March 4 Energy News

March 4, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ A major new Deutsche Bank report has predicted that energy storage – the “missing link of solar adoption” – will be cheap enough – and technologically ready – to be deployed on a large-scale within the next five years. The report said economically competitive batteries were the “killer app” for solar power. [RenewEconomy]


¶ India has moved forward to double the “clean energy cess” it levies on coal used in the country. While presenting the general budget, the Finance Minister announced a proposal to increase the Clean Energy Cess from ₹100($1.6) to ₹200($3.2) per metric tonne of coal, to finance clean environment initiatives.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ US-based SunEdison, now the largest renewable energy company in the world, says it sees a $4 trillion value opportunity in the global wind and solar markets by 2020. The company argues that the combined capacity for wind and solar will be more than 1,450 GW by 2020, about 2½ times larger than the end of 2014. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Over the last few years, Neste Oil has become the world’s largest producer of renewable fuels from waste and residues. In 2014, the company produced nearly 1.3 million tonnes of renewable fuel from such waste as animal and fish fats, used cooking oil and residues generated during vegetable oil refining. [Your Industry News]

¶ Australian firm Hydro Tasmania is planning a $10 million off-grid hybrid project on Flinders Island combining solar, wind, diesel, and storage and enabling technologies, including flywheels and batteries. This system will help displace 60% of the annual diesel fuel used on the island for power production. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ The UK government’s electricity capacity market could result in “higher than necessary energy costs and emissions” because its design has been “skewed” in favour of fossil fuel generation, according to the influential parliamentary Energy and Climate Change Committee, in a report released this morning. [reNews]

¶ Solar use in Japan has exploded over the last two years with ambitious national efforts to promote renewable energy. But the technology’s future is now in doubt. Utilities say their infrastructure cannot handle the numbers of solar entrepreneurs intent on selling their power. And government support is unclear. [New York Times]

¶ Around 71% of Fukushima Prefecture residents remain dissatisfied with the central government’s handling of the nuclear disaster four years after the triple meltdown forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes, a survey showed. Only 14% of respondents were satisfied with the central government’s efforts. [Asahi Shimbun]


¶ Given the extreme hype over shale oil and fracking, one would expect the enthusiasm to translate into above average share performance for shale operators. This has not been the case. Share performance has actually been at best quite mediocre and in most cases just downright poor. [Energy Collective]

¶ The town of Scituate, Massachusetts, has made more than a half-million dollars in less than three years through its agreement with Scituate Wind LLC, owner of a local wind turbine. The town has collected more than $500,000 since the 390-foot-tall wind turbine went online in April of 2012. [The Patriot Ledger]

¶ San Diego Gas & Electric is expanding an experimental micro-grid that is designed to run on renewable energy independently of the regional power grid. The micro-grid pilot is being expanded under a $5 million grant from the California Energy Commission, SDG&E announced in a statement. [U-T San Diego]

¶ A collection of companies recently partnered with a California city on a three-month pilot project that sought to determine the feasibility of effectively collecting plastic products that are difficult to recycle. The project converted plastic packaging products and dinnerware into synthetic crude oil. [Renewable Energy from Waste]

¶ What is likely to become the nation’s first offshore wind farm has closed on more than $290 million in financing, which will allow a five-turbine demo of the renewable energy system to be completed. The Block Island Wind Farm will be a 30-MW offshore facility located in waters about 15 miles off Rhode Island. [Computerworld]

¶ New York regulators published a major order effectively telling traditional utilities that they will not be permitted to own renewable generation sources except in rare cases. This is to enhance competition and create markets that will allow on-site wind and rooftop solar to flourish. [Environment & Energy Publishing]

¶ RES Americas has achieved commercial operation at the 110-MW Keechi wind farm in Texas. Construction on the scheme, which is owned by Enbridge, kicked off in December 2013. The facility features 55 Vestas V100 2-MW turbines. The wind farm has a 20-year power purchase agreement with Microsoft. [reNews]

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