February 16 Energy News

February 16, 2017


¶ “Solar vs Nuclear: Is this the Last Chapter?” • Last year’s solar deployment numbers just came in, and they are, in a word, phenomenal. Utilities bought more new solar capacity than they did natural gas capacity. At the same time, there is grim news about delays in construction and associated cost over-runs for US nuclear plant projects. [The Equation]

Neighbors with solar (Courtesy of Grid Alternatives)

Neighbors with solar (Courtesy of Grid Alternatives)

Science and Technology:

¶ A study published this week in the science journal Nature found that the ocean’s worldwide oxygen content declined by more than 2% between 1960 and 2010. Scientists have long warned about the potentially deadly consequences of the ocean’s declining oxygen levels on marine life, and its resulting impact on humans. [CNN]

¶ Delivery vans get between 5 and 8 miles per gallon. Vans powered by Workhorse’s hybrid electric E-GEN powertrain have now completed 250,000 miles of service and have achieved an astounding 30 MPGe rating in daily, real life, stop and go operation. Workhorse calculates each van will save the owner $165,000 during its lifetime. [CleanTechnica]

Workhorse E-GEN powertrain (Workhorse image)

Workhorse E-GEN powertrain (Workhorse image)


¶ The Indian government announced plans to double the energy output of its solar power parks. Their goal is to reach 100 GW of solar capacity by 2022. India believes it is more economical and effective to use solar parks to gather energy rather than rooftop solar panels. Comparatively speaking, the response to rooftop solar has been weak. [Sputnik International]

¶ A research paper examined the future of UK wind power. A simulation of changing wind resources by 2100 found that the UK’s capacity for generating wind power will become more changeable, with some regions benefiting and others losing out. The year-on-year variation of wind power capacity will increase, the authors say. [eco-business.com]

Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm, Suffolk, England (Image: Department of Energy and Climate Change, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm, Suffolk, England (Image: Department of Energy and Climate Change, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

¶ China plans to develop floating nuclear power plants to ensure a stable power supply for its offshore projects and boost ocean gas exploration, according to a high-rank government official. The development of the floating power facility is an important part of China’s five-year economic development plan, running through 2020. [Chinatopix]


¶ The latest US Solar Market Insight report from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association showed that 2016 almost doubled the installations of 2015, itself a record-breaking year. Solar installations grew 95%, for a total of 14,625 MW. With 39% of new capacity across all fields, with wind placing second at 25%. [CleanTechnica]

Growth in solar installations

Growth in solar installations

¶ Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins said she will vote against President Donald Trump’s pick for EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt. Collins is the first Republican to break ranks over Pruitt. “The fact is, Mr. Pruitt and I have fundamentally different views of the role and mission of the EPA,” Collins said in a statement. [CNN]

¶ In 2015, Kansas City Power & Light decided to pony up $20 million to install 1,000 EV charging stations in and around the city. They are being installed in places people often visit in their daily lives. That program is now nearly complete and it has turned Kansas City into one of the fastest growing EV markets in America. [CleanTechnica]

KCPL Clean Charge (Image: Kansas Public Radio)

KCPL Clean Charge (Image: Kansas Public Radio)

¶ All electric service providers in Michigan met their renewable energy targets, with wind providing most, a public commission found. Michigan’s governor had been criticized last year for suspending state efforts for the Clean Power Plan. The state standard had each utility get 10% of its electricity from renewable sources in 2015. [UPI.com]

¶ Avangrid Renewables has agreed a power purchase agreement with Dairyland Power Cooperative for electricity from the 160-MW Barton wind farm in Iowa. Under the terms of the deal, Dairyland, which provides wholesale electricity to 24 members and 17 municipal utilities, will buy 80 MW of power from the project. [reNews]

Wind turbine (credit: SXC)

Wind turbine (credit: SXC)

¶ The city council of Pueblo, Colorado committed the city to 100% renewable energy by 2035. Pueblo is now the third city in Colorado and the 22nd in the nation to make the promise. The city doesn’t yet have a route for its destination, partly because it doesn’t have ownership of its electricity provider. It is looking at its options. [The Coloradoan]

¶ Moab, Utah officials say they have taken a major step toward creating a more sustainable city. The Moab City Council passed a resolution, committing to using 100% renewable electricity by 2032. The mayor said the move is driven by the community’s passion for Moab’s natural environment and a sustainable future. [RadioWest]

Moab, Utah (Saro17 via istockphoto.com)

Moab, Utah (Saro17 via istockphoto.com)

¶ UPS will invest around $18 million in new onsite solar PV projects in the US, expected to be completed by the end of the year. The 26,000 solar panels will increase the company’s total onsite solar capacity almost five-fold. Altogether, the new projects will generate 10 MW, enough to power around 1,200 homes. [Climate Action Programme]

¶ Competitors of Chicago-based Exelon Corp filed a federal lawsuit opposing legislation that provides billions of dollars in subsidies to the power giant. The legislation approved in December provides as much as $235 million per year to Exelon to keep unprofitable nuclear plants running in Clinton and the Quad Cities. [PennEnergy]

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