December 31 Energy News

December 31, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ The World Meteorological Organization is expected to declare 2016 the hottest year in recorded history next month, just as the United States prepares to inaugurate a president who questions if climate change is even real. While the election of Donald Trump has stunned the world, record warmth no longer feels surprising. [The Recorder]

Traffic on the 101 Freeway in Los Angeles (Photo: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times / TNS)

Traffic on the 101 Freeway in Los Angeles
(Photo: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times / TNS)

¶ Siberian permafrost is one of the things being hardest hit by climate change. Now, in addition to the melting permafrost causing mass die-offs of reindeer and resurrecting long-dead strains of “zombie anthrax”, it appears the very cities built on it are also in imminent danger, according to new Russian-US research. [IFLScience]


¶ Vestas secured two orders for turbines totaling 74.15 MW for wind farms in China. The state-owned power company China Huadian Corp ordered seven V117 3.45-MW machines for a project in Fujian province. Vestas also won a turbine supply contract for a total of 50 MW of V110 2.2-MW models with an unnamed company. [reNews]

Vestas V117 3.3-MW wind turbines (credit: Vestas)

Vestas V117 3.3-MW wind turbines (credit: Vestas)

¶ Knapton Green Energy submitted plans for a renewable energy center to North Yorkshire County Council. The company wants to build the it on 10-acres of a landfill, saying it would generate enough electricity to power 16,000 homes by using advanced technology to create energy from waste biomass that cannot be recycled. [Darlington and Stockton Times]

¶ The Energy Agency of Italy, Gestore dei Servizi Energetici released a list of projects that won offtake contracts in an auction for up to 870 MW of power renewable generation capacity. The auction was launched in June 2016. Enel Green Power won the geothermal bid for a 20-MW geothermal project in Tuscany. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

Bagnore 3 plant, Tuscany, Italy (source: Enel Green Power)

Bagnore 3 plant, Tuscany, Italy (source: Enel Green Power)

¶ North Queensland is becoming a leader in renewable energy development with construction of three of its biggest solar farms due to start next year. They include the $155 million Sun Metals solar farm, ESCO Pacific’s 135-MW solar farm in the Upper Ross, and the Clare Solar Farm, which will supply enough power for 42,000 homes. [Townsville Bulletin]

¶ China plans to spend 3.5 trillion yuan ($503 billion) by 2020, expanding its high-speed railway system. The expansion will see the network grow to 30,000 km (18,650 miles), according to recent reports that followed a State Council Information Office briefing in Beijing. The network would connect 80% of major Chinese cities. [CleanTechnica]

High-speed rail map of China

High-speed rail map of China

¶ In a statement at a gathering of scientists, the Pope said, “there has never been such a clear need for science” to inform political decisions. The Pontiff’s message seemed directed at president-elect Donald Trump, who has signaled that the United States will no longer play a leadership role on the issue of climate change. [The Alternative Daily]


¶ A way to incentivize the use of clean energy like solar after dark, instead of gas peakers, to cover peak loads was proposed in a white paper commissioned by Arizona’s Residential Utility Consumer Office. It suggests revision of state Renewable Energy Standards aimed at using energy storage to match grid demand better after dark. [CleanTechnica]

Crescent Dunes via Wikimedia

Crescent Dunes via Wikimedia

¶ Electricity prices from Boston to Dallas plunged this year as cheap natural gas cut fuel costs, and wind and solar alternatives came online. Consumers also used less electricity for the second straight year, despite a summer heat wave, amid an industrial slowdown and growing awareness of ways to boost energy efficiency. [Bloomberg]

¶ Enel Green Power has been working to make its geothermal resources in Fallon, Nevada, and Cove Fort, Utah, more efficient by combining them with other renewable power sources. In its most recent endeavor in Cove Fort, Enel cleverly combines hydroelectric power with geothermal power for the first time in North America. [Ars Technica]

Enel Green Power's Cove Fort plant (Image: Enel Green Power)

Enel Green Power’s Cove Fort plant (Image: Enel Green Power)

¶ Southern Co, a unit of Southern Power, announced entering an agreement with Renewable Energy Systems Americas to develop jointly about 3,000 MW across 10 projects. The projects will have commercial operation dates in 2018 through 2020. Southern Co also agreed to purchase wind turbines from Siemens and Vestas. [PennEnergy]

¶ Despite the Obama administration’s commitment to curb CO2 emissions, nuclear plants have been retiring. Now the Nuclear Energy Institute, is asking the incoming Trump administration to take steps both to improve the economic prospects of existing plants and to improve the chances for new nuclear reactors. [Electric Light & Power]

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