February 14 Energy News

February 14, 2015

Opinion:

¶ “What Snow and the US Army Tell Us About Coal vs Renewable Energy” Coal vs renewable energy is central to two current debates about energy in official arenas. Interestingly, one very important supporter of renewable energy in the debate is the US Army. [The Equation: Blog of the Union of Concerned Scientists]

Science and Technology:

¶ As bad as recent droughts in California, the Southwest and the Midwest have been, scientists say far worse “megadroughts” are coming, lasting for decades. Unprecedented drought conditions, the worst in more than 1,000 years, are likely to come to the Southwest and Central Plains after 2050. [Huffington Post]

World:

¶ A 42-MW geothermal power station is being planned by Electric Power Development Co for a site in northern Japan. It should be operational by May 2019. Financing for about $221 million will come from a number of banks and 80% is guaranteed by Japan Oil, Gas & Metals National Corporation. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Leaders of the UK’s three main political parties pledged a cross-party fight against climate change. David Cameron of the Conservatives, Ed Miliband of Labour and Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats agreed to “seek a fair, strong, legally-binding global climate deal which limits temperature rises to below two degrees celsius”. [reNews]

¶ Pattern Energy has entered into a 25-year power purchase agreement with Hydro-Québec for the 147-MW Mont Sainte-Marguerite wind project. The facility will have 46 of Siemens 3.2 MW wind turbines. Construction is expected to begin in the third quarter of 2016, and commercial operation in December 2017. [Greentech Lead]

¶ French and Spanish power grid operators have completed a long-awaited power line across the Pyrenees that will allow export of excess Spanish renewable energy and ease one of the worst network bottlenecks in Europe. They will inaugurate a 1,400-MW cable that will double French-Spanish interconnection capacity. [Reuters]

¶ Interest in building a 100-MW plus solar thermal plant in Western Australia’s Goldfields region has been revived, as more miners turn their interest to solar and other renewables as a means to deflect volatile diesel costs. Two solar developers are considering plans for large solar thermal plant near Kalgoorlie. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Ontario has issued the all clear to NextEra Energy Canada’s 102-MW Goshen wind farm, the seventh project in an eight-part 615-MW feed-in tariff portfolio in the province. The municipality of Bluewater, a host community, and a local resident failed to prove the wind farm would cause serious harm to human health. [reNews]

US:

¶ The American Wind Energy Association released a new report, “Wind energy helps build a more reliable and balanced electricity portfolio,” answering 15 frequently asked questions, basing answers upon lessons learned from grid operators’ experiences reliably integrating wind energy into the existing grid. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Procter & Gamble and Constellation Energy announced this week that they are moving ahead with the development of a biomass-fueled plant that will generate up to 50 MW and provide power to P&G’s Albany plant, one of its largest US facilities. The plant is expected to begin commercial operation in June 2017. [The Albany Herald]

¶ Inverter load rejection overvoltage tests completed by the US DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory as part of a cooperative research agreement with SolarCity have proven so successful that a testing partner, Hawaiian Electric Companies, has proposed to double its hosting capacity for solar energy. [Phys.Org]

¶ New York ratepayers will subsidize operation of the Ginna nuclear facility near Rochester, under terms of an agreement with the plant’s operators, Exelon. The Ginna Nuclear Generating Station will be allowed to charge customers above-market rates until 2018, because the plant has been losing money. [Capital New York]

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