June 1 Energy News

June 1, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ If you thought the upper limit of solar cell efficiency was 32%, think again. MIT News reported on a research team that showed how a silicon solar cell could top the theoretical limit of 32%. See you later, Shockley-Queisser Limit, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out. [CleanTechnica]

Photo via MIT News, courtesy of the researchers.

Photo via MIT News, courtesy of the researchers.

World:

¶ Solar, wind and hydropower sources were added in 2015 at the fastest rate the world has yet seen, according to the Renewables Global Status Report. Investments in renewables during the year were more than double the amount spent on new coal and gas-fired power plants. [BBC]

¶ Australia installed almost 1 GW of new solar capacity last year but that was easily eclipsed by rather cloudy nations such as the United Kingdom, which installed about four times as much, according to the REN21 Global Status report on renewable energy. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

Solar PV capacity in Australia lags that of less sunny nations such as the UK and South Korea.

Solar PV capacity in Australia lags that of less
sunny nations such as the UK and South Korea.

¶ The German Chancellor hammered out a deal with state premiers on the latest reform to Germany’s renewable energy law, with a view to lower costs and controlling renewable additions. They agreed to cap the expansion of onshore wind power at 2.8 GW in capacity per year. [The Guardian]

¶ Some Fort McMurray residents are to return home for the first time since a huge wildfire displaced 90,000 people. Alberta’s Premier Rachel Notley said the conditions needed for the return of the residents had been met. Three neighbourhoods, however, are to remain off-limits. [BBC]

Residents from the neighbourhood of Abasand are not able to return yet. Reuters photo.

Residents from the neighbourhood of Abasand
are not able to return yet. Reuters photo.

¶ A poll indicates 71% of Australian voters would consider voting for a party that supported distributed small-scale solar and storage. The Australia Institute’s report into battery storage also states 1 in 4 Australians want to generate their own power and store it, to go off-grid. [Energy Matters]

¶ In coming years, Canada can expect a switch from oil and gas to renewables, according to a draft policy report from Policy Horizons Canada, a government group. Even more importantly, the report notes, Canada should expect some of its oil to likely “remain in the ground.” [Grist]

Canadian tar sands. Flickr / howlcollective.

Canadian tar sands. Flickr / howlcollective.

¶ In Canada, some Nunavut communities could cut their fossil fuel use by up to half with renewable energy that wouldn’t cost any more than the aging diesel generators they now use, a new study has concluded. Most of the territory’s generators are over 35 years old. [TheChronicleHerald.ca]

¶ According to a GlobalData report, China installed 30.5 GW of wind power in 2015 – which accounts for nearly half of all new global wind energy installations. The US installed 8.6 GW, while third place Germany installed 6.1 GW. Brazil and India each installed 2.6 GW. [Inhabitat]

Windpower in China. Image from Wikipedia.

Windpower in China. Image from Wikipedia.

¶ Japan is missing its own deadline to find a new operator for the Monju fast-breeder reactor, a prototype nuclear power program that’s failed to succeed in the two decades since it was built, threatening the resource-poor country’s support of a technology other nations have abandoned. [Bloomberg]

US:

¶ What state officials say will be Nebraska’s largest solar energy project is expected to begin tracking the sun and delivering some of its power by June 20. The 46-acre Enerparc project will be able to output about 3.6 megawatts, enough to power around 900 Lincoln homes. [Sioux City Journal]

Lincoln Electric System's community solar project. Eric Gregory, The Journal Star via AP

Lincoln Electric System’s community solar project.
Eric Gregory, The Journal Star via AP

¶ In Michigan, Indiana Michigan Power is breaking ground Wednesday on its Berrien County solar power installation. The project will include about 50,000 solar panels on 35 acres near Watervliet and will generate enough electricity for annual needs of 700 homes. [South Bend Tribune]

¶ In New Jersey, the Atlantic County Utilities Authority is considering using its landfill to create fuel. According to the report from the Press of Atlantic City, the landfill will hit its capacity in around 2026. Another option is to pay to truck the trash to other states. [Renewable Energy from Waste]

¶ Clean energy activists in New York say the state should not subsidize the nuclear energy industry. The activists spoke at a Public Service Commission hearing last week on the governor’s proposed energy plan, which would half the state’s energy from renewable sources by 2030. [WSHU]

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