February 9 Energy News

February 9, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “All The King’s Men Cannot Put King Coal Together Again” Even before the new administration took over, it had been widely argued that coal plants would continue shutting down irrespective of whether the Clean Power Plan was implemented. Old coal plants are retiring, and new ones are not being installed. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]

Declining capacities of new coal plants

Declining capacities of new coal plants were
going to zero before the Clean Power Plan

¶ “‘America First’ Energy Plan Challenges Free Market Realities” During President Barack Obama’s term in office, much of the focus was on addressing climate change and renewable energy. Trump is focused on coal, oil, and gas and putting the people who extract them to work. But experts say coal is simply too costly to be competitive. [KUNC]

World:

¶ Renewable energy made up nearly nine-tenths of new power added to Europe’s electricity grids last year, in a sign of the continent’s rapid shift away from fossil fuels, Euractiv’s media partner The Guardian reports. Of the 24.5 GW of new capacity built across the EU in 2016, 21.1 GW (86%) was from wind, solar, biomass and hydro. [EurActiv]

Wind farms accounted for over half of the capacity installed. (Shutterstock)

Wind farms accounted for over half
of the capacity installed. (Shutterstock)

¶ Chile’s Environmental Assessment Service has approved Mainstream Renewable Power’s 245-MW Escondido Solar PV facility, making it one of the largest approved projects in the Atacama region. It will involve an investment of $290 million to construct and is split into two solar parks located separately. [Power Engineering International]

¶ Many renewable power generation technologies are now cost competitive with fossil fuels, according to a report by Lloyd’s Register. The report examines the outlook for renewables, grid and infrastructure, nuclear, and energy storage. It found that 70% of renewables respondents felt the sector is reaching cost parity with fossil fuels. [reNews]

Onshore wind farm (credit: MorgueFile)

Onshore wind farm (credit: MorgueFile)

¶ Australian energy provider AGL Energy is looking to invest in large-scale battery storage installations as a potential alternative to new gas peaking plants, suggesting that storage will play a critical role in the changing nature of the electricity grid. AGL had an overwhelming response to market testing for large-scale battery storage. [RenewEconomy]

¶ European wind power grew 8%, to 153.7 GW, now making up 16.7% of installed capacity and overtaking coal as the continent’s second-biggest potential source of energy, according to figures published by the WindEurope trade group. Gas-fired generation retained the largest share of installed capacity, though it is not growing. [Bloomberg]

Wind and coal are moving in opposite directions.

Wind and coal are moving in opposite directions.

¶ Just north of Provost, Alberta, you can see 17 wind turbines, each 80 meters tall, poking their heads above the aspen tree line. They are powering the future of Alberta’s children. In a unique agreement, the Bull Creek Wind Farm, with a 29-MW capacity, provides 500 schools around Alberta with 100% of their energy needs. [Huffington Post Canada]

¶ Vattenfall’s 54.4-MW Ray wind farm in Northumberland has generated power for the first time 18 months after construction began. The wind farm near Kirkwhelpington features 16 Senvion turbines each rated at 3.4-MW. Ray will produce enough power every year to meet the equivalent electricity needs of around 30,000 UK households. [reNews]

Ray wind farm (Vattenfall image)

Ray wind farm (Vattenfall image)

¶ Flood-prevention measures are lacking at ten Japanese nuclear power plants, utilities’ inspections have revealed. The Nuclear Regulation Authority told nuclear power companies to inspect reactor buildings and certain other important equipment after 6.5 tons of rainwater entered a reactor building in September of 2016. [The Japan Times]

¶ The first turbine at the 402-MW Dudgeon offshore wind farm off the Norfolk coast has started supplying electricity to the UK grid. A2Sea jack-up Sea Challenger completed the installation of the first 6-MW Siemens turbine a month ago and the remaining 66 machines are expected to be installed by the fourth quarter of this year. [reNews]

Offshore wind installation (Statoil image)

Offshore wind installation (Statoil image)

US:

¶ On February 7th, the Seattle City Council voted unanimously to stop doing business with Wells Fargo Bank. This is because Wells Fargo has investments in the companies behind the Dakota Access pipeline project. Seattle currently does about $3 billion a year in business with Wells Fargo. The pipeline has 17 investors. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The US Army Corps of Engineers has granted an easement in North Dakota for the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, allowing the project to move toward completion despite the protests of Native Americans and environmentalists. Long against the project, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe promised a legal fight. [CNN]

Activist at Standing Rock Sioux Reservation

Activist at Standing Rock Sioux Reservation

¶ The city of San Diego issued permits for over 2,200 solar energy systems last year, compared to just over 1,200 the year before, according to the mayor’s office. City officials credited lower costs, technological innovations and streamlined solar permit processing services for the increase in the numbers of permits. [Times of San Diego]
Solar panels in Southern California (Courtesy LA Solar Group)

¶ The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs finalized a contract to build a solar panel farm that will provide Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania, with clean renewable solar energy for the next 20 years. This will reduce the facility’s power demand costs and is expected to provide annual power needs for 525 homes. [Proud Green Building]

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