February 10 Energy News

February 10, 2015

Opinion:

¶ “Why nuclear industry needs to be paid $500/MWh” – South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill raised a few eyebrows about his plans for a “royal commission” looking into nuclear energy. But he is right about one thing: Nuclear energy would be economically viable in South Australia, or indeed the nation. [RenewEconomy]

World:

¶ The European wind sector installed more new capacity than gas and coal combined in 2014. The industry connected a total of 11,791 MW to the grid while coal and gas added 3305 MW and 2338 MW respectively. The coal and gas industries retired more capacity than they commissioned last year. [reNews]

¶ In the build-up to the Indian government-sponsored renewable energy investment summit, RE-Invest 2015, the participating companies have provided non-binding investment indication of 166 GW solar power generation capacity and 5 GW per year of solar manufacturing capacity. [Business Standard]

¶ Eskom, which provides about 95% of South Africa’s electricity, says there is a high probability of almost daily controlled power cuts for the next few months. Frustrated with epileptic power supply, South Africans are considering alternative power sources to reduce their dependence on the ailing grid. [Voice of America]

¶ Two new wind farms in the Philippines have added 303 MW of clean energy to the country’s power supply. The wind farms, which are located in Ilocos Norte and Panay, buffer the country’s expected power shortage in the coming month of March. Around 70% of Philippines’ electricity is generated from fossil fuels. [EcoSeed]

¶ Germany is not expanding power transport networks quickly enough and may need to extend a back-up power scheme beyond its planned expiry in 2017, the country’s energy regulator said on Monday. The scheme became necessary after Germany shut 40% of its nuclear capacity in 2011 after the Fukushima Disaster. [Reuters]

¶ The Japanese government is discussing setting a target of supplying 50% of Japan’s energy with a combination of nuclear and renewable power by 2030, increasing the ratio of renewable energy resources to nuclear power. It intends to show a positive attitude toward minimizing reliance on nuclear power. [The Japan News]

¶ Germany boosted its wind and solar capacity by 10% in 2014, adding a combined 6,800 MW of newly installed wind turbines and solar panels, putting further downward pressure on power prices, which already dropped to their lowest level in over ten years. The solar and wind capacity is now 77,400 MW. [Platts]

¶ Firms in Norway and Germany on Tuesday signed an agreement to build an over 600-km long power cable linking the electricity networks of the two countries, with 500 km under water. The Nordlink project is estimated to cost up to €2 billion ($2.2 billion) and is expected to go online in 2020. [Europe Online Magazine]

US:

¶ Desert Sunlight Solar Farm, a 550-MW farm that is the largest on public lands managed by the federal Bureau of Land Management, has begun operating and will provide enough energy to power more than 160,000 average California homes annually, according to the CEO of the farm’s developer. [Los Angeles Times]

¶ Solar power is really growing in Hawaii, according to the Energy Information Administration. Over the last five years, solar power has grown exponentially, particularly in Oahu where most of the state’s population lives: About 12% of Oahu residents have rooftop solar, compared to the US average of 0.5%. [Triple Pundit]

¶ The Federal Trade Commission will not investigate Green Mountain Power’s marketing of renewable energy, but cautioned the power company to be clear in its communications. A complaint had been lodged that GMP was claiming its power was renewable while selling renewable credits out of state. [Barre Montpelier Times Argus]

¶ A new UC Berkeley study shows that if biomass electricity production is combined with carbon capture and sequestration in the western US, power generators could store more carbon than they emit and make a critical contribution to an overall zero-carbon future by the second half of the 21st century. [AZoCleantech]

¶ In their fight against Wisconsin utilities, solar advocates haven’t had the state Public Service Commission on their side. But for the second time in less than a year, a judge has sided with Renew Wisconsin in a suit challenging changes in the way solar power customers are compensated. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

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