Archive for October, 2016

October 31 Energy News

October 31, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “How the electricity utilities ‘use a little bit of political jiu-jitsu’ to steal the sun” • US electrical utilities, feeling pressure from distributed solar power, are acting to protect their monopolies. In Florida, the utilities are spending tens of millions of dollars to manipulate the electorate into voting to limit solar power’s growth. [Electrek]

Solar array

¶ “Taiwan bows to public opinion in pulling plug on nuclear power” • Like Japan, Taiwan is poor in natural resources. It introduced nuclear power generation in the 1970s. Currently, three nuclear power plants are in operation in Taiwan. However, like Japan, Taiwan is prone to earthquakes and other natural disasters. [Asahi Shimbun]

World:

¶ A 100-MW offshore wind power pilot project will likely be installed in ocean off Gujarat in about three years, according to an expert in renewable energy at DNV GL, which has a 30-consultant team in India and has been in the Indian market in 1989. He spoke on the sidelines of the Singapore International Energy Week. [Millennium Post]

Lifting ship Svanen, used at the Burbo Banks Offshore Windfarm Extension  (Photo by Ian Mantel, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

Lifting ship Svanen at the Burbo Banks Offshore Windfarm
(Photo by Ian Mantel, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ UNICEF is calling on world leaders to reduce air pollution, saying it leads to the deaths of more children yearly than malaria and HIV/AIDS combined. Around 600,000 children under age 5 die every year from diseases caused by or exacerbated by outdoor and indoor air pollution. Conditions are especially difficult in poor nations. [CNN]

¶ Angry residents of Delhi are sharing images of smog, one day after Diwali celebrations saw huge quantities of fireworks set off. Levels of particulate matter in the air hazardous to health rose to nearly 10 times the safe limit of 100. Diwali the most important Hindu festival in north India, celebrates the victory
of good over evil. [BBC]

The day after Diwali (AP)

The day after Diwali (AP)

¶ Macquarie Capital of Australia sees Taiwan’s green energy project as Asia’s biggest business opportunity and has decided to invest NT$25 billion ($790 million) over three years in Taiwan’s renewable energy market. Macquarie earns a 6% to 7% return on investment in Korea, and expects a similar return in Taiwan. [Focus Taiwan News Channel]

¶ Enticed by steady yields from offshore-wind projects in the North Sea, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc have pushed past European competitors in writing project finance loans to clean-energy developers during the first 10 months of the year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. [Bloomberg]

US:

¶ Chicago high school students will soon be projecting environmental data onto a large globe thanks to a half million dollar federal grant received by the city’s Museum of Science and Industry. It’s part of a program to help them visualize, understand and respond to climate change. The grant is from NOAA. [Great Lakes Echo]

Museum of Science and Industry (Image: zooeybat on Flickr)

Museum of Science and Industry (Image: zooeybat on Flickr)

¶ Dakota Electric Association, based in Farmington, Minnesota, along with its power supplier Great River Energy, of Maple Grove, Minnesota, on October 28th, 2016 announced a joint solar PV project that will provide solar power directly to Dakota Electric’s membership. The 1-MW solar array will be built by SoCore. [solarserver.com]

¶ South of Alliant Energy’s Prairie Creek Generation Station on the Iowa city’s southwest side sits a mound of coal, enough to supply the Cedar Rapids power plant for three months. But by 2025, all four of the 245-MW station’s coal-powered units will have been converted to natural gas. [The Gazette: Eastern Iowa Breaking News and Headlines]

Coal train from Wyoming (Adam Wesley/The Gazette)

Coal train from Wyoming (Adam Wesley/The Gazette)

¶ Over 10,000 New York City residents are using solar power to reduce their electric bills, but hardly any of them are poor. This is mostly because poor people do not have roofs they can put solar panels on. Consolidated Edison is offering use of its own rooftops to help solve that problem for at least some low-income customers. [New York Times]

¶ NASA’s earth science work, something it’s undertaken since the 1970s, includes a focus on climate change research, making NASA the only federal agency able to study the impacts of a warming Earth from orbit. Presidential candidate Donald Trump wants to refocus NASA on space exploration and away from satellite studies of Earth. [The Hill]

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October 30 Energy News

October 30, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “The Bentley Effect: Why Community Energy Will Power Our Future” • The newly-completed documentary “The Bentley Effect” chronicles the community fight against coal seam gas in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales. It provides the history, from early defeats to the resounding victory in Bentley. [CleanTechnica]

The Bentley Effect

The Bentley Effect

¶ “100% Renewables Increasingly Possible” • Research may be toppling one of the strongest objections to renewable energy: that wind and solar are not reliable enough to support the grid 24-7-365, so they need fossil and nuclear backup. Scientists seem to be finding simple and cheap solutions to the variability of solar and wind. [Forbes]

¶ “Solar benefits all ratepayers” • Don’t believe the old untruths. Independent studies, in state after state including Maine, have found that solar net metering saves money for all electric ratepayers. Plus, residential solar development is proven to help grow local economies, create new jobs, raise incomes and reduce pollution. [Press Herald]

Solar panels on a house in New England  (Photo by Gray Watson, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

Solar panels on a house in New England
(Photo by Gray Watson, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

World:

¶ Twenty-four labor, farmers, and civil rights organizations are protesting a plan in Bangladesh to increase coal dependency from the present 4% to 30 % in 2020 for energy, saying it would be suicidal. Government should redirect present energy subsidy of $13 million toward renewable energy rather giving it to private companies. [Prothom Alo]

¶ Netherlands Railways announced that all electric trains on the Dutch network will operate exclusively using power from renewable sources with effect from January 1 2017, a year earlier than originally envisaged. The sector is purchasing 1.4 TWh per year, of which 1.2 TWh is used for traction. [International Railway Journal]

Electric train in the Netherlands (photo by Quintus Vosman)

Electric train in the Netherlands (photo by Quintus Vosman)

¶ The declining cost of rooftop solar panels, down over 90% since 2000, offers hope for growing small-scale electricity generation. But the issue of home ownership is a barrier in Canada. Soaring housing prices and a red-hot market block many Canadians from buying a home, and renters without incentives have little reason to go solar. [CBC.ca]

¶ Nigeria will invest $10 billion on infrastructure to end an insurgency, in which militants demand that the country spend more of its oil wealth dealing with poverty, the country’s oil minister said. The militants also accuse multinational firms of polluting the environment, destroying the livelihoods of farming and fishing communities. [BBC]

Militants in Nigeria (AFP)

Militants in Nigeria (AFP)

¶ Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation and the Korea Electric Power Corporation signed a joint venture agreement establishing a long-term partnership, including the set-up of an independent subsidiary owned by the two companies. It will represent the commercial and financial interests of the nuclear power plant project. [Utilities-ME.com]

US:

¶ According to a study from the American Lung Association in California, the unaccounted for health and societal costs of burning a gallon of gasoline total $1.30. This means that if these costs were to be accounted for in the price of gasoline, then pricing would be at least $1.30/gallon higher than it currently is. [CleanTechnica]

Please click on image to enlarge it.

Please click on image to enlarge it.

¶ Renewable energy could save Ohio residents hundreds of dollars a year, if state lawmakers and lobbying groups can agree on how and when to invest. Ohioans could save $156 per year on their utility bills by 2030 if the state continues investment in wind and energy technology, according to a report from the Advanced Energy Economy Institute. [WCPO]

¶ Actor Leonardo DiCaprio and director Fisher Stevens have produced a new documentary, “Before the Flood,” which examines climate change. It debuts on the National Geographic Channel on October 30 and will stream for free on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, iTunes and Google Play from that day until November 6. [Canoe]

 

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October 29 Energy News

October 29, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “7 Solutions to the Climate Crisis” • With the Paris Agreement becoming official on November 4, we finally have the framework to fight climate change. We have the tools and technology to shift away from fossil fuels to clean energy, affordably and effectively. In case you want proof, here are seven reasons to be hopeful. [EcoWatch]

Rooftop solar system

Rooftop solar system

Science and Technology:

¶ Costs for onshore wind energy will fall 15%, while offshore
wind could cut costs by half, in the next five years, a report from the International Energy Agency says. The projections assume sustained policy support, continuing technology progress, and expansion into newer markets with better renewable resources. [Environmental Expert]

¶ Tesla announced an update to its Powerpack system, with a new energy module and power electronics, as well as twice the energy density of its predecessor, bringing it to 200 kWh. The company says, “The combined system is now a cost-competitive alternative to other traditional utility infrastructure solutions.” [Bloomington Pantagraph]

Powerpack (Image: Tesla Motors)

Powerpack (Image: Tesla Motors)

World:

¶ Exxon Mobil Corp warned it may be facing the biggest reserves revision in its history as production sank to a seven-year low and profit slid amid a prolonged slump in energy markets. About 4.6 billion barrels of reserves, mostly in the Canadian oil sands, may be in jeopardy if the average energy prices for 2016 persist. [Energy Voice]

¶ Bosnia and Herzegovina is a net exporter of power. It has some of the worst air pollution in Europe. Yet this small, Balkan state of 3.5 million people is planning to nearly double its coal power capacity, a major source of harmful emissions. Green groups are fighting a powerful energy lobby that says it is seeking to save jobs. [Climate Home]

Coal plant in Tuzla (Pic: Flickr/Steffen Emrich)

Coal plant in Tuzla (Pic: Flickr/Steffen Emrich)

¶ Danish energy giant DONG Energy has confirmed rumors that it is investigating the sale of its oil & gas business, and that JP Morgan has been contracted to conduct a preliminary market assessment. DONG had already divested itself of its Danish gas business and is has been concentrating on offshore wind power. [CleanTechnica]

¶ For the first time, renewable power has surpassed coal, according to the International Energy Agency’s Medium-Term Renewable Market Report. It says renewables have become the largest source of new installed power capacity in the world in 2015, exceeding coal power. This is largely due to growing solar and wind power. [Nature World News]

Burbo Bank wind farm (Photo: Christopher Furlong / Getty Images)

Offshore wind farm (Photo: Christopher Furlong / Getty Images)

US:

¶ New single-family homes built in Santa Monica, California must be rated at “zero net energy” use, starting in 2017. Santa Monica City Council voted this week to approve the first of its kind in the world requirement. They homes must generate as much energy from renewable sources as they use each year. [Central Valley Business Times]

¶ Roof tiles with built-in solar panels have been unveiled by Tesla chief executive Elon Musk. The tiles are intended to be a more attractive way to add solar panels to homes, compared with currently-used solar technology. The launch took place in Los Angeles, on what used to be the set for the television show Desperate Housewives. [BBC]

House with Tesla's solar roof tiles

House with Tesla’s solar roof tiles

¶ Installation of an innovative new AC/DC nanogrid has been completed at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Keating Sports Center by Aquion Energy, Schneider Electric, and Azimuth Energy. The nanogrid installation was designed and installed primarily by the engineering and construction firm Azimuth Energy. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Xcel Energy announced it intends to build four new wind farms, with a combined capacity of 750 MW, growing wind capacity in the upper Midwest. Almost 20% of electricity in North Dakota was generated from wind, as of July. In Minnesota, more than 17% of electricity generation was from wind, and in South Dakota, almost 27%. [INFORUM]

North Dakota wind farm (AP Photo / The Forum, Darren Gibbins)

North Dakota wind farm (AP Photo / The Forum, Darren Gibbins)

¶ The United States’ first offshore wind farm, Deepwater Wind’s Block Island Wind Farm, hasn’t even begun generating electricity to the grid, but there is now news out there that suggests the country’s second offshore wind project could be developed in Lake Erie. Fred Olsen Renewables AS would build the 20.7-MW power plant. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Park City, Utah is the latest American city to pledge to turn to 100% renewable energy, setting 2032 as its deadline. Boulder, Colorado, San Francisco and San Diego, California, Georgetown, Texas Grand Rapids, Michigan, and other cities have already committed to the cause. With congress failing to act, cities are leading the way. [Off-Grid]

Park City Transit Center  (photo by An Errant Knight, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

Park City Transit Center
(photo by An Errant Knight, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Green Street Solar Power, located in the Bronx, NY, has begun construction on a 4.1-MW high efficiency PV system in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts. It will be the state’s the largest single rooftop installation. The system will be used to offset the electric bills for the entire public school system in Attleboro. [Your Renewable News]

¶ Robbie Leppzer first thought of making a movie about the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant when he learned its operating license was set for review in 2012. He photographed 700 hours
of government deliberations and grassroots demonstrations. “Power Struggle” will debut on November 3, at a Brattleboro “sneak preview.” [Brattleboro Reformer]

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October 28 Energy News

October 28, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Guess Which Big EU Country Might Have Blackouts This Winter?” • At present, 21 of France’s 58 nuclear reactors are offline. The country’s power prices have skyrocketed, as have imports. Power from fossil fuel is increasing, and the country has now postponed its plans to implement a floor price on carbon. [RenewEconomy]

The Blayais nuclear power plant in France (photo by Pierre-Alan Dorange, edited, CC BY-SA 3.0)

The Blayais nuclear power plant in France
(photo by Pierre-Alan Dorange, edited, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Science and Technology:

¶ Southern Spain will be reduced to desert by the end of the century if the current rate of greenhouse gas emissions continue unchecked, researchers have warned. With anything less than extremely ambitious and politically unlikely carbon emissions cuts, ecosystems in the Mediterranean will change dramatically. [malaysiandigest.com]

World:

¶ French utility Engie announced it is now offering contracts for renewable electricity at no additional cost to new residential and small business customers. Engie aims to sign up one million new contracts by the end of 2017, its CEO said in a press statement. At present, the company has three million electricity customers in France. [SeeNews Renewables]

Wind turbines in France  (photo by Fr.Latreille, CC BY-SA, Wikimedia Commons)

Wind turbines in France
(photo by Fr.Latreille, CC BY-SA, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Kuwait began operating its first-ever solar power plant at the Umm Gudair oil field, a landmark for the OPEC member country as it seeks to diversify its sources of energy to meet fast-rising local demand. The project, Sidrah 500, will produce 10 MW of electricity, half of which will be supplied to the public electricity network. [Al-Arabiya]

¶ Societe Generale said it will quit financing coal-powered electricity plants from January and increase its support for renewable energy projects. It is the third major French bank to cut exposure to coal for climate change reasons. BNP Paribas announced a similar move last year, and Credit Agricole did so on Wednesday. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Cooling towers

Cooling towers

¶ Figures showing widespread UK public support for the use
of onshore wind to produce energy have been welcomed by environmental campaigners. A government survey reveals overall support for renewables remains high, with almost eight
in 10 people backing the clean technologies and just one in 25 against. [Herald Scotland]

¶ Carbon dioxide emissions in Ireland from energy-related activities including power generation, heating and transport decreased by 19% in the decade to 2015, according to the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland. It said the fall in emissions came despite a 40% increase in economy growth
over the same time period. [reNews]

Kingspan solar rooftop project in Ireland (Kingspan image)

Kingspan solar rooftop project in Ireland (Kingspan image)

US:

¶ Connecticut energy officials canceled plans for major natural gas pipelines and other regional gas projects, citing recent court and administrative rulings in other New England states that raised doubts about regional cooperation to pay for such big projects. There has been growing opposition to use of natural gas. [Hartford Courant]

¶ The Tesla/Panasonic Gigafactory is still on track to begin lithium-ion battery cell production later this year, according to Tesla’s just released Quarter 3 2016 shareholder letter. Battery cell production at the Gigafactory will be used primarily for energy storage products, with support for the Tesla Model 3 growing in 2017. [CleanTechnica]

Gigafactory 1 Grand Opening

Gigafactory 1 Grand Opening

¶ For the first time, more than a third of Iowa’s electricity is generated by wind power, according to a study published this week. Wind energy provided 35.8% of the electricity generated in Iowa from August 2015 to July 2016, according to the report published by the American Wind Energy Association. [Mason City Globe Gazette]

¶ In what is being hailed as a milestone for wind energy in New York, with the release of a Final Sale Notice for the lease auction of almost 80,000 acres off the shores of Long Island. The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has named 14 qualified bidders for the auction to be held on December 15th. [Public News Service]

Offshore wind (US DOE / Wikimedia Commons)

Offshore wind (US DOE / Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Massachusetts ranks fourth for cumulative installed solar capacity, according to MassSolar. The state had 10 MW of solar in 2009, and this has grown to over 1,050 MW in 2016. Public policies have guided solar’s success and permanence in the state. The process has been long, deliberate, and at times contentious. [PlanetSave.com]

¶ Swiss Re held a groundbreaking for a new solar field at its US headquarters in Armonk, New York. The project is slated to add 7,700 individual solar panels to the rolling hills surrounding the Westchester campus, which will generate 2 MW of power. This would constitute roughly 60% of all power required by the 700-person office. [Westchester Magazine]

Solar array in Armonk (Photo courtesy of Swiss Re)

Solar array in Armonk (Photo courtesy of Swiss Re)

¶ The EV company Proterra has been steamrolling over the diesel bus market, and it looks like downtown Chicago is the latest proving ground. Proterra has just inked a lease deal with the A-list real estate company JLL that will enable it to ditch a whole fleet of diesel shuttle buses in favor of all-electric buses. [CleanTechnica]

¶ US developers are building or about to install 20.3 GW of wind capacity across the country as the sector gains momentum, according to AWEA. The near-record pipeline of projects was boosted in the third quarter of the year by 2501 MW of new construction announcements and another 1216 MW entering advanced development. [reNews]

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October 27 Energy News

October 27, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ Global wildlife populations have fallen by 58% since 1970, a report by the Zoological Society of London and WWF says. The Living Planet assessment, suggests that if the trend continues that decline could reach two-thirds among vertebrates by 2020. Habitat loss, wildlife trade, pollution, and climate change are among causes. [BBC]

Wildlife populations down by nearly 60% since 1970  (Photo by Roger Leguen / WWF)

Wildlife populations down by nearly 60% since 1970
(Photo by Roger Leguen / WWF)

World:

¶ Gamesa, India’s leading renewable energy company, has announced a new 130-MW solar project with Atria Power to be commissioned in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh by March 2017. Gamesa will handle the complete value chain of the project including 96 units of Gamesa E-1.37MW hybrid cooled solar inverters. [Indiainfoline]

¶ Vattenfall has generated the first power from its 228-MW Pen y Cymoedd wind farm in Wales. The Swedish company said the 76-turbine project, which is the largest wind farm in Wales, is on schedule to be fully operational early next year. The company is motivated for decarbonization of the energy sector, a spokesman said. [reNews]

Turbines going up at Pen y Cymoedd (Vattenfall image)

Turbines going up at Pen y Cymoedd (Vattenfall image)

¶ The Hungarian utility MVM and Munich-based clean-tech startup Electrochaea GmbH are building the world’s first grid-scale power-to-gas plant together in Hungary. The unit will have a power consumption of up to 10 MW of stranded electricity from renewable sources, and will make methane from carbon dioxide. [portfolio.hu]

¶ LS Industrial Systems Co, of South Korean, has won a license to establish a renewable energy-powered island in Singapore, along with global firms such as GE-Alstom and Schneider. The company signed a memorandum of understanding to set up the microgrid system on Semakau, an island in southern Singapore. [BusinessKorea]

Aerial view of Singapore's southern island of Semakau

Aerial view of Singapore’s southern island of Semakau

¶ Vietnam seeks financial support for its transition from ‘black
to green,’ but international partners say what’s needed is better policy. International development partners and donors have called on Vietnam to commit to bigger greenhouse gas emission reductions, warning that coal have high environmental costs in the future. [VnExpress International]

¶ Dutch companies, including Siemens Nederland, Van Oord, and Shell, are calling on their government to draw up climate legislation to implement the aims of the Paris agreement. The
39 businesses said they want the government to put higher priority on accelerating the energy transition to reach the country’s 2050 targets. [reNews]

Offshore wind installation (Van Oord image)

Offshore wind installation (Van Oord image)

¶ UK public support for fracking has fallen to new lows, a Government survey has revealed. Just 17% of people backed the process of extracting shale gas, compared with a third who opposed it, and just under half (48%) who had no opinion, the latest figures from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy show. [BT.com]

US:

¶ Houston has become a diversified energy capital, a center not only of oil and gas development, but increasingly green energy, such as wind and solar. Companies like Pattern Energy and even oil giant BP already run wind farms from operations centers in downtown Houston. And SolarCity is expanding into the region. [Houston Chronicle]

Control center at Pattern Energy's Houston office (Photo by Melissa Phillip, Houston Chronicle staff)

Control center at Pattern Energy’s Houston office
(Photo by Melissa Phillip, Houston Chronicle staff)

¶ The California Independent System Operator reported that benefits of the western Energy Imbalance Market for third quarter 2016 were $26.16 million. This brings the total benefits since the western regional market was launched in 2014 to $114.35 million. A similar trend was noted in the results for Q2 to Q3 in 2015. [PennEnergy]

¶ Regulators, decision makers and environmentalists will gather in Albany next week to discuss how to achieve New York’s ambitious goal for switching to renewable energy. According to the executive director of Alliance for Clean Energy, achieving 50% renewable energy in New York by 2030 will be challenging, but doable. [Public News Service]

Achievable goal (Windtech at English Wikipedia)

Achievable goal (Windtech at English Wikipedia)

¶ Massachusetts state and federal officials released two marine wildlife studies on endangered whale, turtle, and bird species to inform offshore wind permitting processes. They found no significant conflicts between wildlife and offshore wind development in federally designated areas south of Martha’s Vineyard. [AltEnergyMag]

¶ Combining their buying power for the first time, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts have selected six proposals to develop more clean energy for the New England market. The projects include mostly wind and solar power projects, which are expected to generate 460 MW of electricity collectively. [Electric Light & Power]

Wind turbines in New England

Wind turbines in New England

¶ Wind energy is climbing across the United States, with 11 states in 2015 getting at least 10% of their total electricity from wind farms, according to the Energy Information Administration, an arm of the DOE. Just five years ago, only three states had at least 10% of their electricity produced by wind farms, the EIA said. [Denver Business Journal]

¶ PG&E customers will see an increase in their electricity bills
if state regulators approve rate increases linked to the proposed closure of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. Typical residential customers using 500 kWh of electricity a month would see an average bill rise 1.6%, a PG&E spokesman said. [Santa Cruz Sentinel]

 

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October 26 Energy News

October 26, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Is clean coal a lost cause?” • After decades of research and billions of dollars of funding, it seems time could be running out for ‘clean coal.’ With the latest large project backed by the US DOE ready to fail, Dr Gareth Evans hears from the rising number of voices proclaiming clean coal to be a lost cause. [Power Technology]

Clean coal?

Is clean coal a lost cause?

World:

¶ The Prince of Wales is joining an Anglo-French government initiative to improve the condition of global soils. Ministers from both governments are meeting the prince to discuss how to improve soil health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from farming. Ministers will debate how to store more carbon in soils. [BBC]

¶ Edinburgh is celebrating the completion of what is thought to be the largest community-owned rooftop solar framework in the UK, after 1.4 MW of solar was deployed across the city’s public buildings. The project was funded by a community offer, which raised just under £1.5 million from local residents in six weeks. [Solar Power Portal]

Rooftop solar system in Edinburgh (Image: Emtec Energy)

Rooftop solar system in Edinburgh (Image: Emtec Energy)

¶ In May, the Norwegian government announced its intention to release ten production licenses to drill for oil and gas in the Arctic Barents Sea. A group of young people filed suit this week against the Norwegian government, contending that drilling for oil and gas violates their constitutional right to a healthy environment. [CleanTechnica]

¶ European countries climbed in Ernst & Young’s Renewable energy country attractiveness index, though the UK bucking the trend. The rise was not easy, because European countries lack the flexibility of emerging markets and face challenges of integrating renewables with historically centralized conventional power generation. [SeeNews Renewables]

Solar farm in France. (Featured Image: Mny-Jhee / Shutterstock.com)

Solar farm in France. (Image: Mny-Jhee / Shutterstock.com)

¶ Entrade Energiesysteme AG will sell electricity from 400 of its container-sized biomass-to-power machines set up in Fukushima Prefecture, the company’s Chief Executive Officer said. The devices will generate 20 MW by next year, providing power that kicks in when the sun descends on the region’s solar panels. [Bloomberg]

¶ As it weans itself from nuclear power and embraces renewable generation, Germany’s power grid outage averaged 12.7 minutes last year, 41% less than in 2006, even though renewables have grown to account for as much as a third of power generation in the country, according to data released by the federal regulator last week. [RenewEconomy]

Powerline

Powerlines

¶ For China’s nuclear industry, 2016 has been a frustrating year. So far, construction has started on only one new plant, and its target of bringing 58 GW of nuclear capacity in service by 2020 seems impossible to meet. At present, China has 19.3 GW of nuclear supply under construction and 31.4 GW in service, but progress is slow. [chinadialogue]

US:

¶ New York’s largest nonprofit nature preserve is growing greener thanks to a new partnership with electricity provider Green Mountain Energy Company. The 8,000-acre Mohonk Preserve in Gardiner, NY has signed an agreement with Green Mountain to provide clean electricity to power the site’s facilities. [3BL Media]

Autumn Morning at Mohonk Preserve (photo by Kate Schoonmaker)

Autumn Morning at Mohonk Preserve
(photo by Kate Schoonmaker)

¶ Solar industry entrepreneur Danny Kennedy, co-founder of Sungevity, the nation’s largest privately held solar company, gave an upbeat assessment of the solar industry’s future at the 2016 Annual Bioneers Conference in Marin County, north of San Francisco. He said California could be 70% renewably powered by 2030. [Huffington Post]

¶ VSECU, a member-owned cooperative and not for profit credit union for everybody in Vermont, is going solar. VSECU entered into an innovative partnership with Soveren Solar, through which the credit union will purchase the solar net metering credits produced by a 500-kW solar array to offset its GMP power bill. [Vermont Biz]

Guilford solar array

Guilford solar array

¶ Dominion Virginia Power is set to add some major assets to its PV pipeline, as the company is currently constructing three large-scale solar projects in the Virginia counties of Isle of Wight, Louisa and Powhatan. The installations will generate 56 MW of PV generation at peak output, enough to power around 14,000 homes. [PV-Tech]

¶ Xcel Energy plans to build three new wind farms in Minnesota and one in North Dakota, part of a larger program to increase its wind generation capacity by 60% in the Upper Midwest. Together, the four projects total 750 MW, the company said, sufficient to provide enough energy to power nearly 400,000 homes. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

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October 25 Energy News

October 25, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ While human emissions of CO2 remained fairly static between 2014 and 2015, the onset of strong El Niño weather phenomena caused a spike in levels of the gas in the atmosphere. The spike results from drought conditions in tropical regions produced by El Niño, which meant that vegetation was less able to absorb the CO2. [BBC]

Air sampling station at Mauna Loa observatory (NOAA photo)

Air sampling station at Mauna Loa observatory (NOAA photo)

¶ Researchers from the UK’s Overseas Development Institute and India’s Vasudha Foundation warn that following through on plans to build more coal power would push global temperature increases beyond 2° C. This would plunge many millions into poverty as a result of climate change-driven effects on their regions. [pv magazine]

World:

¶ In Central Asia, a crisis is brewing over water and electricity. The Soviet-era system in which the five countries of the region shared their resources has broken down, leaving some facing water shortages and others chronic power cuts. Instances of small-scale unrest have already occurred, but this could be just the beginning. [BBC]

Tajikistan's largest hydro-electric power station, Nurek

Tajikistan’s largest hydro-electric power station, Nurek

¶ New installations of renewable energy overtook conventional power for the first time in 2015, the International Energy Agency said in its Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report. Global green power rose by a record 153 GW. This was equivalent to 55% of newly installed capacity last year, exceeding coal for the first time. [Bloomberg]

¶ Spain is aiming to provide 100% of its energy needs using only renewable sources, and experts in the country believe it is an achievable target. The current average per day stands at 17.4%, according to ABC News, enough to power 29 million homes across the region. That is a 2.5% increase in the past two years. [Huffington Post UK]

Wind farm (Photo: Charlie Dean via Getty Images)

Wind farm (Photo: Charlie Dean via Getty Images)

¶ Sweden is on track to produce all its energy from renewable sources by 2040, a top regulatory official from the country said late on Monday. Renewables accounted for 57% of the nation’s 159 TWh of power last year, with most of the rest coming from nuclear. Sweden does not plan to subsidize more nuclear energy because of costs. [Daily Mail]

¶ Senegal has become a regional player in renewables on a continent where the majority remain off-grid. The 20-MW Senergy 2 project, located close to the Mauritanian border, will serve 160,000 people with electricity and will contribute to Senegal’s target of having renewables provide 20% of its energy needs by the end of 2017. [africanews]

Senegal has a new 20-MW solar power plant.

Senegal has a new 20-MW solar power plant.

¶ According to the International Renewable Energy Agency, 10% of the 600 million people living off-grid in Africa now use solar energy to power their homes. The decreasing prices of home solar systems in Africa have made this possible, as the cost for solar has dropped below the cost of diesel and kerosene. [Climate Action Programme]

¶ Dong Energy has installed its 1000th offshore wind turbine, the first company globally to reach the milestone. Dong’s first offshore wind turbine was installed in 1991 and had a capacity of 0.45 MW. The company said that between 2016 and 2020 it is set to build more offshore wind capacity than in the preceding 25 years. [reNews]

Turbine installation at Gode 1&2 (Siemens image)

Turbine installation at Gode 1&2 (Siemens image)

¶ The cost of scrapping the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is set to rise to hundreds of billions of yen annually over a 30-year time from, according to a new government projection disclosed by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Previous projections had the figure at ¥80 billion a year. [The Japan Times]

US:

¶ In a groundbreaking precedent that will likely be felt for decades to come, a federal appeals court in the US has ruled that a species can be listed as “threatened” based on climate change projections. The decision reinstates Endangered Species Act protections for the bearded seals, but it also sets an important precedent. [Gizmodo India]

Alaskan seal (NOAA image)

Alaskan seal (NOAA image)

¶ Gasoline deliveries in the US during September 2016 reached a new record high (for the month), with roughly 9.4 million barrels on average being delivered every day of the month, according to new figures from API. That represents a 1.1% year-on-year rise as compared to September 2015. Year-to-date figures were also up in 2016. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Duke Energy Carolinas has issued a request for proposals for 750 GWh of renewable energy located in its service territory. The aim is for the company meet a North Carolina energy portfolio standard requiring generation 12.5% of its in-state retail sales by renewable energy or energy efficiency by 2021. [North American Windpower]

Wind farm (iStock image)

Wind farm (iStock image)

¶ The New Hampshire environmental protection and public health agencies just finished installing a multi-million dollar, state-of-the-art biomass heating plant at its facility in Concord. While the broader EPA can’t seem to come to a consensus on biomass emissions, the technology has been chosen in at least some cases. [Biomass Magazine]

¶ Envision Solar International, Inc, a manufacturer of EV charging equipment, has announced that New York State has issued a purchase order for the Company’s EV ARC product. Envision Solar has previously delivered the EV ARC to New York City, but this is the first purchase order from New York State. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

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October 24 Energy News

October 24, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “‘The atmosphere is being radicalized’ by climate change” Climate change’s impacts on extreme weather and society are becoming increasingly clear and undeniable. While we are making progress in solving the problem, one of the two political parties governing the world’s strongest superpower continues to deny the science. [The Guardian]

Hurricane Matthew (Photo: NASA / EPA)

Hurricane Matthew (Photo: NASA / EPA)

¶ “Oil industry must back workable climate policies” • If the oil industry does not support sensible climate policies, it will suffer from stupid ones. Rex Tillerson, chief executive of ExxonMobil, last week complained about a “hodgepodge” of climate policies. But large oil companies have only themselves to blame for lack of clarity. [The National]

Science and Technology:

¶ SunCulture Solar is introducing an innovative patented all-in-one solar power unit: the SolPadTM, a panel that integrates a PV panel, battery, charge controller, and flexgridTM inverter. The modules are modular, so they can be installed individually to power stand-alone circuits, or they can be combined into larger systems. [ENGINEERING.com]

SolPad Mobile unit

A SolPad Mobile unit

World:

¶ Greece will run its first renewable energy tender on December 12. It is a pilot tender for a total capacity of at least 40 MW which is reserved solely for solar PV projects. The country’s energy regulator said about 130 MW of PV projects had already received grid connection licenses before the approval process was suspended in 2012. [pv magazine]

¶ UK-based company Offshore Design Engineering has been selected to work on an offshore wind project in Taiwan, owned by Northland Power Inc and Enterprize Energy. Enterprize Energy announced the launch of the Hai Long Offshore Wind Farm Project, in which it holds a 40% stake through subsidiary Yushan Energy. [SeeNews Renewables]

The Ormonde Wind Farm (Source: Vattenfall)

The Ormonde Wind Farm (Source: Vattenfall)

¶ Gods and the governments have always been the first and last refuge of the farmers in India’s northern plains when it comes to irrigating their fields. They hold the fate of the crops in the balance. But now, troubled with the unscheduled power cuts, the farmers are increasingly looking towards solar-powered water pumps. [ETEnergyworld.com]

US:

¶ Target has hit a solar energy bullseye. The Minneapolis-based retail giant topped all other American big businesses going solar, according to a new report from the Solar Energy Industries Association. In the 2016 Solar Means Business report, Target knocked out former champion Walmart. It was a close race, however. [CleanTechnica]

Target solar installation (Image via SEIA)

Target solar installation (Image via SEIA)

¶ About 18 weeks after the board of directors of the Omaha Public Power District voted unanimously to pull the plug on the Fort Calhoun nuclear plant, operators are powering down the reactor there for the final time. After reducing the output slowly since September 29, the final shutdown will happen at 1 pm on October 24. [Omaha World-Herald]

With the Omaha Public Power District’s closure of its Fort Calhoun nuclear plant clearing the way, renewable generation will fill the void left by the 478-MW plant. OPPD will virtually double the portion of renewable energy it receives by the time the new year rolls around, as newly built sources come online. [Omaha World-Herald]

Grande Prairie wind farm  (Megan Farmer / The World Herald)

Grande Prairie wind farm
(Megan Farmer / The World Herald)

¶ A Chicago green-energy developer is proposing the largest infusion of renewable power yet for Long Island, a mix of wind and solar sources in disparate locations as far away as North Carolina and West Virginia. Invenergy already has LIPA approval for a large commercial solar array in Shoreham, New York. [Newsday]

¶ In order to comply with a new regional rule to cut another pollutant that often leaves Southern California blanketed in a layer of smog, the oxides of nitrogen, or NOx, a Riverside County landfill has decided to shut down its generators and will simply flare the methane, emitting the carbon dioxide alone. [Los Angeles Times]

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October 23 Energy News

October 23, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “India’s Solar Power Is Set to Outshine Coal” • India wants to provide its entire population with electricity and lift millions out of poverty, but in order to prevent the world overheating it also needs to switch away from fossil fuels. Different analysts disagree on the future of Indian power generation, but solar power costs are dropping. [Truthdig]

India One Solar Thermal Power Plant  (Brahma Kumaris via Flickr)

India One Solar Thermal Power Plant
(Brahma Kumaris via Flickr)

¶ “Coal will not recover” • As recently as 10 years ago, coal provided half of America’s electric power needs. Today that number is closer to 30% and falling. Coal is not likely to fade entirely from the scene any time soon, but informed analysts see its share of the US energy mix dropping to less than 20% in the near future. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

World:

¶ Infinity Solar and the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company have signed an agreement to purchase the former’s renewable energy. The Director of Infinity Solar said that the company has agreed with the German bank LP to finance the required foreign funding for the solar power plant by 85% of the total cost. [Daily News Egypt]

Renewable power in Egypt

Renewable power in Egypt

¶ India’s premier technical institute, National Institute of Technology, Karnataka, will soon be equipped with one of the largest solar rooftops in a government academic institute in the region. The 1-MW rooftop solar plant will be inaugurated on November 12. The power grid is being installed across 11 academic buildings. [NYOOOZ]

¶ Taking a step towards renewable energy, the power department of New Delhi Municipal Council plans to install solar panels at 102 buildings within their jurisdiction. Under the Smart City project, one set of solar panels would be installed at 28 buildings to produce a total of 1.5 MW and another on 74 more buildings to generate 1 MW. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Civic Center in New Delhi (CC BY-SA, Wikimedia Commons)

Civic Center in New Delhi (CC BY-SA, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Jordan signed an agreement Saturday with Masdar, a company in the United Arab Emirates, to build a 200-MW PV plant, the largest solar plant in Jordan, according to the country’s Ministry of Energy. The agreement marks the “forward progress of a significant investment in Jordan’s energy security,” said Jordan’s Energy Minister. [Global Times]

¶ In a rare move for power-hungry Asia, the government of Taiwan has decided to abolish nuclear power generation by 2025 to meet the public’s demand for a nuclear-free society following the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Taiwan’s Executive Yuan, which is equivalent to the Japanese Cabinet, has approved revisions to the law. [Asahi Shimbun]

Lungmen nuclear plant, before construction was stopped (Photo by Mastehr, public domain, Wikimedia Commons)

Lungmen nuclear plant, before construction halted (Photo by Mastehr, placed in the public domain, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ China’s first molten salt solar thermal power plant has started to send electricity to the grid, its developer said. The Tianjin Binhai Concentrating Solar Power Investment Co Ltd said its 50-MW molten salt trough project in northwest China’s Gansu Province shows the mature commercial development of solar thermal technology. [Global Times]

US:

¶ American Municipal Power dedicated West Virginia’s newest hydroelectric plant at the Willow Island Locks and Dam on the Ohio River in Pleasants County. At the ceremony, US Senator Shelley Moore Capito said the regulatory process required for a hydroelectric plant took too long and should be streamlined. [The Exponent Telegram]

Hydro project at Willow Island Locks and Dam (Photo by Jim Foss / for the State Journal)

Hydro project at Willow Island Locks and Dam
(Photo by Jim Foss / for the State Journal)

¶ The Bureau of Land Management will hold a competitive geothermal lease sale later this month in Sacramento, offering parcels in California, Nevada and Utah. For Utah, it will be the first time federal geothermal resources have been up for bid in six years, and a total of 15,782 acres of public lands will be offered. [KSL.com]

¶ A pending settlement between Xcel Energy and the Colorado Public Utilities Commission would give ratepayers a break based on time of use, so they can get lower rates by running a dryer at night, for example. It would also give them the option of buying power produced entirely by renewable sources such as wind and solar. [Pueblo Chieftain]

 

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October 22 Energy News

October 22, 2016

Financial Woes:

¶ A Fitch Ratings and Bloomberg both warn of a meltdown in the oil industry. The Fitch report warns that this could begin in 2023, based on “an acceleration of the electrification of transport infrastructure,” which it says “would be resoundingly negative for the oil sector’s credit profile.” Bloomberg says it might be as late as 2028. [Gas 2.0]

BNEF oil crash chart (please click on image to enlarge)

BNEF oil crash chart (please click on image for a larger view)

¶ The Dutch cabinet is prepared to help energy company Delta overcome its financial problems, but not by putting money into the Borssele nuclear power plant. Closing the nuclear power plant is not an option because of the €1.3 billion price ticket, but keeping the plant open would only be profitable if electricity prices double. [DutchNews.nl]

World:

¶ A year ago, no one living in Môle-Saint-Nicolas, Haiti, had electricity. By the spring of 2016, the town had a brand new grid, and it will soon run completely on solar and wind energy. Sigora International plans to get electricity to 300,000 people in Haiti by the end of 2017. By the end of 2018, they hope to reach a million people. [Co.Exist]

Electric work in Môle-Saint-Nicolas, Haiti

Electric work in Môle-Saint-Nicolas, Haiti

¶ A rapid transit system coming up near India’s capital, New Delhi, is planning to be the greenest such transport system in the country. It will include several rooftop solar power projects with a total capacity of 12 MW. The planned solar power plants will supply electricity to all 21 stations and offices, as well as the train depot. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Andaman & Nicobar Islands, long fabled among holiday travellers for legendary beaches, world-class diving and far-flung location in the middle of nowhere, will soon have something else to boast of. The country will have its first city-scale renewable grid system with a combination of solar power plants and battery storage. [Gulf Digital News]

Solar panels on the Andaman & Nicobar Islands

Solar panels on the Andaman & Nicobar Islands

¶ According to a World Bank report, the cost of climate change mitigation could be reduced 32% by 2030, by increasing global cooperation through carbon trading. There are 40 national jurisdictions and over 20 cities, states, and regions, that are already putting a price on carbon, covering 13% of global greenhouse gas emissions. [CleanTechnica]

New Scientist reports on a fascinating new effort underway in Iceland to turn our planet’s gooey innards into a cheap and abundant source of power. If the drill can penetrate to a depth of 3 miles (5 kilometers), it will reach “supercritical steam,” water heated to 1,000° C by lava to have enormous energy potential. [Gizmodo Australia]

Emerging lava

Emerging lava

¶ Plans to build the world’s longest power interconnector, from Iceland to Britain, could be delayed by Britain’s decision to leave the European Union. The two governments agreed last year to jointly study building the 1,000-km IceLink cable, with 1,000 MW of capacity, sufficient to power some 1.6 million homes in the UK. [Investing.com UK]

¶ In a bid to defuse anger over skyrocketing bills, Ontario has a new deal to buy more hydroelectric power from Quebec. The seven-year pact will save the province $70 million, but will also trim 1 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually by cutting use of natural gas while the Darlington nuclear station is refurbished. [Hamilton Spectator]

Transmission lines (Darren Calabrese, The Canadian Press)

Transmission lines (Darren Calabrese, The Canadian Press)

US:

¶ Engineers from the NASA Glenn Research Center have begun testing new, electric aircraft technologies at a new facility. NASA’s Electric Aircraft Testbed facility will become “a world-class, reconfigurable testbed that will be used to assemble and test the power systems for large passenger airplanes with over 20 MW of power.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ Analysts think we could meet at least a quarter of US electricity needs by harnessing wave power around our coasts. There are technical and financial challenges, however, and advocates of wave energy say the federal government has done too little to encourage research and development in this promising energy sector niche. [The Bradenton Times]

Ocean Power Technologies' PowerBuoy

Ocean Power Technologies’ PowerBuoy

¶ Solar power capacity in the US will have nearly tripled in size in less than three years by 2017, according to monthly data published by the US DOE. This is amid an energy shakeup that has seen natural gas solidify its position as the country’s chief source of electricity and coal power increasingly becoming obsolete. [The Guardian]

¶ The US Energy Information Administration says in its latest report that solar power is the fastest-growing renewable energy source in the United States, and it’s expected to keep growing. The report said the generating capacity of utility-scale solar, rose from 10 GW in 2014, to 27 GW in 2017, for an annual growth rate of 39%. [Inverse]

Installing solar panels

Installing solar panels

¶ The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has announced $3.5 million in funding available for the private sector with solutions to make it easier, less costly and less time-consuming to connect renewable resources, such as solar and wind, to the electric grid. [North American Windpower]

¶ According to a recent Bloomberg report, May 2017 will be a moment of truth for at least four of the country’s nuclear power plants. That’s when PJM Interconnection, the US’ biggest power market operator, will hold a supply auction. Davis Besse, Beaver Valley, Byron, and Three Mile Island are all expected to submit bids. [Manufacturing.net]

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October 21 Energy News

October 21, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “A renewable fiction: Myths mainstream media refuses to let go” • For years now, many in mainstream media have been propagating myths about renewable energy in general, and wind and solar in particular. It’s unclear why this is so. Perhaps it is fear of new technologies and new ideas. But it remains an issue. [RenewEconomy]

Wind farm

Wind farm

¶ “What would it mean for Los Angeles to go 100% renewable?” The Los Angeles City Council recently passed a unanimous resolution requiring Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the largest municipally-owned utility in the country, to study how the city can achieve a 100% clean energy future. [Environmental Defense Fund]

¶ “‘Last Gasp of Dying Industry’: Nuclear Experts Decry First New US Reactor in 20 Years” • Watts Bar’s launch is “a symbolic gesture. It’s very sad that this is the last gasp of the industry because it looks like such an extraordinarily dumb one.” Experts on nuclear energy decried the reactors archaic technology and expense. [Common Dreams]

Watts Bar, at a cost of $4.7 billion (Photo: Tennessee Valley Authority / flickr / cc)

Watts Bar (Photo: Tennessee Valley Authority / flickr / cc)

World:

¶ Next Kraftwerke is delivering the Next Box to connect to its Virtual Power Plant in Northern Europe. The VPP is a distributed network of medium and small power-producing and power-consuming units, provided with Internet of Things connectivity to allow them to talk with and respond to the Next Kraftwerke control center. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Enel Green Power signed a 10-year power purchase agreement to supply wind power to HSBC’s offices in Mexico. The utility will start supplying 50-GWh of electricity each year, from the second half of next year, it said. The power will come from Enel’s 200-MW Dominica wind farm in the state of San Luis Potosi. [reNews]

Wind farm in Mexico (Enel image)

Wind farm in Mexico (Enel image)

¶ Turkey’s Energy and Natural Resources Minister said the tender for a 1,000-MW PV plant, which will be established in Konya’s Karapınar district, will be held in December. Poised to
be the largest of its kind in the world, the solar power plant will pave the way for a new period in Turkey’s use of renewable resources. [Daily Sabah]

¶ General Electric’s renewable energy arm has signed a turbine-supply agreement with German construction company Max
Bögl to develop the world’s first wind farm with an integrated hydropower plant capable of generating power even when there’s no breeze. The wind turbines act together with pumped storage. [EcoWatch]

Project Gaildorf (Max Bögl Facebook image)

Project Gaildorf (Max Bögl image via Facebook)

¶ Mainland China’s wind farm developers and equipment suppliers face a substantial drop off in installation volume in 2018 when proposed cuts to wind power tariffs are expected to take effect, industry executives warned. Profitability will also be hampered by further power grid bottlenecks and competition. [South China Morning Post]

¶ As costs on offshore wind keep dropping, installations increase. Last year, almost every third new wind turbine went up offshore. That growth has helped boost the share of wind energy in the European Union’s electricity supply from 2% in the year 2000 to 12% today, according to WindEurope, a business advocacy group. [The Guardian]

Wind turbines at Dong Energy’s Burbo Bank (Photograph: DONG Energy)

Wind turbine installation at Dong Energy’s Burbo Bank
(Photograph: DONG Energy)

¶ China will further limit construction of coal-fired power plants by cancelling some projects that were approved this year, its National Energy Administration said. In a shift to cleaner fuels, the agency will also stop construction of any project that started this year and reassess the schedule for those that started in 2015. [ETEnergyworld.com]

US:

¶ E.On is committing to the renewables market in the US and strengthening its position in the region with new renewable energy projects, power purchase agreements and power plant services. The company began the construction of its Radford’s Run Wind Farm in Macon County, Illinois, with 278 MW of installed capacity. [Electric Light & Power]

Illinois wind farm

Illinois wind farm

¶ Michigan’s overall cost of compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan could be relatively low, according to two recent reports. Under the lowest-cost scenarios, a compliance plan in Michigan was projected to cost even less than a plan that did not factor in any CPP requirements at all. [The Peninsula]

¶ Construction has wrapped up on a $180 million solar farm in Minnesota that is billed as the largest single solar power facility in the Midwest and one of the largest in the US. The North Star Solar project just north of the Twin Cities has over 440,000 solar panels on 1½ square miles of land. It is expected to power more than 20,000 homes. [PennEnergy]

Solar Farm

Solar Farm

¶ In a 5-2 decision, judges on Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court cast doubt on the ability of Pennsylvania’s Public Utility Commission to place limits not explicitly defined in state law on the types of alternative energy generators that qualify for above-market-rate reimbursements for electricity sent back to the grid. [PowerSource]

¶ Customers of electric cooperatives across Georgia can get some benefits of solar energy without rooftop solar panels through a new program, Cooperative Solar. Developed by the electric co-ops and renewable energy provider Green Power EMC, the program gives customers access to power generated by off-site solar facilities. [solarserver.com]

 

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October 20 Energy News

October 20, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ European researchers announced the development of an offshore wind turbine which can be completely assembled and commissioned in controlled harbor conditions before being towed to its offshore location. This process makes the costly and rare heavy-lift vessels currently used in offshore wind projects unnecessary. [CleanTechnica]

ELISA wind turbine

ELISA wind turbine

¶ Scientists have accidentally discovered a way to reverse the combustion process, turning carbon dioxide back into the fuel ethanol. Because the materials used are relatively cheap, they believe the process could be used in industrial processes, for example to store excess electricity generated by wind and solar power. [The Independent]

World:

¶ It’s certainly not a law yet, but a Polish newspaper has reported that the Ministry of Energy wants to introduce “low-emissions zones” in cities where only electric vehicles could enter. This would be an obvious solution to the dirty air that is altogether too common in Polish (and other European) cities, dirty air that kills people. [CleanTechnica]

Teslas in Poland

Teslas in Poland

¶ A new study has concluded that moving to wind and solar power would be a cheaper option for the United Kingdom to replace its coal fleet than using biomass electricity generation. Among the costs analyzed are the technology costs, the costs associated with greenhouse gas emissions, and the costs of ensuring a fuel supply. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Scottish government has granted planning consent for Community Wind Power’s 75.5-MW Aikengall 3 wind farm in the south of Scotland. The 19-turbine project Aikengall 3 will generate up to £9.4 million in community benefit, produce enough electricity to power almost 35,000 homes, and provide jobs. [reNews]

Community Wind Power in Scotland

Community Wind Power in Scotland

¶ India’s total installed rooftop solar capacity reached 1,020 MW mark this year with 513 MW generation capacity added over the past 12 months. A Bridge to India report, “India Solar Rooftop Map,” shows India  added 513 MW of rooftop solar capacity over the past 12 months, growing at 113% over previous 12 months. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ In Scotland, the volume of CO2 emissions displaced by the renewable energy sector has increased by almost 10% in one year, according to the industry group Scottish Renewables. The group said the most recent UK government figures show more than 13 million tonnes of CO2 were displaced by wind, hydro and solar in 2015. [reNews]

Farr wind farm in Scotland (Siemens image)

Farr wind farm in Scotland (Siemens image)

¶ French utility Engie inaugurated Thassalia, the first marine geothermal power station in France, in Marseille. Thassalia was designed to meet the needs of Marseille’s Euroméditerranée eco-city business centre. The project, costing €35 million ($38.5 million) has an overall heating/cooling capacity of 19 MW. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ The Victorian Government has ruled out offering financial incentives to the French owner of Hazelwood power station to stave off the threat of the ageing coal-fired plant’s closure. The speculation has it that Hazelwood could permanently shut as early as March, with the loss of up to 1,000 Latrobe Valley jobs. [ABC Online]

Hazelwood (AAP: Greenpeace)

Hazelwood (AAP: Greenpeace)

¶ Some 80% of people in Scotland back onshore wind, with 73% in favor of the sector in the UK as a whole, according to a poll by ComRes for climate charity 10:10. The poll also found that UK people underestimate support for onshore wind, with only 11% thinking that 71% or more people in the UK support the use of the technology. [reNews]

¶ As the western Energy Imbalance Market continues to yield proven benefits, the California Independent System Operator and El Centro Nacional de Control de Energia have announced that the Mexican electric system operator has agreed to explore participation of its Baja California Norte grid in the real-time market. [North American Windpower]

Mexican Wind Farm (iStock image)

Mexican wind and solar energy (iStock image)

US:

¶ A newly unearthed audio tape gives credence to the idea that the solar amendment on Florida’s November ballot was designed to mislead voters and would “completely negate” future solar power initiatives. The Center for Media and Democracy released a talk with the James Madison Institute, a libertarian think-tank. [WMNF]

¶ A group of energy companies and power plants are challenging New York’s recently approved Clean Energy Standard, which aims to reduce harmful carbon dioxide emissions in the state by subsidizing financially distressed nuclear power plants, including the FitzPatrick and Nine Mile Point plants in Oswego county. [WRVO Public Media]

FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant (Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of the Governor)

FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant
(Kevin P. Coughlin / Office of the Governor of New York)

¶ Minnesota Power announced it will close two small coal-fired generators within two years. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission had required Minnesota Power to shut down the two small generators by 2022. But the utility decided to act earlier after analyzing customer needs and industry trends. [Minnesota Public Radio News]

¶ The US opened its first new nuclear power plant in 20 years amid growing uncertainty for the industry and the need for regulatory changes at both the state and federal level. The TVA declared the $4.7 billion Unit 2 reactor at the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant open for business, a project that has been decades in the making. [Washington Examiner]

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October 19 Energy News

October 19, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ Bristol University, as reported earlier this week, is pioneering a technology which aims to prevent coastal nuclear and coal-fired power plants from being disrupted by swarms of jellyfish. In one case, the 1200-MW Torness Nuclear Power Station was offline for a week because of a swarm of moon jellyfish. [Power Engineering International]

Jellyfish

Jellyfish

World:

¶ The latest report into the South Australia blackout by the Australian Energy Market Operator has blown away two of the biggest myths about wind energy that its critics were using as reasons for the state-wide outage. Neither intermittent wind power nor excessive wind speed causing turbines to shut down was a factor. [RenewEconomy]

¶ The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has launched the second phase of the city’s air quality consultation, which includes proposals to introduce the planned Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) a year earlier than planned, in 2019. The new proposals include a charge on heavily polluting vehicles that enter the city. [CleanTechnica]

London (Photo by barnyz via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND)

London (Photo by barnyz via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND)

¶ Argentina has awarded a total 1.1 GW of renewable energy projects in its first auction round of the RenovAR program. Of this total, 400 MW are of solar electricity projects with a median price of around $59.75/MWh. The winning projects are expected to provide about 2.9% of Argentina’s electricity consumption. [PlanetSave]

¶ In remote rural areas in Africa, electrification through grid extensions is often not viable. The long distances involved and low electricity demand do not justify bringing the national grid to these places. Existing mini-grids based on diesel can be retrofitted to be powered by hybrid sets of renewables. [ESI Africa]

Remote hydro facility

Remote African hydro facility

¶ Flexitricity, the UK’s largest demand response aggregator, has plans to harness the potential of combined heat and power plants to help drive a renewable revolution. There are 2,102 of these plants in the UK, with a total capacity of 19,900 GWh per year, enough to power over more than 4.8 million UK households. [Your Renewable News]

¶ The UN’s world heritage body made an urgent intervention to stop the construction of a coal power station in Bangladesh. A fact-finding mission found that the proposed site of the plant, which is 65 km north of the Sundarbans world heritage area, would expose the downriver forests to pollution and acid rain. [Climate Home]

Sundarbans mangroves, a home for Bengal tigers  (Photo: MN Gaurav / Commons)

Sundarbans mangroves, home to a quarter of all Bengal tigers
(Photo: MN Gaurav / Commons)

¶ Global investment in renewables rose to $285.9 billion in 2016, representing a five per cent increase from the previous year. According to United Nations Global Renewable Investment 2016 report released recently, investment in renewables has been running at more than $200 billion per year in the past six years. [Guardian]

US:

¶ Nevada is the latest battleground in a national political fight over whether consumers and businesses should be able to choose where they buy electricity. A November ballot measure backed by Las Vegas casinos and other firms would create a competitive retail power market in which customers could choose their providers. [Nasdaq]

Ivanpah solar plant  (Photo by DiverDave, CC BY-SA, Wikimedia Commons)

Ivanpah solar plant
(Photo by DiverDave, CC BY-SA, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ South Burlington, Vermont is planning to put a solar array on top of an old landfill to get renewable energy and financial savings out of a piece of land that cannot be used for much else, officials said Tuesday. It is estimated that the project will save the municipal and school districts $5 million over its lifetime. [Vermont Public Radio]

¶ Wind energy is changing the economy of the Midwest. Wind is the fastest growing source of electricity in the United States, and about 70% of wind power is located in low income counties. Farmers benefit directly from wind turbines to tune of between $7,000 and $10,000 per turbine in annual leasing fees. [OilPrice.com]

Midwest wind farm

Midwest wind farm

¶ A 350-kilowatt, ground-mount photovoltaic solar array, owned by 36 families, has been completed by Renovus Solar in a field near Trumansburg, New York. The owners of panels receive power from New York State Electric & Gas Corp. and a credit on their bill equal to their share of the power generated by the solar farm. [Ithaca Journal]

¶ Airbnb and SolarCity Corp. are partnering to bring more solar power to the home-sharing community. In the collaboration, SolarCity will offer members of the Airbnb community a rebate – up to $1,000 cash back – on all solar panel systems through March 31, 2017. A smaller rebate will continue through the rest of 2017. [Solar Industry]

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October 18 Energy News

October 18, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Back candidates to promote renewable energy, repeal anti-environment law” • North Carolina, which was a renewable energy leader, has passed anti-renewable legislation. Voters should back candidates willing to protect the environment, increase energy efficiency, create jobs, and save us all some money. [WRAL.com]

Sun and wind

Sun and wind

¶ “How Cuomo’s $7.6 Billion Nuclear Bailout Can Impede Wind and Solar” • Nuclear power is dirty, dangerous, and altogether too expensive. Nuclear power cannot compete economically. To combat climate change what’s needed is really green energy led by solar and wind, which create more jobs, and cost far less. [CounterPunch]

World:

¶ The Yealands Wine Group has put up New Zealand’s largest solar panel installation, reinforcing its claim to be the most sustainable winery in the world. Yealands is now capable of generating 411.12 kW of solar power, which is equivalent to powering 86 New Zealand homes, and will offset 82 tonnes of CO2 emissions. [The Drinks Business]

Yealands winery with 1,314 PV panels on the roof

Yealands winery with 1,314 PV panels on the roof

¶ The Scottish government has given the green light to the 72.6-MW Creag Riabhach wind farm in the Highlands. A total of 22 wind turbines, each of up to 3.3 MW, will be installed on the Altnaharra Estate in Sutherland. The park is expected to produce enough power annually for about 36,000 local households. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, Ltd has received an order for a 55-MW class steam turbine for Costa Rica’s state electricity and telecommunications utility. The turbine will be a core component of the Las Pailas II geothermal power plant, which will be built in Guanacaste Province in the northwest region of the country. [SYS-CON Media]

Domo de San Pedro Geothermal Power Plant (Photo courtesy of Grupo Dragon)

Domo de San Pedro Geothermal Power Plant
(Photo courtesy of Grupo Dragon)

¶ Sundrop Farms has set a task to show that healthy, organic food can be produced everywhere. Their aim is to bust the myth that genetically modified foods, toxic pesticides, and large sums of money are the only solution to the global food crisis. They grow food without using pesticides, fossil fuels or fresh water. [The Green Optimistic]

¶ Energy companies are on the cusp of “an epic battle” with technology companies thanks to the inexorable rise of renewable energy and smart home systems, says Citigroup’s global head of energy strategy. He said the challenge to the conventional oil and gas business “is only going one way,” with market changes. [The Australian Financial Review]

Clash of energy and technology companies (AP photo)

New paradigm, new business plan (AP photo)

¶ France produced the most power from fossil fuels for the month of September in 32 years to help meet demand as nuclear generation dropped. Output from coal and gas plants more than doubled as EDF had to keep reactors offline for inspections to rule out potential anomalies on steam generators at 18 of its 58 units. [Bloomberg]

¶ China’s economy could grow six-fold by 2050 with renewable energy accounting for 69% of national electricity supply if it transforms its energy system and increases efficiency across all sectors. The report “Reinventing Fire: China” claims that CO2 emissions could go 42% below the 2010 level at the same time. [ChinaFile]

Dafancheng Wind Power Plant  (China Photos – Getty Images)

Dafancheng Wind Power Plant
(China Photos – Getty Images)

US:

¶ The US government launched the largest ever clean energy plant in Arizona, as part of the White House’s bid to drastically increase solar power on a national level. The 150-MW Mesquite 3 solar array will help power California’s electric grid and will contribute one-third of the energy used on 14 naval bases in the state. [Opposing Views]

¶ Park City, Utah is on the front lines of global warming as it grapples with decreasing snowfall and a shorter winter season that traditionally draws thousands of skiers and snowboarders from around the world. But the mountain community isn’t waiting to act. Park City just committed to 100% renewable energy by the year 2032. [Inhabitat]

Park City (Image via Raffi Asdourian)

Park City (Image via Raffi Asdourian)

¶ The Grain Belt Express Clean Line wind energy project has made significant steps towards getting the final green light from the Missouri Public Service Commission. The PSC gave the go-ahead to finalize a public hearing schedule, which means that a final order on construction of Clean Line could happen as early as next spring. [The Missouri Times]

¶ The debate over siting renewable energy projects has become one of the major policy contrasts between candidates in Vermont’s gubernatorial race. The Republican candidate, Phil Scott, says he would give communities power to stop wind development. Sue Minter, the Democrat, supports wind energy. [Rutland Herald]

 

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October 17 Energy News

October 17, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ The HY4, the world’s first four-seater hydrogen fuel cell
plane, took off for the first time at the Stuttgart airport in Germany. The plane was developed by researchers from the German Aerospace Center with help from Hydrogenics, Pipistrel, H2FLY, the University of Ulm and Stuttgart Airport. [Composites Manufacturing Magazine]

HY4 hydrogen fuel cell aircraft

HY4 hydrogen fuel cell aircraft

World:

¶ On October 30, Vancouver will have its second Great Climate Race, which is a 10-km run and 2.5-km walk through Stanley Park to raise funds for renewable energy and a cleaner future. Last week, the Great Climate Race announced that organizations can raise money directly for their projects through its website. [Straight.com]

¶ The first generator at the Norochcholai Coal-fired Power Plant ceased operations after an explosion on October 15, on a pipeline that carries water vapour. After the explosion, a fire had erupted in the third generator. The second unit also ceased operations as a result. The plant is the largest generating station in Sri Lanka. [Newsfirst]

Norochcholai Coal-fired Power Plant

Norochcholai Coal-fired Power Plant

¶ A German battery maker said it has secured €76 million ($85 million) from venture capital investors, including Chinese wind turbine and energy management group Envision, to develop its systems. The start-up, called sonnen, said it plans to use the money to expand in Italy, Australia, the United States and Britain. [Business Insider]

¶ According to the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change report, biomass sourced from whole trees and other large-diameter wood is a high-carbon fuel, increasing carbon emissions compared to coal and natural gas for decades, well beyond timeframes relevant for solving climate change. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

Clearcut forest (Dogwood Alliance photo)

Clearcut forest (Dogwood Alliance photo)

¶ Acciona SA, a Spanish renewable energy developer worldwide, said it’s holding up further work in some states in India because local electric utilities aren’t paying their bills on time. Acciona, with 86 MW of installed wind power in India and another 78 MW under development, is the latest investor to complain on the issue. [Bloomberg]

¶ Tidal energy technology is being tested for the first time in Tasmania. A tidal energy turbine has been installed to investigate and optimize the device’s performance. Researchers from the Australian Maritime College will conduct field experiments with a prototype in partnership with developers MAKO Tidal Turbines. [PACE Today]

Tidal turbine (AMC image)

Tidal turbine (AMC image)

¶ An opposition candidate’s victory in Niigata Prefecture’s gubernatorial election threw the Abe administration into a state of shock over the possible consequences to its nuclear energy policy and its standing on the national level. Many believe the ruling Abe administration will have to review its energy policy. [Asahi Shimbun]

US:

¶ Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) proposed a bill that would offer up to $3,000 a year in pre-tax benefits to people who commute in electric vehicles. The intent behind the proposed “Electric Vehicle Credit Act” is to incentivize the use of electric vehicles by commuters, and thus potentially reducing air pollution emissions. [CleanTechnica]

Looking at a Nissan LEAF (Image by Cynthia Shahan for CleanTechnica)

Looking at a Nissan LEAF
(Image by Cynthia Shahan for CleanTechnica)

¶ With a capacity factor of 51.9%, the 2,000-MW Sandstone Energy facility is equivalent to a 1.15 GW Nuclear Power plant. Over a 25-year lifetime, it will produce 227 billion kWh. At an expected cost of $5 billion, with a 30% federal tax credit, the system can be expected to generate electricity at a cost of 2.8¢/kWh. [Electrek]

¶ According to the Energy Information Administration, roughly 15,000 MW per year, mostly coal, will be retired, with or without new regulations. This is one way to gauge the so-called “war on coal” proposed by the Obama Administration. But in reality those coal plants slated for somewhat premature retirement are old and uncompetitive. [OilPrice.com]

Coal in decline

Coal in decline

¶ Community involvement in Hawaii’s goal of 100% renewable electric generation by 2045 has become tougher since Maui Electric Co’s net-metering program closed last October, and the customer-grid supply program hit its 5-MW capacity in June. Experts say now energy storage is “the way forward for the grid.” [Maui News]

¶ The food waste from a local supermarket, restaurant, or catering hall could end up being the fuel that serves a source of renewable energy for New Jersey. That’s the goal of a bill moving through the Legislature, which would require large generators of garbage to separate and recycle food waste with the aim of converting it to energy. [NJ Spotlight]

Food waste

Food waste for fuel

¶ Natural gas generators are a dominant source of power, especially for peak electricity demand periods in New England, but natural gas supply methods haven’t kept up. As a result, most of the region is vulnerable to volatile electricity prices, said Tom Dunn, CEO of VELCO, which manages transmission lines for utilities. [vtdigger.org]

¶ The forecast for private solar power in Arkansas is cloudy, and may be slow to clear up. Decisions by the Arkansas Public Service Commission could promote solar generation at homes and businesses or even cripple it, advocates say, but the most critical rulings may not come for more than a year. [Arkansas Business Online]

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October 16 Energy News

October 16, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “In Scotland, ray of hope for future of clean power” • For the first time ever, on August 7, the army of spinning white turbines that has sprouted across the lush countryside generated enough electricity to power all of Scotland. Scotland has joined Portugal, Denmark, and Costa Rica among those that have achieved this goal. [The Columbian]

Wind turbine, on Sanday, in the Orkney Islands (Photo by hayley green, CC BY-SA, Wikimedia Commons)

Wind turbine, on Sanday, in the Orkney Islands
(Photo by hayley green, CC BY-SA, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “400 ppm CO2: The Case For Renewable Energy” • Climate change is a ticking time bomb. If left unchecked, it will spare no one. But we can counter it successfully through the renewable energy revolution. And it can start with the single step of spreading climate change education and awareness in our communities. [CounterCurrents.org]

Science and Technology:

¶ Removing carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere to prevent global warming from becoming catastrophic may be a fool’s game amounting to a “moral hazard par excellence,” according to a paper published in the journal Science. No one knows if it will work, and the future is treated as a bet in a high-stakes gamble. [Grist]

San Juan generating station (Photo via WildEarth Guardians)

San Juan generating station (Photo via WildEarth Guardians)

¶ According to a new study in the journal Science Advances, a geothermal hotspot softened the mantle rock beneath Greenland in a way that ultimately distorted their calculations for ice loss in the Greenland ice sheet. This caused them to underestimate the melting by about 20 gigatons (20 billion metric tons) per year. [Net Newsledger]

World:

¶ The first full week of the Yukon election campaign ended
with the three major parties making promises about renewable energy, and the Yukon Party again warning against the other parties’ plans for a burdensome carbon tax. The leader of the Yukon Party promised a “made-in-Yukon” approach to greenhouse gas emissions. [CBC.ca]

Solar panels at Yukon College (Philippe Morin/CBC)

Solar panels at Yukon College (Philippe Morin/CBC)

¶ The Renewable Energy Future Iran, a conference connecting over 150 international and local stakeholders to discuss wind and solar opportunities is taking place in Tehran this month. With the lifting of the sanctions, the country is welcoming foreign financiers and the leading players of the renewable energy sector. [TechRasa]

¶ After introducing stringent penalties in the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill 2015, the Indian government has finally put in place a satellite based monitoring system that will help the nation get rid of illegal mining. They say that the Mining Surveillance System is a fool-proof monitor. [EnergyInfraPost]

Mining in India

Mining in India

¶ After a hiatus spanning several years, commercial-scale renewable energy development in Oman is expected to make headway in 2017 with movement on tendering of the nation’s first large-scale solar project. The tendering process will be overseen by the Oman Power and Water Procurement Company. [Zawya]

¶ A joint statement issued after the bilateral meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin said that India is working on finding a second site for a Russian-designed nuclear power plant. They are also investigating ways to work together on developing natural gas in the Arctic. [Business Standard]

Nuclear power plant

Nuclear power plant

US:

¶ Many Ohio residents believe the 2016 election has put the country at a crossroads on climate change. They see it almost as a referendum on anything from the state of Ohio’s coal industry to combating western Lake Erie’s algae-plagued water. While both major presidential candidates favor fracking, they differ on most of the rest. [Toledo Blade]

¶ Iowa is seeing heavier rains and more flooding as climate change takes its toll, yet the state has little idea how much it would cost to protect its homes, schools, factories and other infrastructure, let alone how to pay for it. Iowa communities have $1.4 billion in plans for flood protection, but it is not enough. [DesMoinesRegister.com]

Flooding in Iowa (Rachel Mummey / The Register)

Flooding in Iowa (Rachel Mummey / The Register)

¶ If there were some way to utilize all the energy being spent in this year’s Pennsylvania Senate campaign for electric power, everyone’s utility bills might be a lot cheaper. And few issues generate more heat than the energy policies of first-term Republican Pat Toomey and his Democratic rival, Katie McGinty. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

¶ A lot of pieces will have to fall in place, but there’s still hope among those favoring nuclear power that the Clinton nuclear power plant can stay open. The plant faces demand that has slackened, other renewable energy sources have grown. and natural gas prices are still low. But special legislative action might yet save it. [Bloomington Pantagraph]

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October 15 Energy News

October 15, 2016

World:

¶ Canadian non−hydro renewable power such as wind, solar and biomass grew more than sixfold in the time between 2005 and 2015, rising from 2,360 MW to 15,600 MW. National Electricity Board chief economist Shelley Milutinovic says Canada is now the fourth−largest generator in the world of renewable power. [Huddle Today]

Canadian Wind Farm (Image: The Canadian Press)

Canadian Wind Farm (Image: The Canadian Press)

¶ Subsidies to reduce the risk of blackouts must focus on energy storage schemes and cutting demand instead of “dirty diesel,” according to a group of MPs in the UK. The Energy and Climate Change Committee said current policy favored diesel generators over smart technology that stores power and reduces demand. [BBC]

¶ More than 150 countries have reached a deal described as “monumental” to phase out gases that are making global warming worse. Hydroflurocarbons (HFCs) are widely used in fridges, air conditioning and aerosol sprays. Delegates meeting in Rwanda accepted a complex amendment to the Montreal Protocol. [BBC]

US Secretary of State John Kerry urging an ambitious deal

US Secretary of State John Kerry urging an ambitious deal

¶ The European Union has just approved regulations requiring that an electric car charger be included in every new and renovated home and all apartment buildings starting in 2019. Why is that important? Because charging infrastructure is vital to convincing mainstream buyers to switch to an electric car. [CleanTechnica]

¶ There are plans to limit onshore wind capacity additions in northern Germany, with a new proposal envisaging an annual cap of 902 MW. Germany has already set a limit of 2.8 GW through 2019 to annual wind installations across the country. Additional restrictions relate to limited capacity to carry power to the south. [SeeNews Renewables]

Wind farm. (Author: fantastklywell)

Wind farm. (Author: fantastklywell)

¶ National Grid expects the UK’s winter 2016/17 electricity capacity margin – the headroom between de-rated capacity and peak demand – to be 6.6%. The transmission system operator said the predicted margin has increased from an earlier forecast of 5.5%. Increasing solar capacity is factored into National Grid’s forecasts. [reNews]

¶ Germany utilities moved closer to fixing their financial obligations in dismantling the nation’s nuclear reactors and making safe equipment and fuel that may be radioactive for 100,000 years. A draft law says reactor owners will pay €23.6 billion ($26 billion) into a fund to free them from their nuclear waste liabilities. [Bloomberg]

US:

¶ The launch of a new hydroelectric system in Valdez, Alaska, means another power provider has joined the ranks of utilities that can operate fully on renewable power seasonally. Copper Valley Electric Association’s Allison Creek Hydroelectric Project, allows the utility to avoid using diesel fuel during summer months. [Alaska Dispatch News]

The Allison Creek Hydroelectric Project (Courtesy Copper Valley Electric)

The Allison Creek Hydroelectric Project
(Courtesy Copper Valley Electric)

¶ The Conservation Law Foundation filed a lawsuit against ExxonMobil for endangering Massachusetts communities through activities at the Everett petroleum storage terminal. It is the first NGO lawsuit in the nation to take a petroleum company to task for its decades-long campaign to discredit climate science. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Florida Public Service Commission has granted approval to Gulf Power, a US-based electric utility company, to add an additional 94 MW of wind energy from the Kingfisher Wind farm in Oklahoma. The addition will allow the company’s original 178-MW Kingfisher Wind project to produce a 272 MW. [Power Technology]

Gulf Power wind farm (Photo courtesy of Gulf Power)

Gulf Power wind farm (Photo courtesy of Gulf Power)

¶ One of the largest solar projects in Massachusetts is being constructed on the property of a former coal-burning power plant in Holyoke. More than 17,000 solar panels are being installed where the smokestack of the former Mount Tom Power Station once cast its shadow. The nearly 6-MW solar farm should come online in January. [WAMC]

¶ The California Energy Commission and the US Navy have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop renewable energy projects. The partnership will develop three battery and solar projects, and the Navy and Marines will lease 205 new electric vehicles for use at California installations, curbing fossil fuel use. [Utility Dive]

Golden Gate Bridge (Credit: Flickr; Robbie Shade)

Golden Gate Bridge (Credit: Flickr / Robbie Shade)

¶ The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved Xcel Energy’s 15-year Integrated Resource Plan, with goals to more than double the utility’s renewable energy portfolio in the state and shut down two coal units. Xcel said the PUC supports plans to add 1.4 GW of solar and 1.8 GW of wind power by 2030. [Solar Industry]

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October 14 Energy News

October 14, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Canadian Hydro: A Lifeline for Northeastern Clean Energy Goals?” • States in the US Northeast are looking for creative solutions to decarbonize their electricity system and maintain affordable, reliable electricity service. They have renewed interest in an old resource, imported Canadian hydroelectricity. [Greentech Media]

Canadian hydropower

Canadian hydropower

¶ “Fossil Fuels Face More Competition from ‘Green’ Energy” • Bloomberg New Energy Finance found dramatic improvements in wind and solar technology is helping to boost the amount of power generated from each plant. That allowed installations to grow by almost 70% in the last five years even as investment flat lined. [agprofessional.com]

Science and Technology:

¶ Scientists and engineers at MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center have made a new world record for plasma pressure in the Alcator C-Mod tokamak nuclear fusion reactor. The researchers said that the plasma, which lasted for two full seconds, achieved 2.05 atmospheres of pressure for the first time. [Energy Business Review]

Interior of the Alcator C-Mod (Photo courtesy of  Bob Mumgaard / Plasma Science and Fusion Center)

Interior of the Alcator C-Mod (Photo courtesy of
Bob Mumgaard / Plasma Science and Fusion Center)

World:

¶ The UK government must consider reintroducing auctions for onshore wind if it is to meet 2030 carbon emission reduction targets, according to the Climate Change Committee. No Contract for Difference auction has taken place since 2015 and none are planned for onshore solar and wind, the cheapest renewable technologies. [reNews]

¶ Construction of the Kathu Solar Park in the South African province of Northern Cape began earlier this month with a ground breaking ceremony attended by project shareholders, and various other stakeholders, local officials and guests. The Kathu 100-MW Concentrated Solar Power project uses parabolic trough technology. [Bizcommunity.com]

Kathu site in Northern Cape

Kathu site in Northern Cape

¶ ET Energy Fateh Jang is seeking a licence for a 50-MW solar power facility in Punjab costing $61 million. While two years of crashing prices for oil, natural gas, and coal triggered dramatic downsizing in those industries, renewables have been thriving. Clean energy investment broke new records in 2015. [The News International]

¶ The world’s most powerful tidal turbine, developed and built by Scotrenewables Tidal Power Limited, has been installed on its moorings for the first time. The 2-MW SR2000 tidal turbine was towed to the European Marine Energy Centre Orkney site, where it was installed for commissioning and testing. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Tidal turbine (Scotrenewables image)

Tidal turbine (Scotrenewables image)

¶ The first shipment of turbine components for the 175-MW White Rock wind farm in New South Wales has arrived at the Port of Newcastle in Australia. The delivery will consist of eight Goldwind 2.5-MW units, including 59.5-meter blades made by Sinomatech Wind Power Blade Company. It will be completed in 2017. [reNews]

¶ A hybrid renewable energy project in Australia that will include wind, solar and energy storage has been backed by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. The first phase of Kennedy Energy Park, developed by Australia’s Windlab Ltd and Japan’s Eurus Energy, will consist of 19.2 MW solar, 21.6 MW wind and 2 MW/4 MWh battery storage. [reNews]

Wind and solar power plant in the US.  (Featured Image: welcomia/Shutterstock.com)

Wind and solar power plant in the US.
(Featured Image: welcomia/Shutterstock.com)

US:

¶ Alliant Energy‘s Iowa utility has reached a settlement with customer groups on its proposed new wind project, expanding the Whispering Willow Wind Farm. If approved, will be up to 500 MW, significantly increasing the amount of wind energy that Alliant Energy supplies to customers. [North American Windpower]

¶ Landmark Infrastructure Partners has bought 4000 acres of land in California for $73 million on which Recurrent Energy is developing six solar plants which already have power purchase agreements. The acquisition, which is subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2016. [reNews]

California solar power (Recurrent Energy image)

California solar power (Recurrent Energy image)

¶ The nation’s first offshore wind farm, which plans to launch commercial operations in November, has received investments from GE Energy Financial Services and the global bank Citi. The companies said they are acquiring some of the ownership of Deepwater Wind’s 30-MW project off Block Island. [Worcester Business Journal]

¶ The 110-MW Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Plant is the first utility-scale CSP of its kind on American soil, and the developer, California-based energy firm SolarReserve, now says they plan to build 10 more just like it elsewhere in the sunny desert state. The overall project, Sandstone, would power a million US homes. [Inhabitat]

Sandstone rendering (SolarReserve image)

Sandstone rendering (SolarReserve image)

¶ Energy Management Inc’s Cape Wind has dropped a court appeal, another setback in its long-running fight to build a 468-MW wind farm off the US east coast. The developer had asked the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial court to reverse an Energy Facilities Siting Board decision denying an extension of transmission line permits. [reNews]

¶ In Sterling, Massachusetts, a 2-MW/3.9-MWh lithium ion battery system at a Sterling Municipal Light Department substation will be able to isolate from the main power grid to provide up to 12 days of emergency back-up power to the police department and dispatch center in the event of a power outage. [Worcester Telegram]

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October 13 Energy News

October 13, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “A price on carbon may be coming soon to the U.S.” • For years, US politicians have debated the question of imposing a price on carbon. The time may finally have come. That might seem hard for most people to understand, given the yearslong, seemingly intractable political deadlock on the issue in the US. But we may be at a tipping point. [Market Watch]

Time for a price on carbon in the US (Shutterstock image)

Time for a price on carbon in the US (Shutterstock image)

¶ “Here’s How To Build 100% Clean Renewable Energy In The US Before 2040” • There is a way for us to build our way out of the climate crisis in time to avoid the worst effects of global warming. We save money doing it, and side benefits include cleaner air, cleaner water, less disease, more jobs and a livable climate. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ Germany is inviting both local and Danish solar projects to participate in a 50-MW solar power capacity tender, the first cross-border auction in Europe. The winners will be selected based on the price they offered, regardless of the location of the solar PV park. Only projects no bigger than 10 MW may take part. [SeeNews Renewables]

Solar system in Denmark. Author: Peter Leth. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Solar system in Denmark. Author: Peter Leth.
License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic.

¶ The price of oil will not have much of an impact when it comes to the planet’s transition to new, cleaner, sources of energy, according to the CEO of the Carbon Trust. He argued that oil price, as a single factor, will not make any difference compared to increasing energy efficiency and decreasing costs for solar and wind power. [Yahoo7 News]

¶ According to a preliminary report from the Australian Energy Market Operator, the South Australia blackout began with storm damage to three major transmission lines. After this, wind farms had to disconnect from the energy grid to protect themselves, causing a massive load spike on the interconnector to Victoria. [Mozo.com.au]

Wind farm in South Australia

Wind farm in South Australia

¶ China’s wind energy developers are flying high, a report shows. The study by Bank of China International is predicting wind power related companies to see profits soar between 25 and 64 per cent in the rest of this year, on the heels of eight newly commissioned ultra-high-voltage power lines across the country. [South China Morning Post]

¶ A report from Queensland says the state can reach a renewable energy target, which the governing Coalition dismisses as expensive and reckless, with little subsidy, and no impact on reliability. At the same time, renewables can reduce costs to consumers, create jobs, add new industries and add to economic growth. [RenewEconomy]

¶ A nuclear and environmental specialist at the University of Oxford, has accused the UK Government of backing the Hinkley nuclear power plant “at almost any price” as a means of “hiding the true costs” of Trident nuclear weapons renewal, concealing the cost of nuclear weapons development within a private venture. [CommonSpace]

Picture courtesy of Auz

Picture courtesy of Auz

¶ A huge 15 GW of embedded power generation capacity is awaiting direct connection to four of the six distribution networks across England, Scotland and Wales, figures gathered by ICIS show. The capacity bypasses the transmission network, depressing demand. It is a mix of renewable, thermal, and storage units. [ICIS]

US:

¶ Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin wants God to help the state’s ailing oil and natural gas industry. Originally targeted at Christians, a new, interfaith version of the “Oilfield Prayer Day” proclamation calls on everyone to thank a deity, declaring that “people of faith acknowledge such natural resources are created by God.” [Huffington Post]

Governor Mary Fallin (photo by Michael Vadon, CC BY-SA, Wikimedia Commons)

Governor Mary Fallin
(photo by Michael Vadon, CC BY-SA, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Northern Power Systems Corp, a next generation renewable energy technology company based in Barre, Vermont, confirms the continued performance of its remote fleet with turbines performing through both Hurricane Matthew in the Caribbean, as well as Typhoon Chaba in the Jeju region of South Korea. [Your Renewable News]

¶ Despite the relatively slow uptake of renewable energy in the United States, replacement of fossil fuels with renewables is starting to have tangible results on emissions. According to the DOE’s Energy Information Administration in the first six months of 2016 fell to the lowest level for any first half of a year since 1991. [pv magazine USA]

Wyoming coal plant (Photo by Greg Goebel from Loveland CO, CC BY-SA, Wikimedia Commons)

Wyoming coal plant (Photo by Greg Goebel from Loveland CO, CC BY-SA, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ A panel of international wind power experts, in a study designed by the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Erin D. Baker and others, says technology advancements are expected to continue to drive down the cost of wind energy. The survey anticipates cost reductions of 24% to 30% percent by 2030. [The Recorder]

¶ UK infrastructure company John Laing Group plc is investing in a 29.9-MW wind project in New Mexico in its first venture in the US renewable energy sector. The wind farm will feature 13 GE 2.3-116 turbines. It has a 15-year fixed-price power purchase agreement and is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2017. [SeeNews Renewables]

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October 12 Energy News

October 12, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ The electric vehicle wireless charging solutions firm Evatran has revealed that it expects to offer wireless charging systems compatible with 80% of the electric vehicles currently on the roads of North America by the end of 2017, according to recent reports. The receiving coil is attached to the underside of the vehicle. [CleanTechnica]

Image via Plugless

Image via Plugless

World:

¶ Australia’s national solar PV market appears to be slowly rebounding, with rooftop solar installs in September 2016 reaching 66 MW for the month, their highest level since July 2015. This is led by growth in the commercial market and particularly in South Australia. In Western Australia, growth “continued off a new base.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ UK smart grid outfit Reactive Technologies has successfully demonstrated transmission of data via the National Grid. For the first time, data was sent and received across the electricity network through subtle changes made to the grid frequency by modulating the power consumption of the transmitting devices. [reNews]

T-pylon (National Grid image)

T-pylon (National Grid image)

¶ A study from the London School of Economics, examining 34 developed and developing countries for their carbon intensity, has found that low-carbon sectors are outpacing their less-productive, higher carbon-intensive sectors and the general economy in terms of growth, while increasing jobs and skill levels. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Siemens has been awarded a contract for the turbine supply
of the Zadar VI Extension onshore wind project in Croatia. The project will have 13 wind turbines of the type SWT-3.4-108, rated at 3.4 MW each, with a 108-meter rotor. Commissioning of the 44.2-MW facility is set for the summer of 2017. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Onshore wind turbines (Siemens image)

Onshore wind turbines (Siemens image)

¶ Queensland has three “credible” options to achieve a 50% renewable energy target by 2030, a panel of experts said. A draft report said “significant government policy action” would be needed for Australia’s biggest carbon polluting state to reach the target, but the impact on electricity prices would be “broadly cost neutral.” [The Guardian]

¶ According to leaked plans from the German federal network agency, and published on in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the government has had to halve its original target for expanding its windfarms in the gale-beaten northern flatlands because it cannot extend its power grid quickly enough to the energy-hungry south. [The Guardian]

Windfarm in Germany (Photo: Bloomberg / Getty Images)

Windfarm in Germany (Photo: Bloomberg / Getty Images)

¶ At the end of June wind capacity worldwide reached 456,486 MW, which corresponds to 4.7 % of the global electricity demand. In the second half of 2016, an additional 40 GW are expected, for a total to approximately 500 GW. The announcement was made by the World Wind Energy Association in its half-year report. [Sun & Wind Energy]

¶ General Electric plans to buy a maker of wind-turbine blades for $1.65 billion (€1.5 billion), bolstering the renewable-energy business amid growing demand for clean power. The deal for LM Wind Power, based in Denmark, will enhance GE’s ability to serve customers in the wind power markets, the companies said. [Irish Times]

GE wind turbines (Photo: Danny Lawson / PA Wire)

GE wind turbines (Photo: Danny Lawson / PA Wire)

¶ The International Atomic Energy Agency, which oversees United Nations nuclear operations, says a nuclear power plant was successfully hacked three or four years ago. The hackers also made an attempt to steal uranium which could have powered their dirty bombs. The information comes from the agency’s director. [Techworm]

US:

¶ Increased access to solar power will allow 65% of Stanford University’s electricity to come from renewable resources by the end of 2016, according to a Stanford News press release. Solar panels will also be added to 16 more buildings on campus by the end of this year. The university will supply 53% of its own power. [The Stanford Daily]

Solar panels on California grid (Courtesy of Sun Power)

Solar panels on California grid (Courtesy of Sun Power)

¶ Arizona Public Service said it has become the first utility outside of California to reach 1 GW of solar energy capacity, counting both direct ownership and projects with which it holds power contracts. The figure includes 499 MW of utility-scale projects and 551 MW of rooftop PV, from investments of about $2 billion. [pv magazine USA]

¶ While Uber is currently used mainly as an alternative for taxis, the services it offers could be used in a number of other fashions as well. One example is the way Summit, New Jersey, is now using the service as part of a pilot program that aims to reduce congestion at the parking lots used by the town’s train station. [CleanTechnica]

Summit train station (Photo by Dougtone, CC BY-SA)

Summit train station (Photo by Dougtone, CC BY-SA)

¶ Iron Mountain Incorporated, a global leader in storage and information management services, signed a power purchase agreement, under which the company will purchase 10% of the energy produced at the Amazon Wind Farm Texas. The PPA provides enough electricity for 30% of its North American electricity footprint. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Borrego Solar Systems has launched a new division focused on megawatt-scale energy storage solutions, both stand-alone and tied to solar installations. The new storage division will be based in Massachusetts and will serve customers nationally. Borrego will focus on long-duration energy storage for the power grid. [Utility Dive]

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October 11 Energy News

October 11, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Wind Turbines To The Rescue, Family Farm Edition” • An article from Bloomberg speaks to the impact that income from wind turbines can have on struggling family farms. The article describes how wind leases offer farmers significant new source of revenue, without the negative impacts of fossil fuel extraction. [CleanTechnica]

Illinois farm (Photo by Tom via  flickr.com, creative commons license.)

Illinois farm (Photo by Tom via
flickr.com, creative commons license.)

¶ “The Missing ‘Why’ in Vermont’s Energy Transition” • We have a responsibility and an opportunity to meet far more of our energy needs through resources carefully deployed in our own backyards. Act 174 creates a way to articulate how that happens. The oft-missing reason why is an essential part of the equation. [vtdigger.org]

Science and Technology:

¶ Celebrating the tallest wood-frame building of its kind anywhere in the world, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr recently attended the “topping out” ceremony of the Brock Commons Residence. The new University of British Columbia student housing tower rises 18 stories to reach 178.8 feet (53 meters) tall. [CleanTechnica]

Brock Commons topping off celebration was on 15 Sept 2016. (Credit: Acton Ostry Architects, Inc)

Brock Commons topping off celebration was on 15 Sept 2016.
(Credit: Acton Ostry Architects, Inc)

¶ Human-caused climate change caused twice as much forest to burn in the West over the past 32 years, researchers at the University of Idaho and Columbia University said. An additional 16,000 square miles of Western forests burned from 1984 to 2015 because of conditions caused by the rise of greenhouse gases. [Idaho Statesman]

World:

¶ ABB announced a modular and scalable plug-and-play microgrid solution to address the globally growing demand for flexible technology in the developing market for distributed power generation. The system can help maximize the use of renewable energy sources while reducing dependence on fossil fuels. [Windpower Engineering]

ABB’s Microgrid Plus control system

ABB’s Microgrid Plus control system

¶ Russia has said it will support a proposal by Opec to freeze oil production in order to reverse the slump in global prices. The move lifted the price of oil, with Brent crude hitting a one-year high. In late afternoon Brent Crude oil was trading up by 2.5% at $53.21 a barrel, just off the $53.73 high hit earlier in the day on Monday. [BBC]

¶ For almost 300 days, the country of Costa Rica has run on a combination of hydropower, geothermal, wind, and solar energy. It has not used fossil fuels at all. No other country of its size or larger has come close to this. For example, Portugal was recently praised in the news for running on 100% renewables for 4 days. [Q Costa Rica News]

Costa Rican wind farm

Costa Rican wind farm

¶ Bolivia’s Minister of Hydrocarbons and Energy, Luis Alberto Sanchez, said the country will reach 545 MW of renewable power generation by 2020. Through Bolivia’s National Electricity Company, the ministry is also expected to invest around $1.05 billion (€941 million) in renewable energy by the same year. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Coal and oil are headed for a downward spiral in the next 20 years, when energy demand is projected to reach its peak due to government policies and renewable energy technologies, according to a major international report. Some experts who used to talk of “Peak Oil,” are now talking about “Peak Demand.” [Washington Examiner]

Gas well (photo by Battenbrook, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

Gas well (photo by Battenbrook, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ A top research institute in mainland China is developing what is being called the world’s smallest nuclear power plant. The nuclear plant could fit inside a shipping container and might be installed on an island in the disputed South China Sea within five years. The reactor is said to be capable of supplying 10 MW of heat. [CNBC]
(The article has a clear miscalculation in it. It says 10 MW of heat could supply 50,000 households, which means 200 watts of heat, or about 70 watts of electricity, per household.)

US:

¶ Taking a small step into the energy future, the City of Sonoma, California, voted last week to become the first jurisdiction in Sonoma County, and perhaps the North Bay, to adopt the zero-emissions EverGreen plan from Sonoma Clean Power. The optional premium plan uses 100% local renewable power sources. [Sonoma Index-Tribune]

Sonoma U-3 geothermal power plant (Photo courtesy of Calpine Corporation)

Sonoma U-3 geothermal power plant
(Photo courtesy of Calpine Corporation)

¶ Six biorefineries in Ohio and Indiana belonging to Poet, LLC, are installing a new energy generation system using combined-heat-and-power. These systems will reduce reliance on the electrical energy grid, recover waste energy for additional use in the plant and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. [Ethanol Producer Magazine]

¶ A $260 million solar project opening near Roswell, New Mexico, will have the capacity to provide enough power for more than 40,000 homes. The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports the 1,400-acre solar project is the biggest in the state. Xcel Energy will purchase power under a 25-year contract with project builder NextEra Energy. [KUNM]

 

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October 10 Energy News

October 10, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ Researchers from Cornell University, the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, and the NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies said that rising temperatures combined with decreased rainfall in the US Southwest will create droughts that could be much worse than the American Dust Bowl. [Nature World News]

Worse than the dust bowl (Photo : Unsplash/Pixabay)

Worse than the dust bowl (Photo : Unsplash/Pixabay)

¶ SunToWater, based in Palo Alto, California, has a new way to collect water. Fans blow air over desiccant salts inside the module that looks like an outdoor air conditioner unit. Heat from solar thermal collectors bakes water out of those salts, which in turn creates steam that accumulates within a condenser and is then ready to use. [Triple Pundit]

World:

¶ In a bid to promote Sri Lanka’s economic growth, the Indian government plans to supply 500 MW of power to the country. The transmission will take place through a network sub-sea power cables. According to New York Times, the cost of putting a cable under water can be lower than burying cables on land. [Financial Express]

A less expensive path

A less expensive path

¶ Germany’s Bundesrat approved a resolution calling for a ban on new internal combustion engine cars by 2030. The Bundesrat is a deliberative body composed of representatives from all 16 German states. It is sometimes wrongly called the upper house of parliament, but legislation does go through it on its way to the Bundestag. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Slowing down construction of coal-fired power stations will be vital to hit globally agreed climate change goals, the World Bank president, Jim Yong Kim said at a climate ministerial meeting in Washington. He said there is no prospect of keeping global warming at or below 2°C (3.6°F) if planned for coal-fired stations are built. [The Guardian]

A coal-fired power plant. Photograph: John Giles/PA

Stack of a coal-fired power plant. Photograph: John Giles/PA

¶ Scotland could realistically be expected to produce half of its energy needs using renewable technology by 2030, according to a report by WWF Scotland, Friends of the Earth Scotland, and RSPB Scotland. The report used analysis by Ricardo Energy and Environment to identify cost-effective ways of meeting climate targets. [STV News]

¶ First Solar has commissioned the 52.5-MW Shams Ma’an solar park in Jordan on schedule. The facility has 600,000 First Solar thin-film panels mounted on single-axis trackers, according to the company. It accounts for about 1% of Jordan’s generation capacity and provides power under a 20-year power purchase agreement. [reNews]

First Solar image

First Solar image

US:

¶ Clinton and Trump sparred over energy and climate for 243 seconds in the second presidential debate. The majority of Sunday’s presidential debate involved the two candidates trading blows on tax returns, Donald Trump’s so-called “locker room talk” about assaulting women, and Hillary Clinton’s email account. [Grist]

¶ Encore Renewable Energy has commissioned of two separate 1.4-MW solar arrays for the Town of Stowe Electric Department and Village of Hyde Park Electric Department, respectively. The two projects were financed with low interest debt under the US Treasury Department’s Clean Renewable Energy Bonds program. [Vermont Biz]

The Stowe project is sited on an abandoned portion  of the Town of Stowe gravel pit. (Encore photo)

The Stowe project is sited on an abandoned portion
of the Town of Stowe gravel pit. (Encore photo)

¶ American Samoa is on track to remove diesel fuel generators, with the launch of a solar energy system in Manu’a. The Ta’u solar project will supply 1.4 MW of power. The system consists of solar PV panels, six hours of battery storage, and three back-up generators. The solar project will provide 100% of Ta’u’s power supply. [Radio New Zealand]

¶ Canadian Solar Inc. announced it began commercial operation of the 60-MW Barren Ridge solar project in Los Angeles. The facility, also known as the RE Cinco, supplies electricity and associated renewable energy credits to the city’s Department of Water and Power under a long-term power purchase agreement. [Commercial Property Executive]

Barren Ridge Solar Project

Barren Ridge Solar Project

¶ The winter months are when the New England region’s power grid is put to the test. When temperatures barely rose above zero, on the coldest days of 2013, demand nearly overwhelmed the system. The president and CEO of ISO New England said that the current state of the grid is even more precarious. [WMUR Manchester]

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October 9 Energy News

October 9, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ A team of researchers believes that world leaders need to change their policies regarding methane emissions. Their study, recently published in the journal Nature, found these emissions are 60% to 110% higher than previously estimated. They counted leaks coming from natural sources in addition to the oil and gas sector. [Pulse Headlines]

Oil pumps and natural gas flaring  (Photo credit: Associated Press / The Wall Street Journal)

Oil pumps and natural gas flaring
(Photo credit: Associated Press / The Wall Street Journal)

¶ Declining costs and improving performance are fueling rapid growth of renewable energy mini-grids, particularly in rural and remote areas. Worldwide, the market for hybrid renewable mini-grids is potentially worth more than $200 billion, according to a study released by the International Renewable Energy Agency. [Microgrid Media]

World:

¶ Empowered Biofuels teaches small villages and individuals in Costa Rica how to use local renewable resources to produce and consume energy in a more sustainable way and shows them that they can earn a living from sustainable enterprises. For biofuel production, they use a Costa Rican native tree species called Jatropha. [Leisure Group Travel]

Empowered Biofuels teaching at the local level

Empowered Biofuels teaching at the local level

¶ Nigerian power distribution firms will soon begin developing mini-grids to augment the electricity supply. The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission said in a “Draft Mini-Grid Regulation 2016” that electricity distribution companies could now use mini-grids to accelerate their electrification activities. [Financial Watch]

¶ Alberta’s move to shift electricity production from coal plants to renewable energy will likely cost less than people expect, a specialist in the field says. The province plans by 2030 to phase out coal generation, which provides approximately 40% of the province’s power capacity, replacing it with renewables and natural gas. [Edmonton Journal]

Wind farm near Pincher Creek, Alberta  (Jeff McIntosh / The Canadian Press)

Wind farm near Pincher Creek, Alberta
(Jeff McIntosh / The Canadian Press)

¶ Indian government is planning a new policy to push stalled hydro power projects. The Power ministry is proposing that projects with capacities of up to 25 MW be categorized as small hydro-power so they can get the same benefits other renewable energy projects. Indian hydro power has a potential estimated at about 150 GW. [The Hindu]

¶ A renewable energy fund, created by the East Renfrewshire Council and Scottish Power Renewables, has over £180,000 is available at the end of its first year. The money is income from local wind farms. The fund targets projects with a potential for long term benefits for communities in East Renfrewshire. [Glasgow South and Eastwood Extra]

Windy Standard wind farm  (Photo by John Horner, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

Windy Standard wind farm
(Photo by John Horner, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ TEPCO is still struggling to put the Fukushima nuclear disaster behind it, admitting this week that paying for decommissioning the plant in one go risks leaving it insolvent. The Fukushima Disaster and the issues arising from it will ultimately cost more than ¥11 trillion ($106 billion), according to one recent academic study. [Gulf Times]

US:

¶ Three pipelines are proposed to run through West Virginia, carrying natural gas to destinations in Virginia, including one on the coast. A Synapse Energy Economics report shows that with upgrades and improvements to the existing system of pipelines and infrastructure, the region’s natural gas needs could be met through 2030. [Roanoke Times]

West Virginia mountains  (photo by ForestWander, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

West Virginia mountains
(photo by ForestWander, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The US Energy Information Agency has been arguing that cheap shale gas is the main factor behind the collapse of the US coal industry, and a research team from Case Western Reserve University has just added a new study, published in The Electricity Journal, to a growing pile of evidence in support of that claim. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The CEO of Duke Energy recently said her company could stop generating electricity from coal between 2030 and 2040. Duke CEO Lynn Good said in an interview with Bloomberg that and the company’s current move away from coal will continue, no matter who occupies the White House at this time next year. [The Exponent Telegram]

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October 8 Energy News

October 8, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “How will we power the planet in 2050?” • A report from the World Energy Council found that renewable sources of power now represent around 30% of the world’s total capacity and 23% of electricity production. In the last 10 years, wind and solar power had seen rapid growth. CNBC spoke to the experts about what 2050 will look like. [CNBC]

A paddleboarder in the Irish (SeaPaul Ellis | AFP | Getty Images)

A paddleboarder in the Irish (SeaPaul Ellis | AFP | Getty Images)

Science and Technology:

¶ According to the team from the Solar Energy Institute of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, up to 1 MWh of energy can be stored in just one cubic meter of molten silicon. Silicon is the most abundant element in the Earth’s crust. The technology holds a promise for dealing with the intermittency of renewable power generation. [E&T magazine]

World:

¶ German developer BayWa has secured power purchase agreements for five solar parks in the UK with a combined capacity of 83 MW. The five 15-year PPAs were signed with Neas Energy, a power trading unit of Centrica. The unnamed photovoltaic plants in southern England and Wales started operating in March 2016. [reNews]

Whitland solar in Wales (Credit: BayWa)

Whitland solar in Wales (Credit: BayWa)

¶ More Scottish homes and businesses are seeing the benefit of renewable heat than ever before, according to new figures. Data published by the Energy Saving Trust estimate that last year saw the largest annual increase in renewable heat output since measurement began in 2008, up by over 1,100 GWh in a single year. [Scottish Construction Now]

¶ If the European Union is to meet the terms laid out in the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in 2050 by 80-95% compared to 1990 levels, the Member States have to act fast, and act now, beginning the process of decarbonizing, according to a report just published by the European Environment Agency. [pv magazine]

Coal power station (Credit: Flocko, via Wikimedia)

Coal power station (Credit: Flocko, via Wikimedia)

¶ A climate agreement struck among 191 countries would allow airlines to grow in the coming decades, but without growing their impact on the climate. The International Civil Aviation Organization will encourage airlines to purchase carbon credits in world markets to offset their emissions for many flights beginning in 2021. [Seeker]

¶ All lighthouses dotting India’s 7,517-km coast line will be fuelled by solar energy by December, helping reduce emissions of 6,000 kg of greenhouse gases per day, according to an announcement by the government. The Directorate General of Lighthouse & Lightships, maintains 193 Lighthouses in the coastal waters of India. [Financial Express]

Indian lighthouse

Indian lighthouse

¶ The cost of resuming operations at Japan’s trouble-plagued Monju prototype fast-breeder nuclear reactor is estimated to top ¥540 billion ($5.2 billion), the science ministry says. More than ¥1 trillion ($9.7 billion) has been spent on Monju, but it has only operated for a total of 250 days in the past 20 years due to a series of problems. [The Japan Times]

¶ Dutch development bank FMO has provided a $14.7 million loan for a 10-MW solar project in Uganda. The Tororo Solar North PV plant will generate enough energy for about 36,200 residents. This is great news for the country, which not only has electricity consumption among the world’s the lowest per capita, but also chronic power shortages. [PV-Tech]

Tororo, Uganda (Source: Flickr / Jake Stimpson)

Tororo, Uganda (Source: Flickr / Jake Stimpson)

US:

¶ More than five years after a wind energy boom on the North Fork, vineyard owners say the turbines, which sprang up in the late 2000s thanks to the availability of federal grants and rebates from the Long Island Power Authority, have paid back their investments. North Fork is a peninsula on the north shore of Long Island. [Suffolk Times]

¶ State and local leaders joined executives from NextEra Energy Resources and Xcel Energy to celebrate commissioning the Roswell and Chaves County Solar Energy Centers, New Mexico’s largest solar energy projects. They feature about 600,000 solar panels on trackers with a total generating capacity of 140 MW. [Electric Light & Power]

New Mexico solar array

New Mexico has a pair of new solar arrays.

¶ Residential prices for electricity have dropped this year for the first time since 2002, according the US Energy Information Administration, despite worries that shutting down coal-fired power plants and relying more on wind and solar would ruin the economy. This it not what the defenders of burning coal said would happen. [Houston Chronicle]

¶ Alabama Power issued a request for proposals for renewable energy resources during the last week of September. Proposals must be either a renewable resource or an environmentally specialized generating resource. Among the eligible projects included in the RFP are “tidal or ocean current and low-impact hydropower.” [HydroWorld]

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October 7 Energy News

October 7, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “UK fracking decision is nothing short of hypocrisy” • Climate-polluting fracking, which is unproven in the UK, gets “all-out” government backing, with ministers steamrolling whatever local opposition might arise. Meanwhile, low-cost and low-carbon onshore windfarms get undermined, with local opposition given power to block applications. [The Guardian]

Cuadrilla Resources drilling pumping equipment. (Photo: Alamy)

Cuadrilla Resources drilling pumping equipment. (Photo: Alamy)

Science and Technology:

¶ As renewable energy accelerates its pace in electricity markets, wind power has seemingly hit stride. It is expected to see further price drops because of economies of scale and technological improvements. The cost of producing electricity via wind power is expected to fall 24%-30% by 2030, according to researchers at US DOE laboratories. [Environmental Leader]

¶ A commercial-scale, 500-kW kite-driven power station is set to be created in Scotland. The kites fly to heights of up to 450 meters in a figure-of-eight pattern, pulling tethers as they rise, which turn a turbine that produces electricity. Two kites work in tandem, one being blown upward as the other floats back down. [The Independent]

The kite to provide power (Kite Power Solutions Ltd)

The kite to provide power (Kite Power Solutions Ltd)

World:

¶ A major new report published this week by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate called on financial institutions and governments to scale up and shift investment for sustainable infrastructure in an effort to not only address climate issues, but also in an effort to reignite global growth and reduce poverty. [CleanTechnica]

¶ AGL Energy, the bigger coal generator in Australia and the biggest player in the South Australia market, said in a statement released late on Thursday that wind farms are not to blame for the September 28 blackout in South Australia, in contradiction to the claims of the federal government and many in mainstream media. [RenewEconomy]

AGL’s Hallett wind farms

AGL’s Hallett wind farms

¶ Cubico Sustainable Investments, with an installed capacity of 2 GW, says it has won power purchase agreements in Mexico’s second long-term electricity auction for the 250-MW Mezquite wind project and the 290-MW Solem solar PV project. The total investment for the two will come to approximately $700 million. [North American Windpower]

¶ Australian state and territory energy ministers are gathering in Melbourne to discuss the nation’s energy needs following last week’s massive South Australian blackout. The blackout was caused by a storm, with winds knocking down transmission towers in a number of places. Politicians are trying to put the blame on windpower. [SBS]

Wattle Point wind farm, South Australia Source (Photo by Scott Davis, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

Wattle Point wind farm, South Australia Source
(Photo by Scott Davis, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Environmentalists have hailed the Scottish Government’s block on underground coal gasification as a “victory for people power.” Green charities urged ministers to take a similar decision when it comes to unconventional oil and gas, including fracking, which is subject to a separate moratorium. [Glasgow Evening Times]

¶ A major 3-day conference, the 4th International Workshop on Accelerator Driven Systems and Thorium, held in the UK at the University of Huddersfield, attracted engineers and scientists to discussions advanced concepts in nuclear technology. They are particularly highlighting the problems of spent nuclear fuel and its disposal. [Labmate Online]

Huddersfield Narrow canal, university in the background (photo by David Stowell, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

Huddersfield Narrow canal, university in the background
(photo by David Stowell, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ A coalition of environmental and consumer activists warned that New York electricity customers will be jolted by a “huge tax” stemming from the governor’s plan to subsidize aging nuclear power plants. Over seventy groups – consumer, environmental, and conservative – are working in unison to derail the “bailout.” [Oneonta Daily Star]

¶ The utility firm Hoosier Energy, of Bloomington, Indiana, has started operations at its latest landfill methane generation facility in Rockford, Illinois. The 16-MW Orchard Hills Generation Station is sited at Advance Disposal’s landfill in Davis Junction, Illinois. The company expects to be sending power to the grid in November. [Renewable Energy from Waste]

Hoosier Energy site (courtesy of Hoosier Energy)

Hoosier Energy site (courtesy of Hoosier Energy)

¶ Time is running out for those Ohio Republicans who want to change the state’s renewable energy standards, and a battle with Governor John Kasich could ensue. Legislation passed in 2014 put a two-year freeze on the standards while committee worked on modifications. Unchanged, the standards go back into effect at the beginning of 2017. [WCPO]

¶ Norwegian energy giant Statoil is mulling a floating wind farm in Hawaii, its first offshore foray in the US in three years. Statoil Wind US nominated its interest in the entire Oahu call area, which covers an area of about 485,000 acres and is split into two zones, after the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management issued a call to developers in June. [reNews]

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October 6 Energy News

October 6, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “The future belongs to clean energy” • As we close out a summer marked by uncertainty in news and events, one trend for which analysts voice increasing certainty is the accelerating pace of the clean-energy transformation reshaping how the world generates electricity. One reason is that renewable energy is inexpensive. [The Guardian]

A Masaai herdsman looking after cattle (Photo: Thomas Mukoya / Reuters/REUTERS)

A Masaai herdsman looking after cattle
(Photo: Thomas Mukoya / Reuters/REUTERS)

¶ “ExxonMobil Says Its Shale Oil Assets Are Not Threatened, While COP21 Paris Agreement Ratified: Something Has To
Give” • The COP21 agreement is now law, and yet oil majors are still contending that the price of oil will recover. Peabody Energy has a similar view about its prospects for expanding production of coal. [Seeking Alpha]

Science and Technology:

¶ With the climate warming and the sea level rising, conditions are ripe for storms even deadlier and more devastating than Sandy, putting many more people at risk. That’s the outlook from David A. Robinson, a Rutgers geography professor who has served as the New Jersey state climatologist for 25 years. [News from Rutgers]

Superstorm Sandy created a massive inlet in Mantoloking. (Photo: Greg Thompson/USFWS)

Superstorm Sandy created a massive inlet in Mantoloking.
(Photo: Greg Thompson/USFWS)

¶ We may soon have gasoline from forest waste. This week, the US EPA proposed some biofuel rule changes that would enable producers to add willow trees and poplar trees to the renewable fuel mix. Only last month, researchers at Washington State University announced a process to extract high-purity lignin as a source material. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ In Strasbourg, France, yesterday, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the President of the UN’s climate group (COP 21), Ségolène Royal, and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker witnessed the European parliament’s signed approval of the ratification of the Paris Agreement. [CleanTechnica]

European Union ratifies the Paris Agreement, making it international law (audiovisual.europar.europa.eu)

European Union ratifies the Paris Agreement, making it international law (audiovisual.europar.europa.eu)

¶ The United Kingdom currently has 3.23 GW worth of energy storage operational, with at least another 453 MW planned or in development, according to new figures published by the UK’s Renewable Energy Association. There are 35 standalone grid-scale storage projects and at least 1,500 residential storage projects. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The energy storage software firm Younicos will be providing software and controls for Schwerin energy storage project expansion in Germany, which will see the utility company WEMAG’s energy storage resource triple its storage capacity to 14.5 MWh from 5 MWh, and double it power output to 10 MW from 5 MW. [CleanTechnica]

Younicos Sign (Images from a 2014 tour that CleanTechnica had of the Berlin Younicos headquarters.)

Younicos Sign (Image from a 2014 tour CleanTechnica 
had of the Berlin Younicos headquarters.)

¶ New analysis from Carbon Brief shows UK solar panels generated more electricity over the past six months than all the nation’s coal-fired power stations combined. Solar output over the period was equivalent to 5.2% of the UK’s overall electricity demand; nearly 10% than that of coal, which totalled 4.7% of demand. [Energy Matters]

¶ German market and economy research company EuPD Research recently surveyed British home owners about energy matters and solar PVs. The poll shows that the British prefer renewables for their future energy supply. They also believe that renewable sources are already outcompeting fossil or nuclear sources on cost. [solarserver.com]

Solar PV system on London's Blackfriars Bridge

Solar PV system on London’s Blackfriars Bridge

¶ The 2.3-MW Mount Majura Solar Farm has been officially opened in the Australian Capital Territory, marking the launch of yet another contributor to the Territory’s 100% renewable energy target. The project features single-axis tracking technology, potentially improving the PV system’s output by up to 40%. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Starbucks reached a milestone with the opening of its 1,000th LEED-certified store on October 4. In 2008, Starbucks made a commitment to build all company-owned stores to meet LEED standards. The standards are intended for evaluating a building’s environmental performance and encouraging sustainable design. [EPR Retail News]

Starbucks announces the opening of its 1,000th LEED-certified store.

Starbucks announces the opening
of its 1,000th LEED-certified store.

US:

¶ Two new reports from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the US Energy Information Administration confirm that nuclear power is rapidly losing the race with renewable energy sources. Renewable capacity is about double that of nuclear, and the output from renewables is passing that of nuclear power. [EcoWatch]

¶ New Jersey energy company PSEG announced it will close its two coal-fired power plants in Jersey City and Hamilton next June. Still at question is whether the company will replace them with lower-cost natural gas units. Some factors, including additional costs, may preclude that option for the two coal plants. [NJ Spotlight]

PSEG's Mercer County plant

PSEG’s Mercer County plant

¶ OutBack Power Technologies, Inc is teaming up with altE Store of Boxborough, Massachusetts, to provide a class on October 11 that will help solar installers and interested homeowners learn about energy storage technologies and systems to better equip them for Massachusetts’ new law, H. 4568, signed on August 8th. [AltEnergyMag]

¶ The New York Public Interest Research Group and Food and Water Watch, based in Washington, DC, joined forces Wednesday to launch Stop The Cuomo Tax, a coalition of dozens of groups fighting a plan to infuse several billion dollars into the three aging nuclear power plants that have become uneconomical to operate. [WGRZ.com]

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October 5 Energy News

October 5, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “New 600 MW Colorado Wind Farm Blows Past ALEC Roadblock” • The powerful lobbying organization ALEC has been trying to trip up the US wind industry for years. Even so, despite objections from at least one organization linked to ALEC, Colorado officials have just approved a massive new 600-MW wind farm. [CleanTechnica]

Rush Creek Wind Farm (Photo courtesy of Xcel Energy)

Rush Creek Wind Farm (Photo courtesy of Xcel Energy)

¶ “Coalition’s stunning hypocrisy – and ignorance – on renewable energy” • Australia’s Coalition Government, dropping all pretended support for renewable energy, contradicted the grid owner, the market operator, and the biggest generator, saying a coal plant would have kept the lights on when the power lines were blown down. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ The regions of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein, an area with over four million people, have created an initiative to get 70% of its energy from green sources by 2025, going fully green a decade later. NEW4.0 is a large scale scheme which combines business, science and politics from the two states. [Energy Live News – Energy Made Easy]

Hamburg (Shutterstock image)

Hamburg (Shutterstock image)

¶ Canada will impose a federal price on emissions of carbon dioxide nationwide in 2018, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced. The policy approach could push tougher limits on provinces that already use a carbon tax or a program for cap-and-trade, and could require major new programs for other parts of the country. [Bloomberg BNA]

¶ According to Energy Business Review, Mexico has selected 23 bidders for the development of $4 billion worth of photovoltaic solar, wind, and other clean energy projects. In total, the second tender round has awarded rights to build 8,909 GWh of capacity, of which 54% is for PV plants and 43% for wind farms. [CleanTechnica]

Mexican Pyramid (Image from Google Creative Commons)

Mexican Pyramid (Image from Google Creative Commons)

¶ Work has begun on the east side of the Adriatic to lay a 100-MW undersea power cable linking Montenegro and Italy. The Italian side has already installed 136 km, starting in Pescara. The total planned length is 455 km. The project, expected to cost €800 million and should be completed by the end of 2018. [SeeNews]

¶ Scotland’s wind power output increased by more than a third in September compared to the same period last year. Wind turbines provided 766,116 MWh of electricity to the National Grid during the month, up 36% from 563,834 MWh in September 2015. The output was enough to power 87% of Scottish households or 2.1 million homes. [Scotsman]

Scottish wind farm (Photo: Ian Rutherford)

Scottish wind farm (Photo: Ian Rutherford)

¶ The Australian state of Victoria has a program, the Advanced Lignite Demonstration Program, meant to find ways to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with burning lignite for power generation. Companies in the program have pulled out one by one, and it seems the last one standing is behind on milestones. [Energy Matters]

¶ Oil and gas resources in Russia may run out by 2030, Sberbank CEO Herman Gref said on a popular TV show. The head of the country’s biggest bank stressed that by macroeconomic standards there is not much time to transform Russia’s economy, warning of dire consequences of avoiding the issue. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]

Beregovaya gas compression station (Photo by Rdfr, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

Beregovaya gas compression station
(Photo by Rdfr, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Local government officials in the Philippine province of Ilocos Norte have totally banned the use of coal with the passage of a provincial board resolution, making it the first province to phase out coal use to become a total renewable-energy consumer. One energy board member said it is a “clean, green and coal-free province.” [The Manila Times]

US:

¶ As seas continue to rise on Virginia’s coast, so too does action continue to stem this most visible impact of our changing climate. The state’s top environmental official just penned an op-ed cataloguing the positive past steps the governor has taken to help curb climate change and grow clean energy in Virginia. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

Live oak on the coast of Virginia (photo by Wyatt Greene, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

Live oak on the coast of Virginia
(photo by Wyatt Greene, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ New York’s Attorney General issued a statement on arguments before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in support of the EPA’s “Clean Power Plan,” a rule requiring fossil-fueled power plants to cut their emissions of greenhouse gases pursuant to the Clean Air Act. [Madison County Courier]

¶ It was 50 years ago today that Ohio was the site of the worst nuclear accident at a US commercial power plant, years before Three Mile Island captivated the nation. The incident occurred around 3 pm at the now-defunct Fermi 1 plant in Frenchtown Township and involved the partial meltdown of the reactor’s nuclear fuel. [Detroit Free Press]

Fermi 1 nuclear plant (US government photo, public domain, Wikimedia Commons)

Fermi 1 nuclear plant
(US government photo, public domain, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ In a first for Texas electricity retailers, TXU Energy unveiled a new limited-time instant rebate for residential customers who buy a SunPower rooftop solar PV system through the firm. The rebate varies between $2,000 and $5,000, depending on the PV system wattage size, and is a per-watt discount at the time of purchase. [CleanTechnica]

¶ After 2015, with solar policy setbacks in key states, 2016 has seen multiple policy wins. Utilities continue filing requests to increase fixed charges, but reports show regulators have denied the majority of these requests. Policymakers have supported solar power in several states, as voters did powerfully in Florida. [Solar Industry]

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October 4 Energy News

October 4, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Quid Pro Quo In Environmental Politics” • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wants British Columbia’s backing for a national carbon strategy. In return for her support, Trudeau is willing to endorse Premier Christy Clark’s plans for an LNG project that appears to be condemned by every scientist “not funded by the proponent.” [CleanTechnica]

Parliament (Photo by Alex Indigo, via Flickr, CC BY SA 2.0 License)

Parliament (Photo by Alex Indigo, via Flickr, CC BY SA 2.0)

¶ “Off-grid renewables: the sustainable route to 100% global electricity access” • World households without electricity pay 60 to 80 times as much as people in New York or London for the same amount of light. Exposure to smoke from wood-fired cook stoves cause more than 4 million premature deaths each year. There is an off-grid solution. [The Ecologist]

World:

¶ At the beginning of the decade, Cape Verde authorities set a goal of getting 50% of its power from renewables by 2020. The country is already supplying 25% of the electricity consumed in Cape Verde from 30 wind turbines spread across its four largest islands. Now, it has moved its target of 100% renewable power up to 2020. [CleanTechnica]

Cape Verde (Photo by Hans Kreul, via Foter.com, CC BY-NC-SA)

Cape Verde (Photo by Hans Kreul, via Foter.com, CC BY-NC-SA)

¶ India’s largest power generation company, government-owned NTPC, is on track to complete one of the largest solar power parks in the country. NTPC is working on a 1-GW solar park in southern India. The company has already commissioned 250 MW at the solar park and is expected to commission the rest by March 2018. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The 88-MW Nojoli wind farm in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province has been connected to the grid. The project, developed by Enel Green Power South Africa is Enel’s first wind farm to start production in the country. Enel has nearly 1 GW of wind and solar PV projects currently in execution in South Africa. [Creamer Media’s Engineering News]

The Nojoli wind farm

The Nojoli wind farm

¶ General Electric Company, through its GE Renewable Energy business, has signed a turbine supply agreement with Max Bögl Wind AG to deliver and commission both the world’s tallest wind turbine and first ever turbine integrated with pumped storage hydro-electric power to deliver power when demand is high. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ The Paris Agreement on climate change is expected to meet all criteria to enter into force when the European Union submits its ratification papers to the United Nations on Wednesday. The European Parliament is expected to endorse the deal formally, after which it will submit official papers to the United Nations. [Scientific American]

Once formally approved by the Parliament, the global accord can go into effect. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Once formally approved by the Parliament, the global
accord can go into effect. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

¶ A recent report claims radioactive contamination from the Fukushima Disaster accident has now spread across the entire Pacific Ocean, the massive body of water that covers nearly a third of Earth’s surface. Scientists now say the Pacific is at least five to 10 times more radioactive than it was when the U.S. began testing nuclear weapons there. [Triple Pundit]

¶ ABB has teamed up with Norwegian company Aibel to deliver high voltage grid links for the offshore wind sector. Under the tie-up, the Swiss engineering giant will focus on supplying HVDC technology while Aibel will take responsibility for the substation platforms. The deal is part of ABB’s ongoing Power Grids transformation. [reNews]

HVDC cable installation (Credit: ABB)

HVDC cable installation (Credit: ABB)

¶ Government support for the aging Borssele nuclear power station, the only nuclear power plant in the Netherlands, would have major financial risks attached, according to a report by consultancy Spring Associates. Keeping the plant open would only be profitable if electricity prices double, the report said. [DutchNews.nl]

US:

¶ There are 80,000 dams in the US, and 97% do not produce electricity. There are only 2,500 dams that are actually retrofitted with hydropower. Of those 80,000, 54,000 more could be retrofitted at one MW or greater capacity, according to Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Upgrading and modernization is a low-hanging fruit. [Manufacturing.net]

Diablo Dam, generating power for Seattle (Image credit: Getty Images via GE Reports)

Diablo Dam, generating electric power for Seattle
(Image credit: Getty Images via GE Reports)

¶ There’s good news on the transit front from Atlanta. Atlanta travelers will enjoy one of the newest fleets nationwide, after using one of the oldest for years. Boosting ridership enhances urban development, and Atlanta is hoping that is the effect it will see. But that isn’t the only approach the transit authority is taking to achieve its goals. [CleanTechnica]

¶ South Carolina Electric & Gas and Santee Cooper have been unable to agree on payments with the contractor expanding their nuclear power plant. A resolution panel ordered them all to hash out the dispute. If they can’t reach a resolution by November 3, the board will review the case and issue its own decision later in November. [Charleston Post Courier]

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October 3 Energy News

October 3, 2016

World:

¶ Tidal Lagoon Power has launched a £22 million tender for
the turbine manufacturing and pre-assembly plant for its up to 320-MW Swansea Bay project. The 100-meter-long hub will be located between the Kings and Queens Dock at Swansea Bay following a competitive tender of potential locations for the facility last year. [reNews]

Artist's impression of Swansea Bay tidal lagoon (TLP image)

Artist’s impression of Swansea Bay tidal lagoon (TLP image)

¶ India ratified the landmark Paris climate pact Sunday. India’s formal agreement brings the accord closer to coming into force. It is to take effect after 55 countries producing 55% of the world’s emissions ratify it. With India onboard, 62 countries accounting for more than half the world’s emissions would have ratified the agreement. [Voice of America]

¶ The first review of economic bids in Argentina’s tender for one GW of renewable energy shows that wind and solar offers have fallen to as low as $49/MWh (€43.7/MWh) and $59/MWh, respectively. The average rate for wind power in the auction stood at $69.5/MWh, while the average for solar power was of $76.2/MWh. [SeeNews Renewables]

Wind turbine at Loma Blanca wind farm in Argentina (Photo by Federico López, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

Wind turbine at Loma Blanca wind farm in Argentina
(Photo by Federico López, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The Australian energy industry urged political leaders to stop the point-scoring over the South Australian blackout. Experts said policymakers would be “fighting against economics” if they doubled down on the centralized grid instead of redesigning the market to meet the shift to decentralized energy. [The Australian Financial Review]

¶ Kenya’s government has an ambitious target of achieving universal access to power by 2020, with plans already underway. The Kenyan energy and petroleum ministry cabinet secretary said that the government was exploiting locally available energy sources, including off-grid renewables solutions, to achieve this goal. [ESI Africa]

Maasai men and tourists jumping  (Photo by Christopher Michel, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

Maasai men and tourists jumping in Kenya
(Photo by Christopher Michel, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ As climate change affects weather patterns more, remote communities in Northwestern Ontario feel the impacts. With shorter and warmer winters and more variable temperatures, winter roads have become mostly unreliable. Communities are seeking renewable alternatives to their dependence on diesel generation. [The Chronicle Journal]

¶ South Africa, a country beset by frequent power outages, will have to wait a little longer before pressing ahead with a highly contentious and very costly expansion of its old nuclear power fleet. The energy ministry pulled the plug on new reactors, postponing the procurement process to allow for further consultations. [Independent Online]

The Koeberg power station outside Cape Town  (File picture: Bruce Sutherland. Credit: Supplied)

The Koeberg power station outside Cape Town
(File picture: Bruce Sutherland. Credit: Supplied)

¶ Two new plants in South Wales and North London will increase the anaerobic digesters that Agrivert operate to a total of five, increasing the company’s total food waste recycling capacity to 250,000 tonnes per annum and its geographical coverage to span Hertfordshire, London and the South East, Oxfordshire and South Wales. [CIWM Journal Online]

US:

¶ Rural electric cooperatives once brought electricity to far-flung communities, transforming rural economies. One co-op in Western Colorado is trying to spur economic development again, partly by generating more of their electricity locally from renewable resources. But that requires legal action. [Harvest Public Media]

Intake for a micro-hydro plant in Colorado  (Cally Carswell for Inside Energy)

Intake for a micro-hydro plant in Colorado
(Cally Carswell for Inside Energy)

¶ With gambling, alcohol, general debauchery, or the sheer amount of electric wattage, Las Vegas doesn’t seem like a place that would be willing to go green. And yet it is. Several Las Vegas Strip Casinos are getting off the Nevada power grid. Both MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts Ltd have already left it. [The Inquisitr]

¶ Donald Trump has said he wants to abolish the EPA. That’s no small feat, given that the agency was created by law – one signed by President Nixon. Now, he has named a prominent climate science denier and longtime foe of regulation, Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, to lead his EPA transition team. [InsideClimate News]

 

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October 2 Energy News

October 2, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Climate change deniers, listen up: your end is nigh” • Climate change deniers need to be singing from the same hymn sheet. For it is, of course, more urgent than ever now that science is crowding in, now that the climate is changing before the people’s very eyes, and denials are exposed as ever more ludicrous. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

Flooding in New South Wales (Photo: Nick Moir)

Flooding in New South Wales (Photo: Nick Moir)

World:

¶ Vikram Solar, a solar module manufacturer based in India, has announced plans to expand its manufacturing capacity to 2 GW by 2019. The current manufacturing capacity of the company stands at 500 MW. The company signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the German company Teamtechnik to support its expansion plans. [CleanTechnica]

¶ India plans to have a renewable energy capacity of 175 GW by March 2022. The Central Electricity Authority reports that thermal power projects are operating at a plant load factor of 50%, and as renewable energy targets are achieved, the PLF could fall even further. This could spell doom for the thermal power sector. [CleanTechnica]

Ramagundam Super Thermal Power Station (Photo by Getsuhas08, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

Ramagundam Super Thermal Power Station
(Photo by Getsuhas08, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The government of New South Wales will push for a high-voltage interconnector to be built between NSW and South Australia following South Australia’s blackout, convinced the incident has highlighted the need for national energy security. The $500 million proposal would involve constructing a 300-kilometer transmission route. [Eden Magnet]

¶ Facebook has a new technology center in northern Sweden, 70 miles south of the Arctic circle. The temperature is below 50° most days, so large fans can bring in air to naturally cool the center’s thousands of servers. The center uses nearly 40% less power than most others, and this is provided by hydro-electric plants. [MensXP.com]

Facebook's new data center (© Facebook)

Facebook’s new data center (© Facebook)

¶ Industry stakeholders said the government of Bangladesh should incentivize green energy schemes to achieve the goal of producing 10% of total power through renewable sources by 2021. To achieve the goal, the 200 MW of electricity currently generated from renewable sources has to grow by 1,800 MW in five years. [The Daily Star]

¶ Eneco, a Dutch utility, wants to use several hundred Tesla Powerwall batteries to create a “virtual power plant,” and they are willing to pay customers to participate. If Eneco can tap into just 30% of the storage capacity of hundreds of Powerwalls, it can avoid using peaking plants powered by fossil fuels to balance the grid. [Teslarati]

Tesla Powerwalls at an event at the Gigafactory

Tesla Powerwalls at an event at the Gigafactory

¶ A review of the safety of France’s nuclear power stations found that at least 18 of EDF’s units are “operating at risk of major accident due to carbon anomalies.” The review was carried out at the request of Greenpeace France following the discovery of serious metallurgical flaws in a reactor vessel at Flamanville. [Center for Research on Globalization]

US:

¶ The mayor of Elgin, David Kaptain, and his wife Sandy made their home part of the Illinois Solar Tour this year. The event comes about one month before Illinois energy providers are expected to introduce legislation that would that would end net metering and implementing mandatory demand charges on all residential customers. [Chicago Tribune]

Solar panels on the mayor's garage roof  (Janelle Walker / The Courier-News)

The mayor’s family showing off solar panels on the garage roof
(Janelle Walker / The Courier-News)

¶ After years of adding wind power to its generating resources, Westar Energy will get half the power it sells from zero-emission sources by next year, a company official said. Westar is on track to get 33% of its power from wind and 17% from nuclear power plant near Burlington. Westar is one of the largest electric utilities in Kansas. [Wichita Eagle]

¶ Minnesota’s biodiesel mandate does not conflict with the federal Renewable Fuel Standard, a federal judge ruled Thursday in a lawsuit filed by petroleum interests and other groups. A judge in the US District Court for the District of Minnesota granted a plaintiff motion for summary judgement in the lawsuit. [KTIC]

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October 1 Energy News

October 1, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “The lights go out in SA and Turnbull flicks the switch to peak stupid” • Malcolm Turnbull has encouraged using the South Australian blackout to slow the shift to clean energy. But the evidence says the state targets are exactly what Australia needs to meet the promises he made at COP21 last year to reduce carbon emissions. [The Guardian]

Australian wind farm (Photo: Angela Harper / AAP)

Australian wind farm (Photo: Angela Harper / AAP)

¶ “Nuclear power in the US: Not what it once was” • Nuclear plants are large and expensive assets facing closures for reasons expected to remain indefinitely: nuclear energy’s high fixed production costs, competitive gas prices, and heightened aims of renewables usage. The future of nuclear energy will remain uncertain. [Energy Voice]

Science and Technology:

¶ Siemens unveiled a new raft of wind turbine designs this week at the WindEnergy Hamburg trade show, including a low-noise wind turbine which the company explains was inspired by the silent flight of the owl. The new SWT-3.3-130LN wind turbine operates at a reduced rotor speed and has addons for reduced noise. [CleanTechnica]

Owl (Photo by Shutter Stock/Matt Gibson)

Owl (Photo by Shutter Stock/Matt Gibson)

¶ Aircraft engineers in Germany have successfully tested the world’s first four-seater plane that uses emission-free hybrid fuel cells to fly. The twin-cabin plane, HY4, uses hydrogen to generate electricity in-flight, giving it a cruising speed of 165 km per hour (102.5 mph) and a range of up to 1,500 kilometers (932 miles).
[CanadianManufacturing.com]

World:

¶ Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein have achieved Germany’s renewable target for 2025. They already get 40% of their energy from renewables on an annual basis. Though it will require some new technology, this region of 4.5 million people expects to get 70% of its energy from renewables by 2025, and to reach 100% by 2035. [CleanTechnica]

Container terminal and wind turbines at Hamburg (photo by Christian Spahrbier courtesy www.mediaserver.hamburg.de)

Container terminal and wind turbines at Hamburg
(photo by Christian Spahrbier courtesy mediaserver.hamburg.de)

¶ European Union ministers approved the ratification of the landmark Paris Agreement climate change deal Friday, bringing the treaty closer to coming into force. The European Parliament must record a vote on the decision next week – a formality – for the treaty to be formally ratified by the 28-member bloc, the European Commission said. [CNN]

¶ A quarter of hard coal-fired generation capacity in Germany may shut ahead of schedule if plant operators forgo spending on upgrades, according to Norwegian consulting firm Nena AS. Steag GmbH, the fifth-biggest power producer in Germany, is considering shuttering at least five of its 13 German coal stations. [Bloomberg]

German coal-burning plant  (photo by Harald Lordick, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

German coal-burning plant
(photo by Harald Lordick, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The Danish Foreign Ministry announced that Apple will
“fund and boost” biogas research at Aarhus University. Apple
will provide funding for the university research into how to using fuel cells with biogas. The university will use agricultural waste including straw and manure provided by local farmers. [The Local Denmark]

¶ Iberdrola has secured permits from the Mexican government to build two wind and two solar facilities totalling nearly 600 MW in Mexico. The wind farms total 305 MW in Guanajuato and Puebla, and the solar farms come to 285 MW, in Sonora and San Luis de Potosí. All are expected to be operational by the end of 2019. [reNews]

Wind farm in Mexico (Iberdrola image)

Wind farm in Mexico (Iberdrola image)

¶ The French and Chinese companies that are to build the £18-billion Hinkley Point C nuclear power station will have to pay up to £7.2 billion to dismantle and clean it up. Documents published yesterday reveal for the first time how much the developers will have to pay to decommission the plant, beginning in 2083. [The Guardian]

US:

¶ Duke Energy Florida’s newest solar power plant, located on
22 acres in Taylor County, is the size of 17 football fields and is producing 5 MW of carbon-free energy from its 22,000 panels. One MW of universal solar is equivalent to about 200 typical residential rooftop systems. The number varies by state and conditions. [WTSP.com]

Duke Energy solar farm in Florida

Duke Energy solar farm in Florida

¶ An Xcel Energy proposal for a massive, $1.1 billion 600-MW Rush Creek wind farm and 90-mile transmission line in eastern Colorado was approved Friday by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. The Rush Creek wind farm will generate enough power to meet the needs of about average 180,000 homes in Colorado. [9NEWS.com]

¶ The future of Montana’s energy industry remains uncertain
in the face of federal regulations and the advancement of green energy such as the wind and solar. After seeing coal-burning plants close, the Montana Electric Cooperatives Association is working to figure out how they will meet the future needs of their customers. [KTVH]

Montana coal-burning plant

Montana coal-burning plant

¶ Menlo Park, Atherton, Woodside, Portola Valley, and several other municipalities in California’s San Mateo County, have signed up as customers of the new Peninsula Clean Energy program to buy municipal electricity that is 100% sourced from renewable sources. The Peninsula Clean Energy program starts October 1. [The Almanac Online]

¶ Apex Clean Energy has acquired the Novus IV wind energy project from Novus Windpower, LLC. The project, in Hansford County and Sherman County, in the Texas Panhandle, has the potential to bring 360 MW of wind energy into the Southwest Power Pool market. It is expected to begin construction in 2017. [Windpower Engineering]

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