Archive for February 13th, 2017

February 13 Energy News

February 13, 2017


¶ Officials told Malcolm Turnbull a major gas plant shut down during the freak storm that sent South Australia into blackout last September. Documents obtained by the progressive think-tank the Australia Institute suggest a failure of gas power played a significant role in both the blackout and efforts to restart after the storm event. [The Guardian]

Torrens Island plant (Photo released to the public domain by the author, Wikimedia Commons)

Torrens Island plant (Photo released to the
public domain by the author; Wikimedia Commons)

¶ An Australian company boasting what it claims to be cutting-edge technology is raising $12 million from wealthy investors to develop a series of 1-MW generators that convert wave energy into electric power. Australian Maritime College claims the technology is 60% more efficient than previous ocean-wave/air-turbine generators. [The Australian]

¶ India has an opportunity to shift completely to green energy, a study by The Energy and Resource Institute said. If the country can halve storage technology prices in 10 years, it can do without the need for new coal based plants. The report said capacity that is installed or under construction would be able to meet demand till about 2026. []

Azure Power array in India

Azure Power array in India

¶ Opposition politicians in Queensland, South Australia, and Victoria promised to axe state renewable energy targets after Prime Minister Turnbull called for a unified national approach. This comes despite revelations that he ignored confidential public service advice that renewables were not responsible for power blackouts in South Australia. [The Fifth Estate]

¶ With the end of load shedding, the South African government is now more committed to the Independent Power Producers Program, President Jacob Zuma said in his State of the Nation Address to the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces in Parliament. He said work is continuing to ensure energy security. []

South African wind turbines (© Sandor-Jackal /

South African wind turbines (© Sandor-Jackal /

¶ A coal price spike last year, driven by a Chinese regulation that capped local mining operations, has shown how easily markets can swing from oversupply to shortfall. While many analysts and investors see the long-term outlook for coal as bleak, the shorter-term outlook for the industry has seen a reversal of fortunes. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]


¶ A Hawaiian utility co-op is aiming to produce 70% of its energy from renewables by 2030. The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative had already set a target of 50% renewables by 2023 but is set to hit that goal 2018, five years earlier than expected. As recently as 2011 KIUC had a 92% dependency on fossil fuels for generation. [Co-operative News]

A hydro generator run by KIUC

A hydro generator run by KIUC

¶ Maui Electric Co is marching toward 100% renewable energy for Maui County, Hawaii, and without an undersea interisland cable, the utility’s president said. Maui County residents have told MECO plainly that they don’t support an undersea cable to transmit electricity among islands, but she said MECO can reach 100% without it. [Maui News]

¶ A Montana solar farm would produce 80 MW of electricity, enough for 14,400 homes. It would be built on trust land, so Montana’s public schools would receive money from the lease. It would provide over $1 million taxes. But it might not happen. The Legislature is considering weakening state laws that support renewable energy. [San Francisco Chronicle]

Renewable energy in Montana is mostly wind power. (Photo by David J Laporte, Wikimedia Commons)

Renewable energy in Montana is mostly wind power.
(Photo by David J Laporte, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ New Hampshire is behind most of its neighbors in use of renewable energy, and several groups are using this legislative session make sure it stays behind. Led by the Americans for Prosperity, founded by billionaire Koch brothers, they support a bill that would pull the state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. [Foster’s Daily Democrat]

¶ If you want to understand why Toshiba Corp is about to report a multi-billion dollar write-down on its nuclear reactor business, the story begins and ends with a onetime pipe manufacturer in Louisiana. The Shaw Group Inc, based in Baton Rouge, looms large in a story of business acquisitions and lack of experience. [The Japan Times]

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