January 31 Energy News

January 31, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Industry roundtable: The forecast is for strong wind” • Wind energy is an abundant resource in Australia but expansion in projects has been limited over recent years. As costs fall and the air is slowly cleared on policy, the wind sector is set for strong growth. EcoGeneration asked four industry experts for their projections. [EcoGeneration]

Wind farm (Shutterstock image)

Wind farm (Shutterstock image)

¶ “Mountains Beyond Mountains: How Green Mountain Power Became More Than An Electric Utility” • Green Mountain Power does some cool things. They once helped expand net metering in the state. They retrofit homes with solar and energy efficiency products through on-bill financing, saving customers money. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶ Expansion of renewable energy cannot stave off catastrophic climate change by itself, scientists warned. Even if solar and wind capacity continues to grow at breakneck speed, it will not be fast enough to cap global warming under 2° C (3.6° F), the target set in the 2015 Paris climate treaty, said their report in the journal Nature Climate Change. [Phys.Org]

Renewables are not growing fast enough.

Renewables are not growing fast enough.

World:

¶ Dubai Electricity & Water Authority announced a fresh 200-MW tender for the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park just days after Dubai announced its long-term renewable energy targets. The 200-MW project is set to be commissioned by April 2021. The solar park has over 1 GW of solar PV capacity under development. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Energy Technologies Institute will fund development of flettner rotor systems for cargo vessels, arguing that wind power represents the only credible way to cut the CO2 emissions of shipping. A flettner rotor system uses a spinning cylinder to convert wind force into thrust that helps propel a ship, and this can reduce emissions. [The Loadstar]

Ship with two rotor sails

Ship with two rotor sails

¶ The German Solar Association estimates the current global installed solar power capacity to be about 300 GW. It says that around 70 GW was installed world-wide last year, an increase of around 30% on 2015. The new capacity could supply 25 million additional households, assuming an average annual electricity consumption of 3,500 kWh. [Energy Matters]

¶ Honduran state power company ENEE reported that 10.2% of the generation in the country’s electrical system was produced by solar PVs in 2016. This places Honduras as the first non-island nation in the world to reach a 10% share of solar energy in its electricity mix. Honduras had 433 MW of solar capacity at the end of 2016. [pv magazine]

Solar power in Honduras (Photo: Grupo Ortiz)

Solar power in Honduras (Photo: Grupo Ortiz)

¶ Toshiba Corp will cease taking orders related to building nuclear power stations, sources said, in a move that would effectively mark its withdrawal from the business of nuclear plant construction. The company said it will review its nuclear operations as it expects an expected asset impairment of up to ¥700 billion ($6.08 billion). [The Japan Times]

¶ Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator increased pressure on ERM Power, Alinta Energy, and other electricity retailers to fulfill their renewable energy obligations and help meet the 2020 target. ERM elected to pay $123 million in fines to meet most of its 2016 obligation, rather than buy Large-scale Generation Certificates. [The Australian Financial Review]

Australian Renewable Energy (Tom Messer)

Australian Renewable Energy (Tom Messer)

US:

¶ Wisconsin’s largest solar project may be built adjacent to the Point Beach nuclear plant in Two Rivers, the nuclear plant’s operator announced Monday. The Point Beach Solar Energy Center would open in 2021. It would generate 100 MW of solar power, and it would create between 150 and 200 jobs during its construction. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

¶ The effects of climate change are being felt in Alaska, and isn’t an arbitrary threat but one that already has a huge price tag. But there is another, more immediate reason to turn to renewable energy soon. Its cost is quickly becoming lower than traditional energy-producing methods, and in a number of places in Alaska, it already is. [Alaska Dispatch News]

Wind turbines in Kodiak (James Brooks photo)

Kodiak (AP Photo / Kodiak Daily Mirror, James Brooks)

¶ The US solar industry employed nearly 374,000 people in 2015 to 2016, a report from the DOE says. This is double the number of jobs in oil, coal and gas combined. There are about 769,000 renewable energy jobs, growing at an annual rate of nearly 6% since 2012. Jobs in fossil fuel extraction and support services saw annual declines. [The Climate Group]

¶ As rising sea levels continue to pose a threat to coastal regions of the US, low-lying but densely populated regions like New York City are rethinking their approach to the built environment. Since it was devastated by superstorm Sandy, the city has been weighing ambitious plans for defending itself against assaults from the sea. [Business Insider UK]

New York City (Reuters / Lucas Jackson)

New York City (Reuters / Lucas Jackson)

¶ Stem Inc, a provider of commercial-scale energy storage services, finished testing a customer-sited storage fleet installed for Hawaiian Electric Co. The testing confirmed the software-driven storage acts as a virtual power plant to manage diverse loads and sites to serve the utility’s real-time needs, according to Stem. [North American Windpower]

¶ The two dozen nonprofit groups and Senate committee members defending Scott Pruitt, President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the EPA, have two things in common. Like Pruitt, they’re climate science deniers. And, like Pruitt, most are funded by Charles and David Koch, who own the coal, oil, and gas conglomerate Koch Industries. [Triple Pundit]

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