March 24 Energy News

March 24, 2015

World:

¶ Mighty River Power’s gas-fired Southdown power station in Auckland, New Zealand will close at the end of the year. The 140-MW station will be taken apart and sold overseas. MRP said it was closing the Southdown station because of the significant lift in renewable power generation in recent years. [Stuff.co.nz]

Closing Down: Mighty River Power's gas-fired Southdown power station in Auckland.

Closing Down: Mighty River Power’s gas-fired Southdown power station in Auckland.

¶ Germany’s Energiewende clearly has social license. Their electrical mix is already 27% renewable and Die Welt reports that 92% of the respondents in a new poll approve of the transition to renewable energy. 70% of the respondents to that poll said this transition was “Very or exceedingly important.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ Earlier, we learned from the state-run Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) that Costa Rica got 100% of its energy from renewables for 75 days straight this year. Now the ICE says reliance on renewables has prompted the country to lower electricity rates by 12%, and the rates will probably continue to drop. [Greentech Media]

¶ India’s cumulative grid-connected solar capacity has reached 3,382 MW at the end of February, statistics by the country’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy show. India has installed 750 MW of new PV facilities since this fiscal year began in April 2014. Its goal for the year is to add 1,100 MW. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Solar power could provide up to 4% of the UK’s electricity by the end of the decade, the government has said. The plummeting cost of solar panels has caused the government to revise upwards its forecast for solar energy use, leading to a decision to end most subsidies for large-scale solar this month. [BBC News]

¶ Kuwait-based infrastructure fund Tharwa Investments and the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company have agreed to establish the world’s largest single-site coal-fired power plant at a cost of $11 billion. Tharwa will develop the 6,000-MW plant in two co-located phases, the company said in a statement. [Utilities-ME.com]

¶ Scotland is leading the UK in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but will need to strengthen policies further to meet its ambitious climate targets. That is the view of the Committee on Climate Change, which says that Scottish emissions have fallen nearly 30% since 1990 compared to 24% for the UK as a whole. [Business Green]

US:

¶ It’s been almost a year since Ohio lawmakers froze the state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy standards. Researchers at the Center for American Progress interviewed business leaders in the renewable energy sector in Ohio, and a report based on that work says all of them reported negative impacts. [Public News Service]

Photo by US Fish and Wildlife Service

Photo by US Fish and Wildlife Service

¶ The Wyoming Infrastructure Authority released a study prepared by the University of Wyoming that predicts the federal regulations could force a decline of up to 45% in Powder River Basin coal production by 2030. Wyoming is among several states in a lawsuit challenging the US EPA’s Clean Action Plan. [SteelGuru]

¶ New Jersey is funding more than a dozen projects to help make solar and wind power more reliable by providing backup energy-storage systems for the electricity they produce. The awards will give nearly $3 million to 13 projects scattered around the state, all of which support solar energy systems. [NJ Spotlight]

¶ Proposed legislation could end a Texas mandate for renewable power. Texas leads the nation in wind power, but its lawmakers are asking if it is time to end state support for the renewable power industry. The bill’s sponsor says Texas has far surpassed goals set by the state to lower its carbon emissions. [KFDA]

¶ More than two dozen coal companies in the US have gone bust and others have lost 80% of their market in the past five years because of a potent combination of cheap gas prices, new air quality limits, and increasingly competitive renewable energy, according to a new report by the Carbon Tracker Initiative. [Business Green]

¶ For the American Legislative Exchange Council, defections keep on coming. Now oil giant BP has left it. Among earlier organizations leaving is Google, whose Chairman Eric Schmidt denounced ALEC for “literally lying” about global warming. Facebook, eBay, Yahoo, and Occidental Petroleum have also left ALEC. [SFGate]

¶ The Advanced Energy Economy recently commissioned a study completed by Navigant Research that found the US advanced energy market grew by 14% last year, five times the rate of the US economy overall. The report estimates the US advanced energy market was worth an estimated $199.5 billion last year. [Biodiesel Magazine]

¶ If all goes as planned, a virtual 1,000-MW power plant will “open” for business near Erie, Pa, in 2019, just in time to help fill the void left by some of the coal-fired plants being disconnected. The power come through a billion-dollar, high-voltage direct-current power in Ontario and transmitted beneath Lake Erie. [Environment & Energy Publishing]

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