August 11 Energy News

August 11, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Holy Grail of energy policy in sight as battery technology smashes the old order” • The world’s next energy revolution may be no more than five or ten years away. Research into clean electricity storage is moving fast, obsoleting 20th century power plants, including nuclear white elephants such as Hinkley Point. [Telegraph.co.uk]

Once renewable energy can be stored for use on demand, Britain could become self-sufficient in its energy usage. Credit: Charlotte Graham / Rex Shutterstock.

With stored renewable energy, Britain could become self-sufficient
in its energy usage. Credit: Charlotte Graham / Rex Shutterstock.

¶ “The Hinkley Point C nuclear reactor shouldn’t be delayed – it should be scrapped” • Theresa May’s government has delayed decision on Hinkley Point C. But the government really should stop agonizing and cancel it. There is no commercial or environmental sense in investing billions into the outdated project. [City A.M.]

Science and Technology:

¶ With South Africa in its worst drought in history, a 16-year-old schoolgirl from Johannesburg created a super absorbent polymer out of orange peel and avocado skins. It is capable of storing reserves of water hundreds of times its own weight, forming reservoirs that would allow farmers to maintain their crops at minimal cost. [CNN]

Kiara Nirghin won Google's Community Impact Award.

Kiara Nirghin won Google’s Community Impact Award.

World:

¶ Australia’s government has preliminarily blocked Chinese and Hong Kong bidders from taking a controlling stake in the country’s largest electricity network, citing worries over national security. The Australian treasurer said the foreign investment proposals from “were contrary to the national interest.” [BBC]

¶ Donald Trump has taken time out of his busy presidential campaign to reiterate his intention to keep fighting the planned offshore wind farm which is scheduled to be built off the coast of Aberdeenshire. He has signalled his intention to bring the case before the European courts if necessary. [International Environmental Technology]

Donald Trump continues fighting Scottish wind farm.

Donald Trump continues fighting Scottish wind farm.

¶ The Portuguese secretary of state for energy announced that subsidies to renewable energies are to be phased out, as existing contracts expire. Portugal will opt for a gradual phase-out and non-interference with existing contracts, unlike Spain, which tore up existing contracts when it decided on its phase-out. [Power Engineering International]

¶ A large and growing global glut of crude is set to keep oil prices at their depressed levels in the coming months. High stockpiles of refined oil products – petrol and diesel – as well as crude oil mean that unless there is substantial disruption to production or soaring demand, any recovery looks to be a long way off. [BBC]

Oil tankers laden with oil and refined fuel are used as storage venues.

Oil tankers laden with oil and refined fuel are used as storage venues.

¶ Germany added 150 bio-gas plants in 2015, with 23 MW of capacity. This was the smallest annual increase since the Renewable Energy Sources Act was first adopted in 2000. The overall pace of additional construction is somewhat disappointing. Nearly 9,000 bio-gas plants are currently operational in Germany. [Blue & Green Tomorrow]

¶ Wind power generated the equivalent of all Scotland’s electricity needs on 7 August, according to WWF Scotland. Analysis by WWF of data provided by WeatherEnergy found that for August 7, wind turbines in Scotland provided 39,545 MWh to the National Grid. Scotland’s demand for the day was 37,202 MWh. [reNews]

Harestanes wind farm in Scotland (Iberdrola image).

Harestanes wind farm in Scotland (Iberdrola image).

¶ Solarsense has revealed details a series of commercial rooftop solar installations finished this year for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds at a seven nature reserves. The installations increased RSPB’s solar capacity by a total of 104.78 kW and are expected to deliver 88 MWh in annual output. [Solar Power Portal]

¶ Huge spikes in wholesale electric prices in South Australia have been a result of energy companies gaming the system, according to a report by the Melbourne Energy Institute. It said fossil fuel generators may have withheld electricity at “strategic” times, causing massive price spikes, which have led to a $30.3 million windfall. [The Guardian]

A Melbourne Energy Institute report found evidence of fossil fuel companies gaming the system. Photograph: David Crosling / AAP

A Melbourne Energy Institute report found evidence of fossil fuel
companies gaming the system. Photograph: David Crosling / AAP

¶ France’s Socialist Party said a full review of the Hinkley Point project is needed before any decision is taken to build the British nuclear power plant, in effect siding with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May over France’s Socialist President Francois Hollande. Doubts center to a degree on the high cost of the nuclear plant. [Bloomberg]

US:

¶ Solana Beach, California, is considering forming an electric collective to buy power on behalf of residents and businesses, through community choice aggregation (CCA). Residents are members of the CCA unless they opt out and go back to incumbent utility San Diego Gas & Electric Co. [Environment & Energy Publishing]

A cliff overlooking Solana Beach, Calif. Photo by Jamie Lantzy, courtesy of Flickr.

A cliff at Solana Beach. Photo by Jamie Lantzy, courtesy of Flickr.

¶ Exelon Corp said in its August 9 quarterly Form 10-Q report that the New York ISO has said its doesn’t need the Ginna nuclear plant operating beyond March of next year for grid reliability purposes. Ginna is a 581-MW, single-unit pressurized water reactor located in Ontario County, New York. [Electric Light & Power]

¶ A new project to capture stormwater at GM Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly, home of the Chevrolet Volt, is slated to save the plant nearly $2 million every year. The initiative, two years in the making, now allows the plant to reuse rainwater for manufacturing processes throughout the 4 million square foot facility. [Justmeans]

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