August 18 Energy News

August 18, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ July was the world’s hottest month ever, according to NASA, the tenth month in a row to break temperature records globally. Since October 2015, every month has set a new global record for hottest temperatures, but the rise may slow down soon. A developing La Nina weather pattern may help, though probably not until 2017. [CNN]

Road closed due to weather. FEMA photo. Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

Road closed due to weather. FEMA photo, after Hurricane Katrina.
Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

World:

¶ Scotland’s next generation of onshore wind farms could be at least 20% cheaper if the Scottish and UK governments work with industry and regulators to remove barriers, according to Scottish Renewables. A Scottish Renewables study said industry could cut onshore wind costs by more than £150 million per year. [reNews]

Hill of Towie wind farm in Scotland (reNEWS)

Hill of Towie wind farm in Scotland (reNEWS)

¶ Under an agreement with China, Egypt is to construct a 1,000-MW solar power station and a solar panels factory that will be implemented in two stages, 500 MW each. The terms of the agreement say China will fund the establishment of the station and the factory with 3.3 billion in concessional financing. [MENAFN.COM]

¶ Acciona SA will build a 183-MW wind farm in Chile to meet the output won in the country’s energy auction that was completed on Wednesday. The wind farm will supply of 506 GWh of electricity per year. The tender offered 20-year power purchase contracts for a total of 12,430 GWh annually, starting in 2021 and 2022. [SeeNews Renewables]

Acciona wind farm. Source: Acciona SA.

Acciona wind farm. Source: Acciona SA.

… Mainstream Renewable Power was awarded contracts by the National Energy Commission of Chile to build and operate seven utility-scale wind farm with a combined capacity of 986 MW. The projects are located throughout Chile and are scheduled to begin supplying low-cost energy to the grid from January 2021. [Your Renewable News]
… Plans for a series of new gas-fired plants in Chile have been put on hold after none of the projects won contracts at the country’s largest-ever electricity tender. More than half of the demand on offer was taken by a series of wind and solar energy projects, and all of the remainder was awarded to hydro generation. [Platts]

¶ Brazil generates the third-highest amount of electricity in the Americas, behind only the United States and Canada, according to the Energy Information Administration. Hydroelectricity provides more than 70% of Brazil’s generation. Brazil has 158 hydroelectric plants, totaling over 89 GW, and more are coming. [Electric Light & Power]

Hydro plant in Brazil.

Hydro plant in Brazil.

¶ To encourage renewable energy use by farmers, the government of the Indian state of Haryana announced that 3,050 solar water pumps will be installed in current financial year in the state with 90% subsidy. The pumps will be of two, five, or ten horsepower, with 10% of the cost covered by the farmers. [The Indian Express]

¶ The UK government has approved phase two of the world’s largest wind farm, adding 300 turbines to a project 55 miles off England’s shore, in the North Sea. Many people concerned about the long-term dangers of nuclear energy are hoping that renewable projects like Hornsea will pave the way for a complete transition. [ThinkProgress]

Offshore wind farm. Shutterstock image.

Offshore wind farm. Shutterstock image.

US:

¶ Electric utilities cannot pass on to their Massachusetts ratepayers the costs of financing new natural gas pipelines, the state’s highest court ruled on Wednesday. The unanimous decision from the Supreme Judicial Court was cheered by environmental groups, which had dubbed the proposed tariffs a “pipeline tax.” [Boston Herald]

¶ Wind energy pricing remains attractive to utility and commercial purchasers, according to an annual report released by the US Department of Energy and prepared by the Electricity Markets & Policy Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The levelized long-term price of wind power averages around 2¢/kWh. [EurekAlert]

Wind turbines in North Dakota. USFWS Mountain-Prairie photo. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Wind turbines in North Dakota. USFWS Mountain-Prairie photo.
CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Vermont’s largest electric utility has committed to purchase 14 hydroelectric dams in New England and to get power from two others, a buy that will net Green Mountain Power an added 17 MW of energy production for just over $20 million. The dams will help the company meet statutory renewability requirements. [vtdigger.org]

¶ Residents of the Alaskan island village of Shishmaref voted to give up their ancestral way of life and relocate to safer ground over fears of erosion from rising sea levels and melting permafrost. The village, with about 650 people, is located on a barrier island that is experiencing a rapid rate of erosion due to rising temperatures. [BuzzFeed News]

Shishmaref, Alaska. Bering Land Bridge National Preserve photo.

Shishmaref, Alaska. Bering Land Bridge National Preserve photo.

¶ In the second solar announcement in a week, the governor of Virginia said that Hecate Energy LLC has received a permit for a new utility-scale solar facility to be built in Cape Charles in Northampton County. The 20-MW project will provide enough energy to power more than 3,000 households. [Virginia Business Magazine]

¶ American companies are increasingly making their own power with wind turbines located near the factories and buildings that consume the power they make, the 2015 Distributed Wind Market Report says. Distributed wind can range from a small turbine at a remote cabin to a set of several large turbines. [Newswise]

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