December 10 Energy News

December 10, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ The hemlock woolly adelgid, which is killing whole stands of trees in the Northeast, is one in an expanding army of insects destroying forests across the US. Aided by a warming climate, global trade, and drought-weakened trees, the invaders have become one of the greatest threats to biodiversity throughout the country. [Glens Falls Post-Star]

Evidence of hemlock woolly adelgids  (Photo by Nicholas A. Tonelli, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

Evidence of hemlock woolly adelgid infestation
(Photo by Nicholas A. Tonelli, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)


¶ As first ministers of the Canadian provinces emerged from a day-long summit, most hailed a pan-Canadian agreement on climate change. Saskatchewan’s Brad Wall stood in opposition. Here is a selection of what was said after the meeting ended, including a back-and-forth between Wall and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. [680 News]

¶ An environmentally neutral, grid-scale energy storage system, which liquefies air, stores it, and then uses it to drive a generator to feed power into the grid, may sound like tomorrow’s world. It is however, a very real prospect. A new 5-MW liquid air energy storage facility is being set up in the UK and will soon be put into operation. [Engineer Live]

Model of the Highview liquid air energy storage facility

Model of the Highview liquid air energy storage facility

¶ Energy storage accounted for 3.2 GW of the 52.43 GW secured in the latest UK capacity market auction for 2020–2021 delivery. The clearing price for the auction was £22.5/kW a year. Two battery storage facilities, each of 49 MW, were among the other projects bid. There was also 711 MW of hydro power capacity in the auction. [reNews]

¶ Staff at a Canadian company, Idenergie, have managed to create a kit that can turn the flowing water of a river into as much as 12 kWh of electricity per day. The river turbine system is mainly designed for off-the-grid applications such as small communities or remote cabins where it is not logical to be connected to the grid. [Trendintech]

River turbine by Idenergie

River turbine by Idenergie

¶ A report shows that the total number of anaerobic digestion plants in live operation in the UK has risen from 424 a year ago to 540 today. This has reduced greenhouse gas emissions in the UK by about 1%, with numerous other benefits, including food waste recycling, low-carbon electricity, and green gas for the grid. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ India now has the world’s biggest solar plant. At full capacity, the new 2,500-acre plant in Kamuthi could power up to 150,000 homes and add 648 MW to India’s electricity generating capacity. The Kamuthi plant was built in just eight months, at a cost of $679 million. India has pledged to get 40% of its power from renewables by 2030. [Grist]

Solar panels in India (Photo: Daniel Cossio)

Solar panels in India (Photo: Daniel Cossio)


¶ Connecticut policymakers are scrambling to develop a new energy strategy now that decisions in Massachusetts and New Hampshire have stalled huge pipeline projects. The legislative deadline for updating the energy strategy was October, but state officials now say they hope to have it completed by early next year. [Hartford Courant]

¶ US renewable energy has been growing exponentially. Over the last five years, Iowa and Texas have doubled their production of wind power, and solar generation in Nevada has increased seven-fold. In the first quarter of this year, about 15% of total electricity output came from renewable sources. Solar PVs provide enough power for 6 million homes. [Co.Exist]

Growth of solar and wind power

Growth of solar and wind power

¶ First Solar and NextEra Energy announced that they have put the Silver State South PV plant online. The 250-MW plant has 3.4 million First Solar thin-film PV modules mounted on single-axis trackers. It was built on about three square miles of public land in Nevada. It will sell power to Southern California Edison. [pv magazine USA]

¶ The US Army and Georgia Power Co have formally opened a 250-acre solar energy farm at Fort Stewart. The project has been in the works for more than a year. It was built at a cost of $75 million and is the Army’s largest renewable solar energy project in Georgia. In fact, it is one of largest solar farms in the state. [Savannah Morning News]

Solar farm at Fort Stewart  (Image: Lt Col Brian Fickel, 3rd Infantry Division)

Solar farm at Fort Stewart
(Image: Lt Col Brian Fickel, 3rd Infantry Division)

¶ The US electric power industry has invested in renewable resources well beyond states’ renewable portfolio standards and targets in some regions, a report from The Brattle Group says. The regions where this has happened have organized regional electricity markets or offer access to low-cost wind or solar potential. [Solar Industry]

¶ Researchers say seaborne radiation from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster has been detected on Oregon shores. Seawater samples from Tillamook Bay and Gold Beach indicate radiation from the nuclear disaster, but it is at extremely low levels that are considered not to be harmful to humans or the environment. [The Indian Express]

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