January 2 Energy News

January 2, 2015


¶ “Another Reactor Closes, Punctuating New Reality for US Nuclear Power” The United States faces a dwindling fleet of aging reactors, few new projects, and the challenge of safely mothballing radioactive fuel for decades. So far, nuclear isn’t winning. The math just doesn’t work. [National Geographic]

Science and Technology:

¶ The Kulan is an electric-powered farmer’s utility vehicle named after a Central Asian type of donkey. It has two 2-kilowatt motors in the back two wheels. There’s a lithium-ion battery sitting there between them. Its range is 186 miles, the top speed is 31 mph, and it can carry 1 ton of cargo. [CleanTechnica]


¶ The Ontario Power Authority has just extended its solar feed-in tariff program and selected another 99 MW of solar PV projects to receive payments from it. This comes from 330 new contracts. Feed-in tariffs guarantee a specific rate for the renewably produced power for a stated number of years. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A 10 kW floating solar thermal power plant of local design and construction will be inaugurated next week at Rajarhat, near Kolkata, India. The experimental pilot project was originally conceived at Arka Renewable Energy College and has been promoted by the Union Ministry of Renewable Energy. [The Hindu]

¶ Householders and other consumers on the islands of Hoy and Rousay will be hooked to a sophisticated computer system that tells storage heating systems to turn on when wind turbines are generating too much power for the grid and would have to shut if there is no outlet for their electricity. [Herald Scotland]

¶ Enel Green Power has connected its 80-MW Fontes dos Ventos wind farm in Brazil to the grid. The facility is owned by an Enel subsidiary and features 34 Siemens turbines. The total building cost was €130 million, which was partly covered by the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation. [reNews]

¶ Indian Prime Minister Modi wants companies from China, Japan, Germany and the United States to lead investments of $100 billion over seven years to boost the country’s solar energy capacity by 33 times to 100,000 MW, a top official in the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy said. [Economic Times]


¶ About 60 giant turbines erected on a remote mesa in western New Mexico began churning out power for the state’s largest electric provider on New Year’s Day. The Red Mesa Wind Energy Center marks the latest effort by utility PNM to add more renewable energy resources to its portfolio. [Boston Globe]

¶ In comments filed in December, leaders of Mississippi utilities, state agencies and business groups called the US EPA’s Clean Power Plan illegal, infeasible and economically unbearable. The proposal calls for Mississippi’s power plants to emit 38% less carbon dioxide in 2030 than in 2005. [Jackson Clarion Ledger]

¶ In 2000, wind farms composed just 116 MW of capacity on Texas’ main electric grid. That number has since soared to more than 11,000 MW, while wind fuels about 10% of all generation. (On average, one MWh of wind energy can power 260 typical Texas homes for an hour.) [Midland Reporter-Telegram]

¶ A group of Senators urged the US DOE to continue funding programs for the distributed wind energy industry. The bipartisan group sent a letter highlighting the clear potential for distributed wind power to “contribute many gigawatts of electricity similar to other renewable technologies.” [Energy Collective]

¶ Basin Electric has signed power purchase agreements for two North Dakota wind farms totalling 300 MW. NextEra Energy should complete the 150-MW Dickinson wind farm near Richardton by the end of 2015. Tradewind is expected to finish the 150-MW Lindahl project near Tiogathe in late 2016. [reNews]

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