September 11 Energy News

September 11, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ In 2014, the Bullitt Center produced 60% more electricity than it used. This is in part because of an oversized 242-kW array of solar PVs on the roof which provide abundant power. Overall, it is the most energy-efficient office building in the United States by a wide margin, despite the cloudy weather in its home city of Seattle. [Mother Earth News]

The Bullitt Center, a state-of-the-art office building in Seattle, Washington, showcases solar’s vast potential, even in cloudy locales. Photo by Nic Lehoux

The Bullitt Center, a state-of-the-art office building in Seattle, Washington, showcases solar’s vast potential, even in cloudy locales. Photo by Nic Lehoux


¶ The Indian Government approved its new offshore wind energy policy to promote and streamline the process of implementing offshore projects. The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy will take responsibility for project implementation, while the National Institute of Wind Energy will oversee project sites allocation. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Kuwait has contracted with Spain’s TSK Group to set up a 50-MW solar PV power project, at a cost of $365 million. Completion is expected in 2017. When commissioned, the project will generate enough electricity to provide for needs of 100,000 homes. The energy saved will be equivalent to 12.5 million barrels of oil every year. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The French government is ending export subsidies for building coal plants abroad, as the country tries to clean up its environmental reputation before hosting landmark UN climate talks. Prime Minister Manuel Valls announced the immediate end to the coal credits, primarily used by French group Alstom, which has not responded publicly. [PennEnergy]

Coal storage.

Coal storage.

¶ Siemens and Neoen Australia have signed a contract for the Hornsdale Wind Farm project located in the state of South Australia. Consisting of 32 Siemens direct drive wind turbines, this project will provide clean energy for more than 70,000 households. The agreement includes also a long-term service contract. [Renewable Energy Focus]

¶ More than 300 solar powered water pumps have been installed in Bangladesh under a World Bank assisted program, with more to come. Diesel powered irrigation pumps, an estimated 1.34 million of them, use about $900 million a year worth of diesel fuel. Aside from that cost, there’s also the environmental cost of emissions. [Energy Matters]


¶ A WaterFX Hydro I subsidiary is building California’s first commercial-scale solar desalination plant and is issuing $10 million in preferred stock in the venture, through a direct public offering. The plant is fully solar-powered and is expected to be able to produce up to 1.6 billion gallons of water per year. [CleanTechnica]

WaterFX photo.

WaterFX photo.

¶ The International Energy Agency predicts US oil output next year will see the steepest fall since 1992 thanks to low oil prices. US oil production has increased to a record high in recent years as high prices made investment worthwhile. Prices halved over the past year as demand fell in line with slower economic growth. [BBC]

¶ Springfield, Missouri has a problem. Over half of the city’s students are in danger of going hungry. Next year, Springfield could be on its way to addressing the problem by using wasted heat from the Noble Hill Renewable Energy Center at the city landfill and harnessing it to run a 4-acre commercial greenhouse. [Lebanon Daily Record]

¶ Minnesota Power will offer a new energy option for customers by launching a community solar garden program that is expected to be generating power from the sun in late 2016. The initial solar garden will be built in two locations. A 40-kW array will go up in Duluth and a 1-MW array on a site in northeastern Minnesota. [Hometown Focus]

Windmatic 17S turbine

Windmatic 17S turbine

¶ Remote villages in Alaska typically rely on diesel generators to produce power for heating and electricity. Power costs run at about $0.65 per kWh or more. Now, they are turning to specially fitted wind turbines to reduce their power costs and make their lives more comfortable, helped by government grants. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ In the face of intense lobbying from the oil industry, Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders on Wednesday dropped their attempt to pass a law mandating a 50% reduction in petroleum use in the state over the next 15 years. Despite the defeat, Brown vowed to implement the state’s existing low-carbon fuel standards. []

¶ Amid a hostile legislative climate in Raleigh, innovative, sustainable design and construction are flourishing in Western North Carolina. The WNC Green Building Council was founded in 2001. Since then, and despite an unstable housing market, local interest has grown steadily, the council’s interim executive director says. [Mountain Xpress]

¶ Exelon Corp, which owns Illinois’ 11 nuclear reactors, says that it is delaying for a year its decision about whether to close nuclear plants in the Quad Cities and Byron. In a new release, the company said it plans to continue operating its Quad Cities and Byron plants for now. The Clinton station is still in danger of being closed. [Rockford Register Star]

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