October 28 Energy News

October 28, 2016


¶ “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]


¶ 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)


¶ 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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