May 9 Energy News

May 9, 2015


¶ “The EPA’s Clean Power Plan: Setting the Record Straight on the Benefits and Costs” – We need to correct disinformation about the Clean Power Plan. It’s not hard to find fodder: there’s plenty of misleading stuff out there, and some of it has gotten way more airtime than it should have. [The Equation: Blog of the Union of Concerned Scientists]

Science and Technology:

¶ Recently, with Tesla’s announcement, energy storage has been in the news. Contrary to a common misconception, very high levels of wind energy can be reliably integrated without energy storage. Energy storage is typically more expensive than grid operating reforms, which can provide the same flexibility services. [Energy Collective]

¶ A “massive” global expansion of solar power, possibly enough to supply about a third or more of the world’s electricity, may be necessary by 2050 to reduce the impacts of fossil fuels on the climate, according to a report published by MIT. But that means increasing solar from today’s 20 GW to 400 GW in the US. [Kitsap Sun]



BMW factory in Chennai

BMW factory in Chennai

¶ German luxury carmaker BMW plans to establish a solar power project at its factory in Chennai, India, by 2016. The project would help the Munich-based auto major meet 20% of the electricity needs of the factory. At present the factory has a rooftop solar farm that provides for 6% of the factory’s electricity. [Greentech Lead]

¶ Having surprisingly secured a majority government in yesterday’s UK general election, the Conservative Party, shorn of the left-leaning influence of previous coalition partners the Liberal Democrats, could be set to spring a few other surprises on the country’s solar landscape. The solar industry is nervous. [pv magazine]

¶ UK Prime Minister Cameron’s 2014 commitment to go ‘all out for shale gas’ may have been controversial, but now he has secured power this could be huge news for the oil and gas industry in the UK. Estimates suggest up to £6 billion of shale gas annually could be produced in Lancashire for the next three decades. [OilVoice]

¶ Vestas has won a deal to supply 149 MW of hardware at phases 1 and 2 of the Tres Mesas wind farm in the north-eastern state of Tamaulipas, in Mexico. The contract with special purchase vehicles Eólica Tres Mesas and Eólica Tres Mesas 2 covers 45 of the Danish manufacturer’s V117 3.3-MW machines. [reNews]

Vestas V117 3.3-MW turbines.

Vestas V117 3.3-MW turbines.


¶ Cargill and Pacific Gas & Electric will be installing a 1-MWh Tesla battery system at a California beef processing facility. This battery system will be recharged on a daily basis via the PG&E electricity grid during off-peak hours, in order to lower operating costs, by buying all electricity at off-peak rates. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The U.S. Navy is planning to lease about 192 acres of land in Guam to the local electric company for construction of a system of photovoltaic solar panels in eight locations to generate about 40 MW of power. The Navy released an environmental impact study on the project and is seeking public comment. [Stars and Stripes]

¶ Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon introduced legislation to update America’s aging power grid and provide more reliable, low-cost, renewable energy. The Smart Grid Act of 2015 establishes a DOE program to move cities, electric utilities, and local businesses seeking to invest in innovative smart grid technologies. []

Solar Panels at Topaz Solar 7. Photo by Sarah Swenty/USFWS. Wikimedia Commons

Solar Panels at Topaz Solar 7. Photo by Sarah Swenty/USFWS. Wikimedia Commons

¶ A new study in Nature Climate Change says that utility-scale solar plants taking up massive amounts of open space in the countryside actually aren’t necessary: We can get more than enough solar power by building in cities instead. The study focuses on California because it is pursuing renewable goals. [Co.Exist]

¶ Democratic Massachusetts Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey are fighting with the biomass industry over the role plant-based energy plays in the EPA climate change plan. The senators worry about the environmental benefits of using biomass, which reduces forest growth needed to reduce carbon levels. [The Hill]

¶ California will have enough power to meet air conditioning demand this summer despite continued low hydropower supplies due to the drought. The California Independent System Operator says the grid will benefit from new generation, mostly solar, stable imports and moderate peak demand growth. [Reuters]

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