December 27 Energy News

December 27, 2014

World:

¶   In many ways, the German energy policies are a resounding success: the country sparked the modern solar industry; half of all renewables are locally owned; and traditional utilities are divesting themselves of centralized power plants to work with distributed generation. But coal still supplies most of the power. [Energy Collective]

¶   The year of the Horse saw the Philippine renewable energy subsector gallop to many milestones while other subsectors lagged behind or ran in circles. Solar power made the most strides, but wind developers also flexed their muscles, and run-of-river hydro and biomass are taking a steady pace. [Inquirer.net]

¶   A new high-speed train route from Shanghai to Guangzhou opened recently, covering a distance of about 1,100 miles. This distance is roughly the same as traveling from Los Angeles to Seattle. The 1,100 mile trip take  about 7 hours in the new train, which would be much faster than driving and far less stressful. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The Indian Finance Minister inaugurated one of the biggest power transmission projects, a 400 KV power sub-station, in the National Capital Region. He said it would make the area a power-cut-free zone, and that policies allocating coal blocks to power generating companies would provide cheap electricity to consumers. [The Hindu]

¶   In Bangkok, the fuel tariff on electric bills from January-April will fall by 10 satang a kilowatt-hour or 2.5%, says the Energy Regulatory Commission. The ERC on Thursday approved the lower tariff for the period in response to the decline in global oil prices. The fuel tariff rate is reviewed every four months. [Bangkok Post]

¶   The Philippine Energy Regulatory Commission has allowed PetroWind Energy Inc. to start operating the first eight wind turbines of the 50-MW Nabas wind power project in Aklan province in January. ERC said the approval is for the first phase of the project for two months from Jan. 17 to March 17, 2015. [Manila Standard Today]

¶   One of the most important events of the recent years in Russia’s nuclear power industry occurred late Friday night: a new, third unit of Rostov Nuclear Power Plant was connected to the Russian power grid and started to produce its first kilowatt-hours of electricity, a source in Rosenergoatom told RIA Novosti. [Sputnik International]

US:

¶   ERCOT, which manages 90% of Texas’ electric grid, took another look at the impact of seven EPA clean air safeguards on the electric grid. They now say that once power companies comply with EPA’s other clean air protections, the proposed Clean Power Plan’s requirements could be met by closing a single coal-fired plant. [Energy Collective]

¶   Superficially, it makes sense for investors to shy away from putting money into renewable energy, as fossil fuels get cheaper. But the impact of the price of oil on the renewables sector is more complex. Falling prices could actually prove helpful to the likes of Tesla Motor and SolarCity by affecting one important variable: the Federal Reserve. [Wall Street Journal]

¶   One misperception in San Francisco is that, due to the fog, the solar power potential for the city is not good, but this is not true. San Francisco’s solar radiation is 93% of San Diego’s, and cooler temperatures make photovoltaics more efficient, because PV systems operate more efficiently at lower temperatures. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Duke Energy is building the Los Vientos III project, a new wind farm in Texas to generate 200 MW for Austin Energy. Cranes and wind turbines are sprouting like weeds in the ranch lands. Dozens of towers have been already been erected, and many more are just waiting on their blades to be completed. [San Antonio Business Journal]

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