May 22 Energy News

May 22, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ A study by US wind energy experts suggests integrating more renewable generation into one of North America’s major power grids could boost its stability and resilience. The research was done by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and GE Energy Consulting based on a study in the western US. [reNews]

Stateline Wind Project, Eastern Oregon or Washington. Photo by Sam Beebe

Stateline Wind Project, Eastern Oregon or Washington. Photo by Sam Beebe. Wikimedia Commons.

World:

¶ Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude exporter, could phase out the use of fossil fuels by the middle of this century, according to the kingdom’s oil minister. He said the kingdom plans to become a “global power in solar and wind energy” and could start exporting electricity instead of fossil fuels in coming years. [The Australian Financial Review]

¶ Global hydroelectric power capacity could double to 2,000 GW by 2050 or sooner, according to a report released this week by the World Energy Council. The report notes that hydropower worldwide has seen a resurgence since 2005 due to better management and understanding of the hydroelectric technology. [HydroWorld]

¶ European energy companies are increasingly investing in renewables rather than coal and gas, the chief executive of power company Engie, told the Financial Times. Coal and gas are uneconomic generating fuels for European suppliers, Mestrallet said, though they remain viable in some emerging markets. [Out-Law.com]

¶ Danish wind giant Dong has installed a milestone 3000 MW of offshore wind capacity across Northern Europe. The company reached the landmark figure with turbine 76 at the 312-MW Borkum Riffgrund 1 project in the North Sea. Dong has a target to construct 6500 MW offshore wind power by the end of 2020. [reNews]

Dong photograph.

Turbine 76. Dong photograph.

US:

¶ Southern Power, a subsidiary of Southern Co, has acquired a 103-MW solar farm from Community Energy. The Butler power plant is coming up on roughly 1,000 acres in Taylor County, Georgia. It will have more than 1 million thin-film modules made by First Solar. It is expected to be operational next year. [Greentech Lead]

¶ Nuclear power plants in Illinois need state support to be profitable. Illinois legislation backed by the Chicago-based Exelon Corp, which also runs Chicago utility ComEd, could add about $2 per month to the bills of utility customers, even those customers outside their service are, such as those of Ameren Illinois. [STLtoday.com]

¶ Minnesota utility regulators approved lower electric rates for people who charge plug-in vehicles in their garages at night. The new rates, which take effect in about two months at Xcel Energy Inc. and two other utilities, could shave 40% or more off the already low cost of charging plug-in cars. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

¶ California state regulators approved a plan to replace a 1950s natural gas power plant in northern San Diego County with a new natural gas plant. This led to complaints that renewable energy options were being overlooked. The area is under pressure because the San Onofre nuclear plant had to close. [Los Angeles Times]

¶ Renewable energy development company SunEdison has received contracts to build 33 MW of DC rooftop solar with Southern California Edison in the utility’s most recent round of solar procurement. SCE will purchase the electricity from the 17 rooftop installations through 20-year power purchase agreements. [PV-Tech]

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