September 21 Energy News

September 21, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Are virtual power plants the next evolution of American infrastructure?” • 2016 could be a pivotal year. In June, New York’s Con Edison, together with solar storage providers SunPower and Sunverge, announced a new pilot program for New York City homes that would transform their rooftops into a virtual power plant. [PennEnergy]

Solar trackers standing in water

Solar trackers in shallow water

¶ “Democratic and Republican Platforms Present Contrasting Energy Planks” • At their respective national conventions in late July, the Democratic and Republican Parties established the policy platforms on which their respective federal, state and local candidates will base their election campaigns. Those platforms are very different. [JD Supra]

Science and Technology:

¶ A 30-meter catamaran, powered by solar, wind and self-generated hydrogen, will be launched next February to sail around the world as a clean energy laboratory. The Energy Observer aims to circumnavigate the globe using only clean power, a feat similar to Solar Impulse 2’s solar-powered flight around the world. [HazardEx]

Energy Observer, artist's impression (Image: Energy Observer)

Energy Observer, artist’s impression (Image: Energy Observer)

¶ École Cantonale d’Art Lausanne design student Nils Ferber’s has produced a micro wind turbine prototype. The portable vertical axis wind turbine is designed to pack down into about the size of an umbrella for transport and storage, and then to unfold quickly to be set up as a three-bladed Savonius-style turbine. [Treehugger]

¶ A new car from Toyota runs on a very renewable resource: human waste. Yes, you read that right: The Toyota Mirai is powered by hydrogen fuel, which can be made from poop. Though poo-to-hydrogen technology is used commonly in many parts of the world, it is not currently widely available in the US. [Grist]

Toyota Mirai (Toyota image)

Toyota Mirai (Toyota image)

World:

¶ As an outcome of the recent G20 meeting in China, both China and the US volunteered to publish peer reviews of their current fossil fuel subsidies. Together, the two countries are annually providing over $20 billion in inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. Of this, $8.1 billion comes from the United States, and $14.5 billion from China. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A revolution is taking place in the global energy sector, with investments in oil and gas declining by 25% in 2015 while energy produced from renewables rose by more than 30%. “We have never seen such a decline [in oil and gas investment]”, said Dr Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency. [AlterNet]

Offshore oil workers (Credit: iurii/Shutterstock)

Offshore oil workers (Credit: iurii/Shutterstock)

¶ According to a new report from the World Energy Council, ‘Variable Renewables Integration in Electricity Systems 2016 – How to get it right’, renewable energy now accounts for over 30% of the total global installed power generation capacity, and 23% of total global electricity production. The data came from 32 countries. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The share of renewables in all power produced on Chile’s central power system jumped to 15.4% in August 2016 from 11.4% in the same month of 2015. Solar power generation in August more than doubled in year-on-year terms. Wind power, thermal renewables, and hydro power all showed increased production levels. [SeeNews Renewables]

Wind farm in Chile (Featured Image: Pablo Rogat/Shutterstock.com)

Wind farm in Chile (Image: Pablo Rogat / Shutterstock.com)

¶ More than $1 billion in debt and financing commitments from US agencies and private investors is being announced for US President Barack Obama’s signature Africa energy initiative, Power Africa. The latest deals were finalized around a US-Africa business forum on the sidelines of annual UN meetings in New York this week. [Yahoo News]

¶ Indonesia’s national electricity company PT PLN and a group of investors led by Equis have agreed to develop a 60-MW onshore wind farm on one of the southeast Asian country’s many islands. The wind farm will feature Vestas turbines. The South Sulawesi project will be the first large-scale renewable energy project in Indonesia. [reNews]

Vestas turbines in India (Vestas image)

Vestas turbines in India (Vestas image)

¶ The Japanese government decided to cut its losses on the ¥1 trillion ($9.85 billion) Monju fast-breeder reactor, pulling the plug on the project after years of mishaps, cover-ups and waste. At an extraordinary meeting, the Cabinet decided that the idle facility should be decommissioned, though it is still looking to obtain a nuclear fuel cycle. [The Japan Times]

US:

¶ Twenty US Governors sent an open letter to President Obama to suggest actions his administration can take to expand the wind and solar energy production of their states. They are members of the Governors’ Wind & Solar Energy Coalition, a bipartisan group committed to developing the country’s wind and solar energy resources. [CleanTechnica]

Block Island Wind Farm

Block Island Wind Farm

¶ Three more large companies, Apple, Bank of America, and Amalgamated Bank, have pledged to get 100% renewable energy, joining the RE100 group. Bank of America further announced it will be “carbon neutral” by 2020. Meanwhile, Apple announced new commitments to power its supply chain with renewable energy. [EcoWatch]

¶ The Moapa Band of Paiutes hosted Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on a tour of the Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project, a new 250-MW solar plant recently completed on the 2,000 acres of tribal land. Equipped with four million fixed-tilt PV panels, the new plant has the equivalent area of roughly 500 football fields. [mvprogress]

 

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