January 23 Energy News

January 23, 2016

Opinion:

¶ Coal Prices Won’t Rebound Anytime Soon on Supply Surplus • The decline in coal prices was not only caused by oversupply, but due to a drastic decline in coal demand. Several major consumers, including China, have been producing sufficient coal for their domestic use, so international sales have fallen. [Economic Calendar]

Coal prices have been declining over the past few years.

Coal prices have been declining over the past few years.

Not in my backyard • At every turn, efforts to support Vermonters turning to renewable energy run into neighbors who object to changes they would bring. Vermont’s drive toward renewable energy will likely be scuttled by what may rapidly be becoming the new state motto: “not in my backyard.” [BurlingtonFreePress.com]

World:

¶ Germany piloted a new system for setting the price paid for electricity from ground-mounted PV arrays in 2015. Instead of receiving a set feed-in tariff, parties bid in solar auctions for a share of 500 MW of capacity. The federal minister for economic affairs and energy said the pilot auctions a “complete success.” [CleanTechnica]

Renewable energy systems in the community of Freiensteinau, Hesse, Germany. Photo by CarstenE. CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported. Wikimedia Commons.

Renewable energy systems in the community of Freiensteinau, Hesse, Germany. Photo by CarstenE. CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Oil prices spiked 9% to close at $32.19 a barrel on Friday. It represents a dramatic rebound from Wednesday. Crude crashed to $26.19 a barrel Wednesday, the lowest level since April 2003. Since then, oil has surged a remarkable 23%. There didn’t appear to be an obvious trigger for the rebound. [CNN]

¶ The latest auction of solar energy capacity in India has achieved a new record low price of ₹4.34/kWh (6¢/kWh). It is the lowest price obtained so far in India, which aims to install more than 100 GW of solar by 2022. The energy minister said solar tariffs are now cheaper than coal-fired generation. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Global solar PV installation for 2015 increased 34% over 2014 numbers, reaching an estimated 59 GW by the end of the year. This, according to preliminary numbers from GTM Research published today. GMT expects the US and China to lead the way towards a total installation of 64 GW in 2016. [CleanTechnica]

President Barack Obama and Senator Harry Reid of Nevada (right) at Nellis Air Force Base. Photo by Pete Souza. Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

President Barack Obama and Senator Harry Reid of Nevada (right) at Nellis Air Force Base. Photo by Pete Souza. Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ The Australian renewable energy industry has long struggled to bring its products to apartment dwellers. Now, a trial scheme in Sydney will see solar installed in a multi-unit residence and the electricity sold back to tenants through power-sharing. The technology and legal framework could serve as models. [ABC Online]

¶ Germany imported 54 million tonnes of hard coal in 2015, 4% less than in the previous year, coal importers’ lobby VDKI said. The figure was close to VDKI’s earlier forecasts, which has cited weaker demand from power generators and the steel industry as reasons for the decline. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]

¶ Construction of the world’s largest floating solar power plant, set to cover an area of the Yamakura Dam reservoir the size of 37 football fields, has begun in Japan. The plant, scheduled for completion in March 2018, will generate an estimated 16,170 MWh per year, enough to power approximately 4,970 households. [Newsweek]

Rendering of the 13.7MW plant on the Yamakura Dam reservoir in Chiba Prefecture, Japan

Rendering of the 13.7MW plant on the Yamakura
Dam reservoir in Chiba Prefecture, Japan

¶ The UAE Minister of Energy said during the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week that he would like the UAE to export renewable power, rather than fossil fuel, to Europe. Experts said this is highly achievable, but only if the UAE implements a climate change and renewable energy policy at the federal level. [Khaleej Times]

US:

¶ Subsidizing Iowa corn is the opposite of fiscal conservatism, but politicians generally find a way to evolve on the subject when they get to Iowa. This year Ted Cruz has hung tough. Perhaps it’s because he’s close to Big Oil, which wants the gas tanks for itself. But whatever the reason, he’s paying the price. [Bismarck Tribune]

¶ A controversial plan to limit carbon dioxide emissions in Oregon that failed a year ago is back, jostling with another ambitious plan from environmental groups and utilities. The new plan would replace the greenhouse gas reduction goals passed in 2007 with a series of enforceable limits. [OregonLive.com]

Oregon's largest source of greenhouse gases, PGE's Boardman coal plant, will close in 2020. (The Oregonian/Brent Wojahn)

Oregon’s largest source of greenhouse gases, PGE’s Boardman
coal plant, will close in 2020. (The Oregonian/Brent Wojahn)

¶ The Sierra Club says it has launched a new initiative, the #ReadyFor100 campaign, which will challenge 100 cities across the US to commit to 100% clean energy. With 2.4 million members and supporters, the group will harness its grassroots power to urge mayors to commit to 100% clean energy. [North American Windpower]

¶ New York’s governor Andrew Cuomo has directed the public service commission to ensure that the state achieves its goal of 50% renewable energy by 2030. The public service commission has now formally stated that it will expand its plan to include the contributions of the nuclear plants. [World Nuclear News]

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