August 5 Energy News

August 5, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Nuclear Power Is Losing Money At An Astonishing Rate” • Half of the existing nuclear power plants are no longer profitable. The New York Times and others have tried to blame renewable energy, but the admittedly astounding price drops of renewables aren’t the primary cause of the industry’s woes. [ThinkProgress]

Cooling towers. Shutterstock image.

Cooling towers. Shutterstock image.

Science and Technology:

¶ In a new research study from Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Illinois at Chicago, scientists developed an artificial leaf that uses solar power to transform CO2 into a fuel source. The leaf mimics the process of photosynthesis that occurs naturally in plants, but converts CO2 into syngas, a fuel. [Treehugger]

¶ North Sea hydrocarbon reserves are being depleted, and many hundreds of oil and gas rigs are approaching the end of their productive lives. At the current low oil price, one-third of oil fields operating at a loss. But there is a problem: rigs cannot just be shut down. They have to be decommissioned, and that has to happen at sea. [BBC]

North Sea oil platform. Photo by tom jervis. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

On the North Sea. Photo by tom jervis. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

World:

¶ Natural Energy Wyre Ltd wants to build a 120-MW tidal energy project that could dramatically lower the cost of energy generated by the sea. The company’s £250 million ($329 million) proposed project would capture power from tides as they rise and fall, four times each day, ten meters or more, each way they flow. [Bloomberg]

¶ Scotian Wind and project partners have completed a three-turbine wind farm in East Hants, Nova Scotia. The 6-MW project is the final of four Community Feed-In Tariff projects that were installed by Scotian Wind this year. This installation brings their fleet of community-scale projects to 39.63 MW in Nova Scotia. [Windpower Engineering]

Wind turbines in Nova Scotia.

Wind turbines in Nova Scotia.

¶ The Australian Renewable Energy Agency announced that it committed, with conditions, up to A$5 million (US$3.83) in funding for a A$20-million Australian energy group AGL to install 1,000 centrally controlled batteries in South Australian homes and businesses with a combined storage capacity of 5 MW/7 MWh. [pv magazine]

¶ AGL said the batteries it plans to install in and around Adelaide will be linked with solar panel arrays in a system that would be the “world’s largest virtual power plant.” The company hopes the system will help meet demand peaks and avoid the need to source electricity from local power stations. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

Politicians blamed wind farms for recent electricity supply concerns. Photo: Bloomberg

Some politicians blame wind farms for supply problems. Photo: Bloomberg

US:

¶ The Nevada Supreme Court ruled against a referendum proposed for the November statewide ballot that would have given voters the right to decide whether to return to Nevada’s previous, more favorable net metering rules. Justices said the measure’s ballot description is inaccurate, misleading, and argumentative. [SeeNews Renewables]

SiliconBeat reports that Apple received approval to begin selling off its excess renewable energy. The approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission means Apple will be able to start selling excess energy generated from its solar farms and other renewable energy facilities it has located in Nevada, Arizona, and California. [9 to 5 Mac]

Apple solar array.

Apple solar array.

¶ A hospital in Westchester County has finished work on a solar power array that state officials say will save $96,000 per year. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office announced the completion of the project on Thursday. The state contributed $358,000 toward the work at the Montrose VA Medical Center. [Colorado Springs Gazette]

¶ Sonoma Clean Power has signed a power purchase agreement for 20 years of wind power from Golden Hills North Wind Energy Center. The project is getting new turbines in a re-power program, with each new turbine replacing 21 of the older ones. The result will be more energy and reduced avian mortality. [Windpower Engineering]

Golden Hills North Wind Energy is expected to be operational at the end of 2017.

Golden Hills North Wind Energy is expected to be operational in 2017.

¶ When the Oregon Legislature debated a landmark bill to phase out coal power and require more renewable energy, Republican lawmakers, business groups, and some Public Utility Commission officials predicted it would jack up power costs and harm industry. But those fears appear to have been overblown. [Portland Tribune]

¶ El Paso Electric celebrated a milestone as the only utility in Texas and New Mexico to generate electricity that is 100% coal-free. By eliminating the coal generation from the company’s portfolio and increasing its use of utility-scale solar, EPE is reducing carbon dioxide emissions by than two billion pounds per year. [solarserver.com]

¶ The US Department of Energy estimates that the nation could increase its hydroelectric capacity 50% by 2050 without building new dams. The new capacity would come from upgrading existing hydropower facilities with more efficient technology and by constructing pumped storage facilities. [TakePart]

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