September 1 Energy News

September 1, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research released a study on hurricane losses. The researchers concluded that not only will the financial damages from hurricanes increase dramatically by the end of the century, but that the rate of economic growth won’t keep pace with hurricane-caused financial losses. [CleanTechnica]

Flood waters from Tropical Storm Irene in Quechee, Vermont. Photo by Stephen Flanders. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Flood waters from Tropical Storm Irene in Quechee, Vermont.
Photo by Stephen Flanders. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ At the Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa, the Environmental Defense Fund and other national organizations launched the Midwest Row Crop Collaborative, working to expand on-the-ground solutions to protect air and water quality, enhance soil health, and maintain high yields in the Upper Mississippi River Basin. [Environmental Defense Fund]

World:

¶ Costa Rica has gone 113 days without using fossil fuels to keep the lights on. This shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s been keeping tabs on Costa Rica, because in 2015, 99% of its electrical energy was derived from renewable energy sources. Nevertheless, there is a certain symbolism to getting all your energy from renewables. [ZME Science]

The luxurious nation of Costa Rica is setting an example. Photo by Wha’ppen Costa Rica.

The luxurious nation of Costa Rica is setting an example.
Photo by Wha’ppen Costa Rica.

¶ A report, Renewable Electricity in Ireland 2015, shows that renewables contributed the second largest source of electricity last year behind gas and ahead of coal. More than 80% of renewable electricity generated in Ireland came from wind power accounting for three quarters of the avoided CO2 emissions. [The Nationalist]

¶ An islanding solar project reliant on battery backup is about to undergo a two-year test in Queensland. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency partnered with four large companies in a Knowledge Sharing Project. It will test a system big enough to support 3,000 homes with grid-tied solar power and a 5.3-MWh battery. [The Green Optimistic]

Origin solar farm.

Origin solar farm.

¶ More than 3,500 of Britain’s 50,000 churches have moved their electricity supply to renewables, or plan to do so, according to newly released data. The majority of Salvation Army’s sites, about a third of Quaker meeting houses, and approximately 2,000 Catholic churches are running entirely on renewable energy. [The Guardian]

¶ SSE completed the installation of 26 out of 33 GE 2.85-MW turbines at its 94-MW Dunmaglass wind farm in the Scottish Highlands. The utility added that it has also cleared a path to full energization of the wind farm. Six machines are at the “mid tower stage,” and installation of another turbine is yet to get underway. [reNews]

Dunmaglass wind farm. Image: www.aerialvision.scot/SSE.

Dunmaglass wind farm. Image: www.aerialvision.scot.

¶ The Chinese government is considering a proposal to boost residential green energy use, the latest move to cut air pollution and a dependence on coal-fired electric power. The government could offer certificates that reward residential users who use more green power and install equipment like solar panels. [Thomson Reuters Foundation]

¶ A massive Reachtel poll of 10,271 people has found a thumping majority of Australians oppose the government cutting $1 billion from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. And support for an emissions intensity scheme to force high emissions power plants to reduce their emissions is even stronger. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

The poll showed strong support for emissions reductions. Photo: Paul Jones

There is strong support for emissions reductions. Photo: Paul Jones

¶ Five employee representatives on EDF’s board have filed a lawsuit to overturn the French power company’s controversial decision to build nuclear reactors in Britain at Hinkley Point. The representatives argue that board leadership failed to convey critical information before the vote and had conflicts of interest. [Yahoo News UK]

US:

¶ California State University, Long Beach and SunPower Corp have announced that construction is under way on a 4.8-MW SunPower Helix Carport solar power system at two university parking areas. SunPower says the university could offset approximately 15% of campus electrical load with the renewable power. [Solar Industry]

SunPower Helix Carport. Photo courtesy of SunPower.

SunPower Helix Carport. Photo courtesy of SunPower.

¶ Donald Trump has been a harsh critic of wind energy, but Iowa GOP Senator Chuck Grassley warns it’ll be “over my dead body” if the GOP nominee wins the White House and tries to do away with wind power. In an interview with Yahoo News, Grassley lauded wind energy for its environmental and economic benefits. [Newsmax]

¶ A Maine-based company appears to have found a formula to win local backing in Vermont for often controversial solar-energy projects: careful siting, a dose of patience and a willingness to alter plans to overcome objections. Ranger Solar has won outright support in three towns for arrays that average 100 acres apiece. [Seven Days]

Solar Trackers. File: Robert Nickelsberg.

Solar Trackers. File: Robert Nickelsberg.

¶ These days, the biggest buyers of renewable energy aren’t utilities. They’re corporations like Google, Walmart, and Owens Corning. Over the last year and a half, there’s been a surge of power purchases first by tech companies and more recently by more mainstream businesses, such as General Motors and Steelcase. [Co.Exist]

¶ Talen Energy announced it’s withdrawing its license application for a proposed nuclear power plant in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. The company sent a written request to the NRC, saying it sees no “viable path” to obtaining a license for its proposed Bell Bend nuclear power plant. The application was filed in 2008. [PA home page]

 

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