April 1 Energy News

April 1, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ Researchers have shown climate change to have similar, significant impacts on bird populations in large, distant areas of the world. Their study used population-predicting models and three decades of field data, gathered by bird-watching volunteers. The findings are published in the journal Science. [BBC]

The American robin has declined in some southern states, but increased further north. US Fish and Wildlife Service

The American robin has declined in some southern states, but increased further north. US Fish and Wildlife Service

World:

¶ A total of 57.7% of electricity consumed in Scotland was renewably generated last year, up 7.9 percentage points on 2014, according to provisional UK government statistics. Scottish politicians and green groups hailed the figure, but warned further progress would be hindered by UK policy. [Energy Voice]

¶ According to new figures published by the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change, 2015 saw renewable energy generate a record 24.7% of the country’s electricity, an increase of 5.6% on 2014 numbers. As a result, electricity bills across the country are falling. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Plummeting coal use in 2015 led to a fall of 4% in the UK’s annual carbon dioxide emissions, according to government energy statistics published on Thursday. Coal is now burning at its lowest level in at least 150 years. Coal consumption fell by 22% compared to 2014. [The Guardian]

Solar panels are installed on Blackfriars station with an old coal-power station in the background. Photograph: Courtesy Solar Trade Association

Solar panels are installed on Blackfriars station. An old coal-power station in the background. Photo courtesy Solar Trade Association

¶ According to a report published this week by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, India’s current plans to build 12 new nuclear-powered plants is not only economically unviable, but fraught with risk, as the plants are intended to be a “first-of-its-kind” design. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Vattenfall has generated the first electricity from the prototype 4.99-MW Parc Cynog solar power project in Wales. The Parc Cynog site in Carmarthenshire already includes 11 wind turbines, which have been in operation for 14 years. The project is Vattenfall’s first large solar array. [reNews]

¶ “The world has too many coal-fired power plants, yet the power industry continues to build more,” costing up to $981 billion. This is the conclusion from the second annual report published by the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, and CoalSwarm, investigating the global coal plant pipeline. [CleanTechnica]

Do we need more coal plants?

Do we need more coal plants?

¶ Lightsource Renewable Energy signed a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement with Belfast International Airport for the largest solar project for any UK airport. The private network will have a hard-wired 4.84-MW off-site solar farm, providing 27% of its annual demand. [Manufacturing Global]

US:

¶ The New Jersey Senate passed a bill requiring utilities in the state to source at least 80% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2050. The percentage of renewable electricity would start at 11% in 2017, growing roughly 10% every 5 years until the 80% target is achieved. [PlanetSave.com]

Jacobstown Solar Field in North Hanover Township, New Jersey. Photo by Mr. Matté. GNU Free Documentation License. Wikimedia Commons.

Solar field in North Hanover Township, New Jersey. Photo by Mr. Matté. GNU Free Documentation License. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Ohio state regulators approved a version of FirstEnergy’s request to have customers subsidize continued operations of the Davis-Besse nuclear plant and the coal-fired WH Sammis plant. Customers will be forced to buy power from the old plants even when cheaper power is available. [cleveland.com]

¶ New York’s FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant will shut down for good next January. Entergy, the plant’s owner, has sent a letter to the NRC confirming the date. The GE boiling-water reactor, the same design as the reactors at Fukushima, has been losing money for years. [Public News Service]

¶ The Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station is “losing a lot of money” and could someday face an early closure like its neighbor, the FitzPatrick plant, unless New York state officials develop price supports for upstate nuclear plants, according to the executive vice president of plant owner Exelon. [Syracuse.com]

Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station. (Constellation Energy Nuclear Group)

Nine Mile Point. (Constellation Energy Nuclear Group)

¶ A Salt Lake City renewable energy provider, sPower announced its first wind project, the Latigo Wind Park, is now fully operational and has closed on its long-term financing plan. The plant, in Southeastern Utah, has a capacity of 60 MW. It has been tested since completion in December. [Digital Journal]

¶ A $60-million landfill gas facility has been commissioned in California. It sits on 2.6 acres of the 725-acre Bowerman Landfill, one of the West Coast’s largest. The plant is expected to produce 160,000 MWh each year. This is enough to cover the annual needs of 26,000 homes. [Biomass Magazine]

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