January 28 Energy News

January 28, 2016


¶ Australia’s power sector is at risk of a “utility death spiral” due to its reliance on coal, according to a report by the University of Oxford’s Smith School of Enterprise. Utilities in the US, Japan and Germany are similarly exposed. The risk is partly from renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. [Sydney Morning Herald]

The bad bets we have made on fossil fuels will haunt us for decades. Photo: Jonathan Carroll

The bad bets we have made on fossil fuels will haunt us for decades. Photo: Jonathan Carroll

¶ The UK will add 1 GW of new energy storage capacity by the year 2020, IHS forecasts. The main driver of growth will be renewables, combined with rising electric rates, an established network of solar installers, the launch of a frequency regulation tender, and increasing money for energy storage research. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Berlin-based storage company Younicos will upgrade a 5-MW battery plant in Germany so that it is capable of restoring grid after a blackout. Its functionality will now be extended to make it capable of black starts, full islanding mode, and integrating renewables to enable grid restoration during failures. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Total global corporate funding in the wind sector hit a record $15.4 billion in 2015, according to Mercom Capital Group. The figure raised by public companies, which includes venture capital/private equity, debt financing, and public market financing, is up by $3.6 billion from the $11.8 billion funded in 2014. [CleanTechnica]
¶ Not only has Chile’s solar industry cut emissions of the global warming gas carbon dioxide, but it has also helped slash some of the highest electricity costs in Latin America. Those benefits have come at no expense to the government, which refused to offer any of the subsidies that drained resources elsewhere. [Bloomberg]

¶ SoloPower Systems has completed its first commercial-scale installation in South Africa. Their ultra-light weight PV modules are up to 85% lighter than traditional PV panels, which allows for installation on rooftops with limited load-bearing capacity. Many commercial buildings in South Africa have such limited capacity. [CleanTechnica]

SoloPower photo.

SoloPower photo.

¶ Former Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Tuesday the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant is not over after five years after a massive earthquake and tsunami triggered the meltdowns. Kan disputes the idea that the situation at the plant is under control. “The accident is still unfolding,” he said. [The Japan Times]


Wind generators on a wind farm near Hartland, Minn. Minnesota. Photo by David Brewster.

Wind generators on a wind farm near Hartland, Minn. Minnesota. Photo by David Brewster.

¶ The American Wind Energy Association, the industry’s Washington-based trade group, reported that 2015 was its third-best year because of major expansions especially in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Iowa. In a major shift, Iowa leapt ahead of California as the No. 2 wind-power state. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

¶ Invenergy today announced that it has signed a 225-MW wind power purchase agreement with Google to provide the tech giant with renewable energy to help support its data center operations. The agreement with Google includes the sale of wind energy from the Bethel Wind Energy Facility in Texas. [Your Industry News]

¶ Clean Line Energy announced an agreement with the City of Tallahassee, Florida, that states Tallahassee’s intention to purchase up to 50 MW of low-cost wind power from the Oklahoma Panhandle region. The clean energy would be delivered via the Plains & Eastern Clean Line. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ New analysis from PSE Healthy Energy and University of California at Berkeley finds that increased deployment of renewable energy is the best way to meet or even surpass Clean Power Plan targets, as recent scientific measurements of methane leaks from natural gas systems have found high rates of leakage. [Akron Beacon Journal]

Sun and transmission lines. Photo by Dennis-Wilkinson via flickr.

Sun and transmission lines. Photo by Dennis-Wilkinson via flickr.

The Value of Transmission, a report published by the Southwest Power Pool, analyzed the value provided by 348 transmission upgrades that required capital investment of almost $3.4 billion. They resulted in a reduction of over $240 million in fuel costs during the first year alone, along with other benefits. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Fort Hood will break ground this week on a new solar-panel farm, part of a project that will provide 40% of the post’s energy. The Army signed the $497 million agreement with Virginia-based Apex Clean Energy to bring more solar and wind energy to Fort Hood, officials announced last Wednesday. [The Killeen Daily Herald]

¶ After the Windsor, Vermont, Selectboard voted, 5-0, to oppose a solar project on 40 acres at a prison farm, state and Green Mountain Power officials acknowledged the project is dead. GMP spokeswoman Kristin Carlson said the power company will not proceed with an application to the Public Service Board. [Valley News]

¶ The Senate is debating what has been dubbed the Energy Policy Modernization Act, and it is rare instance of bipartisan cooperation. It would support programs for building efficiency and expanding hydropower and geothermal projects, but it gives a lot of support to fracking and gas pipelines. [Houston Chronicle]


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