March 17 Energy News

March 17, 2015


¶ A new study says that if the UK invests in electric vehicle infrastructure and supports its electric vehicle market, oil imports could be cut by 40% by 2030. If the UK does provide such support, the average fossil fuel motorist that switches to an EV might also save about $1,500 in annual fuel costs. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Denmark and Poland are both preparing to have feed-in tariffs for small wind turbines. In Denmark, where benefits of small units have been studied, units of up to 10 kW would get €0.33 per kWh, and those up to 25 kW would get €0.20 per kWh. Polish tariff rates will be €0.17 for up to 3 kWh and €0.10 for 15 kWh. [Sun & Wind Energy]

Wind turbine on farm. photo by Hywel Williams. From Wikimedia Commons

Wind turbine on farm. photo by Hywel Williams. From Wikimedia Commons

¶ MWH Treatment has secured its second gasification EPC contract for an innovative £51.6 million waste wood gasification project in Northamptonshire. MWH Treatment’s aim in building the plant is to provide the equivalent of 17,000 homes with electricity from waste wood by March 2017. [Northampton Herald and Post]

¶ The $850 billion Norwegian Government Pension Fund has sold the majority of its shares in companies exposed to the Indian coal sector, citing financial and environmental risks inherent in their operations. The fund has also sold shares in US and European companies similarly exposed to the coal sector. [New Kerala]

¶ Scottish clean energy developer Banks Renewables has submitted plans for an 88.4-MW wind farm in East Ayrshire, and says the project could deliver around £15 million in community benefit payments over its 25-year lifespan. The wind farm could provide enough renewable power for 58,600 homes. [Business Green]

¶ Iceland is preparing to become one of the world’s largest producers of silicon metal and polysilicon as low electricity prices attract four companies vying for the nation’s renewable energy resources. Iceland is seeking to diversify its economy as it recovers from Europe’s biggest banking collapse this century. [Bloomberg]

¶ In Australia, the category three Cyclone Olwyn tore through the WA towns of Exmouth, Coral Bay and Carnarvon on Friday, leaving power blackouts and water shortages in its wake. On the nearby Thevenard Island, however, a relatively newly installed solar-hybrid mini grid continued running throughout. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Three aging nuclear reactors in Japan will be decommissioned due to the high cost of upgrading them in line with tougher safety standards set after the Fukushima disaster. Another two reactors were also likely to be scrapped, local media reports said, with announcements expected later in the week. [Reuters]


¶ The US Energy Department plans to award $1.8 million to help develop larger wind turbine blades. The funding will support research and development to improve the manufacturing, transportation, and assembly of blades longer than 60 metres to be installed on towers taller than 120 metres. [reNews]

Wind turbine blades.

Wind turbine blades.

¶ New work from Carnegie’s Rebecca Hernandez (now at UC Berkley), Madison Hoffacker and Chris Field found that the amount of energy that could be generated from solar equipment constructed on and around existing infrastructure in California would exceed the state’s demand by up to five times. [Laboratory Equipment]

¶ Governor Earl Ray Tomblin of West Virginia signed legislation restricting owners of solar installations who want to sell clean energy back to the grid. The bill caps the solar power generated from net metering at no more than 3% of the total state’s peak demand—and only 0.5% from residential solar customers. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Clean energy companies are finding a home in Illinois. The Environmental Law and Policy Center says more than 20,000 Illinoisans work in wind power and solar energy markets and predicts continued investments in renewable energy development will mean more new business and increased economic activity. [Public News Service]

¶ A company that for years has been planning a wind turbine farm in an area of southeastern North Dakota where endangered birds nest and fly over is proposing changes that might help reduce potential harm. The company proposes a move to fewer and larger turbines in the latest design. [Greenfield Daily Reporter]

¶ Elected officials from four Kansas counties reacted Monday with alarm to a Senate bill imposing a property tax on renewable energy producers and retroactively undermining long-term financial agreements between wind power generators and county governments. Their concern is the rural economy. [The Garden City Telegram]

¶ US solar giant SolarCity today announced the launch of a microgrid product with built in energy storage capability. SolarCity is going after the commercial market, targeting municipalities, which is a segment the company views as underserved. One reason to have municipal microgrids is extreme weather. [Breaking Energy]

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