December 18 Energy News

December 18, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Decoupling and Distributed Energy” To have a chance of stabilizing the climate, the utility business model can’t just be tinkered with. It needs radical transformation. The good news is this is probably on the table regardless of what the utilities want. Our task is to make it happen as quickly and smoothly as possible. [Energy Collective]

Sci-tech Follies:

¶   The Australian Coalition government’s latest witch-hunt against wind energy has not produced a lot of fertile fodder for the anti-renewables brigade. In fact, after a month it has elicited a single contribution, from a pro-nuclear dooms-dayer who says nuclear energy will be helpful to keep us warm in the impending ice age. [RenewEconomy]

World:

¶   An analysis of government figures by the Energy Saving Trust for the BBC indicated people in the UK used 10% less electricity in 2013 than five years previously – dropping from 1,951 kWh a year per person to 1,766. DECC figures said gas use was down 10% from a year ago and electricity use 17% less because of measures supporting clean power. [The Courier]

¶   Off Grid Electric, a solar electric service company in Africa, says it delivers 50 times more light for less money. Its customers are using the service to replace kerosene lamps to light their homes. Customers pay an initial $6 installation fee for a self-sustaining solar system, then prepay for power. With new investment, it is growing. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Renewable energy company Acciona Energia will construct 255 MW worth of solar and wind projects in Chile over the next few years, with a total investment of $500 million. Power generated by the plants will provide for part of a 15-year deal reached between Acciona and Chilean power distributors for 600 GWh per year. [PV-Tech]

¶   Initial industry estimates pegged India’s coal imports for 2014-15 to be around 180 million tonnes to 185 million tonnes, about 10% higher than last year. The import bill for November increased sharply by 42% despite coal prices in major exporting countries being nearly 20% to 25% lower than the same month last year. [SteelGuru]

¶   As flagship nuclear projects run into long delays and huge cost overruns, solar and wind power are falling in price. Renewables already supply twice as much power as nuclear, and are winning out just about everywhere. They now supply over 19% of global primary energy and 22% of global electricity. Nuclear is at 11% and falling. [The Ecologist]

US:

¶   Over the next two years, America will build roughly 13 GW of utility-scale solar PV plants, more the country’s cumulative solar capacity across all sectors reached at the end of 2013. Why? Utilities are now able to consistently buy solar electricity from large plants for between 4.5 cents and 7.5 cents per kilowatt-hour. [Energy Collective]

¶   New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Dec. 17 that hydraulic fracturing will be banned in New York, following the release of a long-anticipated study that concluded fracking could pose “significant public health risks.” 96% of all papers published on health impacts of fracking indicate potential risks or adverse health outcomes. [Wisconsin Gazette]

¶   With the commissioning of two renewables projects E.ON is strengthening its position in the US market for green energy. Both the start of commercial operation of the 211-MW onshore wind farm Grandview I in the Texas Panhandle and of the 18-MW Fort Huachuca Solar Plant in Arizona occurred in a single week. [Your Renewable News]

¶   Washington Gas Energy Systems, Inc announced the completion of 20 solar projects, totaling more than 15 MW, that will produce renewable energy for Georgia Power. The company held ribbon cutting ceremonies at their sites in Donalsonville, Richland, and Greenville, Georgia on December 11 and 12. [AZoCleantech]

¶   The Senate voted 76-16 to extend the biodiesel and renewable energy production tax credits – as well as dozens of other tax breaks – in one of its final acts before adjourning Tuesday. The measure extends the tax breaks for a year – but retroactive to their expiration last January, so the clock runs out again on December 31. [Houston Chronicle]

¶   A long-term plan that will allow Nevada Power to permanently end its reliance on coal-generated electricity by 2019 was approved Wednesday by the Nevada Public Utilities Commission. According to Paul Caudill, the CEO of NV Energy, the utility involved, the decision will be accepted by the utility. [Las Vegas Review-Journal]

¶   The value of solar power credits will go down if rate adjustments sought by Vermont utilities are approved by regulators. The small reduction is the solar credit is not expected to stifle the growing solar industry in Vermont, according to Andrew Savage, a strategist with the solar manufacturer AllEarth Renewables. [vtdigger.org]

¶   New York utility Long Island Power Authority has rejected Deepwater Wind’s 210-MW project proposed offshore Rhode Island. The utility followed staff recommendations and approved 11 solar projects totaling 122 MW. Deepwater is disappointed by the decision but continues to advance the $1 billion 35-turbine project. [reNews]

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