May 29 Energy News

May 29, 2016

A Tribute to Pioneers:

Carol Levin and her husband, the late Richard Gottlieb. Richard installed PVs on the first satellites powered by the sun. Courtesy photo.

Carol Levin and her husband, the late Richard Gottlieb. Courtesy photo.

¶ Carol Levin and her late husband Richard Gottlieb, who co-founded Sunnyside Solar in the 1980s, are among the 25 renewable-energy innovators honored in an exhibit at the Vermont Folklife Center in Middlebury. They have been an inspiration to a generation of solar enthusiasts. [Commons]
(Richard Gottlieb installed PVs on the first space satellites powered by the sun.)

Science and Technology:

¶ A glitzy new process, under development at the National Energy Technology Laboratory, uses gold nanoparticles to convert CO2 into usable chemicals efficiently. The breakthrough is “carbon negative” and might lead to an effective industrial-scale way to reduce CO2 emissions. [Energy.gov]

¶ Aiming to help make electricity more available in rural parts of India, students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have designed a wind turbine that could be mounted on existing cellular phone towers. It is an elegant vertical axis wind turbine with helical blades. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

UW-Madison students work on a wind turbine. Credit: James Runde / Wisconsin Energy Institute

UW-Madison students work on a wind turbine.
Credit: James Runde / Wisconsin Energy Institute

World:

¶ Saudi Arabia can meet its growing power needs solely through solar projects with energy storage, according to a deputy minister of the Ministry of Economy and Planning. He said at the MENASol 2016 conference, “We should actually put a hiatus on power plants using fossil fuels.” [Utilities-ME.com]

¶ The three 51-meter wind turbines and two sets of solar panels of a project on the Galapagos have supplied 30% of the electricity consumed on San Cristóbal, the second-largest island in size and population, since October 2007. Now, based on its success, the project may be expanded. [EurekAlert]

Frigate bird of the Galapagos. US Fish and Wildlife Photo. Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

Frigate bird of the Galapagos. US Fish and Wildlife Photo.
Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ A statement from the Global Sustainable Electricity Partnership on expansion of windpower on the Galapagos said the existing three turbines had only minimal negative effects on wildlife, while there has been increased reproductive and hatching success for the petrel population. [Examiner.com]

¶ Kuwait Oil Company said it was in discussions with solar companies to use the sun’s energy to extract oil, as the country looks for alternative methods to maximize production at a low cost. Tight oil can be loosened by injecting steam, and solar is seen as a cheap source of heat. [The National]

¶ Venice, Stonehenge, and the Statue of Liberty are among more than two dozen World Heritage sites threatened by climate change, according to a UNESCO report. Emissions from burning fossil fuels are causing the greatest environmental threat facing the sites. [Mashable]

Statues on Easter Island. Photo by Aupaelfary. CC BY-SA 3.0 unported. Wikimedia Commons.

Statues on a beach on Easter Island are threatened by rising seas. Photo by Aupaelfary. CC BY-SA 3.0 unported. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Wärtsilä will supply two smart power generation plants to Bangladesh, each producing 30 MW from three Wärtsilä 34SG engines running on natural gas. The equipment will be delivered in late 2016, and the plants are scheduled to be fully operational in early 2017. [Renewable Energy Focus]

¶ According to HIS Technology, a US-based economic and energy market research company, Africa’s total solar power capacity, estimated at 312 MW in 2013, grew to 1,315 MW in 2015, and is projected to reach 3,380 MW by 2017, a tenfold increase over a period of four years. [Sierra Express Media]

The world’s largest solar power plant in Morocco. Photo credit: World Bank/ Dana Smillie.

The world’s largest solar power plant in Morocco.
Photo credit: World Bank/ Dana Smillie.

¶ Japan will cut reliance on nuclear power in an updated energy plan as early as next year, reflecting public opposition and a recognition that current policy is unrealistic. The move is expected to boost the country’s use of renewable energy, but may also cement its dependence on coal. [Japan Today]

¶ Renewable energy will account for 40% of electricity output capacity by 2030, almost double today’s market share, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency. The agency’s director general said in an interview that the expansion will be due to lower technology costs. [Bloomberg]

US:

¶ The US solar market is expected by year’s end to have grown 119% over 2015 numbers, with the number of panels installed providing a whopping 16 GW of power, more than doubling last year’s previous record-breaking 7.3 GW, according to Boston-based GTM Research. [Toledo Blade]

Solar panels in New Hampshire at Exeter High School. Photo by SayCheeeeeese. CC0. Wikimedia Commons.

Solar panels in New Hampshire at Exeter High School.
Photo by SayCheeeeeese. CC0. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Dominion Virginia Power is assessing options for its proposed offshore wind demonstration project after the DOE said it is withdrawing $40 million in funding. The DOE’s decision came after Dominion could not guarantee the project would be in service before 2020. [Augusta Free Press]

¶ AARP South Carolina is raising concerns about the cost overruns that have resulted during the current SCE&G capital improvement projects. The VC Summer nuclear project has cost $1.5 billion more than originally estimated, and this will be charged to consumers. [Charleston Post Courier]

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