July 31 Energy News

July 31, 2015

Opinion:

¶ “The $7 trillion solar tsunami in our midst” Solar power providing the lowest cost electricity in much of the world. With $7 trillion of investment piling into the sector, the momentum is now unstoppable. While world leaders have been talking a lot but doing little in the run-up to the UN climate conference in December, the private sector has been tackling climate change. [The Ecologist]

Science and Technology:

¶ Carnegie Wave Power has notched 12,000 hours of operation of its Ceto 5 wave power array off Western Australia’s coast. The 720-kW array features three 240-kW fully submerged buoys anchored to the seabed, which transmit energy through hydraulic pressure onshore to drive a generator for electricity and fresh water. Survey findings are due in coming weeks. [reNews]

A diver works on a Carnegie CETO installation off Western Australia. (Image by Carnegie Wave Power)

A diver works on a Carnegie CETO installation off Western Australia. (Image by Carnegie Wave Power)

¶ There is an assumption that when a supply-demand imbalance incident happens, there will be an automatic response within 5-6 seconds from conventional (gas, coal, hydro) generators to stabilize the power supply. This has been an important talking point in an argument against having too much renewable power. But the assumption turns out to be simply wrong. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ Europe’s offshore wind industry has shattered previous installation records in the first half of 2015, installing 2,342.9 MW of electricity generation capacity, triple the same time last year. Installations for the first half of 2015 had reached 2,342.9 MW, tripling the grid-connected capacity of the same period in 2014 and bringing Europe’s operating capacity up to 10,393.6 MW. [CleanTechnica]

¶ GE is to supply Pattern Development with 61 wind turbines for its 180-MW Meikle wind project in British Columbia. The Meikle Wind project will be the largest in the province. It will generate enough energy to power the equivalent annual energy needs of 54,000 average British Columbian homes and increase the installed wind power capacity in the province by 38%. [reNews]

35 of GE's 3.2-103 wind turbines will be installed at the site.

35 of GE’s 3.2-103 wind turbines will be installed at the site.

¶ A substantial increase in renewable energy by 2030 would result in far cheaper electricity than if South Africa persists in its bid to build 9,600 MW of nuclear power, a study by Stellenbosch University has found. The study broadly confirms the findings of two other recent expert analyses which warn that nuclear energy will be the most expensive of the options available. [BDlive]

¶ Three former TEPCO executives will stand trial over the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster after an independent judicial panel of citizens on July 31 again decided that mandatory indictments are warranted. It will be the first time for TEPCO or government officials to stand formally accused of professional negligence resulting in death and injury in the nuclear crisis. [Asahi Shimbun]

US:

¶ Utility scale solar has grown so in the US that utilities are now longer fighting it, with large scale solar likely to be competitive even if tax credits are removed. That is the view of SunPower, one of the biggest solar module manufacturers and project developers in the US, which just bought out the 1.5-GW solar portfolio in the US built up by Australia’s Infigen Energy. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The losses are continuing to mount as more coal companies report their second quarter earnings. Cloud Peak Energy announced a $53 million loss for the quarter Wednesday, and Arch Coal reported a $168 million dollar loss Thursday, following a $1 billion loss Peabody Energy reported Monday. The losses result largely from competition from natural gas and renewables. [Wyoming Public Media]

Credit Stephanie Joyce

Open pit coal mine. Credit Stephanie Joyce

¶ When the US Environmental Protection Agency announced the Clean Power Plan last summer, the agency hinted that natural gas would play a big role in reducing the nation’s dependency on coal for power generation. That scenario has already been playing out, but as EPA prepares for final rule making, it looks like the natural gas industry is in for a rude awakening. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Alabama Power proposed to the state’s public utilities commission this month to build or contract to buy 500 MW of renewable energy. The proposed 500 MW would represent about 5% of the utility’s total capacity. The package that the utility presented to the commission includes several 80-MW projects. The power would be sold at a premium to corporate customers. [Clean Energy Authority]

¶ In New York state, sheriff’s deputies arrested 10 protesters, including several yoga practitioners and a cello player, in front of Crestwood Midstream’s gates Wednesday. They were protesting Crestwood’s plans for a gas storage facility. They arrived at 8 am, unrolled yoga mats, and blockaded the company’s north entrance, performing a series of poses to cello music. [Finger Lakes Times]

¶ Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said in an email interview with Bloomberg BNA,”The climate is changing; I don’t think anybody can argue it’s not. Human activity has contributed to it.” Jeb Bush has made varying statements on climate change this year, including saying that it is arrogant to claim science is settled on the issue, an argument he has made since 2011. [Huffington Post]

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