March 29 Energy News

March 29, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ When a large generating plant shuts down, the grid’s frequency drops due to an imbalance between generation and load. DOE researchers are evaluating wind farms for providing frequency-responsive back-up currently supplied to the grid by conventional power plants. [Windpower Engineering]

NREL's National Wind Technology Center is the nation's premier wind energy technology research facility.

NREL’s National Wind Technology Center is the nation’s
premier wind energy technology research facility.

World:

¶ Five years after the Fukushima Disaster in Japan resulted in three reactor meltdowns, the global nuclear industry is spending $47 billion on safety enhancements mandated after the accident revealed weaknesses in plant protection from earthquakes and flooding, according to a Platts review. [Platts]

¶ The top official in China’s northern province of Hebei, one of the country’s most polluted, has vowed to use the staging of the 2022 Winter Olympics to drive efforts to cut smog and promote clean energy. Skiing and snowboarding events will be held in the city of Zhangjiakou. [Voice of America]

Heavy haze on a severely polluted day in northern China. Reuters

Heavy haze on a severely polluted day in northern China. Reuters

¶ Chinese regulators said the windswept regions in northern China will suspend the approval of new wind projects in 2016. It is at least the fourth time in five years wind operators were ordered to slow down growth. The transmission system has to keep up with turbine installations. [InsideClimate News]

¶ During the upcoming summer, a public-private council set up in Fukushima will focus on developing market strategies for the wind and hydrogen segments. The scheme is one more step towards the fast reconstruction of the prefecture following the Fukushima nuclear disaster. [SeeNews Renewables]

Wind farm in Japan. Author: cotaro70s. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic.

Wind farm in Japan. Author: cotaro70s.
License: Creative Commons, Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic.

¶ Japan had been poised to get its nuclear plants up and running again after the response to the Fukushima Disaster shut them down. But a series of mishaps has raised doubts over the country’s ability to achieve a goal of supplying 20% to 22% of its energy needs with nuclear power by 2030. [IEEE Spectrum]

US:

¶ DTE Energy is working with the City of Detroit on “what could be one of the largest urban solar arrays in the U.S.” DTE confirmed reports that the company has a large solar energy array planned for 10 acres of a vacant 20-acre parcel on Detroit’s west side in the O’Shea neighborhood. [MLive.com]

Solar panels constructed by DTE Energy in Ann Arbor, Mich. (Ryan Stanton | The Ann Arbor News)

Solar panels constructed by DTE Energy in Ann Arbor, Mich.
(Ryan Stanton | The Ann Arbor News)

¶ The Vermont Senate is due to consider legislation this week that proponents say will give municipalities a say over where renewable energy projects get built. To have that say, towns and regions would have to write energy development provisions into their regional and town plans. [vtdigger.org]

¶ Advanced Rail Energy Storage said its proposed commercial-scale gravity-based rail energy storage project has been granted a right-of-way lease by the Bureau of Land Management. The 50-MW project, on 106 acres of public land in Nevada, will help stabilize the electric grid. [AltEnergyMag]

ARES photo

Rail energy storage. ARES photo

¶ Rooftop solar panels could meet 74% of California’s electricity needs, and the country could get about 39% of its, according to a new study from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. In 2008, NREL estimated that the nation could get 21% of its power from solar. [The Desert Sun]

¶ Navajo utility and government officials in New Mexico will break ground on a large-scale solar project on April 23. The utility authority in December struck a two-year agreement with Tempe-based utility Salt River Project to build the 27.5-MW solar farm in Kayenta, Arizona. [Albuquerque Journal]

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