February 8 Energy News

February 8, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Trump’s Despotically Dispensed ‘Truth’ Doomed by Reality” EPA staff and scientists are being muzzled, federal funds frozen, and ludicrous extractive industry speaking points are now official government policy. But ultimately, Trump’s triumphant hubris will be answerable, like that of all would-be despots before him, to reality. [TheTyee.ca]

One era ends - another begins.  (Photo: Peter Thoeny, Creative Commons)

One era ends – another begins.
(Photo: Peter Thoeny, Creative Commons)

World:

¶ Rooftop and large-scale solar contributed to an estimated 1% reduction in Australian power consumption in 2016, prompting 1.3% fall in greenhouse gas emissions. Analysis by Green Energy Markets has highlighted the growing impact solar power is having on the nation’s electricity consumption rates and patterns. [pv magazine]

¶ Australian Federal government agencies are investing $71.4 million in seven solar farms and a wind farm in Queensland. They are set to deliver a total of 2,218 jobs, analysis by 350.org shows. Australia’s largest coal mine got conditional approval for
a $1 billion federal infrastructure loan, which is predicted to deliver 1,464 jobs. [The Guardian]

Solar panels (Photo: Lukas Coch / AAP)

Solar panels (Photo: Lukas Coch / AAP)

¶ China has become the world’s largest producer of solar energy, according to a report from the country’s energy administration. The most populous nation on Earth nearly doubled their solar power capacity in 2016. Now China intends to add 110 GW of solar capacity by 2020, bringing the total capacity to 190 GW. [AZERTAC News]

¶ In a country where much of the rural population lives off the grid, villages on the Indonesian island of Flores boast their own renewable energy sources, all built by local communities. Faced with unreliable and costly diesel power, they have started to set up their own generating plants, based on renewable resources. [Mongabay.com]

The Mbakuhau micro-hydro plant supplies 30 kW  to power 334 homes. (Photo by Eko Rusdianto)

The Mbakuhau micro-hydro plant supplies 30 kW
to power 334 homes. (Photo by Eko Rusdianto)

¶ For Korea, Renewable energy is imperative in the long term. The Seoul Administrative Court has ordered the nuclear safety regulator to cancel its decision to extend the operation of the Wolseong-1 reactor, about 400 km southeast of Seoul. The ruling is the first court decision to halt the extension of a reactor’s operating life. [Korea Times]

¶ The Swedish city of Malmö is one of the greenest in Europe. The Västra Hamnen district uses 100% renewable energy, for power and heat. It is climate neutral, with absolutely no carbon emissions. The area has extensive bike trails, and a public bus system that runs entirely on biogas, a methane-based alternative to gasoline. [Beloit College Round Table]

Rooftop solar takes on a new meaning.

Lots of rooftop solar in Sweden

US:

¶ The US Army Corps of Engineers will grant an easement
in North Dakota for the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, allowing the project to move toward completion despite the protests. President Donald Trump had signed executive actions to advance approval of this pipeline and others almost as soon
as he took office. [CNN]

¶ With former Secretary of State Jim Baker leading, a group
of Republican senior statesmen are pushing for a carbon tax
to combat the effects of climate change. In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, they argued, “there is mounting evidence of problems with the atmosphere that are growing too compelling to ignore.” [Voice of America]

Flaring gas at an oil refinery in Washington

Flaring gas at an oil refinery in Washington

¶ Greenfield, Massachusetts has been honored by American City & County magazine as a 2016 Crown Community for pioneering the purchase of locally generated renewable energy certificates into the Greenfield Light and Power Program. Keeping energy dollars local is one goal in Greenfield’s Sustainable Master Plan. [The Recorder]

¶ DTE Energy Co, which provides electricity to 2.2 million customers in southeastern Michigan, is launching a new pilot program to financially support clean energy sources by offering customers to help fund DTE-owned wind and solar farms. Now, Customers will be able to buy up to 100% of their power from renewable sources. [Crain’s Detroit Business]

Solar power in Michigan

Solar power in Michigan

¶ New York’s Cuomo Administration wants to create a $15 million program offering up to $6,000 in rebates for people wishing to install geothermal heat pumps. The geothermal industry earlier sought tax breaks worth about $5,000. In addition to the energy efficiency of such systems, installing
them creates jobs. [Albany Times Union]

¶ Last year was very good for GE Renewable Energy. They had
a record 7 GW of onshore wind orders, representing an increase of 19% from 2015. The company previously announced that its onshore wind business booked over $3 billion of orders in the fourth quarter alone; this was due in part to a strong market in the US. [North American Windpower]

GE wind turbines

GE wind turbines

¶ Vermont Electric Cooperative announced its 2017 Energy Transformation Program. The 2017 opportunities include financial incentives for members who install cold-climate heat pumps, purchase or lease electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, or transition away from generators to power their homes or businesses. [vtdigger.org]

¶ Ohio’s solar industry added more than 1,000 jobs last year,
an industry trade group report says. The Solar Foundation, a promoter of the energy source, tallied up jobs in every state
and found employment in the sector increased 25% nationwide. Ohio’s solar industry rose to 5,831 jobs from 4,811 in 2015, a 21% increase. [Columbus Business First]

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