December 30 Energy News

December 30, 2014

Opinion:

¶ “Five energy surprises for 2015: The possible and the improbable” Predictions: Oil and gas production both going into decline, oil going below $30 per barrel, a breakthrough in solar thermal, an international agreement calling for binding GHG emissions limits, and oil at over $100 per barrel by the end of the year. [Resilience]

¶ “Some rural co-ops cling to past on energy” Unfortunately, too many of Iowa’s rural electric co-ops put out-of-state coal interests ahead of the economic interests of their own co-op members. The Clean Power Plan is expected to generate $235 million in savings for Iowa’s households and businesses by 2020. But those co-ops oppose it. [DesMoinesRegister.com]

¶ “Pennsylvania should embrace the new-energy economy” As an investor, first in the private sector and now in the public sector, I believe the EPA’s Clean Power Plan would reduce unacceptable risks from carbon emissions, but also would create tremendous new economic opportunities. It could prove tough to embrace. Tough, but right. [Pittsburgh Post Gazette]

World:

¶ One of India’s biggest integrated power companies, Tata Power, is partnering with the state-run Russian Direct Investment Fund to invest a total of $1 billion in various solar/renewable energy projects to be developed across Russia, according to recent reports. Tata Power will be responsible for around $500 million. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Renewable energy company Masdar yesterday announced the start of construction of four solar power projects in the Pacific island nations of Kiribati, Fiji, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. The solar projects will collectively provide 1.8 MW of clean energy and contribute to fuel savings worth $2 million per year in countries where energy is a common concern. [The National]

¶ 2014 saw new records for German renewables, which produced 25.8% of the year’s power. Wind power hit a new record peak of 29.7 GW on December 12. Coal-fired power in Germany during 2014 was 10% less than in 2013. Gas-fired power plants dropped to 9.7% while nuclear energy’s share increased by half a percent to 15.9%. [Energy Matters]

¶ Scotland’s solar power capacity has increased by about a third in the past year, according to new figures. More than 35,000 homes and 600 business premises now have solar PV systems, December figures from regulator Ofgem show. The capacity of these systems has reached 140 megawatts, a rise of 32% from 106 megawatts last year. [RenewablesBiz]

¶ Norway’s state owned electricity company Statkraft has revealed plans to invest $8.1 billion in renewable energy projects, after the Norwegian government decided to give the company a $1.3 billion cash injection. The company will invest in wind and hydro projects both in Norway and further afield, and will explore solar and biomass potential. [RTCC]

US:

¶ The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant stopped sending electricity to the grid Monday after producing total of 171 billion kWh over its 42-year lifetime. The shutdown came just after noon as the plant completed its 30th operating cycle when workers inserted control rods into the reactor core and stopped the nuclear reaction process. [Washington Times]

¶ Oslo-based Scatec Solar has clinched financing of $157 million for construction of the 104-MW Red Hills solar plant in Parowan, Utah. It will have 325,000 modules on a single-axis tracking system. Red Hills will generate around 210 million kWh of electricity per year, under a 20-year power purchase agreement with PacifiCorp’s Rocky Mountain Power. [reNews]

¶ Two major power line projects that have progressed by fits and starts over the past six years would lay the groundwork for a next-generation power grid throughout the West. Once completed, the new transmission lines would carry 1,500 megawatts of electricity across the West – from the Pacific Coast and the edge of the Great Plains. [The Idaho Statesman]

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