December 14 Energy News

December 14, 2014

World:

¶   A new experimental “smart town” based especially around the technologies of solar energy and battery storage is being developed in Japan by Panasonic Corporation and others. The new 1000-household-strong town recently had its grand opening, with the first residents moving in earlier this year in the spring. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The well-regarded CEO of Renault-Nissan, Carlos Ghosn, recently made the rather notable comment that one of the main reasons his company was pursuing the adoption of electric vehicles aggressively was because of climate change. Ghosn called to climate change an “unprecedented humanitarian challenge.” [CleanTechnica]

¶   Daimler AG will be expanding its lithium-ion battery production capacity significantly over the coming years via expected investments of over €100 million. The company is currently developing a new building/facility that’s currently expected to be completed the middle of 2015 in the city of Kamenz. [CleanTechnica]

¶   South Africa will announce a series of renewable energy projects on Monday that will add 1,000 MW of power into the country’s constrained electricity grid. The country’s economy is in the midst of a severe power crisis because the government has failed to build any major new power stations since 1994. [Moneyweb.co.za]

¶   Several power companies have evinced interest to set up solar farms with a total capacity to generate 2,500 MW of power in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu after Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission fixed the tariff for solar power purchase by the power utility at 7.01 per unit on September 12. [Times of India]

¶   The Philippine Department of Energy has teamed up with local solar companies to promote the use of solar energy in the country on the back of growing energy demand and a looming power supply shortage in the summer of 2015. The DOE is committed to find renewable energy solutions, particularly solar energy. [Philippine Star]

¶   GDF Suez and its Moroccan partner Nareva Holding have started operations at the 301-MW Tarfaya wind farm on Morocco’s southern coast. With 131 wind turbines of 2.3 MW each, spread over 8,900 hectares, the €450 million ($560 million) project will generate enough power to supply 1.5 million homes. [Utilities-ME.com]

US:

¶   Thanks especially to the plummeting costs of solar and wind power, states can cost-effectively cut much more carbon than the EPA originally proposed this June. Wind and solar costs are now a mind-blowing 46% lower than the EPA estimated last summer. As a result, an additional 14 million-plus homes could be given clean power. [Energy Collective]

¶   The Western Governors’ Association has joined a growing chorus of groups recognizing the importance of action to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. Methane is a potent heat-trapping pollutant that is believed to be responsible for about 25% of current warming patterns. [Energy Collective]

¶   Thanks to an agreement between utilities and environmental groups announced Thursday, South Carolina residents and businesses can sell excess solar energy back to power companies at full retail value. This is the result of a net metering law passed in June that made solar power more accessible in the state. [Charleston Post Courier]

¶   Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed an executive order this week authorizing the creation of Virginia’s first Green Community Program to provide localities and the private sector with a low cost financing tool for energy conservation, alternative fuel, and renewable energy projects. [Kingsport Times News]

¶   Two of Florida’s top utility companies want customers to pay $750 million each year to cover risky exploratory fracking. Environmentalists are comparing the plan to a 2006 law allowing utilities to charge hundreds of millions of dollars for nuclear-power plants that may never be built. [Naples Daily News]

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