December 12 Energy News

December 12, 2016


¶ “EIA’s Lack Of Math And Logic Skills Makes For An Interesting Investment Environment” • Every year the US DOE’s Energy Information Administration releases an Annual Energy Outlook. Every year, it projects that renewable growth will slow down. But the EIA projections have never done well portraying reality. [Seeking Alpha]

EIA projections and reality

Please click on the image to enlarge it.

Science and Technology:

¶ Methane levels in the atmosphere are rising faster than at any point in the past two decades, according to new research. The findings are presented by the newly-released “Global Methane Budget” published Monday, part of an effort by 100 international scientists to understand just how much methane is rising, and why. [CNN]

¶ Wind power plays a key role in curbing greenhouse emissions from other energy sources such as coal and gas, a study from researchers at Edinburgh University has shown. Energy from wind farms in the UK prevented almost 36 million tonnes of carbon emissions in six years, equivalent to taking 2.3 million cars off the road. [STV News]

Wind curbing emissions (STV file photo)

Wind curbing emissions (STV file photo)


¶ South Africa unveiled the first solar system in the continent to power an airport. Located halfway between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, George Airport will meet 41% of its energy demand from a brand new solar power plant built on its grounds. Its capacity will be increased in time, eventually reaching a total of 750 kW. [CNN]

¶ Oil prices have surged after oil-producing countries that are not OPEC members agreed to cut output. Brent crude jumped to $57.89 a barrel, the highest since July 2015, before falling back to $56.79, although that was still a gain of 4.5% on the day. Non-OPEC countries agreed to cut their output by 558,000 barrels per day on October 10. [BBC]

Offshore oil rig (Mikhail Mordasov, Getty Images)

Offshore oil rig (Mikhail Mordasov, Getty Images)

¶ Waning appetite from key consuming nations and swift growth in other sources of energy will stall global demand for coal over the next five years, according to the International Energy Agency. An EIA forecast says coal’s share in the global power generation mix will drop to 36% by 2021, down from 41% in 2014. [City A.M.]

¶ Vestas Wind Systems A/S will equip and help build the 270-MW Sapphire wind farm in New South Wales, for AUS$430 million (US$321 million, €303.5 million), under a contract won in consortium with Australian firm Zenviron Pty Ltd. Vestas said it will supply and install 75 units of its V126-3.45 MW turbines. [SeeNews Renewables]

Vestas turbines at the Macarthur wind farm (Image courtesy of Vestas Wind Systems A/S)

Vestas turbines at the Macarthur wind farm
(Image courtesy of Vestas Wind Systems A/S)

¶ A report by the Australia’s energy regulator has recommended a multi-billion-dollar investment in electricity infrastructure to help secure the stability of Australia’s power grid. The report argued the investment would help save money in the long run, especially considering the growing use of renewable energy generation. [The New Daily]

¶ Power generated by UK wind farms prevented the release of almost 36 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions between 2008 and 2014, according to a new study from the University of Edinburgh. The power generated by the UK’s wind farms was the equivalent of taking 2.3 million cars off the road, the study said. []

Wind turbine - credit: Holyrood

Wind turbines (Credit: Holyrood)

¶ Chinese state-funded renewable energy firms are spreading their nets overseas, as quality new projects become harder to come by at home. The two most active are China General Nuclear Power Group, the country’s largest nuclear reactor developer, and China Three Gorges, its biggest hydro power developer. [South China Morning Post]

¶ The 270-MW Sapphire wind project in New South Wales will proceed to construction, after securing up to $120 million in debt finance from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. The CEFC said that its commitment to the $588 million project would demonstrate the bankability of Australian renewable energy projects. [RenewEconomy]

Taralga wind farm (courtesy of Vestas Wind Systems)

Taralga wind farm (courtesy of Vestas Wind Systems)


¶ Donald Trump won’t get Rex Tillerson as secretary of state without a fight. Nominating the ExxonMobil tycoon for the position could ignite a showdown between the President-elect and senators in his own party. Tillerson has a close relationship with Vladimir Putin, and the CIA says Russia likely intervened in the presidential election. [CNN]

¶ The city council of St Petersburg, Florida unanimously voted to target 100% renewable electricity. It aims to achieve this goal with the help of some of the $1 million it received in a settlement with BP over the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. St Petersburg is reportedly the 20th US city to target 100% renewables for its electricity supply. [CleanTechnica]

St Petersburg (Photo: Cynthia Shahan | CleanTechnica)

St Petersburg (Photo: Cynthia Shahan | CleanTechnica)

¶ US utilities have traditionally been a safe bet for investors, and they may continue to be in 2017. Still, there are some worrisome undercurrents for the sector, and these deserve close attention, Fitch Ratings says in its annual look at the credit-worthiness of investor-owned companies that provide electricity and natural gas. [USA TODAY]

¶ Donald Trump said he still doesn’t think climate change is really happening, in an interview on Sunday 11 December. “I’m still open-minded. Nobody really knows,” he said after a Fox News anchor played a clip in which he calls climate change “a big scam for a lot of people to make a lot of money.” [International Business Times UK]

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