December 17 Energy News

December 17, 2016


¶ “Passive house building boom shows low-carbon future may be closer than we think” • The number of Passive House units in North America has quadrupled in the last year, from 500 to over 2,000 units. Once the projects on the books are completed, North America will have four times as many certified Passive House buildings as in 2015. []

Passive house construction (Stephen Hui, Pembina Institute)

Passive house construction (Stephen Hui, Pembina Institute)

Science and Technology:

¶ Lazard Ltd’s Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis compares costs of various generation technologies. Its latest, LCOE 10.0, shows that the cost decline of generating electricity from solar PV was steeper than decreases among other forms of renewable energy in 2016, with utility-scale PV technologies down about 11% from last year. [Solar Industry]

¶ The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released its 2015–2016 Arctic Report Card. With sea ice extent and snow cover diminishing, it now appears that the Arctic is stuck in a set of feedback loops that will only see temperatures in the region rise at ever faster rates for the foreseeable future. [CleanTechnica]

Arctic warming (NOAA image)

Please click on the image to enlarge it. 


¶ For over a decade Argentina’s oil sector has profited from the government’s policy to keep domestic oil prices low. When President Mauricio Macri took office he vowed to reduce energy subsidies. Now his administration says it is making good on that promise and subsidies for oil producers are being stopped. [chinadialogue]

¶ Yet another study has affirmed that Australia could – and should – shift to a 100% renewable energy grid, as a “robust, reliable and stable” supply of clean electricity. It found that a fully renewable grid would provide long-term economic and social benefits for Australia, with fighting climate change as a benefit. [CleanTechnica]

Windorah's Solar Farm  (Photo by Aaronazz, CC BY-SA, Wikimedia Commons)

Concentrating solar trackers at the Windorah Solar Farm  
(Photo by Aaronazz, CC BY-SA, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Japanese labor authorities have recognized the thyroid cancer of a man who worked at Tepco’s stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant as a work-related. This is the third case that labor authorities have linked to radiation exposure for workers at the Fukushima plant. The two previous cases involved leukemia. [The Japan Times]

¶ China is targeting renewable energy output of 1.9 trillion kWh by 2020, accounting for 27% of the country’s total power output, the National Development and Reform Commission said in its latest five-year plan for renewable energy. The country aims to have installed renewable power capacity of 680 GW by 2020. []

Chinese renewable energy

Chinese renewable energy


¶ With an incoming presidential administration seemingly hostile towards action on climate change, local solutions have now become more important than ever. By a 5-0 vote, the town council of Boone, North Carolina passed a resolution demanding that the US completely stop use of fossil fuels to “avoid climate catastrophe.” [EcoWatch]

¶ In August 2010, one of Donald Trump’s most exclusive new hotels, the Trump SoHo in downtown Manhattan, boasted it would invest in 100% clean power. Specifically, it would purchase electricity from wind. One of the deal’s main architects said the move to purchase wind energy was spearheaded by Trump’s daughter, Ivanka. [Mother Jones]

Trump SoHo hotel condominium in New York City  (Alec Perkins / Wikimedia Commons)

Trump SoHo hotel condominium in New York City
(Alec Perkins / Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Public Service Electric & Gas, New Jersey’s oldest and largest publicly owned utility, is about to bring a new solar farm online in Edison. The solar array will produce 7.75 MW of power, which is enough to power 1,300 homes. It is one of the last sites to come online in the current phase of the utility’s Solar 4 All program. []

¶ New England’s largest battery project, which is the size of eight shipping containers, is set to begin operating in the next week or so. The lithium-ion battery was installed in a warehouse at the oil-fired Wyman Station in Yarmouth, Massachusetts. NextEra Energy Resources is Wyman Station’s lead owner and operator. [Press Herald]

Four modules of New England's largest power storage battery (Derek Davis / Staff Photographer)

Four modules of New England’s largest power storage battery
(Derek Davis / Staff Photographer)

¶ The 10-MW Western Antelope Dry Ranch solar plant in Lancaster, California is now producing enough energy to power over 1,800 homes. Lancaster seeks to be the nation’s first city to produce enough clean energy to meet its electricity needs. The plant operates under a 20-year power purchase agreement. [San Fernando Valley Business Journal]

¶ Norwegian energy giant Statoil was declared the provisional winner of the US government’s wind lease sale of 79,350 acres in waters off New York. Statoil had submitted the winning bid of $42,469,725 in the online offshore wind auction conducted by the US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. [GCaptain]

Block Island wind farm (Photo: Deepwater Wind)

Block Island wind farm (Photo: Deepwater Wind)

¶ American Electric Power Company Inc may be adding a lot more renewable energy in Ohio. The Columbus-based electric utility is taking proposals on new projects that would total 100 MW of solar-powered and 250 MW of wind-powered electricity, with a site preference for the solar projects in Appalachian Ohio. [Columbus Business First]

¶ In Vermont, the Burlington Electric Department continues to focus on sourcing 100% of its power from renewable generation with the addition of a new source to its power portfolio. Maine’s 17-turbine Hancock Wind Project began operating commercially on December 16, and it will supply 9% of Burlington’s energy needs. []

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