November 8 Energy News

November 8, 2016


¶ “Public power: An industry in flux” • The power industry is in the midst of tectonic-level shifts, the heads of Nebraska’s three largest electric utilities said Monday. One of the most visible is the closing of the Fort Calhoun Station, the fifth US nuclear power plant to begin the process of closing in the past five years. [Lincoln Journal Star]

Field near Lincoln, Nebraska  (Photo by Urban, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

Wind turbine in a field near Lincoln, Nebraska
(Photo by Urban, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Here’s How You Know the Coal Industry Is All but Dead” • Considering the number of bankruptcies to hit the coal industry over the past few years, there’s irony in the crazy rally that has seen coal prices triple in 2016. Yet despite what looks to be good news, Caterpillar is looking to exit an important equipment market. [Motley Fool]

Science and Technology:

¶ An emerging option for grid stability, which will get a hearing next week at the 15th International Workshop on Large-Scale Integration of Wind Power in Vienna, is synthetic inertia. It is achieved by programming power inverters at wind turbines so that they emulate the behavior of synchronized spinning masses. [IEEE Spectrum]

Quebec wind farm (Photo: iStockphoto)

Quebec wind farm (Photo: iStockphoto)


¶ Extended outages at some of Electricite de France SA nuclear reactors have sent European power prices to records. The world’s biggest operator of atomic plants has cut its 2016 output target for a third time after the regulator asked for more information on the first five units to have completed required safety checks. [BloombergQuint]

¶ According to a report released by Oxfam, members of ISIS have torched more than a dozen oil wells as they retreat towards Mosul ahead of a massive Iraqi offensive. The situation was made worse after ISIS set fire to a sulfur plant in the area. ISIS fighters are leaving behind a toxic cloud causing breathing-related illnesses. [The Weather Channel]

Iraqi oil wells burning (NASA satellite image)

Iraqi oil wells burning (NASA satellite image)

¶ Dulas, a leading British solar refrigeration manufacturer and renewable energy specialist, has won a contract to supply a total of 345 VC200 Solar Direct Drive fridges, used to safely store vaccines, to agencies working in Yemen, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria. The fridges will be used to help fight AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. [PennEnergy]

¶ A smarter power system using clean technologies could save UK households £90 per year by 2030 according to a new report by think tank Policy Exchange. It identifies important ways to remove regulatory and policy barriers facing new technologies such as demand response and storage, to create a level playing field. [The Actuary]

System overhaul needed (©Shutterstock)

System overhaul needed (©Shutterstock)

¶ China, the world’s biggest clean-energy investor, lowered its solar and wind power targets for 2020, a reflection of how record installations of renewables have overwhelmed the ability of the nation’s grid to absorb the new electricity. China is now aiming for 110 GW of solar power by 2020, a 27% reduction in the target capacity. [Bloomberg]

¶ China Renewable Energy Investment Ltd said its 74-MW wind power project in Henan province has been given a final approval by the Luoyang Development and Reform Commission. The wind farm is expected to be able to generate approximately 153 GWh of electricity annually, enough to power some 63,000 local households. [SeeNews Renewables]

Wind turbine. (Author: Susanne Nilsson.  License: CC BY SA 2.0 Generic.)

Wind turbine. (Author: Susanne Nilsson.
License: CC BY SA 2.0 Generic.)

¶ China Guangdong Nuclear Power Research Institute officials announced signing a vessel purchase agreement, marking the official start of construction of their first offshore nuclear power plant. The reactor, with a capacity of 60 MW, was developed for the supply of electricity, heat, and desalination, according to CGN. [Next Big Future]

¶ China aims to cap coal-fired power capacity at 1,100 GW in 2020, higher than the current ceiling but accounting for less of the country’s total power supply, as the top global energy market seeks to increase the use of cleaner renewable fuels. China aims to have 2,000 GW of generating capacity by 2020. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]

Coal working in China (Photo by Ismoon, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

Coal working in China
(Photo by Ismoon, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)


¶ Ameresco has completed a 16-MW landfill-gas-to-energy project in Illinois. The facility, at the Orchard Hills Generating Station near Rockford, Illinois is powered by six 620 GE Jenbacher engines. Municipal solid waste landfills accounts for 20% of methane emissions in 2014, according to the EPA. [Environmental Leader]

¶ Boulder, Colorado has long contemplated kicking out Xcel Energy Inc and creating its own electric utility. The city said the new utility would include more renewable energy in its portfolio than Xcel can provide. Boulder’s proposed city-owned electric utility, “would be cost effective over a 20-year period.” [Denver Business Journal]

The Pearl Street Mall in Boulder  (Mark Harden | Denver Business Journal)

The Pearl Street Mall in Boulder
(Mark Harden | Denver Business Journal)

¶ Last week, the EPA took a big step in its Clean Power Plan campaign, finalizing a voluntary carbon trading model for states and sending it to Office of Management and Budget for review. The model, ClimateWire notes, could form the foundation of federal compliance plans issued to states that do not write their own. [Utility Dive]

¶ Wal-Mart is laying out its environmental map for the next several years as it tries to satisfy customers who want green products at affordable prices. The world’s largest retailer said it will seek to reduce emissions in its own operations by 18% by 2025. It will also work to add no waste to landfills in Canada and the United States. [Lowell Sun]

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