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]


¶ 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)


¶ 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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