January 10 Energy News

January 10, 2017


¶ “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]


¶ 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)


¶ 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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