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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