July 4 Energy News

July 4, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ Solar Impulse, powered only by the sun, has landed in Hawaii after making a historic 7,200km flight across the Pacific from Japan. The distance covered and the time spent in the air, 118 hours, are records for manned, solar-powered flight. The duration is also an absolute record for a solo, un-refuelled journey. [BBC News]

Solar Impulse

Solar Impulse. AP.

Opinion:

¶ “China’s climate pledge for green growth spells doom for coal exporters” – Renewable energy is all go in China, as set out in its climate pledge this week, with huge growth planned for wind and solar. The one big loser is coal exporters who can expect falling sales volumes in coming years. Wake up Australia! [The Ecologist]

¶ “Propelling Pennsylvania wind projects forward through grassroots support” – Despite the environmental benefits, there is still a need for public support for new wind projects. Environmental concerns of residents of Black Creek Township, Pennsylvania, were successfully addressed. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

World:

¶ Djibouti, one of the poorest countries, needs cheap power to fund expansion of its harbors. Ethiopia, Africa’s fastest growing economy, relies on the nation’s ports for most of its exports and imports. Geothermal power is part of Djibouti’s plan to become 100% reliant on renewable energy by the end of the decade. [Onislam.net]

¶ The downturn in the oil and gas industry has prompted fears over 2,000 jobs at three oil rig fabrication yards in Fife and in the Outer Hebrides. These are to be discussed between First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and trade unions that missed out on contracts supported by the Scottish Government. [The National]

¶ A study published in online journal PLOS ONE from the University of East Anglia has revealed the drastic effects of the Balbina Dam on Amazonian tropical rainforest biodiversity. It reveals a loss of mammals, birds and tortoises from most of the islands formed by the creation of the vast Balbina Lake. [Bird Watch]

¶ Solar power supplied 16% of the UK’s electricity demand on one afternoon, as the country basked in sunshine, according to industry estimates. The news comes as solar-powered homes, commercial rooftop schemes and solar farms open to the public on Friday and Saturday as part of “solar independence day.” [The Guardian]

Children inspect panels at a UK solar farm. Photograph: Primrose Solar/PA.

Children inspect panels at a UK solar farm. Photograph: Primrose Solar/PA.

¶ The German Economy Minister says that if the funds by utilities for shutting down nuclear power plants are insufficient, they should be asked to make further payments. Germany’s four nuclear operators have set aside nearly $40 billion (US) for decommissioning and creating a safe waste disposal facility. [Yahoo! Maktoob News]

¶ German utility RWE is considering a restructuring as it battles an industry-wide crisis, a German newspaper reported on Saturday. German utilities are struggling in the face of weak energy demand and a boom in renewable energy sources that have priority over conventional power plants for grid access. [Reuters Africa]

¶ Governments must rethink plans for new coal-fired power plants around the world, which are now the “most urgent” threat to the future of the planet, the head of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development warns. The warning from a “club of the world’s richest countries” is strongly worded. [The Guardian]

¶ The International Renewable Energy Agency released reports for Fiji, the Marshall Islands and Vanuatu, concluding that a combination of solar, wind, geothermal, marine, biomass and biofuel could meet energy needs, decrease electricity costs, increase energy access, and boost energy independence. [Biobased Digest]

¶ Having regulatory approval, Kyushu Electric Power Co will begin loading nuclear fuel into a reactor at the Sendai nuclear plant in Kagoshima Prefecture on July 7 for planned restart in August. The reactor is planned to be restarted in mid-month after Kyushu Electric undergoes a month-long preparation. [Asahi Shimbun]

US:

¶ US developer TradeWind Energy plans to build a 108-MW wind farm in southwest Oklahoma. The Drift Sands scheme will be located in Grady County, about 60 miles southwest of Oklahoma City. The project area encompasses about 10,000 acres of private land under lease from around 25 landowners. [reNews]

Tradewind Energy's Smoky Hills wind farm in Kansas (Tradewind Energy)

Tradewind Energy’s Smoky Hills wind farm in Kansas (Tradewind Energy)

¶ When Tesla announced the Powerwall, its home energy storage product, it was stated that SolarCity would be offering the Powerwall to its customers in Hawaii and California, but details were slim. Now, SolarCity has announced its energy storage for new homes California homebuilders and their buyers.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ Fort Hood is a leader in energy efficiency with the Army’s largest hybrid renewable energy project and vehicle-to-grid initiative, saving the installation money and resources while leveraging green technologies. The electric vehicle buys power from the grid, stores it and sells back what power it doesn’t use. [DVIDS]

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