April 24 Energy News

April 24, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ Graphene is a quirky material to manufacture in bulk, putting a crimp in the dream of super-long-range but affordable EVs for everybody. However, a research team at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is on to a solution that involves 3-D printing and a graphene aerogel, aka “liquid smoke.” [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ Plans for a 25-MW floating offshore wind farm off the coast of Portugal have been given the green light by the European Commission. Aid approval was given for Portugal to provide feed in tariff payments to the 25-MW Windfloat project. The EC said subsidies would not distort competition in the single market. [Business Green]

Principle Power WindFloat offshore windfarm

Principle Power WindFloat offshore windfarm

¶ China’s National Energy Administration revealed that the country had installed 5.04 GW of new solar capacity in the first quarter of 2015, well above analysts’ expectations. One analyst takes suggests the possibility of an “upside surprise” to the government’s installation target for 2015 of 17.8 GW. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The enormity of the “carbon risks” faced by fossil fuel companies, and the lack of adequate preparation for them, has again been highlighted this week. Carbon Tracker Initiative and Energy Transition Advisors have published a blueprint for testing companies’ resilience to the changes climate change will bring. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Japan is considering lowering its emissions of greenhouse gasses by at least 25% by 2030, in line with global agreements to tackle climate change reached last year. This is up from an earlier suggestion of 20%, but the amount is still less than the targets of other major developed countries, including the US. [Cihan News Agency]

¶ The share of renewables in Japan’s power mix is expected to rise from 10% in 2014 to 19% in 2025, thanks to the country’s efforts in smart grid development and the reduced project approval time, a new report by GlobalData says. Japan’s Ministry of Energy initiated a $21-million microgrid program. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Wind energy is taking a bigger and bigger share of the Danish economy, as the country exports everything from wind turbines to electricity. Denmark is also a showroom for the market. In the first quarter of this year, the wind produced 44% of the country’s electricity, up from 39% in the same period last year. [The Indypendent]

¶ Germany’s cost of producing solar energy has shrunk to about a third of the price households pay. Most bids to build large ground-mounted solar plants in the first solar auction in Germany came in at €0.09/kWh ($0.097/kWh) to €0.10/kWh. German retail consumers are paying on average €0.298/kWh. [Bloomberg]

¶ Japan’s government has proposed making nuclear energy account for between 20% and 22% of the country’s electricity mix by 2030, with renewable energy to account for slightly more. The proposal on nuclear energy is likely to be unpopular among a public that has been consistently opposed to atomic energy. [Reuters]

US:

Solar panels being installed

Solar panels being installed

¶ Solar advocates pressed the Vermont Senate Finance Committee last week to alter the state’s net metering laws in order to allow larger projects to take advantage of better power pricing. Vermont limits the size of net-metered projects to 500 kW to encourage development of small installations. [Utility Dive]

¶ Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s latest Energy Infrastructure update reveals that wind, solar, geothermal and hydropower together provided over 75.43% of the 1,229 MW of new generating capacity placed into service during the first quarter of 2015. The balance, 302 MW, was natural gas. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Mississippi Power is reportedly working with Strata Solar to develop a 50-MW site on 450 acres at the Hattiesburg-Forrest County Industrial Park. The US Navy and Hannah Solar are also working with the company to build a 23-acre, 3 to 4-MW farm at the Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport. [Fairfield Citizen]

¶ New England’s governors, including Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, agreed to a mix of regional and state actions to cut high energy costs. Five of the region’s six governors said they will work across the region while each state pursues individual projects. The governor of New Hampshire did not attend. [Rutland Herald]

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