October 18 Energy News

October 18, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Why Abbott’s faith in coal could be wrong – very wrong” In the baking expanses of the high desert near Reno, Nevada, a project is under way that could well make a mockery of Tony Abbott’s prediction this week that the coal industry will underpin Australia’s prosperity for decades. [Sydney Morning Herald]

World:

¶   Queensland network operator Ergon Energy wants to take some remote customers off-grid because of the cost of maintaining its sprawling grid network. New technology, such as solar and battery storage, costs so little it makes sense that some customers have stand-alone energy systems. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The decision by the Australian National University to end its investment in fossil fuels is a bellwether moment for Australia. It’s democracy up against crony capitalism, science up against ideology and renewable energy against the old polluting industries. Tony Abbott’s derision of ANU as “stupid” is a raw ideological refusal to face facts. [The Guardian]

¶   The Indian government said initial discussions have started for setting up an integrated power transmission grid connecting India with its neighboring nations including Bhutan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Excess production of power in one region can easily be used to meet deficit elsewhere. [Economic Times]

¶   South African electricity utility Eskom has plugged its first wind farm into the national grid. The Sere wind farm, 350 km north of Cape Town, is the utility’s first large-scale renewable energy project. The farm is a major step towards reducing South Africa’s reliance on coal-powered energy. [South Africa.info]

¶   A report by SmartestEnergy’s Energy Entrepreneurs estimates that manufacturers in the UK increased their investment in commercial-scale on-site power by £53.3 million (US$91.4 million) to a total of £164.3 million (US$281.7 million). This represents a 36% jump in investment. [Cogeneration & On-Site Power Production Magazine]

¶   A prominent volcanologist disputed regulators’ conclusion that two nuclear reactors are safe from a volcanic eruption in the next few decades, saying such a prediction is impossible. He said a cauldron eruption at one of several volcanoes surrounding the Sendai could cause a nationwide disaster. [The Japan Times]

US:

¶   One year ago, Georgia Tea Party members joined forces with environmental advocates to force Georgia Power to procure more solar power competitively as they were upset about the $1.5 billion in cost overruns from the Vogtle nuclear power plant. Now, results of competitive bidding show solar is very cost-competitive. [Energy Collective]

¶    A $500 million biorefinery is one of only three commercially sized plants in the country that use only plant waste, such as stalks and leaves, for production and thus do not compete for food crops. The second-generation ethanol plant has the capacity to produce 25 million gallons of ethanol per year. [Hutchinson News]

¶   Debbie Dooley, co-founder of the Atlanta Tea Party and national coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots, plans to push for more solar in Florida as she has in Georgia. Her goal is to end utility monopoly control in Florida. She has launched Conservatives for Energy Freedom, with the first chapter in Florida. [Tampabay.com]

¶   The North American Smart Climate Agriculture Alliance will bring together California farmers, ranchers and foresters to collaborate with energy industry experts. The focus will be on sustainability, resilience to climate change, reducing greenhouse gasses and reviewing the latest science on climate change. [California Forward Reporting]

¶   The NRC issued a much-delayed report on Thursday on Yucca Mountain’s suitability for vast shipments of spent nuclear fuel, saying it would be safe for storing nuclear waste. The 780-page staff report concluded the site “with reasonable expectation” could satisfy federal licensing requirements. [The Fiscal Times]

¶   Officials with the soon-to-close Vermont Yankee nuclear plant said Friday it could cost up to $1.24 billion to decommission the reactor, and that they currently have about half that much in a fund dedicated to paying for that work. The figure was contained in a “site assessment study.” [Washington Times]

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