July 21 Energy News

July 21, 2015

Opinion:

¶ “Utility Solar May Cost Less, But It’s Also Worth Less” A report released this week asserts that utility-scale solar is much more economical than small-scale solar. The clear implication is that we should let incumbent utilities build or buy solar from large-scale arrays instead of allowing customers to generate their own power. There are several reasons to question this. [ilsr.org]

World:

¶ Offshore UK wind projects going into construction in 2020 could deliver clean power at a cost that is lower than that delivered by new gas-fired power plants, according to a study by consultancy BVG Associated. The report was commissioned by renewable energy developer Statkraft and details how the offshore wind sector could comfortably beat the £100/MWh goal. [Business Green]

Offshore wind turbines. 

Offshore wind turbines.

¶ During most of the past ten years the upwards trend of China’s energy imports was supported by strong advances in all the main elements, oil, gas and coal. In the past eighteen months, this pattern has showed signs of a fundamental shift, with coal imports falling steeply and much greater uncertainty about future volumes arising. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]

¶ Sweden’s state-owned energy group Vattenfall announced a massive 36.3 billion krona ($4.2 billion) write-down Tuesday tied to looming closures of two nuclear reactors and slumping lignite activity in Germany, with competion from renewables. Vattenfall said second quarter losses jumped to 25 billion krona, while revenue fell 1.3% to 36.1 billion krona. [Yahoo! Maktoob News]

US:

¶ Only last month the California Farm Bureau Federation reported that local officials were still a bit iffy over prospects for scaling up a demo-scale solar desalination plant for the water-starved San Joaquin Valley. But now the plant’s developer announced plans upscaling it to a commercial-scale facility capable of producing 1.6 billion gallons of fresh water per year. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Cornell Tech is building an applied sciences campus on Roosevelt Island in New York City. It will feature environmentally friendly classrooms and lots of green space, but its most noteworthy feature will be a 250 foot tall dormitory. Designed to house 520 people when it’s completed in 2017, the dormitory will be the tallest Passive House building in the world. [CleanTechnica]

Image Credit: Handel Architects

Image Credit: Handel Architects

¶ Renewable Edge® installed its 1000th Integrated Wireless Solar Payphone Power Supply System Kit to New York City payphones. Renewable Edge system replaces the utility grid power connection needed to operate New York City payphones with a solar powered battery system powering wireless routers that communicate with existing cell towers. [PR Newswire India]

¶ A new solar farm is powering Vermont’s correctional facility in St. Albans and has helped fund the wish for a local Make-A-Wish child. The 500-kW solar project next to the prison is part of a broader solar initiative for state facilities, spearheaded by Governor Peter Shumlin, to supply solar energy for state buildings and provides taxpayer savings from reduced electric bills. [vtdigger.org]

¶ After decades of providing the punch line in jokes about snowstorms, also-ran sports teams and urban decline, Buffalo, New York, Queen City of the Lakes is suddenly experiencing something new: an economic turnaround, helped by renewable energy. Parents who once told their children to seek their fortunes elsewhere are now telling them to come back. [New York Times]

¶ Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has ensured that a laundry-list of tax incentives, including a two-year extension of the wind energy production tax credit, are included in a bill the Senate Finance Committee will consider on July 21. Allies of non-renewable energy sources have worked hard against the inclusion of the wind energy provision. [North American Windpower]

¶ Regional power grid administrator ISO New England is planning $4.8 billion in transmission infrastructure upgrades that will be underway or complete by 2023, bringing the total investment in the reliability of the system to $12 billion since 2002. New England has 210 reliability projects proposed, planned or under construction, and 25 projects in service. [Hartford Business]

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