September 16 Energy News

September 16, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ Populations of marine mammals, birds, fish and reptiles have declined by 49% since 1970, a report says. The study says some species people rely on for food are faring even worse, noting a 74% drop in the populations of tuna and mackerel. In addition to human activity such as overfishing, the report also says climate change is having an impact. [BBC]

The report analysed more than 1,200 species of marine creatures in the past 45 years. Science Photo Library

The report analysed more than 1,200 species of marine creatures in the past 45 years. Science Photo Library

¶ A relatively cheap and environmentally friendly battery that uses salt water and other commonly available materials to store electric energy has been awarded the Lemelson-MIT Prize. The head of the company making the battery, Aquion, said batteries capable of powering a typical single family home should cost between $1,000 and $3,000. [CNBC]

World:

¶ The point of “mass adoption” of household battery storage could arrive in Australia as soon as 2020, a new report from UBS has predicted, at which time the payback period for storage systems for solar households would be just five to six years. The UBS Utilities Sector report predicts storage system costs will fall at 20% per year. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Siemens has for some time been known to have its sights on developing the next generation of wind turbines, a class of platforms rated to 10 MW and above. But as a new €200 million manufacturing plant takes shape, the company’s management has begun speaking more openly on activities geared towards those objectives. [CleanTechnica]

The prototype in Østerild, Denmark was installed only a few months after the product launch at EWEA Offshore trade show in Copenhagen.

The prototype in Østerild, Denmark was installed only a few months after the product launch at EWEA Offshore trade show in Copenhagen.

¶ The attractiveness of the UK as a place to invest in renewables has fallen dramatically following Government moves to curb subsidies for clean technology, a report suggests. The latest quarterly assessment by EY has seen the UK drop out of the top 10 for places to invest in renewable energy for the first time. [Western Morning News]

¶ In Australia, in his media conference immediately after winning the Liberal leadership, Malcolm Turnbull had some words to say on the subject of technology: “We have to recognise that the disruption that we see driven by technology, the volatility in change is our friend if we are agile and smart enough to take advantage of it.” [The Fifth Estate]

¶ Parcels of farmland totaling 250 hectares near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant are returning to life and being covered with solar panels, amid government incentives to invest in renewable power. At least one village has set up its own tiny power company. The solar farms are scheduled to generate about 160 MW. [The Japan Times]

Solar panels have been installed in Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture. | Kyodo

Solar panels installed in Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture. | Kyodo

US:

¶ Green Mountain Power’s Mary Powell was joined today by Congressman Peter Welch, Governor Peter Shumlin, Rutland Mayor Chris Louras, and community leaders to announce that Rutland, Vermont is the Solar Generation Capital of New England. More solar power is generated in Rutland per capita than in any other New England city. [Vermont Biz]

¶ The debate over rooftop solar is increasingly contentious, pitting solar PV companies against utilities in many states. Nowhere has the debate been more heated than in Arizona, where customers have flocked to rooftop solar as prices fell. Most recently, utility Salt River Project has introduced a demand charge for solar customers. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Coronal Group LLC and Panasonic Eco Solutions are building eight PV parks with a total capacity of 37 MW in North Carolina. The PV farms are expected to generate over 71 GWh each year, enough to provide annual needs of 4,500 local households. Panasonic will supervise, engineer, construct, and operate the project. [SeeNews Renewables]

Solar parking lot canopy. Author: Darin Dingler. License: Creative Commons. Attribution 2.0 Generic

Solar parking lot canopy. Author: Darin Dingler. License: Creative Commons. Attribution 2.0 Generic

¶ If the federal solar investment tax credit is not extended, the US could witness in 2017 the lowest annual level of solar installations since 2012, a new report predicts. The planned ITC cut at the end of 2016 is expected to result in a rush to complete projects, and a subsequent sharp drop in activity in 2017. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Thanks to EPA’s Clean Power Plan, the US returned as the number-one market for renewable energy in the latest Ernst & Young country attractiveness index. China is now second, after keeping the lead for many months. Its economic woes and grid constraints are overshadowing ambitious renewable energy targets. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ State utility regulators have voted to review and possibly change a rule that small Montana wind-power projects say has hampered their development. A rule change could make it easier for these small projects to get contracts to supply NorthWestern Energy, the state’s major electric utility, and thus build their project. [KXLF Butte News]

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