January 30 Energy News

January 30, 2015

World:

¶ A series of graphs shows how the German Energiewende renewable targets are on track, have lowered emissions, decoupled energy consumption from economic growth, pushed wholesale prices down to record lows, and are now pushing retail prices down. Interesting things are happening to the energy mix. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Germany’s newly installed onshore wind power capacity rose by a record 4,750 MW in 2014, marking what is likely to be a peak annual gain as the country gears up for a nuclear-free future. The increase production is roughly equivalent to one nuclear plant. It is a 58% percent bigger increase than 2013’s. [Reuters]

¶ Countries from Mexico to Germany and Malaysia are increasingly taking advantage of cheap oil by trimming fossil-fuel subsidies, easing the way for renewable power that can help the environment. The IEA’s latest report says fossil fuel producers were paid $548 billion in 2013, a $26.5 billion decline. [Bloomberg]

¶ New figures released by GTM Research show that the Latin America solar PV market grew by 370% in 2014, installing a total of 625 MW. In the fourth quarter of 2014 alone, Chile installed double the amount of Latin America’s annual solar PV total in 2013. Projections are for 2.1 GW of PV installed in 2015. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The northern African country of Algeria is doubling its previous 2030 goal for renewable energy, according to recent reports — with the new goal standing at 25 GW by 2030, rather than 12 GW. Currently, there are more than 350 MW of solar PV projects being developed in the very sunny African country. [CleanTechnica]

US:

¶ Renewable energy production has outperformed natural gas resources, contributing nearly half of new generating capacity in the US in 2014. Various renewable energy sources such as biomass, geothermal, hydroelectric, solar and wind contributed 49.81% of new capacity. Natural gas accounted for 48.65%. [Greentech Lead]

¶ The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board denied the state of Vermont’s request for a hearing designed to force Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee and Entergy Nuclear Operations to maintain an operational status regarding its Site Emergency Plan. [Nuclear Street – Nuclear Power Plant News, Jobs, and Careers]

¶ Even low-income families now have a path to embracing solar energy thanks to work being done by the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance. The organization has been working to create a system whereby families on the federal government’s energy assistance program can receive their electricity via solar technologies. [CleanTechnica]

¶ In a brief competition lasting all of two rounds, Offshore MW LLC and RES Americas Inc. were named provisional winners for offshore wind leases off the coast of Massachusetts. Offshore MW and RES Americas won Lease Area OCS-A 0500 (187,523 acres) and OCS-A 0501 (166,886 acres), respectively. [North American Windpower]

¶ Millions of apartment dwellers and home renters across California will soon be able to go solar, under programs authorized by state utility regulators. Though any customer can join, the effort is geared toward utility customers who don’t own property or may not want to tack on solar panels to their property. [U-T San Diego]

¶ MillerCoors has constructed a 3.2-MW solar array at its brewery in Irwindale, California, the largest PV array at any US brewery. The solar plant will generate enough energy to product 7 million cases of beer annually. The brewery also uses biogas from its wastewater treatment plant to power two GE engines. [Forbes]

¶ Environmental advocates called on the divided Maine Legislature to back a series of bill this session they say will expand the use of solar power, help residents cut their heating bills and bolster wildlife protections. The six-bill package includes incentives for solar power and financial aid for insulating. [The State]

¶ Two days after a major New England blizzard contributed to the shutdown of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, Massachusetts, the facility remains closed. Nuclear power critics cite the Pilgrim shutdown as one more proof the industry is not ready for storms driven by climate change. [InsideClimate News]

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