February 25 Energy News

February 25, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ A major new study from Agora Energiewende says the cost reduction potential of large-scale solar is still not understood. It predicts that solar PV will be the cheapest form of power within a decade, and cost less than $0.02/kWh by 2050. The study says the end to cost reductions for solar is “not in sight.” [RenewEconomy]

World:

¶ As part of its first major retrofit in 30 years, two custom-designed wind turbines have started generating power for the Eiffel Tower. Located above the World Heritage Site’s second level, about 400 feet off the ground, the sculptural wind turbines are now producing 10,000 kWh of electricity annually. [ThinkProgress]

¶ Africa’s first grid-connected biogas plant will begin supplying power by March 1. The $6.5 million Gorge Farm Energy Park anaerobic digester in Kenya will consume an annual 50,000 tons of organic waste sourced from a neighboring 1,977-acre farm owned by VegPro Group, one of the plant’s investers. [Starr 103.5 FM]

¶ The European Union will map out a plan for closer energy ties among its 28 nations, seeking to avoid supply risks highlighted by the crisis in Ukraine and to facilitate the planned shift to low-carbon economy. It will also present a plan on a global climate deal and a strategy for improving energy across Europe. [Bloomberg]

¶ The Abbott government’s efforts to scale back Australia’s renewable energy target have set the industry back 12 years in that country, its senators were told by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation in a hearing. And the government has told senators it will still pursue the abolition of the CEFC. [Sydney Morning Herald]

¶ Australia has some of the highest electricity prices in the world due to an overbuild of network infrastructure. Solar power installers there say the cost of batteries is the only thing holding back more widespread consumer grid defection in the residential sector. And household solar installations are booming. [RenewEconomy]

¶ A hydro scheme, the first in Scotland to be financially supported by a community group, has been switched on. The 469 kW development on the remote Abhainn Shalachain river near Lochaline, on the shores of the Sound of Mull, is now generating income for local residents on the Morvern peninsula. [Scotsman]

¶ The UK’s renewable sources of energy like wind turbines could soon generate more electricity than nuclear power stations. Nuclear power is in a slow decline from its peak of 25% in 1995 to its current 19%. The contribution of renewables more than doubled from 6.8% in 2010 to 14.9% in 2013, and it continues to grow. [New Scientist]

US:

¶ According to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas wind energy provided 6.2% of the state’s share of electricity in 2009, a figure which has since grown to 10.6% in 2014. In terms of annal power production, Texas windpower has grown from 19.9 million MWh in 2009 to 36.1 million MWh in 2014. [CleanTechnica]

¶ As Tulare County, California, has grown into the top dairy producing county in the United States, there’s a lot of cow poop to deal with. A new plant in Calgren is now making ethanol for blending with gasoline from all that manure. The plant’s process also extracts water that can be used by local farmers for crops. [Sustainablog]

¶ President Barack Obama, exercising his veto power for the first time in five years, rejected on Tuesday a measure green-lighting the construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. It is unlikely GOP lawmakers will be able to reverse Obama’s veto, as that would require a two-thirds vote in each chamber. [CNN]

¶ Essex Capital Partners, based in Massachusetts, and Sunpreme Inc, a US-based solar cell manufacturer, completed 90 day post commissioning of a 2.6 MW ground mount solar system in Barton, Vermont. The system will generate 3,400,000 kWh of electricity annually, enough to serve over 1,500 homes. [Your Renewable News]

¶ SunEdison Inc, a US solar panel maker and project developer, expects its annual installations to more than double this year. The company intends to complete solar and wind power facilities with 2,100 to 2,300 MW of capacity during 2015. Last year it completed 1,048 megawatts of solar farms. [Bloomberg]

¶ Exelon will ask state lawmakers as soon as this week to approve a new surcharge on electric bills throughout the state to provide more revenue for low-carbon power-generation sources like its six Illinois nuclear plants. Some of its nuclear plants here are in danger of closing without a revenue boost. [Crain’s Chicago Business]

¶ In a rare move, Washington DC’s Federal US Court of Appeals will hear a landmark challenge to the continued operation of California’s two remaining reactors. They are surrounded by more than a dozen seismic fault lines. The Shoreline fault runs within 600-700 yards of the Diablo Canyon reactors. [OpEdNews]

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