August 15 Energy News

August 15, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ Twenty-five years ago, the Passive House certification system raised the bar for energy efficiency by introducing a rigorous performance-based standard. Now, the Passive House Institute has raised the bar higher with certification of two residential projects under a new category, “Passive House Plus,” that incorporates evaluation of on-site renewable energy. [Architectural Record]

A 16-unit apartment building in Innsbruck, Austria, is the first of its kind to be certified under Passive House Plus. Passive House Institute photo.

A 16-unit apartment building in Innsbruck, Austria, is the first of its kind to be certified under Passive House Plus. Passive House Institute photo.


¶ Fears are growing in South Africa that agreements to build nuclear power plants will made behind closed doors, without the necessary public scrutiny. Among those voicing concern, two government sources say the Treasury is not being included in procurement discussions, despite the massive budgetary implications of a project that may cost as much as $100 billion. [Daily Times]

¶ According to the IEA, almost all of Greece’s oil is imported, and it accounts for a highly significant 45% of the country’s energy supply. The Greek government is spending €800 million each year on oil subsidies. At the same time, an estimated 6 in 10 Greek homes are struggling to pay their energy bills. Greenpeace is undertaking efforts to solarize Greece and install heat pumps. [Inhabitat]

¶ Brazil’s Ministry of Mines and Energy approved four renewable energy projects for the national Incentive Regime for Infrastructure Development in the state of Bahia. The combined capacity of 96.9 MW will include 36.9 MW of wind power to be completed in 2016 and 60 MW of solar to be put online in2017. The projects represent investments of approximately $133 million. [SeeNews Renewables]


¶ SunEdison announced it will partner with Dominion to create a joint venture around the 420-MW Four Brothers solar project in Utah. The project is currently being developed and constructed by SunEdison, and is expected to become fully operational by mid-2016. Dominion will invest approximately $500 million to acquire 50% of the cash equity and 99% of the tax equity. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A Hawaii agency is moving ahead with its plan to go entirely off the electrical grid by developing its own microgrid system. The Hawaii Foreign Trade-Zone No 9 is a five-acre facility on seven acres of land. It has more than 75 offices and a warehouse, and includes 200,000 square feet of total rooftop space. It is estimated that a system of over 500 kW is needed. [Pacific Business News (Honolulu)]

The Hawaii Foreign Trade Zone No. 9 at Honolulu Harbor. PBN File.

The Hawaii Foreign Trade Zone No. 9 at Honolulu Harbor. PBN File.

¶ The utility firm, Maui Electric Company, is aiming to purchase electricity from two newly proposed large-scale solar energy projects, which will be the first of their kind on Maui, according to a press statement from Maui Electric Company. The two projects are expected to provide up to 5.7 MW of solar PV generated electricity for the relatively low price of 11.06¢/kWh. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and members of Bristol Community College revealed the largest solar canopy in New England on Friday, a 3.2-MW installation that covers 800 parking spaces over two hectares of land on the college’s Fall River Campus. The installation will churn out 34 million kWh of energy annually and will save over $1.75 million over 20 years. [PV-Tech]

¶ Public Service Company of New Mexico and parties opposed to its plans to keep the coal-powered San Juan Generating Station in operation reached a deal that could phase out the plant after 2022. PNM will commit to a Public Regulation Commission review in 2018 over whether the San Juan plant should be shut down after 2022, when current contracts expire. [Albuquerque Business First]

¶ With construction of the Watts Bar Unit 2 nuclear reactor mostly complete, the Tennessee Valley Authority announced it has asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to issue a license for the reactor. The TVA sent documentation to the NRC informing the organization that construction of the Watts Bar reactor is substantially complete with only a few details left to finish. [Knoxville News Sentinel]

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