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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