, with a combined capacity of 100,000 to 150,000 MW. [Arizona Daily Sun]

Kayenta Solar Facility (NTUA photo)

¶ Honolulu-based Toyota dealer and distributor Servco Pacific unveiled a hydrogen station by having it blessed in a traditional manner using Hawaiian Ti leaves and water from sacred waterfalls. Servco hopes that the availability of hydrogen to power passenger cars will spur sales of fuel cell vehicles on Oahu and eventually other Hawaiian Islands. [Forbes]

¶ More than 10% of America’s coal miners with 25 or more years of experience have black lung disease, the highest rate recorded in roughly two decades, according to a government study that showed cases concentrated heavily in central Appalachia. The study was by researchers from the government’s National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. [Reuters]

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July 21 Energy News

July 21, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Energy Costs Are a Higher Burden on the Rural Poor” • Low-income families in rural areas pay greater portions of what they earn to energy costs than other families. Lower disposable income has a crippling effect on local economies. Often, the burden on households and communities could be mitigated with energy-efficiency. [U.S. News & World Report]

Rural America (UIG via Getty Images)

¶ “To Improve Energy Security Of Military Bases, Use Less Civilian Power – Not More” • The Trump Administration is reportedly considering a bailout of civilian coal and nuclear power plants to make the electricity supply to military bases more reliable. But a more effective approach would be competitive procurement. [American Action Forum]

¶ “What does the end of feed in tariffs in the UK mean for small-scale renewables?” • The UK’s feed in tariff scheme for small-scale renewables will officially close on 31 March 2019, according to the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy. The closure was announced in 2015, but its real implications are still unknown. [Power Technology]

UK rooftop solar systems (Photo: Christine Westerback)

¶ “Republican Candidate Calls 18-Year-Old Climate Activist ‘Naive’. Her Response Is Perfect” • A Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate called an 18-year-old naive when she questioned him on climate science. He believes that the Earth is warming because it is moving closer to the sun every year and because a larger population gives off more body heat. [ScienceAlert]

Science and Technology:

¶ Researchers made an enormous leap recently by moving one step closer to stable fusion nuclear energy. They discovered a way to stabilize plasma in fusion reactors to prevent temperatures and densities from oscillating. The process they discovered runs in simulations. If it runs in fusion reactors as expected, it may help bring them to reality. [Interesting Engineering]

Plasma fusion reactor

World:

¶ The UK’s drive to get more electric vehicles on the road took a step forward with the passing of new legislation, Automated and Electric Vehicles Act, which gives the government the power to force petrol stations and motorway services to install EV chargers to ensure charging infrastructure keeps pace with changing market demands. [Power Engineering International]

¶ Lewis Wind partners EDF and Wood are exploring the potential for installation of next-generation hardware at the consented Stornoway wind farm in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland. The joint venture has filed early-stage planning documents with Edinburgh government officials for 24 turbines of up to 187 metres and nine of up to 155 metres. [reNews]

EDF wind farm on the Scottish mainland (reNews image)

¶ Total global energy investment fell by 2% in 2017, totalling $1.8 billion according to the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Investment 2018 report. It showed that $750 billion was spent on the electricity sector, compared to only $715 billion on oil & gas supply, while investment in renewables and energy efficiency fell by 3%. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The largest solar power plant ever proposed in the UK will be reviewed by the secretary of state within the next six months. Cleve Hill solar farm will be sited on 1,000 acres on the north coast of Kent and, if built, provide up to 350 MW of generating capacity. The plant will include battery storage so energy can be supplied when it is needed most. [Yahoo News UK]

Sunset at a solar plant

US:

¶ US bird conservation group the National Audubon Society gave conditional backing to Fred Olsen Renewables and LEEDCo’s 21-MW Icebreaker offshore wind farm on Lake Erie. The organisation said at a public hearing held by the Ohio Power Siting Board that it supports the project, provided threats are minimised to birds and other wildlife. [reNews]

¶ The parent company of Arizona’s largest electric utility filed suit in a bid to block voters from deciding if they want to impose new renewable energy mandates on power companies. Attorneys hired by Arizonans for Affordable Energy, funded by Pinnacle West Capital Corp, claim a series of legal flaws with the petitions to put the issue on the ballot. [The Daily Courier]

Wind farm

¶ The largest solar system in New York City was installed this week in Staten Island, according to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. The 3.1-MW solar array will provide energy for Fordham University and Fordham Preparatory School in the Bronx. The project will generate nearly four million kWh of electricity each year. [Daily Energy Insider]

¶ SCP and Coldwell Solar hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony at one of the two solar power plants newly built in Petaluma, the first of their kind for Sonoma and Mendocino counties’ nonprofit electricity provider. The 2 MW they generate together can power up to 600 SCP customers using their 100% renewable EverGreen electric power service. [Petaluma Argus Courier]

Ribbon cutting attendees (Crissy Pascual | Argus Courier staff)

¶ A new independent assessment by The Brattle Group of US President Donald Trump’s plan to bail out the country’s coal and nuclear plants has concluded that the cost of such a bailout could balloon to $70 billion over two years. Coal use is falling with low natural gas prices, and natural gas use is falling with increased reliance on renewable energy. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A federal appeals court in San Francisco rejected the Trump administration’s request to block the trial of a lawsuit by 21 young people who accuse the government of endangering their futures, and the planet, by failing to act against global warming. The administration is asking the US Supreme Court to intervene in this case and another that is similar. [WRAL.com]

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