May 1 Energy News

May 1, 2015

Opinion:

¶ “FirstEnergy Wages All-Out War on Clean Energy” – While some in the utility industry are adapting to account for low-cost renewable power and climate change, others are fighting it. In Ohio, FirstEnergy gained regulatory approval to abandon its energy efficiency programs. But their situation has not benefitted. [Environmental Defense Fund]

Science and Technology:

¶ André Borschberg, co-founder and pilot of Solar Impulse 2, has rejoined the SI2 team in Nanjing, China, and is preparing for the biggest flight for the solar-powered airplane to date. The flight across the Pacific is projected to last 120 hours, 5 days, and 5 nights in a very small cockpit the size of a closet. [CleanTechnica]

Solar Impulse 2

Solar Impulse 2

¶ Infratech Industries, Inc opened a solar plant at a wastewater treatment facility in South Australia, and it could potentially change the way we harvest solar energy. According to the company’s director, the panels are 57% more efficient than land-based systems because they’re kept cool by the water. [Grist]

World:

¶ ScottishPower Renewables has officially opened the newly repowered Coal Clough windfarm. The company has invested £22.5 million to replace 24 wind turbines installed in 1992, with eight modern turbines, increasing the total generating capacity of the windfarm from 9.6 MW to 16 MW. [Renewable Energy Focus]

¶ Divisions are emerging in the Australian Coalition government as MPs fret over job losses caused by the ongoing uncertainty over the renewable energy target. Industry leaders have called on the government to accept a suggestion by Victorian Liberal MP Dan Tehan to adopt a new target of 33,000 GWh. [The Australian Financial Review]

¶ The Total Environment Centre says data shows energy use on the North Coast of New South Wales is declining about three times as fast as the overall national energy market, despite a 5% population increase over the same period. High power costs are driving people to efficiency and rooftop solar systems. [Northern Star]

¶ TEPCO started freezing soil at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in trial operations for an underground wall aimed at preventing groundwater from flowing into the damaged reactors and becoming radioactive. The work was conducted at 18 points around the No. 1 through No. 4 reactor buildings. [Asahi Shimbun]

¶ A new report from the banking and financial services company, HSBC, has warned of increasing risk of “stranded assets” in the fossil fuel industry. It raises questions that are going to need to be addressed in the coming years, if not sooner, as nations gear up for the United Nations Climate Change Conference. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The world’s nuclear reactors are showing their age. Almost 200 of the 434 nuclear reactors in operation worldwide are due to be retired by 2040, at a cost of more than $100 billion, according to the International Energy Agency. All but one of the existing plants in the UK are due to be shut down within a decade. [The Engineer]

Ancient nuclear power plant.

Obsolete nuclear power plant.

US:

¶ Tesla unveiled a suite of energy products, including a wall-mounted battery for use in consumers’ homes. The Powerwall is a lithium-ion battery designed to be mounted on a wall, and connected to the local power grid. It will be sold to installers for $3,500 for 10 kWh, and $3,000 for 7 kWh, starting in late Summer. [CNN]

¶ Republic Services, Inc announced today a new landfill gas-to-energy project located at Sunshine Canyon Landfill near Los Angeles. The 20-MW renewable energy project is capable of generating enough electricity to power nearly 25,000 area homes, fueled by methane from decomposition of waste. [Your Renewable News]

¶ The 400-MW Grande Prairie wind farm in Holt County, Nebraska will be powered by 200 V110-2.0 MW machines made by Vestas. Delivery is to start in the second quarter of 2016 and the project is expected to be completed by the end of the same year. The contract includes a five-year service agreement. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ New Jersey legislators are preparing to take another crack at dramatically ramping up how much of the state’s electricity comes from renewable energy, such as solar and wind power. A bill before the Senate Environment and Energy Committee would require 80% of the electricity to come from renewable sources. [NJ Spotlight]

¶ DTE Energy has the green light to build the Fermi 3 nuclear power plant. The NRC approved a license to construct and operate a new nuclear power plant at the same site as Fermi 2. The company says a final decision on whether to build would be based on factors such as customer demands and carbon regulations. [Monroe Evening News]

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