December 16 Energy News

December 16, 2016


¶ “We May Have Been Talking About Climate Change All Wrong” • German researchers suggest a new approach to talking about climate change. They reviewed attitudes of over 1,600 participants in the United States. Conservatives responded more favorably to messages focused on the past, rather than on the future. [CleanTechnica]

Lake Oroville in July 2011 (left) and January 2014 (right) (Credit: California Department of Water Resources)

Lake Oroville in July 2011 (left) and January 2014 (right)
(Credit: California Department of Water Resources)

The Arctic in September, 1984 (left) and 2016 (right) (Credit: NASA)

The Arctic in September, 1984 (left) and 2016 (right)
(Credit: NASA)

Science and Technology:

¶ A transformation is happening in global energy markets that is well worth noting as 2016 comes to an end: Solar power, for the first time, is becoming the least costly form of new electricity. Unsubsidized solar is beginning to outcompete coal and natural gas on a larger scale, according to fresh data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. [TechCentral]


¶ More than 16,000 Indian households in 800 remote villages will be given a solar panel, with an eight-hour battery storage backup, according to the Indian energy minister. He said the households would also be given 5 LED bulbs, an energy efficient ceiling fan and a solar power-based mobile phone charging socket. [PV-Tech]

Rural India (Photo: flickr, ADDEVOL Design Studio)

Rural India (Photo: flickr, ADDEVOL Design Studio)

¶ Senvion is to supply of 220 turbines totalling more than 500 MW to an Indian independent power producer. Delivery will start in the fourth quarter of 2017 and continue until 2019. Commissioning of the first site is expected by the end of 2017, Senvion said. The hardware will be manufactured in an Indian manufacturing plant. [reNews]

¶ The state-run Costa Rican Electricity Institute reported that most of the electricity so far this year came from renewable sources. The country surpassed 250 days using only renewable power sources according to an agency statement. During 2016, 98.12% of Costa Rica’s energy was generated from renewable sources. [The Tico Times]

The new Reventazón plant (Via Casa Presidencial)

First turbine running at the Reventazón plant
(Via Casa Presidencial)

¶ Tidal power company Atlantis Resources confirmed it is going ahead with the next phase of its MeyGen project in Scotland’s Pentland Firth. Four 1.5-MW tidal turbines will be deployed on the sea bed, adding to four installed last month. The project was awarded more that £14 million funding from the European Commission. [Press and Journal]


¶ A member of the National Petroleum Council has penned an op-ed, apparently with the aim of persuading the incoming Trump Administration to adopt the Texas model for killing coal jobs. Her argument is pretty strong even though the CPP is still in legal limbo. She is basically arguing for a carbon tax. BTW, so did Exxon Mobil. [CleanTechnica]

Texas wind energy (screenshot, cropped image, via AWEA)

Texas wind energy (screenshot, cropped image, via AWEA)

¶ The Michigan Legislature approved a rewrite of state energy laws, voting on the final day of the two-year term to boost the required use of renewable sources of power and to keep intact some competition in the electricity market. The bill is going to the governor, who supported it actively, for his signature. [Crain’s Detroit Business]

¶ California Governor Jerry Brown is calling on President Barack Obama to use his authority to permanently ban new offshore oil and gas leasing in federal waters off the coast of California. The call comes along with other actions Governor Brown outlined to combat climate change and help protect ocean waters off the Golden State. [GCaptain]

Offshore drilling rig

Offshore drilling rig

¶ Massachusetts has been a national leader for reliable power sources such as solar, wind and water, according to the 2016 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report. Early-stage investments in clean energy companies in the state grew 166% from the previous year, adding more than 6,300 clean energy jobs this year. []

¶ Middlebury College has won an important battle in what Resident Scholar Bill McKibben recently asserted must become an all-out war on climate change. Late last week the college announced it had reached carbon neutrality, bringing its net carbon footprint to zero, in response to a student challenge of 2007. [Addison County Independent]

Middlebury College maintains a 2,100-acres forest preserve for sequestering carbon. (Photo by Brett Simison)

Middlebury College maintains a 2,100-acres forest
preserve for sequestering carbon. (Photo by Brett Simison)

¶ The Burlington Electric Department has proposed creating an electric public bus fleet as part of its efforts to reach “net zero” carbon emissions in the city and meet state renewable energy requirements. The utility hopes in can partner with a transit provider, such as Green Mountain Transit or the University of Vermont. []

¶ Closing its lone nuclear plant helped the Omaha Public Power District head off a rate hike that would have resulted in a bill increase of 2.5% for average residential ratepayers in 2017. The utility’s board approved a recalculation based on closing the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant and the adding of 400 MW of wind power. [Omaha World-Herald]

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