March 2 Energy News

March 2, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ After seven months, Solar Impulse 2 has returned to the sky as it prepares to resume its record-setting round-the-world flight. The huge, sun-powered plane, which smashed the longest solo record last summer from Japan to Hawaii, flew a 90-minute maintenance and equipment-checking flight. [ABC 57 News]

After seven months, Solar Impulse 2 has returned to the sky as it prepares to resume its record-setting round-the-world flight.

After seven months, Solar Impulse 2 has returned to the sky as it prepares to resume its record-setting round-the-world flight.

Opinion:

“Base load” power: a myth used to defend the fossil fuel
industry
• At a conference in Houston, leaders of the global fossil power industry were shocked to hear the chairman of the biggest network owner in China dismiss the importance of coal, oil, and “base load” power. [RenewEconomy]

World:

¶ The Government of Western Australia will commit $300,000 to investigate building a micro-grid powered by renewables for the coastal town of Kalbarri. The town has experienced several extended and costly power outages, caused by problems with long transmission lines. [ABC Online]

A wind turbine at Kalbarri that would be used to power the proposed electricity micro-grid planned by the State Government.

A wind turbine at Kalbarri that would be used to power the proposed electricity micro-grid planned by the State Government.

¶ Oil giant Shell is being sued in London for the second time in five years over spills in the Niger Delta. Two communities are claiming compensation and want Shell to clean up their land. The Ogale community of about 40,000 people, who are mainly farmers or fishermen, are some of the claimants. [BBC]

¶ The Clean Energy Canada’s annual Tracking the Energy Revolution report found that renewables excelled in a complex economic environment, with 2015 marking the first time developing countries invested more money on clean energy than developed countries did. [edie.net]

The report cited that developing countries spent $167 billion on clean energy in 2015 compared to developed countries which spend $162 billion

The report said developing countries spent $167 billion on clean energy in 2015 compared to developed countries’ $162 billion

¶ China, the United States, and Japan are set to lead the way in terms of solar PV installations in 2016, as the EU solar industry slows. Additionally, by the end of 2016, cumulative global installed solar PV systems will surpass 310 GW, compared to only 40 GW at the end of 2010. [CleanTechnica]

¶ China is surging ahead in switching to renewables and away from coal. Officials say this will allow it to surpass its carbon emissions targets. The country’s solar and wind energy capacity soared last year by 74% and 34% respectively compared with 2014, according to government figures. [New Scientist]

China installed a whopping 32.5 gigawatts of wind energy capacity last year. Xu Yu / Xinhua Press / Corbis

China installed a whopping 32.5 gigawatts of wind energy
capacity last year. Xu Yu / Xinhua Press / Corbis

¶ Scientists have written an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the premiers saying spending on fossil fuel infrastructure may not be the most productive use of resources. Trudeau and the premiers will start talks on a national climate-change strategy this week. [Huffington Post Canada]

US:

¶ The US Energy Information Administration has forecast additions to the US power grid for 2016. They say it will see the first new nuclear power in 20 years, with 1.1 GW. But that will be dwarfed by renewable power sources, which will account for nearly two-thirds of 2016’s new capacity. [Ars Technica]

¶ A lot of new utility-scale solar being built is not required under state Renewable Portfolio Standards. GTM predicts that more than 6 GW of non-RPS utility-scale solar will come online in 2016. The entire solar sector saw 4.1 GW installed in 2015, and that was a record-breaking year. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Hydropower, long the leading source of renewable energy in the United States, is slated to be overtaken by wind generation by the end of 2017, Generation Hub reports. At the end of 2015, wind accounted for 6.33% of the US power mix. Hydro made up 8.41%, but wind is growing quickly. [Utility Dive]

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