December 13 Energy News

December 13, 2014

World:

¶   A consortium led by a unit of Spain’s Acciona and South Africa’s Aveng has plugged 94 MW of renewable electricity capacity into South Africa’s power grid, providing some relief to the ailing system. The Sishen solar plant, Africa’s largest, has enough capacity to power up to 100,000 households. [Reuters Africa]

¶   A Chilean joint venture between investment group Actis and Ireland-based developer Mainstream Renewable Power secured power purchase agreements for supply from five wind farms in Chile with a combined capacity of 343 MW. Four of the facilities are expected to reach financial close during 2015 and commence construction shortly after. [Recharge]

¶   One of Scotland’s largest solar energy farms has been given planning permission, in a move that will bring power to more than 5,000 homes. Some 90,000 PV modules will be placed on a 153-acre greenfield site at East Ballochy, between Brechin and Montrose, which will continue to be used to graze sheep. [Scotsman]

¶   Oil markets slid to new lows after the International Energy Agency lowered its forecast for demand growth in 2015, the latest sign of continuing oversupply. Falling oil prices may boost economic growth, but they could threaten the economic health of oil producers and lead to lower investment in expensive drilling projects. [Wall Street Journal]

US:

¶   On Monday National Grid plans to announce it will install solar panels at 19 sites across Massachusetts that can produce enough electricity to power 3,200 homes, in one of the largest solar buildouts in the state’s history. The new installations, located on both public and private land, will have a capacity of over 16 MW. [Boston Globe]

¶   Nebraska’s wind energy industry has immediate potential for even short-term expansion. An official report released by the Nebraska Power Review Board found that Nebraska’s existing transmission infrastructure has room for at least 2,000 MW of additional renewable generating resources. [McCook Daily Gazette]

¶   Xcel Energy is launching a new program that it hopes will be a big boost in solar electricity for the Minneapolis-based utility. Instead of installing panels on their rooftops, customers can subscribe to a community solar garden. Xcel currently has about 14 MW of solar capacity. The program could add 100 MW next year. [CBS Local]

¶   The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved a construction agreement for Minnesota Power’s proposed Great Northern transmission line from Manitoba to Grand Rapids. Minnesota Power wants to build the 220-mile line to carry electricity from a dam being built in northern Manitoba. [Duluth News Tribune]

¶   Salt River Project, an Arizona utility, is proposing higher charges for customers who have their own solar PVs. The company suggests changing the rate structure so such customers pay about $50 more a month, which SRP officials say is necessary to cover their use of the power grid when the sun is not shining. [azcentral.com]

¶   The Platte River Power Authority Board of Directors unanimously authorized the acquisition of up to 30 MW of solar energy resources from a facility to be built north of Wellington, Colorado. The facility would occupy about 185 acres, include roughly 100,000 photo-voltaic panels, and supply 8000 homes. [Estes Park Trail-Gazette]

¶   Relicensing of the Indian Point nuclear power plants should not await approval of their compatibility with a coastal-protection program, an appeals court has ruled. The court ruled Indian Point was exempt from the terms of New York’s Coastal Zone Management Program because the original license pre-dated the program. [Courthouse News Service]

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