February 28 Energy News

February 28, 2015

Opinion:

¶ “We Could Be Turning the Corner on Climate Change” – Efforts to reduce carbon emissions appear to be starting to work, and the link between economic growth and energy consumption is breaking. For example, last year, coal consumption fell for the first time in China, by 2.9% from 2013. [SustainableBusiness.com]

Science and Technology:

¶ A redox flow battery designed at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory more than doubles the amount of energy this type of cell can pack in a given volume, allowing it to rival lithium-ion batteries. If the device reaches mass production, it could find use in fast-charging transportation and grid storage. [Gizmag]

World:

¶ German’s Federal Network Agency, a government body, announced the country’s first tender for ground-mounted solar PV systems. The full order volume for the solar tender, which will be split into 3 annual rounds will reportedly be 150 MW. The highest bid will be set at 11.29 Euro cents per kWh. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The US-based renewable energy company Pattern Energy is partnering with the Mexican construction company Cemex to form a joint venture for developing projects in Mexico, according to recent reports. The plan is to build up to 1 GW in new project capacity to be developed via the joint venture. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Ireland is aiming at 40% renewable energy by 2020, with most renewable electricity from large-scale wind farms. But some winter nights the Irish grid will have to take 75% of its electricity from renewable sources. A combined ultracapacitor & battery energy storage system could help meet that need. [ECOreport]

¶ Navigant Research has released a report stating that 696.7 MW of global energy storage projects (excluding pumped hydro) were announced in 2014–2015, with much coming in Q3 2014 to Q1 2015. North America had 436.4 MW of the total amount. There were over 800 storage projects reported. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Sweden’s state-owned Vattenfall has won a tender to build a 400-MW wind park off Denmark, with the first turbines scheduled to start supplying power in 2017. The agreed price of power is 10.31 euro cents per kilowatt-hour, 32% cheaper than in Denmark’s latest project, the ministry said. [The Maritime Executive]

¶ China’s coal consumption fell by 2.9% in 2014, according to newly released official Chinese energy data. The data confirm earlier projections of a fall in coal use and 1% reduction in Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel burning. An initial analysis suggests that equates to a 0.7% drop in overall emissions. [The Ecologist]

¶ A report from the International Renewable Energy Agency published in January confirms that onshore wind-generation costs are competitive with those of the fossil-fuel sources. The latter are in the $45-140/MWh range, wind comes in at an average $55/MWh. Irena also confirms that costs are falling. [Windpower Monthly]

¶ The Japanese nuclear watchdog body slammed TEPCO over its failure to disclose information on the leakage of radioactive rainwater into the sea from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. TEPCO disclosed high levels of radiation in a drainage ditch many months after they were found. [Asahi Shimbun]

US:

¶ The Vermont House has advanced a wide-ranging bill on a Renewable Energy Standard and Energy Transformation program, or RESET. The requirement would be that utilities get 55% of their power from renewable sources by 2017, ramping up to 75% by 2032. Some have met or exceeded those goals already. [Valley News]

¶ Massachusetts utility companies are preparing to buy enough renewable energy to power 136,000 homes under the major initiative announced for Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island on Tuesday. The companies may buy up to 817 GWh of electricity per year under a request for proposals. [Boston Globe]

¶ Less than a year into providing default electricity service to residents and businesses in Sonoma County, Sonoma Clean Power contracted with Pristine Sun to build up to 12.5 MW of new solar power. The venture represents the largest floating solar project in the US, and the second largest in the world. [Sonoma County Gazette]

¶ Ohio’s clean energy economy celebrated a big win this week. The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio denied American Electric Power Company’s request for guaranteed profits to operate its aging, uneconomic coal power plants. The EDF was one of many parties opposed AEP’s proposal. [Environmental Defense Fund]

¶ NRG, one of the largest owners of fossil-fuel power plants in the US, plans to achieve “transformational growth” in its home solar customer base this year by expanding to between 35,000 and 40,000 customers from 13,390 at the end of 2014. The company had only 4,349 home solar customers in 2013. [pv magazine]

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