December 30 Energy News

December 30, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Transforming the Future of Energy” • These are extraordinary times for renewable energy. Records are broken, commitments are made, and setbacks occur almost on a weekly basis. The ‘big picture’ trend is for sharp falls in the unit cost of solar. Solar energy is becoming more attractive, and this is driving adoption rates. [Blue & Green Tomorrow]

Wind park in Austria, being visited by tourists (Photo by  Kwerdenker, CC BY-SA, Wikimedia Commons)

Tourists visiting the Tauern wind park in Austria
(Photo by  Kwerdenker, CC BY-SA, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Solar Power Is Not Merely Least Expensive” • We’ve seen a lot of commentary on the fact that utility-scale solar power has become the least expensive source of electricity in many places. There is more than that to be found in LCOE analysis, however, and it implies that solar and wind power have greater value than cost data shows. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ The government of Argentina’s Mendoza province will invest over $230 million (€221 million) in 11 renewable energy projects with contracts secured in the RenovAr auctions, national news agency Telam said. About 160 MW of capacity will be built by local companies partnering with the province’s energy company Emesa. [SeeNews Renewables]

Power lines in Argentina

Power lines in Argentina

¶ Albuquerque-based Rio Grande Renewables has completed what is being called the largest microgrid in Central America, a project with a capacity of 276 kW/500 kW PV+storage in Costa Rica. The system provides peak demand reduction by smoothing out variability and offers critical system back-up power in the event of an outage. [pv magazine USA]

¶ Conservationists teamed up with the green energy industry to demand that the Scottish Government sets a new target to ensure half the country’s power comes from renewables by 2030. Trade body Scottish Renewables and WWF Scotland have made the call following what they call a “landmark” year for renewable energy in Scotland. [Energy Voice]

Tidal turbine

Tidal turbine (Copyright Nova Innovation Ltd)

¶ Christmas Day of 2016 was the greenest on record for energy generation, according to the power group Drax. The company said more than 40% of the electricity generated on the day came from renewable sources, the highest ever; 75% of that was wind power. It compared with 25% on Christmas Day in 2015, and 12% in 2012. [The Guardian]

¶ About 300,000 Scottish homes are powered with 595 MW of clean energy thanks to the government’s support of community and locally-owned renewable projects, a government report says. That is a 17% increase from the last report, in September 2015, when the renewable operating capacity was estimated to be 508 MW. [EcoWatch]

PVs on a Scottish church (Photo credit: Eco-Congregation Scotland)

PVs on a church (Photo credit: Eco-Congregation Scotland)

¶ Toshiba shares has fallen over three straight days of heavy losses. The company has now had more than 40% of its value wiped off since 26 December. It comes after the firm’s chairman apologized and warned that its US nuclear business, which brings in about a third of its revenue, may be worth less than previously thought. [BBC]

US:

¶ Two weeks after officials in two dozen states asked Donald Trump to kill the Clean Power Plan, another group of state officials is urging him to save it. Democratic attorneys general in 14 states sent a letter to Trump asking him to preserve Obama’s Clean Power Plan, New York’s Attorney General announced. [NWAOnline]

Air pollution

Air pollution

¶ The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources removed language from its public website that acknowledged the scientific consensus that human activity is the main cause of climate change. Republicans, who control the state government, had previously limited their attacks on renewable power to what they claim is high cost. [Reedsburg Times Press]

¶ A group that studied Maine’s biomass industry recommended that lawmakers extend the state renewable energy purchasing requirements and that policymakers take a broad view of the state’s forest economy. They recommend permitting electric lines “for persons other than transmission and distribution utilities.” [Bangor Daily News]

Unloading wood chips from a truck (Gabor Degre / BDN)

Unloading wood chips from a truck (Gabor Degre / BDN)

¶ The New York Power Authority, the nation’s largest state public power organization, says it has completed work at the Franklin County substation that connects 77.7 MW from the Jericho Rise Wind farm to the New York power grid. The wind farm, located in the towns of Chateaugay and Belmont, has 37 wind turbines. [North American Windpower]

¶ US energy-related CO2 emissions totaled 2,530 million metric tons in the first six months of 2016. This is the lowest emissions level for the first six months of any year since 1991, as mild weather and changes in the fuels used to generate electricity contributed to the overall decline in energy-related emissions. [PennEnergy]

Please click on the image to enlarge it.

¶ The Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station in Ottawa County, Ohio could soon be closed. Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp, which owns the plant, is planning to sell or close it and several others in 2017 or early 2018 unless state officials change energy regulations that would make it financially feasible to keep the plants running. [WKYC-TV]

¶ The company that is looking to buy the closed Vermont Yankee nuclear plant says it hopes to demolish it and clean up the site more than 30 years sooner than its current owner had planned. NorthStar Group Services Inc told state regulators it hopes to finish the job by 2026, more than 30 years sooner than Entergy Corp planned. [Electric Light & Power]

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