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

October 1, 2016

1583 regular daily posts with links to 18,527 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 September 30, out of 100 US-licensed reactors, 9 are at reduced output and 11 not operating.

§ Video: Energy Week: 9/29/2016 – George and Tom talk about energy and climate change. A $11.8 billion market for biogas is hidden in plain sight. Lake Erie is getting offshore wind. 92% of the Earth’s people are exposed to excess air. And there is more.


October 1 Energy News

October 1, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “The lights go out in SA and Turnbull flicks the switch to peak stupid” • Malcolm Turnbull has encouraged using the South Australian blackout to slow the shift to clean energy. But the evidence says the state targets are exactly what Australia needs to meet the promises he made at COP21 last year to reduce carbon emissions. [The Guardian]

Australian wind farm (Photo: Angela Harper / AAP)

Australian wind farm (Photo: Angela Harper / AAP)

¶ “Nuclear power in the US: Not what it once was” • Nuclear plants are large and expensive assets facing closures for reasons expected to remain indefinitely: nuclear energy’s high fixed production costs, competitive gas prices, and heightened aims of renewables usage. The future of nuclear energy will remain uncertain. [Energy Voice]

Science and Technology:

¶ Siemens unveiled a new raft of wind turbine designs this week at the WindEnergy Hamburg trade show, including a low-noise wind turbine which the company explains was inspired by the silent flight of the owl. The new SWT-3.3-130LN wind turbine operates at a reduced rotor speed and has addons for reduced noise. [CleanTechnica]

Owl (Photo by Shutter Stock/Matt Gibson)

Owl (Photo by Shutter Stock/Matt Gibson)

¶ Aircraft engineers in Germany have successfully tested the world’s first four-seater plane that uses emission-free hybrid fuel cells to fly. The twin-cabin plane, HY4, uses hydrogen to generate electricity in-flight, giving it a cruising speed of 165 km per hour (102.5 mph) and a range of up to 1,500 kilometers (932 miles).
[CanadianManufacturing.com]

World:

¶ Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein have achieved Germany’s renewable target for 2025. They already get 40% of their energy from renewables on an annual basis. Though it will require some new technology, this region of 4.5 million people expects to get 70% of its energy from renewables by 2025, and to reach 100% by 2035. [CleanTechnica]

Container terminal and wind turbines at Hamburg (photo by Christian Spahrbier courtesy www.mediaserver.hamburg.de)

Container terminal and wind turbines at Hamburg
(photo by Christian Spahrbier courtesy mediaserver.hamburg.de)

¶ European Union ministers approved the ratification of the landmark Paris Agreement climate change deal Friday, bringing the treaty closer to coming into force. The European Parliament must record a vote on the decision next week – a formality – for the treaty to be formally ratified by the 28-member bloc, the European Commission said. [CNN]

¶ A quarter of hard coal-fired generation capacity in Germany may shut ahead of schedule if plant operators forgo spending on upgrades, according to Norwegian consulting firm Nena AS. Steag GmbH, the fifth-biggest power producer in Germany, is considering shuttering at least five of its 13 German coal stations. [Bloomberg]

German coal-burning plant  (photo by Harald Lordick, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

German coal-burning plant
(photo by Harald Lordick, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The Danish Foreign Ministry announced that Apple will
“fund and boost” biogas research at Aarhus University. Apple
will provide funding for the university research into how to using fuel cells with biogas. The university will use agricultural waste including straw and manure provided by local farmers. [The Local Denmark]

¶ Iberdrola has secured permits from the Mexican government to build two wind and two solar facilities totalling nearly 600 MW in Mexico. The wind farms total 305 MW in Guanajuato and Puebla, and the solar farms come to 285 MW, in Sonora and San Luis de Potosí. All are expected to be operational by the end of 2019. [reNews]

Wind farm in Mexico (Iberdrola image)

Wind farm in Mexico (Iberdrola image)

¶ The French and Chinese companies that are to build the £18-billion Hinkley Point C nuclear power station will have to pay up to £7.2 billion to dismantle and clean it up. Documents published yesterday reveal for the first time how much the developers will have to pay to decommission the plant, beginning in 2083. [The Guardian]

US:

¶ Duke Energy Florida’s newest solar power plant, located on
22 acres in Taylor County, is the size of 17 football fields and is producing 5 MW of carbon-free energy from its 22,000 panels. One MW of universal solar is equivalent to about 200 typical residential rooftop systems. The number varies by state and conditions. [WTSP.com]

Duke Energy solar farm in Florida

Duke Energy solar farm in Florida

¶ An Xcel Energy proposal for a massive, $1.1 billion 600-MW Rush Creek wind farm and 90-mile transmission line in eastern Colorado was approved Friday by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. The Rush Creek wind farm will generate enough power to meet the needs of about average 180,000 homes in Colorado. [9NEWS.com]

¶ The future of Montana’s energy industry remains uncertain
in the face of federal regulations and the advancement of green energy such as the wind and solar. After seeing coal-burning plants close, the Montana Electric Cooperatives Association is working to figure out how they will meet the future needs of their customers. [KTVH]

Montana coal-burning plant

Montana coal-burning plant

¶ Menlo Park, Atherton, Woodside, Portola Valley, and several other municipalities in California’s San Mateo County, have signed up as customers of the new Peninsula Clean Energy program to buy municipal electricity that is 100% sourced from renewable sources. The Peninsula Clean Energy program starts October 1. [The Almanac Online]

¶ Apex Clean Energy has acquired the Novus IV wind energy project from Novus Windpower, LLC. The project, in Hansford County and Sherman County, in the Texas Panhandle, has the potential to bring 360 MW of wind energy into the Southwest Power Pool market. It is expected to begin construction in 2017. [Windpower Engineering]

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September 30 Energy News

September 30, 2016

World:

¶ India is one of the largest producers of coal in the world. But unregulated mining has led to environmental issues we might not even imagine, one of which is increasing conflicts between elephants and humans. As forests are being cleared for coal mining, wild elephants are entering villages in search of food and attacking people. [BBC]

A wild elephant in Chhattisgarh (Subrata Biswas)

A wild elephant in a village in Chhattisgarh (Subrata Biswas)

¶ GE Renewable Energy has received a contract from Max Boegl Wind AG to supply four 3.4-137 wind turbines that are planned to be integrated with a 16-MW pumped storage hydropower plant in Germany’s Swabian-Franconian Forest. The hydropower equipment will be delivered by local company Voith. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Vestas has broken into a fresh market with a deal to build the 50-MW Tsetsii wind farm in Mongolia. The Danish wind manufacturer will deliver unidentified hardware to Clean Energy Asia in the first quarter of next year with full operations expected before end-2017. Vestas opened an office in Mongolia earlier this year. [reNews]

Vestas wind turbines (Vestas)

Wind farm with Vestas wind turbines (Vestas)

¶ Algeria plans to start a program to add 4 GW of solar PV power capacity by the end of the year, the country’s energy minister said. About 300 MW of PV power plants have entered service so far in 2016. As part of a program announced earlier, Algeria aims to have 22 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2035. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Coal generated a record low 6% of the UK’s electricity this spring, official figures show. The share of coal in the power mix fell from 20% in the same period last year. Ferrybridge C, in West Yorkshire, and Longannet, in Scotland, have both closed, and Drax, in North Yorkshire, has switched from the fossil fuel to burning biomass. [The Guardian]

Longannet power station in Scotland (Photo: Deadline News / REX / Shutterstock)

Longannet station (Photo: Deadline News / REX / Shutterstock)

¶ The UK has signed its £18 billion contract with France and China to build the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, giving the final go-ahead for construction at the site in Somerset. The deal was finalized at a low-key ceremony in London, just two months after Theresa May put the entire project under review.
[The Guardian]

¶ Despite unprecedented policy uncertainty across the region, Europe is expected to install more than 140 GW of wind capacity over the next ten years, according to new analysis from MAKE Consulting. According to the Europe Power Outlook 2016, about 60% of the new installations will be erected in Northern Europe. [CleanTechnica]

Siemens wind turbines

Siemens wind turbines

¶ The Australian Labor states have reacted angrily to suggestions by Malcolm Turnbull that they should abandon their own state-based renewable energy targets, accusing the prime minister of launching a scare campaign over wind and solar, and especially of peddling “ignorant rubbish” about renewables in the wake of the South Australian blackout. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Wind farms off the coast of Germany have exported some 5.8 TWh of electricity in the first half of 2016, according to transmission operator TenneT. Projects in the German North Sea delivered 5.18 TWh in the first six months of the year – up 230% on the 2.26 TWh in the same period in 2015, with 0.61 TWh more from the Baltic Sea. [reNews]

Riffgat offshore wind farm in waters off Germany (EWE image)

Riffgat offshore wind farm in waters off Germany (EWE image)

US:

¶ PSEG Solar Source, Platte River Power Authority, and Juwi, a renewables developer, dedicated the PSEG Rawhide Flats Solar Center. The 36.3 MW-dc (30 MW-ac) Rawhide Energy Station is on a 190-acre site 25 miles north of Fort Collins, Colorado. It will generate enough electricity to meet the needs of 8,000 Colorado homes. [Your Renewable News]

¶ San Diego-based Solar Alliance Energy plans to build a 500-kW community solar generation and battery storage project in Southern Illinois. The company says the project will include a workforce redevelopment program to provide skills training and jobs to 30 unemployed or underemployed coal industry workers.[CleanTechnica]

Solar project in Illinois (Credit: The Southern Illinoisan)

Small solar project in Illinois (Credit: The Southern Illinoisan)

¶ Grassroots Solar of Dorset, Vermont, announced an exclusive partnership with industry leader sonnenBatterie, Inc, an energy storage company based in Germany. The sonnenBatterie system works with new or existing solar systems to store excess power, and will feed the household’s electrical needs when the power is out. [Vermont Biz]

¶ New York Governor Andrew M Cuomo announced the completion of Long Island’s 35,000th residential solar project, marking a 320% growth in solar over the last four years. The Governor’s Clean Energy Standard would supply 50% of the state’s electricity from renewable energy resources by 2030. [LongIsland.com]

 

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September 29 Energy News

September 29, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ The findings of a twenty year-long research project shows that golden eagles in proximity to the Beinn an Tuirc windfarm in Scotland are thriving. The wind farm has long-term resident birds successfully raising chicks, throwing a spanner in the works for anyone who claims wind farms and wind turbines are inherently dangerous to birds. [CleanTechnica]

Golden Eagle (Photo by Martin Mecnarowski, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

Golden Eagle (Photo by Martin Mecnarowski, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

World:

¶ The price of oil surged and slipped back in trading as traders questioned whether the output cut agreed by Opec would be binding. Prices had jumped by 6% on Wednesday’s news that Opec had voted for the first production cut in eight years. Oil ministers said full details of the agreement would be finalized in November. [BBC]

¶ Ontario’s renewable energy industry will continue growing despite the suspension of plans for another round of wind, solar and hydroelectric projects, according to Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault. The Canadian Wind Energy Association noted 16 procurement contracts signed earlier this year for 455 MW will proceed across Ontario. [Toronto Star]

Wind turbines near Shelburne, Ontario. (Marcus Oleniuk / Toronto Star File Photo)

Wind turbines near Shelburne, Ontario.
(Marcus Oleniuk / Toronto Star File Photo)

¶ General Electric is teaming up with Mainstream Renewable Power Ltd, based in Ireland, to construct large-scale wind power plants in Vietnam with a total investment of $1.5 billion. They will work together to develop 1,000 MW of wind power capacity for the Vietnamese grid, according to the Wall Street Journal. [VnExpress International]

¶ Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has put the country’s renewable energy mix up for discussion, unleashing a political storm over the blackout in South Australia. Experts insisted the statewide electricity failure had “absolutely nothing” to do with that state’s heavy reliance on wind power. [North Queensland Register]

Damaged transmission towers that brought the grid down (Photo: Twitter / Vic_Rollison)

Damaged transmission towers that brought the grid down
(Photo: Twitter / Vic_Rollison)

¶ China’s largest private investor group, China Minsheng New Energy Investment Co, is developing a 2-GW solar farm in the Ningxia region which will be made up of some 6 million solar panels. According to Bloomberg, it will be the largest solar farm the world has ever seen, requiring an investment of up to $2.34 billion. [Bloomberg]

¶ Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners is working with Canada’s Beothuk Energy to develop wind farms in waters off the coast of Newfoundland. They will start with the 180-MW St Georges Bay project. CIP said Beothuk will continue to lead the development of St Georges Bay until a power purchase agreement has been obtained. [reNews]

Offshore wind (reNEWS image)

Offshore wind (reNEWS image)

¶ Dams surrounding the stricken Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant operated by TEPCO have become de facto storage facilities for increasingly high concentrations of radioactive cesium. Though no effective countermeasures are in sight, the government insists that water from the dams is safe. [Center for Research on Globalization]

¶ At least one chief executive hopes to be out of a job within five years. If Stephen Nolan succeeds at his job, he will lose it, and will be seeking new employment in 2021. Sustainable Nation will end in 2021, and if it achieves its goals, sustainability should simply be taken for granted at that point, ending any need for its work. [Irish Independent]

Stephen Nolan, ceo of Sustainable Nation Ireland. Picture credit. Photo: Damien Eagers

Stephen Nolan, ceo of Sustainable Nation Ireland.
Picture credit. Photo: Damien Eagers

US:

¶ Alabama Power Company posted a request for proposals this week for renewable energy projects, including, but not limited to, solar, wind, and geothermal. The utility has announced more than 90 MW of solar power projects since late last year and wants to weigh its options for additional renewable energy projects. [AL.com]

¶ The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, sitting en banc, heard oral argument in West Virginia v EPA, the legal challenge to the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Ten judges participated, and arguments lasted seven hours, spanning a wide range of constitutional, statutory and procedural arguments about the validity of the rule. [Washington Post]

This coal-fired plant has closed. (George Frey / Reuters)

Closed coal-fired plant in Utah (George Frey / Reuters)

¶ Over the last eight years, renewable power deployment has “increased really dramatically,” Energy Secretary Earnest Moniz commented, after his department released a new report detailing green energy costs and generation. Since 2008, the costs of five clean energy technologies have had declines ranging from 40% to 94%. [The Hill]

¶ The City of Burlington, Vermont, wants to use waste heat from several major sources around town, which otherwise would be vented into the atmosphere, and use it to heat buildings and create hot water. A partnership of the city, businesses, advocates, and organizations will explore the potential of creating a district energy system. [Vermont Biz]

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September 28 Energy News

September 28, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “China: Six little known facts about the country’s solar and wind boom” • China is installing one wind turbine an hour. This year is likely to be the third in a row in which its use of coal declined. About 370,000 people died from air pollution in 2013. Possibly we all knew those things, but here are a few more items worth knowing. [RenewEconomy]

A 100 kW stand-alone PV plant at 14,500 feet in the Himalaya powers a clinic, a school, and 347 houses, for about five hours each day.

A 100-kW stand-alone PV plant at 14,500 feet in the Himalaya
powers a clinic, a school, and 347 houses, for five hours daily.

¶ “AWEA: Clean Power Plan stands on firm legal ground, would continue trend of clean energy cutting carbon pollution reliably and cost-effectively” • As the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit hears oral arguments today about the merits of the Clean Power Plan, the American Wind Energy Association published its position. [AltEnergyMag]

Science and Technology:

¶ Siemens and two partners are developing a thermal storage system for wind energy that involves a rock-filled insulated container. The so-called Future Energy Solution converts excess wind energy into heat in insulated rocks. When it is needed, a steam turbine can be used to convert the heat energy back to power. [reNews]

Steam turbine (Siemens image)

Steam turbine (Siemens image)

¶ Almost all of us on Earth, 92% of the world’s people, now breathe polluted air, the World Health Organization says. An interactive map, based on global air pollution data, shows places where outdoor air quality fails to meet WHO guidelines. About 3 million deaths each year can be linked to exposure to outdoor air pollution. [CNN]

World:

¶ A controversial $36 billion liquefied natural gas project proposed for the northern coast of British Columbia just got a conditional green light from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government. The shipping terminal and its associated pipeline will be one of the most carbon-intensive resource projects in Canada’s history. [CBC.ca]

Lax Kw'alaams (Photo via Flickr user A.Davey)

Lax Kw’alaams (Photo via Flickr user A.Davey)

¶ A $7.5 million microgrid on Garden Island, in Western Australia will be the first in the world to include wave energy. It will involve the construction and integration of 2 MW of PV solar capacity and a 2-MW/0.5-MWh battery storage system, coupled with Carnegie’s CETO6 off-shore wave energy generation technology. [EcoGeneration]

¶ In October of 2015, representatives from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations agreed to a 2020 renewable energy target of 23%. Currently, however, the region is only on track to reach 17% renewable energy by 2020. Even so, the International Renewable Energy Agency believes the goal is still within reach. [CleanTechnica]

Solar panels in Thailand (Credit: IRENA)

Solar panels in Thailand (Credit: IRENA)

¶ Ontario’s Liberal government took steps to take some pressure off of rising electricity rates, cancelling plans to sign contracts for up to 1,000 MW of power from solar, wind and other renewable energy sources. The move is expected to keep about $2.45 a month from being added to bills for homeowners and small businesses. [CTV News]

¶ The outlook for the UK offshore wind industry remains strong, despite uncertainties after the British vote to leave the European Union. The chief executive of WindEurope has said that the UK’s government remains committed to the offshore wind industry, with about 1 GW a year of offshore wind added over the coming years. [reNews]

Humber Gateway offshore wind farm in the UK (E.ON image)

Humber Gateway offshore wind farm in the UK (E.ON image)

¶ The International Atomic Energy Agency has released a study showing the upward trend in nuclear power capacity continues, though at a reduced rate. The sector, facing completion from low fossil fuel prices and renewable energy sources, will grow at a lesser rate than previous IAEA reports had projected. [Power Engineering International]

¶ Local fisheries are cleaning up debris near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant for the first time since the tsunami-triggered nuclear disaster in 2011, in which three reactors melted down. However a plan to start trial fishing next year may face a setback as a nearly-completed ice wall is failing to contain contaminated water. [RT]

© Toru Yamanaka / AFP

© Toru Yamanaka / AFP

US:

¶ US presidential candidate Donald Trump has trash-talked his own country’s up-and-coming wind energy industry all through the 2016 campaign, but it doesn’t look like the gigantic energy services company Xcel got the memo. Last week Xcel announced that it is looking for an additional 1,500 MW in new wind energy capacity. [CleanTechnica]

¶ New York City is set to be increasingly challenged by sea level rises caused by melting glaciers and thermal expansion of the ocean as the planet warms. By 2100, sea levels could be up to 50 inches higher than today in New York, a scenario that has prompted the city to pledge billions of dollars for flood defenses and adaptation. [The Guardian]

Solar panels on a Rockefeller Center rooftop in midtown Manhattan in New York. (Photograph: Mark Lennihan / AP)

Solar panels on a Rockefeller Center rooftop in midtown
Manhattan in New York. (Photograph: Mark Lennihan / AP)

¶ Twelve minutes into the first face-to-face encounter between the candidates, Clinton raised the issue of climate change by pointing to Trump’s past claims that question the science behind rising temperatures and assertion that climate change was a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. “I did not,” Trump said. “I do not say that.” [Scientific American]

¶ Vermont’s Department of Public Service released a public review draft of the energy planning determination standards and recommendations. The Department is due to issue final standards and recommendations by November 1. The public is encouraged to comment on the draft through October 20. [vtdigger.org]

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September 27 Energy News

September 27, 2016

World:

¶ Statkraft has officially opened the 73-MW Banja hydropower plant in Albania, the first of two projects that will make up the 256-MW Devoll hydro scheme. The plant, which is located 65 kilometers southeast of the capital Tirana and is Statkraft’s first in the country, will generate about 255 GWh of electricity a year. [reNews]

Hydro dam (Statkraft image)

Hydro dam (Statkraft image)

¶ The Moroccan Press Agency reported that King Mohammed VI presided over a working session on the energy sector, focussing mainly on the national program for development of renewable energy. The country is rather unusual among Arab nations. It is one of the few countries in the region without its own oil or gas resources. [Eurasia Review]

¶ A sugar miller in far north Queensland plans to build a $75 million green power station near Mareeba. The power station will use bagasse, a 100% renewable sugarcane fiber, to produce 24 MW of electricity – enough for every house in the Tablelands Region, it says. The electricity will be sold into the local power grid. [EcoGeneration]

Bagasse

Bagasse

¶ Partners Innogy and Northland Power are preparing combined bids of 900 MW for the Nordsee 2 and 3 projects in next year’s offshore wind tender in Germany. The layout of Nordsee 2 and 3 would allow for installation of up to 960 MW of electric capacity, Nordsee 1 executive Tim Kittelhake said at a visit to a Senvion factory. [reNews]

¶ Community Windpower has signed Vestas to supply turbines as it reached financial close on its 31-MW Sanquhar wind farm in southwest Scotland. The nine-turbine project will feature V112 3.45-MW turbines, and is due online in 2017. Nestle is buying up to 125 GWh per annum of power under a previously announced deal. [reNews]

Aikengall wind farm in East Lothian (CWP image)

Aikengall wind farm in East Lothian (CWP image)

¶ In the UK, controversy over fracking has been reignited after a surprise announcement that a future Labour government would ban it. Shadow minister Barry Gardiner won loud applause at Labour’s annual conference in Liverpool when he attacked the Government’s policy on promoting shale gas. The Green Party supported the announcement. [BT.com]

US:

¶ Microsoft announced new targets for its renewable energy use, as it uses increasing amounts of power. It pledged to run 50% on green energy by 2018. Early in the next decade, the company hopes to be at 60%, then continue increasing each subsequent year. It is looking at a mix of solar, wind, and hydropower for its needs. [Futurism]

Microsoft’s data centers are massive consumers of power. (Microsoft Green)

Microsoft’s data center (Microsoft Green)

¶ On September 27, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals is hearing challengers’ arguments against the Clean Power Plan, but many power companies are not waiting for the courts to resolve the legal challenges. Instead, they are cutting carbon emissions already and accelerating the shift to clean energy. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

¶ Southern Power and Recurrent Energy’s 200-MW Tranquillity solar plant has achieved commercial operation in California. Signal Energy Constructors provided engineering, procurement and construction services for the project. The solar farm is located on 1900 acres of retired agricultural land in Fresno County. [reNews]

Solar project (Canadian solar image)

Solar project (Canadian solar image)

¶ New York City is thinking big on energy storage, 100 MWh by 2020. In addition, Mayor Bill de Blasio has expanded solar power targets. He announced an expansion of targets to 1,000 MW of citywide solar capacity by 2030. That level of capacity could meet the power needs of more than 250,000 households. [Energy Matters]

¶ The owners of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant had to keep a lot of spare parts around to keep the facility running. While the plant was open, the VY had a warehouse filled with equipment that workers might need in case something broke down. It closed in December 2014, and now the plant is auctioning off inventory. [Vermont Public Radio]

A box of signs up for auction (Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR)

A box of signs up for auction (Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR)

¶ The last section of a transmission line from South Dakota to Wisconsin, the CapX2020 project, has been finished its near the city of La Crosse. On Monday, Dairyland Power Cooperative, Xcel Energy, and nine other utility companies celebrated the completion of the line at a substation in Hampton, Minnesota. [Wisconsin Public Radio News]

¶ Pacific Ethanol, Inc, a leading producer and marketer of low-carbon renewable fuels, announced it is installing a 5-MW solar PV system at its Madera, California plant. The solar PV system, designed and built by Borrego Solar Systems, is expected to reduce Pacific Ethanol’s operating costs and improve its carbon score. [Benzinga]

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September 26 Energy News

September 26, 2016

World:

¶ Oil producers in the Opec group of countries will make another attempt this week to reverse a slump in crude prices that is causing problems for the poorer Opec members, according to Algeria’s energy minister. He said there would be an informal gathering of Opec members on the sidelines of an energy conference in Algiers. [BBC]

Oil worker (Reuters image)

Oil worker (Reuters image)

¶ Segolene Royal, president of COP21, presented a list of 240 renewable energy projects in Africa that will receive funding under the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative. The list includes about 20 GW of hydropower projects, 6 GW are solar, 5 GW of wind energy, 7 GW of geothermal, and 1 GW of hybrid projects. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ With the decline in costs of wind and solar power, South Africa is changing rapidly. Nearly 100 utility-scale renewable energy plants at various stages of development. Meanwhile, two new coal power stations are five years behind schedule going online, and plans to build six to eight nuclear power stations are running into trouble. [CleanTechnica]

Gouda wind farm, South Africa (Photo by Discott, edited, CC BY-SA 4.0)

South African wind farm (Photo by Discott, edited, CC BY-SA 4.0)

¶ Gamesa has bagged an order for a 50-MW turnkey wind project from ReNew Power, one of India’s leading renewable energy companies. The order entails the supply of 25 units of G114–2.0MW T106 turbine for the 50 MW project in the state of Karnataka. This project is scheduled for commissioning in March 2017. [Business Standard]

¶ Renewable power purchaser Smartest Energy will issue the UK’s first labels that tell companies the source and carbon content of the clean electricity they buy. The labels trace every megawatt used to its source of origin, allowing companies to report an exact carbon footprint and their contribution to UK climate targets. [reNews]

Hill of Towie, Scotland (Credit: reNews)

Hill of Towie, Scotland (Credit: reNews)

¶ The Liberian government and project developer, Gigawatt Global Cooperatief UA, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the financing and construction of a 10-MW solar PV power plant in Monrovia. A company representative has hopes that additional projects would be pursued in the future. [Liberian Daily Observer]

¶ In Australia, the assault on climate policies and renewable energy initiatives has taken a new form: having obliterated almost all of the effective policies at federal level, the focus is now switching to state-based targets, using the old arguments of higher costs and little abatement as the basis for the attack. [RenewEconomy]

Solar and wind power in Australia

Solar and wind power in Australia

¶ In a major announcement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India will ratify the Paris Climate Change Agreement on Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary on October 2. The date to ratify the COP21 protocol was chosen as Mahatma Gandhi’s life was an example of how to leave a minimum carbon footprint. [Daily Pioneer]

US:

¶ A new study from research scientists at Stanford University has linked a 4.8 magnitude earthquake recorded in East Texas in 2012 to the now common oil industry practice of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) and the accompanying wastewater injection wells. The study was done by use of satellite data. [CleanTechnica]

Fracking field (Image via Simon Fraser University)

Fracking field (Image via Simon Fraser University)

¶ New York City and Brooklyn Navy Yard officials will unveil a 3,152-panel rooftop solar installation that will generate a significant portion of the industrial center’s power. The solar farm is one of the largest in the city and is expected to generate 1.1 million kWh of energy each year, enough to power 88 homes. [New York Daily News]

¶ A year ago, Nebraska got its largest solar energy “garden” in Central City. It belonged to local residents and six businesses, who invested in the $600,000 in the 200-kW project. This year, however, the state will be seeing a number of projects built, and the total capacity of solar systems it has will be multiplied by six. [Omaha World-Herald]

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September 25 Energy News

September 25, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ Over 200 experts met in Oxford last week to reexamine Earth’s deadline for human sustainability. They concluded that even with most nations’ promised contributions to carbon reduction counted, Earth is currently on a path toward at least 2.7° C of warming. Nevertheless, the goal should be lowered from 2.0° C to 1.5° C. [CleanTechnica]

Forest and clouds

Forest and clouds

World:

¶ After five years of breakneck growth in the supply, China’s electricity demand is stagnating along with a pause in the nation’s economic expansion. The government has started re-calibrating subsidies for the business. Installations of new wind and solar farms are expected to drop 11% in 2017 from this year’s record high. [The Detroit News]

¶ A report from the Grattan Institute said the blame for July’s high power prices in South Australia should not be placed on renewables. It highlighted the need for the federal government to have a more effective climate policy as older, brown and black coal-fired power stations prepare to exit the nation’s energy mix. [The Australian Financial Review]

The SA power crisis should be a wake-up call. (photo by Joe Armao)

The SA power crisis is a wake-up call. (Photo by Joe Armao)

¶ International Finance Corp and the Canadian government helped fund a $76 million solar power project in Jordan, which is seeking to curb its reliance on expensive natural gas imports and fuel a growing population. IFC, a member of World Bank Group, arranged the financing package for a 50-MW project in the city of Mafraq. [Bloomberg]

¶ The Chennai Corporation, the municipal authority governing Madras, India, is intensifying its renewable energy campaign. It will bring rooftop solar installations to 168 kW in 2017 and has finalized a new phase of a streetlight extension program that will see the installation of 74,000 new LED streetlights in the city. [Deccan Chronicle]

The Chennai Corporation is saving power.

Chennai Corporation’s new lights

¶ An analyst for Bloomberg believes the low cost of solar power in the Abu Dhabi Electricity and Water Authority (Adwea) auction should not be understood as a simple price for power. The winning bid, 2.42¢/kWh, is only for nine months per year. During the summer, Adwea will pay 1.6 times as much (about 3.87¢/kWh). [The National]

¶ Kazakhstan plans to invest aggressively in renewable energy in the next decade in spite of the currently prevailing low oil prices. The Energy Minister said the Kazakh government started developing renewable energy projects when global oil prices were at $120 per barrel and will continue to do so even if they fall to $20 per barrel. [PlanetSave.com]

Wind farm in Kazakhstan (Photo by МаратД, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

Kazakhstan (Photo by МаратД, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ After the accident at Fukushima Daiichi, the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission put together a trove of raw documents from 1,167 individuals directly involved in the crisis. Four years after the commission disbanded, the documents still have still not been released to the public. [Asahi Shimbun]

US:

¶ The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, along with government and industry supporters, including Microsoft and Google, launched a partnership to harness the data revolution to strengthen climate resilience efforts, streamline climate data delivery, and inform researchers and data providers. [PlanetSave.com]

California vineyards are at risk from drought related to climate change.

California vineyards are hit by drought related to climate change.

¶ The US government expects to publish a final sale notice in January 2017 for a 1.5-GW commercial wind lease area off North Carolina. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management anticipates an auction will follow in March for the 122,405-acre Kitty Hawk zone, 24 nautical miles from shore. The bidding will start at $244,800. [reNews]

¶ OATI, a computer company that sells software to energy companies and runs data centers, has built a microgrid in Bloomington, Minnesota. The microgrid will still draw some power from Xcel Energy, but it will be able to operate without the grid, if it needs to. When the grid fails, OATI will still have power. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

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September 24 Energy News

September 24, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “How the jaw-dropping fall in solar prices will change energy markets” • Every time solar prices have been bid lower, they have been met with howls of derision by less cost-competitive rivals. The multiple bids for solar power below $30/MWh on a 350-MW tender in Abu Dhabi suggest the projects are financially viable. [RenewEconomy]

Abengoa solar plant in Chile (Photo from Ministerio  Bienes Nacionales, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

Abengoa solar plant in Chile (Photo from Ministerio
Bienes Nacionales, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

World:

¶ According to Navigant Research’s Wind Turbine Order Tracker 3Q16, published this week, Vestas received 3.5 GW of wind turbine orders during the first six months of 2016, leading all other vendors in terms of orders received. In total, during the first half of the year, global wind turbine orders came to nearly 13.5 GW. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Talking to an Indian media outlet, Suzlon Energy’s Chief Technology Officer said that his company will soon become the first in India to set up projects in which solar, wind, and storage capacities will be integrated. Suzlon Energy will take first steps towards research and development in this regard next year, he said. [CleanTechnica]

Suzlon turbine in Minnesota.

Suzlon turbine in Minnesota.

¶ SaskPower works in partnership with the First Nations Power Authority on a third of the large solar power projects it plans to roll out over the next five years. This could have significant economic benefits for the province. SaskPower said it plans to add 60 MW of solar PV generation to the province’s electrical grid by 2021. [Saskatoon StarPhoenix]

¶ During the Berlin InnoTrans trade show, France’ Alstom unveiled the Coradia iLint, the world’s first hydrogen-powered passenger train, and it is bound to make its home in Germany. The train essentially emissions-free, and the only sounds it makes come from air resistance and the wheels making contact with the track. [German Pulse]

Alstom iLint (Alstom image)

Alstom iLint (Alstom image)

¶ China’s Premier Li Keqiang will fly to Havana on Saturday to talk about boosting economic cooperation in areas ranging from finance to telecommunications and energy. Today, Cuba produces just 4% of its energy from renewable sources. The government is committed to increase that to 24% by 2030, with help from China. [CCTV-America]

US:

¶ With the cost of harnessing the power of the sun finally becoming competitive with other energy sources, solar panels are popping up on roofs all over the Chippewa Valley in western Wisconsin, but perhaps the most noticeable developments are the huge, utility-operated solar gardens sprouting around the region. [Leader-Telegram]

Lambs graze among solar panels (Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik)

Lambs graze among solar panels (Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik)

¶ Amazon Wind Farm Texas will be made up of more than 100 wind turbines, generating a maximum capacity of 253 MW, or 1,000,000 MWh of wind energy each year, enough energy to power almost 90,000 US homes. The new wind farm is the company’s largest wind project to date. It is scheduled to be completed in late 2017. [CleanTechnica]

¶ According to a recent announcement from Enel Green Power North America, a leading owner and operator of renewable energy projects in North America, the company is nearing 1 GW of installed wind energy capacity in Oklahoma. The company’s relationship with the state began only four years ago with the Rocky Ridge wind farm. [CleanTechnica]

Enel's Rocky Ridge wind farm in Oklahoma

Enel’s Rocky Ridge wind farm in Oklahoma

¶ Hawaiian Electric Co has flipped the switch on its first large-scale battery storage system on Oahu at its Campbell Industrial Park power plant. The 1-MW system is a joint demonstration project by the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute at the University of Hawaii and the state’s largest utility. [Pacific Business News (Honolulu)]

¶ In a scathing report, the state auditor said California’s energy regulator appears to be improperly influenced by utilities in its decision-making, and ignores state rules when handing out contracts. One of several issues was negotiations in the 2013 shutdown of the Son Onofre nuclear power plant in San Diego County. [Courthouse News Service]

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September 23 Energy News

September 23, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Celebrate national parks by fighting climate change” • This year our country is celebrating 100 years of national parks. They are special places woven into the fabric of American life, from the iconic view of California’s Yosemite Valley to our own Crater Lake. Yet these places are increasingly threatened by climate change. [OregonLive.com]

Hikers in Olympic National Park in Washington. (Ralph Arvesen/Flickr)

Hikers in Olympic National Park. (Ralph Arvesen / Flickr)

¶ “Distributed Biogas: $11.8 Billion Market Hidden in Plain
Sight” • Every year in the US, 37 million tons of food waste are sent to landfills. At a $125-per-ton tipping fee, this costs $4.6 billion annually. Used to make biogas, at 4,200 cubic feet per ton, this same amount of waste could power five million homes for an entire year. [Biomass Magazine]

World:

¶ The European Commission cleared the way for plans by the Swedish state-owned electricity company Vattenfall to sell its lignite operations in Germany. Vattenfall has a buyer for its coal-fired power plants and mines in the east German states of Brandenburg and Saxony, a Czech energy consortium. [Europe Online Magazine]

German lignite mine and power station. German utilities are divesting of fossil fuel assets.  (Photo by Chris06, placed into the public domain, Wikimedia Commons)

Like E.ON, Vattenfall is selling German fossil fuel assets. (Photo by Chris06, placed in public domain, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Belarus plans to implement a 28% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, with the emissions in 1990 used as a baseline. The country has adopted the corresponding obligations within the Paris Climate Agreement, BelTA learnt from the press service of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. [Belarus News (BelTA)]

¶ Lightsource Renewable Energy, the most prolific developer of utility-scale solar in the UK, has won its maiden tender in India. Lightsource has secured an element of the latest 450-MW tender for the state of Maharashtra, to be managed by Solar Energy Corporation of India, a 50-MW ground-mount solar farm in the state. [Solar Power Portal]

Solar farm at sunset (Lightsource image)

Solar farm at sunset (Lightsource image)

¶ The Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, has thrown his weight behind the fledgling market in green investments to help cut carbon emissions and boost global economic growth. Carney used a speech in Berlin on to highlight green finance as an opportunity to boost financial stability while also tackling climate change. [The Guardian]

¶ Thousands of anti-nuclear demonstrators gathered in Tokyo to demand the government go beyond decommissioning the troubled Monju prototype fast breeder reactor and abandon its plans to restart other nuclear power plants. The rally followed the government’s decision this week to unplug the reactor. [Asahi Shimbun]

Monju fast breeder reactor (Photo by Nife, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

Monju plant (Photo by Nife, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ The Board of Directors of the Salt River Project, a utility based in Tempe, Arizona, has approved an agreement to purchase solar power produced from Apple’s new 50-MW PV plant, in Pinal County east of its data command center in Mesa. Apple has completed construction, and is finalizing the commissioning of the PV array. [solarserver.com]

¶ Southern Vermont College announced its participation in the local effort to bring back hydroelectric generation to Vermont. The college its campus neighbor Southwestern Vermont Medical Center both signed on with the Pownal Tannery Hydroelectric Net Metering Group to get power from the local renewable resource. [Vermont Biz]

Pownal tannery dam (hoosicriverhydro.com photo)

Pownal tannery dam (hoosicriverhydro.com photo)

¶ According to an announcement, Emera Maine’s Hampden Operations Center will get clean, onsite power generation, including solar generation, a Tesla battery system, a level-2 electric vehicle charging station, and an advanced microgrid controller. The project is expected to pay for itself without cross subsidy from customers. [Daily Energy Insider]

¶ The Lake Erie Energy Development Co has selected MHI Vestas to supply six V126-3.45MW turbines for the 20.7-MW Icebreaker freshwater offshore project in Ohio. Leedco’s president told reNews a decision has been made to use the Danish hardware, completing a shift away from the previously selected Siemens. [reNews]

Leedco plans to build the Lake Erie demonstration project in 2018.

Leedco plans to build the Lake Erie demonstration project in 2018.

¶ Canadian energy company Capital Power has kicked off construction of the 178-MW Bloom wind project in Kansas. Capital expects road and foundation work to wrap up by the end of 2016. Vestas is to start deliveries in January 2017 of 54 V117 3.3MW turbines, featuring 91.5 meter hub heights, with erection through June. [reNews]

¶ Xcel Energy announced that it is seeking proposals to grow its wind energy portfolio dramatically and bring up to 1,500 MW of new wind power to its customers. This announcement is another step in the company’s long-term plan to transform its energy fleet, and represents one of the nation’s largest wind energy proposals. [Windpower Engineering]

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September 22 Energy News

September 22, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ A study suggests that microgrids, rarely used in today’s power sector, will come to be the “fundamental building block” of the 21st-century grid. The report was released by the National Electrical Manufacturing Association, which represents electrical, medical imaging, and radiation therapy manufacturers. [Midwest Energy News]

Sandia microgrid graphic

Sandia microgrid graphic (Please click on the image to enlarge it.)

¶ A study published in the Journal of Political Economy examines the true costs associated with the variability inherent in solar energy, and finds that it is nowhere near as costly or impactful as some people have been led to believe. In fact, the authors state, “the cost impact of unpredictability is relatively small.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ DONG Energy and SmartWind Technologies have installed an advanced radar system to collect 3D data on the wind flow at the 210-MW Westermost Rough offshore wind farm, which lies off the UK’s east coast. DONG said the BeaCon radar project is the first of its kind in the world and represents a “paradigm shift in wind measurements.” [reNews]

BeaCon radar, Westermost Rough (Credit: DONG)

BeaCon radar, Westermost Rough (Credit: DONG)

World:

¶ For the first time ever, investment in new renewables was more than enough to cover rising global electricity demand in 2015. That is according to the first World Energy Investment report, published by the International Energy Agency. The IEA says changes in investment indicate “reorientation of the energy system.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ The British Columbia Hydro grid recently lost power just as the British Columbia Institute of Technology was demonstrating a solar-powered electric vehicle charging station. The Energy Oasis solar-EV charging platform, part of BCIT’s mini-grid, was able to power the PA system and other electronics during the press conference. [Microgrid Media]

Solar parking lot canopy at BCIT

Solar parking lot canopy at BCIT

¶ Switzerland’s MECI Group International signed an agreement with Iran’s government to build a wind farm at a cost of €750-million ($839-million). The project is in the mountainous region in northern Iran, and will have 270 MW of installed capacity. Turbine testing is already happening onsite, according to MECI’s Chairman. [Tehran Times]

¶ Entrepreneurs in China, Russia, Japan and South Korea have signed a Memorandum of Understanding setting out plans to create an Asian Renewable Energy Super Grid. The Super Grid will transmit electrical power from renewable sources from areas in the world that are best able to produce it to distant consumers. [Climate Action Programme]

Electric grid infrastructure

Electric grid infrastructure

¶ The world’s largest solar power plant in one single location kicked off operations in India. A project of Adani Green Energy (Tamil Nadu), the renewable energy wing of the Adani Group, the plant has a capacity of 648 MW and has been set up with an investment of around ₹4,550 crore ($842.6 million). [The New Indian Express]

¶ India is negotiating with US Export-Import Bank for an $8-9 billion loan to finance six Westinghouse Electric nuclear reactors, two sources familiar with the talks said, although a lending freeze at the trade agency threatens progress. India currently has a target of a tenfold expansion in capacity to 63,000 MW by 2032. [Deccan Chronicle]

A fisherman stands on his boat on a beach  near Kudankulam nuclear plant. (Photo: Reuters)

A fisherman stands on his boat on a beach
near Kudankulam nuclear plant. (Photo: Reuters)

US:

¶ A group of 375 “concerned” scientists, including the famed physicist Stephen Hawking, released an open letter sharply criticizing Donald Trump, citing the threat of climate change and blasting his push for the US to leave the Paris Accord. CNN reached out to the Trump campaign for a response to the letter, but has not received one. [CNN]

¶ Green Mountain Power announced that it has filed with the Public Service Board an agreement with Enel Green Power NA to acquire 14 of Enel’s small hydroelectric power stations located mainly in northern New England, with an approximate total capacity of 17 MW. The deal will create low cost resources for GMP. [Vermont Biz]

Taftsville site on the Ottauquechee River in the town of Woodstock (GMP image)

Taftsville site in Woodstock, Vermont (GMP image)

¶ Lockheed Martin opened a new bioenergy facility in Owego, New York. This self-sustaining system can transform waste into electricity through advanced gasification producing syngas. The facility will convert 50,000 tons of feedstock per year into 5 MW of electric power, enough to power about 5,000 local homes and businesses. [Biomass Magazine]

¶ A fire at a power plant has left 1.5 million people without electricity in the US territory of Puerto Rico. The fire affected two transmission lines and caused the collapse of the electricity system across the island, officials say. Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority has been seeking funds to update outdated equipment. [BBC]

Blackout left parts of San Juan in the dark. (Reuters photo)

Blackout left parts of San Juan in the dark. (Reuters photo)

¶ The Department of the Navy, along with Georgia Power and Georgia Public Service Commission, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the large-scale solar facility at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay. The solar facility is a 254-acre plot with a capacity of 30 MW of AC power using approximately 133,000 PV panels. [Florida Times-Union]

¶ Minnesota officials are working with Xcel Energy to ensure that a third of the power used in key state government buildings comes from renewables. The state’s Lieutenant Governor and Xcel Energy-Minnesota’s president announced the pilot program, subject to Public Utilities Commission approval. [Minnesota Public Radio News]

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September 21 Energy News

September 21, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Are virtual power plants the next evolution of American infrastructure?” • 2016 could be a pivotal year. In June, New York’s Con Edison, together with solar storage providers SunPower and Sunverge, announced a new pilot program for New York City homes that would transform their rooftops into a virtual power plant. [PennEnergy]

Solar trackers standing in water

Solar trackers in shallow water

¶ “Democratic and Republican Platforms Present Contrasting Energy Planks” • At their respective national conventions in late July, the Democratic and Republican Parties established the policy platforms on which their respective federal, state and local candidates will base their election campaigns. Those platforms are very different. [JD Supra]

Science and Technology:

¶ A 30-meter catamaran, powered by solar, wind and self-generated hydrogen, will be launched next February to sail around the world as a clean energy laboratory. The Energy Observer aims to circumnavigate the globe using only clean power, a feat similar to Solar Impulse 2’s solar-powered flight around the world. [HazardEx]

Energy Observer, artist's impression (Image: Energy Observer)

Energy Observer, artist’s impression (Image: Energy Observer)

¶ École Cantonale d’Art Lausanne design student Nils Ferber’s has produced a micro wind turbine prototype. The portable vertical axis wind turbine is designed to pack down into about the size of an umbrella for transport and storage, and then to unfold quickly to be set up as a three-bladed Savonius-style turbine. [Treehugger]

¶ A new car from Toyota runs on a very renewable resource: human waste. Yes, you read that right: The Toyota Mirai is powered by hydrogen fuel, which can be made from poop. Though poo-to-hydrogen technology is used commonly in many parts of the world, it is not currently widely available in the US. [Grist]

Toyota Mirai (Toyota image)

Toyota Mirai (Toyota image)

World:

¶ As an outcome of the recent G20 meeting in China, both China and the US volunteered to publish peer reviews of their current fossil fuel subsidies. Together, the two countries are annually providing over $20 billion in inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. Of this, $8.1 billion comes from the United States, and $14.5 billion from China. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A revolution is taking place in the global energy sector, with investments in oil and gas declining by 25% in 2015 while energy produced from renewables rose by more than 30%. “We have never seen such a decline [in oil and gas investment]”, said Dr Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency. [AlterNet]

Offshore oil workers (Credit: iurii/Shutterstock)

Offshore oil workers (Credit: iurii/Shutterstock)

¶ According to a new report from the World Energy Council, ‘Variable Renewables Integration in Electricity Systems 2016 – How to get it right’, renewable energy now accounts for over 30% of the total global installed power generation capacity, and 23% of total global electricity production. The data came from 32 countries. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The share of renewables in all power produced on Chile’s central power system jumped to 15.4% in August 2016 from 11.4% in the same month of 2015. Solar power generation in August more than doubled in year-on-year terms. Wind power, thermal renewables, and hydro power all showed increased production levels. [SeeNews Renewables]

Wind farm in Chile (Featured Image: Pablo Rogat/Shutterstock.com)

Wind farm in Chile (Image: Pablo Rogat / Shutterstock.com)

¶ More than $1 billion in debt and financing commitments from US agencies and private investors is being announced for US President Barack Obama’s signature Africa energy initiative, Power Africa. The latest deals were finalized around a US-Africa business forum on the sidelines of annual UN meetings in New York this week. [Yahoo News]

¶ Indonesia’s national electricity company PT PLN and a group of investors led by Equis have agreed to develop a 60-MW onshore wind farm on one of the southeast Asian country’s many islands. The wind farm will feature Vestas turbines. The South Sulawesi project will be the first large-scale renewable energy project in Indonesia. [reNews]

Vestas turbines in India (Vestas image)

Vestas turbines in India (Vestas image)

¶ The Japanese government decided to cut its losses on the ¥1 trillion ($9.85 billion) Monju fast-breeder reactor, pulling the plug on the project after years of mishaps, cover-ups and waste. At an extraordinary meeting, the Cabinet decided that the idle facility should be decommissioned, though it is still looking to obtain a nuclear fuel cycle. [The Japan Times]

US:

¶ Twenty US Governors sent an open letter to President Obama to suggest actions his administration can take to expand the wind and solar energy production of their states. They are members of the Governors’ Wind & Solar Energy Coalition, a bipartisan group committed to developing the country’s wind and solar energy resources. [CleanTechnica]

Block Island Wind Farm

Block Island Wind Farm

¶ Three more large companies, Apple, Bank of America, and Amalgamated Bank, have pledged to get 100% renewable energy, joining the RE100 group. Bank of America further announced it will be “carbon neutral” by 2020. Meanwhile, Apple announced new commitments to power its supply chain with renewable energy. [EcoWatch]

¶ The Moapa Band of Paiutes hosted Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on a tour of the Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project, a new 250-MW solar plant recently completed on the 2,000 acres of tribal land. Equipped with four million fixed-tilt PV panels, the new plant has the equivalent area of roughly 500 football fields. [mvprogress]

 

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September 20 Energy News

September 20, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Oil Investment Crash Could Continue For Another Year” Investment in upstream operations in the oil and gas industry shrank by a quarter last year and is expected to continue to shrink this year by another 24%. Next year the trend could continue, for the longest investment decline period in the history of the industry. [OilPrice.com]

Offshore oil rig

Offshore oil rig

¶ “The Energy Policies Of The 2016 US Presidential Candidates” There has been increasing attention on the energy policies of the candidates. Here is a summary produced by identifying and comparing the energy policies of the two candidates based on their published positions and their public statements. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ The price of solar PV continues to fall. On Monday, a new record low of 2.42¢/kWh was set in a tender for a large solar park in Abu Dhabi, not by an industry outlier but by the biggest manufacturer of solar modules in the world, JinkoSolar. Even this could be beaten, as there are reports of another, lower bid coming. [RenewEconomy]

Solar at dawn

The sun is rising. 

¶ In France, 150 single-use cups are tossed every second. Now, France has become the first country to ban disposable plastic cups and plates. A French law says all disposable tableware must be made from 50% biologically-sourced materials that can be composted at home by January of 2020, rising to 60% by January of 2025. [CNN]

¶ TenneT Holding BV, Statnett SF and KfW on Friday held a ground-breaking ceremony for the 1.4-GW NordLink subsea cable project, the first direct link between the Norwegian and German energy markets. The NordLink cable will be 623-km (387-mile) long and is expected to be in operation in 2020. [SeeNews Renewables]

NordLink symbolic cable pulling and ground-breaking ceremony. (Source: TenneT Holding BV)

NordLink cable pulling (ground-breaking) ceremony.
(Source: TenneT Holding BV)

¶ Canada’s federal environment minister made a huge announcement on Canadian television’s Question Period. The central government has come out for nationwide carbon pricing. It will soon levy a minimum national carbon price on any province that lacks adequate plans to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions. [CleanTechnica]

¶ China has been building two wind turbines every hour, the International Energy Agency told BBC News. This is the world’s biggest program of turbine installation, double that of its nearest rival, the US. The nation’s entire annual increase in energy demand has been fulfilled from the wind. But coal plants are still being built. [BBC]

Huitengxile wind farm, Inner Mongolia, People's Republic of China (Photo by Steven Buss, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

Huitengxile wind farm, Inner Mongolia
(Photo by Steven Buss, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ A panel of experts will discuss reforms at TEPCO, including the costly plans to scrap its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the Industry minister said. The costs of decommissioning the plant, ravaged by the 2011 triple meltdown, is expected to far exceed the initial estimate of ¥2 trillion ($19.65 billion). [The Japan Times]

¶ A 79-turbine wind project proposed near a shorebird habitat in southwestern Saskatchewan will not go ahead, says the provincial government. The environment ministry said it received 137 responses during a public review period, all but one of which supported wind energy, but expressed concern about this particular location. [CBC.ca]

As many as 40,000 to 50,000 sanderlings have been seen at one time at the proposed site. (Submitted by Trevor Herriot)

As many as 40,000 to 50,000 sanderlings have been seen at
one time at the proposed site. (Submitted by Trevor Herriot)

US:

¶ Wind power has rapidly become a significant source of electricity in the US, doubling its share of generation in just five years, to 4.9% in 2015. The extremely low cost of wind power, along with cheap natural gas, has put tremendous financial pressure on both coal-fired and nuclear power plants. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The nation’s first wave power generators, two state-of-the-art buoys, have just been placed online, off the coast of Hawaii. The system is already generating roughly 22 kW of electric energy. Officials estimate that wave power like this could eventually supply 20% to 28% of the nation’s – not just Hawaii’s – power. [Mother Nature Network]

Wave energy test device (Photo: US Department of Energy)

Wave energy test device (Photo: US Department of Energy)

¶ Avangrid Renewables representatives, joined by Vermont Governor Shumlin and local elected officials, broke ground on Deerfield Wind today in Searsburg, on US Forest land. The 30-MW project will include 15 Gamesa wind turbines, and it will provide enough energy each year for about 14,000 Vermont households. [Vermont Biz]

¶ A Clean Energy Cooperation Statement between Rocky Mountain Power and Salt Lake City lays out how the utility and the city will work together to reach its clean energy goals, and pave the way for the adoption of the new five-year franchise agreement between the city and the electric power utility. [Electric Light & Power]

Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City

¶ A federal appeals court ruled it will take more time to consider a request from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe for an emergency injunction against the Dakota Access pipeline. But at the same time, the US Army Corps of Engineers issued a Special Use Permit for protesters to legally occupy federal land at Lake Oahe. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Committed to working towards a sustainable future, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is divesting from its fossil fuel investments. A majority of the 900 voting members approved the resolution at its 2016 Churchwide Assembly on August 13. Over 3.7 million people are baptized members of the church. [CleanTechnica]

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September 19 Energy News

September 19, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ When a boat pitches in waves, it creates inertial energy. The EU-funded SeaKERS project developed tools to harness this renewable energy for charging yacht batteries. The project team is now planning to commercialize its invention. In the past, onboard generators have often been large, loud, polluting, unreliable. [The Maritime Executive]

Yacht club

Yacht club

¶ Scientists are a step closer to using Australia’s iconic gum trees to develop low-carbon renewable jet and missile fuel. Dr Carsten Kulheim from The Australian National University says renewable fuels that could power commercial airplanes were limited and expensive, but a solution could be growing all around us. [Gizmodo Australia]

World:

¶ European renewables investor Luxcara has acquired the 111.2-MW Egersund wind farm in Norway from Norsk Vind Energi. The wind farm will feature 33 Senvion turbines and will be commissioned in August 2017. The site is considered to be one of the best-suited locations in Europe for generating wind energy. [reNews]

Senvion image

Senvion image

¶ Seventeen months after his Late Show finale, David Letterman returns to television to host an upcoming episode of National Geographic’s climate change docuseries Years of Living Dangerously. Letterman’s episode features his travels to India to examine how that nation provides energy to its entire population. [RollingStone.com]

¶ The CEOs of Tonga Power Limited and Zhuhai Singyes Green Building Technology Co Ltd have signed a long term Power Purchase Agreement at the Zhuhai Singyes headquarters in China for the construction and commissioning of a 2-MW solar facility in Tonga, at Matatoa, on the King’s land at Mata-ki-‘Eua. [Matangi Tonga]

Nuku Island (Photo by Stefan Heinrich, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

Nuku Island (Photo by Stefan Heinrich,
CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The Indian Energy Minister said the Union government has increased the target for the production of power from renewable sources from 1,800 MW to 6,000 MW by 2020 and the government of the state of Karnataka has stepped up its efforts to reach the target. The state government would focus on solar and wind power. [The Hindu]

¶ The South Korean government will provide incentives for solar power plant operators to set up bulk energy storage facilities as part of its efforts to foster local renewable energy. Those who install the energy storage system at their solar power plants will be given additional points on assessment of their renewable energy certificates. [Yonhap News]

Photovoltaics in Korea

Photovoltaics in Korea

¶ Australian battery technology developer Redflow says the first of its ZCell residential battery storage systems are due to be delivered to customers next month after the first shipment of batteries arrived in Australia. The batteries will be installed into the Australian-made enclosures before being shipped to customers. [RenewEconomy]

¶ The government of Aruba has a goal to become 100% independent of fossil fuels by the year 2020. In order to achieve that, the island has been investing in wind power, solar, biogas, and energy storage to serve its 42,000 customers. Aruba has a 30-MW wind project that provides 17% of its electricity, an 26 MW more is coming. [RTInsights]

Center of Oranjestad, capital of Aruba (CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

Center of Oranjestad, capital of Aruba
(CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Bulgaria will consider the repayment of 800 million levs ($456.8 million / €409 million) to Russia’s Atomstroyexport as compensation for the scrapped Belene nuclear power plant project, according to Bulgaria’s prime minister. The project had been cancelled in 2012 because of disagreements over costs. [SeeNews]

US:

¶ On September 9, a 36-inch pipeline was shut down in Alabama, after it began leaking thousands of gallons of gasoline into the Cahaba River. Six different states declared emergencies in anticipation of significant fuel shortages resulting from the shutdown, but so far the news has barely scratched its way onto the national radar. [CleanTechnica]

The Cahaba River. Photo Pat Hayes via flickr.com, creative commons license.

The Cahaba River. Photo Pat Hayes via flickr.com,
creative commons license.

¶ Vermont utility Morrisville Water and Light has appealed a state finding that utility officials say could turn a marginally profitable hydroelectric dam into an operation that loses more than $100,000 a year and poses downstream dangers. Agency of Natural Resources officials said federal law required them to rule as they did. [vtdigger.org]

¶ Lower prices, clean, reliable energy and jobs are reasons states, companies and utilities are calling for more renewable electricity. States representing roughly a quarter of the US population have chosen to raise their renewable energy goals higher over the past year. Much of this will be supplied by wind power. [Morning Consult]

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September 18 Energy News

September 18, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Trump’s climate science denial clashes with reality of rising seas in Florida” • In Miami, Donald Trump said he believed scientists have tricked Americans into accepting that global warming is caused by the burning of fossil fuels. Meanwhile, the city is spending $500 million in a program to protect itself from the rising ocean. [Los Angeles Times]

Sandy Garcia sits in her vehicle on a flooded street in Fort Lauderdale. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images)

Sandy Garcia sits in her vehicle on a flooded
street in Fort Lauderdale. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images)

World:

¶ The president of Costa Rica inaugurated the Reventazon Hydroelectric Plant in the country’s Caribbean region, the second-biggest infrastructure work in Central America after the Panama Canal and the largest of its kind in the region. The dam has a capacity of 305.5 MW, enough to power 525,000 homes. [Latin American Herald Tribune]

¶ A University of Waterloo study says bringing solar and wind energy to Canada’s remote Arctic communities goes beyond being possible and environmentally beneficial to big savings. One of the authors said, “If you run the system as is now, versus you run with renewables, the savings are so compelling that basically you have a business case.” [CBC.ca]

The Raglan Mine's wind turbine in Quebec. (Tugliq Energy Co.)

The Raglan Mine’s wind turbine in Quebec. (Tugliq Energy Co.)

¶ UK energy firms want the £30 billion cost to consumers of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station spelled out on every household electricity bill so they are not blamed for rising prices. Rivals to EDF, which will build the plant, fear being pilloried by consumers when energy bills rise as station comes on line in the 2020s. [This is Money]

¶ A total of 18,960 out of 19,567 villages have been electrified in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh so far, the Central Government has announced. This leaves 607 villages yet to be supplied. Some of the villages have been provided with power from the state electric company’s grid. Others have been supplied with local solar power. [Daily Pioneer]

Famous Raut Nacha festival of Chhattisgarh, India. (Photo by Pankaj Oudhia. CC BY SA. Wikimedia Commons)

Celebration – the famous Raut Nacha of Chhattisgarh, India.
(Photo by Pankaj Oudhia. CC BY SA. Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Buoyed by the Indian government’s increased focus on renewable energy sector, solar solutions provider CleanMax Solar is looking to enhance its rooftop installed capacity by nearly eight-fold to about 400 MW in the next two years. The government envisions 40,000 MW of installed rooftop solar capacity by 2022. [Moneycontrol.com]

¶ The Negros Island Region of the Philippines is being pushed by advocates to become an entirely renewable energy region. The idea was discussed during the forum on Negros Clean Energy held at the Sangguniang Panlungsod session hall on Thursday. Rooftop systems could greatly increase the solar capacity of the region. [Manila Bulletin]

View of rice fields on Negros Island. (Photo by Amandogallaza. CC BY SA. Wikimedia Commons)

View of rice fields on Negros Island.
(Photo by Amandogallaza. CC BY SA. Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ Oklahoma was already blowing away competition with its wind power construction. Now construction is beginning on the Plains & Eastern Clean Line transmission project, which received its last major regulatory approval from the DOE in late March. It will send 3,500 MW to markets in the Mid-South and Southeast. [Tulsa World]

Baker Library at Dartmouth College. (Photo by Gavin Huang. CC BY SA. Wikimedia Commons)

Baker Library at Dartmouth College. (Photo by Gavin Huang.
CC BY SA. Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Businessman Arthur Irving of New Brunswick is giving $80 million to an Ivy League university to help launch an energy institute that will bear his name. Dartmouth College, in Hanover, New Hampshire, is aiming to raise a total of $160 million for the Arthur L Irving Institute for Energy and Society, to promote sustainable energy. [CTV News]

¶ Massachusetts released a comprehensive report, State of Charge, detailing the value of deploying energy storage in the Commonwealth, and providing a road map of recommendations for policy to grow the energy storage market. It said storage would cut costs for ratepayers, add energy security, and reduce carbon emissions. [wwlp.com]

¶ In Buffalo, New York, Energy Intelligence, a local startup and 43North prize winner, is getting ready to install its power generation equipment in one lane of the Peace Bridge plaza as part of a test to see how the system works and how it can hold up in a high-traffic area. Energy from slowing vehicles will generate electricity. [Buffalo News]

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September 17 Energy News

September 17, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Is the power of king coal overstated?” • If you want to shock and appall a politician, just suggest Australia put limits on building new coal mines. They ask, “How else will the poor countries be able to develop their economies to become rich as we are?” Short answer: by relying more on energy that emits less carbon. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

The simple truth is that no-one knows what the future holds.  (Photo: Simon O'Dwyer)

The simple truth is that no-one knows what the future holds.
(Photo: Simon O’Dwyer)

¶ “Nuclear power station is a ‘£100bn boondoggle’ says top Scots expert” • The Tories are backing the wrong energy horse with the “£100 billion boondoggle” that is the new nuclear power station Hinkley Point C, according to one of Scotland’s leading energy experts. It risks increasing fuel poverty and consumer fuel bills. [The National]

Science and Technology:

¶ A process called “biofabrication” was devised as an alternative to plastic production. The product is made from fungi mycelium and farm waste, and the finished products are compostable. The aim is to divert waste from landfills and oceans. The material can replace some packaging and offers an alternative to styrofoam. [CNN]

Parts of furniture can be grown from fungi and farm waste.

Parts of furniture can be grown from fungi and farm waste.

World:

¶ India lost an appeal against a World Trade Organisation ruling that it has violated global trade rules by discriminating against foreign products in imposing a “domestic content requirement” on Indian solar power developers. The US had lodged a complaint after India passed a law requiring use of PVs of types made in India. [Firstpost]

¶ The once-lucrative Kidston gold mine, in northern Queensland, ceased operations 15 years ago. Now, it will be the home of a one-of-a-kind renewable energy project. Genex Power will use the mine’s two craters to create the world’s first pumped hydroelectric energy storage system in conjunction with an integrated solar farm. [Energy Digital]

The former mine lies in one of Australia's highest solar radiation zones.

The former mine lies in a high solar radiation zone.

¶ Adani Green Energy is setting up India’s largest tracker-based photovoltaic solar project of 105 MW in Bhatinda, Punjab. The renewable-energy arm of the Adani Group company has tied up with Nextracker, which is based in San Francisco, to use more efficient technology for its projects in India and overseas.[ETEnergyworld.com]

US:

¶ As the DC Circuit Court of Appeals prepares to hear challengers’ arguments against the Clean Power Plan on September 27th, the most up-to-date analysis shows that the Clean Power Plan’s goals have become even more readily achievable. The electricity sector is already shifting to clean energy. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

Growth of solar generation - please click on the image to enlarge it.

Growth of solar power – please click on the image to enlarge it.

¶ Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the release of New York State’s offshore wind blueprint, a framework that could lead to a proposed 90-megawatt, 15-turbine wind farm 30 miles east of Montauk. The blueprint is an initial step toward harvesting the 39 GW of wind energy potential that lies off the state’s Atlantic coast. [East Hampton Star]

¶ Johnson & Johnson, the world’s biggest maker of health-care products, agreed to buy 100 MW of capacity from the Colbeck’s Corner wind-power project near the Texas Panhandle city of Amarillo. The company signed a power purchase agreement to buy half the output from a 200-MW wind project E.ON SE has under development, for 12 years. [Bloomberg]

(Photographer: Eddie Seal/Bloomberg)

(Photographer: Eddie Seal/Bloomberg)

¶ Enel Green Power North America signed a $500 million tax equity agreement with three investors for the 400-MW Cimarron Bend wind project in Kansas. The investors, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan and MetLife, will provide the cash in exchange for 100% of ‘class B’ membership interests in the project. [reNews]

¶ New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is probing Exxon Mobil Corp’s concealment of its understanding of climate change from its investors. The probe includes scrutiny of why it didn’t write down the value of oil fields during a global collapse in prices that prompted billions in write-offs by rival drillers. [Bloomberg Big Law Business]

Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

(Photo by Luke Sharrett / Bloomberg)

¶ Whirlpool Corporation is building wind turbines to help power its plants in the Ohio towns of Marion and Ottawa. Once the wind power projects are completed, they will make Whirlpool one of the largest Fortune 500 users of on-site wind power in the US. The turbines will generate enough energy to power over 2,400 average homes. [Justmeans]

¶ The Los Angeles City Council took a major step toward making the city run on clean energy alone. The Council directed the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to develop a plan for going 100% renewable, including looking at where, when, and how the city should allocate resources to achieve that goal. [ThinkProgress]

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September 16 Energy News

September 16, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Donald Trump’s new economic policy plan would be devastating to the climate” • It’s a laundry list of climate activists’ worst nightmares. It would eliminate the Clean Power Plan, end major protections for clean drinking water, increase allowable levels of pollutants causing asthma, put controls on methane in peril, and much more. [ThinkProgress]

(Credit: AP Photo / Evan Vucci)

Donald Trump (Credit: AP Photo / Evan Vucci)

¶ “Hinkley Point will be obsolete before it even starts, but Theresa May had no choice” • The £18bn Hinkley Point nuclear plant will be overtaken by a host of cheaper technologies before it is even opened in the late 2020s, and risks degenerating into an epic white elephant as we pay fat subsidies into the second half of the 21st Century. [Telegraph.co.uk]

Science and Technology:

¶ In what has become a common refrain this year, last month ranked as the hottest August on record, according to NASA data. The month tied July as the hottest month the world has seen in the last 136 years. August came in at 1.76˚F (0.98˚C) above the average from 1951-1980, and 0.16˚C above August 2014. [CleanTechnica]

August 2016 temperature anomaly

August 2016 temperature anomaly

World:

¶ Asset manager Blackrock and a group of institutional shareholders are to sue car maker Volkswagen for €2 billion ($2.25 billion) over its emissions scandal, claiming that VW failed to disclose its use of software defeat devices on diesel cars in a timely way. The shareholders lost 28% of their investment as a result of the scandal. [BBC]

¶ A survey, published by energy management company Energy Action, said 23% of Australian businesses generate some portion of their electricity supply using solar PV, up from just 14% just two years ago. Another 37% said they had “implemented solar PV measures in their business,” a figure up from 23% in 2014. [RenewEconomy]

Australian commercial rooftop solar power

Australian commercial rooftop solar power

¶ Stadtwerke München, Germany’s biggest city-owned electric utility, has augmented its revenues by providing various public services, mainly in Munich. The power company is also actively promoting renewable energy and investing in floating wind farms despite its supply area being in a landlocked location. [Nikkei Asian Review]

¶ Last month, the UK’s Crown Estate pointed out that offshore wind farms can be built at lower cost than a nuclear project. An unpublished report by the Energy Department also forecast low costs for wind power. Regardless, Hinkley has received the green light, just as offshore wind hits a new record low price outside of the UK. [Energy Digital]

Vattenfall set a new record for low offshore costs.

Vattenfall set a new record for low offshore costs.

¶ Alberta has unveiled plans to install 5 GW of wind, hydro and solar energy capacity to meet a new renewable energy target of 30% by 2030. To reach the target, Alberta estimates at least C$10.5 billion (US$7.98 billion) in new investment will flow into the provincial economy by 2030 and more than 7200 new jobs will be created. [reNews]

¶ Valemount, British Columbia is a natural geothermal village. It is located along the Canadian Rocky Mountains and features the Canoe Reach hot springs. The hot springs are among the warmest surface hot springs in the country. So the town has decided to make some renewable energy plans for this natural resource. [Hydrogen Fuel News]

British Columbia's Rocky Mountains

British Columbia’s Rocky Mountains

US:

¶ Tesla has won a bid to supply grid-scale power in Southern California to help prevent electricity shortages following the biggest natural gas leak in US history. The battery system will provide 20 MW of power, with energy sufficient for 2,500 homes for a full day. A 2-MW system costs $2.9 million, but larger systems are negotiated. [SCNow]

¶ The High Technology Development Corporation announced that its Hawaii Center for Advanced Transportation Technologies program just awarded a $1.5 million contract to design a series of six interconnected microgrids at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Each microgrid is to be supplied by its own renewable energy. [Microgrid Media]

Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor

¶ The DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley Lab has taken on the task of doing an annual evaluation the state of US solar and wind power. Wind installations have returned to levels last seen in 2012, but that’s tame compared to solar, where 2016 is on track to see more than double the previous record for utility-scale installations. [Ars Technica]

¶ Amazon.com is rapidly growing its footprint in Texas. It is not only building more warehouse distribution hubs, known as “fulfillment centers,” but also announced that it would fund a massive wind farm in West Texas just as it opens the first of its “Amazon Pop-Up” retail stores in the Houston area this week. [Houston Chronicle]

Amazon is investing in a massive Texas wind farm.

Amazon is investing in a massive Texas wind farm.

¶ Facebook has chosen a village near Albuquerque for its new data center, costing $250 million. PNM will provide power, starting at 30 MW. A PNM subsidiary will build solar arrays adding wind power later. PNM also will provide backup power, should renewable energy be insufficient to meet the demands of the center. [Government Technology]

¶ NextEra Energy Resources is erecting 120 GE turbines at the 250-MW Rush Springs wind project in Oklahoma. A NextEra spokesman said the project is well under way. The total cost of the Rush Springs wind farm, located in Grady and Stephens counties in central Oklahoma, is estimated at $400 million. [reNews]

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September 15 Energy News

September 15, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ Climate change could potentially cause great distress to military operations, according to US military officials. In a statement by the Center for Climate and Security, they say climate change increases risks for international conflict, that it could pose strategic risks, and that inaction against the issue is not advisable. [Science World Report]

USS Chung-Hoon (Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class  Daniel Barker. Public Domain. Wikimedia Commons.

USS Chung-Hoon (Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class
Daniel Barker. Public Domain. Wikimedia Commons)

Electric Vehicles:

¶ Most of us were probably expecting the all-electric 2017 Chevy Bolt to have an EPA-estimated range nominally above the 200-mile mark, based on comments by GM reps, but it now appears that it is going to have a much greater range. The Chevy Bolt gets right around 238 miles per full charge according to the EPA. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The American electric bus company Proterra has unveiled the Catalyst E2 series of long-range buses with a nominal range of 194–350 miles per full-charge. Under test conditions, one E2 even managed to go over 600 miles in a single charge. The electric buses are outfitted with battery pack capacities of 440 to 660 kWh. [CleanTechnica]

Proterra bus.

Proterra bus.

World:

¶ According to a report from the independent financial think tank Carbon Tracker Initiative, renewable power generation costs are already lower on average worldwide than fossil fuels. It says clean energy plants will only become more cost-competitive by 2020. The findings are based on examination of the Levelized Costs of Electricity. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Kangaroo Island, the iconic tourist attraction off the South Australian coast near Adelaide, would likely find it cheaper to go 100% renewable, with its own resources, rather than staying tied to the grid, a detailed study led by the Institute of Sustainable Futures found. The study examined wind, solar, and battery backup power. [RenewEconomy]

Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island. The tourists are the ones who use electricity.

¶ An Iranian energy expert has warned that the policy pursued by Saudi Arabia-led OPEC might end in an environmental disaster. He says that if Saudi Arabia continues to pump crude at record levels, even a freeze won’t help with prices, and if prices remain low the reduction of CO2 emissions will become a real challenge for some countries. [Naija247news]

¶ The cost of producing electricity from wind power could fall by between 24% and 30% by 2030 and 35% and 41% by 2050 compared with 2014, according to a survey by the US Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The study summarizes a global survey of 163 wind energy experts to gain insight. [reNews]

Wind turbine (sxc image)

Wind turbine (sxc image)

¶ Theresa May has given the go-ahead to the Hinkley nuclear power project but with new security conditions on the £18 billion deal. Her decision is set to be officially announced in the House of Commons. But critics point out that the new terms do not address the extraordinarily high price for electricity from the plant. [The Independent]

¶ Global upstream oil and gas investments are expected to plummet 24% this year, with little signs of improvement for 2017, according to a report from the International Energy Agency. The report said this year’s dip will come on top of a 25% drop in spending in the sector recorded in 2015 with its total of $583 billion. [bnn.ca]

Oil (BNN)

Oil (BNN)

US:

¶ Republicans and Democrats have never been farther apart on climate change, according to an Oklahoma State University study. Both parties were essentially pro-environment in 1970, the study found. But today, 9 out of 10 Democrats, and only 3 in 10 Republicans, believe global warming is real and caused by human activity. [Public News Service]

¶ Green Mountain Power and SunCommon today announced a partnership allowing customers to store their solar power for security during power outages. The first of its kind program in Vermont partners a utility with a solar company to offer home storage that strengthens the grid and allows homes to power from solar during outages. [Vermont Biz]

SunCommon solar home in Caledonia County (Courtesy photo)

SunCommon solar home in Caledonia County (Courtesy photo)

¶ GM has vowed to use 100% renewable energy by 2050. The commitment extends to 350 individual operations spread across 59 countries. The company last year used nine terawatt hours of electricity in its factories, offices, warehouses and technical centers. The figure is comparable to nearly a million US households. [LeftLane News]

¶ Interior Department officials presented a plan to conserve California’s iconic desert landscapes while providing areas to develop renewable energy. It puts 9.2 million acres of federal land off limits to solar, wind and geothermal development, while steering renewable projects to less ecologically valuable areas on about 800,000 acres. [Los Angeles Times]

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September 14 Energy News

September 14, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Consider the benefits of a sustainable business” • Sustainable businesses are no longer just a fad. Time has now shown that beyond the obvious contribution toward a more sustainable environment there are real business benefits for companies of all sizes that infuse sustainable strategies into business operations. [BayStateBanner]

There are many ways companies can improve use of renewable energy. (Photo courtesy of Siemens)

There are many ways companies can improve use
of renewable energy. (Photo courtesy of Siemens)

¶ “Will Climate Change Lead To Far Northern Agriculture Bonuses? No.” • Skeptics who are pushed off denialist positions by ugly empirical facts often resort to promoting supposed benefits of climate change. The “more CO2 is good for plants” and “warmer is better for Arctic agriculture” are simplistic and mostly wrong. [CleanTechnica]

Market Analysis:

¶ “Seven charts show new renewables outpacing rising demand for first time” • For the first time ever, investment in new renewables was more than enough to cover rising global electricity demand in 2015. While fossil fuels still dominate energy supplies, investment data point towards a “reorientation of the energy system”. [eco-business.com]

Upstream oil and gas investment in 2015, by region. Source: World Energy Investment 2016, IEA.

Upstream oil and gas investment in 2015, by region.
(Source: World Energy Investment 2016, IEA.)

¶ “Renewable push may hit thermal power plants” • Various power sector experts, including those at Central Electricity Authority, have warned that the unprecedented surge in renewable energy capacity in the next few years will severely stress thermal power plants, already operating at an all-time low of just over 50% of their capacities. [ETEnergyworld.com]

World:

¶ Scottish Renewables’ director of policy pointed out that wave and tidal projects will not qualify for contracts if they have to compete directly against other, more mature renewable technologies. Progress on the technology’s development in the UK is in jeopardy without clarity on support to provide a viable route to market. [reNews]

Waves (sxc image)

A source of power (sxc image)

¶ Public support for plans to build the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant has fallen to an all-time low, a new poll has shown, ahead of Whitehall’s widely anticipated decision on the project. The survey of 2,000 people, by Populus on behalf of Greenpeace, showed a quarter are in favour of Hinkley, while 44% oppose it. [City A.M.]

¶ India has complained to the World Trade Organization about support given to the renewable energy industry in eight US states, the WTO said in a statement on Monday. The complaint alleges the states prop up their renewables sector with illegal subsidies and domestic content requirements for local goods rather than imports. [Reuters]

Headquarters of the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland (Reuters / Denis Balibouse)

Headquarters of the World Trade Organization
in Geneva, Switzerland (Reuters / Denis Balibouse)

¶ The world’s largest second-use battery storage, a 13-MWh project, is now nearing completion after construction time of just under a year: 1,000 battery systems from second generation Daimler Smart Fortwo electric cars are being grouped in Lünen, Westphalia. The first power units are already in the grid. [just-auto.com]

¶ Mines globally have installed 352 MW of solar PV, 39 MW of solar thermal, and 551 MW of wind power capacity, a report by Energy and Mines says, identifying the top 21 mining companies using wind and solar power. The projects, ranging from 10 kW to 180 MW, are in Chile, Australia, Canada, Europe and other markets. [SeeNews Renewables]

Hybrid plant in South Africa (Source: CRONIMET Mining Power Solutions GmbH)

Hybrid plant in South Africa
(Source: CRONIMET Mining Power Solutions GmbH)

¶ According to the International Energy Agency, which gave details in a detailed analysis of investment across the global energy system, global energy investment fell by 8% in 2015, with a drop in oil and gas upstream spending outweighing continued robust investment in renewable, electricity networks and energy efficiency. [Business Standard]

¶ A Western Australian farm, which has installed solar and battery storage to avoid paying for a new connection to the grid, has chosen a vanadium redox flow battery for the project, in what is believed to be a first for Australia. The battery, a 100-kWh CellCube, will store the energy from a 15-kW solar PV system. [RenewEconomy]

AVL managing director, Vincent Algar, next to the CellCube vanadium redox flow battery.

AVL managing director, Vincent Algar,
next to the CellCube vanadium redox flow battery.

US:

¶ In the US Solar Market Insight report, by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association, the most recent figures from the solar industry show that the second quarter solar PV capacity expansion figures grew 43% compared to the same quarter a year earlier, reaching 2,051 MW installed for the quarter. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Hawaii’s electric rates made rooftop solar an attractive option to many residents looking to trim power bills. As the resource proliferated over the past few years, regulators and utilities were confronted with a new challenge: how to integrate more renewables while setting up a proper rate design for distributed generation. [Utility Dive]

(Credit: Flickr user davidd)

Hawaii (Credit: Flickr user davidd)

¶ Southern California Edison signed contracts for 125 MW of power from battery storage, demand response, and solar-plus-storage as part of a pilot project. The goal is to study whether the combination of clean energy resources can supply electricity in an urban area as reliably as a traditional power plant. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Energy leaders from across Vermont met in Vernon this week to help the town plan for life after Vermont Yankee. Entergy Corporation closed VY in December, 2014, leaving behind an enormous switchyard that can handle hundreds of megawatts of electricity from a power plant. The town wants to use that for its tax base. [Vermont Public Radio]

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September 13 Energy News

September 13, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Meet the mom litigating the ‘biggest case on the planet'” • Julia Olson is litigating what should be considered the most important court case in the United States: She’s helping 21 kids, as young as age 9, sue the Obama administration over its insufficient action on climate change. Olson will attempt to make their case for the future. [CNN]

Julia Olson, chief legal counsel of Our Children's Trust

Julia Olson, chief legal counsel of Our Children’s Trust

World:

¶ India floated a draft document aimed at auctioning 1,000 MW of rooftop photovoltaic capacity to be installed atop government buildings. The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy issued the document, which divided the 1,000 MW capacity allocation into two modes, one based on total project cost, and the other on the tariff. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Hitachi has announced the development of a new 5 MW offshore wind turbine, the HTW5.2-136, featuring a 15% larger rotor swept area and aimed at light wind regions. The new turbine aims to increase output in regions with annual average wind speeds below 7.5 meters per second. A trial run is planned for October. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Offshore wind. (Hitachi Wind Power)

Offshore wind. (Hitachi Wind Power)

¶ Scotland’s next generation of onshore wind projects could be at least 20% cheaper if Scottish and UK Governments work to remove a series of barriers, a report said. Onshore wind is one of the lowest-cost forms of new electricity generation, but the industry could cut costs further, by more than £150 million per year. [Renewable Energy Focus]

¶ SolarReserve LLC has plans to build six large concentrating solar power parks with storage capacity in South Australia, but all will depend on the success of its first project in the country. The company has proposed to build a power plant of 110 MW at Port Augusta that will produce electricity even when the sun is down. [SeeNews Renewables]

Computer simulation by SolarReserve of a CSP facility.  (Photo by Billie Ward, Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic)

Computer simulation by SolarReserve of a CSP facility.
(Photo: Billie Ward, Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic)

¶ Australia is to cut A$500 million ($375.50 million) in funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency as it strives to plug a $6 billion budget shortfall. It is a smaller cut than the A$1.3 billion reduction initially planned. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency will get A$800 million in funding over the next five years. [Reuters]

US:

¶ California’s Kern county, home to 4.9 GW of installed solar power capacity, saw average irradiance in June drop by between 1% and 4% in different parts of the county because of wildfires. Environmental and industrial measurement firm Vaisala calculates that a 1% loss could lead to more than $940,000 of lost revenues. [SeeNews Renewables]

Wildfire near Lake Isabella in California. (USDA photo. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic)

Wildfire near Lake Isabella in California.
(USDA photo. Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic)

¶ Excess chicken waste is one of the Chesapeake Bay’s biggest scourges. The state of Maryland has been trying to deal with that without much luck. But a new project is bringing fresh hope, state agricultural officials say. CleanBay Renewables is going big, becoming the first of its kind to expand beyond a single farm. [Delmarva Daily Times]

¶ A coalition of organisations has formed the New York Offshore Wind Alliance. They include environmental groups, offshore wind power developers, environmental justice and community advocates, academics, and consultants with a shared interest in promoting the development of offshore wind power for New York. [Offshore Wind Journal]

Offshore wind power

Offshore wind power

¶ Austin Energy’s partial ownership of a coal-fired power plant might cost the utility $10 million a year, a report says. The analysis, commissioned by Public Citizen, found that dramatic expansions of wind and solar generation combined with rock-bottom prices for natural gas had ruined the economics of most coal plants. [MyStatesman.com]

¶ Phoenix Energy, an alternative energy company from Nevada, is bidding $38 million for the unfinished Bellefonte Nuclear Plant in Hollywood, Alabama. The Tennessee Valley Authority has invested some $5 billion in the plant since construction began in the mid-1970s, but it was never finished as demand leveled off. [WAAY]

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September 12 Energy News

September 12, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Beginning of the End for Fossil Power” • The prospectus of E.ON’s conventional generation spin-off, says, “Conventional generation of power faces the risk of losing competitiveness against renewable energy and thus market share, and, over the long term, even faces the risk of disappearing completely from the market.” [Bloomberg]

Beginning of the end for fossil fuels (Photo by Bill Allsopp / Loop Images)

Foreseeing its own end (Photo by Bill Allsopp / Loop Images)

Science and Technology:

¶ Sheets of carbon an atom thick could soon double the amount of electricity stored in smartphone batteries, as 2D materials present a picture of the future of energy storage. At small scales, electrons obey the exotic laws of quantum mechanics very different from those we experience in the macroscopic world. [Horizon magazine]

World:

¶ Vattenfall won the Danish nearshore wind tender and will develop two wind farms with a total capacity of 350-MW at Hvide Sande and Thyborøn on the west coast of Jutland. The winning bid for the two sites, Vesterhav Syd and Vesterhav Nord, was Dkr0.475/kWh (7¢/kWh). Construction should start in 2019. [reNews]

Offshore wind farm (Vattenfall image)

Offshore wind farm (Vattenfall image)

¶ Australia has consistently led the world with its funding of fossil fuel research and consistently lagged other nations when it comes to developing renewable energy, according analysis by the Australia Institute. Now the federal parliament is considering the “omnibus” bill, essentially abolishing ARENA renewables funding. [The Guardian]

¶ Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is to unveil a tidal turbine that is to be deployed in the Inner Sound of the Pentland Firth. The device is the first of four to be completed at the Nigg Energy Park in the Highlands for Atlantis Resources’s MeyGen project. The project is said to be the world’s first large-scale tidal energy farm. [BBC News]

Atlantis Resources hopes to eventually install more than  200 turbines off the Caithness coast. (Atlantis Resources)

Atlantis Resources hopes eventually to install more than
200 turbines off the Caithness coast. (Atlantis Resources)

¶ Indian developer Mytrah Energy has increased its underlying ebitda by 56% in the first half of the year driven by a spate of new wind farms. Underlying ebitda reached $45.54 million compared with $29.14 million a year ago as revenue rose 52% to $49.66, the company said. The developer completed is significantly ahead of its targets. [reNews]

¶ Electricity-starved Myanmar is looking to overhaul its long-term power strategy, aiming to hike the planned share of hydropower in its energy mix at the cost of polluting coal as it tries to attract foreign investment. Myanmar is Asia’s sixth-poorest country. Half of its people are without access to electricity. [malaysiandigest.com]

Myanmar is looking to develop hydro power.

Myanmar is looking to develop hydro power.

¶ Statoil has drilled the world’s hottest geothermal well. The well is part of the Iceland Deep Drilling Project, which aims to research technologies that can be used for high temperature water extraction from deep reservoirs for power production. The project is the latest renewables milestone for the Norwegian operator. [Energy Voice]

US:

¶ Nevada has a ballot measure that aims to deregulate electrical service. If the Energy Choice Initiative passes a statewide ballot in November and again in 2018, it will enshrine in the Nevada Constitution the right for customers to choose their energy provider and to produce their own power to sell to others. [Mohave Valley News]

Solar array supporting Las Vegas police communications. (Balloonboy101, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA)

Solar array supporting Las Vegas police communications.
(Balloonboy101, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA)

¶ Johnson County, Iowa, is installing two new solar arrays at its Iowa City campus in a move that could save taxpayers money and triple the county government’s production of clean energy. One array will be next to the county’s administration building, and another is already on the roof of the Health and Human Services building. [Iowa City Press Citizen]

¶ Some downstate New York lawmakers don’t like the fact that their constituents must now subsidize energy produced at nuclear plants in upstate regions. The legislators take issue with the state Public Service Commission’s decision to include subsidies for nuclear power in the Clean Energy Standard, approved in August. [WatertownDailyTimes.com]

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September 11 Energy News

September 11, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “The balancing act: A tough task cut out for grid managers” • A massive deployment of renewable capacity implies a paradigm shift for thermal plants. This is something that could be testing for grid managers. India has a national target to add 141 GW of solar and wind energy by 2022, but this will change how the grid is run. [The Indian Express]

India has 42 GW of hydro capacity, but this could grow to 52 GW by 2021.

India has 42 GW of hydro capacity. It could have 52 GW in 2021.

¶ “Clinton and Trump polar opposites on global warming and energy” • Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump want the US to become a global energy superpower. The similarity in their energy policies ends there. Trump’s position is based on fossil fuels, while Clinton’s is based on renewable power. [San Francisco Chronicle]

World:

¶ Cuba is embracing renewable and affordable energy as a new solar panel park is saving the country over half a million dollars in fossil fuels spending in its first year, at practically no cost. In its first year of operation, Pinar 220 A1 was estimated to have fed almost 6 GWh of electricity to Cuba’s national electricity grid. [teleSUR English]

Solar panels in a Cuban field (Photo: Reuters)

Solar panels in a Cuban field (Photo: Reuters)

¶ The first solar power plant on the Philippines’ Panay Island opened in Miag-ao, a town in southern Iloilo province. The chief executive officer of Cosmo Solar Energy Inc has said that the 15-hectare solar power plant can generate 5.67 MW. The power is being sold under a 25-year contract, and site can be expanded. [Manila Bulletin]

¶ The Indian government has estimated that by 2020, India will need 1.5 billion tonnes of coal. A PriceWaterhouse Coopers report indicates there is a slight problem. It said that to achieve its target, the government would have to invest around ₹10 lakh crore ($149 billion). This is four times India’s annual defence budget. [Scroll.in]

Indian coal

Indian coal

¶ When it comes to generating renewable energy, the Indian state of Maharashtra has managed to exceed its quota. But, the state has lagged behind in power purchase agreements, and this might hamper further growth and expansion of the sector. The state has wind, solar, biomass and small hydro power. [The Indian Express]

¶ Thailand has been seeking to diversify from its currently fossil fuel based power generation towards more renewable energy power generation. Geothermal is one of the available options, and a local TV station carried some footage covering geothermal plant in the province of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

Fang geothermal plant, Chiang Mai, Thailand (Helmut Duerrast, creative commons)

Fang geothermal plant in Chiang Mai, Thailand
(Helmut Duerrast, creative commons)

¶ The Danish ambassador to Pakistan said that a Danish energy company working in Rajanpur district of Punjab would add 250 MW of wind capacity in the national grid before the year 2018. The announcement was made at a seminar recently organised by the Ramboll A/S Denmark and Elan International. [Daily Pakistan]

¶ Iran began building a second nuclear plant with Russian help on Saturday, in a $10 billion project following Tehran’s landmark nuclear deal with world powers last year, state media reported. The project is to erect a 1,000-MW reactor, and is expected to take 10 years to build. Iran already runs one Russian-built nuclear reactor at Bushehr. [Zawya]

Bushehr main nuclear reactor. (Reuters / Raheb Homavandi)

Bushehr main nuclear reactor. (Reuters / Raheb Homavandi)

US:

¶ Rather than choose to have Volkswagen modify their vehicles to meet US emissions standards, the majority of US owners who were affected by the recent diesel emissions cheating scandal have signed up for the vehicle buyback, according to recent reports. Over half of the 475,000 owners affected have already registered decisions. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The vision the federal government unveiled on Friday calls for wind farms off of nearly every US coastline by 2050, in an effort to generate 86 GW of electricity from offshore wind, enough zero-carbon power for more than 23 million homes. Offshore wind is a major part of the US strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. [Grist]

Danish offshore wind turbines (Shutterstock)

Danish offshore wind turbines (Shutterstock)

¶ California Governor Jerry Brown said last week that he remains committed to expanding California’s power grid to include other Western states, despite a delay announced this summer when it appeared the state Legislature was unprepared to grant the broader approval needed to advance the project this year. [The Register-Guard]

¶ Wind Energy Development, based in North Kingston, Rhode Island, installed nine 1.5-MW, German-made turbines over the summer. It is the largest onshore wind farm in Rhode Island. The developer says technological advances now enable turbines to take advantage of weaker winds away from the coast. [The Providence Journal]

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September 10 Energy News

September 10, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ The National Electrical Manufacturing Association laid out a strategic vision for microgrid development and use for the 21st century in ¨Powering Microgrids for the 21st Century Electrical System.¨ It says microgrids will make a transition from off-grid ¨island¨ systems to integral parts of broader-based power grid networks. [Microgrid Media]

Please click on the image to enlarge it.

¶ A new report from the World Bank has concluded that air pollution is the fourth leading cause of premature deaths worldwide, costing the global economy about $225 billion in lost labor income in 2013. It says an estimated 5.5 million lives were lost in 2013 as a result of various diseases attributed to indoor and outdoor air pollution. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ Natural Energy Wyre, has announced the launch of the UK’s Tidal Hydro Energy Plant in Fleetwood, Lancashire. The mouth of the River Wyre at Fleetwood has a very high tidal range, in excess of 10 meters at spring tides. The plant is projected to produce 200 GWh of electricity per year in a 125-year lifespan. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Natural Energy Wyre.

Natural Energy Wyre.

¶ A collaboration between Moroccan and German institutions will lead to the energy upgrade of 600 mosques in Morocco. The facilities will be equipped with LED lighting, photovoltaic systems, and solar water heaters. Signs are also appearing that the Moroccan government will be more supportive of rooftop solar. [pv magazine]

¶ A group of highly skilled engineering alumni, Master’s and PhD students from Masdar Institute have formed a startup company called the Nigeria Future Energy Group (NiFEG), focused on clean energy development and deployment throughout Nigeria. Nigeria’s solar resource is approximately 4.85 billion MWh/day. [Nanowerk]

The 2.25 kW solar photovoltaic facility donated by NiFEG to Kaduna State University.

The 2.25 kW solar photovoltaic facility
donated by NiFEG to Kaduna State University.

¶ Russian companies are considering the possibility of taking part in the construction of more than 5,000 MW of solar and wind parks in Algeria, Russia’s ministry of energy said on Friday. Algeria aims to have 22 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2035, including about 13,575 MW of PVs and 5,010 MW of wind power. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ SSE’s Dunmaglass wind farm, situated 25 km south of the city of Inverness, Scotland, is the highest wind farm ever to be constructed by the Scottish energy company, at 700 meters above sea level. The Scottish Government approved the 94.05-MW project in December 2010. SSE acquired the 33-turbine project in May 2013. [Power Technology]

Dunmaglass wind farm.

Dunmaglass wind farm.

US:

¶ A report released by the DOE and Department of the Interior has exciting news: The US offshore wind power industry is poised to go big and to be cost-competitive with fossil-fuels in places like the Northeast by 2030. The US is just beginning to install offshore wind farms, though Europe has 11,500 MW. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

¶ Houston-based Apache Corp believes that there could be 3 billion barrels of oil and 75 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in an area it calls Alpine High in West Texas, but it remains to be seen when consumers will actually benefit from the find. The company announced its discovery after two years of drilling in the region. [OneNewsNow]

Apache operations in the Permian Basin of West Texas. (Courtesy Photo)

Apache operations in the Permian
Basin of West Texas. (Courtesy Photo)

¶ After a federal judge denied the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s request for an injunction to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline, the US Army Corps of Engineers issued a joint statement with the Department of Justice and the Department of Interior, saying it will not authorize construction of the pipeline on Corps land. [Daily Globe]

¶ The city of New Bedford was highlighted as two Cabinet members released a national strategy for offshore wind development, while touring a turbine testing facility in Charlestown, capping a month-long period launching the renewable energy industry in America, Massachusetts, and SouthCoast. [SouthCoastToday.com]

New Bedford, Massachusetts. (EPA photo by C Pesch. Public domain. Wikimedia Commons)

New Bedford, Massachusetts.
(EPA photo by C Pesch. Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.)

¶ Developer Iberdrola Renewables has said it will abide by the results of a November vote by residents in the Vermont towns of Windham and Grafton on whether a 28-turbine project should proceed. However, town officials say town residents will have all the information they need by Election Day. The wind farm would be the state’s largest. [vtdigger.org]

¶ Enel Green Power North America expects to start commercial operation in the coming months at a pair of 200-MW wind projects in Kansas. Cimarron Bend 1 is due to power up in November and Cimarron Bend 2 is expected to follow in January 2017, Enel said in filings to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. [reNews]

Old house, new turbine. (Enel)

Old house, new turbine. (Enel)

¶ A new micro-grid power switching device that can optimize and provide sub-cycle switching for the power originating from renewable energy and other sources to meet real-time usage requirements, helping match available power to grid demand, is being introduced by Diversified Technologies, Inc of Bedford, Massachusetts. [Utility Products]

¶ Orange County, California, Representative Loretta Sanchez condemned the burial of millions of pounds of nuclear waste on a San Onofre beach bluff and faulted her opponent in the race for the US Senate for not fighting the controversial project. The waste disposal has been approved by the state’s Coastal Commission. [OCRegister]

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September 9 Energy News

September 9, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Clean Power Plan no problem for the Northeast” • The grid operator for 13 northeast states and Washington, DC, PJM Interconnection, recently released a report with some encouraging news: meeting the CPP should be a breeze. That’s a big deal because of the area’s dense population and economic activity. [Into the Wind – The AWEA Blog]

Wind power is a low-cost Clean Power Plan solution for the Northeast.

Wind power is a low-cost Clean Power Plan solution for the Northeast.

Science and Technology:

¶ Researchers have created an interactive web tool to estimate the amount of energy that could be generated by wind or solar farms at any location. The tool, called Renewables.ninja, aims to make the task of predicting renewable output easier. Companies such as RWE are using it to test their output models. [AZoCleantech]

World:

¶ UK electricity generated from offshore wind hit 5.1 TWh in the first quarter of 2016, up 10% on the same period last year, government data said. Onshore wind generation fell to 6.4 TWh in the quarter, compared with 7.2 TWh for the first quarter of 2015. The largest percentage of increase was for solar, at 41%, to 1.3 TWh. [reNews]

Westermost Rough offshore wind farm. (Dong Energy)

Westermost Rough offshore wind farm. (Dong Energy)

¶ Norges Bank, in administering Norway’s $900 billion Government Pension Fund, has decided to exclude Duke Energy and its subsidiaries based on the risk of severe environmental damage. The bank’s investment guidelines had already excluded 52 companies that derive 30% or more of their revenues from coal. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The UK will fail to meet its renewable energy targets, with take-up of clean fuels for heating and transport falling badly behind aims, MPs have warned. The findings of the energy and climate change committee show that ministers have little clear plan for meeting the 2020 target to get 15% of energy from renewable sources. [The Guardian]

Electric car charging in the UK. (Andrew Curtis, Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 2.0)

Electric car charging in the UK.
(Andrew Curtis, Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 2.0)

¶ Despite not receiving funding in the Australian Renewable Energy Agency large scale solar funding round, Lyon Solar says it is committed to going ahead with the largest single large scale solar and battery storage facility in the world – in South Australia – along with a similar solar plus storage plant in north Queensland. [RenewEconomy]

¶ The Innu Nation teamed up with Boralex to develop, build and operate the 200-MW Apuiat wind farm in Quebec. Boralex will be partnering with Renewable Energy Systems Canada, which has developed the site in Port-Cartier in the Côte-Nord region so far, a Boralex spokesperson said. The Innu Nation will control a 50% project share. [reNews]

Wind turbine. (Boralex)

Wind turbine. (Boralex)

¶ China is drawing more and more power from renewables. In fact, new data collected by Greenpeace shows that in 2015 the country’s growth in wind and solar energy more than exceeded its increase in electricity demand. Putting this in perspective, China installed half of the world’s new solar and wind capacity last year. [ZME Science]

¶ Royal Dutch Shell Plc may bid in the Dutch government’s tender for the Borssele III and IV offshore wind sites, Reuters reported. The tender will open on September 15 and run until September 29. A spokesman for the Anglo-Dutch oil and gas major told Reuters the company is studying the opportunity. [SeeNews Renewables]

Wind turbines in Dutch waters. (Photo by Eneco. Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic)

Wind turbines in Dutch waters. (Photo by Eneco.
Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic)

US:

¶ Renewable energy groups are beginning a push to get Congress to extend vital tax credits for their industries before the end of the year. The groups, including biomass energy and hydroelectric industries’ lead trade groups, sent letters to Republican and Democratic leaders making the case the subsidies are needed. [Washington Examiner]

A 100-kW wind turbine at the National Wind Technology Center will power hydrogen electrolysis for an experiment. (Jerry Cleveland / The Denver Post)

A 100-kW wind turbine at the National Wind Technology Center will power hydrogen electrolysis for an experiment. (Jerry Cleveland / The Denver Post)

¶ Xcel Energy said it reached a settlement that will speed up development of a 600-MW wind project and the construction of a 125-mile transmission line to move energy to the Front Range from the eastern plains. The Rush Creek Wind Project would rank as the Colorado’s largest, boosting wind generation capacity by 20%. [Fort Morgan Times]

¶ A wind power proposal submitted to Vermont regulators includes an offer to buy out close neighbors who object to the turbines, according to consultants for the project. Property owners living within 3,000 feet of the Swanton Wind project will have six months after the project goes online to take up the offer. [BurlingtonFreePress.com]

¶ FirstEnergy is monitoring recent efforts by New York to help subsidize the continued operation of at-risk nuclear plants owned by Exelon and Entergy, and may support a similar scenario for its three nuclear plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania, a company official said. FirstEnergy is currently acquiring the Fitzpatrick plant in New York. [Platts]

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September 8 Energy News

September 8, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Beauty and power: how Norway is making green energy look good” • On the edge of a forest in northern Norway, an unusual hydroelectric plant is generating a buzz. Øvre Forsland is a big departure from the hulking power stations. It looks more like an elegant, custom‑built home from TV show Grand Designs. [The Guardian]

Øvre Forsland hydroelectric station. Photograph: Pedro Alvarez for the Observer.

Øvre Forsland hydroelectric station.
Photograph: Pedro Alvarez for the Observer.

¶ “Dear Theresa: Let it go! Six powerful reasons to dump Hinkley C” • Theresa May ducked out of a signing ceremony to review the Hinkley C nuclear project. Soon she will have to make a decision. In this open letter Scientists for Global Responsibility set out six compelling reasons for her to let the monstrous white elephant go. [The Ecologist]

Science and Technology:

¶ Torrential rains unleashed on south Louisiana in August were made almost twice as likely by human-caused climate change, according to a quick-fire analysis. The team of scientists concluded that the likelihood of such an event is probably twice as great now as in 1900, but it is at least of 40% more likely. [Carbon Brief]

Flooding and devastation in Baton Rouge, 15 August 2016. Credit: Melissa Leake/US Department of Agriculture.

Flooding and devastation in Baton Rouge, 15 August 2016.
Credit: Melissa Leake/US Department of Agriculture.

World:

¶ In the UK, a Labour government under Jeremy Corbyn would ban fracking, ditch coal-fired power, and massively increase renewable energy, his campaign announced. He pledged to phase out all coal power stations by the “early 2020s” and invest heavily in energy-saving to avoid building many new power stations. [The Guardian]

¶ Vattenfall and Stadtwerke München have exported first power from the 288-MW Sandbank offshore wind farm in the German North Sea. A total of 20 Siemens 4-MW turbines have been installed. The wind farm will have 72 turbines altogether and is due to finish about three months earlier than originally planned. [reNews]

MPI Adventure is installing the turbines at Sandbank. (Stefan Jürgensen)

MPI Adventure is installing the turbines at Sandbank. (Stefan Jürgensen)

¶ Australia is set to triple its large-scale solar energy capacity after funding from a threatened federal agency helped drive down costs almost to those of wind farms. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency will announce the 12 projects that will share part of its latest funding round of about $100 million on Thursday. [Whyalla News]

¶ The Chinese government estimates that the country’s data centers consume more electricity than all of Hungary and Greece combined. Chinese technology and Internet businesses are looking to burnish their environmental credentials and lower costs of operation, so they work to reduce electricity and water usage. [chinadialogue]

E-commerce giant Alibaba Group's new green data center on Qiandao Lake. (Image by Alibaba Cloud)

E-commerce giant Alibaba Group’s new green data
center on Qiandao Lake. (Image by Alibaba Cloud)

¶ The government of Mexico announced that they would soon join the growing ranks of countries that have adopted cap and trade to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Mexico’s pilot carbon pricing program will begin in November on a trial basis as a testing ground for a national carbon market to be launched in 2018. [CleanTechnica]

¶ French Energy Minister Segolene Royal announced France will soon launch a series of tenders for rooftop solar power installations for a total capacity of 1,350 MW. Each year between 2017 and 2019, France will tender 450 MW, in a move to help lift its solar capacity to over 18.2 GW by 2023. [SeeNews Renewables]

Rooftop solar in France. Photo by Lionel Allorge. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Rooftop solar in France. Photo by Lionel Allorge.
CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Several hundred American service personnel who say they became sick from radiation during the Fukushima nuclear disaster are now getting high-profile support in Japan. Junichiro Koizumi, a former Japanese prime minister, has set up a special fund to collect private donations, mainly to help with medical bills. [Laconia Citizen]

¶ A new report highlights 15 signals of an energy transition occurring across the world, indicating a sustainable and equitable global energy system has irrevocably begun. The signs, detailed in a report by WWF-France and WWF-China, provide encouragement that the transition can be found just about everywhere. [Energy Matters]

Solar panels in Hong Kong. Photo by Snowacinesy. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Solar panels in Hong Kong. Photo by Snowacinesy.
CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

US:

¶ California Governor Jerry Brown said that he remains committed to expanding California’s power grid to include other Western states, despite a delay announced this summer when it appeared the state Legislature was unprepared to grant the broader approval needed to advance the project this year. [Mail Tribune]

¶ Iowa is cultivating new ground in a transformational shift to renewable energy and resilient economy. With several record-breaking wind energy projects announced this year, impressive growth in solar, and high ranking in other renewable technologies, Iowa’s position as a renewable leader has never felt more secure. [DesMoinesRegister.com]

Wind turbines in Iowa. Photo by Bill Whittaker. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Wind turbines in Iowa. Photo by Bill Whittaker.
CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ The Portland, Maine, City Council voted unanimously to authorize an agreement to build one of the state’s largest municipal solar power arrays on a landfill. The City Manager will negotiate an agreement with ReVision Energy. The project would reduce the city’s reliance on fossil fuels for electricity by 25%. [Press Herald]

¶ After Duke University announced in May a proposal from Duke Energy to build a new 21-MW combined heat and power natural gas facility on campus, some students and faculty members have raised concerns about the proposed plant’s impact and a lack of transparency surrounding the initial stages of the facility’s planning. [Duke Chronicle]

 

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September 7 Energy News

September 7, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ Shipping routes across the Arctic are going to open up significantly this century even with a best-case reduction in CO2 emissions, a new study suggests. University of Reading, UK, researchers have investigated how the decline in sea-ice, driven by warmer temperatures, will make the region more accessible. [BBC]

Sea-ice is in decline but scientists expect quite a bit of variability year on year. SPL

Sea-ice is in decline but scientists expect a lot of annual variability. SPL

World:

¶ The G20 meeting in China may have been notable for the decision by both China and the US to ratify the Paris climate treaty. But the G20 nations are still taking little action on ending fossil fuel subsidies, despite agreeing to the move in 2009 to end what has been described as the “dumbest policy” in the world. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The London Metropolitan Police is now trialling the use of a range-extended BMW i3 as a patrol car, exploring the value of a nearly silent police vehicle in urban environments, according to recent reports. The EV is being loaned to the Met by BMW for free, presumably in hopes of a large order from them. [CleanTechnica]

Image via Wandsworth government.

The police got an electric police car. Image via Wandsworth government.

¶ Greenpeace India questioned the Centre’s decision to sustain an “obsolete and polluting” coal industry, saying renewable energy holds the potential to meet energy needs. Greenpeace India asked the power sector to think beyond coal and stop maintaining the desire to prop up a “dying industry.” [The Indian Express]

¶ Canadian renewable energy producer and pipeline operator Enbridge agreed to acquire Houston-based Spectra Energy in a $28 billion all-stock deal, to create the largest energy infrastructure company in North America. Low oil prices have forced companies, including even pipeline operators, to consider mergers to cut costs. [reNews]

Cedar Point wind farm Colorado (Enbridge)

Cedar Point wind farm Colorado (Enbridge image)

¶ Jeremy Corbyn will pledge to create an energy policy “for the 60 million, not the big six” if he becomes prime minister. He has hopes of creating 300,000 jobs in the renewables sector. The Labour leader will set a target of generating 65% of UK electricity renewably by 2030, making the UK a world leader in green technology. [The Guardian]

¶ A Swiss energy company, The meeco Group, will partner with electric products maker and distributor Powerspeed Electrical in Zimbabwe to offer solar turnkey solutions. Meeco said the two firms have formed a joint venture Onesun Solar Ltd to install clean energy systems in Zimbabwe. [SeeNews Renewables]

Photo Source: The meeco Group.

Photo Source: The meeco Group.

¶ Coal-fired power generation under development worldwide has shrunk by 14% this year, driven down by China as it struggles with oversupply and promotes cleaner energy, a study showed on Wednesday. India also introduced policies curbing plans for coal-fired plants, partly due to under-utilization of existing plants. [Himalayan Times]

¶ Former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi blasted current premier Shinzo Abe’s stance that the situation at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant is under control. “It’s a lie,” an impassioned Koizumi, 74, told reporters. “They keep saying it’s going to be under control, but still it’s not effective.” [Bloomberg]

The sign reads, "nuclear, bright and future (source of) energy." No one is left around. Photo by Hohoho. CC BY-CA 4.0. Wikimedia Commons.

A distant sign reads, “nuclear, bright and future energy.” No one reads it. 
Photo by Hohoho. CC BY-CA 4.0. Wikimedia Commons.

US:

¶ A request to approve a new 100-MW solar energy project, as well as a request to close one of the utility’s coal-fired power plants 10 months earlier than expected, has been filed by NV Energy as part of the second amendment filing for its most recent Emissions Reduction and Capacity Replacement. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Massachusetts has signed a letter of intent with Dong, Deepwater Wind and OffshoreMW to lease a marine terminal as a base for offshore wind projects. The developers will lease the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal as a staging and deployment location, paying $5.7 million annually under a two-year commitment. [reNews]

DONG Energy image.

DONG Energy image.

¶ FuelCell Energy announced the development of a utility scale power project for affordable and clean power generation in land-constrained areas. Construction will begin within weeks for a 3.7-MW fuel cell power plant at a location in Danbury, Connecticut, following recent approval by the Connecticut Siting Council. [StreetInsider.com]

¶ The Narragansett Bay Commission owns and operates the two largest wastewater treatment facilities in Rhode Island. Cleaning water is expensive, so the wastewater agency is aiming to run on 100% renewable energy within two years. This is expected to stabilize electric rates for users for 25 years. [Rhode Island Public Radio]


September 6 Energy News

September 6, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Turn California’s dead trees into electricity” • California’s drought and invasive beetles have killed millions of trees, now fuel for wildfires. While everyone seems to agree that removal is the answer, we need to help support the infrastructure to remove and process it. Biomass power plants provide an opportunity. [San Francisco Chronicle]

California's dying forests. Photo: Max Whittaker / Prime, Special To The Chronicle.

California’s dying forests.
Photo: Max Whittaker / Prime, Special To The Chronicle.

¶ “Time to stop pretending that gas is a climate solution” • A push to boost Australian gas supply and lift state gas bans is a worrying move that will send the mercury rising to dangerous levels, condemn local communities to undrinkable water and wrecked farmland, ruin a transition to a 100% renewable energy future. [Huffington Post]

Science and Technology:

¶ Global warming is making the oceans sicker than ever before, spreading disease among animals and humans and threatening food security across the planet, a major scientific report said. The findings, from peer-reviewed research, were compiled by 80 scientists from 12 countries, experts said at the World Conservation Congress. [Rappler]

Turtle Beach on Midway Atoll. Saul Loeb / AFP

President Obama visited Turtle Beach on Midway Atoll. Saul Loeb / AFP

World:

¶ The price of oil jumped after Russia and Saudi Arabia agreed to discuss ways to stabilize the oil market. The announcement was made by the countries’ energy ministers, Alexander Novak and Khalid al-Falih. The price of Brent crude initially jumped by 5%, but then it fell back to stand 1.6% higher at $47.56 per barrel. [BBC]

¶ Brazil’s wind power output reached 4,499 MW on average in August, marking a 29.2% year-on-year increase, according to preliminary figures from the Power Trading Chamber. Wind power’s share of the country’s total electricity generation grew to 7.4%, from 5.7% a year back, while demand increased 0.1%. [SeeNews Renewables]

Wind farm in Brazil. Author: Otávio Nogueira. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Wind farm in Brazil. Author: Otávio Nogueira.
License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic.

¶ Vattenfall is seeking to fill 130 new positions in its wind energy business over the next 12 months, as the Swedish power company invests another €5 billion in European renewable energy projects. The new staff would help the company reach its goal of expanding wind capacity by 400 MW to 600 MW each year. [reNews]

¶ The Argentine energy ministry announced it has received 123 bids for 6,336 MW of power capacity in its renewables tender for purchase contracts to 1,000 MW of capacity. There were wind power bids totaling 3,468 MW, and bids for 2,834 MW for solar power. Bioenergy offered 53 MW and small hydro 11 MW. [SeeNews Renewables]

Solar farm in Argentina. Photo by sustentator. CC-2.5-SA. Wikimedia Commons.

Solar farm in Argentina. Photo by sustentator.
CC-2.5-SA. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Wind turbine makers in India are looking at building more renewable energy projects combining solar and wind in a bid to provide a reliable and cost-effective power supply. Gamesa Corp Tecnologica SA and Suzlon Energy Ltd, two of India’s largest wind turbines makers, both expect to focus on hybrid projects in the near future. [Bloomberg]

¶ A robot will be sent into the No 2 reactor containment vessel at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to locate the melted fuel inside and assess its spread ahead of future retrieval. TEPCO announced on August 25 that it would undertake the difficult operation early next year at the soonest. [Asahi Shimbun]

TEPCO plans to use this survey robot. Asahi Shimbun file photo.

TEPCO plans to use this survey robot. Asahi Shimbun file photo.

US:

¶ The town of New Paltz, New York, has proposed a nested microgrid project, a $12 million system to maintain critical energy supplies. Within the microgrid are 10 independent zones, or nodes, each with its own energy resources to serve one or more of the critical facilities within its geographic footprint. [Microgrid Knowledge]

¶ A solar energy initiative by the University of Massachusetts will have 15,576 solar panels newly installed this year, with an aim to save $6.2 million in a span of 20 years. There will be eight solar panel installations, with six of them placed on rooftops and the other two placed above parking lots. [The Massachusetts Daily Collegian]

Solar canopy over parking. Daily Collegian Archives.

Solar canopy under construction over parking. Daily Collegian Archives.

¶ The American Wind Energy Association released figures showing that the rapid rise of American wind power has been accompanied by increased support among US voters. In Iowa, which maintains the current US record of 35% electricity generation from wind, the support for wind technology is at 91% of voters. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ In Fall River, Massachusetts, more than 200 solar panels on Morton Middle School’s roof will finally be switched on after three years of sitting unused. The chief operating officer for the Fall River Public Schools said the panels will be activated following the finalization of an agreement with National Grid. [Fall River Herald News]

 


September 5 Energy News

September 5, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ Researchers produced a 15% boost to wind generation across a single project using “wake steering” and “total wind farm control” alongside a Zephir lidar unit. The test used three turbines. By yawing two of the upwind turbines to laterally deflect their wakes, the rearmost was able to increase production 15% for the wind farm. [reNews]

Zephir lidar unit. Credit: Zephir.

Zephir lidar unit. Credit: Zephir.

World:

¶ Solar power generation capacity of 4.8 GW is likely to be added this year in India, as installations are picking up, says a report by Mercom Capital Group. The report also said that power distribution companies continue to be a “drag” since they are showing reluctance to buy solar energy amid low electricity prices. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ India has set an ambitious target of achieving 100,000 MW of solar power capacity by 2022 as well as doubling farm incomes. Both these targets can be a game changer for rural India if implemented in unison, suggests a recent study by the International Council for Research in International Economic Relations. [Livemint]

Solar power can help water crop fields and augment farm incomes by feeding the surplus power generated into the grid. Photo: Bloomberg

Solar power can help water crop fields and augment farm incomes by
feeding the surplus power generated into the grid. Photo: Bloomberg

¶ State-run mining major Coal India will develop solar power plants of 600 MW capacity in four states, under the second phase of its plan to set up a total 1,000 MW green energy plants. The Solar Energy Corporation of India has already floated tenders for development of solar capacity in the second phase. [Khabar India]

¶ UK energy storage manufacturer RedT has completed testing of a 75-kW/1.68-MWh vanadium redox flow battery system to be installed on the Scottish island of Gigha. The London company will install by the end of the year seven 15-kW/240-kWh vanadium redox flow batteries to remove constraints on the island’s 1MW wind farm. [reNews]

RedT battery storage at Power Networks Development Centre (RedT)

RedT battery storage at Power Networks Development Centre (RedT image)

¶ The Philippine Energy Department may limit the exposure of renewable energy sources in areas where there are transmission line constraints, an official said over the weekend. An official said the department was trying to avoid duplicating the situation in Negros island where there was too much solar concentration in one area. [The Standard]

¶ Australia has announced the launch of the AUS$20 million ($15 million) Clean Energy Seed Fund, to provide seed and angel funding to ventures developing clean energy solutions. The fund will target investments in thirty to fifty startups over a 5 year period. Artesian Venture Partners will manage the fund. [DEALSTREETASIA]

Wind farm in Australia

Wind farm in Australia

¶ India has proposed to implement a large-scale project of solar street lights in Bangladesh to ensure energy efficiency and promote renewable energy, via Energy Efficiency Services Ltd. The Indian high commissioner proposed to start a pilot project of installing solar street lights in any particular area using Indian fund. [Dhaka Tribune]

¶ September 5 marks one year since the lifting of an evacuation order for Naraha, Fukushima Prefecture, that was imposed following the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. However, of Naraha’s registered population of 7,300, fewer than 10%, only 681, people had returned to live there. [AsiaOne]

Kindergarten pupils playing at the Kohitsuji kindergarten in Fukushima city, soon after soil removal and decontamination in 2011. Photo: AFP

Kindergarten pupils playing at the Kohitsuji kindergarten in Fukushima
city, soon after soil removal and decontamination in 2011. Photo: AFP

US:

¶ Roughly 3.4 GW of large-scale wind and solar parks went into service in the US in the first seven months of 2016, though there were no wind additions in July, according to a report by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The country put 7.1 GW of natural gas-fired power stations online in January to July. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Hydropower producers Brookfield Renewable Partners LP and Hydro-Quebec are seeking support under New York’s recently adopted Clean Energy Standard, which has support for small hydropower facilities along with non-hydro renewables. The companies want support for large hydropower as well. [SeeNews Renewables]

Author: grendelkhan. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.

Hydro dam. Author: grendelkhan.
License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.

¶ Xcel Energy claims to be the biggest wind power producer in the nation, 12 years running. It has a new 100-turbine Odell wind farm in southern Minnesota. The Odell farm will power over 100,000 homes. Xcel plans to have 35% of its power generated through renewable sources by 2030. [La Crosse’s NewsTalk 1410AM 92.3FM]

¶ Western communities are facing effects of a warming climate with slower and earlier snowmelt, reducing stream flows and possibly the amount of water reaching reservoirs used for drinking water and agriculture, a recent study says. Counterintuitively, as the climate warms, there is actually a slower snowmelt. [Growing Produce]


September 4 Energy News

September 4, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Trump’s Fossil-Fueled Ambitions Are Totally Out of Step With Economic Trends” • Considering how much he brags about his business acumen, shouldn’t Donald Trump do a better job of keeping up with economic trends? Instead of looking to the future, Trump is wallowing in nostalgia for coal mining. [AlterNet]

Why stop at coal. We could bring back manual typewriters! Stage Coaches! Photo Credit: Max Goldberg / Flickr CC

Why stop at coal? We could bring back manual typewriters! Slide
rules! Whale oil for lamps! Photo Credit: Max Goldberg / Flickr CC

¶ “Ohio must return to innovative roots to develop clean energy” • A global revolution in the world of energy generation and distribution is increasingly gaining momentum. Change is happening at the speed of a wind turbine’s blade tip. If America wants to keep up, we’re going to have to pick up the pace. [Crain’s Cleveland Business]

¶ “Why Natural Gas Could Be the Bridge Fuel to Nowhere” • Increasingly, knowledgeable people argue it’s time to prioritize zero-carbon energy. This year will be the first when CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants drop below those from natural gas, according to a new analysis from the US DOE’s Energy Information Agency. [TakePart]

Crews drilled this relief well to help stop a massive methane leak at Aliso Canyon. Photo: Dean Musgrove / Pool / Reuters

Crews drilled this relief well to help stop a massive methane
leak at Aliso Canyon. Photo: Dean Musgrove / Pool / Reuters

Science and Technology:

¶ Researchers believe that recently found fossils, discovered, ironically, because global warming melted some long-frozen snow in Greenland, could be the fossilized remains of ancient bacteria. If they are correct, the newly discovered fossils would be fully 220 million years older than anything else ever uncovered. [The Inquisitr]

¶ For decades, as the global warming created by human emissions caused land ice to melt and ocean water to expand, scientists warned that the accelerating rise of the sea would eventually imperil the United States’ coastline. Now, those warnings are no longer theoretical: The inundation of the coast has begun. [Bend Bulletin‎]

On a rainless June day, water came up through drains to flood the Charleston City Market in Charleston, SC. Scientists have documented a sharp jump in this nuisance flooding. Hunter McRae / The New York Times.

On a rainless June day, water came up through drains to flood a
market in Charleston, SC. Scientists have documented a sharp jump
in this nuisance flooding. Hunter McRae / The New York Times.

World:

¶ A clean energy strategy based on five pillars is all set to reduce carbon emissions in Dubai by 16% in the next four years. Dubai Electricity and Water Authority has joined the efforts to make sure the city is among those with the lowest carbon footprints worldwide, in line with the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050. [MENAFN]

¶ Canada’s Federal Environment Minister has discussed a plan with the provinces to speed up the shutdown of coal-fired power plants across the country. The move would put Ottawa on a similar track to Alberta, forcing such power-generating facilities to close before their economic lifespan is up. [Calgary Herald]

Coal moving equipment at the new $1.9 billion Keephills 3 power plant in Alberta. Bruce Edwards / Edmonton Journal.

Coal moving equipment at the new $1.9 billion Keephills 3
power plant in Alberta. Bruce Edwards / Edmonton Journal.

¶ Thirteen Japanese nuclear reactors were constructed with steel made by Japan Casting & Forging Corp, the same company that produced material used in a French power plant that has come under scrutiny after anomalies were found in the structure of its reactor vessel. They must all be inspected for weakness. [The Japan Times]

US:

¶ Siemens Energy announced its Hutchinson, Kansas, plant is filling an order from Apex Clean Energy for 64 wind turbines for Grant Plains Wind in Oklahoma. Officials expect the 147-MW project to be operational this year. This will bring Siemens’ completed orders for Apex Clean Energy in Oklahoma to 600 MW for the year. [Hutchinson News]

Siemens wind turbines. Photo by Bodoklecksel. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Siemens wind turbines. Photo by Bodoklecksel.
CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ The Oklahoma Corporation Commission told operators to shut down 35 disposal wells that may have played a role in a 5.6-magnitude earthquake that shook at least six states Saturday, the state’s governor said. She said the directive is mandatory, and added that the EPA is investigating the earthquake as well. [CNN]

¶ GTM Research waxes optimistic on US microgrid market prospects in a Grid Edge market research report released recently. Utilities are showing greater interest in co-developing microgrids, seeing them as a new means to relieve grid congestion, reduce infrastructure costs, and enhance overall system resiliency and reliability. [Microgrid Media]

GTM microgrids 2016.

GTM microgrids 2016. Please click on the image to enlarge it.

¶ Northern New Mexico is the testing ground for a new kind of utility, one that may make its way into rural Colorado and overturn a decades-old system of providing power. A startup says it can provide certainty on prices, through long-term contracts, for electric cooperatives and municipalities, even meeting rising demand. [The Denver Post]

¶ Clean Line Energy Partners wants to build the Grain Belt Express, a transmission line to carry wind-generated power through four states. The company filed its third application for approval from the Missouri Public Service Commission. Though it is approved elsewhere, the project been rejected in Missouri. [Columbia Daily Tribune]


September 3 Energy News

September 3, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Why smart utilities are embracing distributed electricity” • The growth of distributed energy generation, particularly in the form of solar energy, leaves the aging, monopolistic electric utility system a daunting choice: Defense of the status quo or accepting a clean energy future. [eco-business.com]

One of the biggest challenges in cutting the use of fossil fuel. Image: Shutterstock

Reducing fossil fuel use is a challenge. Image: Shutterstock.

Science and Technology:

¶ At Yellowstone Park, the question of how to respond to climate change doesn’t yield an easy answer, with warming temperatures, decreasing snowpacks, longer fire seasons, and disappearing food sources for animals. Each means something different and requires a different response. [Chron.com]

¶ Over recent decades, the US has seen a dramatic rise in the number of extreme winter temperature events at opposite ends of the country. According to a new study, the ‘warm West, cold East’ temperature gap is growing, and is likely driven greenhouse gas emissions. [Daily Mail]

The eastern US has experienced colder days, while there were extremely warm days in the West. Stock image

The eastern US has experienced colder days, while
there were extremely warm days in the West. Stock image.

World:

¶ Pakistan is expected to see a huge jump in wind energy installed capacity over the next two years as 21 projects are lined up for commissioning. Government officials in Pakistan has told local media that 1,012 MW capacity is expected to be added to the grid by 2018. [CleanTechies]

¶ A joint commitment from China and the US, the world’s super-polluters, expected to be announced later on Saturday, is a big step towards turning the Paris climate agreement into reality. The deal will take legal force when it is ratified by 55 signatories producing 55% of global emissions. [BBC]

Switching from fossil fuels like coal to renewable energy has got easier for countries like China, as the cost of wind and solar power has dropped. PA

Switching from fossil fuels like coal to renewable energy has
got easier , as the cost of wind and solar power has dropped. PA

¶ Australia is poised to see its biggest ever boom in large-scale solar construction over the next year as a range of international market factors and local policy incentives take hold. The boom has been a long time in the making but is now ticking nearly all the investment boxes. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Solar plus storage may be cheaper than grid prices within one year for some Australian households. A study suggest that the standard tariff offered to households in West Australia will be more expensive than rooftop solar and battery storage at some time in 2017. [RenewEconomy]

Sustainable apartments in Australia. Photo by Biatch. Released into the public domain. Wikipedia Commons.

Sustainable apartments in Australia. Photo by Biatch.
Released into the public domain. Wikipedia Commons.

¶ TEPCO announced that the ice wall under construction at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was critically affected by rainfall from recent typhoons that melted parts of the ice dam, allowing contaminated water to leak from the basements of the reactor buildings. [Enformable]

US:

¶ In Colorado, a team of financial analysts revealed the stunning results of a two-year study of clean energy generation potential. Financial modeling indicates that two gigawatts of wind power could effectively replace 6,000 GWh of energy generated at coal plants in Colorado. [CleanTechnica]

Grover, Colorado wind farm. Credit: Carlye Calvin, UCAR.edu, Colorado

Grover, Colorado wind farm.
Credit: Carlye Calvin, UCAR.edu, Colorado

¶ If you live near the Colstrip coal-fired power plant in Montana, your morning shower may be in jeopardy. Owners of the plant recently asked residents to reduce their water usage in response to record-low flows in the Yellowstone River. The plant needs the water. [The Missoulian]

¶ The mayor of Boulder, Colorado, announced that the city would commit to being powered by 100% clean energy by 2030. Boulder now represents the 17th city in the US to commit to be powered by renewable energy from clean sources such as wind and solar. [Windpower Engineering]

Landscape near Boulder Colorado.

Landscape near Boulder Colorado.

¶ More wind turbines and solar PVs could be coming to vast tracts of public lands in the West if the Obama administration finalizes a new rule this fall aiming to streamline how federal lands can be developed for renewable energy. But some say it does not cut costs enough. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Republican-controlled House this month will examine the climate change investigations launched by several state attorneys general – investigations that some lawmakers and officials from energy-rich states have blasted as “witch hunts” and “extortion.” [Houston Chronicle]

 


September 2 Energy News

September 2, 2016

World:

¶ Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland have joined forces to advance the development of ocean energy technology by forming a new collaborative network. Separate agencies from each of the three countries formed the Ocean Power Innovation Network in Dublin. [reNews]

SXC image

SXC image

¶ Average power supply delivered to the UK grid was the lowest on record in August. The increase in embedded generation capacity and improved energy efficiency measures combined to cut the amount of demand the transmission system was required to meet. [Argus Media]

¶ Construction on one of India’s largest, if not the largest, solar park is expected to being soon. The Minister for Energy in the southern state of Karnataka told media outlets that construction on the proposed 5-GW Pavagada solar park will begin there soon. [CleanTechnica]

An 11.5-MW solar array in India. Photo by Citizenmj. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

An 11.5-MW solar array in India. Photo by Citizenmj.
CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Highly radioactive waste from the decommissioning of nuclear reactors should be buried at depths beyond 70 meters for 100,000 years, the Japanese Nuclear Regulation Authority has decided. The decision relates mainly to spent control rods from the reactors. [Asahi Shimbun]

US:

¶ The National Renewable Energy Laboratory used detailed software and a supercomputer to model how much solar and wind power the eastern United States’ power grid could accommodate. It said it could have a 30% penetration of wind and solar by the year 2026. [Energy Matters]

NREL renewables modeling.

NREL renewables modeling.

¶ Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association will close two coal-fired power stations and one coal mine in Colorado as it moves to comply with plans to reduce regional haze, the co-op said. The utility said additional emissions controls would cost too much. [Grand Junction Daily Sentinel]

¶ While the US market share of the solar industry declined in the early 2000s, the residential solar market is booming once again. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, there’s been a 50% annual growth of the solar market in 2015. [American Recycler Newspaper]

Rooftop solar in the USA.

Rooftop solar in the USA.

¶ California will spend $900 million in revenues raised by its cap-and-trade program for carbon emissions and hold back $462 million for later under a deal reached by Governor Jerry Brown and the state’s Senate and Assembly leaders. [Environment & Energy Publishing]

¶ A wide range of critics, at least 15 interest groups, have challenged New York’s new “clean energy standard,” which mandates subsidies for nuclear plants and renewable energy, by petitioning the state Public Service Commission to reconsider the policy. [Syracuse.com]

At least 15 parties have filed administrative challenges. Credit: NRC (NRC)

At least 15 parties have filed administrative challenges. Credit: NRC 

¶ Roeslein Alternative Energy announced that the first Renewable Natural Gas produced from methane captured using covered manure lagoons at a Smithfield Hog Production farm in Missouri is now being injected into the national pipeline. The project cost $120 million. [Farm Forum]

¶ A Connecticut hospital unveiled a PV plant that will generate nearly 535,000 kWh expected annual electricity production along with more than $600,000 in energy savings over 20 years. The array’s 1,485 panels are on the fourth floor of the visitor parking garage. [Solar Novus Today]


September 1 Energy News

September 1, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research released a study on hurricane losses. The researchers concluded that not only will the financial damages from hurricanes increase dramatically by the end of the century, but that the rate of economic growth won’t keep pace with hurricane-caused financial losses. [CleanTechnica]

Flood waters from Tropical Storm Irene in Quechee, Vermont. Photo by Stephen Flanders. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Flood waters from Tropical Storm Irene in Quechee, Vermont.
Photo by Stephen Flanders. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ At the Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa, the Environmental Defense Fund and other national organizations launched the Midwest Row Crop Collaborative, working to expand on-the-ground solutions to protect air and water quality, enhance soil health, and maintain high yields in the Upper Mississippi River Basin. [Environmental Defense Fund]

World:

¶ Costa Rica has gone 113 days without using fossil fuels to keep the lights on. This shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s been keeping tabs on Costa Rica, because in 2015, 99% of its electrical energy was derived from renewable energy sources. Nevertheless, there is a certain symbolism to getting all your energy from renewables. [ZME Science]

The luxurious nation of Costa Rica is setting an example. Photo by Wha’ppen Costa Rica.

The luxurious nation of Costa Rica is setting an example.
Photo by Wha’ppen Costa Rica.

¶ A report, Renewable Electricity in Ireland 2015, shows that renewables contributed the second largest source of electricity last year behind gas and ahead of coal. More than 80% of renewable electricity generated in Ireland came from wind power accounting for three quarters of the avoided CO2 emissions. [The Nationalist]

¶ An islanding solar project reliant on battery backup is about to undergo a two-year test in Queensland. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency partnered with four large companies in a Knowledge Sharing Project. It will test a system big enough to support 3,000 homes with grid-tied solar power and a 5.3-MWh battery. [The Green Optimistic]

Origin solar farm.

Origin solar farm.

¶ More than 3,500 of Britain’s 50,000 churches have moved their electricity supply to renewables, or plan to do so, according to newly released data. The majority of Salvation Army’s sites, about a third of Quaker meeting houses, and approximately 2,000 Catholic churches are running entirely on renewable energy. [The Guardian]

¶ SSE completed the installation of 26 out of 33 GE 2.85-MW turbines at its 94-MW Dunmaglass wind farm in the Scottish Highlands. The utility added that it has also cleared a path to full energization of the wind farm. Six machines are at the “mid tower stage,” and installation of another turbine is yet to get underway. [reNews]

Dunmaglass wind farm. Image: www.aerialvision.scot/SSE.

Dunmaglass wind farm. Image: www.aerialvision.scot.

¶ The Chinese government is considering a proposal to boost residential green energy use, the latest move to cut air pollution and a dependence on coal-fired electric power. The government could offer certificates that reward residential users who use more green power and install equipment like solar panels. [Thomson Reuters Foundation]

¶ A massive Reachtel poll of 10,271 people has found a thumping majority of Australians oppose the government cutting $1 billion from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. And support for an emissions intensity scheme to force high emissions power plants to reduce their emissions is even stronger. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

The poll showed strong support for emissions reductions. Photo: Paul Jones

There is strong support for emissions reductions. Photo: Paul Jones

¶ Five employee representatives on EDF’s board have filed a lawsuit to overturn the French power company’s controversial decision to build nuclear reactors in Britain at Hinkley Point. The representatives argue that board leadership failed to convey critical information before the vote and had conflicts of interest. [Yahoo News UK]

US:

¶ California State University, Long Beach and SunPower Corp have announced that construction is under way on a 4.8-MW SunPower Helix Carport solar power system at two university parking areas. SunPower says the university could offset approximately 15% of campus electrical load with the renewable power. [Solar Industry]

SunPower Helix Carport. Photo courtesy of SunPower.

SunPower Helix Carport. Photo courtesy of SunPower.

¶ Donald Trump has been a harsh critic of wind energy, but Iowa GOP Senator Chuck Grassley warns it’ll be “over my dead body” if the GOP nominee wins the White House and tries to do away with wind power. In an interview with Yahoo News, Grassley lauded wind energy for its environmental and economic benefits. [Newsmax]

¶ A Maine-based company appears to have found a formula to win local backing in Vermont for often controversial solar-energy projects: careful siting, a dose of patience and a willingness to alter plans to overcome objections. Ranger Solar has won outright support in three towns for arrays that average 100 acres apiece. [Seven Days]

Solar Trackers. File: Robert Nickelsberg.

Solar Trackers. File: Robert Nickelsberg.

¶ These days, the biggest buyers of renewable energy aren’t utilities. They’re corporations like Google, Walmart, and Owens Corning. Over the last year and a half, there’s been a surge of power purchases first by tech companies and more recently by more mainstream businesses, such as General Motors and Steelcase. [Co.Exist]

¶ Talen Energy announced it’s withdrawing its license application for a proposed nuclear power plant in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. The company sent a written request to the NRC, saying it sees no “viable path” to obtaining a license for its proposed Bell Bend nuclear power plant. The application was filed in 2008. [PA home page]