March 17 Energy News

March 17, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ Nearly a quarter of all deaths around the world are caused by living and working in toxic and polluted environments, and the worst affected are children, the poor, and the elderly, according to a new report released by the World Health Organization (WHO). [CommonDreams]

A child scavenges for coal scraps in a slum in Manila. (Photo: Adam Cohn / flickr / cc.)

A child scavenges for coal scraps in a slum in Manila.
(Photo: Adam Cohn / flickr / cc.)

¶ NOAA’s Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii reported a spike in CO2 levels this week, 3.05 ppm, which was the largest year-to-year increase ever observed in the 56 years of recording and research done at the station. It was the fourth consecutive year that CO2 grew more than 2 ppm. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator awarded around 140 MW of new solar energy project contracts at a weighted average price of CAN$0.1567/kWh (US$0.12/kWh). The solar energy allocation in the tender was oversubscribed, with 1,742 MW of bids. [CleanTechnica]

Ontario. Image by Dennis Jarvis (some right reserved)

Ontario. Image by Dennis Jarvis (some right reserved)

¶ Acciona Energía is providing adjustment services to the Spanish electricity system by increasing the level of generation by wind power. Traditionally, system adjustment services for the national grid have been provided by conventional technologies, such as thermal or hydropower stations. [reNews]

¶ Japan has seen a heavy shift from atomic to renewable sources since the Great East Japan Earthquake tipped the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into triple meltdown. But five years after the catastrophe, major issues need addressing for renewable energy to flourish. [The Japan Times]

Wind and solar demonstration field of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology’s Fukushima Renewable Energy Institute. | Kyodo

Wind and solar demonstration field of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology’s Fukushima Renewable Energy Institute. | Kyodo

¶ The UK government presented Budget 2016, giving some details on the planned support for offshore wind in future years, but there was little reason to cheer for renewable energy. The government is criticized for ending renewable incentives while increasing support for fossil fuels. [SeeNews Renewables]

US:

¶ According to TransActive Grid, Brooklyn consumers can transform their homes into connected power stations. The New York startup has developed a consumer-run microgrid – a technology which its founders hope will radically transform the way electricity is bought and sold. [CleanTechnica]

Image Water towers via Shutterstock

Water towers in New York. Image via Shutterstock

¶ Peabody Energy Corp warned it could go bankrupt, signaling the end of an era for listed US corporate coal companies, even as their mines continue to fuel a big chunk of the country’s power stations. Arch Coal Inc, Alpha Natural Resources, Patriot Coal Corp, and Walter Energy are already bankrupt. [Daily News]

¶ ConEdison Solutions, the competitive retail subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, won a $150 million contract for a community aggregation program to provide electricity at low rates to 90,000 residential and small business customers in Westchester County, New York. [Energy Manager Today]

¶ This is likely to be the first year in which natural gas has a higher market share for electricity generation than coal does, federal analysts predict. EIA is predicting that when 2016 ends, natural gas will have generated 33% of the country’s electricity, compared to 32% for coal. [The Hill]

Please click on the image for a larger view.

¶ Federal officials dedicated over 125 square miles in waters off Long Island for wind energy development, pushing forward a renewable energy proposal created by New York utilities. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said the state has “tremendous” offshore wind potential. [Ledger Independent]

¶ The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, a $2.2 billion solar project in the California desert, isn’t producing the electricity it is contractually required to deliver. PG&E Corp says the solar plant may be forced to shut down if it doesn’t receive a break from state regulators. [Nasdaq]

¶ United Airlines will launch an initiative using biofuel to help power flights running between Los Angeles and San Francisco, with plans to expand to all flights operating out of LAX. It is the first time an American airline will use renewable fuel for regular commercial operations. [Independent Online]

The renewable fuel used to power United's planes will be coming from a Los Angeles refinery operated by AltAir Fuels. AP photo.

The renewable fuel used to power United’s planes will be coming from a Los Angeles refinery operated by AltAir Fuels. AP photo.

¶ In an unusual move, Colorado state regulators verbally rejected a proposed agreement between Xcel Energy Inc and three solar power developers that would have added up to 60 MW of “community solar” power plants in Colorado. The PUC typically approves such agreements. [Denver Business Journal]

¶ A unit Dominion Resources Inc will build a 20-MW solar power facility in Virginia in partnership with Microsoft and the state. “It’s good to be moving forward but we’re not moving fast enough”, said the head of the Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club. The plant will power 5,000 homes. [Examiner Gazette]

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