January 22 Energy News

January 22, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ Tens of thousands of dead birds have washed up on the beaches of Alaska’s Prince William Sound, an unexplained mass die-off. They are a sign the ecosystem was being troubled by abnormally warm ocean water off the coast of Alaska, a sign that some experts say may be related to the changing climate. [CNN]

Common Murres. Photo by Richard Crossley. CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported. Wikimedia Commons.

Common Murres are dying. Photo by Richard Crossley.
CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported. Wikimedia Commons.

World:

¶ Companies involved in the RE100 campaign are, on average, halfway toward meeting their 100% renewable energy goals, according to a new report published by The Climate Group and CDP.Those in the information and communication technology sector are, on average, 64% of the way there. [Solar Industry]

¶ Tasmania is in the grip of an energy crisis as drought reduces output from its hydro-electric dams and an undersea power cable, providing up to 40% of its power needs from Victoria, is shut down. The Communications Electrical and Plumbing Union secretary blames the government’s anti-renewable policies. [Green Left Weekly]

Musselroe wind farm.

Musselroe wind farm.

¶ The UK government plans to do more to increase the proportion of renewable energy used to heat the nation’s buildings and fuel its cars, trucks and trains as it strives to meet binding European Union targets by 2020. The UK must get 15% of all energy from renewables by 2020 to meet its EU target. [Bloomberg]

¶ Humanity must stop burning coal, oil and gas to power global economies or face an irreversible climate catastrophe, scientists, business chiefs and analysts warned at a gathering in the Swiss Alps. If we can come close to limiting average temperature increases to 1.5° C, we may avoid tipping points. [The Rakyat Post]

A senior insurance executive says the planet will simply be uninsurable in 50 years if nations do nothing to prevent climate change. AFP file pic

Disappearing glacier. A senior insurance executive says nothing will be insurable in 50 years if nations do nothing on climate change. AFP file pic

¶ In an effort to become the largest exporter of nuclear-energy technology, China has started building a reactor housed in a floating vessel, which is scheduled to be finished by 2020. If that sounds alarming, brace yourself: More than 100 additional nuclear reactors are planned for the next decade. [PortNews IAA]

US:

¶ The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission granted a site permit for the 100-MW North Star solar project of developer Community Energy Solar. By law, Minnesota public utilities must produce at least 1.5% of retail electricity sales from solar energy by 2020. The facility would power about 20,000 homes per year. [SeeNews Renewables]

Solar panels. Author: Oregon Department of Transportation. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic

Solar panels. Author: Oregon Department of Transportation.
License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic

¶ Green Mountain Power, in Rutland, Vermont, offers an “extreme energy makeover” that can go as far as customers want in scaling down their energy use, even going off the power grid, CEO Mary Powell said. At the same time, Green Mountain has lowered electric rates three times in the past four years. [Madison.com]

¶ 2015 marked a banner year for solar power in North Carolina as Duke Energy companies set a record for the solar PV capacity they added in the state. The total comes to more than 300 MW, enough to power about 60,000 average homes at peak production. About half the capacity belongs to Duke. [solarserver.com]

The 13 megawatt Camp Lejeune PV facility is Duke Energy’s first solar project located at a military base. Courtesy: Duke Energy Renewables.

The 13 megawatt Camp Lejeune PV facility is Duke Energy’s first solar
project located at a military base. Courtesy: Duke Energy Renewables.

¶ Building on big plans for renewables unveiled during his recent State of the State address, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, has announced the New York State Public Service Commission’s approval of a 10-year, $5 billion Clean Energy Fund. The fund is to attract and leverage third-party capital. [Solar Industry]

¶ The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia denied a request from Texas and other states to block President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, leaving the climate change rules in place while courts hear a legal challenge. The court wrote that the stringent requirements for a stay were not met. [Texas Tribune]

Photo by Thomas Bougher

Photo by Thomas Bougher

¶ Switch, a Las Vegas data center provider, known there for its massive high-security campus, will buy power for a new data center as bundled energy and Renewable Energy Credits from Consumers Energy, the Michigan utility that serves the area where the new data center is being built. [Data Center Knowledge]

¶ After seven years of promoting the benefits of adding wind energy to the US electricity mix, the Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition announced that it will pair its advocacy work for wind with work for solar energy as well. The group has taken a new name, the Governors’ Wind and Solar Energy Coalition. [Windpower Engineering]

The Governors’ Wind and Solar Energy Coalition will join wind and solar to lower costs, increase jobs, and support the growth of US renewables.

The Governors’ Wind and Solar Energy Coalition will join wind and solar
to lower costs, increase jobs, and support the growth of US renewables.

¶ The Town of East Hampton, New York, is commitment to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. Now, a study is under way on the feasibility of creating a microgrid that would generate power for critical facilities and have the ability to separate from the electrical grid in the event of power outages. [East Hampton Star]

¶ California-based Pattern Energy has announced it has completed construction on the 150-MW Amazon Wind Farm Fowler Ridge project in Indiana. The 150-MW Fowler Ridge wind farm will provide 100% of the electricity generated to Amazon Web Services to power the company’s datacenters. [CleanTechnica]

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