April 17 Energy News

April 17, 2015

Opinion:

¶ “Nuclear power needs government subsidies, but struggles to make the case for them” The big problem with nuclear power is the price tag. When comparing the full costs of generating electricity from new plants spinning up in 2019, nuclear power is expensive at $96.10 per megawatt-hour, and alternatives are cheaper. [Houston Chronicle]

¶ “How other cities can match Georgetown’s low-cost switch to 100% wind & sun” – The Institute for Local Self-Reliance points out that any municipality with two key advantages can have 100% renewable energy at a surprisingly low cost. Georgetown, Texas, went to 100% renewable resources to save money. [RenewEconomy]

Science and Technology:

Tower at Ivanpah. Photo by Craig Dietrich. Wikimedia Commons.

Tower at Ivanpah. Photo by Craig Dietrich. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ As it turns out, the solution to a serious problem discovered last year at Ivanpah, the first solar power tower in the US, actually has turned out to be “one weird trick.” A mishap in January produced the Eureka moment for safe solar power tower development. Now there are no more dead birds at all. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A new lithium-sulfur battery that demonstrates cycle performance that’s comparable to that offered by currently available commercial lithium-ion batteries and possesses roughly twice the energy density has been developed by an international team of researchers from South Korea and Italy. [CleanTechnica]

World:

Runavík, Faroe Islands. Photo by Erik Christensen. Wikimedia Commons.

Runavík, Faroe Islands. Photo by Erik Christensen. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ The remote Faroe Islands in northern Europe are to benefit from a major energy storage system. The power generator and distributor for the Faroes commissioned the project, which will see 2.3 MW of lithium-ion batteries used to maximise the potential of a new 12-MW wind farm installation. [PV-Tech Storage]

¶ One of Australia’s largest power generators, AGL Energy, has adopted a new policy. AGL will not finance or build new coal-fired power stations, and it will not extend the operating life of any existing coal-fired power stations beyond 2050. The announcement came at the opening of AGL’s 102-MW Nyngan Solar Plant. [The Australian Financial Review]

¶ The Energy Minister of South Africa will expand the country’s renewable energy sector by adding another 6,300 MW of wind and solar power to the government program that buys green power from the private sector. This is in addition to the 5,243 MW of renewables that have already been bought. [Independent Online]

¶ Solar developer SunPower Corporation confirmed yesterday it is partnering with Apple on two Chinese solar farms boasting 40 MW of new capacity, which will be built in ABA Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefectures in Sichuan Province. The projects will be owned by a joint venture between the developers. [Business Green]

¶ BP shareholders voted overwhelmingly to publish regular updates on how its strategies were affecting climate change, making it one of the first global oil companies to disclose such details. The plan was proposed by a group of investors the annual general meeting and got support of 98% of investors. [News24]

¶ The operator of a Japanese nuclear plant whose restart was blocked this week by a court injunction said Friday it would appeal the ruling. Kansai Electric Power has submitted “a motion of complaint to Fukui district court” over Tuesday’s injunction banning the re-firing of reactors at the Takahama nuclear plant. [NDTV]

US:

Solar array in Florida

Solar array in Florida

¶ The Florida Public Service Commission on Thursday approved a plan that would lead to Gulf Power Company buying electricity from major new solar facilities on Northwest Florida military bases. Solar farms on one Air Force base and two Navy bases would supply a total of 120 MW of power to the grid. [NorthEscambia.com]

¶ In a poll of US parents, 81% said they want to live in a solar-powered home. The majority (67%) also wants solar to be the world’s primary energy source when their children grow up. And 95% believe it’s their responsibility to teach their children about alternative energy for a better environment for the future. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Siemens has selected US-based Molycorp to supply rare earth materials for its direct drive wind turbine generators over the next 10 years. Siemens said key factors in choosing Molycorp included global diversification, reliability, and “environmental and process innovations Molycorp has built into its Mountain Pass facility”. [reNews]

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