November 18 Energy News

November 18, 2015

World:

¶ Locally-produced renewable power met nearly 30.3% of Italy’s electricity needs in the first 10 months of 2015, according to data by power grid operator Terna SpA. Excluding hydropower, the share of wind, solar and geothermal energy sources was a bit over 15%. Meanwhile, thermal power plants produced 56% of Italy’s power. [SeeNews Renewables]

Solar park in Italy. Author: Solar Farm - Solar energy power plants. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic

Solar park in Italy. Author: Solar Farm – Solar energy power plants. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic

¶ The UK’s remaining coal-fired power stations will be shut by 2025 with their use restricted by 2023, Energy Secretary Amber Rudd announced. Ms Rudd wants more gas-fired stations to be built since relying on “polluting” coal is “perverse.” Additionally, she wants to prioritize nuclear plants. She had little support to offer renewables. [BBC]

¶ Battery storage could be just five years away from being an economic no-brainer for some Australian solar households, according to a new report. It predicts grid-connected battery storage will be economically attractive for many homes from around 2020, though Sydney and Adelaide could be at this point as early as 2018. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Hydro Tasmania is to add 600-kW of solar PV and some smart controls to Rottnest Island, helping the tourism resort supply 45% of its electricity and desalinated water from renewable energy. The new installations will supplement the single 600-kW wind turbine on the island, which Tony Abbot famously complained about. [One Step Off The Grid]

Wind turbine on Rottnest Island.

Wind turbine on Rottnest Island.

¶ Skylark Energy filed a planning application to the Scottish government for a 64.6-MW wind farm in Argyll and Bute. Skylark is a joint venture between Ecotricity and Swedish construction company Skanska AB. As the project is larger than 50 MW, it needs to be considered by the Scottish government. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Costa Rica is on track to double the amount of wind power it generates in the coming years. The launch of operations in October of the Orosi power plant and the upcoming inauguration of the Vientos del Oeste project in December will soon supply Costa Rica’s electrical grid with an additional 59 MW from wind power. [The Tico Times]

¶ A two-year pilot project will store a tiny bit of Toronto’s excess energy underwater in giant balloons. Local energy firm Hydrostor and Toronto Hydro are partnering on the project. The Hydrostor system is expected to improve power quality for residents of the Toronto Islands while engineers monitor and test its performance. [Toronto Star]

Construction in progress earlier this year of the first Hydrostor station on the Toronto Islands. Hydrostor photo.

Construction in progress earlier this year of the first Hydrostor station on the Toronto Islands. Hydrostor photo.

¶ After a concerted push from the United States, members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development agreed to cut subsidies aimed at exporting technology for coal-fired power plants. The policy would effectively cut off public financing for 85% of coal plants currently in the pipeline, an official said. [Washington Post]

¶ Brazil’s power sector watchdog Aneel has approved 290.6 MW of winning energy projects from an earlier auction this summer. The projects include eight wind farms with 231.6 MW of combined capacity, two small hydropower plants of 23 MW in total, one 8-MW biomass plant, and one 28-MW natural gas plant. [PennEnergy]

US:

¶ The Republican-run US Senate adopted two resolutions to shoot down key rules Barack Obama’s administration wants to limit greenhouse gas emissions by power plants. The president will veto the move. The 52 to 46 vote was largely meant to draw attention to the hostility of the Republicans to Obama’s efforts on climate change. [Business Recorder]

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015

¶ The United Illuminating Co will start work next spring on a state-of-the art micro-grid supplying key town buildings in Woodbridge, Connecticut. The system would keep power on during grid outages. The utility has finalized an agreement with the town to build the micro-grid and it should be completed next year. [New Haven Register]

¶ At a National Community Solar Summit at the White House, the Administration announced 68 cities, states, and businesses are joining together to promote community solar. Community solar allows multiple households and businesses to pool their resources and invest in shared solar systems to reduce costs. [Newsroom America]

¶ The Massachusetts House has passed a bill to boost the state’s reliance on solar energy. The measure increases the cap on the state’s net metering program, which allows homeowners, businesses and local governments to sell excess solar power they generate back to the electrical grid in exchange for credit. [wwlp.com]

AP Photo/Stephan Savoia, File

AP Photo/Stephan Savoia, File

¶ The Mississippi Public Service Commission approved the largest solar installations in Mississippi, making Mississippi Power the largest partner in renewable energy in the state. Strata Solar is collaborating with Mississippi Power and the US Navy to build a 450-acre 50-MW solar project in Hattiesburg. [Your Renewable News]

¶ Governor Cuomo’s office has sent a letter to the NRC about the dangers of allowing the reactors at the Indian Point nuclear power facility to continue operating. One of several concerns raised in the letter was metal fatigue and the safety of non-replaceable metal components that might have grown brittle with age. [NewsLI]

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