December 13 Energy News

December 13, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ In early 2015, scientists announced the discovery of an almost circular structure in the Antarctic ice surface, about 2 km (1.2 miles) wide. Now, a team of climate researchers has found that the mysterious crater on the King Baudouin ice shelf shows that the East Antarctic ice sheet may be more vulnerable to climate change than expected. [Raw Story]

Antarctica's Larsen C Ice Shelf (Youtube)

Antarctica’s Larsen C Ice Shelf (Youtube)


¶ Five countries in Africa – Ghana, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Benin, and Togo – have jointly announced they will begin rejecting shipments of high-sulfur diesel fuel refined in Europe in a bid to reduce harmful emissions. Nigeria will reportedly accepting only diesel fuels with under 50 ppm of sulfur – down from the 3,000 ppm currently allowed. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The largest PV plant in East Africa is being commissioned in Soroti, Uganda. Made up of 32,680 PV panels, the new 10-MW facility is the country’s first grid-connected solar plant. The Soroti plant will generate enough clean, low-carbon, sustainable electricity for 40,000 homes, schools and businesses in the area. [PC Tech Magazine]

Soroti solar farm (Credit: APO)

Soroti solar farm (Credit: APO)

¶ NTR has acquired the Twin Rivers wind farm in Yorkshire from InfraRed Environmental Infrastructure Fund and the Co-operative Group for £80 million. The 28.7-MW project consists of 14 Senvion MM92 turbines and is expected to come online before the end of the year. It is NTR’s tenth wind farm in the UK and Ireland. [reNews]

¶ Siemens Wind Power is to supply turbines totalling 60.6 MW to the Uljin wind farm in South Korea for SK D&D Company. The project, which is in Gyeongsangbuk province on the east coast of the country, will feature 16 SWT-3.6-130 machines and one SWT-3.0-108 turbine. Hub heights will range from 71 to 115 meters. [reNews]

Siemens 3.3-MW turbine (Siemens photo)

Siemens 3.3-MW turbine (Siemens photo)

¶ Four Russian cities have expressed interest in using small nuclear reactors to supply heat and power, according to Yuriy Kuznetsov of NA Dollezhal Research and Development Institute of Power Engineering. A Rosatom feasibility study concluded that up to 38 cogeneration reactors could potentially be deployed at 14 sites. [World Nuclear News]

¶ A “trail-blazing” trial in a Welsh village could change how communities up and down the UK buy their electricity. By clubbing together, 100 households in Bethesda will be able to purchase the power generated by a local hydro scheme for half the price. Other communities might benefit from renewable energy projects in their areas. [BBC News]

Avon Idwal, Bethesda, Gwynedd, Wales  (Photo by Eric Jones, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)

Avon Idwal, Bethesda, Gwynedd, Wales
(Photo by Eric Jones, CC BY SA, Wikimedia Commons)


¶ According to GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association’s Q4 2016 US Solar Market Insight report, 4,143 MW of solar PV were installed in the US in the third quarter of the year, a rate of one MW every 32 minutes. That pace has picked up and is even faster today, as the fourth quarter will surpass the third. [Your Renewable News]

¶ German electric utility E.ON is to develop a 228-MW onshore windfarm in Willacy County, Texas. The Bruenning’s Breeze windfarm will include 76 Nordex wind turbines, each with a generating capacity of 3 MW. With the commissioning expected at the end of 2017, it will be E.ON’s 22nd wind project in the US. [Power Technology]

E.ON wind turbines (Photo: courtesy of E.ON)

E.ON wind turbines (Photo: courtesy of E.ON)

¶ Bill Gates and a few super-rich pals are going to pump $1 billion into cleaner energy tech. They launched Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a venture capital fund dedicated to fighting climate change (and, ideally, making money). This is step one in delivering on promises Gates made last year during the Paris climate talks. [Grist]

¶ The Block Island Wind Farm is supplying power to the grid, making it America’s first offshore wind facility. Deepwater Wind and project partners have commissioned the 30-MW installation off the coast of Rhode Island, and it is now delivering power into New England’s electric grid via a 20-mile-long submarine cable. [POWER magazine]

Block Islands last turbine going up

Block Islands last turbine going up

¶ Last week, Donald Trump’s transition team sent a 74-item questionnaire to the DOE, including a request for the names of anyone who attended global climate talks. Since then the full text of the questionnaire has been revealed. Sadly, it only increases the concerns regarding the intentions of the incoming Trump administration. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Texas grid operator ERCOT announced a new record in November for wind power in the state. For the first time, wind provided more than 15,000 megawatts of electricity in a single day. Already a clear leader in wind power in the US, Texas has more than 18,000 megawatts installed and another 5,000 under construction. [Energy Digital]

Texas wind power (Image via Wiki Commons)

Texas wind power (Image via Wiki Commons)

¶ A long-running debate over whether Entergy New Orleans should build a $216-million power plant in New Orleans East has morphed into a wider dispute over the future of local energy generation in New Orleans. A city council meeting ran into two hours, with members of the public decrying the idea of a new gas-powered plant. [Lake Expo]

¶ The hydroelectric power station at the Kinzua Dam on the Allegheny River generates enough electricity to power 400,000 homes. But there are many smaller dams on the Three Rivers that aren’t generating power. Putting those existing dams to work could give the region a valuable source of renewable energy. [West Virginia Public Broadcasting]

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