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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