June 9 Energy Week

June 9, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ Carbon emissions stopped growing in 2015 for the first time in 10 years as the world turned its back on coal and embraced energy efficiency and renewable power more vigorously, according to a new set of statistics from BP. China led the way, but the progress may not last. [The Guardian]

 China overtook Germany and the US as the world’s biggest generator of solar power in 2015. Photograph: ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images.


China passed Germany and the US as the biggest generator of solar power in 2015. Photograph: ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images.

World:

¶ Saudi Arabia’s deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman has taken bold steps in his role as chairman of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs. The latest of these is an ambitious plan to move the country away from an oil-based economy to one that is investment-based. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Norway has become the first country to stop clear-cutting of trees, a huge step toward curbing global deforestation. In their pledge last week, Norwegian lawmakers also committed to find a way to source essential products like palm oil, soy, beef, and timber sustainably. [CNN]

Deforestation for palm oil in Liberia.

Deforestation for palm oil in Liberia.

¶ The German firm, Energtrag, is adding a power-to-gas facility to its existing hybrid power plant. Deutsche Bahn is the first customer. The process uses electrolysis to make hydrogen, then adds carbon to that to create synthetic methane, which can be stored indefinitely. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Enel Green Power grid-connected a 66-MW solar farm in South Africa, one of three projects in the country the utility announced in March. Enel’s South African portfolio is now nearly 160 MW and a further gigawatt of projects has been awarded or is already under construction. [PV-Tech]

A previous South African PV project completed by Enel. Image: Enel Green Power.

A South African PV project by Enel. Image: Enel Green Power.

¶ The new Cốc San power plant in Vietnam’s Lào Cai Province, a run-of-river hydropower facility supplying almost 30 MW of power to regional off taker Northern Power Corporation, opened yesterday. It represents the first foreign direct investment in hydropower in the region. [Viet Nam News]

¶ A gold and copper mine in Western Australia has switched to solar power, with 34,000 PV panels supplying electricity alongside 1.8 MWh of battery storage. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency is supporting the project with $20.9 million recoupable grant funding. [EcoGeneration]

DeGrussa Solar Project.

DeGrussa Solar Project.

¶ Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen stressed that the goal of her administration to phase out nuclear power by 2025 “has never changed and will never change.” Tsai, made the statement amid controversy over restarting a reactor at the country’s No. 1 nuclear power plant. [Focus Taiwan News Channel]

¶ Renewables’ portion of the global power generation mix has increased substantially in the last half decade. Particularly in European countries, renewable energy sources contributed more than 26% of overall electricity generation in 2015. This was a rise from nearly 20% in 2011. [Market Realist]

Electricity generation by source.

US:

¶ Analysis by the Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis highlights the recent numbers, which showed the amount of electricity generated by hydro, wind, biomass, and geothermal sources together reached 19.2% of all power generation in the United States during March. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Legislation that could make hydro and wind power a bigger part of the state’s overall energy mix passed the Massachusetts House. The bill would require utilities to solicit long-term contracts for importing an additional 1,200 MW each of Canadian hydro-power and offshore wind. [Woonsocket Call]

Windmill Point at the end of Hull, Massachusetts. Photo by Doc Searls from Santa Barbara. CC BY-SA 2.0 generic. Wikimedia Commons.

Windmill Point, Hull, Massachusetts. Photo by Doc Searls from Santa Barbara. CC BY-SA 2.0 generic. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Dairyland Power Cooperative announced an agreement to build the 98-MW Quilt Block Wind Farm in southwestern Wisconsin. They are working with EDP Renewables on the 49-tower wind farm 20 miles southeast of Platteville. It could be operational by the end of next year. [WXOW.com]

¶ DTE Energy Co plans to shut down eight more coal-fired units at three power plants in Michigan within the next seven years. DTE said the plants together generated about 25% of all the electricity produced by the utility in 2015, which is enough to power 900,000 homes. [Crain’s Detroit Business]

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