April 17 Energy News

April 17, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ Last summer, researchers found the first ever case of a loon that died of avian malaria in New England, on Umbagog Lake on the border of New Hampshire and Maine. Other birds in the area are infected. With climate change, the parasite appears to be moving north. [Barre Montpelier Times Argus]

A Great Northern Loon on a nest in Maine. Photo by Dana Moos. CC BY-SA 2.o generic. Wikimedia Commons.

A Great Northern Loon on a nest in Maine. Photo by Dana Moos. CC BY-SA 2.o generic. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Even relatively “low” levels of common air pollution damage the lung functioning of children, a recent study shows. It found that children living within 100 meters of a major highway had, on average, lung function around 6% lower than that of children living no closer than 400 meters. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ The French government is “completely committed” to constructing the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant, the French economy minister has told the BBC. He said the £18-billion project in Somerset was “very important” for France and EDF, which is 85% government-owned. [BBC]

¶ The Indonesian Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry reports that $320 million was invested in renewable energy in the first quarter from January up to March, 23% of the target of $1.37 billion in the year. The greatest investment went into bioenergy, followed by geothermal. [Jakarta Post]

President Joko Widodo (center) inspects a solar power plant. (Antara/Yudhi Mahatma)

President Joko Widodo (center) inspects a solar power plant. (Antara/Yudhi Mahatma)

¶ The government of Nepal has plans to generate 1,846 MW of electricity within two years. A total of 628 MW would be run-of-the-river projects and 106 MW would be reservoir-based. Also, 200 MW of electricity would be generated from other renewable energy sources. [Himalayan Times]

¶ The island of Guernsey could achieve greater energy security and independence through locally-generated renewable energy, an environmental specialist said. He believes it could realistically begin in years rather than decades. The island imports the majority of its electricity from France. [BBC News]

US:

¶ One casualty of Alaska’s budget crisis this year is the Renewable Energy Fund. Since 2008, it has supported scores of projects, with most of them aimed at replacing expensive diesel fuel with everything from wind to hydro to biomass. The Senate passed a bill to replace some of that funding. [KTOO]

Kwigillingok has five wind turbines, four of which are currently working. (Photo by Rachel Waldholz/APRN)

Kwigillingok has five wind turbines, four of which are currently working. (Photo by Rachel Waldholz/APRN)

¶ Clearwater Energy is laying the groundwork for a wind farm near Forsyth, Montana, big enough to power 300,000 homes. The project has been quietly in the works since 2012, but Montanans talk about it as they consider a future when Washington and Oregon abandon coal. [Billings Gazette]

¶ Cheap electricity rates from burning coal, even cheaper natural gas, and state energy policy still make it hard in states like Kentucky and Indiana for solar to compete. But that seems to be changing as the cost of solar falls and is expected to decline up to 12% per year through 2020. [The Courier-Journal]

A group from Solar Over Louisville toured the Berea community solar array. (Photo: Mark Mahan, Special to The CJ)

A group from Solar Over Louisville toured the Berea community solar array. (Photo: Mark Mahan, Special to The CJ)

¶ The National Renewable Energy Laboratory released a report on electric vehicle awareness showing some barriers to wider adoption. While 20% of people said their next vehicle could be a pure EV and 24% said so about plug-in hybrids, only 48% could name a specific model. [CleanTechnica]

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