February 18 Energy News

February 18, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Americans rally to support wind power” • Hundreds of Americans from across the country traveled to Washington, DC to show their support for wind energy. AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan penned an op-ed in The Hill looking at why they decided to make the trek. Here are a few highlights and a link to the original article. [Into the Wind – The AWEA Blog]

Wind power

Wind power

¶ “Australian Conservatives Attack Chief Scientist For Failing To Toe Fossil Fuel Party Line” • Australia’s conservative media commentators have found a new target for their anti-renewables angst, this week launching what was regarded as an almost inevitable attack, on Alan Finkel – Australia’s chief scientist. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Is peak oil demand coming faster than expected?” • The expansion of electric vehicles and solar power could curtail growth in the world’s demand for fossil fuels by 2020, putting the future of the some of the world’s leading energy companies into jeopardy, according to a study released by a British climate change research center. [Houston Chronicle]

Charging stations (Photo: Paul Chinn, Staff)

Charging stations (Photo: Paul Chinn, Staff)

¶ “Edsels of energy? Duke Energy may find new AP1000 nuclear plants are already outdated” • Duke Energy won long-pursued federal operating licenses for cutting edge nuclear power plants at sites in Florida and South Carolina. Duke has no current plans to proceed on either project. But the AP1000 is starting to look outmoded. [TBO.com]

World:

¶ The first phase of a solar array on the Caribbean island of St Eustatius, which has been operational since April 2016, already generates 23% of the island’s electricity, and this increases to even 90% at peak moments during clear, sunny days. The second phase of the solar panel field in St. Eustatius should be ready by this September. [The Daily Herald]

Saint Eustatius solar array

Saint Eustatius solar array

¶ Coal and gas dependent Queensland (it has just one large scale solar plant and no big wind farms) recorded over 40 more high-priced events than renewables-rich South Australia so far this year. Electricity from rooftop solar systems helped reduce grid stress and keep power prices down, but their owners were paid a pittance. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Hibiki consortium, led by utility Kyuden Mirai, has won a tender to develop an offshore wind farm in southern Japan for about ¥175 billion ($1.5 billion). The group will build and operate the Hibikinada wind farm near the Port of Kitakyushu City in Kyushu island. The scheme is expected to have up to 44 turbines. [reNews]

Offshore wind turbines (reNews image)

Offshore wind turbines (reNews image)

¶ New South Wales is one of the most coal-dependent states in Australia, with renewable energy contributing less than 10% to its electricity mix on average. Over the weekend, however, wind and solar may just have helped keep the lights on. Solar power systems contributed more than 1 GW to the grid during much of the day. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Victoria Labor government is calling for expressions of interest to build a 20-MW battery storage array, in what would likely be Australia’s first grid scale battery storage facility. The facility is earmarked for western Victoria, where the Australian Energy Market Operator has identified opportunities to improve grid stability. [RenewEconomy]

Battery storage array

Battery storage array

¶ Institutions in Hamburg are proposing to build a large underground thermal heat storage system that could supply roughly a quarter of the city’s heating needs with waste heat from industrial and power plants. If successful, it could make Vattenfall’s plans to realise a CO2-neutral district heating network superfluous. [CleanTechnica]

¶ For the first time, the total installed capacity of wind energy in Europe now exceeds that of electric power plants fueled with coal. That imbalance is likely to grow as more wind generation comes online over the next decade, both on land and offshore. The statistics, collated by WindEurope, were posted by Navigant Research. [Green Car Reports]

Wind farm

Wind farm

¶ EU member states have approved a €90 million grant for a compressed air energy storage project in Larne in Northern Ireland. The Larne project converts excess energy from renewable generation into compressed air to be stored in geological caverns within salt layers underground for later release to generate electricity. [reNews]

US:

¶ A coalition of dozens of local lawmakers, environmental groups, and businesses is urging the New York state Public Service Commission to maintain fair rates for power sold from so-called “community solar” projects. Larger than the typical rooftop system, such systems can have many owners, rather than just one. [Albany Times Union]

Solar panels in Halfmoon, NY (Skip Dickstein/Times Union)

Solar panels in Halfmoon, NY (Skip Dickstein/Times Union)

¶ The GM plant in Arlington, Texas makes more than 1,000 SUVs a day. While these vehicles tend to burn more gas, the plant where they’re made will be entirely powered by wind energy by the end of 2018. The Arlington facility already gets about half of its power from wind, and reaching 100% sets GM on its path to the larger goal. [Yale Climate Connections]

¶ EPB has started construction on Solar Share, Chattanooga’s first community solar installation through a partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority. By summer, Solar Share is expected to begin generating 1.35 MW of solar power, which is enough to meet the needs of about 200 average households in the area. [WDEF News 12]

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