January 9 Energy News

January 9, 2016


Gas Leaks, the Clean Power Plan & Fracking • California Governor Jerry Brown declared a stage of emergency in the affluent Porter Ranch neighborhood in Los Angeles due to a gas leak spewing about 1200 tons of methane per day. The leak began in October. The LA gas leak provides another cautionary tale on fracking. [Huffington Post]

Equipment on a ridge in Southern California Gas Company's vast Aliso Canyon facility, site of the gas leak. Photo by Scott L from Los Angeles, USA. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Equipment on a ridge in Southern California Gas Company’s vast Aliso Canyon facility, site of the gas leak. Photo by Scott L from Los Angeles, USA. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.


¶ Tesla global communications director said Tesla Powerwalls are already being made and shipped. Two models, 7-kWh and 10-kWh are for residential homeowners, to store extra solar electricity or for backup. The cost for Tesla’s 7-kWh Powerwall is $3,000, while the 10-kWh model is priced at $3500. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Indonesian state-utility firm Perusahaan Listrik Negara is again bumping heads with the government over the country’s renewable energy development, as it holds back $783 million in micro-hydro projects. It has yet to agree to purchasing deals for 114 proposals, which typically produce less than 100 kW. [Jakarta Globe]

¶ The world’s largest operational offshore wind farm, London Array, has set a new record for power generated by an offshore wind farm. December 2015 saw its 175 turbines generate 369,000 MWh of electricity, beating a previous record of 317,000 MWh set last November. The capacity factor for the month was 78.9%. [Windpower Engineering]

Two successive months of offshore wind production from London Array brought net overall output for the year to some 2,500,000 MWh, or enough to meet the needs of more than 600,000 UK households.

The London Array set records. Image from londonarray.com.

¶ Swedish utility Vattenfall said low electricity prices and the country’s nuclear output tax mean its nuclear reactors are operating at a loss. It warns of serious consequences to Sweden’s electricity supply should it be forced to shut down its remaining reactors early. It is already closing two reactors five years ahead of schedule. [World Nuclear News]


¶ Add Sunrun to the list of solar companies ending their Nevada operations in response to a net metering ruling by the Nevada Public Utilities Commission. The San Francisco-based company today said it ceased all operations in Nevada, a move resulting in hundreds of job losses. SolarCity is also leaving the state. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Nearly 100,000 solar panels in western Weld County, Colorado, on land equivalent to the size of 48 football fields, have been activated and are generating renewable energy for Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association customers in Northern Colorado. The solar farms will generate enough power annually for 1,300 homes. [BizWest Media]

Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association has brought two new solar farms online. (Courtesy PVREA)

Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association has brought two new solar farms online. (Courtesy PVREA)

¶ Minnesota Power’s Great Transmission Line has cleared an important hurdle. An administrative law judge recommended approval of a route permit for the line, which would bring renewable hydroelectricity from Canada to northeastern Minnesota. The 500-kV, 220-mile line would run to a substation east of Grand Rapids. [Mesabi Daily News]

¶ Tom Vilsack, secretary of the US Department of Agriculture, went to Vermont to announce a $46 million program funded by his agency to support energy efficiency investments in the state. The Vermont Energy Investment Corp will administer the loans to homeowners, small businesses, and towns. [BurlingtonFreePress.com]

¶ The partnership between Panasonic Corporation and Tesla is set to continue for the foreseeable future, based on comments recently made by the Panasonic’s president Kazuhiro Tsuga. The company will reportedly be putting up to $1.6 billion into the Gigafactory being developed with the noted EV manufacturer. [CleanTechnica]

Gigafactory by Tesla.

Gigafactory by Tesla.

¶ A report by the US government’s NREL and Berkeley Lab finds a 3.6% reduction in fossil fuel generation and up to $3.9 billion in net savings for electricity customers in 2013, as well as reduced water use and the creation of 200,000 jobs. State-level Renewable Portfolio Standards are important for the benefits. [pv magazine]

¶ EDF Renewable Energy announced that the 150 MW Slate Creek Wind Project in Kansas reached commercial operation on December 29, 2015. The Project, about 50 miles south of Wichita, has 75 Vestas 2-MW wind turbines. The facility will generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 55,000 average homes. [PennEnergy]

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