August 20 Energy News

August 20, 2015

Opinion:

¶ “What’s at stake in Maine’s power struggle over energy” The debate over energy policy has intensified as Maine has become one of the most oil-dependent states in the country on one hand and the site of an insurgency of renewable energy initiatives such as generating wind and biomass power on the other. It is seen as a question of lower prices versus lower impact. [RenewablesBiz]

The Mars Hill Wind Farm atop Mars Hill (Maine) has 28 GE Energy 1.5 MW wind turbines. Photo by Michael Surran. CC BY-SA 2.0.

The Mars Hill Wind Farm atop Mars Hill (Maine) has 28 GE Energy 1.5 MW wind turbines. Photo by Michael Surran. CC BY-SA 2.0.

¶ “Another Clean Coal Scam Exposed” Mississippi Power was just downgraded by Moody’s as a result of its lack of permanent cost recovery provisions for its Kemper plant, which, since 2010, has promised to be the “first-of-its-kind” to employ gasification and carbon capture technologies at such a massive scale. To date, construction costs have soared to more than $6 billion. [Green Chip Stocks]

Science and Technology:

¶ They might not be driving them yet, but electric vehicles are definitely on the radar of some of the world’s top investment and market analysts. Last week, the US-based global investment bank Morgan Stanley named “alternative fuel vehicles” as one of seven key market and technology options it sees as well positioned to mitigate or adapt to climate change. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ The Scottish government unveiled a new financing scheme to expedite the uptake of electric cars by consumers and private companies and cut down on emissions from vehicles. Scotland’s Energy Saving Trust has allocated £2.5 million to the funding plan which provides businesses and individuals with easier access to loans that can cover the full cost of electric vehicles. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Australian arm of French developer Neoen awarded Siemens a 100-MW contract to supply wind turbines for a new project there. Siemens will manufacture 32 of its 3.2-MW turbines for the Hornsdale project in South Australia. The power from the project will be sold to the Australian Capital Territory government at a fixed price of A$0.092/kWh ($0.067/kWh US) for 20 years. [Windpower Monthly]

¶ Islamic leaders issued a Climate Change Declaration calling for world governments to adopt a new international climate agreement to phase out fossil fuels and limit global warming to 1.5°C to 2°C. The statement of the leaders from 20 countries lays out a deadline for wealthy and oil-producing nations to phase out all greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. [International Business Times AU]

¶ UK green energy supplier Ecotricity submitted a planning application to the Scottish government for a wind project of up to 51.2 MW. The planned wind farm is to be located in the Scottish Borders and will consist of up to 16 wind turbines of up to 3.2 MW each. The machines are expected to produce almost 148 GWh of electricity per year, enough for over 29,000 households. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Renewable energy generated by South Africa’s first wind and solar projects helped ward off some load-shedding and saved around $310 million for the country during the first six months of 2015, according to a recent study by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. It also says 2.0 TWh of wind and solar PV replaced diesel and coal usage over the period. [ITWeb]

US:

¶ Rhode Island is in good shape when it comes to meeting the emissions reductions set earlier this month by President Obama. As one of nine Northeast states in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cap-and-trade energy program, Rhode Island is on track to meet its power-plant emission-reduction targets by 2020, 10 years ahead of the deadline set by the Clean Power Plan. [ecoRI news]

Portsmouth Abbey School wind turbine, in Rhode Island. US DOE photo. Public domain.

Portsmouth Abbey School wind turbine, in Rhode Island. US DOE photo. Public domain.

¶ SunEdison, Inc. has completed construction of a 6-MW solar power plant that will supply electricity to Lakeland Electric, the third largest public power utility in the State of Florida, through a 25-year power purchase agreement. The Bella Vista solar power plant is expected to generate approximately 14 GWh of electricity each year, enough to supply annual power for more than 1,300 homes. [pv magazine]

¶ A prototype in-river hydropower system is currently in operation at Igiugig in southwest Alaska. It’s part of a recent research that has pushed in-river hydro power closer to becoming a reality for rural communities as an alternative to diesel-based electricity. Communities in western and interior Alaska, most of which are on rivers, are interested in how the project does. [Alaska Public Radio Network]

¶ Senator Charles Schumer launched his push for an extension of the existing solar investment tax credit, which is scheduled to be reduced after next year. He encourages changing the rules to make the credits available when projects begin rather than when they’re finished. Schumer visited the 7-acre WilliamSun Solar Field, in Williamson, New York, to make his statement. [Victor Post]

¶ The city of Columbia, Missouri, plans to stop burning coal at its power plant this fall because of changing environmental regulations. Water and Light officials said they would cease operating the city’s remaining two solid-fuel-burning units by mid-October. The city had concluded in 2007 environmental regulations would shut down its coal burners by 2015. [Columbia Daily Tribune]

¶ Sempra’s Mesquite Solar 3 project will provide a third of the power for 14 military bases in California. This is the largest renewable energy purchase by a division of the US federal government to date. Today, August 20, a signing ceremony for a 25-year power purchase agreement to procure electricity from the third phase of Sempra’s Mesquite Solar project in Arizona. [pv magazine]

¶ The Justice Department has accused Energy Future Holdings, the bankrupt Texas power company, of trying to skirt its environmental liabilities through the bankruptcy court. The former TXU Corp’s environmental risks are huge, ranging from the millions of pounds of coal ash it disposes underground each year, to the Comanche Peak nuclear power plant. [Dallas Morning News]

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