April 21 Energy News

April 21, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ The price of crystalline silicon modules has fallen from $4 per watt in 2007 to $0.50 per watt in 2014 following new, low-cost production processes. 1366 Technologies, a company based in Massachusetts, claims that its new method of silicon wafer production can reduce costs further, by as much as 20%. [The Week UK]

Silicon ingot at Intel Museum. Photo by Oleg Alexandrov. Wikimedia Commons.

Silicon ingot at Intel Museum. Photo by Oleg Alexandrov. Wikimedia Commons.

World:

¶ The first solar-powered charging station in Greece ensures 100% green energy for electric cars. It was recently launched by the Piraeus University of Applied Sciences. The charging station is a first step for electric vehicle owners to freedom from reliance on power from the main electricity grid. [Kathimerini]

¶ Pay-as-you go solar systems will be installed in 100,000 off-grid households in rural Ghana under a program unveiled today. The initiative, led by UK company Azuri Technologies with local firm Oasis African Resources and the Ghanaian government, will be launched at an event in the Ghanaian capital today. [PV-Tech]

¶ South African power utility Eskom says its first large-scale renewable energy plant, the 100-MW Sere Wind Farm with 46 turbines, is fully operational and putting electricity into the grid. It will produce enough electricity to power 124,000 homes, but far more is needed provide sufficient power for the country. [Reuters Africa]

¶ Spanish wind turbine maker Gamesa will supply turbines, build, and operate the 220-MW Gulf of El Zayt wind farm in Egypt for three years under a contract. The wind park is planned to be commissioned in the second half of 2017. Its financing is from the Japan International Cooperation Agency. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Hilton Worldwide announced a new program to reduce the environmental impacts of events held at over 90 hotels in Asia Pacific. They will calculate the carbon emissions of events at no cost to the customers, then buy the equivalent carbon credits to finance environmentally-friendly projects across Asia Pacific. [TravelDailyNews Asia-Pacific]

¶ After overhauling Indonesia’s fuel subsidy program, the country’s government is now striving to explore new and renewable energy resources. Indonesia is currently heavily dependent on fossil fuels, particularly oil and coal, despite having abundant resources for renewable energy, primarily geothermal and solar. [Jakarta Post]

¶ A WWF report produced in collaboration with the Australian National University argues Australia could source 100% of its power from renewables by 2050, without incurring massive adjustment costs or depressing economic growth, if there were clear and stable national policy settings for renewables. [The Guardian]

¶ Further doubt has been cast over the future of three nuclear reactors under development in the UK, after the discovery of a potentially catastrophic mistake in the construction of an identical power plant in France. The anomalies have prompted a second investigation into the quality of steel in the pressure vessel. [CleanTechnica]

US:

¶ Carbon emissions from the US energy sector increased in 2014 for the second year in a row, despite a big boost in renewable energy capacity, the Energy Information Administration reported on Monday. Energy-related carbon emissions increased 0.7% in 2014, while the 2014 GDP grew at a rate of 2.4%. [ThinkProgress]

A flock of Geese fly past the smokestacks at the Jeffrey Energy Center coal power plant as the sun sets near Emmett, Kansas.

A flock of Geese fly past the smokestacks at the Jeffrey Energy Center coal power plant as the sun sets near Emmett, Kansas.

¶ Three utilities in New Jersey are seeking to buy Solar Renewable Energy Certificates from about 80 MW of new projects and are ready to sign 10-year purchase agreements. A SREC is awarded for 1 MWh of generation from a solar park certified by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities Office of Clean Energy. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Apple’s new Environmental Responsibility Report doesn’t mince words. It states clearly the debate about whether climate change exists is over: “We don’t want to debate climate change. We want to stop it.” Apple is a big advocate of renewable energy and is willing to put its money where its mouth is. [The Green Optimistic]

¶ New England governors will meet in Hartford Thursday with an agenda of developing a regional strategy to increase natural gas supplies, reduce electricity costs and solve other energy challenges. Before the meeting, there will be a Northeast Regional Energy Forum from 8:15 to 10 AM, open to the public. [theday.com]

¶ In the Pacific Northwest, the US Forest Service is set to open more than 80,000 acres for potential geothermal power development. Companies would then be able to apply for permits to build power plants that would harness the heat beneath the surface to spin turbines and generate electricity. [KASU]

¶ The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said windpower set a wind penetration record of nearly 41% when wind output was 10,308 MW while total load was just 25,400 MW in the early morning of 29 March. Such high wind penetrations sometimes press real-time power prices to zero or below. [Argus Media]

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