Archive for January, 2017

January 31 Energy News

January 31, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Industry roundtable: The forecast is for strong wind” • Wind energy is an abundant resource in Australia but expansion in projects has been limited over recent years. As costs fall and the air is slowly cleared on policy, the wind sector is set for strong growth. EcoGeneration asked four industry experts for their projections. [EcoGeneration]

Wind farm (Shutterstock image)

Wind farm (Shutterstock image)

¶ “Mountains Beyond Mountains: How Green Mountain Power Became More Than An Electric Utility” • Green Mountain Power does some cool things. They once helped expand net metering in the state. They retrofit homes with solar and energy efficiency products through on-bill financing, saving customers money. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶ Expansion of renewable energy cannot stave off catastrophic climate change by itself, scientists warned. Even if solar and wind capacity continues to grow at breakneck speed, it will not be fast enough to cap global warming under 2° C (3.6° F), the target set in the 2015 Paris climate treaty, said their report in the journal Nature Climate Change. [Phys.Org]

Renewables are not growing fast enough.

Renewables are not growing fast enough.

World:

¶ Dubai Electricity & Water Authority announced a fresh 200-MW tender for the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park just days after Dubai announced its long-term renewable energy targets. The 200-MW project is set to be commissioned by April 2021. The solar park has over 1 GW of solar PV capacity under development. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Energy Technologies Institute will fund development of flettner rotor systems for cargo vessels, arguing that wind power represents the only credible way to cut the CO2 emissions of shipping. A flettner rotor system uses a spinning cylinder to convert wind force into thrust that helps propel a ship, and this can reduce emissions. [The Loadstar]

Ship with two rotor sails

Ship with two rotor sails

¶ The German Solar Association estimates the current global installed solar power capacity to be about 300 GW. It says that around 70 GW was installed world-wide last year, an increase of around 30% on 2015. The new capacity could supply 25 million additional households, assuming an average annual electricity consumption of 3,500 kWh. [Energy Matters]

¶ Honduran state power company ENEE reported that 10.2% of the generation in the country’s electrical system was produced by solar PVs in 2016. This places Honduras as the first non-island nation in the world to reach a 10% share of solar energy in its electricity mix. Honduras had 433 MW of solar capacity at the end of 2016. [pv magazine]

Solar power in Honduras (Photo: Grupo Ortiz)

Solar power in Honduras (Photo: Grupo Ortiz)

¶ Toshiba Corp will cease taking orders related to building nuclear power stations, sources said, in a move that would effectively mark its withdrawal from the business of nuclear plant construction. The company said it will review its nuclear operations as it expects an expected asset impairment of up to ¥700 billion ($6.08 billion). [The Japan Times]

¶ Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator increased pressure on ERM Power, Alinta Energy, and other electricity retailers to fulfill their renewable energy obligations and help meet the 2020 target. ERM elected to pay $123 million in fines to meet most of its 2016 obligation, rather than buy Large-scale Generation Certificates. [The Australian Financial Review]

Australian Renewable Energy (Tom Messer)

Australian Renewable Energy (Tom Messer)

US:

¶ Wisconsin’s largest solar project may be built adjacent to the Point Beach nuclear plant in Two Rivers, the nuclear plant’s operator announced Monday. The Point Beach Solar Energy Center would open in 2021. It would generate 100 MW of solar power, and it would create between 150 and 200 jobs during its construction. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

¶ The effects of climate change are being felt in Alaska, and isn’t an arbitrary threat but one that already has a huge price tag. But there is another, more immediate reason to turn to renewable energy soon. Its cost is quickly becoming lower than traditional energy-producing methods, and in a number of places in Alaska, it already is. [Alaska Dispatch News]

Wind turbines in Kodiak (James Brooks photo)

Kodiak (AP Photo / Kodiak Daily Mirror, James Brooks)

¶ The US solar industry employed nearly 374,000 people in 2015 to 2016, a report from the DOE says. This is double the number of jobs in oil, coal and gas combined. There are about 769,000 renewable energy jobs, growing at an annual rate of nearly 6% since 2012. Jobs in fossil fuel extraction and support services saw annual declines. [The Climate Group]

¶ As rising sea levels continue to pose a threat to coastal regions of the US, low-lying but densely populated regions like New York City are rethinking their approach to the built environment. Since it was devastated by superstorm Sandy, the city has been weighing ambitious plans for defending itself against assaults from the sea. [Business Insider UK]

New York City (Reuters / Lucas Jackson)

New York City (Reuters / Lucas Jackson)

¶ Stem Inc, a provider of commercial-scale energy storage services, finished testing a customer-sited storage fleet installed for Hawaiian Electric Co. The testing confirmed the software-driven storage acts as a virtual power plant to manage diverse loads and sites to serve the utility’s real-time needs, according to Stem. [North American Windpower]

¶ The two dozen nonprofit groups and Senate committee members defending Scott Pruitt, President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the EPA, have two things in common. Like Pruitt, they’re climate science deniers. And, like Pruitt, most are funded by Charles and David Koch, who own the coal, oil, and gas conglomerate Koch Industries. [Triple Pundit]

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January 30 Energy News

January 30, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “California’s Grid Geeks: A beacon of hope” • This is the last segment of an exclusive six-part series that takes an in-depth look at California’s transition to over 50% renewable electricity. In the face of President Trump’s apparent indifference to global warming, the state has become a beacon of hope for climate activists. [GreenBiz]

A beacon of hope (Photo: Lucky Photographer / Shutterstock)

A beacon of hope (Photo: Lucky Photographer / Shutterstock)

¶ “The Exxon Tillerson left behind: hidebound, secretive, and wedded to tradition at a time of mind-boggling change” • Exxon is doubling down on tradition, with a zeal that harkens back to a time when oil was the undisputed commodity of the moment and the future. In the face of changing times, it will bound to its outdated ways. [Quartz]

World:

¶ The French energy giant Engie announced it had secured financial close for the $1.2 billion gas-powered cogeneration plant on Saudi Arabia’s Fadhili independent power project. The country’s National Transformation Plan includes development of over 13 GW of gas-fired plants, which are due in the next few years. [Utilities-ME.com]

Gas plant in Qatar

Gas plant in Qatar

¶ British oil giant BP has cut forecasts for long-term oil and gas demand as renewable power takes more market share, energy efficiency slashes demand and the popularity of electric and driverless cars grows. BP said energy efficiency and renewable power will be more of a threat to its existing business than they were a year ago. [The Australian]

¶ The proper utilization of the Philippine’s rivers and its raw water supply can provide the much-needed boost to help the country sustain growth, the country’s top environment official said. Clean development would benefit various sectors, including agriculture, fisheries, power, transportation, and various other industries. [Business Mirror]

Fishing village in Mindanao

Fishing village in Mindanao

¶ After the removal of sanctions against Iran, once again the country has become an attractive market for the world’s energy companies. More than €10 billion worth of energy projects has been proposed by foreign companies, the Energy Minister said. He also assured investors and producers about Iran’s financial support. [Tehran Times]

¶ The Asian Development Bank has agreed to provide $109 million for the Muara Laboh geothermal power generation project in Indonesia. Approved last December, the funding is part of ADB’s strategy to boost private sector-led infrastructure development in Asia and the Pacific, as well as extend support
for clean energy. [Power Technology]

Geothermal power plant (Photo: Asian Development Bank.)

Geothermal power plant (Photo: Asian Development Bank.)

¶ With the future of some of its coal-fired generators in doubt, the town of Collie in Western Australia may be revitalized with new solar, biomass, and pumped hydro facilities according to a plan of the Western Australian Opposition Labor party. The party pledged $30 million each towards a biomass plant a solar farm in the town. [Echonetdaily]

¶ The Egyptian Ministry of Electricity will present a detailed memorandum to the cabinet within two weeks. Government sources say it addresses new and renewable energy projects and includes a report of electricity production surplus. It also discusses the Gulf of Suez wind farm, under development by Toyota alliance. [Daily News Egypt]

Renewable power in Egypt

Renewable power in Egypt

¶ TEPCO may have found fuel debris from the meltdown under reactor No 2 at the Fukushima Daiichi power station. If confirmed to be nuclear fuel debris, the discovery, made with a remotely controlled camera attached to the end of a 10.5-meter telescopic arm, could shed light on the condition of melted fuel in the reactor. [The Japan Times]

US:

¶ In the wake of the election, text messaging sessions among four friends, women who were scientists, about ordinary events in their lives changed. Their discussions turned into an email chain, supporting a pledge for inclusivity in science and the need for reason in politics. That pledge has now signed by more than 14,000 women in science. [Salon]

NASA presentation (Credit: NASA HQ /flickr)

NASA presentation (Credit: NASA HQ /flickr)

¶ Most New Jersey voters in both political parties want the state to move to 100% clean power by 2050, according to a poll by the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, released this week. A policy requiring the state to get 100% of its energy from clean energy by 2050 was supported by 70%. Only 15% were opposed. [Press of Atlantic City]

¶ When the Nine Mile Point reactor first went online, Richard Nixon was president, the Beatles were still a band and Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima weren’t yet bywords for the hazards of nuclear power. Almost 50 years later, New York state is betting big on the future of one of the nation’s two oldest nuclear plants. [The Daily Herald]

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January 29 Energy News

January 29, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ Rising temperatures could boost mercury levels in fish by up to seven times what they currently are, Swedish researchers say. A study suggests that climate change could be driving up levels of methylmercury, through a mechanism that has not previously been recognized. The study was published in the journal, Science Advances. [BBC]

Recovering sediment cores for study (Erik Lundberg)

Recovering sediment cores for study (Erik Lundberg)

¶ A study indicates that tiny floating particles can grow semi-solid around pollutants, allowing them to last longer and travel much farther than what previous global climate models said. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, from fossil fuel burning, forest fires, and biofuel consumption can travel across the Pacific Ocean. [CCTV]

¶ For the past few years, the winter season in Bangladesh has been getting shorter, and experts suspect this is because of climate-related changes. A meteorologist for the Bangladesh Meteorological Department said abuse of natural resources, such as establishments on wetlands and shrinking water bodies, may also be partly to blame. [The Daily Star]

Walking to market in chilly weather (Photo: Star)

Walking to market in chilly weather (Photo: Star)

World:

¶ As far as the eye can see, line after line of solar panels stretch out in the midday sun in the village of Chandrasan in the eastern Gujarat district of India. The village which squeezes in 80 more people per sq km than India’s already crowded average of 441. But the solar panels take up no land, as they are installed over an irrigation canal. [The Sentinel]

¶ The Ayrshire mining community of Cumnock is poised to become Scotland’s fully “Green Town.” The plan is to make the town carbon neutral, creating a model for the rest of Scotland. There are proposals for the community to run its own hi-tech energy system based on sun, wind, and water power, along with smart technologies. [Herald Scotland]

Black Law wind farm in Scotland

Black Law wind farm in Scotland

¶ Sri Lanka’s Auditor General has recommended that a formal and practical Annual Procurement Plan be put in place to avoid malpractices in coal purchases by the Government. This comes after estimated losses of over Rs. 4,145.43 million ($27.6 million) due to irregularities in coal purchases between 2009 and 2016. [The Sunday Times Sri Lanka]

¶ About 100 protesters marched at Wales’ largest coal-fired power station calling for its closure. The protest at Aberthaw, in the Vale of Glamorgan also called for more renewable energy jobs. In September, the European Court of Justice found the plant had been emitting illegally high levels of air pollution. [BBC South East Wales]

Protest in Aberthaw

Protest in Aberthaw

¶ Only 13% of the evacuees from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in five municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture have returned home after evacuation orders were lifted, according to local authorities. Some residents may be reluctant to return to their homes due to fear of exposing children to radiation, the authorities said. [Japan Today]

¶ Ireland just took a big step toward cutting coal and oil out of the picture. Its Parliament has passed a bill that would stop the country from investing in fossil fuels as part of an €8 billion ($8.6 billion) government fund. If the measure becomes law, it would make Ireland the first country to eliminate public funding for fossil fuel sources completely. [Engadget]

Power plant in Ireland (Reuters / Phil Noble)

Power plant in Ireland (Reuters / Phil Noble)

US:

¶ Renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, could soon fill the void left by the downfall of coal after a bill passed the Virginia House of Delegates. The bill deals with the costs of pumped hydroelectricity and storage facilities that are located in the coalfield region of the commonwealth. It passed on a 98-1 vote. [Kingsport Times News]

¶ Jobs in solar power are currently growing at about 20% per year, a rate 12 times faster than the rest of the US economy, a report from Environmental Defense Fund says. It adds that jobs in wind power are growing at roughly the same rate, and wind-turbine technician is now the fastest-growing profession in the country overall. [Mother Nature Network]

Riverside California (Photo: Tony Webster / Flickr)

Riverside California (Photo: Tony Webster / Flickr)

¶ A Minnesota solar power subsidy program could be killed,
and the renewable energy fund that largely pays for it could be significantly revamped. The Made in Minnesota program has approved 1,105 small-scale solar projects and is estimated to
have created 495 jobs, but the new legislature is attacking it as
a boondoggle. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

¶ Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is now buying 100% of its electricity from renewable energy sources through the use of renewable energy credits. Previously, they made up 50% of the University’s electrical supply. Only 40 other universities and colleges have reported to the EPA that they use 100% renewable electricity. [Alton Telegraph]

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January 28 Energy News

January 28, 2017

World:

¶ For Portugal, the cost of climate change has been staggering. According to a 424-page study by the European Environment Agency entitled “Climate change, impacts and vulnerability in Europe 2016,” cash-strapped Portugal has suffered monetary losses of €6.8 billion as a result of climate change between 1980 and 2013. [The Portugal News]

Wind farm in Portugal

Wind farm in Portugal

¶ Acciona Energia has announced that it has started to supply electricity to Google’s installations in Chile from the El Romero solar power project. The 246-MW project is the largest solar PV power plant in South America. It supplies 80 MW to Google’s data center in Quilicura through the Central Interconnected System. [CleanTechnica]

¶ According to WindEurope, 1,558 MW of offshore wind power was installed in Europe in 2016, bringing its capacity to 12,631 MW. European offshore wind had a record investment in 2016 of €18.2 billion, a 39% increase on 2015’s finalized investments. This represents nearly 5,000 MW of new capacity for the near future. [Energy Live News]

Offshore wind power (Shutterstock image)

Offshore wind power (Shutterstock image)

¶ The chairman of the South African Renewable Energy Council has suggested that the country’s utility, Eskom, may soon face legal action for its decision not to sign fresh power purchase agreements with renewable energy projects. Eskom has refused to sign new power purchase agreements for renewables, while pursuing nuclear power. [CleanTechnica]

¶ MHI Vestas Offshore Wind unveiled a prototype wind turbine. It is the world’s most powerful and can reach 9 MW at specific site conditions. The prototype installed at Østerild broke the energy generation record for a commercially available offshore wind turbine, producing 216,000 kWh over a 24 hour period. [Oil and Gas Industry Latest News]

MHI Vestas V164 (Courtesy of MHI Vestas Offshore Wind)

MHI Vestas V164 (Courtesy of MHI Vestas Offshore Wind)

¶ India launched its first grid-scale battery storage system amid plans to integrate 175 GW of renewable energy into the power system by 2022. Commissioned and operated by Tata Power Delhi Distribution, the 10-MW Advancion energy storage array is a joint project by Mitsubishi and US energy storage company AES. [Greentech Media]

¶ IKEA Canada signed agreements to acquire an 88-MW wind farm in Alberta, about 130 km east of Calgary. The Wintering Hills wind farm will consist of 55 turbines. They will generate electricity equivalent to the consumption of 54 IKEA stores. This is IKEA Canada’s second such investment renewable energy in Alberta. [Windpower Engineering]

 IKEA - commitment renewable energy

IKEA – commitment renewable energy

¶ Thirty-four giant wind turbines are being proposed for the Thanet Offshore Wind Farm, which would double the amount of power it produces, making it able to generate enough electricity to supply 430,000 homes. The wind farm’s new turbines would be located about 4.9 miles (8 km) from the shore at Margate. [BBC News]

¶ Nova Scotia energy company Emera Inc will spend $6.2 million on a research center for smart grid technologies at the University of New Brunswick, the company announced in a push to explore renewable energy sources. The center will research renewable sources like solar power and the best ways to integrate them. [National Observer]

Cape Sharp Tidal project turbine (Photo by CP)

Cape Sharp Tidal project turbine (Photo by CP)

¶ Brexit could be a big setback for nuclear energy in the UK. When the UK officially leaves the European Union, it might also be leaving the agency that oversees nuclear safety in EU member states, called Euratom, the Financial Times reports. This could have effects both on availability of nuclear fuel and waste management. [The Verge]

US:

¶ After successfully appealing on the campaign trail to military veterans, President Trump hasn’t exactly been doing them any favors in office. For example, the massive cuts planned for the Department of Energy could pull the rug out from under the agency’s popular SunShot Solar Ready Vets job training program. [CleanTechnica]

YouTube screenshot (via US Department of Energy)

YouTube screenshot (via US Department of Energy)

¶ After the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention abruptly canceled its climate conference, former Vice President Al Gore announced that he would host a similar conference focusing on climate change and its effects on public health. He will do this in partnership a former director of CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health. [PerfScience]

¶ The Hawaiian Energy Companies commissioned the Island’s largest solar park, the 27.6-MW Waianae Solar project. It is the largest in operation in Hawaii to date, generating enough annual power needs of around 11,000 homes. The park will sell its energy to HECO at the rate of 14.5¢/kWh, a very low cost for the state. [PV-Tech]

Waianae Solar project is Hawaii's largest renewable effort. (Source: Hawaii Pacific Solar)

Waianae Solar project is Hawaii’s largest
renewable effort. (Source: Hawaii Pacific Solar)

¶ The owners of Arizona’s Navajo Generating Station northeast of the Grand Canyon announced early this month that low natural gas prices and the rising costs of generating electricity using coal make it too expensive to operate the plant, one of the biggest polluters in the US. A decision on the plant’s fate is expected this spring. [Grist]

¶ Following one of its worst years ever, the US coal industry is expected to continue to decline in 2017, though at a slower pace, says the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. The energy and environmental financial research and analysis firm’s report on the US coal markets says, “the picture isn’t pretty.” [CleanTechnica]

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January 27 Energy News

January 27, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “States Expected To Continue Course Toward Clean Energy Future” • In Kansas, Republican Governor Sam Brownback is eyeing new wind farms to bring jobs and economic growth. And Ohio’s Republican Governor John Kasich says the state needs to support renewable energy to stay competitive and reduce the cost of electricity. [Huffington Post]

Hawaii (The Associated Press)

Solar power in Hawaii (The Associated Press)

Science and Technology:

¶ Eos Energy Storage announced a partnership with Siemens on storage solutions. The Eos Aurora 1000│4000, a 1-MW/4-MWh DC battery system, is being sold at $160 per usable kWh for the full DC system with performance guarantees that support up to 20 years of continuous operation with low maintenance. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ 2016 was the hottest year in 137 years of record keeping and the third year in a row to take the number one slot, a mark of how much the world has warmed over the last century because of human activities, NASA and NOAA announced. They made the joint announcement as Cabinet confirmations of climate skeptics continue. [CleanTechnica]

Graph showing changes through time  (Please click on the graph to see annual changes.)

Graph showing changes through time
(Please click on the graph to enlarge it.)

World:

¶ A report, Missing link: Harnessing the power of purchasing for a sustainable future, showed that the world’s largest purchasing organizations have the ability to drive down emissions across their supply chains. Not only that, they are actually doing so, with reductions equivalent to 434 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2016. [CleanTechnica]

¶ In a bid to live up to its environmentally friendly values, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is planning to adopt strict limits to investment in coal power. Launched by China as a “lean, clean and green” lender to invest Asian projects, the bank opened a year ago with a membership of 57 countries and $100 billion in capital. [gbtimes]

Highly polluting coal (Photo: stevepb, Pixabay)

Highly polluting coal (Photo: stevepb, Pixabay)

¶ A plan for new, cleaner coal power plants in Australia, which government ministers say could reduce emissions from coal-generated electricity by 27%, would cost more than $60 billion, new analysis found. Achieving the same reduction using only renewable energy would cost just half as much – between $24 billion and $34 billion. [The Guardian]

¶ Bullfrog Power and Oxford Community Energy Co-operative announced Ontario’s first community-owned wind farm. Gunn’s Hill Wind Farm consists of 10 turbines located in Oxford County, southwestern Ontario. The 18 MW Gunn’s Hill Wind Farm is now generating enough electricity to power more than 6,000 homes. [Canada NewsWire]

Gunn's Hill Wind Farm (CNW Group/Bullfrog Power)

Gunn’s Hill Wind Farm (CNW Group/Bullfrog Power)

¶ Canadian scientists, who were muzzled for nearly a decade
by the country’s previous Conservative government, have been reaching out and contacting with their counterparts in the US
to offer their support and solidarity amid mounting fears that Donald Trump’s presidency will seek to suppress climate science. [The Guardian]

¶ Almost half a century after The Beatles recorded “Here Comes The Sun” within its walls, London’s Abbey Road Studios is once again embracing the sun’s rays. The world-famous studio is one of four Universal Music facilities that will be powered by green energy company Ecotricity, according to an announcement. [Billboard]

Abbey Road Studios in London (Jan Klos)

Abbey Road Studios in London (Jan Klos)

¶ Work to remove thousands of fuel rods from a spent fuel pool at the Unit 3 reactor of Fukushima Daiichi was to begin by March 2018 after a three-year delay. TEPCO announced Thursday that it will postpone the start until later in 2018, however, because it is taking longer to decontaminate the site and ensure the workers’ safety. [The Mainichi]

¶ Despite their stated aim of boosting low-carbon growth, some World Bank policy loans are creating subsidies for coal, gas and oil projects, a report by the nonprofit Bank Information Center says. The report says that the policy programs undercut efforts
to conserve forests, protect land rights and develop renewable energy. [Mongabay.com]

Aerial view of Indonesian coal mining  (Photo by Daniel Beltrá / Greenpeace)

Aerial view of Indonesian coal mining
(Photo by Daniel Beltrá / Greenpeace)

US:

¶ New York has officially given the green light for the nation’s largest offshore wind farm. The South Fork Wind Farm will generate 90 MW of electricity from 15 turbines, enough energy to power more than 50,000 homes. Developer Deepwater Wind won the contract to install the turbines 30 miles southeast of Montauk. [Inhabitat]

¶ On January 20, 2017 – the National Day of Patriotic Devotion by order of President Donald Trump – the US Navy posted a rousing endorsement of renewable energy on its Task Force Energy Facebook page. Non-fossil sources now supply 60% of the Navy’s onshore energy demand, and it is proud about the money it saves as a result. [CleanTechnica]

Navy Facebook posting screenshot

Navy Facebook posting screenshot

¶ According to the latest figures released by the Department of Energy, solar energy employed 374,000 people over the year 2015-2016. That’s 43% of the Electric Power Generation sector’s workforce, much more than the 187,117 (22%) that organizations that burn fossil fuels like oil, gas, and coal for electricity employ. [ZME Science]

¶ Republican governors of states in the Midwest are prioritizing economic growth and job creation by accelerating investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy. Since the November election, leaders in Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan have adopted new policies that help tackle climate change and grow the clean energy economy. [Environmental Defense Fund]

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January 26 Energy News

January 26, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “China will be the only winner in Donald Trump’s war on clean energy and the EPA” • Critics have environmental objections to Trump’s EPA nominee. But from a business perspective, the big risk is that reversing course on clean energy will hurt the US companies already slipping behind in the global clean energy race. [International Business Times UK]

Loss of polar ice (iStock photo)

Loss of polar ice (iStock photo)

¶ “Australia is investing billions in madman Donald Trump” • In an interview with America’s ABC News’ 20/20 program Donald Trump said, “We should’ve taken the oil,” adding, “and if we took the oil you wouldn’t have ISIS. And we would have had wealth.” I’ve just watched the program. … It was scary. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

World:

¶ Dong Energy and Macquarie acquired 35% and 50% stakes respectively of the 128-MW Formosa 1 offshore wind farm in Taiwan from local developer Swancor. The 8-MW demonstrator phase went live last year. Swancor will continue to lead the 120-MW commercial phase of the project, which is planned to be built in 2019. [reNews]

Foundations for initial turbines going in (Image: Swancor)

Foundations for initial turbines going in (Image: Swancor)

¶ The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka, the country’s electricity sector regulator, directed the Ceylon Electricity Board and Lanka Electricity Company Private Ltd to connect the domestic rooftop solar panels to the national grid within two weeks from the date of application. The regulator aims to add 200 MW of solar by 2020. [Daily Mirror]

¶ Profits from Groningen’s gas fields should be used to finance the Netherlands’ conversion to green energy, the head of the company responsible for gas production said. He called for a more ambitious energy policy, closing coal plants as quickly as possible, and setting up a special fund to build wind and solar energy farms. [DutchNews.nl]

The government aims to get 16% of energy from renewables by 2023.

The Dutch goal is to get 16% of energy from renewables by 2023.

¶ The vast, 10 sq km project in Ramanathapuram, in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is the world’s largest solar power station in a single location, according to the Adani Group. It has the capacity to power 150,000 homes – and it is considered to be one sign of how serious India is becoming about meeting its renewable energy targets. [The Rakyat Post]

US:

¶ The Trump administration is examining the EPA’s website to determine what information will be allowed to remain. This underscores concerns that climate change and other scientific data might be removed. EPA employees have been instructed not to release press releases, publish blog posts, or post anything on social media. [CNN]

Scientists at rally (Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP / File)

Scientists at rally (Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP / File)

¶ The first tweets appeared quietly, mid-Tuesday afternoon, with a 21st-century declaration of defiance. “Mr Trump, you may have taken us down officially. But with scientific evidence & the Internet our message will get out.” Get out it did. One day later, the post had been retweeted by 22,000 people and liked by nearly 42,000. [Christian Science Monitor]

¶ City Water, Light and Power, the utility for Springfield, Illinois, wants to put $9 million it collected to pay disputed fees from purchasing wind energy toward large-scale projects needed to meet federal clean air and water regulations, according to a spokeswoman. CWLP says wind power saves customers money. [The State Journal-Register]

City Water, Light and Power (Associated Press)

City Water, Light and Power (Associated Press)

¶ NV Energy and Apple said they agreed to build 200 MW of additional solar energy in Nevada by early 2019. NV Energy said the projects will supply renewable energy for Apple’s Reno data center, and it will apply with the Public Utilities Commission to enter a power purchase agreement for the solar plant. [Las Vegas Review-Journal]

¶ Deepwater Wind LLC won approval from the Long Island Power Authority to develop the nation’s largest offshore wind farm. The 90-MW South Fork Wind Farm, off Long Island, will have 15 turbines generating enough electricity for 50,000 homes. New York aims to get half its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. [Bloomberg BNA]

Barrow offshore wind farm (Photo: Arnold Price, Wikimedia Commons)

Barrow offshore wind (Photo: Arnold Price, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ ExxonMobil has named environmentalist Susan Avery to its board. Avery belongs to the Scientific Advisory Board of the United Nations Secretary General; the National Research Council Global Change Research Program Advisory Committee; and advisory committees with NASA, NOAA, among other positions. [Seeking Alpha]

¶ The future appears bright for Georgia Power, as the company announced Wednesday that it has added more than 2 million solar panels to the state’s energy landscape last year and will continue to build its portfolio in 2017. Georgia Power now has 846 MW of solar energy resources in operation, with building year-over-year growth since 2013. [PV-Tech]

Georgia Power solar array (Image: Georgia Power)

Georgia Power solar array (Image: Georgia Power)

¶ Public Service Electric and Gas Co, which is based in New Jersey, commissioned a solar farm on a closed landfill in Edison, as part of the company’s Solar 4 All program. PSE&G says the solar plant covers 21 acres with 23,834 panels that will meet the annual electric needs of more than 1,200 average-size New Jersey homes. [Solar Industry]

¶ The US House of Representatives has approved a handful of bipartisan bills left over from the last session of Congress that aim to bolster research on advanced nuclear reactors, allow for more challenges at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and change rules for federal efficiency standards. [World Nuclear News]

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January 25 Energy News

January 25, 2017

 

Opinion:

¶ “Trump has a great opportunity to save our environment” • Donald Trump is rolling back EPA rules. But the nonpartisan federal Office of Management and Budget calculated that the rules imposed by the EPA over the decade ending 2012 yielded benefits 10 times their costs, the best ratio of all federal agencies they reviewed. [Huffington Post]

Acadia National Park (Ymblanter, Wikimedia Commons)

Acadia National Park (Ymblanter, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Solar energy: the alternative” • The need for renewable energy is no longer linked only with climate change and clean air. It is also properly linked to: 1) economic prosperity, 2) preventing structural violence against the least well off, 3) prevention of conflict, and 4) a solution to energy shortages in a world of finite resources. [The Nation]

¶ “Renewables = Over 50% New Electricity Capacity But 16% Of Energy Investment” • The wide gap in investment figures versus new capacity figures is striking. Cheap renewables dominate new power plant installations, but polluting fossil fuels dominate the energy investments. Why? Partly because of the cost to transport fossil fuels. [CleanTechnica]

Rail cars burn near the Columbia River Gorge, June 3, 2016. (Photo: Coast Guard PFC Levi Read, Public domain)

Rail cars burn near the Columbia River Gorge, June 3, 2016.
(Photo: Coast Guard PFC Levi Read, Wikimedia Commons)

Science and Technology:

¶ Researchers know that more storms, and more dangerous storms, come with a warming climate. A team of scientists say they found an underlying explanation, using satellite data gathered over a 35-year period. They reported on their studies of long-term variations of the Lorenz energy cycle in the journal Nature Communications. [Science Daily]

¶ The Hemlock woolly adelgid is just one in an expanding army of insects draining the life out of forests from New England to the West Coast. Aided by global trade, a warming climate and drought-weakened trees, the invaders have become one of the greatest threats to biodiversity in the United States. [Chattanooga Times Free Press]

Damage from emerald ash beetles (Photo: Doug Strickland / Times Free Press)

Damage from emerald ash beetles
(Photo: Doug Strickland / Times Free Press)

World:

¶ Ghana-based Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology unveiled a project to develop a simple, efficient, and sustainable electric generating technology for rural and urban communities. It focuses on using microbial fuel cell technology to generate electricity and to support wastewater treatment. [Bioenergy Insight Magazine]

¶ Ministers in Scotland unveiled plans to ensure that 50% of the nation’s energy needs are supplied by low-carbon or zero-carbon renewable sources, by 2030. The move represents a significant shift for the Scottish National Party, after decades of support for North Sea oil production, which supplies about 47% of Scotland’s petroleum. [The Westside Story]

View of Ailsa Craig (John R., Wikimedia Commons)

View of Ailsa Craig (John R., Wikimedia Commons)

¶ France took an important step towards shutting down its oldest nuclear power station, a campaign promise of President Francois Hollande, just months before he leaves office. The board of state-owned electricity utility EDF approved a compensation package worth at least €400 million for the shutdown of the Fessenheim nuclear plant. [News24]

US:

¶ President Donald Trump signed executive actions to advance approval of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines. The decision to advance the pipelines cast aside efforts by the Obama administration to block construction of the pipelines, while making good on one of the campaign promises Trump
had made. [CNN]

Dakota Access Pipeline (Photo: Tony Webster, Wikimedia Commons)

Dakota Access Pipeline (Tony Webster, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ President Donald Trump’s administration has ordered a freeze on some EPA grants and contracts to states. An administration “wish list” for the EPA takes aim at regulations such as carbon emission rules that limit the amount of greenhouse gases that
are allowed from power plants, and cutting $193 million from climate programs. [CNN]

¶ The University of California Irvine is acquiring 20 electric buses from BYD for $15 million to electrify its campus shuttle service, the Anteater Express. The UCI bus system is student funded, and the students, who ride for free, made the decision to pay $40 extra per student per quarter to cover the bus purchase and startup costs. [CleanTechnica]

Electric bus

Electric bus

¶ Innogy, Germany’s largest energy group, sees no reason to scrap plans to enter the US onshore wind market, its chief executive said, unimpressed by worries over future support of renewables in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidency. “We do it because wind is a competitive technology in the United States,” he said. [StreetInsider.com]

¶ A new energy plant is coming to Sherman, Texas. It will be able to power about 1,500 homes, all through renewable energy and without any emissions. The planning and zoning commission just approved the site plans for a 70-acre solar farm. The cost will be about $15 less per month than what one major electric co-op charges. [KXII-TV]

Solar farm near Austin (The tdog, Wikimedia Commons)

Solar farm near Austin (The tdog, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Canadian Solar Inc and solar project developer Recurrent Energy today announced a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement for 60 MWac of solar power with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. SMUD will get electricity from the Tranquillity
8 Verde solar PV project, which is in Fresno County, California. [Your Renewable News]

¶ The City Council of Grand Island, Nebraska, approved a public power agreement with Prairie Hills Wind at a regular meeting. The vote was unanimous, 9-0. The city had previously invested in a project near Albion, which had been completed in fall 2015. The agreement with Prairie Hills Wind is for another project, near Callaway. [Grand Island Independent]

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January 24 Energy News

January 24, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Disobedience: A Primer On Climate Change Action In The Age Of Trump” • Donald Trump’s environmental proposals are
a nightmare. But what can people do to push back against this concerted campaign of lunacy? And how can you fight city hall? On April 30, a new movie entitled Disobedience will be released. [CleanTechnica]

Screen shot

Screen shot

World:

¶ Sourcing renewable electricity by corporate entities can be a major driver of the much-needed transition to a zero-emissions economy, RE100 said in its annual report, published advance of the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting. It also boasted adding three major European businesses to its 100% renewable energy campaign. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Scottish Government published a draft climate change plan which aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 66% by 2032. Scotland exceeded an interim target of delivering a 42% emissions reduction in 2014 – six years early. At the start of 2013, only 13% of the country’s total final energy consumption had come from renewable sources. [Energy Voice]

Wind turbines

Wind turbines

¶ Australia’s government has “no plans” to change the Renewable Energy Target, environment minister Josh Frydenberg has said in response to reports that conservative Coalition MPs want the target dropped. He said that the RET was “balanced” but “not cost free,” and attacked Labor for its 50% target on renewables. [The Guardian]

¶ 2017 heralds ‘significant change’ in the British energy market. Wholesale prices had surpassed £1,000/MWh in November. Market volatility is nothing new to those in the agriculture sector, but ahead of Brexit and potential loss of income support, British farmers need to concentrate on improving business efficiencies and reducing risk. [FarmingUK]

Even with lower subsidies, renewable energy is worthwhile.

Even with lower subsidies, renewable energy is worthwhile.

¶ While the negative rhetoric around wind energy continues, in many British newspapers and increasingly from the government itself, a renewables revolution continues quietly going on. The Hornsea One project off the coast of Yorkshire, the Noor solar project in Morocco, the MeyGen tidal project, and others are noted. [Power Technology]

¶ The levelized cost of offshore wind energy dropped in the UK because of larger, more efficient turbines, competitive auctions, and cheaper capital, according to a report. The levelized costs dropped 32% last year, to £97/MWh, beating a goal to pass the £100/MWh threshold by 2020, and making offshore wind cheaper than nuclear power. [Bloomberg]

Offshore wind power (Photo: Simon Dawson / Bloomberg)

Offshore wind power (Photo: Simon Dawson / Bloomberg)

US:

¶ A representative survey of Americans, conducted by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication in late 2016, has found that a record number are “very worried” about global warming, while a clear majority expressed concern about the issue. [CleanTechnica]

¶ California now has three completed energy-storage sites, and they constitute the biggest test yet for the technology, notes The New York Times. Energy-storage development picked up after a massive 2015 gas leak in Aliso Canyon, a large-scale disaster for the environment that also cut off fuel to local power plants. [Christian Science Monitor]

Wind turbines in Washington (Rick Bowmer / AP / File)

Wind turbines in Washington (Rick Bowmer / AP / File)

¶ The Centers for Disease Control confirmed that it postponed a summit scheduled for next month on climate change and public health ahead of President Donald Trump’s inauguration. The scheduled keynote speaker said that the Trump administration may not have directly cancelled the conference, but it bears the hallmark of his influence. [CNN]

¶ As President Donald Trump prepares to boost fossil fuel production, a Pew Research Center poll finds that nearly two-thirds of Americans would rather the US focus on developing clean energy. The new poll shows that 27% said fossil fuels should be a priority, compared with 65% who favored renewable energy. [Huffington Post]

Climate protester (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)

Climate protester (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)

¶ The Senate Foreign Relations Committee narrowly approved Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, despite concerns about his business ties to Russia. Where votes on cabinet positions are usually non-partisan, this one had 11 Republicans voting in favor and all 10 Democrats against. The matter now goes to a Senate dominated by Republicans. [BBC]

¶ PSEG Solar Source acquired two North Carolina solar power facilities from BayWa re, with a total capacity of 47 MWs-dc. The a total investment was $74.6 million. The PSEG Cork Oak Solar Energy Center and the PSEG Sunflower Solar Energy Center are under construction and scheduled to begin operation later this year. [Electric Light & Power]

Solar array

Solar array

¶ A 2.2-MW gas-powered fuel cell was installed at a high school in Woodbridge, Connecticut.The fuel cell also provides heat for the high school, and will soon serve as the generation source for the Town’s microgrid, which will supply continuous power to seven municipal buildings during outages caused by storms and similar events. [Patch.com]

¶ Two Massachusetts lawmakers hope to wean the state off fossil fuels completely and get 100% of its energy from renewable source. A bill they filed would require the state to achieve total renewable electricity generation by 2035 and phase out fossil fuels across all sectors, including heating and transportation, by 2050. [Electric Light & Power]

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January 23 Energy News

January 23, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Coal Power: Are We Seeing The Beginning Of Its End?” • Shortly after announcing that they will be investing over $360 billion in renewable energy resources (namely hydro, nuclear, solar and wind) in the next five years, China suspended more than 100 coal power plant projects worth around $62 billion. [Wall Street Pit]

Power station

Power station

¶ “Trump Won’t Stop The Clean Energy Revolution” • The oil and gas industry has the most industry-friendly administration in recent memory. But even as the regulatory environment for oil and gas drilling may get easier, the inroads of clean energy and innovative emerging technologies will increasingly make them obsolete. [Yahoo Finance]

Science and Technology:

¶ Scientists at the University of Calgary in Canada developed a button-sized, garnet-based rechargeable battery that may power vehicles, electronics, and grids for storing renewable energy. They created a chemically stable, non-flammable lithium-ion battery, which can operate safely at a higher voltage than existing types. [The Indian Express]

Electric vehicles promise to revolutionize transportation but  they need safer, better-performing batteries. (Source: Reuters)

Electric vehicles promise to revolutionize transportation but
they need safer, better-performing batteries. (Source: Reuters)

World:

¶ The UK’s Government was accused of trying to bury a major report about the dangers of global warming. The UK Climate Change Risk Assessment Report, which must by law be issued every five years, was released almost without notice. It speaks of deaths from heat waves doubling, increased flooding, and other dire problems. [The Independent]

¶ Renewable energy is now the cheapest option, on average, for new electricity capacity around the world, and this is true for developed countries like the US as well as developing countries like India, Nigeria, and Mexico. One of the biggest problems for dealing with climate change is just getting people to understand that fact. [CleanTechnica]

Renewables are now the cheapest option. (Data by Lazard, Chart by CleanTechnica | Zachary Shahan.)

Renewables are now the cheapest option available to us.
(Data by Lazard, Chart by CleanTechnica | Zachary Shahan.)

¶ A meteorologist, a climate science professor, and the Deputy Director of the Monash Energy Materials and Systems Institute gave us their insights on the recent “unusual” tropical weather patterns appearing in South Australia, what exactly is causing the continual blackouts, and how renewables can help deal with the problem. [Gizmodo Australia]

¶ Leading energy industry experts have called on the Scottish Government to “grasp its opportunity to transform the country’s energy sector”, ahead of the publication of its energy strategy later this week. The Future Energy Taskforce says the Scottish Government will need to use all the powers it has to bring about the needed changes. [The National]

Cable landing (Photo: Chris James)

Cable landing (Photo: Chris James)

¶ Australia won’t be following Donald Trump’s lead on renewable energy policies, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce says. His statement comes after calls from within the Coalition to scrap Australia’s renewable energy targets if the US President attempts to withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement of 2015. [Northern Rivers Echo]

¶ British renewables firms are preparing to compete for a multi-million dollar windfall by snapping up contracts to develop wind, solar and power storage projects in Saudi Arabia through the kingdom’s $50-billion renewables drive. The Saudis are planning to shift to renewables to meet a demand for power growing at 8% per year. [Telegraph.co.uk]

Solar thermal collectors

Solar thermal collectors

¶ South Korea’s leading presidential candidate Moon Jae-In has pledged to reduce coal-fired power plants and phase out nuclear reactors in the country, while seeking to buy Russian natural gas and to increase investments in renewable power projects to meet power demand and combat climate change. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]

US:

¶ In a report posted online, Wisconsin’s Division of Emergency Management devoted extensive attention to climate change and natural disasters it will cause, such as floods, drought and forest fires. The Public Service Commission and the Department of Natural Resources had removed all mentions of climate change from their websites. [The Sheboygan Press]

Road temporarily closed (Photo courtesy of Ready Wisconsin)

Road temporarily closed (Photo courtesy of Ready Wisconsin)

¶ Constellation, a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation, and Mohave Electric Cooperative announced the completion of a 13.8-MW solar project with single-axis trackers, in Fort Mohave, Arizona. Constellation owns the system, and Mohave Electric will buy its power through a 30-year power purchase agreement with purchase options. [pv magazine]

¶ In December, purchases of EVs – cars that require plugging
in for a charge – set a monthly US sales record, surpassing the previous mark by 45%. In all, some 25,000 EVs were sold last month nationwide. Nearly 160,000 EVs were bought or leased
in 2016, up 37% from 2015. New, more affordable EV models are introduced every year. [ecoRI news]

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January 22 Energy News

January 22, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “3 Ways Donald Trump’s Climate Approach Is A US Economic Disaster” • To be fair, we really don’t know what Donald Trump’s precise climate approach will be, but if he slows and obstructs climate action, allowing increased pollution and CO2 emissions from the out-of-date oil, coal, and gas industries, the economy will be hit, hard. [CleanTechnica]

Please click on the image to enlarge it.

Please click on the image to enlarge it.

¶ “Will Offshore Wind Continue To Grow Under Trump?” • Interest in off-shore wind power has been growing in the US. Prospects for an expansion of wind power in the United States may already be hitting a wall, however, as political resistance to new wind farms on the East Coast threatens to derail the growth of renewable energy. [Yahoo Finance]

Science and Technology:

¶ According to Phys.org, a new study published this week in the journal Science suggests that today’s ocean surface temperatures are at similar levels to what they were about 125,000 years ago, an era that marked our planet’s last “warm period.” But sea levels were about 20 to 30 feet higher in those times, and that seems to be where they are headed. [Morochos.net]

Sea

Rising sea

World:

¶ Global PV demand has grown for the 10th consecutive year, according to a recent report from IHS Technology. Capacity additions may have reached 77 GW in 2016 and are projected to be 79 GW in 2017. The former is a projected 34% year-on-year growth rate in 2016, exceeding 2015’s 32% year-on-year growth rate. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Sambalpur University, which is in the eastern Indian state of Odessa, has planned to set up a 245-kW solar power project on its premises in its bid to move towards harnessing eco-friendly sources of energy. The project will provide power to the hostels, academic blocks, and administrative block of the university. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Solar trackers

Solar trackers

¶ Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company Masdar plans to build a cutting-edge waste-to-energy plant in Sharjah, UAE, partnering with Bee’ah, an environmental management company. Sharjah has a “zero waste-to-landfill” target for 2020, and the UAE has a goal of diverting 75% of its solid waste from landfills by 2021. [MEConstructionNews.com]

¶ Among the 675 districts across India, Krishna district, in the state of Andhra Pradesh, is in the forefront in the use of solar-powered pump sets. Urging farmers to rely on the eco-friendly solar pump sets, especially in areas where grid electricity is not available, the Collector said the renewable energy source was a boon in disguise. [The Hindu]

Solar power providing water (Photo: CH Vijaya Bhaskar)

Solar power providing water (Photo: CH Vijaya Bhaskar)

¶ Considering clean energy projects in developing countries, Morocco, which hosted the UN’s COP22 conference, stands out big time with a bold target of sourcing more than half of its electrical energy from renewable sources by 2030 and a firm plan to have 2,000 MW of wind and 2,000 MW of solar power plants by 2020. [SeeNews]

¶ Atlantis Resource has successfully installed its second tidal turbine at its MeyGen project off the north coast of Scotland. The company said on social media that vessel Olympic Ares completed the task overnight. The first turbine went in last year and is already producing power. The first 6-MW phase is expected to be complete this year. [reNews]

Olympic Ares at work (Photo: Atlantis Resource)

Olympic Ares at work (Photo: Atlantis Resource)

¶ Cuba is planning to install 59 PV solar parks, 33 of which will be completed during 2017, according to the local press. They will be grid tied, delivering a maximum capacity of 59 MW, about half of the generating capacity of a typical conventional Cuban generation electric plant. Cuba’s goal is to be 30% renewably powered in 2030. [Prensa Latina]

¶ PNOC-Renewables Corp has assigned local energy company H&WB Asia Pacific Corp and French partner Sabella SaS to build the first ocean power plant in the Philippines. It will also be the first facility to tap tidal energy in Southeast Asia. The areas to be served are islands currently getting all their power from diesel generators. [The Standard]

D10 turbine

D10 turbine

¶ Prolonged radiation bombardment causes the thousands of graphite bricks that make up reactor cores to crack, threatening a safe shutdown. But EDF is asking the UK’s Office for Nuclear Regulation, the government watchdog, to rewrite regulations so as to permit an increase in the proportion of cracked bricks from 10% to 20%. [Herald Scotland]

US:

¶ The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration just reported that the sea level is rising faster than expected in the northeastern United States and other specific regions. As climate change worsens, the global sea level could rise eight feet before the year 2100. This is driven by melting ice and warming oceans. [Natural Science News]

New York City

New York City

¶ Even though California Governor Jerry Brown may be most pro-climate governor, he surprised people with a response to Trump’s threats to end NASA climate research. “If Trump turns off the satellites, California will launch its own damn satellite,” he said. “We’ve got the scientists, we’ve got the lawyers, and we’re ready to fight.” [Grist]

¶ The Sioux City Journal reports that the town of Marathon, Iowa is considering building a 1.42-MW solar project on city-owned land to supply power to its nearly 250 residents. A study by Trusted Energy says the project would produce 2 million kWh per year and save residents $2 million over 20 years in electric costs. [KCCI Des Moines]

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January 21 Energy News

January 21, 2017

World:

¶ Costa Rica’s President Luis Guillermo Solis announced at the opening of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week that his country was aiming to achieve carbon neutrality by 2021. He said one of the greatest challenges for the goal was the transportation sector. The country’s electricity is already 98% renewably generated. [Climate Action Programme]

Costa Rica

Costa Rica

¶ Under a long-term contract with Acciona Energia, Internet giant Google is powering its operations in Chile with renewable energy from a new solar project. Acciona Energia, which is based in Spain, says a portion of the output from its El Romero Solar plant now covers all of the electricity used at Google’s Chilean installations. [Solar Industry]

¶ Australian utility AGL Energy has reached financial close on a 200-MW wind farm in New South Wales. The Silverton wind farm is expected to be completed by GE and Catcon by mid-2018. It will be the first new clean energy project developed for the $1-billion PARF fund, which is targeting about 1 GW of renewables. [reNews]

Wind farm credit MorgueFile

Wind farm (Credit: MorgueFile)

¶ Gigawatt Global, an American-owned Dutch developer, held
a ground-breaking ceremony this week for a 7.5-MW solar field in Burundi. According to the announcement, the $14-million (€13.2-million) project will add 15% to the generation capacity of the East African country, one of the world’s least developed nations. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Algeria’s council of government adopted a decree regarding the conditions to a planned call for tenders targeting 4 GW of new solar capacity. As part of a previously announced program, Algeria aims to have 22 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2035. This includes about 13.6 GW of solar PV and 5 GW of wind power. [SeeNews Renewables]

Solar power in Algeria (Source: russavia on  flickr.com, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Solar power in Algeria (Source: russavia on
flickr.com, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Wirsol Solar AG, part of German renewables developer Wircon GmbH, commisioned a 30-MW solar park, which it says is the largest in the Netherlands. The Sunport Delfzijl plant required investments totaling about €40 million ($42.3 million). It has had almost 120,000 solar modules installed and will provide enough power for over 7,000 homes. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Companies from Cuba and China signed 10 agreements to strengthen cooperation in renewable energy and industry after
a three-day forum. Chinese companies presented solutions for equipment manufacturing, developing, building, operating, and administering solar, wind, and hydro-powered electric projects. [Xinhua]

Three Gorges Dam (Xinhua / Xiao Yijiu)

Three Gorges Dam (Xinhua / Xiao Yijiu)

US:

¶ In his Senate confirmation hearings to be head of the DOE, Rick Perry has rolled back his opinion of the Department, climate change, and renewable energy. Meanwhile, Donald Trump appears to be preparing deep cuts to the Department, severely restricting America’s ability to meet its own climate
and energy goals. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Hawaii has the most aggressive renewable energy targets in the nation, aiming for its utilities to get 100% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2045. Now advocates want to extend that goal to the transportation sector to urge all forms of ground transportation to fuel up using renewable sources by 2045. [Electric Light & Power]

Hawaii

Hawaii

¶ “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” kicked off the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, bringing a strongly positive response from an audience of 1,200 according to Variety. Many stood at the end of the film to applaud Gore, who compared the cause of slowing climate change to some of the great moral causes of the modern era. [Mirage News]

¶ Nebraska legislators introduced a deluge of energy-related bills at the Capitol this week, including one that threatens to challenge public power’s primacy in the state, and two others that would drastically change the industry. LB 660 would permit private energy developers to market and sell electricity to Nebraskans. [Omaha World-Herald]

Nebraska wind turbine (Photo: Blamfoto, CC BY-SA, Wikimedia Commons)

Nebraska (Photo: Blamfoto, CC BY-SA, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Gains in the renewable energy sector helped boost fourth quarter GE’s profits substantially. GE said its earnings during the fourth quarter increased to about $3.5 billion, against the $2.6 billion reported during the same period last year. The company’s renewable energy sector saw total revenues increase 29% to $2.5 billion. [Gephardt Daily]

¶ In a time of premature nuclear plant closures, lawmakers in Connecticut once again say they are willing to bring nuclear power into the mix along with renewable power sources in bidding for contracts. In question is the fate of the Millstone Nuclear Power Plant in Waterford. [Nuclear Street – Nuclear Power Plant News, Jobs, and Careers]

Milford nuclear plant

Milford nuclear plant

¶ While President Donald Trump has termed climate change and global warming as a fake issue created by China, lawmakers in California have different opinion about the issue. California has set an ambitious target of 40% reduction in greenhouse gases by year 2030 aiming at doing its bit for saving the climate. [PerfScience]

¶ Scientists, environmentalists and concerned citizens were quick to notice that there is no longer any mention of climate change on the new White House website. It is a significant departure from how the site looked Friday morning. The site says the new president will “embrace the shale oil and gas revolution.” [Los Angeles Times]

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January 20 Energy News

January 20, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Donald Trump sees the future in coal. China sees the future in renewables. Who’s making the safer bet?” • In Donald Trump’s vision of America, the flagging coal industry is revived. China is meanwhile moving sharply in the opposite direction, with huge new investments in renewable energy, creating 13 million new jobs. [PRI]

Coal plant with wind turbines in the background (Photo: Bert Kaufmann, from Roermond, Netherlands, Wikimedia Commons)

Coal plant with wind turbines in the background (Photo: Bert Kaufmann from Roermond, Netherlands, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Shift to ‘base-cost’ renewables: 10 predictions for 2017” • At the start of 2017, it is once again easy to list the potential storms that might disrupt the smooth sailing of the good ship clean energy. First and foremost are the potentially tempestuous consequences of Donald Trump’s arrival in the White House. [RenewEconomy]

World:

¶ Emerging energy markets are expected to add nearly 81 GW of stationary energy storage capacity by 2025 to today’s 1.9 GW of non-hydro energy storage installations, according to Navigant Research. An amount coming to 52.3 GW, about 65% of the new energy storage capacity, will be deployed in East Asia and the Pacific. [SeeNews Renewables]

Storage battery (Photo: Portland General Electric, CC BY-SA)

Storage battery (Photo: Portland General Electric, CC BY-SA)

¶ India’s Minister of State with Independent Charge for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines, Piyush Goyal, made a powerful statement for all nations in the wake of Donald Trump’s rise to power in the United States. India is not going to pull back its efforts even if another country (like the USA) falls behind. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Germany added 818 MW of new offshore wind capacity in 2016 bringing the total to over 4.1 GW, according to research provided by Deutsche WindGuard. Some 156 turbines were connected to the grid last year, bringing the total to 947 machines, and there are 21 more, totaling 123 MW, that were built but still waiting to be grid-tied. [reNews]

Riffgat offshore wind farm (Credit: EWE)

Riffgat offshore wind farm (Credit: EWE)

¶ Moixa, Northern Powergrid, and Energise Barnsley in the UK plan to demonstrate how clusters of home batteries could add capacity on the electricity network and enable more homes to install solar panels. In a £250,000 trial, Moixa lithium-ion batteries would be installed in 40 homes and linked in a virtual power plant. [domain-B]

¶ The Scottish Government has targeted a 66% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2032, achieved through boosting low carbon heat generation, an increase in the number of low emissions cars, and a push to restore peatland. The plan would decarbonize the electricity sector, and 80% of domestic heat would be low-carbon. [Holyrood.com]

Wind turbines - credit: Fotolia

Wind turbines – credit: Fotolia

¶ A village in southern Sweden is set to become the first energy self-sufficient settlement in the country thanks to a trial of a new local energy system. A combination of wind power and solar cells already present in the area will be added to with a battery and renewable-powered reserve generator provided by energy company Eon. [The Local Sweden]

US:

¶ Representatives of Vermont’s solar industry are for the most part looking to the future with cautious optimism, hoping that the established nature of the no-longer-novel industry will serve as a bulwark against policies that the administration of President Donald Trump, with its skeptical view of renewable energy, might impose. [Vermont Biz]

Norwich-based Solaflect solar project (Solaflect photo)

Norwich-based Solaflect solar project (Solaflect photo)

¶ The California Air Resources Board released a soup-to-nuts review of its Advanced Clean Car program today. The 658-page report confirms that the popular program, which establishes smog-forming and carbon pollution limits for new cars and trucks, can be met on time, with known technologies, and at reasonable cost. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The US transport sector is emitting more carbon dioxide than power generation for the first time since the 1970s, according to data from the Energy Information Administration. A shift away from burning coal to cleaner natural gas and renewable sources has seen power sector emissions trend downwards since 2007. [Climate Home]

(Source: US EIA, Monthly Energy Review)

Please click on the image to enlarge it (Source: US EIA)

¶ The President-elect’s nominee to head up the EPA, Scott Pruitt, faced some tough questioning in his senate confirmation hearing but remained staunchly intent on restricting and minimizing the role of the EPA. Mr Pruitt has been an outspoken critic of the agency and has out-and-out denied that climate change is even happening. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Hudson River Sloop Clearwater and several co-petitioners filed in Supreme Court a challenge to the recently enacted mandatory 12-year nuclear subsidy in New York. It is expected to cost the state’s ratepayers over $7 billion. They argue that the PSC did not follow the law when it enacted the nuclear subsidy and that the amount was unjustified. [Mid-Hudson News]

Soon to be closed Indian Point (Photo from the Clearwater)

Soon to be closed Indian Point (Photo from the Clearwater)

¶ North Carolina state legislative leaders have asked the Trump administration to either kill or require major changes to a nearly completed wind farm, which they said will interfere with the operation of a military radar installation. The Pentagon disagrees and says the project does not pose a threat to national security. [Journal Gazette and Times-Courier]

¶ At his confirmation hearing, Energy secretary nominee Rick Perry fiercely defended the mission of the DOE and said he now believes in human-caused climate change. Perry has previously been steadfast in his support of the fossil fuels industry, and until the hearing, expressed doubts about established climate science. [Climate Central]

 

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January 19 Energy News

January 19, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Global warning: live from the climate-change frontline as Trump becomes president” • If global warming has a canary in the mine, perhaps it’s the insurance industry. After all, they are the people who have to pay out when extreme weather events hit. And in Europe, they’ve been paying out more and more in recent years. [The Guardian]

Havoc (Photo: Laurent Dard / AFP / Getty Images)

Storm havoc (Photo: Laurent Dard / AFP / Getty Images)

World:

¶ Speaking at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, China’s President and chief climate change negotiator both spoke of their country’s readiness to take the lead role in combating global climate change. The negotiator said that China is willing to work with all countries to achieve economic restructuring. [CleanTechnica]

¶ AGL Energy Ltd, Australia’s No 2 energy retailer, said it will build a A$450 million ($338 million) wind farm as the first construction project for a new renewable energy-focused fund, backed by the government. The move marks a small step in the Australian energy industry’s push to expand in renewables. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Wind farm

Wind farm

¶ According to several reports translating an announcement from the Chinese National Energy Administration, China connected 34.24 GW of new solar PV capacity to the country’s grid in 2016, an increase of 126% on the installations of the previous year. This brings China’s cumulative solar capacity up to 77.42 GW. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The French power utility EDF plans to boost its activities in Morocco with a view to support the kingdom’s energy transition and economic development, its CEO said. Renewables arm EDF Energies Nouvelles is currently working on a 150-MW wind power project, alongside partner Japanese trader Mitsui & Co. [SeeNews Renewables]

The 301-MW Tarfaya wind farm

The 301-MW Tarfaya wind farm

¶ Queensland’s Western Downs Regional Council has approved the largest solar energy project in the region to date, one that will create 400 local jobs during the construction phase. Covering 540 hectares, the 300-MW solar farm will generate an estimated 640,000 MWh of electricity per annum, enough to power about 110,000 homes. [Energy Matters]

¶ The city of Melbourne wants to use solar energy to power its tram network. Its government wants to build a 75-MW plant in regional Victoria. The state’s minister for energy, environment and climate change said the government plans to open tenders for a large scale solar plant to be completed by the end of 2018. [Business Insider Australia]

Melbourne (Photo: Scott Barbour / Getty Images)

Melbourne (Photo: Scott Barbour / Getty Images)

¶ No new nuclear power projects were approved by China in 2016. Just one nuclear power unit launched operations in 2016. As of September 2016, 33 operating nuclear power units had generated little more than 3% of the country’s total electricity production, well below the global average of 10%, a Chinese website reports. [gbtimes]

¶ Ukraine has received 39 applications for land in Chernobyl from local and international companies interested in building solar parks there, according to Bloomberg, which citied the natural resources minister. Since the nuclear disaster there, land is cheap, the solar resource is good and the transmission capacity is ready for reuse. [SeeNews Renewables]

Chernobyl, Ukraine (Author: Stefan Krasowski)

Chernobyl, Ukraine (Author: Stefan Krasowski)

US:

¶ Swedish furniture giant Ikea announced that they finished installing solar panels at their new Renton, Washington location, creating the largest rooftop solar installation in the state. The solar array has 3,268 panels covering 244,000 square-feet and will produce roughly 1.3 million kWh of electricity every year. [Seattle Globalist]

¶ The US Interior Department and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management are planning to offer 122,405 acres off Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in a commercial wind lease sale in March 2017. Nine companies have been qualified to bid in the lease sale for development of approximately 1.5 GW of offshore wind capacity. [Energy Business Review]

Kitty Hawk (Photo: US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management)

Kitty Hawk (Photo: US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management)

¶ The path has been cleared for Amtrak’s renovation plans for the New York City rail lines to get federal funding. The Gateway Program Development Corporation board reportedly voted to put the first phase of the project “onto the federal emerging projects roster,” so it can apply for around $6 billion in low-interest loans. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Federal Bureau of Land Management has given the green light to the Power Company of Wyoming’s 1.5-GW Chokecherry Sierra Madre wind farm, the first of the 3-GW project’s two phases. The bureau has issued environmental approval for the construction of 500 turbines and associated facilities in Carbon County, Wyoming. [reNews]

Wind turbine in Wyoming (Image: Power Company of Wyoming)

Wind turbine in Wyoming (Image: Power Company of Wyoming)

¶ A New York State utility has concluded negotiations on a power purchase agreement for Deepwater Wind’s 90-MW South Fork offshore wind project. New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has urged the Long Island Power Authority board to approve the 15-turbine project, which is to be located 30 miles southeast of Montauk. [reNews]

¶ Renewable Energy Systems has announced the “substantial completion” of the 198-MW Bluestem Wind Project in Beaver County, Oklahoma. The project has 60 Vestas V117-3.3 MW turbines, which are expected to generate approximately 845,000 MWh per year – enough electricity to power 77,000 US homes. [North American Windpower]

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January 18 Energy News

January 18, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Are feed-in tariffs going out of style?” • Feed-in tariffs helped to initiate a surge of renewable energy growth in many markets, but there are signs that the stock of the support mechanism is starting to fall. How and why are countries replacing feed-in tariffs, and is there a place for them in the energy markets of the future? [Power Technology]

Wind farm at sunset

Wind farm at sunset

Science and Technology:

¶ Sustainable Innovations, Inc is developing an electrochemical system that addresses multiple challenges and opportunities in the energy supply marketplace. The system converts waste CO2 and H2O to methane fuel. This is nearly identical to natural gas and can be stored or transported in existing natural gas pipelines. [Hydrocarbon Engineering]

World:

¶ The global wind turbine market is expected to increase from $76.54 billion in 2015 to $81.14 billion in 2019, before declining to $71.21 billion in 2020, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData. The report said the wind energy sector will be dominated by China, accounting to 26% of the market in 2020. [Energy Business Review]

Wind turbine (Photo: dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Wind turbine (Photo: dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

¶ The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority and Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company Masdar will begin building the 800-MW Phase 3 of the Dh 50 billion ($13.6 billion) Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park at the end of this month. The project’s power contracted under a power purchase agreement at 2.99¢/kWh. [Gulf Digital News]

¶ The Ukraine is focusing increasingly on the expansion of solar energy. According to a report presented by the expert board of the 6th International Conference on Exhibition Solar Energy Industry in Central and Eastern Europe, 54 new solar energy projects are planned to be completed by the end of this year, adding 488 MW of solar capacity. [pv magazine]

Solar array (activ solar flickr)

Solar array (activ solar flickr)

¶ Gatwick Airport has become the first UK airport to join the RE100 renewable electricity alliance and says it is on course to become carbon neutral by this Spring. The South East airport says the move heralds its transition to becoming an entirely carbon neutral operation after it started purchasing 100% renewable energy in 2013. [Bdaily]

¶ The first Siemens 6-MW turbine is supplying electricity from the 402-MW Veja Mate offshore wind farm in the German North Sea, two months ahead of schedule. A further 66 turbines are to be installed and commissioned with completion expected by the middle of 2017. Installations are by Fred Olsen Windcarrier jack-up Bold Tern and Seajacks Scylla. [reNews]

Seajacks Scylla (Image: Veja Mate)

Seajacks Scylla (Image: Veja Mate)

¶ Plans to resume operations at the Onagawa nuclear power plant’s No 2 reactor have taken a hit, as the building sustained 1,130 cracks in the walls and lost an estimated 70% of structural rigidity in the massive 2011 earthquake. Tohoku Electric Power Co revealed the extent of the damage at a Nuclear Regulation Authority review. [Asahi Shimbun]

US:

¶ University of California, Davis has been named the world’s most sustainable university by the University of Indonesia’s annual GreenMetric ranking. The study assessed 516 colleges
and universities in 74 countries, taking a close look at green policies and practices as well as research and education on sustainability. [The Sacramento Press]

LEED Platinum-certified Gallagher Hall (Photo by Steven Tyler / CC Flickr)

LEED Platinum-certified Gallagher Hall
(Photo by Steven Tyler / CC Flickr)

¶ Worldwide, commercial production of seaweed for food is a growing business. Now the DOE is taking a different approach for the US to get in on the action, with a particular focus on converting seaweed to carbon-neutral biofuel and other high value products. Advantages include no use of land, fresh water, or fertilizer. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The city of Las Vegas is now home to the first self-driving, all-electric shuttle service on public roads in the US, according to recent reports. The new electric, autonomous shuttle service is the result of a collaboration between the shuttle manufacturer Navya, the fleet logistics provider Keolis, and the city of Las Vegas. [CleanTechnica]

Navya Shuttle Las Vegas

Navya Shuttle in Las Vegas

¶ The Vermont Technology Council and the Burlington Electric Department announced the formation of an exploratory team to assess the potential for a Vermont energy startup accelerator – PowerUp Vermont – to help businesses focused on innovating in the power industry and driving the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. [vtdigger.org]

¶ The UCLA Sustainable Los Angeles Grand Challenge has awarded its second round of competitive research grants this month, providing $1 million to eight new projects, led by UCLA researchers, who will study self-driving cars, improve ways to capture and distribute solar power, map wild mammals in urban LA, and more. [UCLA Newsroom]

Downtown Los Angeles (Photo: Mark Esguerra)

Downtown Los Angeles (Photo: Mark Esguerra)

¶ Enel Green Power North America has signed agreements with three separate top-tier wind turbine manufacturers to support the future development of about 3.5 GW of new wind capacity in the US. The projects are not yet under construction. In 2017, the company is expected to complete 800 MW of new wind and solar capacity. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ Rick Perry, Trump’s pick to head the DOE, saw how energy development can be impacted by infrastructure when he was governor of Texas. Texas has a history of success producing energy. Infrastructure and markets have been keys to success, which made Texan the leader in wind energy. [The Equation: Blog of the Union of Concerned Scientists]

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January 17 Energy News

January 17, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Why the US Air Force wants to fly on renewable energy” • As electricity has become increasingly critical to the Air Force, so has resilience. This is true whether the mission is providing local relief during disasters, air support for forces across the globe, or reliable communications via satellites in Earth’s orbit. Climate change is a military problem. [GreenBiz]

US Air Force (Image: Shutterstock / razihusin)

US Air Force (Image: Shutterstock / razihusin)

¶ “Military’s shift away from oil clashes with Trump’s promises” While a growing number of military leaders, including the man Donald Trump picked to head the Defense Department, have declared global warming a national security threat, their position clashes with his vow to end policies that “undermine” fossil fuel producers. [Fayetteville Observer]

World:

¶ The Business & Sustainable Development Commission published a report calling for the world live up to the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, to support a world that is wealthier, more peaceful, and more fair. It was backed by more than 80 major companies in a joint letter to UK Prime Minister Theresa May. [The Independent]

Natural disasters triggered by climate change have doubled in frequency since the 1980s, the report warns AFP/Getty

Natural disasters triggered by climate change have doubled
in frequency since the 1980s, the report warns AFP/Getty

¶ According to the third edition of REthinking Energy, a report annually issued by the International Renewable Energy Agency, renewable energy is gaining ground “according to nearly every measure” and has become the preferred choice for “expanding, upgrading, and modernising power systems around the world.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ Vestas announced that it had received a record order for 450 MW worth of wind turbines, the largest ever for MHI Vestas Offshore Wind. The company will provide DONG Energy with 56 of its V164-8.0 MW wind turbines, which will be optimized using MAX Power to a maximum generating capacity of 8.3 MW. [CleanTechnica]

MHI Vestas turbine

MHI Vestas turbine

¶ Saudi Arabia will start soliciting bids in the next few weeks for the first phase of a “massive” renewable-energy program costing $30 billion to $50 billion, the Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said. OPEC’s biggest oil producer plans to generate close to 10 GW from renewables, primarily solar and wind power, by 2023. [Bloomberg]

¶ The water desalination plant in Ghantoot, Abu Dhabi is a cluster of five innovative pilot projects that aim to test new technology configurations. The latest uses electricity generated by a 30-KW off-grid solar PV system. This is important because 50% of a desalination plant’s lifetime costs come from energy consumption. [pv magazine]

Solar power for desalinization

Solar power for desalinization

¶ In India, solar power tariffs in competitive auctions have collapsed from ₹12.76/kWh (19¢/kWh) in 2010 to ₹3.0/kWh (4.4¢/kWh) in 2016. At the same time, industrial electricity tariffs have increased consistently. Now solar power has achieved grid parity, and industries are looking to invest in their own solar power projects. [CleanTechnica]

¶ As China is weaned off coal, its energy regulator has ordered eleven provinces to stop developing over 100 coal-fired power projects, including some that are under construction, Caixin reported. Their a total installed capacity is over 100 GW, and about ¥430 billion ($62.30 billion) has been invested in them. [Thomson Reuters Foundation]

A migrant worker steps out of his accommodation in an area next to a coal power plant in Beijing on a smog-free day. (Reuters / Damir Sagolj)

A migrant worker steps out of his accommodation
in Beijing on a smog-free day. (Reuters / Damir Sagolj)

¶ The City of Cape Town is looking to move away from merely being an energy distributor, as it wants to pursue its own power generation, especially with renewables. The South African utility Eskom and the renewables community are embroiled in a bitter dispute about the cost of renewables for meeting the country’s energy demand. [ITWeb]

¶ Enel SpA and the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority agreed to share knowledge about smart grids and network digitalization and to do research “for the benefit of the clean and renewable energy sector.” The partners will organise events and meetings to discuss the most important issues in the energy sector and seek solutions. [SeeNews Renewables]

Solar power in Dubai (Author: alixanaeuphoria CC BY SA)

Solar power for Dubai (Author: alixanaeuphoria CC BY SA)

US:

¶ US energy provider MidAmerican Energy has announced two more wind projects in Iowa amounting to 338 MW. They are part of the larger previously announced 2-GW Wind XI economic development project, which consists of a series of wind farms. In aggregate, the Wind XI project is the largest in the history of Iowa. [CleanTechnica]

¶ In 2016, Xcel Energy’s 19 hydropower plants in Wisconsin generated almost 1.2 million MWh of electricity, breaking the previous record of just over 1.1 million MWh set in 1996. The record translates to an average hourly production of 137 MW, which serves the electric needs of about 137,000 households. [Electric Light & Power]

Hydropower dam

Hydropower dam

¶ Amazon Web Services may soon have more than 1 GW of power capacity supporting its huge US-East data center cluster, according to a Greenpeace analysis of the company’s energy use. The company had 500 MW of capacity in a 2015 analysis, but has received permission for generators to support another 560 MW. [Data Center Frontier]

¶ Employment in the US wind energy industry is higher than that at nuclear, natural gas, coal, or hydroelectric power plants according to the DOE. The report also says more growth in the industry is possible, with the potential to create 380,000 jobs by 2030. The DOE report validates job figures from the AWEA. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

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January 16 Energy News

January 16, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ The National Wind Technology Center is putting a new wave energy converter through a months-long series of mechanical and electrical tests. If it seems like someone got their renewable energy technologies mixed up, guess again. The wave device, dubbed StingRAY, shares a key design concept with wind turbines. [CleanTechnica]

Ocean energy (Columbia Power Technologies)

Ocean energy (Columbia Power Technologies)

¶ Battery storage could increase from 2.2 GW in 2015 to 250 GW capacity globally by 2030, according to a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency. REthinking Energy 2017, now in its third edition, says the largest energy storage markets are expected to be North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. [solarserver.com]

World:

¶ The International Renewable Energy Agency and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development announced the winners of the fourth round of joint funding for transformative renewable projects in developing nations. With nearly all renewable energy eligible for funding, solar PVs and micro-grids were clearly the winning technologies. [pv magazine]

The Marshall Islands will have a PV based microgrid. (Photo: Hendrik Scholz aka. Hscholz, Wikimedia Commons)

The Marshall Islands will have a PV based microgrid.
(Photo: Hendrik Scholz aka. Hscholz, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ In Lebanon, the average cost of installing the bigger hybrid or on-grid batteryless Solar PV systems dropped from $5.3 per watt in 2010 to $1.7 per watt in 2015, a decline of 68%. Solar PVs are now cost-competitive while filling the supply-demand gap for electricity, which reaches upwards of 1,500 MW during the summer. [Zawya]

¶ Northland has been developing a 400-MW pumped storage project that takes the form of an old flooded mine, sitting on a plateau just outside of Marmora, Ontario. The roughly $900-million project pumps water up into the mine pit when there is extra energy, and then lets it run out through a turbine when more energy is needed. [Huddle Today]

Pumped storage (Image: The Canadian Press)

Northland hydro plant (Image: The Canadian Press)

¶ Ikea has said it won’t spend a single penny of its £524 million ($633 million) green fund in Britain until the government makes it easier to invest in renewable energy. In a rare attack on policies of a government, Ikea declared it would have to go elsewhere to finance projects, including wind farms, due to the UK’s “political context.” [Huffington Post UK]

¶ A new study by Australia climate scientists found that over
90% of people living in rural and regional areas of the country feel they are already having to cope with the impacts of climate change. Many people said they were adapting by introducing renewable energy solutions into their work and everyday life. [RenewEconomy]

A picnic at sunset in Australia  (Photo: Sharyn.carr, Wikimedia Commons)

A picnic at sunset near Ayers Rock in Australia
(Photo: Sharyn.carr, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ French energy giant Engie, the owner of the soon-to-be-closed 1,500-MW Hazelwood brown coal generator in Victoria, has put out a call for proposals for large scale solar projects in Australia. The tender calls for proposals to be submitted to the company’s newly-created Engie Renewables Australia division, by February 10. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Germany imported 55 million tonnes of hard coal in 2016, 4% less than the 57.5 million in the previous year, preliminary data from a coal importers’ lobby showed. A forecast in the summer of 2016 had said imports would remain stable. The sharper than anticipated fall in usage reflected reduced use by power stations. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]

German coal-burning power plant, with wind turbines (Photo: Crux, Wikimedia Commons)

German coal-burning power plant and wind turbines
(Photo: Crux, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ In Australia, the Turnbull government rejected­ former prime minister Tony Abbott’s call for abolishing mandatory renewable energy targets. The Energy Minister said the Coalition’s focus should a threat to energy security it sees in Labor’s policy of raising the share of energy provided­ by renewable sources to 50% by 2030. [The Australian]

US:

¶ King County Metro Transit, the public transit authority for King County, Washington, will be acquiring 120 new all-electric buses by the year 2020, going by a recent announcement from King County Executive Dow Constantine. Up to 73 of the buses will be made by the US-based firm Proterra at a cost of up to $55 million. [CleanTechnica]

Electric bus (Image: King County)

Electric bus (Image: King County)

¶ The US EPA issued a notice of violation to auto manufacturer Fiat Chrysler Automobiles over alleged violations of the Clean Air Act pertaining to the installation, use, and failure to disclose of engine management software in a large number of vehicles sold in the US, according to a press release issued by the EPA. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Last week a number of federal agencies received accolades from the Obama Administration, for awarding 340 energy contracts since 2011 involving everything from new heating and cooling equipment to LED bulbs, “smart” building systems, and renewables. As a result of these actions, taxpayers will save $8 billion over the next 18 years. [CleanTechnica]

Solar canopies (photo via Whitehouse.gov, by Joe Garrido)

Solar canopies (photo via Whitehouse.gov, by Joe Garrido)

¶ Florida Power & Light has completed three 74.5-MW solar parks in that state. FPL’s total solar installed capacity is now 335 MW. FPL plans to install four more 74.5-MW solar parks in Florida this year, at permitted sites in Alachua, Putnam and DeSoto counties. Construction is expected to start as early as
the first quarter of 2017. [reNews]

¶ Some states, like Illinois, have thrown a lifeline to nuclear power, subsidizing struggling plants, lest they be replaced by carbon-spewing natural gas. In the case of the Indian Point plant, however, New York is betting the hole created by Indian Point’s closure will be filled with solar, both utility-scale and distributed, wind, and hydropower. [RenewEconomy]

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January 15 Energy News

January 15, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “The Totally Insane Carbon Bubble” • Natural gas and the hydrogen made from it are the fossil industry’s last gasp. The industry is begging for a lifeline in order to live in gold-plated castles another generation or so. The US housing bubble? Child’s play. The carbon bubble? This is big, and scary, and ready to take a lot of casualties with it. [CleanTechnica]

Carbon bubble

Carbon bubble

Science and Technology:

¶ For international experts stationed at a base in Antarctica, the frozen southern continent is a good gauge of climate change. “When I used to come to Antarctica in the 1990s, it never used to rain,” said Rodolfo Sanchez, director of the Argentine Antarctic Institute. “Now it rains regularly – instead of snowing.” [The Guardian]

¶ Nicknamed America’s Alps, Washington State’s North Cascades is an area of soaring beauty. But it is here that you can also see the threats facing the parks in their next 100 years. They are fighting a war on three fronts: severe underfunding, climate change, and a lack of diversity and youth among their visitors. [The Guardian]

Grand Teton National Park (Photo: NPS, Wikimedia Commons)

Grand Teton National Park (Photo: NPS, Wikimedia Commons)

World:

¶ Representatives of over 150 countries gathered in Abu Dhabi at the 7th Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). “Plummeting costs and rapid innovation have spurred investments that are positioning renewable energy solutions at the centre of energy discussion today,” said IRENA’s Director-General. [gulfnews.com]

¶ The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development signed a $15-million concessionary loan agreement for a project developing an innovative new hybrid solar and wind generation project in the Caribbean state of Antigua and Barbuda. The initial 10-MW project, rising to 25 MW in subsequent phases, will bring clean energy to 90,000 people. [Trade Arabia]

Antigua's wind power may soon be updated.  (Photo by Ragingwhitebuffalo, Wikimedia Commons)

Antigua’s wind power may soon be updated.
(Photo by Ragingwhitebuffalo, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The Chief Minister of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province welcomed a Danish government initiative aiming to transfer technology to the province for promotion of agriculture and renewable energy. The chief minister talked with the Danish Ambassador, who met him at Chief Minister Secretariat, in Peshawar. [The Nation]

¶ The South African Renewable Energy Council has accused Eskom, the country’s electric utility, of distorting the facts of renewable power costs and misleading the public to serve its bid for nuclear power. It says government’s decision to invest in a renewable power program will benefit its economy. [South African Broadcasting Corporation]

African wind farm

African wind farm

¶ Apple® today announced a significant commitment by a major Chinese supplier, Lens Technology, to run its Apple operations on entirely renewable energy. This commitment is combined with zero waste compliance from all final assembly sites. Apple is making efforts to help China’s transition to a new green economy. [Satellite PR News]

¶ Hayleys Group PLC and Windforce Pvt Ltd jointly announced commissioning a solar power plant in Sri Lanka. The 10-MW solar plant has a tracking system to ensure a 20% higher yield than a fixed tilt system. The plant could contribute 22,000 MWh to the national grid, enough electricity for roughly 10,000 homes. [The Sunday Times Sri Lanka]

Hayleys 10-MW solar plant

Hayleys 10-MW solar plant

¶ Siemens received an order from the energy provider SWW Wunsiedel GmbH to supply and install a battery storage system, which will have lithium-ion batteries with a capacity of more than 6 MW. It will be connected to the distribution grid, and will enable the company to participate in the primary control reserve market. [Satellite PR News]

¶ In 2016, the cost of imported energy in Jordan was about 10% of the gross domestic product while in 2014 the ratio was close to 18%, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, said. Speaking at IRENA’s meeting in Abu Dhabi, the country’s Energy Minister Ibrahim Saif said renewable energy “is no longer a luxury,” with its lower costs. [Jordan Times]

Tafila Wind Farm in Jordan (Photo: Makeandtoss, Wikimedia Commons)

Tafila Wind Farm (Photo: Makeandtoss, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Siemens has successfully entered the offshore wind market in Belgium with a first order for the 309-MW Rentel wind project, from Rentel NV. Siemens will supply, install, commission and service 42 wind turbines. The output of the wind plant will be sufficient to supply power for about 300,000 average Belgian households. [Satellite PR News]

US:

¶ California’s southeastern desert has an abundance of clean energy boiling just beneath the surface. In it, two start-up firms aim to build the nation’s largest geothermal power plant and a mining operation. The Salton Sea area is one of the world’s largest sources of geothermal energy, but also has abundant lithium carbonate. [Los Angeles Times]

Geothermal energy forms mud mounds near the Salton Sea. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Geothermal energy forms mud mounds near the Salton Sea.
(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

¶ Microsoft Corp announced its largest purchases of wind energy to date, with agreements for 178 MW of wind power from Kansas and 59 MW from Wyoming. In combination, the agreements add 237 MW of wind energy to Microsoft’s investment portfolio for wind energy projects in the US, bringing the total to more than 500 MW. [Satellite PR News]

¶ According to the EIA, in October 2016 residential electricity prices in Hawaii were 27.54¢/kWh, and on the island of Kaua’i, rates are 32.78¢/kWh, starting this year. Hawaii is the first state in the US where rooftop solar has become an almost standard item on homes. They are even put in places unthinkable elsewhere, facing north or in shady areas. [nwitimes.com]

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January 14 Energy News

January 14, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Why This Nuclear Engineer Says Every Nuke Plant in the US Should Be Shut Down Yesterday” • The good – the very good – energy news is that the Indian Point nuclear power plants will be closed. But the bad – the very bad – energy news is that there are still many promoters in industry and government still pushing nuclear power. [Common Dreams]

Sunset at the defunct Big Rock Point nuclear plant (Photo by John Hritz, Wikimedia Commons)

Sunset at Michigan’s defunct Big Rock Point nuclear plant
(Photo by John Hritz, Wikimedia Commons)

Science and Technology:

¶ Ticks are devastating the moose populations in Maine and New Hampshire. They attach themselves to a single moose by the tens of thousands. The adult females can expand to the size of a grape and engorge themselves with up to four milliliters of blood. With warmer winter temperatures, they kill 70% of the states’ moose calves. [The Boston Globe]

¶ More than three million people die from the effects of air pollution every year. But some increasingly high-tech solutions may soon help us all breathe more easily. Various approaches have emerged, ranging range from photo-catalytic converters to low-voltage electrostatic collectors. And pigeons help keep track of pollution levels. [BBC]

Catalytic converter screen (Credit: Elegant Embellishments)

Catalytic converter screen (Credit: Elegant Embellishments)

World:

¶ The US EPA said it is investigating diesel emissions software used in 104,000 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Ram trucks, and the UK Department for Transport asked for details as a matter of urgency. Meanwhile, French investigators plan to probe Renault over suspected cheating in diesel emissions tests. [BBC]

¶ A report from the International Renewable Energy Agency describes the technical renewable energy potential of South East Europe as “vast.” It comes to 740 GW, of which 532 GW is wind and 120 solar. The report also says, “127 GW of this overall renewable energy potential could be implemented in a cost-competitive way today.” [CleanTechnica]

Bulgarian PV array (Photo: Edal Anton Lefterov Wikimedia Commons)

Bulgarian PV (Photo: Edal Anton Lefterov, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ McPhy Energy, which designs, manufactures and integrates hydrogen equipment for the energy and industrial sectors, will support Energiedienst to set up a green hydrogen production facility at the site of its Wyhlen hydroelectric power plant. It will supply the plant with a 1-MW hydrogen generation unit by the end of 2017. [gasworld]

¶ Uzbekenergo JSC, an energy company in Uzbekistan, and China’s Zhuhai Singyes Green Building Technology Co Ltd signed a contract worth $147 million for the design, construction and operation of a solar PV plant with capacity of 100 MW in Samarkand region of Uzbekistan, the country’s energy company told Trend. [Trend News Agency]

More solar power will be installed in Uzbekistan.

More solar power will be installed in Uzbekistan.

¶ In Sri Lanka, the Public Utilities Commission warns that if sufficient rainfall is not received, hydro power can only be generated until the end of February. Due to the dry spell the country is experiencing, 85% of the energy requirement is met through Thermal Power Plants. Hydro power generation has already dropped to 15%. [Newsfirst]

¶ Tata Power Renewable Energy Ltd has commissioned two renewable energy projects in India, a 36 MW of a 100-MW wind farm under construction at Andhra Pradesh and a 49-MW solar plant in Tamil Nadu. The two projects raise the total renewable energy capacity of the company to 1,876 MW. [Energy Live News – Energy Made Easy]

Wind farm in Tamil Nadu (Photo: Raj, Wikimedia Commons)

Wind farm in Tamil Nadu (Photo: Raj, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ In his last presidential speech, President Obama urged bolder action on climate change, saying, “We’ve led the world to an agreement that has the promise to save this planet. But without bolder action, our children won’t have time to debate the existence of climate change. They’ll be busy dealing with its effects.” [Biofuels International Magazine]

¶ When SunCommon, based in Waterbury, Vermont, hosted an event in which Governor Phil Scot spoke of Vermont’s energy future, it was showing its Solar Canopy, a timber-frame structure topped with enough solar panels to power a home. Many roofs can’t bear the weight of the panels, and the Solar Canopy offers a solution. [Stowe Today]

Solar canopy (Photo: Mike Polhamus / VTDigger)

Solar canopy (Photo: Mike Polhamus / VTDigger)

¶ New York State is to provide $360 million for eleven new renewable projects. The planned projects include two wind farms, one solar array, seven hydroelectric plants and a fuel
cell facility. Together they will generate around 260 MW of electricity, enough to power more than 110,000 homes. [Energy Live News – Energy Made Easy]

¶ While it may be hard to believe, nine Wyoming lawmakers introduced a bill to forbid utilities from providing any electricity to the state that comes from large-scale wind or solar energy projects by 2019. Allowed resources would be coal, natural gas, hydroelectric, nuclear power, oil, and net-metered individual resources. [Digital Journal]

Wind farm (Photo: Jürgen from Sandesneben, Germany, Creative Commons - Attribution-NoDerivs)

Wind farm (Photo: Jürgen from Sandesneben,
Germany, Creative Commons – Attribution-NoDerivs)

¶ The Natural Resources Defense Council recently examined the relationship between work, health, climate, climate health, and Latinos. The report informs that Latinos are supportive of the renewable energy transition (just like almost everyone else), and particularly as a means to better employment and improved health conditions. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Arizona State University and PayPal recently joined on a deal to buy renewable energy from the new Red Rock Solar Plant. Both ASU and PayPal look to reduce their carbon footprints. PayPal will be able to become more sustainable, and ASU will expand its solar energy sourcing beyond the solar collectors on campus. [Arizona Business Daily]

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January 13 Energy News

January 13, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ In 2017, a high-tech ocean vessel powered by the sun, wind
and sea water will start a 6 year journey, visiting 50 countries. The vessel is powered by 130 square meters of solar panels, two vertical axis wind turbines, two electric motors and equipment for electrolysis, which will use sea water to create hydrogen fuel. [Energy Matters]

Energy Observer (Image: Energy Observer)

Energy Observer (Image: Energy Observer)

¶ According to the climate models used by researchers at UMass Amherst, the 48 contiguous US states are projected to cross the 2° C warming threshold about 10 to 20 years earlier than the global mean annual temperature. The Northeast is projected to warm by 3° C (5.2° F) by the time global warming reaches 2° C (3.6° F). [Fusion]

World:

¶ Senvion has signed a contract with Innogy Renewables UK
Ltd to supply 16 wind turbines from its 2-MW series for the Mynydd y Gwair wind farm in South Wales. The project will have an installed capacity of 32.8 MW, and will generate enough electricity annually to power more than 22,000 average UK households. [Windpower Engineering]

Senvion wind turbine

Senvion wind turbine

¶ About 50,000 lives a year could be saved by 2030 if no new coal-fired power plants are built in Southeast Asia, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan, according to a study from researchers at Harvard University and Greenpeace International. Some 70,000 deaths could result annually, up from about 20,000 deaths now, Greenpeace said. [Bloomberg]

¶ Two Chinese companies plan to spend $1 billion building a giant solar farm on land contaminated by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine, Climate News Network reports. The two companies plan to build a 1-GW solar power plant on 2,500 hectares of land within the exclusion zone to the south of the Chernobyl plant. [The Guardian]

Solar plant in Belarus (Photo: Viktor Drachev / TASS)

Solar plant in Belarus (Photo: Viktor Drachev / TASS)

¶ Hartek Power has completed solar power projects of 270 MW spread across the Indian states of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka in the first three quarters of this fiscal, taking its total solar projects capacity under EPC contracts to 528 MW. As of March 31, 2016, it had completed 258 MW of solar projects. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ Wind power delivered a record 2815 MW in Northern Ireland and Ireland on 11 January, providing 60% of all the electricity generated on the island, according to System Operator for Northern Ireland. The previous high was 2683 MW set on 28 January 2016. The system operator is working to gain expertise at this level of integration. [reNews]

Wind turbine (reNews image)

Wind turbine (reNews image)

¶ French utility company Engie is partnering with the National Renewable Energies Agency in Senegal to speed up development of renewable energy. Engie will provide professional training to local industries, carry out energy performance assessments for companies, and develop solar electric and hot water projects for individuals. [reNews]

¶ Swiss company New Energy Solutions will begin construction of four solar farms in Iran in March, with a combined capacity of 120 MW, as Iran remains solar’s ultimate unknown quantity. Upon completion of the construction phase, NES will own the projects, which will then be connected to Iran’s national grid by operator Tavanir. [pv magazine]

Tehran Sky (Credit: Hamed Saber via Flickr)

Tehran Sky (Credit: Hamed Saber via Flickr)

¶ A review into tidal lagoons, commissioned by the government of the UK, has given unequivocal backing to the technology and urges BEIS to agree a Contract for Difference for a 320-MW project at Swansea Bay. A large-scale project would cost around £0.50 per household per year over the first 60 years, the report found. [reNews]

US:

¶ New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s call for wind farms in Long Island waters earned rave reviews from environmental activists. Leaders from the regional energy and ecology sectors are cheering Cuomo’s call for the Long Island Power Authority to approve what would be the nation’s largest offshore wind farm. [Innovate Long Island]

Offshore wind farm (Deepwater image)

Offshore wind farm (Deepwater image)

¶ As part of Volkswagen’s plea bargain with the US authorities
on software the company put into its diesel vehicles to cheat on emissions tests, VW signed up to an agreed “Statement of Facts.” Because of this, the Justice Department has a very clear idea not only of what the company did wrong, but what it did to conceal the wrongdoing. [BBC]

¶ Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory will feature a giant 70-MW solar farm on the factory’s roof, the largest solar installation on a single rooftop in the world. Tesla’s goal is that the Gigafactory will be powered entirely with renewable energy. This installation will be more than seven times larger than the world’s next largest rooftop solar farm. [Yahoo News]

Tesla's Nevada Gigafactory

Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory

¶ Bills were introduced in the Minnesota Legislature to allow Xcel Energy to build a big power plant in Sherburne County, a project the Public Utilities Commission put on hold in October. Xcel wants to build a 786-MW natural gas-fired plant to replace some of the power lost when it closes two coal-fired plants there. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

¶ A New York firm says it can decommission the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant for far less money, and in much less time, than previously projected. But nuclear watchdogs of the Citizens Awareness Network say the “seductive” proposal needs intense scrutiny before regulators allow the deal to proceed. [Vermont Public Radio]

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January 12 Energy News

January 12, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Canada’s Vast Source of Climate Pollution May Go Bust” • The Canadian oil sands are one of the world’s most important sources of climate pollution, and they are America’s biggest source of imported oil. And they may be about to go bust. The reason is that oil prices need to be above $80 per barrel for mining oil sands to be profitable. [Climate Central]

Oil sands processing in Alberta. (Credit: Kris Krug / flickr)

Oil sands processing in Alberta. (Credit: Kris Krug / flickr)

¶ “If Present Trends Continue, China May Become a Sustainable Development Success Story. (Really!)” • This year has already been characterized by global political uncertainty – and waning confidence in US climate policy. Now China is posed to assume the role of world leader in climate diplomacy and clean-energy finance. [UN Dispatch]

¶ “Renewables Are a Rising Global Tide – and the US Better
Pay Attention” • If the US turns away from the rise of renewable energy, it will be fighting a tide on which others will ride high. Leading the surge will be China, which already has a huge advantage because of its current position at the front of the pack. [Triple Pundit]

A coastal wind farm in the Philippines

A coastal wind farm in the Philippines

World:

¶ Canadian utility Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp has found a new location for its 177-MW wind farm in Saskatchewan with the help of the local utility. The wind park will now seek approval to be built in the Blue Hills area in the southwest, Saskatchewan Power Corp said. The in-service date has been moved to 2020.
[SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Renewable energy solutions provider Suzlon Group said it
has won of 226.8 MW wind power project order from a leading independent power producer. The order consists of 108 units of 2.1 MW capacity. The project would be sited in Andhra Pradesh’s Anantapur district, and is to be completed by March of 2017. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Indian wind farm

Indian wind farm

¶ Canadian Energy announced its most recent innovation in renewable energy technology with the launch its latest release
of the Containerized Universal Battery technology. Designed and manufactured in Canada, CUB 2.0 will serve as a means to give power to isolated communities across the country and around the world. [Military Technologies]

¶ Clean energy investment worldwide fell by 18% to $287.5 billion last year due to sharp falls in renewable technology prices and less spending on projects by large markets China and Japan, a report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance said. Chinese investment in renewable energy was down 26% from its 2015 high. [Thomson Reuters Foundation]

Solar array on a pond in China (Reuters / Stringer)

Solar array on a pond in China (Reuters / Stringer)

¶ Unilever has announced a contract to use biomethane for heating five of its sites in the UK and Ireland. With electricity already coming from certified renewable sources, the purchase of a certified supply of biomethane means that Unilever says it has become carbon neutral (from energy sources) at these five sites. [CIWM Journal Online]

¶ Taiwan enacted a revised law to phase out nuclear power generation by 2025 and increase renewables, a considerable challenge for this resource-poor island. Departure from nuclear power was a campaign pledge of the Taiwanese president. The bill met with no strong opposition during deliberations in the Taiwanese parliament. [Asahi Shimbun]

日本語: 台湾第三原子力発電所 (Photo: Toach japan, Wikimedia Commons)

日本語: 台湾第三原子力発電所
(Photo: Toach japan, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ The latest step in Hawaii’s clean energy evolution will be the deployment of a 20-MW, 5-hour duration battery energy storage system paired with 28-MW of solar in Kaua’i to match peak demand. SolarCity and Tesla also have a project uniting solar with storage, a 52-MWh energy storage system at a 12-MW solar farm. [Energy Storage News]

¶ The Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook provides projections of domestic energy markets until 2050, and includes cases with different assumptions of macroeconomic growth, world oil prices, technological progress, and energy policies. It shows the US becoming a net exporter of fossil fuels. [Windpower Engineering]
(This shows information being provided to congress, but before you believe it, please compare it with the table and article linked at the December 12 geoharvey post: [Seeking Alpha].)

EIA Annual Energy Outlook Table

EIA Annual Energy Outlook Table

¶ A “groundbreaking study” from by the US Retail Industry Leaders Association and the Information Technology Industry Council ranked all 50 US states based on the ease with which some of America’s “most recognizable brands” are able to buy domestic renewable energy. It connects that ability with economic growth. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Hawaiian Electric Company, Hawaii’s dominant public utility, has a plan in place to achieve 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2050. But recently, the company said it foresees getting to that goal five years earlier than expected. In fact, HECO expects to provide 48% renewable power by 2020. [CleanTechnica]

Solar collectors in Hawaii (Photo: Xklaim, Wikimedia Commons)

Solar collectors in Hawaii (Photo: Xklaim, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Duke Energy has announced the site of its newest universal solar power plant, with which it will provide cleaner, smarter energy solutions for Florida customers. The new Suwannee Solar Facility will produce 8.8 MW of solar capacity, which is enough to power about 1,700 average homes, at its peak production. [Satellite PR News]

¶ Exxon Mobil has been ordered to hand over documents related to a Massachusetts investigation into whether it misled investors and the public about the impact of fossil fuels on the climate. The decision by a Suffolk Superior Court judge is a win for the state’s Attorney General, who is looking into possible deception on climate change. [News On 6]

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January 11 Energy News

January 11, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ Apple Inc is the most environment-friendly company in the world, according to a report from the non-profit Greenpeace Foundation. Apple retained the top spot for the third year in a row. Google and Facebook, Inc, also earned high marks from the non-profit for their efforts to cut down on greenhouse emissions. [Investopedia]

Drawing wind power

Drawing wind power

World:

¶ Volkswagen has agreed to a draft $4.3 billion settlement with US authorities over the emissions-rigging scandal. The German car maker also said it would plead guilty to breaking certain US laws. VW said it was in advanced discussions with authorities. The agreement has yet to be approved by VW’s management and supervisory board. [BBC]

¶ Solar energy has been identified as a potential low-cost and highly efficient means of providing electricity to those in off-grid remote areas, but a study has concluded that with little access to financial resources, new business models will be needed to make this happen. More than 1.2 billion people still have no access to electricity. [CleanTechnica]

Off-grid solar in Africa

Off-grid solar in Africa

¶ A report from a distinguished energy expert suggests that spending on renewable energy rather than nuclear power would result in around twice as much low carbon electricity being generated in Scotland. The report points out that based on the costs, the Scottish government would do better if it could fund its own renewable energy program. [Offshore Wind Journal]

¶ Imperial College London has partnered with the climate change charity 10:10 to investigate the use of track-side solar panels to power trains, the two organisations announced. The renewable traction power project will see university researchers look at connecting solar panels directly to the lines that provide power to trains. [The Guardian]

Increased renewable energy generation in the UK could significantly decarbonize train lines by 2050, according to 10:10. (Photo: Clynt Garnham / Alamy Stock Photo)

Train lines (Photo: Clynt Garnham / Alamy Stock Photo)

¶ A commercial farm in Kenya has become Africa’s first biogas-powered electricity producer to sell its surplus electricity to the national grid. The Gorge Farm Energy Park’s 2 MW of electricity provides the farm with sufficient surplus to meet the power needs of 5,000-6,000 rural homes, along with heat and fertilizer. [The Star, Kenya]

¶ The United Arab Emirates announced plans to invest 600 billion dirhams ($163 billion) in projects to generate almost half the country’s power needs from renewables. The UAE is a top oil exporter but has taken steps to reduce its dependency on fossil fuels to generate power, including building nuclear facilities. [Geo News, Pakistan]

UAE investing in solar power

UAE is investing in solar power.

US:

¶ A memo written by president-elect Donald Trump’s transition team entitled ‘What to expect from the Trump Administration’ reveals the future energy plans of the US, which amount to a “fossil fuel industry wish list”, according to industry watchdog the Center of Media and Democracy. The email lists fourteen goals. [PV-Tech]

¶ The Energy Information Administration expects 24 GW of new utility-scale power generation capacity additions for 2016, with renewables accounting for about 63% or 15 GW. Nearly 60% of the new renewables plants were scheduled to come online in the fourth quarter (Q4), including roughly 8.5 GW of wind and solar PVs. [SeeNews Renewables]

Wind farm in Idaho (Author: Blatant Views, CC BY-SA)

Wind farm in Idaho (Author: Blatant Views, CC BY-SA)

¶ Residents of Vermont’s capital city still have time to vote on what they feel would be the best way for their community to go “net zero.” There are five finalists for designs that would enable Montpelier to reduce its energy use through savings and the increased use of renewable sources of power. Voting ends Thursday. [SFGate]

¶ Great River Energy has agreed to buy the output of a new 300-MW wind project of NextEra Energy Resources LLC in North Dakota. The Emmons-Logan wind farm, with 133 GE turbines, will be located in Emmons and Logan counties and is scheduled to start construction in 2019. Completion is expected by the end of that year. [SeeNews Renewables]

GE wind turbine (Source: General Electric, all rights reserved)

GE wind turbine (Source: General Electric, all rights reserved)

¶ EDF Energies Nouvelles has commissioned four wind farms in the US with a combined capacity of 708.6 MW. The projects are the 225-MW Great Western facility in northeast Oklahoma, the 184-MW Kelly Creek scheme in northeast Illinois, the 174-MW Salt Fork and 125.6-MW Tyler Bluff wind farms both in north Texas. [reNews]

¶ At the 2017 State of the State Address, New York governor Andrew Cuomo proposed a commitment to develop up to 2.4 GW of offshore wind power in the Atlantic Ocean by 2030. He said this will prove critical to achieving the goal of meeting 50% of New York’s electricity needs with renewable sources by 2030.
[SeeNews Renewables]

Senvion 6.2M126 turbines (Source: Senvion SE 2014, all rights reserved)

Senvion turbines (Source: Senvion SE 2014, all rights reserved)

¶ A report by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory affirms findings of the 2015 DOE’s report, Wind Vision, which showed that a future in which wind provides 20% of US electricity in 2030 and 35% in 2050 is achievable and would have significant economic, energy security and health benefits for the nation. [Proud Green Building]

¶ The NRC has unveiled a letter showing that 17 of the country’s nuclear reactors have parts from Areva SA’s Le Creusot forge in France, which is under investigation for allegedly falsifying documents on the quality of its parts. The number of reactors was greater than the nine the NRC had previously disclosed. [Daily Mail]

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January 10 Energy News

January 10, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Obama warns Trump against quitting Paris climate deal” An article by President Barack Obama appeared in the journal Science. In it, he tells his successor that scrapping the UN’s 2015 climate pact would lead to economic and diplomatic harm, just as carbon emissions lead to environmental damage. Its text appears here. [Climate Home]

President Obama in the Oval Office (Photo: White House / Flickr)

President Obama in the Oval Office (Photo: White House / Flickr)

Science and Technology:

¶ Heavy rains hammered Northern California and Nevada over the weekend, causing floods, power outages, and evacuations. Such atmospheric river storms are nothing new. The West Coast gets 30% to 50% of its annual rainfall from them. But California’s atmospheric river storms are expected to get more frequent as the climate warms. [Grist]

World:

¶ The Green Climate Fund approved grants of $17 million to support the Asian Development Bank’s proposed Pacific Islands Renewable Energy Investment Program. The program involves Papua New Guinea, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Marshall Islands, the Cook Islands, Nauru, Samoa, and Tonga. [EMTV Online]

Samoan solar array

Samoan solar array

¶ Southern Solar Power Ltd, a subsidiary of US-based SunEdison in Bangladesh, will set up a 200-MW solar power plant in the country. The investment is estimated to be $300 million, and it would be the biggest solar generating plant in Bangladesh. The power will be sold to the Bangladesh Power Development Board. [The Daily Star]

¶ Plans for a pioneering tidal power lagoon in Swansea Bay are expected to be supported by a new government-commissioned report, potentially unlocking a multibillion-pound series of projects harnessing electricity from the rise and fall of the tide around the UK. The review had been seen as a way to kill off the project. [The Guardian]

Swansea Bay tidal lagoon (Artwork: Tidal Lagoon Power/PA)

Swansea Bay tidal lagoon (Artwork: Tidal Lagoon Power/PA)

¶ Tokyo-based Japan Asia Investment Co Ltd announced that it competed three solar PV plants with a combined capacity of 4.3 MW in Mie prefecture, Japan. The three plants were developed together with Renewable Japan Co Ltd and had a total cost of ¥1.57 billion ($13.44 million). Chubu Electric Power Co Inc will buy the power. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ The 165-MW Belwind 2 offshore wind farm off the coast of Belgium has started generating electricity for the first time. Parkwind, one of the investors in developer Nobelwind, said the first of 51 Vestas V112 3.3-MW turbines is producing power. The wind farm is expected to be completed in the first half of this year. [reNews]

Belwind offshore wind farm (Credit: Parkwind)

Belwind offshore wind farm (Credit: Parkwind)

US:

¶ Governor Andrew Cuomo made it official, saying that the 2,000-MW Indian Point nuclear power plant will close by April 2021. His office said the closure will have “little to no effect on New Yorkers’ electricity bills.” It indicated the plant can be replaced by 1,000 MW of hydropower because demand has declined. [Times Herald-Record]

¶ Pacific Gas and Electric Company is cautioning that flows from the Crane Valley Dam spillway have increased because unusual amounts of rain have fallen in the area. PG&E’s reservoirs tend to be smaller and at much higher elevations than the state and federal multi-year water storage reservoirs, and they can fill in a normal winter. [Sierra News Online]

Bass Lake (photo courtesy Crane Valley Dam)

Bass Lake (photo courtesy Crane Valley Dam)

¶ Vermont’s new Republican governor said Monday he would stick with his Democratic predecessor’s long-term goal of getting 90% of the energy needed in the state from renewable sources by 2050. For several years, Vermont has been working toward some of the most aggressive renewable energy goals in the country. [BurlingtonFreePress.com]

¶ After eight years with Barack Obama in the White House, over a million US rooftops have solar panels installed. Utility scale solar powers more than 2 million homes. Generating low-carbon electricity employs 600,000 people in the United States, and 1.9 million Americans are employed in energy efficiency. [Energy Matters]

Renewables cost reductions (Source: US DOE)

Renewables cost reductions (Source: US DOE)

¶ Exxon Mobil Corp promised nine years ago to stop donating
to groups that spread misinformation about climate change. Yet between 2008 and 2015, the oil giant’s charitable arm gave over $6.5 million to groups that deny that burning fossil fuels is causing global warming, a new analysis by NextGen Climate shows. [Huffington Post]

¶ A new dam is being proposed for California’s Bear River as an adaptation to climate change. The Centennial dam project would capture rainfall at lower elevations to make up for declining snowpack at higher elevations. It would be built in a region of the Sierra Nevada where winter rainfall can be heavy but snowfall is light. [KQED]

Bear River (Image: Flickr)

Bear River (Image: Flickr)

¶ As part of the company’s renewable growth strategy, Southern Co unit Southern Power announced the acquisition of the Bethel Wind Energy Center in Texas from Invenergy Services. The 276-MW wind farm has 120 wind turbines. Construction began in January of 2016 and should be complete in January of 2017. [Electric Light & Power]

¶ Oliver Schmidt, head of VW’s US environmental regulatory compliance office from 2012 until March 2015, was charged with conspiracy in connection with the VW diesel emissions cheating scandal. He has been detained pending a hearing. Court papers say he knew about the emissions cheating, but chose not to tell US regulators. [BBC]

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January 9 Energy News

January 9, 2017

World:

¶ The insurance industry is concerned about the costs of climate change. Last year, insurers paid out $50 billion in insured losses from natural disasters. There was a dramatic spike in insured flooding costs, which made up 34% of all insured natural disaster losses. And the greater portion of properties is not ensured for flooding. [CleanTechnica]

Flooding in Paris (Biker Normand, via Wikipedia, some rights reserved)

Paris flood (Biker Normand, via Wikipedia, some rights reserved)

¶ With the renewable energy plan, by 2020 China expects to see a reduction in 120 million tons of coal used for heating. China’s newly released 13th five-year plan has provisions for renewable energy development calling for promoting use of geothermal energy, wind power and solar energy for winter heating in north China. [teleSUR English]

¶ Scotland set two wind power records at the end of December, according to figures from WWF Scotland. The group said that for the first time, wind turbines generated enough power for all the nation’s electricity needs for four straight days, on December 23 through 26. December 24 saw a record of 74,042 MWh from wind. [Herald Scotland]

Two new wind power records for Scotland

Two new wind power records for Scotland

¶ GCL System Integration Technology Co, Ltd, one of the largest solar companies in the world, announced it is investing in Vina Cell Technology Co, Ltd, a Vietnamese solar cell manufacturer, in trade for up to 600 MW of production capacity. GCL-SI will provide solar cell production equipment; and Vina is offering plant facilities. [Your Renewable News]

¶ A group led by Atlantis Resources has won a €20.3 million grant from the European Commission to develop the second phase of the MeyGen tidal energy project off Scotland. The 6-MW facility will demonstrate the technical and commercial viability of drilled foundation systems and larger diameter rotors, Atlantis said. [reNews]

Tidal turbine installation (Image: Atlantis Resources)

Tidal turbine installation (Image: Atlantis Resources)

¶ French naval defence group DCNS has established a subsidiary focused on marine renewables in partnership with the SPI fund, Technip and BNP Paribas Development. DCNS Energies will be involved in development of tidal power systems, Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion, and offshore wind using semi-submersible floats. [reNews]

¶ Siemens’ new offshore wind power facility in Hull has shipped its first project components. The Sea Challenger, a jack-up ship specially designed for installing offshore wind turbines, set sail from the newly constructed harbor with towers, blades and nacelles for the Dudgeon offshore wind farm off the Norfolk coast. [Bdaily]

The Sea Challenger

The Sea Challenger

¶ South Korea’s largest offshore wind power plant complex, with 28 turbines and a total capacity of 99.2 MW, will be established near the Saemangeum Seawall. The project is valued at 440 billion won ($367.74 million) and will be financed by private capital. Construction will begin in April and complete in the second half of 2018. [BusinessKorea]

US:

¶ After placing a 201-MW wind farm near Avon, South Dakota, on hold last year, investors are now proposing 13 smaller projects in Bon Homme and Charles Mix counties. Prevailing Winds LLC has filed paperwork with a federal agency regarding the new projects, according to the state Public Utilities Commission. [Yankton Daily Press]

In the Upper Plains (Courtesy Photo: Metro Graphics)

Wind power in the Upper Plains (Courtesy Photo: Metro Graphics)

¶ For 2017, the average cost for small solar installations in the US is seen at around $3.78 (€3.59) per watt, before incentives, down by roughly 4% year-on-year, according to Solar Power Rocks. The group also ranked US states based on the their policies and incentives available for small solar. Massachusetts ranked first. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Maui Electric Co produced 35.4% of its power from renewable energy in 2015, up slightly from the previous year. Wind farms provided 23.2%, solar’s share was 8.5%, biomass and bagasse produced 2.7%, and 1% was from biofuel. But Maui’s renewable generation was behind that of the Big Island’s, which stood at 48.7%. [Maui News]

Kaheawa Wind Farm (Ryan Oelke, Wikimedia Commons)

Kaheawa Wind Farm (Ryan Oelke, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Innovative Solar Systems, of Asheville, North Carolina, is once again dominating the solar energy market by having the largest pipeline of projects in development in the Texas market. ISS representatives report that the company has over 50 Utility Scale projects in development that range size from 35 MW to over 200 MW. [Your Renewable News]

¶ A Chinese-born US nuclear engineer pled guilty to helping a Chinese nuclear energy company build reactors in that country using US technology. The Department of Justice said 66-year-old Szuhsiung “Allen” Ho pleaded guilty to conspiracy to bypass regulations on production of nuclear materials outside the US. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

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January 8 Energy News

January 8, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ Yellow cedar, a type of tree that thrives in soggy soil from Alaska to Northern California and is valued for its commercial and cultural uses could become a noticeable casualty of climate warming, an independent study in the journal Global Change Biology concluded. It cited snow-cover loss that led to colder soil. [The Japan Times]

Yellow cedars grow along Sheep Lake east of the Cascade Crest in Washington state. | AP

Yellow cedars grow along a lake in Washington state. | AP

¶ Alaska’s finances are suffering disproportionately from climate change. Its glaciers lose roughly 42 cubic km (10 cubic miles) of ice per year, its sea ice continues to decline, its shorelines may be eroding at an accelerating rate, its permafrost is melting, and it suffers from forest fires at the greatest rate in 10,000 years. [Ars Technica UK]

World:

¶ Officials in Beijing are creating an environmental police force in a step towards tackling the city’s long-standing smog problem, state media say. The new environmental police would crack down on open-air barbecues, garbage incineration and biomass burning, activities previously overlooked by authorities, among other things. [CNN]

Beijing buildings shrouded in smog

Beijing buildings shrouded in smog

¶ For weeks northern China has been covered in a thick toxic smog. It is one of the worst episodes of air pollution the country has seen, affecting 460 million people. Some cities recorded air quality of 1000 PM2.5, and the WHO considers anything over 25 PM2.5 a health hazard. Estimates say coal causes about 40% of the smog in Beijing. [ABC Online]

¶ Rwanda’s Green Fund expects to reach a milestone of creating 100,000 green jobs this year, according to its program manager. He told Sunday Times that in the next 12 months Rwanda’s Green Fund, a ground-breaking environmental and climate change investment fund, is particularly looking forward to boosting Rwanda’s climate resilience. [The New Times]

The Akanyaru Watershed Protection Project, building terraces and planting trees to prevent soil erosion and landslides (File photo)

The Akanyaru Watershed Protection Project, building terraces and
planting trees to prevent soil erosion and landslides (File photo)

¶ In one of India’s largest tenders for the rooftop solar power projects, 91 companies, including sector majors, lined up to bid in a wide range of tariff – from ₹3 per unit (4¢/kWh) to ₹6.9 per unit. The capital expenditure quoted by the companies is in nominal range of ₹59,000 per kWp ($865/kWp) to ₹79,000 per kWp. [Business Standard]

¶ Dutch railway companies teamed up with energy company Eneco in 2015 to cut train ride emissions. Originally, 2018 was set as the target for changing to 100% renewable power sources. The 100% transition was completed one year ahead of schedule, however, and all Dutch trains are now powered by wind energy. [CleanTechnica]

Dutch train (Image by Sludge G, some rights reserved)

Dutch train (Image by Sludge G, some rights reserved)

¶ India’s Minister of Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy, and Mines will dedicate the largest Street Lighting National Program in the world, currently running in the South Delhi Municipal Corporation. The Energy Efficiency Services Limited, a joint venture under the Ministry of Power, is implementing the program. [Business Standard]

¶ Chinese state-owned China Three Gorges Group is spending heavily to buy or build hydro, wind and solar. Flush with cash and willing to tolerate risks that put off older rivals, CTG and other state-owned utilities are expanding abroad in search of new revenue sources as economic growth and electricity demand at home cool. [The Japan Times]

The Chavantes hydroelectric plant in Brazil's Sao Paulo state (AP)

The Chavantes hydroelectric plant in Brazil’s Sao Paulo state (AP)

¶ The government of Sri Lanka has given the green light to the Ceylon Electricity Board to go ahead with much debated 375-MW Wind Power Plant Complex in Mannar. The Sunday Leader has reliably learned that the Asian Development Bank has given a grant to do a comprehensive feasibility study of the entire Mannar Island. [Sunday Leader]

US:

¶ Automobiles are undergoing a big transition, increasingly better, smarter and cleaner. Especially exciting is the expanded portfolio of low and zero emissions vehicles that help protect air quality, increase our nation’s energy security, and reduce our reliance on foreign oil, a win for the U.S. economy all-around. [The Detroit News]

Tesla Model S (Photo: Richard Vogel / AP)

Tesla Model S (Photo: Richard Vogel / AP)

¶ After eight years of development, TerraCOH is planning a plant in North Dakota. It would use CO2 in a geothermal energy system to produce low-cost, clean electricity. The company would use its patented technology for a big underground battery, effectively storing renewable energy from the wind and sun. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

¶ Since news broke Friday afternoon that Governor Andrew Cuomo reached a tentative deal to close Indian Point nuclear power plant within four years, officials and residents across the state have shared mixed opinions about the controversial subject. Safety, jobs, taxes, and carbon emissions are among the issues. [The Journal News | LoHud.com]

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January 7 Energy News

January 7, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “China is going all in on clean energy while Trump waffles. How is that making America great again?” • China announced that in the next three years it will invest $361 billion in renewable power, creating 13 million jobs. But the Trump administration talks about renewing an outdated love affair with coal and oil. [Environmental Defense Fund]

Wind farm in Guazhou (Photo: Popolon, Wikimedia Commons)

Wind farm in Guazhou (Photo: Popolon, Wikimedia Commons)

World:

¶ For the first time ever, the UK generated more electricity from wind than coal in a calendar year, and this led carbon emissions from the sector to drop 20%. Wind generated 11.5% of the UK’s electricity last year, whereas coal contributed just 9.2%, down 59% from the year before, an analysis by the Carbon Brief found. [City A.M.]

¶ China has made low-carbon transport a priority in dealing with climate change. As part of their effort to develop low-emission vehicles, the Chinese government has given significant support to national electric car manufacturers. Even so, their sales are dwarfed by those of a pint-sized competitor: the low-speed electric vehicle. [CleanTechnica]

Low-speed electric vehicle (Image: Dennis Zuev)

Low-speed electric vehicle (Image: Dennis Zuev)

¶ London breached its annual air pollution limits five days into the new year, its mayor said. An air monitoring site at Brixton Road in south London began recording levels of nitrogen dioxide above the threshold early Thursday and continued to do so beyond the 18-hour legal limit, according to data from King’s College London. [CNN]

¶ The Spanish government has announced plans to hold a new renewable energy project auction with a capacity of up to 3 GW, in 2017. The Energy Minister said the 3-GW auction is needed so Spain can meet its binding EU target for 2020, that 20% of final energy consumption be sourced from renewable sources. [Climate Action Programme]

Wind turbine

Wind turbine

¶ Having been slow to encourage solar deployment actively, compared to other major South American markets, Argentina has now declared 2017 as a “Year of Renewable Energy,” under an official decree. The nation is targeting 20% renewables in its energy mix by 31 December 2025. Auctions of last year alone provided 6%. [PV-Tech]

¶ Grafton Asset Management Inc, which had brought foreign investment into Canada’s oil and gas industry, is looking to add alternative energy to its portfolio for the first time, as it positions itself for the decline of fossil fuels. The company’s CEO worries about the industry’s future, saying, “I do look at it as a sun-setting business.” [Financial Post]

Sun setting on an oil pump (Eric Healey / Postmedia Network)

Oil pump at sunset (Eric Healey / Postmedia Network)

¶ The shift towards renewable energy in Europe, particularly wind, is gathering momentum and could soon reach a tipping point. The EU, in partnership with both industry and national governments, is looking to scale-up a number of technologies that could lead to the commercial development of very large offshore windfarms. [Power Technology]

US:

¶ The state of Hawaii could derive more than half of all its electricity from geothermal resources, with the most realistic resource potentials on the Big Island of Hawaii and on Maui. Geothermal could fuel the whole demand of the island of Maui, according to the annual report of the state’s Energy Resources Coordinator. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

Honolulu (source: flickr/ snowpeak, creative commons)

Honolulu (source: flickr/ snowpeak, creative commons)

¶ The DOE says that the US electricity system “faces imminent danger” from cyber-attacks and warned that a widespread power outage could be caused by a cyber-attack, undermining “critical defense infrastructure” as well as much of the economy and the health of its people. Grid operators say they are already on top of the problem. [Tyler Morning Telegraph]

¶ The aging Indian Point nuclear power plant just north of New York City would close within four years under a deal being made with Governor Andrew Cuomo. Plant owner Entergy Corp would shut both reactors at the Westchester County facility by April 2021, according to a source familiar with the deal’s details. [Albany Times Union]

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January 6 Energy News

January 6, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “China cementing global dominance of renewable energy
and technology” • China is cementing its global dominance of renewable energy and supporting technologies, aggressively investing in them both at home and around the globe, leaving countries including the US, UK, and Australia at risk of missing the growing market. [The Guardian]

China, leading the world in renewable energy  (Photo: Tyrone Siu / Reuters)

China, leading the world in renewable energy
(Photo: Tyrone Siu / Reuters)

World:

¶ The International Finance Corporation will invest $125 million (€119 million) in Hero Future Energies, an Indian producer of renewable power that aims at adding 1 GW of greenfield solar and wind capacity in the next 12 months. The investment will allow Hero Future Energies to expand its portfolio and create jobs. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Following an earlier decision by the South Korean government to ban the sale of some Volkswagen models (following emissions testing irregularities), authorities in the country have now gone on to ban sales of 10 more models offered by BMW, Nissan, and Porsche, because they also “fabricated documents related to emission tests.” [CleanTechnica]

South Korea (Image by Closenoble, CC BY-SA)

South Korean skyline (Image by Closenoble, CC BY-SA)

¶ Wind energy company Suzlon said it has won a 105-MW wind power project from Axis Energy Group, based in Hyderabad, India. The project will consist of 50 units of S111 90m tubular tower with rated capacity of 2.1 MW. A Special Purpose Vehicle, Axis Wind Farms Pvt Ltd is undertaking the project, which is to be completed in June. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ Australian engineering and infrastructure firm RCR Tomlinson Ltd has won a deal worth over A$155 million (US$113 million) to build a solar park in Northern Queensland, at Sun Metals Corp’s zinc operations. The solar power facility at Townsville will have an initial capacity of 98.5 MW, though this may be expanded. [SeeNews Renewables]

Solar park (Author: Chris Baird, CC BY-SA)

Solar park (Author: Chris Baird, CC BY-SA)

¶ Cleaner, greener energy could mean millions of dollars in savings for Nunavut communities and more self-reliance from the South, according to a study by researchers at the University of Waterloo. The study says some communities could eliminate up to 74% of their greenhouse gas emissions and save as much as C$29.7 million. [Nunatsiaq News]

¶ A proposal to extend the UK offshore wind farm in Thanet by 50% could see cable routes installed at Sandwich Bay. Swedish power company Vattenfall is developing a scheme that will bring the existing and operational wind farm at Margate closer to the coast by 4 km. The development would consist of up to 34 new turbines. [Kent Online]

Thanet Offshore Wind Farm off the coast of Kent

Thanet Offshore Wind Farm off the coast of Kent

¶ TEPCO has been trying to reactivate the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant, the largest nuclear plant in the world. However, restarting the plant will likely take “several years,” according to the governor of Niigata Prefecture, highlighting difficulties with nuclear disaster reviews sparked by the triple core meltdown of March 2011. [The Japan Times]

US:

¶ Many Louisianans may have been shocked by the grimmer forecasts in the latest edition of the state’s 50-year plan to protect its coast: There is no longer any hope that more land can be built than the Gulf takes each year. Even if the plan works perfectly, the state could lose another 2,800 square miles of its land along the Gulf Coast. [The Lens]

Coast of Louisiana (Photo: Dr Terry McTigue,  NOAA, public domain, Wikimedia Commons)

Coast of Louisiana (Photo: Dr Terry McTigue,
NOAA, public domain, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Before becoming Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, currently CEO of ExxonMobil, will be deposed by attorneys representing Our Children’s Trust. The lawyers want to learn what he knew about effects of carbon emissions from fossil fuels and when did he learn it. The young plaintiffs claim their constitutional rights are being violated. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Virginia is seeing its second and third microgrids start up. Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg and the US Defense Logistics Agency at the Fort Belvoir Army base are the latest organizations to embrace the benefits of generating, if needed, all of their power needs independent of the local utility. [Southeast Energy News]

A 104-kW solar array in Eastern Mennonite University's microgrid

A 104-kW solar array in Eastern Mennonite University’s microgrid

¶ As the president-elect puts together an administration focused on fossil fuels, the investment community is moving full speed in the opposite direction, instead putting their bets on emissions reductions and support for clean energy. Investors holding trillions of dollars in assets dropping fossil fuels in favor of renewables. [Environmental Defense Fund]

¶ Hawaii regulators rejected a plan presented by Hawaiian Electric Co and AES Hawaii to expand the state’s only coal-burning electric generating plant. The commission noted that the proposal was at odds with the state’s renewable energy goals and increasing coal-fired generation is inconsistent with its renewable energy plan. [Pacific Business News]

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January 5 Energy News

January 5, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ 2016 was the hottest year on record globally. While the world
is still waiting for confirmation of just how high the record was, there’s a lot of data to digest from the US. Nearly every square inch of the country was dramatically warmer than normal, and 85% of extreme temperature records set in 2016 were record highs. [CleanTechnica]

Percentages of hot versus cold records

Percentages of temperature records set that were for hot weather

¶ Evidence the earth experienced a slowdown in global warming over the past couple of decades has been further eroded with a new US study confirming climate change continues unabated. NOAA found the oceans had warmed at the rate of 0.12° per decade since 2000, or nearly twice the previous estimate. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

¶ One of the world’s largest ocean circulation systems may not be as stable as believed, according to a study in the journal Science Advances. In fact, changes in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation – the same deep-water ocean current featured in the movie “The Day After Tomorrow” – could occur quite abruptly. [Science Daily]

A collapse of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation system  would cool the Northern Atlantic Ocean. (Credit: © Mats / Fotolia)

A failing Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation would turn the Northern Atlantic Ocean colder. (Credit: © Mats / Fotolia)

World:

¶ India will spend $10 billion annually on power transmission lines to satisfy growing demand in under-served areas, according to the country’s largest private power-grid operator. Its chief executive officer said the central government may spend about $6 billion annually, with the rest coming from the nation’s states. [Times of Oman]

¶ UK wind energy set records for half-hourly, daily and weekly supply during Christmas week, Renewable UK said. National Grid figures show wind supplied 41% of the UK’s electricity needs in a half-hour period on Christmas Day;the previous record was 34%. At that same time, 47% of the UK’s electricity came from renewable sources. [reNews]

London array (Image: reNews)

London array (Image: reNews)

¶ Iberdrola has completed the excavation of a diversion tunnel
to feed the 118-MW Daivões hydro power station, which is part of the Tâmega project in Portugal. The 400-meter tunnel took less than 100 days to excavate and shore up. Daivões will consist of two turbines with combined power of 114 MW and a 4 MW machine. [reNews]

¶ China will invest ¥2.5 trillion ($361 billion) in renewable power by 2020 as the world’s largest energy market continues to shift away from dirty coal power and towards cleaner fuels, according to the country’s energy agency. The investment will create over 13 million jobs in the sector, the National Energy Administration said. [Huffington Post]

Power plant in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region  (China Stringer Network / Reuters)

Power plant in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region
(China Stringer Network / Reuters)

¶ Azure Power has commissioned a 150-MW solar plant in the state of Punjab in India. The project, which covers 713 acres of land, was commissioned ahead of schedule and will supply power to Punjab State Power Corp for 25 years. The company said the plant will help electrify the nearby areas leading to an estimated 1000 jobs. [reNews]

¶ Despite its sunny climate, Israel is behind much of the world on development of solar power. The country’s goal is to generate 10% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, up from the current 2.5%. Now, its solar industry is trying to make a leap forward with a large-scale project boasting the world’s tallest solar tower. [CTV News]

Solar tower in the Negev desert (AP / Oded Balilty)

Solar tower in the Negev desert (AP / Oded Balilty)

¶ More Australian businesses are investing in solar power than ever before. According to data from the solar consultancy firm Sunwiz, December 2016 was a record investment month, as Australian businesses invested a total of AUS$33 million (US$24 million). Households invested AUS$70 million in December, as well. [ABC Online]

¶ Del Monte Philippines Inc partnered with Global Water Engineering to turn pineapple waste water into renewable energy at its Cagayan de Oro canning plant in the Philippines. The wastewater treatment plant has achieved removal of 93% of organic pollution in its anaerobic reactors, which also power two 1.4-MW generators. [Fresh Fruit Portal]

Green Energy Generator

Green Energy Generator

¶ A government-led rescue of French nuclear group Areva and the wider atomic-energy industry may cost the state as much as €10 billion, but political support is almost certain, regardless of who wins the presidential election in May. Areva supplies three quarters of France’s electricity and employs 220,000 people. [The Globe and Mail]

US:

¶ Enel Green Power North America, Inc, will begin 2017 with
the start of operations at the largest wind project in its portfolio, Cimarron Bend wind farm in Clark County, Kansas. When the 400-MW wind farm is fully operational, the company will manage 1,100 MW of renewable energy capacity in the state. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Cimarron Bend wind farm

Cimarron Bend wind farm

¶ ExxonMobil agreed to provide an investment package worth about $180 million to Rex Tillerson, letting him cash in on benefits that he would have been required to give up in order to serve as President-elect Trump’s top diplomat. The deal includes benefits that ExxonMobil has no legal obligation to provide. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Tesla has begun mass production of lithium-ion battery cells at the Gigafactory. The company said the cost of battery cells will significantly decline due to a number of inherent optimizations and economies of scale. These will enhance yield, lowering the capital investment per Wh of production. The Gigafactory is 35% complete. [CleanTechnica]

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January 4 Energy News

January 4, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Trump’s climate-policy rollback may not be easy” • The US treasury is being offered millions in wind energy project bids. The wind industry creates huge numbers of jobs, and wind-farm technician is America’s fastest-growing occupation. The US President-elect’s promise of a rollback on climate-change policy may not come easy. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Wind farm

Wind farm

Science and Technology:

¶ Renewable energy is on the rise, with the biggest development being the Paris Climate Agreement that all UN members signed. However, a study by researchers at Duke University indicates that green technology proliferation needs to increase by a factor of ten in order to have any lasting effect on reducing greenhouse gasses. [EconoTimes]

¶ Blooming rhododendrons, with their conspicuous displays of deep red or pale pink flowers, have always heralded the arrival of spring in the Himalayas. Now, however, this has undergone a dramatic change, as peak flowering season is early February to mid-March, instead of the spring months from March to May. [eco-business.com]

Rhododendrons in Nepal (Image: Andrew Miller, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Rhododendrons in Nepal (By Andrew Miller, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

World:

¶ China has slapped millions of dollars worth of fines on alleged offenders for violating anti-pollution rules, according to state media. The Ministry of Environmental Protection has punished more than 500 Chinese companies and around 10,000 car-owners for alleged violations, levying about $35 million worth of fines. [CNN]

¶ Ethiopia has enjoyed a decade of strong growth, and to sustain the momentum, its government is pressing ahead with ambitious development plans. Clean energy is core to the mission. Ethiopia was among the most daring signatories to the Paris Agreement on climate change, committing to cut carbon emissions by 64% by 2030. [CNN]

Ethiopian wind farm

Ethiopian wind farm

¶ Around half of the electricity generated in the UK during the months of July 2016 through September 2016 came from “low carbon electricity” installations, including wind energy, solar energy, biomass, and nuclear energy, according to recent reports. Coal’s share of generation dropped to just 3.6% in Q3 2016, down from 16.7% in Q3 2015. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Investments in renewables are starting to pay off in Morocco.
A new report published by the Mediterranean Forum of Institute of Economic Sciences claims that the renewable energy sector could create between 270,000 and 500,000 jobs for the country in two decades. Scarcity of water is also seen as a major, related economic issue. [ZME Science]

Solar panels in Morocco (Image: Isofoton / Wiki Commons)

Solar panels in Morocco (Image: Isofoton / Wiki Commons)

¶ Bangladesh has been a pioneer of both micro finance and micro solar. Natural complements, their combination has led to a boom in what’s being called “swarm electrification,” development of local nanogrids and microgrids that allow solar homeowners to sell surplus electrical power directly each other via peer-to-peer networks. [Microgrid Media]

¶ Wind turbine blade manufacturer LM Wind Power (Kolding, Denmark) plans to be carbon neutral by 2018. The company will begin by sourcing 100% of its electricity from renewable energy sources during 2017. LM Wind Power looks to set new standards to accelerate the de-carbonization of the wind industry’s own supply chain. [CompositesWorld]

LM blades on turbines

LM supplies blades for turbines.

¶ The Japanese government is struggling to decide the future of Tepco’s Fukushima Daini (No 2) nuclear power plant, which has been suspended since the March 2011 disaster. There have been increasing calls for decommissioning the power plant, which is located just a few kilometers south of the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi. [The Japan Times]

¶ Renewable power generation in Portugal, not including large hydro, surged to 120.1 GWh on January 2. Wind power output for the day reached 96.7 GWh. Portugal’s wind power generation represents around 25% of national consumption. In the first nine months of 2016, renewables supplied 61% of the country’s demand. [SeeNews Renewables]

Portuguese wind farm (Image: Suzlon Group, All Rights Reserved)

Portuguese wind farm (Image: Suzlon Group, All Rights Reserved)

US:

¶ Allete Clean Energy announced plans to work with Montana-Dakota Utilities to expand the Thunder Spirit wind farm in North Dakota. They aim to reach the full 150-MW permitted capacity of the facility, partly developed in 2014 and 2015. Major construction on the $85 million project expected to start in May 2018. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ 2016 is shaping up to be a milestone year for energy, and when the final accounting is done, one of the biggest winners is likely to be solar power. For the first time, more electricity-generating capacity from solar power plants is expected to have been built in the US than from natural gas and wind, data from the DOE show. [AlterNet]

A solar power plant in San Antonio, Texas. Credit: Duke Energy/flickr

A solar power plant in San Antonio (Credit: Duke Energy / flickr)

¶ Ohio Governor John Kasich is not known as a champion of the environment, but apparently he knows a good deal when he sees one. The Republican governor vetoed a bill that would have undercut Ohio’s goals for renewable energy, explaining the veto by noting the importance of renewables to the state’s economy. [CleanTechnica]

¶ NorthWestern Energy entered into an agreement with WKN Montana II to purchase the energy, capacity, and environmental attributes from the 80-MW Vivaldi Springtime Wind project. The project is to be developed in south-central Montana. The price agreed to be paid for the wind farm’s power is $37.63 per MWh. [Windpower Engineering]

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January 3 Energy News

January 3, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ Cruise lines are exploring alternative fuels, which, in addition to LNG, include battery power and fuel cells. Battery technology has been advancing rapidly over the last few years, and having improved storage capacity, such batteries could be practical for marine applications, pending the operating profile of a vessel. [Cruise Industry News]

The Viking Lady of Eidesvik Shipping has run a testing program using a molten carbonate fuel cell.

The Viking Lady of Eidesvik Shipping has run a
testing program using a molten carbonate fuel cell.

¶ The field of “attribution science” has made immense progress in the last five years. Researchers can now tell people how climate change impacts them, and not in 50 or 100 years, but today. Scientific American interviewed Friederike Otto, deputy director of the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford. [PBS NewsHour]

¶ By century’s end, the number of summer storms that produce extreme downpours could increase by 200% to 400% across parts of the US, a peer-reviewed study says. The study, published in Nature Climate Change, also finds that the intensity of individual extreme rainstorms could increase by as much as 70% in some areas. [Daily Comet]

(Image: National Center for Atmospheric Research)

(Image: National Center for Atmospheric Research)

¶ Widespread local plant and animal species extinctions are already occurring as a result of anthropogenic climate change, research from the University of Arizona has found. It showed that local extinctions have now already occurred in 47% of the 976 species analyzed in the study, as a result of climate change caused by human activity. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ Almost all Costa Rica’s electricity was produced by renewable energy in 2016. The Costa Rican Electricity Institute said that around 98.1% of the country’s electricity came from numerous renewable resources. These included large hydropower facilities, geothermal plants, wind turbines, solar panels, and biomass plants. [The Independent]

Reventazon River dam (Ezequiel Becerra / AFP / Getty)

Reventazon River dam (Ezequiel Becerra / AFP / Getty)

¶ A solar farm scheme in Soham, a small town in the English county of Cambridgeshire, is generating power and more than a £1 million a year for County Council, once the financing is paid off. From last week the Council’s 60 acre site near Triangle Farm began producing enough energy to power around 3,500 homes. [Cambridge News]

¶ According to preliminary figures from the Power Trading Chamber, Brazil’s December wind power output rose by 30.5% on the year to 3,904 average megawatts (MWa). Among other renewable sources, hydro and solar power generation showed growth in the period also, reaching 48,018 MWa and 3 MWa, respectively. [SeeNews Renewables]

Wind turbines in Brazil (Author: josep, Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic)

Wind turbines in Brazil (Author: josep, Creative
Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic)

¶ More than 50,000 solar power systems have been installed in Scotland. At least 49,000 homes and 1,000 business premises in Scotland now have solar panels; one, Mackies Of Scotland’s solar farm, is 1.8-MW. And there are about 200 community-led solar PV schemes, with a combined installed capacity of 2 MW. [Energy Matters]

¶ Two world-leading clean energy projects have opened in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. An industrial plant is capturing the CO2 emissions from a coal boiler and using it as a chemical for making baking powder. And just 100 km away is the world’s biggest solar farm, making power for 150,000 homes on a 10 sq km site. [BBC]

The world's largest solar farm at Kamuthi in southern India

The world’s largest solar farm at Kamuthi in southern India

¶ India has a pipeline of around 14 GW of utility scale solar projects, about 7.7 GW is expected to be commissioned in the year. This would represent growth of around 90% over 2016. Combined with 1.1 GW of expected rooftop solar capacity, India should add a total of 8.8 GW in 2017, ranking it behind only China and the USA. [EnergyInfraPost]

¶ Swedish tidal kite developer Minesto has procured subsystems for its 500-kW Deep Green commercial device to be installed off the North Wales coast later this year. The components include the so-called microgrid system buoy, rear nacelle, tether rope and fairing. The Deep Green device is scheduled to be deployed by autumn. [reNews]

Deep Green (Image: Minesto)

Deep Green (Image: Minesto)

US:

¶ Looking back on 2016 for the US solar industry, though final data is not yet in, 2016 was clearly boom time. While the market has grown every year in the 21st century, when final numbers are published the volume of the US market is expected nearly to have doubled, from just over 7 GW in 2015, to 13-14 GW in 2016. [pv magazine USA]

¶ New England policymakers hope to reach agreement in 2017 on revised market rules for state clean energy policies. With looming threats to federal carbon emissions action, New England is moving ahead with its plans to decarbonize through power purchase agreements and other means under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. [RTO Insider]

Daniel-Johnson Dam and Manic-5 Generating Station (Photo: Hydro-Québec)

Daniel-Johnson Dam and Manic-5
Generating Station(Photo: Hydro-Québec)

¶ Coastal Carolina officials may not be willing to prepare for climate change until it’s too late, a new study says. A researcher from NC State University surveyed local officials in 20 coastal counties and found that knowledge of the science behind climate change didn’t make officials more willing to prepare for impacts like sea-level rise. [WUNC]

¶ This year continued the acceleration of the permanent shutdowns of US nuclear plants. Fort Calhoun closed down in 2016. Entergy announced Palisades would close in 2018. Both reactors at Diablo Canyon will close by 2025. Five reactors in Illinois and New York threatened to shut down unless they got bailouts. [OB Rag]
(Closing dates in 2019 for Pilgrim and Oyster creek had already been announced as 2016 began.)

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January 2 Energy News

January 2, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Climate change in 2016: the good, the bad, and the ugly”
This past year had so many stories involving human-caused climate change. Here is a summary of some of the high points, from my perspective. By “high points” I don’t necessarily mean good. Some of these high points are bad and some are downright ugly. [The Guardian]

California wildfire made worse by drought  (Photograph: Noah Berger/AP)

California wildfire made worse by drought
(Photograph: Noah Berger/AP)

¶ “Failed energy?” • In 1973, President Richard Nixon pledged to make the US energy-independent by building 1,000 nuclear power plants – touted by proponents as a source of inexpensive clean energy – by the year 2000. Opposition leaders, such as Paul Gunter, mobilized organizations opposed to nuclear power. [Fairport-E.Rochester Post]

Science and Technology:

¶ Such extreme weather events as droughts, wildfires, heat waves, and intense rainstorms, all occur naturally. But climate change is now increasing their frequency and magnitude. Flooding in Paris and the Arctic heat wave are just two instances of the events of 2016 for which climate change contributed to extreme weather. [Scientific American]

Flood in Paris (Credit: Getty Images)

Flood in Paris (Credit: Getty Images)

¶ Despite the hype, batteries aren’t the cheapest way to store energy on the grid. Lithium-ion batteries are attractive as they operate effectively at small scales, are lightweight and have good round-trip efficiency, but they are still expensive per unit of storage capacity. We should include pumped hydro in our considerations. [Cosmos]

World:

¶ India will generate as much as 56.5% of its electricity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2027, the government has estimated in a draft energy plan. Besides the coal-fired plants that are already being built, the country does not need to build new ones, it said. This puts India far ahead of its Paris commitment of 40% by 2030. [India Climate Dialogue]

Fast progress in India (Photo by Thomas Kohler)

Fast progress in India (Photo by Thomas Kohler)

¶ In Allahabad, a city in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, the district’s reserve police lines will run on solar power following a state government nod to the ‘Green Police Line’ project of the city police. The objective behind this initiative is to harness solar power and reduce the electricity bills. A total of 130 kW will be installed. [NYOOOZ]

¶ The fight for basic energy in Australia has taken a new twist with news from Scotland that they’ve increased local renewable power owned by communities, and they’ve already exceeded their 2020 target, too. In Australia, however, there is resistance based on a shiftless, outdated mindset, and some pretty lousy economics. [Digital Journal]

Renewable power in Scotland  (Photo: paul birrell, CC BY-SA, Wikimedia Commons)

A wee bit of renewable power in Scotland
(Photo: paul birrell, CC BY-SA, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ The Brookings Institution reported that between 2000 and 2014, 33 states and the District of Columbia cut carbon emissions while expanding their economies. Some of the states are run by Republican legislatures, including Alaska, Georgia, Tennessee and West Virginia. The states may lead the country on climate change. [Ledger Independent]

¶ A solar farm that is slated to generate about 5% of the energy for the Hawaiian island of Kauai is set to power up early this year, according to representatives from the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative. The solar farm, consisting of 55,000 solar panels, will have the capacity to generate up to 22,000 MWh of power. [Thegardenisland.com]

Solar farm in Koloa (Courtesy of SolarCity)

Solar farm in Koloa (Courtesy of SolarCity)

¶ The TVA has two programs to provide customers with clean power through sale of green power or renewable energy credits. The Green Power Switch program is designed primarily for residential customers. The Southeastern Renewable Energy Credit program is better suited for commercial and industrial customers. [Knoxville News Sentinel]

¶ A report from E2 says clean energy can be a huge economic opportunity for Nevada in 2017 if lawmakers make the sector a priority. Analysts from the nonpartisan business group, which supports the green economy, found that clean energy supports 2.5 million jobs nationwide, including many offered by Nevada employers. [Public News Service]

15,000 Nevadans work in clean energy. (MT Aero)

15,000 Nevadans work in clean energy. (MT Aero)

¶ Vega Biofuels, Inc, announced that following the successful evaluation of the company’s Bio-Coal product, completed by Western Research Institute, the Company has received requests for samples from power companies all over the world interested in performing their own independent testing prior to placing orders. [Military Technologies]

¶ Federal regulators are questioning elements of NextEra Energy Seabrook nuclear power plant’s plan for monitoring the concrete degradation condition known as alkali-silica reaction. The NRC’s approval of the monitoring program is part of the commission’s acceptance of NextEra’s aging management program at Seabrook Station. [Eagle-Tribune]

 

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January 1 Energy News

January 1, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “For China, Climate Change Is No Hoax – It’s a Business and Political Opportunity” • Chinese leaders are taking aggressive action to cut carbon emissions. Reasons go past air quality in their nation’s cities and include market share in promising export markets for green technologies and “soft power” in international relations. [DeSmog]

Shanxi wind farm (credit Hahaheditor12667, creative commons)

Shanxi wind farm (credit Hahaheditor12667, creative commons)

¶ “Leveraging Technology To Settle The Climate Change Debate” • The great irony of the climate change challenge is that the solutions humanity needs to leverage to reduce emissions at a rate necessary to avert catastrophic climate change already exist. Not only that, many of these technologies can compete on the basis of cost alone. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶ University of Delaware oceanographer Andreas Muenchow stood before Congress in 2010 and balked on climate change. He said he wasn’t sure. He needed more evidence. But he recently decided to see what was happening in Greenland for himself, in a project to study the ice shelf intensively. He has returned, no longer a skeptic. [NOLA.com]

A deep gully with rushing water feeds into a river on Petermann Glacier. (MUST CREDIT: Washington Post photo by Whitney Shefte)

Water rushes through a deep gully into a river on Petermann Glacier. (Must Credit: Washington Post photo by Whitney Shefte)

World:

¶ If the broad policy commitments of various countries are implemented, coal will lose its rank as the dominant fuel for power generation to renewables by 2040, the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook forecasts. It says plainly, “[T]he boom is over: global coal demand declined in 2015 for the first time since the late 1990s.” [POWER magazine]

¶ Deforestation and climate change have decimated the available supply of wood that is used for traditional roof construction in the Sahel region of West Africa. One creative enterprise based on an architectural technique from the ancient Nubia is bringing latter-day Sub-Saharan Africa an offer of superior homes at very low cost. [CNN]

The Nubian vault program aims to stimulate the local economy. It has trained over 500 masons and generated over $2 million.

The Nubian vault program aims to stimulate the local economy.
It has trained over 500 masons and generated over $2 million.

¶ According to meteorological reports, rainfall in Sri Lanka declined declined drastically in 2016 compared to previous years. As a result, meteorologists have warned that the country may face a severe drought in 2017. This could have a serious impact on the country’s electricity generation, agriculture and other areas. [Sunday Leader]

¶ Egypt’s Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy has a plan to boost the country’s use of renewable energies. Their plan is to hit a benchmark of 20% by 2022 for domestic power use. Recent events, however, tell a complex story of the country’s struggle to make progress in the face of financial headwinds. [Gulf News Journal]

Wind power for Egypt

US:

¶ An electric utility in Vermont says it has found malware code allegedly used by Russian hackers on one of its company laptops. The Burlington Electric Department said it had taken “immediate action to isolate” the computer, which was not connected to the electrical grid. The government had alerted them to the “Grizzly Steppe” code. [BBC]

¶ New York City now has a continuous 9-mile, northbound bikeway from downtown Brooklyn up into the Bronx – running across the Manhattan Bridge, up through First Avenue, and then over the Willis Avenue Bridge. “Bikeway” apparently means protected bike lanes – not just the common, one-white-stripe variety. [CleanTechnica]

New York City bikeway (Photo: David Meyer | Streetsblog NYC)

New York City bikeway (Photo: David Meyer | Streetsblog NYC)

¶ It looks like the US is about to get much more serious about developing its vast wave energy potential. In the past, researchers have worked at several relatively modest sites in Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest, but now the DOE is funding for a new, $40 million utility scale test site in the waters off the coast of Oregon. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The risk of flooding in the US is changing regionally, according to University of Iowa engineers. They determined that the threat of flooding is generally growing in the northern half of the US and declining in the southern half, as regional climates change. The American Southwest and West, meanwhile, are experiencing decreasing flood risk. [ScienceBlog.com]

Regional flood risks - please click on the image to enlarge it.

Regional flood risks – please click on the image to enlarge it.

¶ The Washington Electric Cooperative, based in Marietta, Ohio, partnered with generation and transmission provider Buckeye Power, to install a 50-kW solar array for the co-op’s members through a Buckeye Power community solar program called OurSolar. The program aims to install a total of 2.1 MW with Ohio co-ops. [Parkersburg News]

¶ Utility regulators in New York this week signaled continued support for a “clean energy” plan that would subsidize three nuclear power plants for twelve years as a “bridge to renewables.” The New York Public Service Commission rejected or delayed 17 petitions to reconsider aspects of its Clean Energy Standard. [MassLive.com]

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