February 4 Energy News

February 4, 2016

World:

¶ According to a statement released by the government-run Costa Rican Institute of Electricity, the country used renewable sources for 99% of its energy in 2015. The small Central American nation used a mix of geothermal, hydroelectric, wind, solar, and biomass energy. That’s fantastic news! [Unicorn Booty]

Image via Armando Maynez / Flickr

Image via Armando Maynez / Flickr

¶ The global wind energy industry had a record year in 2015, with 62 GW installed. According to new figures released by Bloomberg, global wind energy installs for 2015 reached 62 GW, led by China, which surpassed its own previous onshore wind record by close to 40%, installing just under 29 GW. [CleanTechnica]

¶ British Energy company SSE has said it expects to close three out of four units at a power plant in Cheshire by 1 April. The 45-year old plant has been loss-making for two years and was forecast to continue losing money until 2020. Renewable energy and cheap gas prices have made coal-fired power plants uncompetitive. [BBC]

¶ Royal Dutch Shell has confirmed it is cutting 10,000 jobs amid its steepest fall in annual profits for 13 years. It made $1.8 billion for the fourth quarter of the year, compared with a $4.2 billion profit for the same period the year before. Full-year 2015 earnings were $3.8 billion, compared with $19 billion in 2014. [BBC]

AP Photo

AP Photo

¶ Seemingly unrelated events in the last few weeks suggest that coal’s role in India’s future may be far more tenuous than widely portrayed. Courts ruled on pollution, private power companies are dumping coal projects in favour of solar, and Coal India doesn’t know what to do about huge stockpiles of unwanted coal. [End Coal]

¶ Denmark’s Dong Energy is going ahead with the world’s largest offshore wind farm, the Hornsea project off the coast of northeast England, making it the first of its kind to have the capacity to produce more than 1 GW of electricity. The 1,200-MW will power more than a million British homes. [Daily News]

Gunfleet Sands Wind Farm This wind farm on Gunfleet Sands, seven kilometres off the Essex coast. Photo by Bob Jones. CC BY-SA 2.0 Genergic. Wikimedia Commons.

Gunfleet Sands Wind Farm, seven kilometres off the Essex coast. Photo by Bob Jones. CC BY-SA 2.0 Genergic. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ An ambitious plan to build a nuclear power plant in Cambodia with technical assistance from Russia announced in November is unrealistic at this time, a senior official from state-run energy supplier Electricite du Cambodge said. He said Cambodia is not ready for construction of nuclear power plant. [Khmer Times]

US:

¶ Analytics firm IHS has released new figures which predict US solar PV installations to grow 60% year-over-year, with an expected 15 GW installed in 2016. A strong demand for utility-scale solar PV will drive growth in 2016, and will be boosted by the multi-year extension to the Investment Tax Credit. [CleanTechnica]

¶ MidAmerican Energy Co said on Wednesday it has reached 3,500 MW of installed wind power generation capacity after recently completing two wind parks in its home state of Iowa. The vice president for renewable energy said wind now makes up the largest share of the company’s generation portfolio. [SeeNews Renewables]

Wind farm in Iowa. Author: Theodore Scott. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Wind farm in Iowa. Author: Theodore Scott. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic.

¶ Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City wants to increase the solar power capacity of city-owned buildings five-fold from what it is now, according to his aides, who spoke yesterday. The push comes as part of an ambitious plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the country’s most populous city by 80% by 2050. [The Rakyat Post]

¶ The $2 billion, 515-mile-long SunZia power line project got a big boost Wednesday from the Arizona Corporation Commission, which voted 3-2 to approve its construction in this state. The project involves two power lines that would go from central New Mexico into Southern Arizona. [Arizona Daily Star]

The proposed SunZia lattice steel towers will be similar in height to these towers near Spearville, Kansas. Associated Press photo.

The proposed SunZia lattice steel towers will be similar in height to these towers near Spearville, Kansas. Associated Press photo.

¶ NJR Clean Energy Ventures, a subsidiary of New Jersey Resources, announced the completion of its third onshore wind project, the Alexander Wind Farm, in Rush County, Kansas, approximately 120 miles northwest of Wichita. The $83 million project consists of 21 turbines with a total capacity of 48.3 MW. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative has utilized renewable resources to generate 90% of the Garden Isle’s power during several days last month. KIUC said it used a combination of solar, biomass and hydroelectricity on its way to hitting that 90% mark for brief periods on four days in January. [Pacific Business News (Honolulu)]

The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative's Koloa Solar project. Photo courtesy KIUC.

The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative’s Koloa Solar project. Photo courtesy KIUC.

¶ The Georgia Mountain Community Wind farm announced that its annual energy production exceeded expectations by more than 22%, producing more than 33,000,000 kWh of Vermont-made renewable energy in 2015. This represents enough renewable energy to power more than 5,500 Vermont households. [vtdigger.org]

¶ A report from research and consulting firm Synapse Energy Economics examines state-by-state impacts of Clean Power Plan options and found that using strong energy efficiency policies in state plans can produce significant electricity bill savings for consumers while reducing carbon pollution. [Biomass Magazine]

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