December 2 Energy News

December 2, 2014

World:

¶   EON SE’s plan to spin off its fossil-fuel plants may bolster Germany’s already leading position in green energy. EON’s announcement is the culmination of a push to wind, solar and other alternative energy forms that the German government began 14 years ago with subsidies to reduce the country’s reliance on fossil fuels. [Bloomberg]

¶   As Germany’s largest utility is exiting conventional generation, unwanted conventional fossil fuel burning power plants, now considered risky assets, are being bundled into a new company to be spun off. While both management teams will benefit from focus, this “bad power” spinoff will struggle to offer a tempting investment case. [The Globe and Mail]

¶   About $1 billion in loans, under a UN initiative for poor countries to tackle global warming, is going toward the construction of power plants fired by coal. Japan gave the money to help its companies build three such plants in Indonesia, saying they burn coal more efficiently and are therefore cleaner than old coal plants. [The Philadelphia Tribune]

¶   Falling oil prices show the “high risk” of fossil fuel investments compared with renewable energies, the UN’s climate chief said at the start of 190-nation talks to slow global warming. She said oil price volatility “is exactly one of the main reasons why we must move to renewable energy which has a completely predictable cost of zero for fuel.” [Stabroek News]

¶   France and Spain have agreed to boost the capacity of electric power lines across their border, which is well behind European targets for interconnection. They want Spanish interconnection capacity to be at least 10% of its generation capacity. Currently, it is at just 3%, and Spanish windpower being wasted while France needs power. [EurActiv]

¶   Emissions from the Australian power sector began rebounding as soon as the Abbott government scrapped the carbon tax. The increase has come even though electricity demand remains subdued and generators have stepped up use of gas-fired plants to exploit cheap supplies of the lower-emission fossil fuel before big export contracts kick in. [The Canberra Times]

¶   While OPEC is helping drive down global oil prices, it’s having less success squeezing the $250 billion green energy industry. Clean power will receive almost 60% of the $5 trillion expected to be invested in new power plants over the next decade, because the US, China, Japan and the EU are all pushing for global limits on greenhouse gases. [Moneynews]

US:

¶   Ohio state regulators told the US EPA that new federal goals for reducing mercury and other hazardous air pollutants from power plants are unachievable, costly and based on flawed assumptions. Roughly a third of tall smokestacks of coal-fired plants are concentrated in five states along the Ohio River Valley, including Ohio. [Ashland Times Gazette]

¶   The three largest electricity providers in Ohio, FirstEnergy, AEP, and Duke, are hoping the state will approve individual plans to keep their older power plants operating. For FirstEnergy, the proposal would guarantee a market for energy produced at the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant and the coal-fired WH Sammis power plant. [Cleveland Scene Weekly]

¶    Green Mountain Power is the world’s first utility to become a certified B Corp, or benefit corporation. The state’s largest electric utility has joined nearly two dozen other Vermont companies that have met a high standard for social and environmental consciousness, joining the ranks of such companies as Ben & Jerry’s. [vtdigger.org]

¶   Under intense lobbying from Duke Energy, Florida Power and Light, and Tampa Electric, Florida regulators voted 3-2 to cut the state’s energy conservation goals by more than 90% and eliminate rebates for installing solar panels. Complete abandoning energy efficiency standards represents a drastic shift in environmental policy for the Sunshine State. [allvoices]

¶   In a letter to the EPA, fifty-three members of the Illinois General Assembly joined together to signal their support for the Clean Power Plan. As the legislators make clear in their letter, Illinois stands to gain significantly with the move to a clean energy future that will mean more jobs for the state. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

¶   The amount of electricity generated by US utility-scale solar PV power plants is up more than 100% in 2014 over the same period in 2013, thanks to big projects, many of them highly productive, that have been coming online. A number of major factors made this possible, including the steep decline in the price of PVs. [Breaking Energy]

¶   On the public comment deadline for the EPA proposed power plant rules, Americans Against Fracking, a national coalition to ban fracking, delivered a letter from over 250 environmental, health, labor and consumer protection groups, along with over 200,000 comments criticizing the rules for incentivizing fracked natural gas. [YubaNet]

¶   Imergy Power Systems announced that Foresight Renewable Solutions has selected Imergy’s ESP30 series vanadium-based flow batteries for a Smart Microgrid project sponsored by the California Energy Commission, to be deployed at the Navy’s Mobile Utilities Support Equipment Facility in Port Hueneme, California. [pv magazine]

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