April 10 Energy News

April 10, 2015


¶ “Washington blackout highlighted aging electrical grid” A severed power line in Maryland cut power to much of the nation’s capital on Tuesday. The outage illustrates problems with the country’s aging grid just weeks ahead of DOE recommendations for modernizing electricity infrastructure. [GlobalPost]


Offshore wind. Photo by Arnold Price, from Wikimedia Commons.

Offshore wind. Photo by Arnold Price, from Wikimedia Commons.

¶ The North Seas Grid should be one of the building blocks of the Energy Union, companies and campaigners have told EU energy ministers. Momentum builds behind the project connecting offshore wind farms in Ireland, Scotland, the UK, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway. [EurActiv]

¶ Officials in Canada and the US are considering cap-and-trade programs for the Midcontinent ISO, Southwest Power Pool, and Province of Ontario, with linkages to existing regional cap-and-trade systems potentially creating a true North American carbon market, covering half the continent’s population. [CleanTechnica]

¶ New solar panels across France pushed solar output to new highs of more than 4,000 MW. That surge in a nation more dependent than any other on nuclear power illustrates the fundamental change taking hold across Europe’s energy industry. It also signals more pain to come for traditional utilities in the region. [Bloomberg]

¶ The amount of solar generation capacity in the Netherlands could increase by over 1 GW this year and reach 16 GW by 2030, according to market analysts. Around 1.9 GW of solar capacity is installed in the country. Predictions cannot include off-grid installations accurately because that capacity is unknown. [ICIS]

¶ An area in southern England could hold more oil than the North Sea. Oil and Gas Investments, an exploration firm that has been drilling in the region, says it could hold as much as 100 billion barrels, or 158 million barrels per square mile. The North Sea produced about 45 billion barrels over the last 40 years. [AOL Money UK]

¶ In the UK, National Grid’s summer outlook estimated that its peak demand this summer will be 37.5 GW, approximately 900 MW lower than the figure for last year. This drop has been attributed to a marked increase in solar PV generation capacity within the UK, which has nearly doubled in the last year. [Solar Power Portal]


California solar farm.

California solar farm.

¶ California already generates 5% of its electricity from the sun. California Independent System Operator, the state’s operator for the vast majority of the state’s power grid, released a strategic vision designed to guide the state to its goal of generating 50% of the state’s power needs from renewables by 2030. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The California Public Utilities Commission is ordering Pacific Gas & Electric Co to pay a record $1.6 billion penalty for unsafe operation of its gas transmission system, including the pipeline rupture that killed eight people in 2010. Most of the penalty amounts to forced spending on improving pipeline safety. [CNN]

¶ The US is seen to deploy a record 18 GW of new renewable energy capacity this year, while also retiring 23 GW of coal-fired power plants, according to research firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The US will add an estimated 9.1 GW of solar parks and 8.9 GW of fresh wind capacity in 2015. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Analysts at Bloomberg New Energy Finance have forecast that 2015 will be a watershed year for the US’ decarbonization efforts, predicting that the country will reach a two-decade low in power sector emissions nationally this year. They say the US efforts to transform the nation’s power sector are bearing fruit. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Austin Energy, the municipally owned utility providing power to roughly 1 million people in the Texas capital, will add 600 MW of solar to its generation portfolio by as soon as 2017. Austin Energy said it would consider acquiring the solar power from independent solar firms, or it could own the solar capacity. [Scientific American]

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