January 17 Energy News

January 17, 2017


¶ “Why the US Air Force wants to fly on renewable energy” • As electricity has become increasingly critical to the Air Force, so has resilience. This is true whether the mission is providing local relief during disasters, air support for forces across the globe, or reliable communications via satellites in Earth’s orbit. Climate change is a military problem. [GreenBiz]

US Air Force (Image: Shutterstock / razihusin)

US Air Force (Image: Shutterstock / razihusin)

¶ “Military’s shift away from oil clashes with Trump’s promises” While a growing number of military leaders, including the man Donald Trump picked to head the Defense Department, have declared global warming a national security threat, their position clashes with his vow to end policies that “undermine” fossil fuel producers. [Fayetteville Observer]


¶ The Business & Sustainable Development Commission published a report calling for the world live up to the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, to support a world that is wealthier, more peaceful, and more fair. It was backed by more than 80 major companies in a joint letter to UK Prime Minister Theresa May. [The Independent]

Natural disasters triggered by climate change have doubled in frequency since the 1980s, the report warns AFP/Getty

Natural disasters triggered by climate change have doubled
in frequency since the 1980s, the report warns AFP/Getty

¶ According to the third edition of REthinking Energy, a report annually issued by the International Renewable Energy Agency, renewable energy is gaining ground “according to nearly every measure” and has become the preferred choice for “expanding, upgrading, and modernising power systems around the world.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ Vestas announced that it had received a record order for 450 MW worth of wind turbines, the largest ever for MHI Vestas Offshore Wind. The company will provide DONG Energy with 56 of its V164-8.0 MW wind turbines, which will be optimized using MAX Power to a maximum generating capacity of 8.3 MW. [CleanTechnica]

MHI Vestas turbine

MHI Vestas turbine

¶ Saudi Arabia will start soliciting bids in the next few weeks for the first phase of a “massive” renewable-energy program costing $30 billion to $50 billion, the Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said. OPEC’s biggest oil producer plans to generate close to 10 GW from renewables, primarily solar and wind power, by 2023. [Bloomberg]

¶ The water desalination plant in Ghantoot, Abu Dhabi is a cluster of five innovative pilot projects that aim to test new technology configurations. The latest uses electricity generated by a 30-KW off-grid solar PV system. This is important because 50% of a desalination plant’s lifetime costs come from energy consumption. [pv magazine]

Solar power for desalinization

Solar power for desalinization

¶ In India, solar power tariffs in competitive auctions have collapsed from ₹12.76/kWh (19¢/kWh) in 2010 to ₹3.0/kWh (4.4¢/kWh) in 2016. At the same time, industrial electricity tariffs have increased consistently. Now solar power has achieved grid parity, and industries are looking to invest in their own solar power projects. [CleanTechnica]

¶ As China is weaned off coal, its energy regulator has ordered eleven provinces to stop developing over 100 coal-fired power projects, including some that are under construction, Caixin reported. Their a total installed capacity is over 100 GW, and about ¥430 billion ($62.30 billion) has been invested in them. [Thomson Reuters Foundation]

A migrant worker steps out of his accommodation in an area next to a coal power plant in Beijing on a smog-free day. (Reuters / Damir Sagolj)

A migrant worker steps out of his accommodation
in Beijing on a smog-free day. (Reuters / Damir Sagolj)

¶ The City of Cape Town is looking to move away from merely being an energy distributor, as it wants to pursue its own power generation, especially with renewables. The South African utility Eskom and the renewables community are embroiled in a bitter dispute about the cost of renewables for meeting the country’s energy demand. [ITWeb]

¶ Enel SpA and the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority agreed to share knowledge about smart grids and network digitalization and to do research “for the benefit of the clean and renewable energy sector.” The partners will organise events and meetings to discuss the most important issues in the energy sector and seek solutions. [SeeNews Renewables]

Solar power in Dubai (Author: alixanaeuphoria CC BY SA)

Solar power for Dubai (Author: alixanaeuphoria CC BY SA)


¶ US energy provider MidAmerican Energy has announced two more wind projects in Iowa amounting to 338 MW. They are part of the larger previously announced 2-GW Wind XI economic development project, which consists of a series of wind farms. In aggregate, the Wind XI project is the largest in the history of Iowa. [CleanTechnica]

¶ In 2016, Xcel Energy’s 19 hydropower plants in Wisconsin generated almost 1.2 million MWh of electricity, breaking the previous record of just over 1.1 million MWh set in 1996. The record translates to an average hourly production of 137 MW, which serves the electric needs of about 137,000 households. [Electric Light & Power]

Hydropower dam

Hydropower dam

¶ Amazon Web Services may soon have more than 1 GW of power capacity supporting its huge US-East data center cluster, according to a Greenpeace analysis of the company’s energy use. The company had 500 MW of capacity in a 2015 analysis, but has received permission for generators to support another 560 MW. [Data Center Frontier]

¶ Employment in the US wind energy industry is higher than that at nuclear, natural gas, coal, or hydroelectric power plants according to the DOE. The report also says more growth in the industry is possible, with the potential to create 380,000 jobs by 2030. The DOE report validates job figures from the AWEA. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

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