February 3 Energy News

February 3, 2017


¶ “Not just Toshiba – the global nuclear industry is in crisis everywhere” • The collapse of Toshiba, the direct result of its failing nuclear ventures, is indicative of a crisis faced by nuclear contractors and utilities worldwide. Another sign of the poor outlook for the industry: no major commodity had a worse 2016 than uranium. [The Ecologist]

The Moorside nuclear complex (Image: Nugen)

Moorside nuclear complex (Image: Nugen)

Science and Technology:

¶ As the global climate heats up, so do Alaskan ocean waters, meaning big changes for marine ecosystems and bad news for some species. Scientists gathered in Anchorage last week for the Alaska Marine Science Symposium to review new research probing those changes and what may be ongoing shifts in the marine ecosystem. [Homer Tribune]


¶ A new report from The Economist Intelligence Unit has concluded that Europe’s coal consumption has been in long-term decline, and the region’s reliance on it is not as uniformly high as many assume. Much of the decline in coal for Europe
has been centered in the UK, which has been closing coal power plants regularly. [CleanTechnica]

Decline in UK coal use

Decline in UK coal use

¶ India’s Ministry of Shipping decided to use renewable energy sources to power 12 of the country’s major ports. The directive was initiated under the government’s Green Port Initiative, and will see 91.5 MW of solar systems installed at the 12 locations. Plans also include 45 MW of wind energy capacity at two major ports. [Ship Technology]

¶ Energy firm Simple Power has installed more wind turbines
in rural Northern Ireland, with projects being completed in counties Down, Antrim, Tyrone, and Londonderry since last year’s closure of the Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation subsidy for wind. The company is still furthering its projects where eligible. [Belfast Telegraph]

Simple Power turbine

Simple Power turbine

¶ Royal Dutch Shell has revealed it is considering opportunities in Australia to combine gas and renewable energy to support what chief executive Ben van Beurden says is an “unstoppable” transition to a cleaner economy. He pointed to many areas where the combination of gas and renewables made “a lot of sense.” [The Australian Financial Review]

¶ Solar energy is set to advance in New South Wales after the Clean Energy Finance Corporation announced $150 million of investments in three upcoming solar projects. The three solar farms in Dubbo, Parkes, and Griffith are all being developed by independent power producer, Neoen. They will power about 41,500 homes. [OmniChannel Media]

Australian solar array

Australian solar array

¶ TEPCO announced that a radiation level of 530 sieverts per hour has been measured in the containment vessel of Fukushima Daiichi’s reactor 2. Also, based on its analysis of images taken by a remote-controlled camera, there is a 2-meter hole in the metal grating under the pressure vessel in the primary containment vessel for the reactor. [The Japan Times]

¶ Faced with blackouts, Pakistan’s largest public park has gone solar. City authorities in Islamabad installed 3,400 solar panels on a 2.5-hectare parcel of the 300-hectare (750-acre) park, at a cost of $4.8 million. The park also uses batteries to store solar energy to meet lighting and other electricity needs 24 hours a day. [Arab News]

Fatima Jinnah Park uses solar power.

Fatima Jinnah Park uses solar power.


¶ Republicans in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee suspended committee rules in order to advance Scott Pruitt’s nomination as head of the EPA amid a Democrat boycott. The committee’s unanimous approval, with an 11-0 vote, now pushes his nomination to the full Senate floor for a final vote on approval. [UPI.com]

¶ Ohio regulators are reviewing an application for the Icebreaker freshwater offshore wind project in Lake Erie, about 13 km (8.1 miles) off the coast of Cleveland. Icebreaker Windpower plans to install six MHI Vestas V126 3.45-MW turbines, for a combined capacity of 20.7-MW. The Lake Erie Energy Development Co (Leedco) initiated the project. [reNews]

Icebreaker wind project (Leedco image)

Icebreaker wind project (Leedco image)

¶ The breakneck pace of solar energy Utah adopted over the past decade needs to continue on an accelerated course, advocates say. At a media event at the state Capitol, the Wasatch Solar Team, led by the advocacy organization Utah Clean Energy and Salt Lake City, unveiled a plan that recommends the removal of existing roadblocks. [KSL.com]

¶ State lawmakers and officials from Utah’s solar industry have reached an agreement for phasing out tax credits for residents installing rooftop arrays, partly by increasing those incentives while they are still available. Many said they have mixed feelings, however, about the compromise to eliminate the tax breaks by 2021. [Salt Lake Tribune]

Rooftop solar in Utah (Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune)

Rooftop solar in Utah (Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune)

¶ A fund meant to spur Vermont’s small-scale renewable energy developments will expire by 2018 unless legislators find another source of revenue, according to a legislative report published this month. The state’s Clean Energy Development Fund holds more than $5 million, but the payments that generated that amount have ceased. [vtdigger.org]

¶ In Hawaii, the Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative is aiming to reach 70% renewables by 2030 as part of a new long-term plan adopted this week by the utility’s board of directors. The goal builds on previous renewable goals as KIUC had targeted 50% renewables by 2023. But the co-op is ahead of schedule by five years. [Utility Dive]

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