March 20 Energy News

March 20, 2016

World:

¶ The Spanish utility company Endesa purchased 410 GWh of solar electricity, during a recent solar energy auction for Portugal and Spain, at a price of €39.6/MWh ($43.82/MWh). The quarterly auctions relate to roughly 500 GWh of generation, varying at the various times of year. [CleanTechnica]
(This is extremely important. In this case, the wholesale price of unsubsidized solar power has fallen below to 4.4¢/kWh. Even with the price of battery storage added, it competes with electricity from natural gas at a time when the price of gas fuel is low.)

PVs in El Paso, La Palma, Spain. Photo by Rufus46. CC BY-SA 3.0 unported. Wikimedia Commons.

PVs in El Paso, La Palma, Spain. Photo by Rufus46.
CC BY-SA 3.0 unported. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ The province of Jujuy in Argentina will develop 700 MW of solar PV projects with the German company Photovoltaic Park, following the signing of letter of intent between the two. Three different projects, in different parts of the province, and will cost around $1.4 billion to develop. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The UK government will make a net-zero emissions goal that it agreed to at the COP21 talks in Paris the law, following advice from the Committee on Climate Change, according to recent reports. The UK’s legal target will change from an 80% emissions reduction to net-zero. [Sustainnovate]

Abandoned farmhouse on the edge open pit mine. Photo by Robert Guthrie. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Abandoned UK farmhouse on the edge open-pit mine. Photo by Robert Guthrie. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Vietnam will need around $148 billion to invest in developing the national grid and resources in the 2016-2030 period. Vietnam will accelerate development of renewable resources, such as hydro, wind, solar, and biomass, to increase the proportion of electricity that is renewably sourced. [VietNamNet Bridge]

¶ Italy’s economic powerhouse, Milan, is seeking to bring back the bicicletta by paying people to cycle to work. The move follows the announcement in December of a €35 million government fund for sustainable mobility solutions, after dangerous levels of pollution in major cities. [The Guardian]

Milano, via Carducci. Photo by Friedrichstrasse. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Milano, via Carducci. Photo by Friedrichstrasse. 
CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ After transformer explosions caused massive power outages across Sri Lanka, German experts are coming to inspect the transformers and recommend ways of avoiding future power failures resulting from such breakdowns. They will recommend both short-term and long-term solutions. [The Sunday Times Sri Lanka]

¶ Rottnest Island is off the coast of Western Australia. Together, a new solar farm and its existing wind turbine to generate almost half its electricity, greatly reducing the amount of diesel fuel it needs. The solar farm will cost AUS$7.3 million (US$5.55 million) and will generate 600 kW. [The West Australian]

Mount Hersche, Rottnest Island. Photo by Djanga. CC BY-2.5. Wikimedia Commons.

Mount Herschel, Rottnest Island. Photo by Djanga.
CC BY-2.5. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ The growth of cheaper renewable power is outpacing that of nuclear in India, and renewables now account for much more production. In fiscal year 2014-2015, renewable energy accounted for 5.6% of electricity generated in India, against 3.2% for nuclear power. [The Hans India]

US:

¶ Enough windpower came online last year for 19 million American homes. No region of the United States shows this progress better than the American heartland. More than 31% of Iowa’s electricity was generated by wind power last year, the first time a US state topped the 30% milestone. [DesMoinesRegister.com]

Wind turbines in Iowa. Photo by Billwhittaker at English Wikipedia. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Wind turbines in Iowa. Photo by Billwhittaker at English Wikipedia. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Duke Energy signed agreements to buy biogas generated by swine and poultry waste and other biomass sources from a facility to be built in eastern North Carolina. It is expected to make enough methane to produce 125 GWh per year, which will power about 10,000 homes. [Charlotte Business Journal]

¶ The high cost of upgrading 40-year-old nuclear reactors is confronting Xcel Energy again. Investments in the Prairie Island nuclear power plant in Minnesota, are projected to cost more than expected – $487 million by 2020, with more spending needed in the next decade. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

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