December 8 Energy News

December 8, 2016


¶ Sudan’s ecosystems and natural resources are deteriorating. Temperatures are rising, water supplies are scarce, soil fertility is low and severe droughts are common. Experts say that without quick intervention, parts of the African country – one of the world’s most vulnerable – could become uninhabitable as a result of climate change. [CNN]

Dust storm approaching Khartoum

Dust storm approaching Khartoum

¶ The Kremlin has announced that commodities trader Glencore and Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund are together buying a 19.5% stake in Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil company, at a price is $11.3 billion. The Russian government is selling state assets to help balance the budget amid a two-year recession partly caused low oil prices. [BBC]

¶ The European Union will start to phase out coal subsidies and reduce its energy usage by 30% before 2030 pursuant to the terms of a major clean energy package announced in November. It expects to lower household utility bills, integrate renewables into power markets, and limit use of unsustainable bio-energy, among other benefits. [CleanTechnica]

Generating smoke, with electricity as a by-product

Generating smoke, with electricity as a valuable by-product

¶ Australian utility EnergyAustralia has agreed to buy around 500 MW of power from new wind and solar projects, for $1.5 billion. The company, which operates two of Australia’s largest coal-fired power plants, cited emissions reduction as one of the reasons it plans to step up its renewable generation. [Power Engineering International]

¶ Battery storage coupled with low-carbon electricity generation could have helped to avoid the power outages experienced in South Australia earlier this year, according to a study by RES and Lloyd’s Register. RES Australia’s technical head said the power outages will mean a detailed review of the state’s power system security policy. [reNews]

Energy storage (RES image)

Energy storage (RES image)

¶ The Dutch government released a long-term energy plan stipulating that no new cars with combustion engines may be sold from 2035 on. Also, all of the houses in the country, which has been for over 50 years the EU’s largest natural gas producer, will be disconnected from the gas grid by 2050. The measure has broad parliamentary support. [CleanTechnica]

¶ An Australian Energy Market Operator report has cast serious doubt over the role of gas power generation in Australia’s future energy mix, warning that the falling cost of renewable energy and battery storage could turn any new gas plants into costly stranded assets. This could possibly happen as early as 2030. [RenewEconomy]

Australian electric plant

Australian electric plant


¶ Cape Light Compact, the electric utility serving the 21 towns in Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, has announced that its aggregation power supply load is going with 100% renewable power. The Compact has teamed up with NextEra Energy Services to provide low price electricity to all of its customers. [ News]

¶ Renewable energy provider sPower said it has signed a power purchase agreement for 105 MW of solar capacity with MCE, a community choice aggregation program in California. The 20-year contract is sPower’s largest to date. A solar power plant to be built in northern Los Angeles County will provide the power. [SeeNews Renewables]

Sandstone Solar facility (Photo: Business Wire)

Sandstone Solar facility (Photo: Business Wire)

¶ Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for Environmental Protection Agency administrator, his former campaign manager told reporters. The move elevates a fierce EPA critic – Pruitt had sued the agency over its regulations of power plants – to the position of EPA administrator. [CNN]

¶ German energy group E.ON said it has decided to build the 228-MW Bruenning’s Breeze onshore wind farm in Texas. The facility will be the group’s 22nd US wind farm. So far, it has installed over 3 GW of wind power capacity in North America. E.ON is also building the 278-MW Radford’s Run wind park in Illinois. [SeeNews Renewables]

Wind park in Texas (Author: Rockin'Rita, CC BY SA)

Wind park in Texas (Author: Rockin’Rita, CC BY SA)

¶ Renewable energy demand from companies in the Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 “is significant and growing quickly,” according to a report published by US business group Advanced Energy Economy. Of the Fortune 100 companies, 71 have set renewable energy or sustainability targets. This is up from 60 just two years ago. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Constellation, a subsidiary of Exelon Corp, and Amphitheater Public Schools, a school district in Tucson, Ariz., have announced completion of a district-wide solar project totaling 9.3 MW. The project, located among 25 facilities, is expected to generate more than 60% of the district’s electricity needs in the first year of its operation. [Solar Industry]

Photo courtesy of Constellation

PVs at an Arizona public school (Photo courtesy of Constellation)

¶ As a two-year freeze on Ohio’s renewable energy mandates is set to expire, the Ohio House approved a bill making compliance optional for the next three years. The Republican-led House voted for the bill 51-36 Tuesday. It’s scheduled for a Senate committee hearing Wednesday and a possible vote by the full Senate Thursday. []

¶ The staff at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station appear to be “overwhelmed” and struggling to improve performance at the facility, which has a poor safety record and is set to close in less than three years. This is according to an internal memo from a federal regulator, which had been inadvertently sent to a local environmental advocate. [The Boston Globe]

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