February 17 Energy News

February 17, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ The future is expected to hold more deadly heat waves, the fast spread of certain infectious diseases and catastrophic food shortages. These causes of premature deaths are all related to climate change, according to a panel of experts who gathered at the Carter Center in Atlanta on Thursday for the Climate & Health Meeting. [CNN]

Climate change is driving drought.

Climate change is driving drought.

World:

¶ First Solar, Inc announced that Photosol, a French PV company, has selected its thin-film modules to power 14 utility-scale solar power plants with a total capacity of 106.5 MW DC. The projects, developed and owned by Photosol, are part of the third procurement round initiated by France’s Commission de Régulation de l’Energie. [Your Industry News]

¶ In scoring the sustainable energy policies of 111 countries, the World Bank finds Mexico, China, India and Brazil are emerging as leaders in the field, delivering robust policies to support energy access. However, there is vast room for improvement, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa where 600 million people have no electricity. [pv magazine]

Many developing nations have proactive energy policies.

Many developing nations have proactive energy policies.

¶ The first phase of Gannawarra, which has been approved for 300 MW and is being co-developed by Solar Choice and Edify Energy, is set for construction in north-western Victoria. The solar farm’s first phase is slated for completion in early 2018. Its capacity will be about 60 MW, enough to power more than 25,000 Victorian homes. [RenewEconomy]

¶ It sounds like renewable energy might be going from a pipe dream to an investment theme. A new report from the McKinsey Global Institute estimates that renewables, primarily solar and wind, could jump from 4% of global power generation to as much as 36% by 2035, reshaping global electricity markets in the process. [Barron’s]

Wind farm (Photo: Sean Gallup / Getty Images)

Wind farm (Photo: Sean Gallup / Getty Images)

¶ Federal and state energy ministers will today be told by the South Australia’s Weatherill Labor government that it will “retake control” of the state’s fragile power network so blackouts “do not happen again.” The Energy Minister said, “We are going to use every inch of our authority, everything we can, to retake our sovereignty.” [The Australian]

¶ The latest robot attempting to find the 600 tons of nuclear fuel and debris that melted down six years ago in the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant met its end in less than a day. Scientists still don’t have all the information they need for a cleanup that the government estimates will take four decades and cost ¥8 trillion. [The Japan Times]

Robot developed by Toshiba Corp and the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning (Image: AFP-JIJI)

Robot developed by Toshiba Corp and the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning (Image: AFP-JIJI)

¶ Australia’s financial regulator has warned that climate change poses a material risk to the entire financial system, and has urged companies to start adapting. Geoff Summerhayes, from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, says it is unsafe for companies to ignore the potential physical risks of climate change. [The Guardian]

US:

¶ The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted to accept a Comprehensive Renewable Energy Plan unanimously. The plan will give industries and communities an idea of where renewable energy projects would be best suited, reduce costs and alleviate some of the conflicts between property owners and developers. [Patch.com]

Hummingbird in San Diego County  (Scott Cameron, Wikimedia Commons)

Hummingbird in San Diego County
(Scott Cameron, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The Minnesota Legislature sidestepped utility regulators and approved a new Xcel Energy power plant in central Minnesota. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission had sidelined Xcel’s proposal, but the Legislature passed bills saying the plant can move forward without researching renewable energy options. [Bristol Herald Courier]

¶ Consolidated Edison Development is continuing a fight to force a South Dakota utility to buy the output from three wind projects. Under the Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act, a federal program designed to stimulate markets for small alternative energy generators, Northwestern Energy is required to buy the output at “avoided cost” rates. [reNews]

Wind farm (Morgue File)

Wind farm (Morgue File)

¶ Nearly 800 former EPA officials urged the US Senate to reject President Donald Trump’s nominee, Scott Pruitt, to run the agency, as the chamber moved closer to approving his pick. The 773 former officials signed a letter that said Pruitt’s record and public statements suggest he does not agree with underlying principles of environmental laws. [AOL News]

¶ The state that gave us Scott Pruitt and James Inhofe just saw temperatures near 100° in the dead of winter. Climate change is loading the dice for record-breaking heat in Oklahoma. Here, the human fingerprint is clear. Carbon pollution traps heat, warming the planet. This, in turn, shifts the entire distribution of temperatures. [CleanTechnica]

Parched Oklahoma land (Al Jazeera English, Wikimedia Commons)

Parched Oklahoma (Al Jazeera English, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ TransCanada Corp has rebooted its effort to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline across Nebraska, where it had met with opposition before it withdrew its application when the Obama administration denied the company a federal permit in late 2015. TransCanada’s latest move had been expected since Donald Trump was elected. [MarketWatch]

¶ President Donald Trump’s pick to head the EPA, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, will be forced to hand over more than 3,000 emails to the Center for Media and Democracy, a watchdog group, after a district judge ordered their release. The state’s Attorney General’s Office has until Tuesday, February 21 to turn over the emails. [DeSmog]

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