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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