Archive for July, 2016

July 31 Energy News

July 31, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ The American Psychological Association links air pollution to brain disorders and diminished cognitive abilities in a report that links air pollution to increased depression, educational troubles for children, and degenerative problems. “Now, the evidence is mounting that dirty air is bad for your brain as well,” it says. [CleanTechnica]

Neural Connections of the Brain via Flickr CC.

Neural Connections of the Brain via Flickr CC.

¶ Scientists may underestimate how quickly plants can change location in response to climate change, a study from the University of British Columbia says. The comfort zones of many plants and trees are easing north or into higher elevations, but the speed with which they move is being driven by evolutionary responses. [Windsor Star]

World:

¶ A study suggests that households in Pakistan waste 25% of their electricity due to inefficient appliances, contributing to the energy-crisis in Pakistan. It criticizes the dominant narrative on the energy crisis, that nothing can be done about electricity shortages unless the government installs more capacity. [Daily Times]

Pakistani households waste 25% of their electric supply.

Pakistani households waste 25% of their electric supply.

¶ Growing numbers of companies in the UAE are now starting to cater to businesses of all shapes and sizes who are looking to become a little greener. Switching to solar power can do more than helping businesses cut expenses and carbon footprints. It can also boost their reputation and earn the trust of the people around them. [Emirates 24|7]

¶ Taipei is building its first solar power plant using ground mounted solar panels at site that used to be a landfill. The project is part of the capital’s efforts to expand the use of renewable energy. The solar plant is expected to be completed by the end of this year and is to be able to generate up to 2 million kWh per year. [Taipei Times]

Taipei's Muzha Refuse Incineration Plant. Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons. 

Taipei’s Muzha Refuse Incineration Plant.
Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ In Ghana, mining companies will soon be using renewable energy sources to meet their energy needs as part a move to reduce burden on the national grid and reduce their cost of operation. The Energy Commission has impressed on mining companies to adopt renewable energy and reduce the pressure on the national grid. [GhanaWeb]

¶ Progress continues on the $500 million Coopers Gap wind farm near Kingaroy, Queensland, with the release of terms of reference for its environmental impact statement. AGL Energy Ltd proposes to build and operate a 115-turbine wind farm of 350 MW total capacity, enough to power about 180,000 households. [Toowoomba Chronicle]

Landscape at Kingaroy, Queensland. Photo by Rossrs, who released it in to the public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

Landscape at Kingaroy, Queensland. Photo by Rossrs,
released by the author into the public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Eleven operators of Japanese nuclear power plants expect to spend more than ¥3 trillion ($32 billion) to safeguard their facilities, revealing the continuing skyrocketing costs. The overall costs will likely grow even further as many companies have not yet accounted for expenses to build centers to deal with a terrorist attack. [Asahi Shimbun]

US:

¶ Wind power is growing fast in Iowa. Just as Alliant Energy announced a $1 billion, 500-MW expansion of its 200-MW Whispering Willow Wind Farm in north-central Iowa, MidAmerican Energy announced that it had settled a rate agreement that would allow its Wind XI project, a $3.6 billion, 2,000-MW wind farm, to proceed. [TakePart]

Alliant Energy leases land from farmers for its 200-MW Whispering Willow Wind Farm. Alliant Energy photo.

Alliant Energy leases land from farmers for its
200-MW Whispering Willow Wind Farm. Alliant Energy photo.

¶ Sonoma Clean Power, which provides electricity for 88% of homes and businesses in Sonoma County, California, signed its first long-term in-state contract for wind power. The 20-year deal with Golden Hills North Wind Energy Center will buy power generated by wind turbines in the Altamont Pass area of Alameda County. [Sonoma Valley Sun]

¶ Indiana clean energy advocates launched a statewide ad campaign to compel Indiana-Michigan Power to close the coal-fired Rockport plant, the largest in the state, unveiling a new ad campaign to compel I&M to shut the plant down. The power company says it is already on track to convert to cleaner energy. [Indiana Public Media]

 

July 30 Energy News

July 30, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Michael Liebreich Slams Extremely Expensive Hinkley Point C” • The £18 billion Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant would be guaranteed payments equal to twice the current wholesale price of electricity (i.e., what it would get without subsidy) for 35 years! And why? For nonsensical political reasons. [CleanTechnica]

Lazard's LCOE chart. Note that the guaranteed price of £92.50 ($122.40) per kWh offered to Hinkley Point C falls in the middle of the LCOE for nuclear power presented in that chart.

Lazard’s LCOE chart. The guaranteed price of £92.50 ($122.40) per MWh offered to Hinkley Point C is well above costs for solar power.

¶ “Climate change video directed by James Cameron heats up the
DNC” • At the convention, Sigourney Weaver introduced a video directed by James Cameron that contrasts opposing views of on climate change. Titled “Not Reality TV,” the video shows how climate change affects everything from hurricanes to drought. [Inhabitat]

Science and Technology:

¶ Wood buildings sequester carbon, instead of burning it up in production, as steel and concrete do. A video from the Oregon Forest Resources Institute makes the case for increased use of wood in building construction, even in multi-level highrises. The use of wood is increasing in many types of commercial projects. [CleanTechnica]

Wood building store carbon units.

Wood buildings sequester carbon.

World:

¶ Plastic bag use has plummeted in England since the introduction of a 5p charge last year. In the six months after the levy was brought in last October, 640 million plastic bags were used in seven major supermarkets in England, it says. In 2014, the waste reduction charity Wrap estimated the same supermarkets had used 7.64 billion bags. [BBC]

¶ Portugal authorized processing licenses for solar projects totaling more than 2,000 MW. Solar projects totaling 180 MW have been authorized under the existing market system in the nation’s southern region, and an additional 68 licenses for solar projects are being processed, which total more than 2 GW of potential. [CleanTechnica]

Old buildings in Porto, Portugal via Shutterstock.

Old buildings in Porto, Portugal via Shutterstock.

¶ Indian downstream oil companies are the latest to express interest in developing large-scale solar power projects to meet electricity demand. Two of the leading oil refining companies in India, Indian Oil Corp and Oil India, are planning to set up 1 GW of solar capacity in state of Madhya Pradesh to power their operations. [CleanTechies]

¶ Some of the world’s biggest car makers including Vauxhall, BMW, VW and Audi are investigating their paint supply chains after the Guardian linked their suppliers to illegal mines in India where child labor and debt bondage are widespread. Children as young as 10 work at mines for mica, a mineral for shimmery car paint. [The Guardian]

Seven-year-old Karulal works with his father in a mica mine. Photograph: Peter Bengtsen

Seven-year-old Karulal works with his father in a mica mine. Photograph: Peter Bengtsen

¶ Six power plants in the Indian state of Maharashtra have shut down because they produced no power for at least a year. Operations were not viable at one. A couple of power producers had to close because of lack of supplies of coal and gas. The biggest among them all, at 1,380 MW capacity, lacked sufficient water. [The Indian Express]

¶ In 2015 renewable energy provided 25% of the UK’s electricity, up from 20% the previous year. Once considered the lifeblood of this country, coal is now marginally behind gas as the dominant source of electric energy in the UK, with renewable energy sources filling the gap it leaves behind. [Kensington Chelsea & Westminster Today]

Wind farm in the UK.

Wind farm in the UK.

US:

¶ A group of 67 scientists, including James Hansen, Ken Calderia, Mark Jacobson, Michael Oppenheimer, Susan Solomon, and Stuart Pimm, have penned an open letter to the US Department of the Interior calling on the government to end coal leasing on public lands in an effort to protect the climate, public health, and biodiversity. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Democratic gubernatorial candidate Matt Dunne on Friday put out a new wind-turbine siting policy statement. “If a town says no to a large industrial wind project I would use all the power of the governor’s office to ensure that is the end of the project,” Dunne said in his statement. “I will ensure that no means no.” [Seven Days]

Wind Farm in Vermont. Seven Days file photo.

Wind Farm in Vermont. Seven Days file photo.

¶ Profits at two of the biggest oil firms have been hit by the falling price of crude. Exxon Mobil saw its profit fall 59% to $1.7 billion from $4 billion in the second quarter last year. Meanwhile Chevron posted its largest quarterly loss since 2001, $1.5 billion in the second quarter, compared with a $571 million profit last year. [BBC]

¶ Since moving to its new location in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 2015, Duke Energy’s Renewable Control Center has seen the number of wind and solar plants it monitors grow to over 3,500 MW. The center monitors and optimizes wind and solar power plants, as well as providing operations and maintenance services. [CleanTechnica]

Duke Energy Renewables Control Center.

Duke Energy Renewables Control Center.

¶ A key New York state board is set to consider a pricey subsidy for nuclear power plants that could amount to several billion dollars over the next 12 years. The Public Service Commission is scheduled to take up a clean-energy plan on Monday. It would require utilities to buy power from the nuclear plants at a premium. [Poughkeepsie Journal]

July 29 Energy News

July 29, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Port Augusta is at centre of our renewable transition – now isn’t the time to turn back” • Much of the recent commentary around renewable energy in South Australia has suggested we need to slam the brakes on new renewable projects, especially wind farms. For many reasons, this is the wrong response. [RenewEconomy]

Port Augusta. Source: Wikipedia

Port Augusta. Source: Wikipedia.

¶ “Nuclear Power Advocates Claim Cheap Renewable Energy Is A Bad Thing” • In the real world, the unexpectedly rapid drop in the price of renewable power and batteries is a doubly miraculous game-changer that is already cutting greenhouse gas emissions globally. But nuclear power advocates say it is too cheap. [ThinkProgress]

¶ “NY’s historic bailout of nuke plants explained: Why ratepayers could pony up $7 billion” • New York energy regulators are poised to approve the nation’s first clean-air subsidies for nuclear plants, a controversial move that would guarantee about $7 billion in new revenue to three Upstate nukes threatening to close. [Syracuse.com]

The Nine Mile Point plant in Oswego County. Constellation Energy photo.

The Nine Mile Point plant in Oswego County. Constellation Energy photo.

World:

¶ Plans to build the first new UK nuclear plant in 20 years were unexpectedly delayed when the UK’s government put a final decision off until the early autumn. EDF, which is financing most of the £18-billion Hinkley Point project, approved the funding. But the UK’s government said it needed to review the project. [BBC]

¶ The International Energy Agency estimates that 625-million sub-Saharan Africans are without power. The World Bank says 25 of their countries are in energy crisis with poor reliability and high costs. But in just five years, 92 independent power producers got contracts with a combined nameplate capacity of 6,327 MW in South Africa. [BDlive]

Wind turbines in Africa. Picture: Sunday Times.

Wind turbines in Africa. Picture: Sunday Times.

¶ The world’s 47 largest investor-owned fossil fuel and cement producers have been formally accused of human rights abuses. This week, the fossil fuel and cement producers named in the complaint were sent their copies of it by the Philippines Commission on Human Rights. They have 45 days to respond. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Australian renewables advocates spent much of the last week defending wind and solar from the attacks of power industry bodies and media reports blaming intermittent renewables on South Australian electricity prices. Now, however, now federal government’s minister agrees that the problems were not caused by wind and solar. [PV-Tech]

Rooftop solar system in Australia. Flickr: Michael Coghlan

Rooftop solar system in Australia. Flickr: Michael Coghlan.

¶ According to the latest figures from a new report published by information and analysis company IHS Markit, the global energy storage market is expected to double in 2016, growing from 1.4 GWh to 2.9 GWh by the end of the year. After that, the storage market will continue its rapid growth, reaching 21 GWh by 2025. [CleanTechnica]

¶ US independent power producer Sonnedix has reached commercial operation on an 86-MW solar PV plant in South Africa, after only 17 months of construction. The plant was developed in collaboration with Mulilo Renewable Energy and Ixowave Women in Power. Construction was assumed by juwi Renewable Energies. [PV-Tech]

The 125 hectare Prieska Solar Plant. Image: Sonnedix

The 125 hectare Prieska Solar Plant. Image: Sonnedix.

¶ Most of the nuclear fuel inside the No 2 reactor at Fukushima Daiichi apparently did not melt through the pressure vessel as previously believed, research using muon tomography has revealed. The assessment was made based on a study that used muons, elementary particles that travel from outer space, for imaging. [Asahi Shimbun]

US:

¶ NV Energy yesterday is asking for the blessing of the Nevada Public Utilities Commission’s to grandfather net metering for solar customers in the state for 20 years. The Nevada Supreme Court will decide soon on placing a referendum to return to the far more favorable net metering on the ballot in November. [SeeNews Renewables]

Rooftop solar system in Nevada. Author: Pacific Southwest Region. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic

Rooftop solar system in Nevada. Author: Pacific Southwest Region. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic.

¶ The Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund, drawing from cash paid to the state by Yankee owner Entergy, has given $400,000 to the Windham Regional Commission to develop the program over the next several months. Officials say grants will be geared toward small-scale renewable projects in the county. [vtdigger.org]

¶ The Georgia Public Service Commission okayed Georgia Power’s long-range Integrated Resource Plan, under which it would add 1,600 MW of renewable energy capacity by 2021. As part of the plan, the Atlanta-based utility will procure 1,200 MW of renewables, with a limit for wind power to be procured is set at 300 MW. [SeeNews Renewables]

Onshore wind farm. Featured Image: TuTheLens/ Shutterstock.com

Onshore wind farm. Featured Image: TuTheLens/ Shutterstock.com.

¶ A report published by the DOE found that with continued technological advances, innovative market mechanisms, and a focus on environmental stability, the country’s hydropower capacity could grow from its current 101 GW to nearly 150 GW of combined electricity generation and storage capacity by 2050. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Vermont Public Service Board issued interim noise standards for commercial and small-scale wind projects, in accord with legislation that directed the Public Service Board to issue interim rules. For commercial wind projects the board set a limit of 45 decibels outside of a building and 30 decibels on the inside. [Vermont Public Radio]

 

July 28 Energy News

July 28, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ The European summer heat wave of 2003 has been a focal point for scientists studying whether and how human-caused climate change influences extreme weather events. It was the first weather event to be the subject of an attribution study. A new study examines the numbers of fatalities attributable to climate change. [CleanTechnica]

Rhein at Dettenheim during 2003 heat wave. Photo by BlueBreezeWiki. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

The River Rhine at Dettenheim during the 2003 heat wave.
Photo by BlueBreezeWiki. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

World:

¶ China has installed 22 GW of grid-connected solar PV in the first half of 2016. According to PV-Tech, China’s National Energy Administration announced at an industry event in Beijing that the country had logged 22 GW of grid-connected solar PV in the first half of the year, with 11.3 GW in June alone. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Over the past few days, three separate announcements have been made about Australian wind projects moving forward with development. This is welcome news for a country which has for so long seen renewable energy be the primary focus of disinformation and propaganda at the highest political levels. [CleanTechnica]

Gullen Wind Farm

Gullen Wind Farm

¶ Chinese company TBEA SunOasis Co is to build a two-stage 1-GW solar power plant in Egypt under a memorandum of understanding. The deal also envisages the establishment of PV cell manufacturing capacity in Egypt. The Ministry of International Cooperation will back the feasibility study and construction stages. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ The European Commission said it considers France’s decision to support a pilot tidal energy plant in the English Channel with state aid to be in line with the bloc’s rules. France plans to support the construction of the Normandie Energie PiloTe HYDrolien tidal energy pilot farm in a current called the Raz Blanchard. [Sputnik International]

Submarine turbine awaiting installation. © AFP 2016 / Fred Tanneau

Submarine turbine awaiting installation. © AFP 2016 / Fred Tanneau

¶ Energy giant EDF will make its long-awaited final investment decision on the planned nuclear power station at Hinkley Point, ending doubts over the £18 billion project. The French firm’s board is meeting in Paris and is expected to give the go-ahead for the first nuclear power station to be built in the UK for a generation. [The Guardian]

¶ A general trend has been observed in energy markets, and this is especially noteworthy in the UK and US. It is the downslide of coal energy and the rise of renewables. Of particular note, solar PV electricity generation surpassed coal-based electricity production for the first time in the UK during May 2016. [CleanTechnica]

New Rooftop solar in the UK. Photo by Tom Chance (some rights reserved)

New Rooftop solar in the UK. Photo by Tom Chance (some rights reserved)

¶ TEPCO, operator of the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, said first-quarter operating profit plummeted 37% as sales declined amid faltering demand and new entrants into Japan’s power market. Japan liberalized its retail power market in April, allowing consumers to choose their electricity providers for the first time. [Bloomberg]

¶ The Rockefeller Brothers fund has emerged as an investor in an African project of Eddie O’Connor’s Mainstream Renewable Power. The fund, set up by the sons of John D Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil, was part of a $117.5 million investment in a Mainstream joint venture with private equity firm Actis in Africa. [Irish Independent]

Mainstream wants to build wind farms in Africa

Mainstream wants to build wind farms in Africa

US:

¶ The Democrats adopted their party platform at their national convention. The energy and environment section is titled “Combat Climate Change, Build a Clean Energy Economy, and Secure Environmental Justice.” It begins with this statement: “Climate change is an urgent threat and the defining challenge of our time.” [Global Warming]

¶ The team that evaluates responses to New England’s Clean Energy Request for Proposals, targeting 5,000 GWh, will need more time to conclude the process due to the complexity of the analysis and the volume of bids. The evaluation phase was issued in November, 2015, and was initially scheduled to end on July 26. [SeeNews Renewables]

Wind farm. Author: Samir Luther. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

Wind farm. Photo by Samir Luther.
License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

¶ Amid a blistering heat wave and some strong weather, electricity prices in New York soared this past week. According to Platts, New York ISO real-time prices went above $800/MWh (80¢/kWh) on Monday afternoon, and Zone A West real-time prices soared in to more than $1,500/MWh ($1.50/kWh). [Utility Dive]

¶ The Energy Information Administration now provides hourly electricity operating data, including actual and forecast demand, net generation, and the power flowing between electric systems. EIA’s US Electric System Operating Data tool provides nearly real-time demand data, plus analysis and visualizations for the US electric grid. [US EIA]

US EIA demand and supply tool.

US EIA demand and supply tool.

¶ Minnesota Power, a division of US energy company Allete Inc, intends to add roughly 600 MW of wind and solar power capacity to its fleet following a request by state regulators. The company has released a Request for Proposals targeting up to 300 MW of new wind power capacity. Proposals are due by September 7, 2016. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Alliant Energy Corp, based in Madison, Wisconsin, says it will invest $1 billion into building more wind power in Iowa over the next five years. Alliant is seeking approval to expand its Whispering Willow Wind Farm in Franklin County, in north-central Iowa, and it may develop wind farms in other parts of Iowa, as well. [Madison.com]

 

July 27 Energy News

July 27, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “An industrial strategy for energy” • Even the UK’s National Audit Office acknowledges that the only remaining argument in favor of the ‘cathedral within a cathedral’ at Hinkley is that nuclear power gives the UK what is known as baseload power. Britain should abandon Hinkley Point and invest in storage. [Open Democracy]

Hinkley Point nuclear power station. By Di Richard Baker.

Hinkley Point nuclear power station. By Di Richard Baker.

¶ “South Australia’s ‘absurd’ electricity prices: renewables are not to
blame” • Reading many newspapers over the past few weeks you’d think South Australia had become a horrible case study in the dangers of too much renewable energy. Those articles missed the fact that SA power prices doubled as gas prices doubled. [The Guardian]

Science and Technology:

¶ A new study suggests that the increasing acidification of the oceans is likely to interfere with the ability of fish to reproduce. Researchers found that elevated levels of CO2, which make the waters more acidic, saw significantly lower levels of spawning. The scientists say the changes are “subtle but ecologically important.” [BBC]

Researchers say that the Ocellated Wrasse is likely to be impacted by the increasing acidity of the oceans. Natascia Tamburello.

Researchers say that the Ocellated Wrasse is likely to be
impacted by the increasing acidity of the oceans. Natascia Tamburello.

¶ If anthropogenic global warming is to be limited to under 2° Celsius (3.6° Fahrenheit) then technology will need to be developed to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, in addition to completely ceasing greenhouse gas emissions by 2085, according to a study from the National Center for Atmospheric Research. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ Stadtwerke Muenchen, Germany’s biggest municipal utility, plans to expand its presence in the booming offshore wind sector, its CEO said, in a bid to replace loss-making gas and power plants it says will cease to exist at some point. Despite its small size, SWM has already spent about €3 billion ($3.3 billion) on renewables. [Reuters]

A ship sails past the 90-MW Barrow offshore wind farm. Reuters / David Moir

A ship sails past the 90-MW Barrow offshore wind farm. Reuters / David Moir

¶ The City of Cape Town is blasting Eskom’s move to stop signing power purchase agreements with private producers after the current round is finalized. The mayor of Cape Town says the city demands that the energy minister allow the city to procure renewable energy from independent power producers. [ITWeb]

¶ Senvion has signed a deal to supply two MM92 turbines to developer EDL for an offgrid project in the Australian outback. The German outfit said the Coober Pedy hybrid micro-grid project in the south of the country will feature 2-MW turbines, along with a combination of solar and battery storage to reduce reliance on diesel fuel. [reNews]

MM92 turbines (Senvion)

MM92 turbines (Senvion)

¶ According to the UN’s 2016 New and Renewable Energy Investment Trend Report on July 25, the installed capacity of new and renewable energy-powered power plants newly built in the world last year grew 25.5% to 118 GW from the previous year. This volume accounted for 53.6% of all new power generation. [BusinessKorea]

¶ Ukraine’s looking toward the sun to put a radioactive wasteland back into business. Thirty years after atomic fallout from the Chernobyl meltdown rendered an area the size of Luxembourg uninhabitable for centuries, Ukraine is seeking investors to develop solar power near the defunct Soviet reactors. [Livemint]

Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant seen from Ukraine’s abandoned town of Pripyat. Photo: Reuters

Containment structures on the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant,
seen from Ukraine’s abandoned town of Pripyat. Photo: Reuters

¶ South Australia’s state government has announced plans for a new clean energy auction, saying it intends to target “dispatchable” renewable energy sources, including battery storage, for around 25% of the government’s electricity needs. There is still no word on how the government will source the other 75%. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Southeast Asia’s leading wind energy developer, The Blue Circle, has received an Investment Certificate from the Vietnamese authorities for its 40-MW Dam Nai project, in Ninh Thuan province, South Vietnam. The site of 933 hectares has a potential for a total capacity installed of 70 to 100 MW. [Blue & Green Tomorrow]

Vietnamese countryside.

Vietnamese countryside.

¶ Electricite de France SA approved plans for a €4 billion ($4.4 billion) share sale, two days before its board meets to make a final investment decision on its British nuclear-power plant project. The decision may hinge on the votes of independent board members as three of the EDF’s labor unions call to delay development. [Bloomberg]

US:

¶ Nearly 15,000 solar panels soaking up the sun in Osceola County are now providing clean, renewable energy to Duke Energy customers in Florida. The new Duke Energy owned and operated Osceola Solar Facility is about the size of 13 football fields and produces nearly 4 MW of carbon-free energy. [Florida Trend]

Osceola Solar Facility. Duke Energy Photo.

Osceola Solar Facility. Duke Energy Photo.

¶ A new lawsuit filed against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by a coalition of four environmental groups alleges that the new rules for capacity resources approved last year are going to raise utility costs for consumers and are “unduly” burdensome to renewable energy, according to recent reports. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The US reached 74,821 MW installed wind power capacity by mid-2016 and there are now more than 18,200 MW of wind farms under construction or in advanced stages of development. The American Wind Energy Association said activity approached record levels in the second quarter with record low wind costs. [SeeNews Renewables]

 

July 26 Energy News

July 26, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Could Giant Suction Cups Turn Lake Erie Into a Regional Energy
Hub?” • When a 87-year-old Norwegian billionaire chatted in the Canary Islands with a 65-year-old nuclear engineer whose attention had turned to renewables, the conversation turned to a goal of getting a small offshore wind farm running in Lake Erie. [Pacific Standard]

Mono Buckets awaiting installation for the Dogger Bank wind farm in the North Sea off Yorkshire, England. Photo: Universal Foundation.

Mono Buckets awaiting installation for the Dogger Bank wind farm
in the North Sea off Yorkshire, England. Photo: Universal Foundation.

¶ “A hefty nuclear subsidy” • In coming weeks, New York’s Public Service Commission will consider a clean energy plan that envisions a laudable goal: to derive half of the state’s electricity from clean, renewable sources. It also includes what can be fairly described as a massive subsidy for nuclear power plants. [Albany Times Union]

¶ “Clean Energy Is Booming in Historically Red States – and It’s Splitting Conservatives Apart” • Policy fights pitt right-wing grassroots activists against well-funded conservative advocacy groups aligned with fossil fuel producers and power utilities. Fossil fuels have the upper hand for now, but the situation may be shifting. [AlterNet]

Wind power costs and capacity.

Wind power costs and capacity.

Science and Technology:

¶ Climate change is leaving migratory birds with nowhere to go. A study showed that the Arctic region is rapidly becoming unsuitable for shorebird breeding as global warming heightens. Published in the journal Global Change Biology, it said migratory bird breeding in the Arctic could be wiped out by the year 2070. [Nature World News]

¶ Sri Lanka’s prime minister has said mangroves’ ability to absorb carbon swiftly make the forests vital for fighting climate change. As well as storing carbon, the forests provide habitat for fish and protect communities from tsunamis and cyclones. His comments come on the first anniversary of a project to protect all of nation’s mangroves. [BBC]

The economic value of ecosystem services provided by mangroves is estimated to be $194,000 (£148,000) per hectare. Seacology.

The economic value of ecosystem services provided by mangroves
is estimated to be $194,000 (£148,000) per hectare. Seacology.

World:

¶ The Mayor of London has announced that the city is moving to secure a license to provide clean electricity to power underground stations and other facilities. London would be UK’s first local authority to buy energy from small, low and zero carbon energy generators and sell it to help meet electricity needs. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ More than a year after it first took to the skies, Solar Impulse 2 has completed an epic around-the-world journey without burning a single drop of fuel. The revolutionary single-seat solar-powered plane touched down Tuesday morning in Abu Dhabi, at the same airport from which it took off back in March 2015. [Huffington Post]

Completing a dream: the first Round-the-World solar flight in history. Solar Impulse blog.

Completing a dream: the first Round-the-
World solar flight in history. Solar Impulse blog.

¶ Almost one-third of jobs in the UK solar power sector have been lost in the past year and a further 30% of businesses expect to cut staff in the next 12 months, according to a survey by the Solar Trade Association and PwC. The drop follows a year in which deployment in domestic solar has fallen 80% under the feed-in tariff. [reNews]

¶ The Australian Renewable Energy Agency will help finance deployment of a 10-MW solar park that will be co-located with an existing wind park in New South Wales. ARENA is contributing AUS $9.9 million for a $26 million solar plant to be built close to the 165.5-MW Gullen Range wind park south of Crookwell town. [SeeNews Renewables]

Co-location of solar and wind. Author: Gerry Machen. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic.

Co-location of solar and wind. Author: Gerry Machen.
License: Creative Commons, Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic.

¶ A contract worth €40 million was inked with Italian and Swiss investors for building Iran’s biggest solar power plant. The solar power house with a production capacity of 30 MW will be designed, built and implemented in North Khorasan Province. This follows other agreements with Germany for solar power plants. [Mehr News Agency]

¶ The Celtic Interconnector, a roughly 700-MW link between France and Ireland to increase competition and support the growth of renewables, is entering the Initial Design and Pre-Consultation phase. EirGrid Plc and RTE completed feasibility studies for the €1-billion project, and they agreed to move to the next phase. [SeeNews Renewables]

Wind turbine near the coast of Ireland. Author: Harry Pears. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.

Wind turbine near the coast of Ireland. Author: Harry Pears.
License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.

US:

¶ Six weeks after Trump appeared before petroleum producers in North Dakota and gave a speech tailor-made to win their support, the fossil fuel industry seems unexcited about responding. Of the $63.5 million Trump and the Super PACS raised in June, about $580,000 came from people connected to the fossil fuel industry. [InsideClimate News‎]

¶ In search of low-cost, fixed-rate electricity, great deals are swaying Fortune 500 companies and other major players to commit to wind power. Signing contracts for over 2,000 MW of electricity, big brands, high-tech companies, and other non-utility customers took up 52% of new wind energy generating capacity in 2015. [Planetsave.com]

Great wind energy deals are swaying major players. Credit: Energy.gov via AWEA.org.

Great wind energy deals are swaying major players.
Credit: Energy.gov via AWEA.org.

¶ The nation’s capital now has the fifth-most-aggressive RPS policy in the nation. As part of the new program the city plans to install solar PV on 100,000 homes where low-income families live. The city’s mayor signed legislation to require the utility to get 50% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2032. [pv magazine]

¶ In Ohio, Cuyahoga County’s executive officer will propose a plan for the county to purchase wind and solar power. In 2018, the Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation, or LEED-CO, will have completed Ohio’s first offshore wind farm, 6 turbines off the coast of Cleveland. The county will take a 9% share of the power. [ideastream]

July 25 Energy News

July 25, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Why fossil fuel industry needs South Australia ‘experiment’ to fail” • Price spikes, such as what recently happened in South Australia, used to be an important part of the business model for coal and gas generators. With the advent of renewable power, the spikes have all but gone away, so when one comes, they blame renewables. [RenewEconomy]

Wind turbines in South Australia. Photo by Fairv8. CC BY-SA 4.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Wind turbines in South Australia.
Photo by Fairv8. CC BY-SA 4.0. Wikimedia Commons.

World:

¶ Profits at Bord na Móna, a company originally formed to harvest Irish peat for fuel, were dented as the group took a €23.6 million impairment charge against the carrying value of its two thermal power stations at Edenderry. The company will become an alternative energy provider, centered on biomass, wind and solar power. [Irish Times]

¶ The UK’s Marine Management Organisation granted approval for deployment and operation of a 30-MW tidal project off the Isle of Wight. The team believes that tidal power is set to surge and this project could set a precedent for the future. But can it compete with other more common renewable energy generation methods? [Power Technology]

Lighthouse on the Isle of Wight

Lighthouse on the Isle of Wight.

¶ Pakistan received a major boost in its endeavor to expand renewable energy infrastructure as Canada agreed to set up large-scale solar power projects in one of the country’s provinces. The Canadian government reportedly signed an agreement with the government of Balochistan to set up 1 GW solar power capacity in the province. [PlanetSave.com]

¶ A sharp fall in solar module prices will help renewable energy producers, who have won solar projects at aggressive tariffs but are yet to procure equipment or start construction, leading to higher margins, according to company executives and analysts. Module prices have already declined by as much as 10% in the first half of 2016. [Livemint]

Costs of photovoltaic modules have been declining because of oversupply in China. Photo: Bloomberg

Costs of photovoltaic modules have been declining
because of oversupply in China. Photo: Bloomberg.

¶ A committee of MPs has called on the UK government to clarify support for the Scottish renewables industry following a “disproportionate” impact of cuts on the sector. The Scottish Affairs Committee warned that recent changes in government policy have created uncertainty that may threaten the industry’s growth prospects. [Scottish Housing News]

¶ According to The National, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority is requesting proposals for an early-stage feasibility study on producing electricity from geothermal energy and in particular for its use in potential desalination. The move fits with Dubai’s aim to produce 75% of electricity from clean sources by 2050. [PlanetSave.com]

Dubai skyline. Image via Shutterstock.

Dubai skyline. Image via Shutterstock.

US:

¶ State officials say Minnesota should look at strengthening its renewable energy law. Minnesota is on track to meet a requirement of 25% renewable electricity generation by 2025. But that has not been enough to help reach another state goal, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change. [Fergus Falls Daily Journal]

¶ Solana Beach could become the first city in San Diego County to create its own power company, with the goal of moving to 100% renewable energy. The city is searching for a company to provide a power system based completely on solar, wind, geothermal, or other renewable sources of electricity. [The San Diego Union-Tribune]

Parabolic trough solar thermal electric power plant at Kramer Junction, California. Photo by kjkolb. CC BY-SA 2.5. Wikimedia Commons

Parabolic trough solar thermal electric power plant at Kramer
Junction, California. Photo by kjkolb. CC BY-SA 2.5. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ With four days of convention activities, energy consumption and emissions will rise around Philadelphia. To help offset this increased energy usage, WGL Energy Services, Inc has donated enough carbon offsets to cover the hotel stays of all 28,000 convention attendees for all four days of the Democratic event. [Stockhouse]

¶ Members of Ozarks Electric Cooperative in Arkansas can now buy solar power without installing a panel. Ozarks Electric started the area’s first utility-owned solar farm on 5 acres just outside Springdale. The 4,080-panel array has a capacity of 1 MW. Most of Arkansas’ electricity comes from gas, nuclear, and hydropower. [Northwest Arkansas News]

July 24 Energy News

July 24, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “The Switch: soon solar will be the cheapest power everywhere” • Solar is already the cheapest available power across large swathes of the tropics, writes Chris Goodall – its cost down 99.7% since the early 70s. Soon it will be the cheapest electricity everywhere, providing clean, secure, affordable energy for all. [The Ecologist]

10-MW Solar PV Power Plant in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi, where solar is already the lowest cost form of electricity generation. Photo: Masdar Official via Flockr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Solar power plant in Abu Dhabi, where solar already provides the
least costly electricity. Photo: Masdar Official via Flockr (CC BY-NC-SA).

¶ “Are General Electric’s Nuclear Ambitions Doomed?” • Once heralded as a reliable and clean power source capable of expediting the shift away from fossil fuels, nuclear power faces an uncertain future. Several nations in the EU have announced plans to rid their grids of nuclear power entirely, and plants are closing in the US. [Motley Fool]

Science and Technology:

¶ According to the United Nations weather agency, global temperatures for the first six months of 2016 have been high enough to set this year up as the hottest year in recorded human history. Considering the heat waves we are in, the idea that we are currently in the midst of the hottest year in history isn’t too hard to believe. [The Inquisitr]

(NOAA Image)

World:

¶ Negotiators in Vienna are working on a deal to ban hydrofluorocarbons, chemicals used in air conditioners and refrigerators. Although only small amounts are released, they can trap heat in the atmosphere at levels a thousand times higher than carbon dioxide can, according to published scientific studies. [Northwest Arkansas News]

¶ An aircraft powered by solar energy has left Egypt on the last leg of the first ever fuel-free flight around the world. Solar Impulse 2 climbed out of Cairo on Sunday in darkness, bound for Abu Dhabi. The journey should take between 48 and 72 hours. The carbon fibre plane set off on its epic challenge in March last year. [euronews]

Solar Impulse 2 taking off.

Solar Impulse 2 taking off.

¶ In the Philippines, Energy Development Co signed its first solar rooftop Power Purchase Agreement with Gaisano Capital. The 3400 solar panels to be installed on Gaisano Mall in Iloilo City will provide up to 50% of the mall’s daytime electric needs, offsetting 750 metric tons of Gaisano Capital’s CO2 emissions each year. [Manila Bulletin]

¶ Metrolinx and Toronto Hydro are seeking alternatives to a natural gas-powered backup facility for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT. It would only be used occasionally, when Crosstown train cars are stalled in a tunnel. The initial proposal was for an 18-MW natural gas plant, but residents object to the pollution. [insideTORONTO.com]

Construction on an Eglinton Crosstown tunnel. Photo by Secondarywaltz. CC BY-SA 4.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Construction on an Eglinton Crosstown tunnel.
Photo by Secondarywaltz. CC BY-SA 4.0. Wikimedia Commons.

US:

¶ Wind farm developer Greycliff Wind Prime said a proposed 25-MW wind project east of Big Timber, Montana, was likely dead following a rate action by the Public Service Commission. The PSC set the price Greycliff could charge the utility at $45.49/MWh, about 16% lower than the threshold for profitability. [Casper Star-Tribune Online]

¶ Enough new hydroelectricity to power up to 320,000 homes will come online this year, with four new power plants are under construction at dams along the Ohio River in West Virginia and Kentucky. When the projects are complete, the generating capacity along the Ohio River will grow from 313 MW to 554 MW. [Wheeling Intelligencer]

The Ohio side of the Pike Island Locks and Dam is a popular summer fishing spot. Photo by Casey Junkins.

The Ohio side of the Pike Island Locks and Dam is
a popular summer fishing spot. Photo by Casey Junkins.

¶ Beginning next month, the manure of northern Missouri pigs will provide energy to far-flung power users connected to a national pipeline system for natural gas. The gas production facility poised to come online is only the start of what is intended to be a much broader marriage of renewable energy and agribusiness. [STLtoday.com]

¶ This spring, there has been a dramatic decline in the health of Eastern white pines across New England and Northeast Pennsylvania. Needles on trees have turned color and fallen from the trees. The severely affected trees decline further and die. The cause is not entirely known, but climate change may be part of the problem. [Scranton Times-Tribune]

 

July 23 Energy News

July 23, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ What if rather than using fuels that add carbon dioxide, we could create fuels that recycle carbon dioxide from the atmosphere? Researchers at Arizona State University are exploring the idea of creating fuels that do just that. They are synthesizing carbon-neutral liquid fuels. Think of them as fuels created out of thin air. [AZoCleantech]

Interior of a mobile methanol synthesis trailer, hydrogen is produced and mixed with carbon dioxide for a fuel process. Photo courtesy of Steve Atkins.

Interior of a mobile methanol synthesis trailer, where hydrogen is
produced and mixed with carbon dioxide. Photo courtesy of Steve Atkins.

World:

¶ India has invited its first-ever bids for solar energy projects that include storage as a requirement as part of a trial program aimed at making the renewable resource more reliable. Solar Energy Corp of India sought bids for 300-MW of solar power to be built in the southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. [Bloomberg]

¶ Japan’s nuclear power is unlikely to meet a government target of nearly returning to former levels, and the world’s No-3 economy needs to get serious about renewables, a senior executive at a top business lobby said. The Japan Association of Corporate Executives is urging Tokyo to remove hurdles for renewable power. [StreetInsider.com]

Police officers and security personnel stand guard at an entrance of Kyushu Electric Power's Sendai nuclear power station, during a protest. Photo by Issei Kato / Reuters.

Police and security personnel guard an entrance of Kyushu Electric Power’s Sendai nuclear power station during a protest. Photo by Issei Kato / Reuters.

¶ The United States and Mexico are set to begin negotiating a new nuclear power cooperation agreement, the White House said. Officials for the two countries will look to craft a “123” nuclear agreement before the end of the year. The deal would allow American nuclear companies to export their products and technologies to Mexico. [The Hill]

US:

¶ Ambitious pro-coal plans were put on full display at the Republican National Convention. But the same day that US Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) spoke to the convention in support of the coal industry, a federal court issued a ruling that upheld the EPA’s veto of the notorious Spruce No 1 mine in her home state. [CleanTechnica]

Abandoned coal mine in West Virginia. Photo by ForestWander. CC BY-SA 3.0 US. Wikimedia Commons.

Perhaps this abandoned coal mine in West Virginia is a valuable antique. Photo by ForestWander. CC BY-SA 3.0 US. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Lawyers for Entergy say the company will support a proposal to provide $1 billion in subsidies to nuclear power plants struggling to remain profitable. This comes after the Public Service Commission changed the proposal’s language, removing requirements that the plant be licensed and be struggling financially. [The Journal News | LoHud.com]

¶ North Dakota’s elected leaders and utilities have been vocal in opposing the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Some predicted it would require facilities to close, given the 45% carbon dioxide emissions reduction target the plan required by 2030. But the Stanton Station coal-burning power plant is closing for economic reasons. [Grand Forks Herald]

Great River Energy's Coal Creek Station in Underwood, ND. Photo credit: Logan Werlinger/Grand Forks Herald.

Great River Energy’s Coal Creek Station in Underwood, ND.
Photo credit: Logan Werlinger/Grand Forks Herald.

¶ Illinois’ 25 largest wind farms generate $30.4 million in annual property taxes and $13.86 million in extra income annually for landowners who lease their land to their developers, according to a study released at Illinois State University. The study said the total economic benefit for the life of the projects is $6.4 billion. [Bloomington Pantagraph]

¶ An E.ON subsidiary and Digital Realty, a global provider of data centers, announced a long-term agreement to procure energy from the 200-MW Colbeck’s Corner Wind Farm near Amarillo, Texas. The agreement allows Digital Realty to offset 100% its US co-location and interconnection energy footprint. [PennEnergy]

Texas wind farm.

A Texas wind farm will power Digital Reality’s operations.

¶ The New York State Energy and Research Development Authority will soon release its offshore wind blueprint. The Long Island Power Authority postponed its board of trustees meeting until after the release. The 90-MW Deepwater ONE project awaits their vote, and environmentalists are disappointed at the delay. [North American Windpower]

¶ The US Coast Guard may endorse opening wider swaths of the Atlantic for offshore wind farms by shrinking the buffer zones around shipping channels and ports along the coast. Currently, wind projects must be at least two nautical miles away from shipping lanes and five nautical miles from port access areas. [Windpower Engineering]

 

July 22 Energy News

July 22, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ A recent drought shut down the Amazon Basin’s carbon sink, the ability of a natural zone to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, by killing trees and slowing trees’ growth rates, a study has shown. In the first basin-wide study of the impacts of the 2010 drought, data showed trees’ mortality rate went up while growth rates declined. [BBC]

The vast tropical forests of Amazonia account for almost one-fifth of the world's terrestrial vegetation carbon stock. Roel Brienen.

The vast tropical forests of Amazonia account for almost
one-fifth of the world’s terrestrial vegetation carbon stock. Roel Brienen.

World:

¶ The European Commission presented proposals on binding greenhouse gas emissions intended to “set clear and fair guiding principles to Member States to prepare for the future and keep Europe competitive.” The plan would ensure that all Member States reduce the emissions by at least 40% from 1990 levels by 2030. [CleanTechnica]

¶ South African utility Eskom may refuse to enter into new deals with independent power producers beyond those currently in progress, local media reported. Eskom’s chairman said the utility’s board had concerns about the IPP programme, and it wanted the government to analyse the implications for Eskom. [SeeNews Renewables]

The Darling wind farm in South Africa. Author: warrenski. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

The Darling wind farm in South Africa. Author: warrenski.
License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.

¶ Donald Trump claims that planning conditions have been breached on Vattenfall AB’s 92.4-MW Aberdeen offshore wind farm. The Scotsman reported that Trump’s company plans to file formal written objections, and the paper cited a spokeswoman as accusing Aberdeen City Council officials of “gross incompetence.” [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Residents in Orkney are to benefit from a new smart-control energy system linking the renewable energy generated from wind turbines to the heating systems in their homes. The project will use the excess electricity that cannot feed into the grid and divert it to newly-installed heating devices in domestic properties. [Blue & Green Tomorrow]

South Ronaldsay is one of the Orkney Islands. Photo by John Haslam. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

South Ronaldsay is one of the Orkney Islands.
Photo by John Haslam. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Energy giant EDF will make its long-awaited final decision on the planned nuclear power station at Hinkley Point next week. The company has called a meeting of its board of directors on July 28. The agenda includes the final investment decision on the construction of two reactors at Hinkley Point C in Somerset. [Energy Voice]

¶ Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s unabashed ambition to transform the country’s energy sector into a world-leader for renewables looks to have won over a series of the industry’s typically more curmudgeonly opponents, big oil and the fossil fuel industry. A number of the biggest companies are investing in solar power. [pv magazine]

Leading big oil, coal, and gas giants of India are beginning to see the benefits of solar power. IBC Solar

Leading big oil, coal, and gas giants of India are
beginning to see the benefits of solar power. IBC Solar.

US:

¶ Elon Musk, Tesla Motors chief executive, has unveiled a ‘master plan’ for his company to broaden its product portfolio into electric trucks and buses, car sharing and solar energy systems. The strategy additionally includes plans to go into more competitive markets to develop car and ride-sharing programs. [E&T magazine]

¶ The Obama administration announced that it will make $4.5 billion in DOE loan guarantees available for the support of a commercial-scale electric vehicle charging station buildout. The DOE will partner with car makers, in the move, which is to support the faster and easier adoption of electric vehicles over the coming years. [CleanTechnica]

EV charging. Photo by Cynthia Shahan for CleanTechnica & EV Obsession.

EV charging. Photo by Cynthia Shahan for CleanTechnica & EV Obsession.

¶ East Kentucky Power Cooperative filed the request with the Kentucky Public Service Commission according to a news release issued by Farmers RECC. If approved, the installation would be one of Kentucky’s largest solar farms, covering 60 acres of land and providing power from more than 32,000 PV panels. [Glasgow Daily Times]

¶ Phoenix-based Republic Services Inc and Ponte Vedra, Florida-based Mas Energy LLC have unveiled a series of landfill-gas-to-energy projects in the Atlanta area. The three systems are located at landfills in the cities of Buford, Griffin and Winder, Georgia. Together, the facilities are capable of generating 24.1 MW. [Recycling Today]

Republic landfill gas site.

Republic landfill gas facility.

¶ A coalition of over 150 local businesses and institutions ranging from farms and credit unions, to hotels, main street shops, manufacturers and solar companies has sent a joint letter to the Vermont Public Service Board urging the regulators to support renewable energy and protect the state’s net energy metering program. [Solar Industry]

¶ Target Corp has expanded its commitment to renewable energy. The discounter kicked off its first wind power partnership, buying a portion of the energy produced by Starwood Energy Group’s 211-MW Stephens Ranch Wood Project, to offset 100% of the energy used at all 60 Target stores in the state of Texas. [Chain Store Age]

July 21 Energy News

July 21, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ Lark Energy has secured a UK patent for a new renewable solar thermal technology that uses a Fresnel lens to concentrate solar irradiation, which in turn heats tubes containing water to make steam. The angle of the lens can also be adjusted using a vertical axis to track the sun’s rays, maximizing the levels of irradiation. [Solar Power Portal]

Larkfleet thermal system

Simone Perini, renewable energy
development engineer, and the Larkfleet thermal system

¶ It’s no news that Greenland is in serious trouble, but now, research has helped quantify just how bad its problems are. A satellite study, published last week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, suggests that the Greenland ice sheet lost a whopping 1 trillion tonnes of ice between the years 2011 and 2014 alone. [The Independent]

World:

¶ Energy consumed at data centers could account for as much as 2% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Google is using artificial intelligence to reduce the amount of energy it uses to cool its immense data centers. The company said it managed to reduce the energy used to cool them by as much as 40%. [Telegraph.co.uk]

Google's DeepMind algorithms have been put to work at its immense data centres. Credit: Google.

Google’s DeepMind algorithms have been put
to work at its immense data centres. Credit: Google.

¶ Europe could risk losing its place as a global investment hub for renewables unless the EU delivers a mechanism to meet post-2020 goals, according to industry associations. To reach a 2030 target, ten European renewables associations said, the EU has to hold member states to account if they fail to meet goals. [reNews]

¶ Vattenfall has committed to the construction of the 92.4-MW Aberdeen offshore wind farm off northeast Scotland for £300 million. The Swedish utility acquired the 25% stake in the project previously controlled by Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group ahead of the final investment decision. [reNews]

Rendering of the project Donald Trump opposed, saying it would ruin the view from his golf course. (Vattenfall image)

Rendering of the project, which Donald Trump opposed,
saying it would ruin the view from his golf course. (Vattenfall image)

¶ Latin America is on target to install 2.7 GW of new solar PV capacity in 2016, according to new figures from IHS Markit. However, IHS Markit, a leading critical information, analytics, and solutions broker, is quick to warn that challenges, such as administrative delays, still remain for the Latin American solar PV market. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Greenpeace Japan said it has discovered radioactive contamination in Fukushima’s riverbanks, estuaries and coastal waters at a scale hundreds of times higher than pre-2011 levels. One sample taken along the Niida River showed cesium-134 and cesium-137 at levels of 29,800 becquerels per kilogram. [The Japan Times]

A Greenpeace Japan member removes sediment samples from a remotely operated grabber at Lake Biwa. | © Christian Åslund / Greenpeace

A Greenpeace Japan member removes sediment samples from a
remotely operated grabber at Lake Biwa. | © Christian Åslund / Greenpeace

¶ Mainstream Renewable Power said it remains committed to building a £2 billion wind farm off the Scottish coast despite losing a legal battle brought by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. It will now wait on the Scottish government’s decision on whether or not to appeal before it decides its next move. [Irish Examiner]

¶ The latest data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance for the second quarter in 2016 shows investment in large scale wind in Australia at its highest levels since 2013, just before the Abbott government was elected and brought investment in large scale renewable energy to a halt. Solar power investment is off, however. [RenewEconomy]

Emu Farm Wind. Photo by malagaguy. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Emu Farm Wind. Photo by malagaguy. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

US:

¶ New York, Massachusetts, and Maryland have filed lawsuits in their respective state courts seeking millions of dollars in damages from VW for emissions from diesel engines. The attorneys general say they will name people who lied, who destroyed evidence, and who in upper management knew and failed to act. [gas2]

¶ Los Angeles has its first apartment building that was designed, built, and permitted so tenants could use solar power and achieve net-zero energy usage. The 20 eco-apartments are sited downtown. The Development Design Manager at Hanover Company, which was responsible for them, described them. [CleanTechnica]

Image Credit: Hanover Company

Eco-apartment building. Image Credit: Hanover Company

¶ Switch has two massive data centers in Nevada, and has been active in using solar power to lower its energy costs and reduce its carbon footprint. It says it started trying to buy solar power from NV Energy in 2011. Now Switch has filed a lawsuit, alleging that solar power in the state, from NV Energy, is overpriced. [Solar Love]

¶ Hawaiian Electric Industries, parent company of the state’s dominant electric utility Hawaiian Electric Co, announced Tuesday that it is not for sale following regulatory rejection of its acquisition by Florida-based NextEra Energy. HEI also has withdrawn an application to import liquefied natural gas from Canada. [Utility Dive]

Credit: Hawaiian Electric

LNG carrier. Credit: Hawaiian Electric

¶ Glacier Ridge Wind Farm LLC filed an application last week asking the North Dakota Public Service Commission for permission to build a 300.15-MW wind farm with up to 87 turbines north-east of Valley City. It is the largest individual wind farm permit in state history, and utility regulators had warnings relating to grid reliability. [INFORUM]

¶ Alterra Power Corp has reached agreement with Inovateus Solar to acquire an 80% stake in two solar farms totalling 20 MW in the Midwest. Alterra is developing and arranging financing for a 7-MW facility in Indiana, expected to be complete by the end of 2016. A 13-MW project in Michigan is planned for development in 2017. [reNews]

July 20 Energy News

July 20, 2016

World:

¶ The UK imports millions of tons of American wood pellets every year to be burned in power stations for ‘climate friendly’ electricity. But the practice is devastating forests, and the UK government’s own research shows that it’s worse for the climate than the coal it replaces, as forests that offset carbon emissions are being destroyed. [The Ecologist]

Clear-cut forest in Oregon. Photo by Calibas. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Clear-cut forest. Photo by Calibas. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ The Scottish courts have quashed planning consent for 2.3 GW of offshore wind farms off the country’s east coast. In doing so, it sided with claims by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, which was acting to protect birds and other wildlife. The Scottish Government said it remains committed to offshore wind. [reNews]

¶ Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp signed a pact with Korea Electric Power Corp and Mongolian investment company Newcom LLC to co-develop and co-invest in Mongolian renewable energy projects. The memorandum of understanding calls for work on wind and solar PV projects at the city of Ulaanbaatar. [SeeNews Renewables]

Wind farm in Japan. Author: cotaro70s. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic.

Wind farm in Japan. Author: cotaro70s.
License: Creative Commons, Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic.

¶ A newly elected local governor will ask Kyushu Electric Power Co for a temporary shutdown of Sendai nuclear plant, Japan’s only operating facility, as early as August. He has said he wants the shutdown for checks on the impact of a series of strong quakes that struck neighbouring Kumamoto earlier this year. [Himalayan Times]

¶ Nigus Greenergy and Volt Renewables have signed a memorandum of understanding relating to 300 MW of solar PV plants to be developed and commissioned in Nigeria next year. The project will comprise three, 100 MW solar plants located in northern Nigeria and will be 10% of Nigeria’s generating capacity. [pv magazine]

Nigerian countryside.

Nigerian countryside.

US:

¶ As it is coming together, the Democratic National Convention platform takes on climate change as one of the most urgent issues of our day. The platform supports a price on carbon and methane emissions. It takes a tough stance on fossil fuel companies, calling for eliminating tax breaks and subsidies for these firms. [Triple Pundit]

¶ The final Republican platform would pull the United States out of the international climate accord, open national forests for logging, and declare coal a “clean energy resource.” It would also end limits to CO2 emissions, pull the US out of the United Nations climate process, and end all subsidies to renewable energy. [Deutsche Welle]

Republicans would reclassify coal as a "clean energy resource."

Republicans would reclassify coal as a “clean energy resource.”

¶ Discount Power, a licensed retail energy supplier, announced they have launched green energy products for their customers to support clean energy production and reduce use of fossil fuels. They are offering 100% wind energy for homes and businesses in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Maryland. [Power Online]

¶ The Obama Administration announced it has partnered with six federal agencies to pursue a new catalytic goal to deploy 1 GW of solar power systems for low-to-moderate-income families by 2020. The new objective is a tenfold increase of the president’s initial target of 100 MW set in his Climate Action Plan. [SeeNews Renewables]

Solar array. US Dept of Agriculture photo. Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

Department of Agriculture photo. Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ The Vermont Public Service Board issued an order scaling back support for solar, bringing loud complaints from environmentalists and industry officials. The changes include a sharp reduction in the amount of power utilities will be required to buy from customers who generate their own power for net metering. [Barre Montpelier Times Argus]

¶ The Montana Public Service Commission voted to establish contract terms and conditions between Greycliff Wind Prime and NorthWestern Energy, for a 25-MW wind farm. Under federal law, Northwestern Energy must purchase the power at the utility’s “avoided cost,” the cost if would have incurred buying elsewhere. [kmmsam]

July 19 Energy News

July 19, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ The co-pilots and founders of Solar Impulse, the remarkable solar powered plane that is making a ground-breaking flight around the world, have made a stunning prediction: There will be short-haul electric planes for up to 50 people operating within 10 years. Charging the planes would be on the ground, however. [CleanTechnica]

Solar Impulse 2 above the clouds.

Solar Impulse 2 above the clouds.

¶ Scientists have found yet another issue with fracking. Asthma patients are 1.5 to four times more likely to have asthma attacks if they live near bigger or a larger number of unconventional natural gas development wells, according to a study published Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine. [CNN]

¶ Trials of wind assisted propulsion are going on, but there is not enough information on the real-life performance of different systems and hull variations. All of today’s experiments still see squared cross section hulls for optimal holding capacity. As experiments continue, data collection is key to develop reliable models. [The Motorship]

The Hybrid Flettner Freighter from C-Job will be added to the limited wind-assisted fleet.

The Hybrid Flettner Freighter from C-Job
will be added to the limited wind-assisted fleet.

World:

¶ The Indian minister for civil aviation recently announced that as many as 143 airports around the country will install a total of 148 MW of solar capacity over the next few months. According to the Airports Authority of India, 16 airports already have 5.4 MW, in addition to Kochi International Airport’s 12 MW. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Australian infrastructure investor Lyon Group says it plans to build the world’s biggest solar plus storage project in South Australia in the next two years, and sees a huge future for combined solar and battery storage plants. The first project for South Australia includes 100 MW of solar PVs and 40 MW of storage. [RenewEconomy]

Lyon solar and storage.

Lyon solar and storage.

¶ The European Commission is considering proposing 2030 targets for alternative transport fuels such as renewable electricity, natural gas and biofuels, according to an unofficial draft strategy paper seen by S&P Global Platts. The targets could involve obliging fuel suppliers to provide a certain share of alternative energy sources. [Platts]

¶ Senvion has erected the first of 46 3.2M114 turbines at the 150-MW Mesgi’g Ugju’s’n wind farm in Quebec, the company’s first 3-MW unit in North America. The project, a 50-50 joint venture between Innergex and three Mi’gmaq Nations of Quebec, is expected to be commissioned by the end of 2016. [reNews]

Senvion 3.2m114 turbine. Senvion image.

Senvion 3.2m114 turbine. Senvion image.

¶ The European country leading the charge on incorporating renewable energy into its power grid, is testing a specialized algorithm that could help with predicting levels of solar and wind power. The machine-learning program could assist grid operators in calculating renewable-energy output over the next 48 hours. [R & D Magazine]

¶ A building boom is underway offshore in Europe with hundreds of turbines being installed. With low oil prices, all this building work might seem to make little economic sense. But with falling prices for offshore wind power, the cost of electricity from new offshore wind is almost 30% cheaper than new nuclear. [The Ecologist]

Offshore wind farm. Photo by Tycho. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Offshore wind farm. Photo by Tycho. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ The Indian government will double the target for energy to be generated from solar parks by 2020, a top official said, as roof-top installations have failed to take off and US company SunEdison’s projects are threatened by its bankruptcy. A new generation target of 40,000 MW for solar parks is said to be likely to be approved. [domain-B]

¶ Victoria has approved a $650 million, 96-turbine windfarm that will be the largest in the state as it bids to become Australia’s renewable energy leader. The Dundonnell project will create 300 direct and indirect jobs during construction, and the turbines will generate enough power for 140,000 homes. [The Guardian]

Wind turbine in Toora, Victoria. Photo by fir0002 | flagstaffotos.com.au. CC BY NC. Wikimedia Commons.

Wind turbine in Toora, Victoria. Photo by fir0002 | flagstaffotos.com.au.
CC BY NC. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Up to 6% of Britain’s peak electricity requirement, or 9.8 GW, could be met by businesses better managing their electricity demand and onsite generation, according to a new report from the Association for Decentralised Energy. Demand-side responses have the potential to save UK consumers £600 million by 2020. [City A.M.]

US:

¶ The US DOE just awarded a new round of $15 million in funding for three projects focusing on lowering the cost of algae biofuel production. The new effort follows upon an $18 million round last year. Some researchers say algae could be 10 or even 100 times more productive than traditional bioenergy feedstocks. [CleanTechnica]

“Raceway” type algae farm courtesy of Global Algae Innovations.

“Raceway” type algae farm courtesy of Global Algae Innovations.

¶ With a $5.9 million grant from the California Energy Commission, the San Diego Port Tenants Association announced Monday that seven of its partner tenants will receive all-electric forklifts and heavy-duty trucks. The vehicles emit zero greenhouse gas emissions and run almost as quietly as golf carts. [The San Diego Union-Tribune]

¶ Diablo Canyon Power Plant set to shut down in nine years, so Pacific Gas and Electric is studying just how to go about decommissioning the plant, including how to fund the shutdown. A taxpayer trust fund is currently at about $3 billion, but shutting down the plant is expected to cost of nearly $4 billion. [KSBY San Luis Obispo News]

July 18 Energy News

July 18, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “The future of hydro in a warming world” • Ironically, although hydro power is seen as an energy source that helps slow global warming, in many areas its viability is threatened by climate change. A new approach to dams and hydro would take climate change into account, along with environmental effects. [Cowichan Valley Citizen]

British Columbia’s power grid is fed in large part by hydro power. Image credit: BC Hydro.Com.

British Columbia’s power grid is fed in large part by hydro power.
Image credit: BC Hydro.Com.

¶ “The Truth About Australia’s Soaring Electricity Prices” • Wind and solar has again been blamed for South Australia’s high power prices. Just because this is often repeated, it doesn’t’ make it true. The spikes in electric costs have been around since before the first solar panel or wind turbine was installed. [Energy Matters]

World:

¶ Siemens has signed a cooperation agreement with Cuban utility Union Electrica to modernize the country’s energy infrastructure and boost renewables. The German company and the state-owned utility will pursue projects and services for power generation, transmission and distribution, renewable energy, and automation. [reNews]

Wind farm. Siemens photo.

Wind farm. Siemens photo.

¶ The energy intelligence software and demand response solutions firm EnerNOC has announced that the London Underground has agreed to join the firm’s demand response network. The London Underground will be paid for doing its part to participating in efforts to stabilize the grid during periods of peak and unstable demand. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Solar Energy Corporation of India got a healthy response to the largest-ever rooftop solar power tender in the world, which it launched earlier this year. The 500 MW tender for grid-connected rooftop solar power projects received applications from prospective developers willing to set up a cumulative of 602 MW of capacity. [CleanTechnica]

Image via MNRE

Rooftop solar in India. Image via MNRE

¶ With several countries across the globe moving towards fuel free transportation, South Korean auto giant, Hyundai has now announced ambitious plans for 2020. The company, along with its sister firm Kia and Genesis luxury brand aspires to unveil ten new hybrids, eight plug-in hybrids, and two fuel cell cars. [Big News Network.com]

¶ The government of the Indian state of Chhattisgarh is preparing to set up 51,000 solar powered irrigation pumps in a span of two-and-half-years in the State. The government has set the target of setting up 11,000 solar pumps in the current financial year, until March 2017, and the rest during the next two years. [Daily Pioneer]

Farming in Chhattisgarh. Photo by Pankaj Oudhia. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Farming in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh.
Photo by Pankaj Oudhia. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Licenses will be issued to small and medium-sized enterprises for the first time to set up mini solar power plants in Sri Lanka. The chairman of the Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority said the power generated from these plants, each of less than 5 MW capacity, will be purchased by the government at attractive prices. [Ceylon Daily News]

US:

¶ Soon after the Department of Navy begin implementing renewable energy projects, North Carolina was ranked third in the nation for solar power capacity by the Solar Energy Industries Association. The Camp Lejeune Solar Facility, operated by Duke Energy Progress, is one of four large solar projects in the state. [Jacksonville Daily News]

The Camp Lejeune Solar Facility. Duke Energy Progress photo.

The Camp Lejeune Solar Facility. Duke Energy Progress photo.

¶ Most congressional Republicans with even a hint of moderation on climate change are distancing themselves from Donald Trump and won’t be present for his nomination in Cleveland this week. Four of the five Republican senators with a record of supporting climate action are skipping the convention, which begins on Monday. [Grist]

¶ The South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce is stepping up its fight against South Carolina Electric & Gas’ annual rate increases to help pay for new reactors at the VC Summer Nuclear Station near Jenkinsville. If approved, it will be the ninth rate increase related to the nuclear plant since 2009. [Charleston Post Courier]

July 17 Enegy News

July 17, 2016

World:

¶ In 2011, South Korea’s Gapa Island was selected for an energy self-sufficiency trial project. A total of 14.3 billion won ($12.49 million) was invested in the project. Two 250-kW wind turbines were installed, along with 174 kW of solar panels, and storage. The project saves a lot of money, but there is need for more storage. [The Hankyoreh]

Wind turbines on Gapa Island

Wind turbines on Gapa Island.

¶ Japanese utility TEPCO, whose nuclear plant in Fukushima suffered a meltdown after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, has proposed the installation of a 1-MW power plant using a solar-diesel mix in Virac, the capital of the Philippine province of Catanduanes. Funding is sourced through a grant-in-aid program. [Catanduanes Tribune]

¶ By 2050, China hopes to lead efforts to build a $50 trillion global wind and solar power grid that would completely change how the world is powered. China hopes to connect wind farms in the Arctic Circle with solar farms on the Equator, in a system that will transcend national boundaries and provide clean energy everywhere. [Shanghaiist]

Image via World Economic Forum

Image via World Economic Forum.

¶ China may build mobile nuclear power plants in the South China Sea, state media reported, days after an international tribunal dismissed Beijing’s vast claims in the strategically vital waters. China has rapidly built up reefs in the sea into artificial islands in recent months, installing civilian and military facilities on them. [Times of India]

¶ The owners of a home in northern Scotland built their house to suit, on land with no mains electricity. The couple included solar-powered hot water and electricity, a wind turbine, and a biomass boiler. They are having an open house, on July 24, as part of a series of events across the UK aiming to showcase green homes. [Press and Journal]

Russell Quinlan at his home, near Fyvie.

Russell Quinlan at his home, near Fyvie.

¶ Germany’s RWE has solid funding until the end of the decade, its chief executive said, brushing aside concerns over its financial health. German utilities have had to rethink their strategies after the country decided to shut the country’s nuclear reactors by 2022. Instead, they are developing renewable power capacity. [Reuters Africa]

US:

¶ Taking cues from Trump’s tirades, Republicans are ramping up the rhetoric against the EPA. A House Energy and Commerce Committee meeting was the latest venue for Republican ranting that climaxed in a condemnation of the Clean Power Plan as “un-American” and “overly burdensome on the American economy.” [CleanTechnica]

Ditching this is un-American. US National Park Service photo. Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

Ditching coal is un-American. US National Park Service photo.
Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Coal is looking at taking a starring role during the Republican national convention, as it gains greater support. The fossil fuel was included in the draft political platform ahead of this week’s convention in Cleveland. The draft platform includes a sentence in support of “clean coal,” an edit offered by a Texas delegate. [Washington Examiner]

¶ Birds and reptiles in fragmented habitat in the Southwest will be hit hardest by global warming in the decades ahead, according to a study by scientists with the US Geological Survey and the Northern Arizona University. The researchers did studies of approximately 30 animals. [Summit County Citizens Voice]

Global warming will take a toll on reptiles and birds in the Southwest. @bberwyn photo.

Global warming will take a toll on reptiles and birds
in the Southwest. @bberwyn photo.

¶ “Smart grid” technologies significantly reduce greenhouse gases and emissions from power production and usage. Together, smart grid and intelligent buildings mechanisms could reduce national carbon emissions by 12% by 2030, according to one estimate. But, surprisingly, the opposite can be true for an individual project. [domain-B]

¶ The first turbine of the largest wind farm in the southeastern US now stands above a North Carolina corn field. The other 103 to be erected in the roughly $400 million project will be built before the end of the year, according to a spokesman for Avangrid Renewables, formerly Iberdrola Renewables. [Virginian-Pilot]

July 16 Energy News

July 16, 2016

World:

¶ EDF EN Canada has selected general contractor Borea Construction to build the 224.4-MW Nicolas Riou wind project in Quebec, according to an EDF spokesperson. Vestas is slated to start delivery in spring 2017 of 65 V117 3.45MW turbines with 116.5m hub heights. The contract includes a 10-year service agreement. [reNews]

EDF EN's La Mitis wind farm in Quebec (EDF EN)

EDF EN’s La Mitis wind farm in Quebec (EDF EN image)

¶ France hasn’t historically been a major player in the solar market, but it is going to be shutting down a lot of old nuclear reactors in the coming years, and solar is on the way. A big sign of change in both of these respects is that France has announced solar tenders to have 20 GW of solar power capacity installed by 2023. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Rural electrification work in the Indian state of Odisha has provided power to around 96% of the villages. Work is underway get electricity to 275 more villages by November, 2016. Out of these, 198 villages would be connected through micro-grids and 76 would be covered through stand-alone solar projects. [Odisha News Insight]

Solar array in India. Parambikulam Tiger Conservation Foundation. CC BY-SA 4.0 Wikimedia Commons.

Solar array in India. Parambikulam Tiger Conservation
Foundation. CC BY-SA 4.0 Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Engie has entered into a power purchase agreement with UK finance company Equitix to buy the electricity generated by a £25-million combined heat and power plant to be built in North Wales. Expected to be completed in early 2018, the new plant will have a capacity of 4.8 MW and generate about 32 GWh per year. [Power Technology]

¶ Long-standing problems transmitting power generated in the north of Germany to the power-hungry south informed the debate on Germany’s energy transition, as did concerns about costs. The good news is that the commitment to 15 GW of offshore wind in the next 15 years remains. But installation may be erratic. [Offshore Wind Journal]

Germany built out a lot of offshore wind capacity in 2015, but progress will be more erratic in future.

Germany built out a lot of offshore wind capacity in
2015, but progress will be more erratic in future.

US:

¶ Donald Trump’s choice for vice president, the conservative governor of Indiana, Mike Pence, denies climate change and is an outspoken coal advocate. His record has made him a favorite in the very conservative wing of the Republican Party and earned him large contributions from the fossil fuel industry. [InsideClimate News]

¶ Minnesota regulators have given EDF Renewable Energy a two-year extension to build the 105-MW Stoneray wind farm. The state Public Utilities Commission has approved EDF’s request for a mid-2018 deadline to obtain a power purchase agreement and start construction of the up to 62-turbine scheme. [reNews]

EDF wind farm in Quebec.

EDF wind farm in Quebec.

¶ Hawaii regulators rejected NextEra Energy Inc’s $2.63 billion bid to purchase Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc, dealing a possibly fatal blow to a deal the state governor had opposed. The regulatory panel raised concerns about the benefits to ratepayers, the loss of local control, and the commitment to rooftop solar systems. [Bloomberg]

¶ Separate town-owned 1-MW solar farms in Hyde Park and Stowe, Vermont, have been completed and are almost ready to start putting electric power on the grid. Residents in the two towns voted in January to authorize their local utilities to take out loans for the projects. They are expected to go online in about a month. [Stowe Today]

The Stowe Electric Department's solar array stands at a reclaimed gravel pit.

The Stowe Electric Department’s solar array stands at a reclaimed gravel pit.

¶ The Long Island Power Authority has formally recommended to its board of directors a proposal from Deepwater Wind, a Rhode Island company, to construct a 90-MW, 15-turbine wind farm in federally leased waters approximately 30 miles east of Montauk, New York, the utility’s chief executive officer has confirmed. [East Hampton Star]

¶ Four Florida counties are in a state of emergency because of toxic blue-green algae blooms. Environmental scientists point to climate change and agricultural pollution from sugar fields as major contributors to the algae epidemic. But incredibly, Florida’s political leaders just have not figured it out. [CleanTechnica]

Florida’s green algae disaster. Credit: Wikipedia Commons

Florida’s green algae disaster. Credit: Wikipedia Commons

¶ The asking price for the 13 TransCanada hydro dams on the Connecticut and Deerfield Rivers has passed $1 billion. The dams, totaling about 560 MW of power, were bought by TransCanada in 2005 for about $500 million. The high price tag means Vermont alone will not make an offer, but is still a potential partner for a proposed deal. [Vermont Biz]

¶ In the first study of its kind to calculate costs and benefits by subregion, a Harvard report shows that by implementing a highly flexible and only moderately stringent policy like the Clean Power Plan, the US would save some $38 billion a year in lower healthcare costs. It would also save about 17,000 lives each year. [CleanTechnica]

July 15 Energy News

July 15, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “From Global Temps to Clean Energy, Broken Records Define the Climate Crisis” • We’re living in a time of records. More renewable energy came on stream in 2015 than ever, 147 GW, equal to Africa’s entire generating capacity. Other records were broken. But are the good records enough to help us deal with the bad? [AlterNet]

Image credit: Antonio-BanderAS / Shutterstock

Image credit: Antonio-BanderAS / Shutterstock

World:

¶ The UK’s government has axed the Department of Energy and Climate Change in a major departmental shake-up. The brief will be folded into an expanded Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy under Greg Clark. Ed Miliband, the former energy and climate secretary under Labor, called the move “plain stupid.” [BBC]

¶ New figures from the US Energy Information Administration show that energy intensity continued its twenty-five year decline in 2015 in nearly every world region. According to the EIA, global energy intensity, measured as energy consumption per unit of GDP, has decreased by nearly one-third between 1990 and 2015. [CleanTechnica]

EIA image

           

¶ Acciona Energia signed a contract to sell electricity generated from the 168-MW El Cortijo wind farm in Mexico’s Tamaulipas state to the country’s Federal Electricity Commission. Under the 15-year contract, the company will annually supply 585.7 GWh. It also covers the clean energy certificates generated by the project. [CleanTechnology News]

¶ Charles Hendry, a former UK minister, said he is examining every possible way the £1.3 billion ($1.7 billion) Swansea Tidal Lagoon can get the funds it needs to be built. His six-month review commissioned by the government is due to end in November. A loan guarantee used for a “super sewer” could be used as a model. [Bloomberg]

An artist's impression of the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project . Source: Tidal Lagoon Power

An artist’s impression of the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project.
Source: Tidal Lagoon Power

US:

¶ A newly published investigation reveals systematic failures and retaliation against contractor employees who speak up about health and safety concerns throughout the DOE. In a news conference Thursday, three senators released the results of a two-year investigation from the Government Accountability Office. [Aiken Standard]

¶ Salt Lake City announced Wednesday its commitment to transition to 100% renewable energy sources by 2032. The city also plans to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2040. In the resolution, city officials stated that changes in water systems and extreme-weather events are increasingly having effects locally. [EcoWatch]

Salt Lake City skyline.

Salt Lake City skyline.

¶ The announcement that the Long Island Power Authority plans to approve a proposed 90-MW, 15-turbine wind farm next week was greeted enthusiastically by energy experts, elected officials and environmentalists. The US has no active wind farms and one of 30 MW capacity due to be online this summer. [The Japan Times]

¶ Nebraska ethanol producers are exploring ways to meet out-of-state carbon emission standards. Fuels sold in California, for instance, are taxed on the amount of carbon produced in their creation. The director of the Nebraska Energy Office says ethanol producers are looking to stay ahead of those regulations. [Nebraska Radio Network]

Corn piled near Plymouth, Nebraska. Photo by Ammodramus. CC BY-SA 1.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Corn piled near Plymouth, Nebraska. Photo by Ammodramus.
CC BY-SA 1.0. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ The DOE announced up to $15 million for three projects aimed to reduce the production costs of algae-based biofuels and bioproducts through improvements in biomass yields. The projects are to develop highly productive algal cultivation coupled with effective, energy-efficient, and low-cost processing technologies. [Power Online]

¶ Kansas City Power and Light has announced the opening of its first solar power facility. The facility is located on 12 acres at KCP&L’s Greenwood Energy Center, a natural-gas power plant that is used at peak demand times. Its 11,500 solar panels will produce 4,700 MWh per year, enough to power nearly 440 homes. [Lee’s Summit Journal]

KCP&L’s Greenwood Energy Center solar array. Photo provided.

KCP&L’s Greenwood Energy Center solar array. Photo provided.

¶ A new report counts 66,000 clean-energy related jobs in Pennsylvania, up 15% from the last study, two years ago. “Clean Jobs Pennsylvania” said the employment at 5,900 businesses statewide was about 1% of the state’s total non-farm jobs. Most of the jobs, about 80%, were in the energy efficiency sector. [Pittsburgh Business Times]

¶ California has hit a new record for solar production of electric power, continuing its leadership in clean energy. According to officials, the new record of 8,030 MW was reached on Tuesday at 1:06 pm. They said this is nearly twice the amount of solar energy produced in mid-2014 and nearly 2,000 MW higher than in May of 2015. [KESQ]

Solar farm in California. Copyright 2016 Gulf California Broadcasting.

Solar farm in California. Copyright 2016 Gulf California Broadcasting.

¶ In November, Entergy announced that it would shutter the 41-year-old James A. FitzPatrick nuclear power plant in January, amid economic pressures linked to low prices for natural gas. Now, Entergy confirmed it is in eleventh-hour discussions with Exelon for the sale of the plant, which is in New York state. [The Journal News | LoHud.com]

¶ The Florida Realtors joined business owners and others in support of Amendment 4, which would exempt solar panels on commercial properties from real property taxes. It will be on the August 30 primary election ballot. Amendment 4 would also exempt solar panels and equipment from the tangible personal property tax. [Builder Magazine]

July 14 Energy News

July 14, 2016

World:

¶ Work on a hydroelectric turbine at Otley Weir in Yorkshire began last November but was seriously hampered by high river levels and the Boxing Day floods. Now, the project is back on track, as two Archimedes screw turbines, each the length of a single-decker bus and nearly twice as wide, have been lifted into place. [Wharfedale Observer]

One of the two huge Archimedes screws being installed at Otley Weir.

One of the two huge Archimedes screws being installed at Otley Weir.

¶ Beothuk Energy Inc is proposing six offshore wind farms in Atlantic Canada with a combined 4,000 MW of clean, green, renewable power. It has signed a memorandum of understanding with Iron and Earth, a worker-led group with a mandate to provide oil and gas workers with the training for jobs in the clean energy sector. [Western Star]

¶ Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Administration approved an assessment for developing offshore wind energy. The government has pledged to have 20% of the nation’s electric power generated renewably by 2025 to replace nuclear power. Wind power is expected to make up about 40% of that. [The Maritime Executive]

Chinese white dolphin

Chinese white dolphin

¶ Italy has 22 old fossil-fuel power plants to sell, and Amazon.com may be interested. Enel SpA, Italy’s biggest utility, plans to close 13 GW of power stations fired by coal, natural gas, and oil. Rather than razing them, Enel looking for developers to turn the sites into shopping malls, medical facilities, or high-tech business sites. [Bloomberg]

¶ The South Australian Government has been forced to ask a power station to produce more energy because some of the state’s biggest businesses faced temporary shut downs in the face of wild fluctuations in electricity prices. The issues contributing to the problem include delays to an upgrade of an interconnector with Victoria. [ABC Online]

Port Augusta's coal power station closed in May.

Port Augusta’s coal power station closed in May.

¶ Ontario regulators have given the green light to a 100-MW wind project by Samsung Renewable Energy and Pattern Development. The North Kent 1 project will have 36 Siemens SWT-3.2MW-113 turbines with a 99.5m hub height. It is the fifth and final wind farm in Samsung’s 1069-MW wind power portfolio in Ontario. [reNews]

¶ Climate change campaigners around the world, including in Liberia, are urging a global shift away from fossil fuel to renewable energy, which is generated from the sun, wind, water, and even garbage, just to name a few potential sources. Liberian homes and businesses are beginning to turn away from diesel fuel for power. [Front Page Africa]

Emma’s Fashion is perhaps the most noticeable building at VOA Junction on the Roberts International Airport highway.

Emma’s Fashion is perhaps the most noticeable building at
VOA Junction on the Roberts International Airport highway.

¶ Leading battery companies LG Chem, Panasonic, and Tesla were successful in the initial pilot round of the Australian Capital Territory’s program to install 36 MW of battery storage. The next round is pending, and there are 17 bids competing for 5 places to deliver 2 MW across 600 homes and businesses. [Seeking Alpha]

¶ Vancouver-based Portable Electric is working on replacing diesel generators with PVs and batteries. The 2-kWh VoltStack Mini can power a small sound system or portable kiosk for up to 20 hours. The 55-kWh VoltStack Boss has enough juice to light up a festival stage or movie set. And they can be recharged by PVs. [The Province]

Mark Rabin, CEO of Portable Electric, shows off the 2-kWh VoltStack Mini, a two-kilowatt battery unit. [PNG Merlin Archive] Barry Calhoun / Vancouver Sun

Mark Rabin, CEO of Portable Electric, shows off a 2-kWh VoltStack Mini,
a 2-kW battery unit. [PNG Merlin Archive] Barry Calhoun / Vancouver Sun

¶ A Japanese court has turned down a class action lawsuit seeking damages from nuclear plant makers Toshiba, Hitachi, and GE over the Fukushima meltdown disaster, the plaintiffs, one of the companies, and a report said. Under Japanese liability law, nuclear plant providers are usually exempt from damage claims. [The Sun Daily]

US:

¶ State leaders hope Kansas will be known for more than just its wheat crop. The state is one step closer to that goal with the construction of the new Kingman Wind Energy Center. Governor Sam Brownback joined others in a ceremony to sign a 150-foot wind turbine blade that will soon be spinning over the Kansas plains. [WIBW]

Signing a wind turbine blade at the Kingman Wind Energy Center.

Signing a wind turbine blade at the Kingman Wind Energy Center.

¶ A bipartisan senate bill aims to establish investment tax credits for various types of energy storage in commercial applications and for residential battery storage. For commercial energy storage applications of at least 5 kWh, the bill proposes the same tax incentive as is currently available for solar. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Utah lawmakers began drafting legislation to allow them to block the state’s participation in California’s proposed regional electrical grid. A unified grid, the latest studies say, would be a big boon for the environment and for California’s economy. But Utah could see increased carbon emissions in the early years. [Salt Lake Tribune]

PacifiCorp's Huntington coal-fired power plant could be producing more power and emitting slightly more carbon if the utility is an early joiner of a proposed regional electric grid. (Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune)

PacifiCorp’s Huntington coal-fired power plant could be producing more power and emitting slightly more carbon if the utility is an early joiner of a proposed regional electric grid. (Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune)

¶ A report from GTM Research analyzed rate structures of 51 US utilities to assess economics of commercial electric storage management. Its data show commercial energy storage economics are currently attractive in seven US states, and are expected to increase in attractiveness over the next five years to 19 states. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Wyoming Governor Matt Mead visited a former coal mine that now produces green energy. Mead met Rocky Mountain Power officials at the former Dave Johnston Coal Mine near Glenrock, which now hosts the first wind project in the US to have been built on a reclaimed coal mine. [KCWY 13 Where News Comes First]

July 13 Energy News

July 13, 2016

World:

¶ The Solar Impulse 2 landed in Cairo on Wednesday for its penultimate stop as the solar-powered plane nears the end of its marathon tour around the world. After the two-day flight from Spain, just one final leg lies between it and its final destination, Abu Dhabi, where it started its odyssey in March last year. [Muscat Daily]

Solar Impulse 2 flies over the pyramids of Giza.

Solar Impulse 2 flies over the pyramids of Giza.

¶ Ireland has beaten Germany in terms of renewable energy generation in the first half of 2016 as its wind power output met 22% of the country’s electricity demand during that period. Wind energy also saved Ireland some €70 million ($77 million) in foreign energy imports. Ireland imports 85% of its overall energy. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ The Chilean Congress passed a major law on electricity transmission, helping development of both renewable and non-renewable energy projects. Under the policy, a new national interconnected power system will be established alongside a new independent operator. Chile has seen a boom in renewable energy of late. [PV-Tech]

A new national interconnected power system will be established alongside a new independent operator. Credit: ACERA

A new national interconnected power system will be established
alongside a new independent operator. Credit: ACERA

¶ Victoria has become the latest Australian state to announce ambitious new energy targets, aiming to have 25% of its electricity to come from renewable energy by 2020, and 40% by 2025. Currently around 14% of Victoria’s power grid is serviced by renewable energy. The move is anticipated to create thousands of jobs. [Invest in Australia]

¶ Dutch developer Tocardo is to install a 1-MW tidal device next year at Canada’s Bay of Fundy in partnership with Nova Scotia outfit Minas Energy. Four 250-kW turbines will be attached to Tocardo’s patented semi-submersible Universal Floating Platform Structure and held in place by catenary mooring systems. [reNews]

Tidal turbine (Tocardo image)

Tidal turbine (Tocardo image)

¶ Construction starts for new nuclear reactors fell to zero globally in the first half of 2016 as the atomic industry struggles against falling costs for renewables and a slowdown in Chinese building, a report on the industry showed. The number of reactors under construction is in decline for a third consecutive year. [Reuters]

¶ SolarAfrica and battery maker Aquion Energy announced a newly installed off-grid microgrid at the Loisaba Conservancy, a wildlife research hub and ecotourism destination in Kenya. The microgrid has 106 kWh of Aquion batteries paired with a 37 kW solar array. It has replaced diesel generators. [Power Engineering Magazine]

A bank of Aquion batteries.

A bank of Aquion batteries.

US:

¶ Indianapolis Power & Light Company, a subsidiary of The AES Corporation, announced the opening of the new IPL Advancion® Energy Storage Array Facility. The Advancion Array is the first grid-scale, battery-based energy storage system in the 15-state Midcontinent Independent System Operation region. [Digital Journal]

¶ Enel Green Power North America has started building a 65-MW extension to the 235-MW Chisholm View wind farm in the US. The Chisholm View II project in Oklahoma will cost about $90 million and be online by the end of the year. It is the company’s second wind farm to start construction in Oklahoma this year. [reNews]

Wind turbines. Enel image.

Wind turbines. Enel image.

¶ DE Shaw Renewable Investments announced it acquired the 100-MW North Star Solar Project from Community Energy and began construction on the project, which is located in Chisago County, Minnesota. Upon completion in late 2016, North Star will be the single largest solar energy project in the Midwest. [Yahoo Finance]

¶ Washington’s power grid may have come one step closer to being carbon-free. In a settlement with the Sierra Club, Puget Sound Energy and co-owner Talen Energy finally agreed to shut down the two oldest, dirtiest units of a coal-fired power plant in Montana. PSE still gets 20% of its electricity from Colstrip. [Seattle Weekly]

Colstrip power plant.

Colstrip power plant.

¶ When the Polar vortex forced 20% of generation offline two years ago, PJM moved quickly to institute new rules to ensure keeping generation online. But several groups say the rules disadvantage renewable and clean energy sources, which could be key to keeping the lights on if the situation were to occur again. [Utility Dive]

¶ Dominion Virginia Power should abandon its plans for a third reactor at its North Anna nuclear generating station because the expense is “unnecessary, unreasonable and uneconomic,” according to Vermont Law School energy economist Mark Cooper. He said the reactor would be the most expensive ever built in the United States. [Richmond.com]

July 12 Energy News

July 12, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ A 2,000-page report from the UK Climate Change Committee foresees a domino effect on key infrastructure. Bridges lost to flooding means loss of electricity, gas and IT connections. Poor farming means the fertile soils become badly degraded by mid-century. And that is if Paris climate change goals are met, a pledge that is in doubt. [BBC]

Flooding in the UK. PA image.

Flooding in the UK. PA image.

World:

¶ China will ban the construction of new coal-based chemical facilities and coal-fired power plants until 2018 and continue to shed overcapacity in coal mining and oil refining, according to the state news agency, Xinhua. The ban on projects should cut coal’s share of the overall mix to 58% from the 64% it currently has. [Web India 123]

¶ Ireland’s Mainstream Renewable Power said today the 80-MW Noupoort wind farm in South Africa has achieved commercial operation. The wind plant satisfied all the requirements of power utility Eskom on July 11, thus achieving its commercial operations date on schedule and on budget. The site has 35 turbines. [SeeNews Renewables]

Noupoort Wind Farm. Source: www.noupoortwind.co.za. License: All Rights Reserved.

Noupoort Wind Farm. Source: noupoortwind.co.za.
License: All Rights Reserved.

¶ Wind farms supplied more than two thirds of South Australia’s electricity over the weekend, with an even bigger contribution on Monday, when it provided 83% of the state’s power needs for 24 hours, Australia’s Clean Energy Council said. The state got more than 40% of its electricity from renewable energy last year. [Bloomberg]

¶ Shortly after taking off from Seville, Spain en route to Cairo, Egypt, Solar Impulse 2 flew directly over the Gemasolar Thermosolar Plant. The 20-MW plant is the world’s first utility-scale solar power plant to combine a central tower receiver system and molten salt storage for a reliable solar energy supply 24 hours a day. [Gulf Today]

Solar Impulse 2 in flight over the Gemasolar Thermosolar Plant.

Solar Impulse 2 in flight over the Gemasolar Thermosolar Plant.

¶ Britain has generated more electricity from the sun than coal-fired power plants for the first time on a monthly basis, new research has shown. Solar panels in homes and businesses across the UK produced 1.38 TWh in May. The Times reported that was much more than coal-fired power stations, which added 0.89 TWh. [City A.M.]

¶ The Otsu District Court ruled against Kansai Electric Power Co for the third time in five months, in a decision that will keep its Takahama No 3 and 4 reactors in Fukui Prefecture shut down indefinitely. Both sides are now gearing up for an appeal by Kepco to the Osaka High Court, where a decision could come next year. [The Japan Times]

US:

¶ Hawaii is a national leader in rooftop solar power, but despite the state’s ambitious goal of using only renewable energy by 2045, people are being shut out of solar incentive programs because of limits set by the state. On Maui, a program that reimburses customers who supply energy to the grid reached its maximum in June. [Fairfield Citizen]

New solar installation in Hawaii. Photo: Cathy Bussewitz, AP

New solar installation in Hawaii. Photo: Cathy Bussewitz, AP

¶ The US Department of Agriculture is providing nearly $55 million in grants and loan guarantees to help 821 small businesses in rural areas save on energy costs. The latest round of grants awarded under the Rural Energy for America Program total about $11.6 million; loan guarantees add up to approximately $43.2 million. [Agri-Pulse]

¶ GE Renewable Energy on Monday said its offshore wind turbine plant in Saint-Nazaire, France, will ship its first commercial series Haliade offshore wind turbine nacelle to the US within days. Installation of five 370-tonne turbines at the Block Island wind project off the coast of Rhode Island will start in August. [SeeNews Renewables]

Haliade wind turbine at Belwind, Belgium, Source: GE, All Rights Reserved.

Haliade wind turbine at Belwind, Belgium, Source: GE, All Rights Reserved.

¶ The installation of Gamesa G114 turbines at the 208-MW Amazon US East wind farm in North Carolina has kicked off. The project features 104 2-MW turbines, each with a 93 meter tower and 114 meter rotor diameter. It will be the first wind farm in North Carolina. It is sited on about 22,000 acres leased from over 60 landowners. [reNews]

¶ The US unit of Solar Frontier KK, a Japanese module manufacturer, started construction on two projects it has been developing, totalling 107 MW. The 67-MW Midway I and 40-MW Midway II solar parks are located in California’s Imperial County. Both will sell power to utilities through power purchase agreements. [SeeNews Renewables]

July 11 Energy News

July 11, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ Scientists are investigating biofuels as alternatives to fossil fuels. Corn, soybean and sugarcane produce a range of biofuels; however, they add to water scarcity, deforestation, and increased land use. An alternative is microalgae, which can be grown in façade panels on buildings, having little negative environmental impact. [The Fifth Estate]

The BIQ House in Hamburg.

The BIQ House in Hamburg.

¶ Enginuity Worldwide, of Mexico, Missouri, wants to turn agricultural waste into BioCoal, which it says looks and burns just like regular coal and could help reduce emissions from coal plants.The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality has awarded the a $250,525 grant to research the subject. [Columbus Telegram]

World:

¶ As part of the Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator program, developers Dong Energy, EnBW, E.ON, Iberdrola, RWE, SSE, Statkraft, Statoil and Vattenfall have signed up to the initiative to help reduce the cost of offshore wind to below £100 per MWh by 2020. The developers will invest £6.4 million over the next four years. [edie.net]

The developers' investment of £6.4 million will be boosted by £1.5 million from the Scottish Government

The developers’ investment of £6.4 million will be
boosted by £1.5 million from the Scottish Government

¶ Renewable energy will get priority over fossil fuel in Philippine approvals for new plants. That means coal power will be low on the list, Bloomberg reports, citing Gina Lopez, the new energy minister. She said the country should build wind, solar and geothermal projects for both economic and environmental reasons. [EJ Insight]

¶ Russia’s concern about water rights is holding up a $1 billion loan package Mongolia is seeking from China. Mongolia wants to build a hydroelectric dam that would help it ensure independent supplies of energy. The Kremlin said the project could threaten Lake Baikal, 580 kilometers downstream. [The Japan Times]

Workers extract salt near the Russian town of Barnaul in 2011. | AFP-JIJI

Workers extract salt near the Russian town of Barnaul in 2011. | AFP-JIJI

¶ Observers have commented that given the wide-spread corruption in the German auto industry, it seemed unlikely that Volkswagen would face any real repercussions from its diesel emissions scandal within Germany. Now, the Ministry of Transport has revealed that it will not fine VW (at all) for its many years of fraud. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Kangaroo Island has long been one of the great icons of Australian tourism. And now the third-biggest island in Australia, which lies just 120 km from Adelaide, wants to make its mark in a different way: by supplying 100% of its electricity needs and much of its transport fuels through locally sourced renewable energy. [The Guardian]

Admiral Arch on Kangaroo Island in Flinders Chase national park. Photo: Alamy

Admiral Arch on Kangaroo Island. Photo: Alamy

¶ ACWA Power Khalladi has confirmed final orders to suppliers and contractors for the construction of its 120-MW Wind Power Project in Jbel Sendouq, in the North of Morocco. The Moroccan National Renewable Energy Strategy / Wind Power plan aims for 2,000 MW Wind Power to be on the country’s grid by 2020. [Zawya]

¶ ABB has refurbished three high voltage direct current converter stations on the power transmission link between Québec and New England. The project was carried out for Hydro-Québec and National Grid. The 1,500 km linkage connects will benefit areas such as Boston with alternative sources of electricity. [CleanTechnology News]

ABB completed a HVDC link between Canada and US to supply hydropower. Photo: Courtesy of ABB.

ABB completed a HVDC link from Canada to the US. ABB courtesy photo.

¶ The Airports Authority of India aims to have 146 MW of solar capacity, in line with a plan to make airports energy and water self-sufficient. India’s Civil Aviation Minister said 5.4 MW of solar systems are already producing power at airports in the country, with a further 24.1 MW to go online by December 2016. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Germany’s new renewable energy law is not as ambitious as other EU states and lacks stability in volumes for offshore wind, according to WindEurope. The law sets a variable offshore cap to ensure the country reaches its 15 GW wind energy target in the next 15 years, and it replaces feed-in tariffs with auctions. [Financial Times]

Offshore wind farm with substation. Photo by energy.gov.Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

Offshore wind farm with substation. Photo by energy.gov.
Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Panasonic Corporation of Japan, Tesla’s partner for the lithium-ion battery Gigafactory in Nevada, has revealed that it expects its annual sales of auto-related lithium-ion batteries to more than double within 3 years owing to expected strong and growing demand for Tesla’s products, according to recent reports. [CleanTechnica]

US:

¶ The days when close to 70% of California’s residential solar installations were leased may be over. Tara Kelly, chair of the San Diego chapter of CALSEIA, said most residential customers now prefer owning solar panels. She said about 96% of Sullivan Solar Power’s customers use cash or loans, and only 4% use leases. [CleanTechnica]

Installation. Photo courtesy of Renovate America, which operates HERO PACE.

Solar PVs being installed. Photo courtesy of Renovate America.

Consumer Reports says, “There has probably never been a better time to switch to solar.” That’s because the cost of a residential solar system today is about the same as purchasing an economy car. Just as that car can help “pay for itself” with lower operating costs, a solar system can also “pay for itself” with lower bills. [Solar Love]

¶ Estimated subsidies for nuclear plants in New York have soared to $965 million over the first two years of the Clean Energy Standard program, the Department of Public Service said in a new proposal. Initial estimates of the subsidies for nuclear facilities were in the range of $59 million to $658 million through 2023. [Albany Times Union]

July 10 Energy News

July 10, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ Rising sea levels and increased pollution linked to global warming are posing a huge threat to the future of the world’s peatland areas, new research shows. Peat bogs cover 3% of the Earth’s surface and play a crucial role in absorbing and storing carbon from the atmosphere, but climate change can alter their chemistry. [Scotsman]

A boggy plateau west of Carn a' Bhacain. Photo by Richard Webb. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

A boggy plateau west of Carn a’ Bhacain.
Photo by Richard Webb. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

World:

¶ The forward to a new report quotes National Grid’s head of energy insights as saying, “We are in the midst of an energy revolution.” Two years ago, National Grid expected solar capacity in the UK to be 8 to 17 GW by 2030. Today, they see 15 GW as a minimum, and believe capacity could be as much as 39 GW. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Asserting that the Indian state of Tamil Nadu has already met its Renewable Purchase Obligation and was in a position to sell 1000 MW of wind power to other States, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa today urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speed up the process of establishing the inter-State Green Energy Corridor. [News Today]

Advancing monsoon clouds over wind turbines in Tamil Nadu. Photo by w:user:PlaneMad. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Advancing monsoon clouds over wind turbines in Tamil Nadu.
Photo by w:user:PlaneMad. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ A subsidiary of Sorgent.e Hydro Canada signed a 40-year electricity purchase agreement for the Serpentine Creek Hydro project, which is 35 km north of Blue River, British Columbia. “When you bring the generation of electricity closer to the load it improves reliability,” says Lucas De Haro, CEO of Sorgent.e. [The Rocky Mountain Goat]

¶ Average Alberta electricity prices tumbled in the second quarter to their lowest point since 1996. Overall demand for electricity is down 2.1%, putting the province on pace for its first drop in consumption since 1992. Several factors are battering the market, but two are the coal phase-out, and getting renewables online. [Calgary Herald]

Magrath Wind Power Project in southern Alberta. Photo by Chuck Szmurlo. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Magrath Wind Power Project in southern Alberta.
Photo by Chuck Szmurlo. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

US:

¶ Bernie Sanders’ still-impassioned campaign electrified debate over the Democratic Party’s platform, winning concessions on climate change. Sanders supporters cheered when they won environmental amendments that included support for pricing greenhouse gases, prioritizing renewable energy, and limiting fracking. [SFGate]

¶ America’s warm, wild and costly weather broke another record with the hottest June, federal meteorologists say. They also say 2016 is flirting with the US record for most billion-dollar weather disasters. In the first half of the year, there have been eight of them; eight used to be average for a whole year. [Las Vegas Review-Journal]

The center of Greensburg, Kansas, twelve days after it was hit by an F5 tornado in 2007. Photo by Greg Henshall/FEMA. Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

Center of Greensburg, Kansas, 12 days after an F5 tornado in 2007. Photo by Greg Henshall/FEMA. Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ When big corporate customers demand renewable energy and threaten to take their business elsewhere if they don’t get it, the impact can be huge. In Nevada, when MGM Resorts recently said it would leave the grid, despite an exit fee of $87 million, it was saying it would take 4.9% of NV Energy’s demand with it. [Fox Business]

¶ The US Department of Defense is the second-largest buyer of renewable electricity, through deals meant to lock in long-term supply and provide incentives for wind and solar projects. This is according to a database of over 600 corporate power-purchase agreements tracked by Bloomberg. Google is the largest. [Stars and Stripes]

Solar power at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Photo by MC2 Daniel Barker/U.S. Navy. Public domain. Wikimedia Commons. 

Solar power at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Photo by 
MC2 Daniel Barker, USN. Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ The Santee Cooper Board of Directors voted to proceed with securing an option to fix costs to complete two new units at VC Summer nuclear plant in South Carolina. The option increases the utility’s budget for the project by about $1.1 billion, but provides cost certainty that could save customers hundreds of millions of dollars. [Berkeley Independent]

July 9 Energy News

July 9, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Will US Taxpayers Foot The Bill For Cleaning Up After Bankrupt Coal Companies?” • Fifty US coal companies have filed for bankruptcy since 2012. But before the collapse, speculating top producers ran up billions in debt to finance unwise acquisitions. Now we have a question. Who will clean up the mess they made? [CleanTechnica]

Strip mining, Powder River Basin, Wyoming. WildEarth Guardians/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

Strip mining, Powder River Basin, Wyoming.
WildEarth Guardians/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

¶ “Clean energy gets warm welcome from First Nations” • At the opening ceremony for the Box Canyon Hydro Project near Port Mellon, British Columbia, Squamish women elders cleansed the project of any ill spirits and sentiments, blessing it for a long and prosperous operation, providing power for 4,500 homes. [Vancouver Sun]

Photos:

¶ GE Renewable Energy is assembling the parts for five of their Haliade wind turbines for America’s first offshore wind farm, which is being built by Deepwater Wind near Block Island. The nacelles weigh 400 tons each. The blades are 240 feet long. The towers are 330 feet tall. The activity is quite a show. [Product Design & Development]

Fred. Olsen Windcarrier’s Brave Tern vessel will rise above the waters near Block Island to assemble the wind farm. Image credit: Fred. Olsen Windcarrier

Fred. Olsen Windcarrier’s Brave Tern vessel will rise above the waters at Block Island to assemble the wind farm. Credit: Fred. Olsen Windcarrier

World:

¶ The International Energy Agency has painted a grim picture of the global oil market, with oil prices dropping, investment dropping, and supply increasing, all of which are hurting energy efficiency trends.The oil industry has cut more than $300 billion in spending in two years, or around 42% of the overall total. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Singapore-based tidal energy developer Atlantis Resources has reached an agreement between its MeyGen project and Lochend Wind Energy’s nearby four-turbine wind farm for access to the grid. The wind farm will use the grid access whenever the tidal project is not making full use of the available export capacity. [Energy Digital]

The MeyGen project will ultimately have almost 400 MW of capacity generated purely by the tide.

The MeyGen project will ultimately have almost
400 MW of capacity generated purely by the tide.

¶ Data from the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change shows that 5 GW of conventional, fossil fuel-powered generation have missed their targets for delivering the projects. The Renewable Energy Association points out that renewables are the only technologies that have been delivering new capacity reliably. [Biomass Magazine]

US:

¶ Southern Company’s Kemper plant, a 582 MW power plant was expected to cost $2.2 Billion and open in May 2014. It hasn’t opened yet, and is now projected to open later this year, at a cost of $6.6 Billion, $11.34 per watt. Factoring in the energy costs of sequestering the carbon, could cost up to $15.12 to $17.45 per watt. [Seeking Alpha]

Aerial photograph courtesy of Southern Company

Aerial photograph courtesy of Southern Company

¶ Siemens has contracted with Pattern Energy Group LP to install and service a total of 141 wind turbines for the Broadview Wind project. The project combines two adjacent developments in New Mexico and Texas with a combined capacity of 324 MW, enough to meet the energy needs of about 180,000 homes. [Renewable Energy Focus]

¶ Las Vegas enterprises, particularly the casinos and hotels, are vast operations with glitzy lights, air conditioning to make the desert livable, and other massive uses of electricity. Now, they also host a growing oasis of solar panels as Las Vegas and Nevada show they think moving to clean energy is a sure bet. [Guardian Liberty Voice]

Photo courtesy of NRG Energy

Photo courtesy of NRG Energy

¶ New York State utility regulators today released a proposal to subsidize Upstate nuclear plants with annual payments totaling an estimated $482 million a year. The public has until July 18 to comment. Exelon, the owner of the oldest two plants, said it will close them unless subsidies were approved by September. [Syracuse.com]

¶ Exelon Generation announced it had formally notified grid operator PJM Interconnection of plans to retire the Quad-Cities nuclear plant in Cordova, Illinois, on June 1, 2018. The step is the latest of several procedural notifications that Exelon has to make prior to closing the Quad-Cities and Clinton plants. [Bloomington Pantagraph]

July 8 Energy News

July 8, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ Scripps operates one of the most capable research fleets in the world, including three research vessels and one floating research platform. They venture worldwide on research projects, powered by diesel fuel. A noble experiment with biofuel marked the start of a new chapter in sustainability for the Scripps fleet. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Scripps research vessel.

Scripps research vessel.

World:

¶ The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, unveiled plans to crack down on the most polluting vehicles. It is said to be the toughest plan ever proposed by any major city in the world. Specifically, Khan has proposed a £10 per day Emissions Surcharge on older vehicles and an extended Ultra-Low Emission Zone. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Work on a concentrated solar plant, the first of its kind in Africa to use of thermal power, is expected to start in the Northern Cape within the next two months. The Redstone Solar Thermal Power Plant will be able to generate 100 MW of electricity, enough to power 200,000 local houses. It will be developed by SolarReserve. [Independent Online]

Rendering of the Redstone Solar Thermal Power Plant. Credit: Supplied

Rendering of the Redstone Solar Thermal Power Plant. Credit: Supplied

¶ The foreign oil firm TransCanada has filed a lawsuit against the US government under NAFTA rules, seeking $15 billion in compensation for the rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline project. The suit alleges that the US violated NAFTA’s broad rights for foreign investors by thwarting the company’s “expectations.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ The total lifetime cost of the planned Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant could be as high as £37 billion ($48 billion), according to an assessment published by the UK government. The figure was described as shocking by critics of the scheme, especially as the same energy department’s estimate 12 months earlier had been £14 billion. [The Guardian]

Illustration of Hinkley Point C nuclear station. Image: EDF Energy/PA

Illustration of Hinkley Point C nuclear station. Image: EDF Energy/PA

US:

¶ Rhode Islanders will have more options to “go green” for energy sources, as Governor Gina Raimondo signed several renewable energy measures into law. The measures offer tax incentives for those using solar power and include a “community solar” program so people get can get credit for power from joint projects. [WPRI 12 Eyewitness News]

¶ Recognizing the upsurge in community solar, the Solar Energy Industries Association, along with the Coalition for Community Solar Access, recently released The Residential Consumer Guide to Community Solar. The guide gives concise and necessary information to consumers to make very informed decisions. [CleanTechnica]

Westmill Solar Cooperative, via Wikicommons.

Westmill Solar Cooperative, via Wikicommons.

¶ The city of Los Angeles is one step closer to getting rid of coal. On July 1, the LA Department of Water and Power stopped buying electricity from the Navajo Generating Station, a huge coal-fired power plant on the Navajo Nation in Arizona. The sale means the DWP has cut its dependence on coal power by a quarter. [89.3 KPCC]

¶ On hot summer days, Los Angeles residents turn on air conditioners, creating a high demand for power. Five years from now, natural gas may no longer cover those summer peak loads. It is to be replaced by the world’s largest storage battery, capable of delivering over 100 MW for four hours. [Environment & Energy Publishing]

AES Corp.'s Laurel Mountain battery complex in West Virginia. Photo courtesy of AES.

AES Corp’s Laurel Mountain battery complex in West Virginia. AES photo.

¶ Duke Energy Corp expects to start construction this month of a 17-MW solar farm at a Navy base in Indiana. The construction process will include installation of 76,000 solar panels on a land plot of roughly 145 acres (58.68 hectares) southwest of Bloomington. The solar park is expected to be completed by early 2017. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ UK company Renewable Energy Systems Ltd said it expects to begin construction this month on the 102-MW Lamesa solar power plant in Texas. The plant, to be built Dawson County, will consist of 410,000 PV panels, producing enough electricity for around 26,000 households. It should enter service by mid-2017. [SeeNews Renewables]

Solar PV park. Author: mdreyno. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Solar PV park. Author: mdreyno. Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic.

¶ The Highland Wind Farm, a $250 million project that’s been in the works for five years in northwest Wisconsin’s St. Croix County, has won the final piece of regulatory approval, for the second time. The wind farm will consist of 44 turbines, of 2.3 MW each. With optimal conditions, they will produce power for over 35,000 homes. [Madison.com]

¶ A federal plan to offer leases for offshore wind power development near the coastline of Oahu could help Hawaii take a big step toward reaching its goal of getting all its electrical power from renewable energy by 2045. Stationing giant turbines in the ocean north and south of the island will be a huge engineering challenge. [InsideClimate News]

The Walney wind farm, in the Irish Sea. Credit: Wikimedia

The Walney wind farm, in the Irish Sea. Credit: Wikimedia

¶ Coloradans care about climate change, surveys say, and analysts point out that politicians ignore the issue at their own peril in this critical swing state. The Guardian newspaper produced a report stating voters, especially young ones, are increasingly dismayed that climate change has been “the missing issue of the 2016 campaign.” [RealVail]

¶ SolarFest, a two-day festival will be held on July 15 and 16 at Southern Vermont Arts Center in Manchester, Vermont. Folks from all over the Northeast will gather to witness over 20 musical acts on two stages powered by solar panels and over 50 presenters surrounding the grounds. A two-day pass costs $60. [Brattleboro Reformer]

July 7 Energy News

July 7, 2016

World:

¶ DONG Energy set a record low price for offshore wind power in a winning bid to build two arrays off the coast of the Netherlands. DONG committed to supply electricity at €72.70/MWh ($80.40/MWh), not including transmission costs, which may add about €14/MWh. An industry goal is €100/MWh by 2020. [Climate Home]

Cheap steel and favourable regulations are helping to cut offshore wind power costs (Pic: DONG Energy A/S)

Low cost steel and favourable regulations are helping
to cut offshore wind power costs (Pic: DONG Energy A/S)

¶ Trustpower, a renewable energy developer based in New Zealand, says it has been granted planning approval for the 300-MW Dundonnel Wind Farm in the Australian state of Victoria. It is a community-driven project initiated in 2008 by a group of land owners who intended to develop a wind farm on their property. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Almost a third more biogas energy is being produced in the UK compared to this time last year, according to new figures from industry trade body Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association. The AD Market Report shows that the UK now has 617 MW of biogas capacity, enough to power the equivalent of 800,000 homes. [FarmingUK]

An anaerobic digester system in the UK.

An anaerobic digester system in the UK.

¶ The Philippine government plans to require buildings in Metro Manila to install solar panels as an alternative source of energy, according to its Economic Planning Secretary. He said it would be easier and quicker to build renewable energy projects, such as solar facilities on rooftops, than coal-fired power plants. [The Standard]

¶ Bank of China raised a total of $3 billion (€2.7 billion) by issuing five tranches of green bonds in different currencies. It issued $2.25 billion in US dollar-denominated bonds, €500 million in euro bonds to mature in 2021, and ¥1.5 billion in yuan bonds. The bonds were issued in Luxembourg and New York. [SeeNews Renewables]

Wind farm in China. Author: Land Rover Our Planet. License: Creative Commons. Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic

Wind farm in China. Author: Land Rover Our Planet.
License: Creative Commons. Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic

¶ Seven of the 32 turbines for the first phase of the 100-MW Hornsdale wind farm in South Australia are now on the grid. The remaining turbines are expected to come online in the coming months, the developers said. Hornsdale was awarded a contract for 100 MW for the Australian Capital Territory in February of 2015. [reNews]

US:

¶ Southern Power has acquired a controlling interest in SunPower’s 102-MW Henrietta solar farm in Kings County, California. SunPower, which owns the remaining interest, is constructing the facility and will operate and maintain it upon completion. The project is expected to be fully operational in the third quarter of this year. [reNews]

Desert solar farm. SunPower image.

Desert solar farm. SunPower image.

¶ Pattern Energy Group LP announced it has acquired from SunEdison the development rights to the proposed 600-MW King Pine Wind power project in Maine. King Pine Wind is a 600-MW, 174 turbine, wind power project currently under development in Aroostook and Penobscot Counties, in the state’s northeastern region. [Yahoo Finance]

¶ Solar energy is expected to supply roughly 3% of New England’s power each year by 2025, and serve more than 20% of the demand during peak daytime periods in the spring and fall, according to the latest calculations by the region’s power grid operator. Massachusetts and Connecticut lead in development, while Maine is trailing. [Press Herald]

Hans Albee, an engineer at the ReVision Energy, at the Sky Ranch Solar Farm in Kennebec County, Maine. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

Hans Albee, an engineer at the ReVision Energy, at the Sky Ranch Solar Farm in Kennebec County, Maine. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

 

¶ In a mixed ruling, a federal court ruled that the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management were not in compliance with the Endangered Species Act or the National Environmental Policy Act when they issued a lease for the Cape Wind project off the coast of Massachusetts. [North American Windpower]

¶ New York storage advocates want the state to set storage mandates, directing utilities to acquire battery resources to back up more renewable power. According to the NY-BEST group, state’s 50% renewables goal would require about a quarter of peak load to be sourced from storage. It wants 4 GW of storage by 2030. [Utility Dive]

¶ Indian Point’s Unit 2 automatically shut down Wednesday morning while technicians were testing the nuclear reactor’s electrical systems, company officials said. Unit 2 has had a difficult year, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke of a pattern of problems at the nuclear facility. [The Journal News | LoHud.com]

July 6 Energy News

July 6, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Did Exxon Lie About Global Warming?” • In the case against Exxon, the plaintiffs do not have to show that the company injured a specific victim or conspired to hide what it knew about climate science, just that Exxon did not tell its own investors the truth about the investment risks of climate change. [RollingStone.com] (Thanks to Tad Montgomery)

Protesters gather outside Exxon’s shareholders meeting in Dallas. Ben Torres/Redux

Protesters gather outside Exxon’s shareholders
meeting in Dallas. Ben Torres/Redux

Science and Technology:

¶ The average cost of electricity from wind and solar energy could drop by 26 to 59 percent, according to a new report released by the International Renewable Energy Agency. The report finds policy framework and the regulatory environment to be key unknown factors in the future cost of electricity from wind and solar energy. [Triple Pundit]

¶ Nuclear plants have estimated fixed costs that range from 5¢/kWh to 7¢/kWh, depending on age and the specific reactor. New wind power has unsubsidized costs in the 3.5¢/kWh range. At those costs, new wind can produce more GHG-free electricity cheaper than keeping aging nuclear power plants running. [CleanTechnica]

Maintaining a wind turbine. It is easier than nuclear.

Wind power is less expensive than the the fixed costs of nuclear.

World:

¶ Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator announced it will allocate 936 renewable energy projects, including 907 small-scale solar projects, under its feed-in tariff program. The small-scale projects will range from 10 kW to 500 kW and will be installed atop commercial, industrial, and municipal buildings. [CleanTechnica]

¶ In January, Chhotkei in Orissa became India’s first smart village powered by Smart NanoGrid technology developed by SunMoksha. Power comes from a 30-kW solar plant, and meters and sensors collect data on energy usage and system health. This makes it possible to schedule power use and maintenance. [India Live Today]

A high-tech system in a rural setting.

A high-tech system in a rural setting.

¶ The South Korean government has announced that it would invest a total of 42 trillion won ($36 billion) in the new energy sector by 2020. Out of the total, 30 trillion won is slated to be spent on the construction of renewable energy power plants with a combined power generation capacity of 13 million kW. [BusinessKorea]

¶ Spanish firm Acciona SA and Canberra-based Windlab Ltd will build two wind farms in the Australian state of Victoria and sell the renewable energy certificates to the government. Accona’s 66-MW Mt Gellibrand project and Windlab’s 30-MW Kiata wind farm will provide sufficient power for 80,000 homes. [SeeNews Renewables]

Australian wind farm. Author: Steven Caddy. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic

Australian wind farm. Photo by Steven Caddy.
License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic

¶ German engineering major Siemens has added a 8-MW offshore wind turbine to its portfolio and plans to install the first SWT-8.0-154 machine in early 2017. The 8-MW turbine is based on the existing offshore direct drive platform and the higher rating will be achieved with a few component upgrades. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Alterra Power said the 62-MW Jimmie Creek run-of-river hydro project in British Columbia achieved full capacity output for the first time on 29 June. On the same day its East Toba and Montrose plants achieved 238 MW of output. The company expects the project to achieve full commercial operations in August. [reNews]

Run of river hydro power plant intake. Alterra photo

Run of river hydro power plant intake. Alterra photo

¶ After Cochin International Airport Limited, which has become India’s first solar energy powered airport, Kochi Metro Rail Project is also going to become green. Kochi Metro Rail Limited and Hero Solar Energy Ltd signed the power purchase agreement for 4 MW of solar power for the Kochi Metro project. [India.com]

US:

¶ For nearly as long as there has been electricity in Kentucky, coal has been used to make it. Slowly, however, that’s changing. In 2015, coal’s share of electricity generation in Kentucky dipped below 90% for the first time in decades. And in the future, electricity will come from a combination of sources, including solar. [The Lane Report]

LG&E and KU inaugurated a 10-megawatt solar power array in Burgin in Mercer County.

LG&E and KU inaugurated a 10-MW solar power array in Mercer County.

¶ The authoritatively viewed Energy Information Administration just can’t seem to get it right. It continues the confusion of policy-based growth, assuming renewables growth lags once subsidies end (after 2020). In a highly dynamic market, the EIA just doesn’t seem to get that the market is dynamic and interactive. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Southern Power has acquired the Passadumkeag Windpark, located in Penobscot County, with a nameplate capacity of approximately 43 MW. It is its first project in Maine. Once operational, the Passadumkeag Windpark is expected to generate enough electricity to meet the energy needs of about 14,000 US homes. [North American Windpower]

Wind farm in Maine.

Wind farm in Maine.

¶ Leaders of the public power utility in Minster, Ohio, had long been solar advocates when they were approached by CEO Michael Hastings of Half Moon Ventures, a development and financing company. The company proposed what is now the United State’s first municipal utility-owned solar-plus-storage project. [Utility Dive]

¶ The Imperial Irrigation District, with more than 150,000 customers in the Imperial Valley, sued the California Independent System Operator, which manages the state’s electric power grid, claiming its plan to join a regional power group will invite the disastrous price-gouging the state saw during the 2000 electricity crisis. [Courthouse News Service]

July 5 Energy News

July 5, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ The Energy Transitions Commission, made up of corporate, government, academic and non-profit groups, is now working on analysis to enable a high penetration of renewable energy onto energy grids. Its early findings have said intermittent renewable power can contribute up to 70% of grid electricity. [Business Green]

West of Duddon Sands

West of Duddon Sands

¶ Research from MIT says various different energy storage options make economic sense at current prices for some renewable energy projects. The energy storage options profiled by the study included: battery systems, pumped hydroelectric storage, and compressed air energy storage, among others. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ The wide-scale deployment of solar energy technologies in Ireland would see the generation of over 7,300 “high-value” jobs and would also slash fines from the European Union by more than €300 million a year onward from 2020, according to a new report from the Irish Solar Energy Association. [CleanTechnica]

Ireland. Photo by infomatique via RemodelHunt | CC BY-SA

Ireland. Photo by infomatique via RemodelHunt | CC BY-SA

¶ Renewable energy accounted for nearly 25% of global electrical capacity in 2015, according to a new study by REN21. Renewable power also saw its largest annual increase in capacity ever in 2015. Wind and solar PV had record additions again this year, accounting for about 77% of new installations. [ACHR NEWS]

¶ The Irish government is facing fresh calls for clarity over a delayed solar energy subsidy scheme. The Irish Farmer’s Association claims thousands of acres of land are under contracts awaiting news. A consultation on a support scheme and future tariffs in was expected in June but has not come. [Solar Power Portal]

Six thousand acres of farmland are currently under contract with solar developers. Image: Lightsource.

Six thousand acres of farmland are currently under
contract with solar developers. Image: Lightsource.

¶ French energy giant EDF has reiterated support for its delayed new nuclear power station in Hinkley, although a final investment decision is yet to come. EDF has been consulting with unions in France, some of which have voiced concern about the financial impact of the £18 billion project on the company. [Energy Voice]

¶ Renewable electricity development in the UK is advancing well, but slow progress in other sectors means the country will miss 2020 renewables targets, a National Grid report says. The report’s most optimistic scenario is that the UK will only consume 12% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. [reNews]

Renewable energy on a Northumberland homestead. Photo by Oliver Dixon. CC BY-SA 2.0 generic. Wikimedia Commons.

Renewable energy on a Northumberland homestead.
Photo by Oliver Dixon. CC BY-SA 2.0 generic. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Japan, it seems, is willing to gamble when it comes to nuclear power. Five years after the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, the country’s Environment Ministry has announced its decision to reuse the tainted soil from the nuclear site even before its radiation level reaches the safety criteria. [Nature World News]

US:

¶ The California Public Utilities Commission has moved to allow Southern California Edison to put $8.7 million more into demand response programs intended specifically to deal with problems created by the Aliso Canyon leak. The investment is reportedly to be part of broader energy efficiency measures. [CleanTechnica]

Flying over the Aliso Canyon natural gas leak.

Flying over the Aliso Canyon natural gas leak.

¶ In the latest development for the rapidly shrinking US coal industry, last week the Interior Department announced a new rule closing a loophole basing royalties on artificially low prices. The loophole enabled exporters to pocket millions in revenue that could have gone back to the taxpaying public. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Murray Energy, the largest privately held US coal company, is warning workers of massive layoffs planned for September. As many as 82% of workers could lose their jobs at the company, which employs people across six states. Murray says Obama’s environmental regulations are partly to blame. [Antigua Observer]

July 4 Energy News

July 4, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ Vestas has produced the initial kilowatt-hour from its multi-rotor wind turbine demonstrator in Denmark. The manufacturer said the milestone test site installation produced satisfactory results. The machine, which features four nacelles supported by a single tower, will continue to be put through its paces. [reNews]

Vestas multi-rotor wind machine. Vestas image.

Vestas multi-rotor wind machine. Vestas image.

World:

¶ Households account for about 18% of total energy use in the Beijing region but produce 50% of black carbon emissions and 69% of organic carbon emissions, according to research by institutions including Princeton, the University of California Berkeley, Peking University and Tsinghua University. [Science 2.0]

¶ The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development said that in response to growing demand it has provided $110 million in new funds to Akbank to finance private companies investing in renewable energy and efficiency projects in Turkey. Its goal is to diversify Turkey from imported fuel. [Hurriyet Daily News]

Wind farm in Turkey

Wind farm in Turkey

¶ MRC Allied Inc is pursuing a $90-million solar farm in the Philippine province of Cebu to beef up its presence in the renewable energy sector. MRC’s president said the 60-MW solar facility will be put up in the company’s industrial estate in Naga City and will be financed solely by the company. [The Manila Times]

¶ Crookedstone Solar Farm provides 27% of the Belfast International Airport’s electricity. On its official launch day, there the sky was perfectly clear and the solar farm operated at 100% capacity. But even during the dullest of periods on the greyest of days, it is producing at 25%-30% of its capacity. [Irish Examiner]

Belfast International Airport and, inset, Crookedstone Solar Farm

Belfast International Airport and, inset, Crookedstone Solar Farm

¶ Technology developed at the University of Alberta helps save lives of Ugandan children using solar power. The oxygen delivery system has already been deployed at two hospitals and there are hopes to expand that to 80. The solar-powered set-up costs $15,000 to install, but costs almost nothing to run. [Edmonton Journal]

¶ Tamar Energy’s new anaerobic digestion facility in Hertfordshire will recycle up to 66,000 tonnes per annum of food waste, to generate up to 3 MW/h of renewable energy, enough to power more than 6,000 homes. It will also produce a valuable biofertiliser for agricultural use. [Bioenergy Insight Magazine]

Vehicle inside Tamar Energy's reception hall

Vehicle inside Tamar Energy’s reception hall

¶ As it became clear Japan’s nuclear regulators would allow extensions to certification of two ageing reactors, a former commissioner broke a silence kept since he left the agency in 2014 and said “a sense of crisis” over safety prompted him to go public and urge more attention to earthquake risk. [The Japan Times]

US:

¶ Irish renewable energy developer BNRG has pledged $200 million to develop solar energy in the United States. Local developers in New England and Oregon have given BNRG the rights to develop 140 MW of utility-scale solar energy. The construction and installation are scheduled to begin next year. [Energy Digital]

BNRG has a significant presence in the UK, with other projects in Greece and Bulgaria.

BNRG has major presence in the UK, with projects in Greece and Bulgaria.

¶ South Carolina’s electric cooperatives are creating the largest network of community solar installations in the state, significantly expanding access to solar energy for their consumers. The initiative will add solar installations of up to 250,000 watts each, totaling up to 5 million watts statewide. [The Times and Democrat]

¶ More than $1.2 billion will go to upgrading aging hydropower projects in the Southeast, under an agreement signed by federal agencies, the Tennessee Valley Authority and an association representing customers. It aims to modernize projects along the Cumberland River over the next 20 years. [Electric Co-op Today]

July 3 Energy News

July 3, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Diablo Canyon closure shows California’s power grid is changing
fast” • Pacific Gas and Electric Co’s surprise decision to shut down Diablo Canyon, the last nuclear plant in California, came after the company studied the future and realized that the massive facility would be an awkward fit. [San Francisco Chronicle]

Diablo Canyon nuclear plant. Photo: Michael Macor, The Chronicle

Diablo Canyon nuclear plant. Photo: Michael Macor, The Chronicle

¶ “In Illinois, the nuclear age comes creaking to a halt” • Exelon is a $34.5 billion company that earned $2.2 billion last year. For two straight years, it has tried to convince Illinois lawmakers to cover its losses. Exelon wants a taxpayer supported handout of an estimated $170 million for each of the next six years. [STLtoday.com]

Science and Technology:

¶ An ecology professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage is leading a long-term project to examine seabirds, what they eat and how that reflects ocean conditions in a rapidly warming climate. Increasingly, their diets include large quantities of plastic particles that float in the waters of the Bering Sea. [Alaska Dispatch News]

US Fish and Wildlife Service research vessel, the R/V Tiglax, stops at Attu Island, the most western of the Aleutian Islands. (Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News)

US Fish and Wildlife Service vessel, R/V Tiglax, stops at Attu Island,
most western of the Aleutians. (Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News)

¶ The continent of Antarctica has been home to Adélie penguins since millions of years ago, but climate change may soon force the penguin species to leave the place. A new study has suggested that about one-third current Adélie colonies will disappear by 2060 if Antarctic ice continues to shrink. [Northern California News]

World:

¶ Working out how to use some of New Zealand’s vast stores of renewable energy to fuel the transport sector may be the country’s next big challenge. Renewable energy now contributes about 82% of New Zealand’s electricity, but the picture is not quite so rosy when you look at the country’s total energy use. [Stuff.co.nz]

A big chunk of New Zealand's electricity comes from hydro stations. John Bisset.

Much of New Zealand’s electricity comes from hydro stations. John Bisset.

¶ Sweden approved the sale of Vattenfall AB’s German lignite plants and mines to Czech power producer Energeticky a Prumyslovy Holding AS and its financial partner PPF Investments Ltd. Vattenfall, a state-controlled Swedish utility is seeking to divest its dirtiest power units, and wants to focus on renewables. [Bloomberg]

US:

¶ Nevada’s Renewable Portfolio Standards call for 25% of its electricity demand to come from renewable energy by 2025. This target has already been achieved. A conservative think-tank has published a study on its website saying the standards kill jobs and reduce growth. Energy experts disagree. [Las Vegas Review-Journal]

Solar panels being installed at a home in northwest Las Vegas. Jeff Scheid/Las Vegas Review-Journal

Solar panels being installed at a home in northwest Las Vegas.
Jeff Scheid / Las Vegas Review-Journal

¶ The Kit Carson Electric Cooperative agreed to pay $37 million to get out of a wholesale power contract with Tri-State Generation and Transmission, which it blames for holding back renewable energy development. Under the contract, the co-op could generate only 5% of its own power from solar sources. [Santa Fe New Mexican]

¶ The utility industry is clamoring more loudly in an election year for energy reforms that Congress and the administration have failed to deliver on, and one independent agency is being eyed to fix it all. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the nation’s energy market watchdog, is that agency. [Washington Examiner]

The nuclear industry said it is lobbying FERC. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

The nuclear industry said it is lobbying FERC. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

¶ A Cape Cod Research institution has once again received some lofty recognition from an international organization. For the third year in a row, the International Center for Climate Governance has ranked the Woods Hole Research Center as the world’s number one climate change think tank. [CapeCod.com News]

¶ The old Knickerbocker Landfill in East Whiteland, Pennsylvania, might go from an old waste ground to a renewable source of power, if a local electrical contractor’s development plans come to pass. Keares Electric has plans to build a solar farm on the landfill to provide clean energy to the area. [Daily Local News]

July 2 Energy News

July 2, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “North American energy deal places focus on Mexico” • Although Canada already far exceeds its own goals for the trilateral pledge to generate half of North America’s electricity from carbon free sources by 2025, and the United States has a clear path forward, Mexico faces a number of major hurdles. [Science Magazine]

Wind farms like this one on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Mexico have faced strong community opposition. L Hernández / Associated Press

Wind farms on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Mexico.
L Hernández / Associated Press

¶ “A Carbon-Free, Nuclear-Free California Is Within Reach” • California has taken some bold actions to reduce carbon emissions, but closing the Diablo Canyon, the state’s lone remaining nuclear power plant, is also a tremendous victory for safe, renewable energy. It will be replaced by solar and wind. [Huffington Post]

Science and Technology:

¶ Researchers say they have found the first clear evidence that the thinning in the ozone layer above Antarctica is starting to heal. The scientists said that in September 2015 the hole was around 4 million square kilometers smaller than it was in the year 2000 – an area roughly the size of India. [BBC]

The researchers believe that healing of the ozone hole has begun in the stratosphere above Antarctica. SPL

The researchers believe that healing of the ozone hole has
begun in the stratosphere above Antarctica. SPL

World:

¶ A statement by Coal India Ltd to the Bombay Stock Exchange said they have signed agreements with the Solar Energy Corporation of India to implement 200 MW of solar projects in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Details are lacking, but SECI will likely call for bids and allocate projects on behalf of Coal India. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator announced it will offer 936 long-term contracts for 241.43 MW of small-scale renewable electric power generation, including solar, wind, hydroelectric and bioenergy projects. The grid operator says it had received a total of 1,702 FIT applications. [Solar Industry]

Toronto

Toronto

¶ Sunlabob Renewable Energy Ltd, which specializes in decentralized renewable energy and clean water solutions, has recently completed eleven solar-powered mini-grids in remote communities of Myanmar. The mini-grids are providing reliable, clean electricity to nearly 1,000 households. [eco-business.com]

¶ The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is providing €10 million in debt financing for the construction, development, and operation of five solar PV parks, with a total capacity of 11.9 MW, in Cyprus, it was announced. The projects will help Cyprus to utilize solar potential. [Cyprus Mail]

Solar power in Cyprus

Solar power in Cyprus

¶ The World Bank has agreed to lend India more than $1 billion to help deliver the country’s ambitious plan for 100 GW of solar generating capacity by 2022. The loan is to be provided over the 2017 financial year. It is the largest support for solar power provided by the World Bank Group in any country. [Business Green]

¶ French legislators planned to impose a heavy tax on palm oil products to help protect natural environments. But when the Indonesian government threatened to retaliate economically by refusing to buy Airbus airplanes and communications technologies, economics trumped environmental concerns. [Clean Malaysia]

A palm oil plantation in Indonesia. Photo Credit” Wikimedia Commons

A palm oil plantation in Indonesia. Photo Credit” Wikimedia Commons

US:

¶ Alaska Power and Telephone announced it would build a 1.8 MW wind farm with help from a $3 million High Energy Cost Grant from the United States Department of Agriculture. The 7-Mile Wind, would reduce the power costs for about 1,500 residents in Tok, Tetlin, Dot Lake, and Tanacross. [Fairbanks Daily News-Miner]

¶ After receiving numerous endorsements and commitments over recent weeks, the Grain Belt Express Clean Line took a step for final approval, filing an application with the Missouri Public Service Commission. A number of large companies operating in Missouri are expected to endorse the project. [The Missouri Times]

Flat Ridge wind project in Kansas.

Flat Ridge wind project in Kansas.

¶ Mom’s Organic Market, a family owned chain based in Maryland, has begun purchasing all the power generated by a designated 1.5-MW solar farm in Kingsville, Maryland. The solar farm will provide 25% of the power needs of Mom’s stores in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. [Chain Store Age]

¶ The Colorado Public Utilities Commission has reconsidered a decision it had made to turn down Xcel Energy’s plan to buy power from certain community solar gardens. It has approved a settlement agreement on the project, thus paving the way for the development of projects totaling 29.5 MW. [SeeNews Renewables]

July 1 Energy News

July 1, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Coal Is Literally Killing Us” • Taken together, the Clean Power Plan’s reductions in atmospheric pollutants associated with coal would reduce problems with heart disease, asthma, and other diseases enough save us of a whopping $38 billion a year in the US. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

Smoke stacks. Photo: Jon Sullivan / Flickr

Smoke stacks. Photo: Jon Sullivan / Flickr

World:

¶ The North American Climate, Energy and Environment Partnership announced Wednesday in Ottawa has much to say about clean power generation, renewable energy and efficiency but barely a word about natural gas, save for methane emissions reduction goals. [Natural Gas Intelligence]

¶ The City of Sydney has a new five-year plan that targets 50% renewable electricity by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050. Reports say the City may use a scheme under which the council, businesses and residents group together to sponsor large-scale renewable energy projects. [CleanTechnica]

Solar power station in White Cliffs, NSW, Australia. Photo by Richard Gifford. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Solar power station in White Cliffs, NSW, Australia. Photo by
 Richard Gifford. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Australia’s burgeoning residential battery storage market is set to have yet another contender come September, with the release of a modular 2.5-kWh lithium-ion product by prestige car maker Mercedes-Benz. The cost per 2.5-kWh battery unit has not yet been released. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Britain’s decision to leave the European union could delay the Moray Firth offshore wind energy project in Scotland owned by the renewables unit of Portugal’s Energias de Portugal-EDP. The project’s planned capacity would be enough to meet the needs of 700,000 households. [Investing.com UK]

Specialist offshore construction vessel North Sea Giant in Bangor Bay. Photo by Rossographer. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Specialist offshore construction vessel North Sea Giant in Bangor Bay. Photo by Rossographer. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Confectionery giant Mars now diverts all of the waste produced at its factories worldwide away from landfill, the company said. Publishing its annual Principles in Action 2015 report, Mars said all of the waste from its 126 factories is now reused, recycled or used for energy generation. [Business Green]

¶ Nissan Motor published its annual Sustainability Report showing that the automaker’s CO2 emissions have fallen by 22.4% over the past decade. Nissan’s success in reducing emissions made it the highest-performing auto company tracked by the Carbon Disclosure Project. [Autocar Professional]

Nissan electric test car. Photo by JM Rosenfeld (flickr). CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons. 

Nissan electric test car. Photo by JM Rosenfeld (flickr). 
CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Google has purchased 100% of the output of a 160-MW Norwegian wind power farm through a 12-year power purchase agreement. The deal will power Google’s European data centers. The permits have already been granted. The wind farm include 50 Siemens 3.2-MW units. [North American Windpower]

¶ Germany is offering to help Greece develop environmentally friendly power plants on its Aegean islands, the German Economy Minister said. The aim is to bring clean energy to the islands, many of which are dependent on dirty diesel-powered generators for electricity. [Europe Online Magazine]

Salamina, Greece. Photo by Barba' s. Placed in the public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

Salamina, Greece. Photo by Barba’ s.
Placed in the public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

US:

¶ Projections that coal utilization will decline faster than previously forecast have spurred Babcock & Wilcox Enterprises to shed 200 jobs and restructure its traditional power business that serves coal-fired power generation in a bid to reduce overhead and improve efficiency. [POWER magazine]

¶ Rhode Island has nearly tripled the state’s renewable energy standard to 40% by 2035, up from 14.5% by 2019, as the governor signed the legislation into law. A growing number of states, including California, Oregon, Vermont, and Hawaii have increased existing renewable energy goals. [reNews]

Wind turbines. SXC image.

Wind turbines. SXC image.

¶ Bringing off-shore wind energy to the US electric system for the first time took a major step forward this past weekend with the landing of a 20-mile undersea cable from Scarborough State Beach in Narragansett, Rhode Island, to the wind project, and then to Crescent Beach on Block Island. [Digital Journal]

¶ Danish manufacturer Vestas has secured 162-MW turbine supply contracts for a pair of wind farms in the US. The unconditional awards are for V110-2.0MW hardware and delivery is scheduled to start in the third quarter of 2017. Some of the machines will be optimized at 2.2 MW. [reNews]

V110 wind turbine blades. Credit: Vestas

V110 wind turbine blades. Credit: Vestas

¶ A new bill may lead to freeing up funds intended for use by the troubled San Francisco to Los Angeles high-speed rail project, with the funds being made available for other projects such as the electrification of Caltrain’s Gilroy to San Francisco route, according to recent reports. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Illinois lawmakers adjourned June 30 without addressing a controversial bill intended to keep two nuclear power facilities open. The legislation was back by Exelon, the plants’ owner, but many consumer advocates and state Attorney General Lisa Madigan opposed the measure. [WJBC News]