August 8 Energy News

August 8, 2015

World:

¶ A British company has announced plans for an array of unique marine turbines that can operate in shallower and slower-moving water than current designs. Kepler Energy says the turbines will eventually produce electricity more cheaply than off-shore wind farms. It hopes to install its new design in what is called a tidal energy fence, one kilometre long, in the Bristol Channel. [RTCC]

How the rotor blades look installed in a tidal fence configuration (Pic: Kepler Energy)

How the rotor blades look installed in a tidal fence configuration (Pic: Kepler Energy)

¶ Figures released on Thursday show that electricity production in the 34 member states of the OECD fell 0.8% to 10,712 TWh, a decrease of 86 TWh on 2013’s figures. The International Energy Agency point out that this decline was driven by lower fossil fuel and hydro production, but a decline which was partially offset by a growth in non-hydro renewables and nuclear. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Azar Mobaraki is a benefactor who has taken advantage of solar energy to supply electric power to the nomads living in Hamoun County, in the eastern Iranian province of Sistan-Baluchestan, the Fars news agency reported recently. She supplied 115 solar panels, 230 unbreakable light bulbs, power adapters, and other electronic equipment so children could read in the evening. [Tehran Times]

¶ Solar and onshore wind are supported by 76% and 59% of Brits, respectively, a survey commissioned by UK renewable power supplier Good Energy Group Plc says. The findings were published after the Department of Energy and Climate Change released its latest attitudes tracker, which omitted questions about support for specific renewable technologies. [SeeNews Renewables]

Solar panels. Featured Image: Martin D. Vonka/Shutterstock.com

Solar panels. Featured Image: Martin D. Vonka/Shutterstock.com

US:

¶ Customers in Oahu, Hawaii, may soon have the option of buying into a local community solar program, thanks to a recent proposal to the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission from Hawaiian Electric Company, which aims to create a long-term pilot program. The proposed community solar program would be open to about 50 Oahu utility customers, whose electric bills would be lower. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Mary Nichols, the chair of the California Air Resources Board, said she hopes to implement new rules in the state that would eventually prohibit the sale of new cars that are equipped with internal combustion engines. The zero-emissions vehicle program California now has in place requires that 2.7% of new cars purchased in the state in 2015 be free of greenhouse gas emissions. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Adding to a hydropower bill that he already laid before the Legislature, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has filed a bill to accelerate solar power industry growth in Massachusetts and then adjust incentives. The administration says its bill will help the state meet “well ahead of schedule” its goal of 1,600 MW of solar power by 2020, while lowering costs. [Wicked Local Brookline]

¶ Federal regulators have rejected contentions that California’s Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant is unsafe and should not be relicensed. The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board dismissed four contentions filed by San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace. The NRC is evaluating 20-year extensions to the plant’s reactor’s operating licenses, which expire in 2024 and 2025. [89.3 KPCC]

¶ Entergy Arkansas Inc proposed what it called “a more reasonable” approach to deal with regional haze in Arkansas, in response to the Environment Protection Agency’s rejection of the state’s earlier plan to improve visibility in wilderness areas. Entergy would shut down its coal-fired operations at the White Bluff Electric Station instead of spending over $2 billion on scrubbers. [KUAR]

Entergy's White Bluff power plant near Redfield. Credit: Arkansas Business

Entergy’s White Bluff power plant near Redfield. Credit: Arkansas Business

¶ California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill Friday that allows BART [the rapid transit system in the San Francisco Bay area] to purchase renewable energy directly from wholesale suppliers as the rail system looks to further reduce its carbon footprint. Under the new law, BART officials would no longer have to go through a third party to buy renewable energy on their behalf. [SFGate]

¶ Southern California has missed a long-standing federal deadline to reduce toxic soot and other small particle air pollution because unhealthful levels of such pollutants persist in northwest Riverside County. The Bush administration set rules for communities in Southern California’s ocean-to-mountains air basin to meet the goal by 2015. The standard has been missed, however. [Press-Enterprise]

¶ One of the Vermont’s most prominent renewable energy developers is proposing to build more wind power in a region of Vermont that has been divided over such projects for years. David Blittersdorf wants to erect two wind turbines on a Northeast Kingdom ridgeline in the 1,100-person town of Irasburg and produce enough electricity to power more than 2,000 homes. [vtdigger.org]

¶ When the EPA issued its Clean Power Plan, it exempted the two non-contiguous states of Alaska and Hawaii from the need to set emissions targets because of a lack of sufficient information or analytical tools for measuring in these states the means whereby emission targets may be achieved.The territories of Guam and Puerto Rico have been similarly exempted. [Petroleum News]

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