February 19 Energy News

February 19, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ Scientists revealed that the extent of the Antarctic sea ice has shrunk and is getting increasingly erratic. According to the British Antarctic Survey, this year’s minimum sea ice level in the region is the smallest so far. Meanwhile, another report disclosed that the latest recorded sea ice extent had been the lowest in the last 38 years. [Telegiz News]

Record minimum Antarctic sea ice (Robert Woods, US Navy)

Record minimum Antarctic sea ice (Robert Woods, US Navy)

World:

¶ A competitive auction for the 750-MW solar power park in Rewa, Madhya Pradesh, has yielded the lowest-ever tariff for a solar power project in India. The three units of the solar power park have been awarded at tariffs of ₹2.970 to ₹2.979 per kWh (4.4¢/kWh). The lowest bid was placed by ACME Cleantech Solutions. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Hundreds of protesters have gathered outside government offices in Bangkok since Friday to demonstrate against a decision to green-light a 800-MW coal plant on the coast of Krabi, a region known for its beaches and natural beauty. The three protest leaders were detained by police on and handed over to the military. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Loading coal

Loading coal

¶ As coal’s future in Australia continues to dominate the national political debate, returns lodged by “third party campaigners” to the Australian Electoral Commission show a little-known group called ACA Low Emissions Technologies Limited, which is a promoter of coal mining interests, was one of the top spenders. [Bombala Times]

¶ An Australian company says it will build solar and battery facilities in South Australia this year with enough storage capacity to meet the power shortfall that caused blackouts in the state 10 days ago. A partner of Lyon Group said he was “very confident” his firm would install two 50-MW battery storage facilities this year. [The Australian Financial Review]

Solar PV panels in China's Fujian province (AP)

Solar PV panels in China’s Fujian province (AP)

¶ Australia is considering altering legislation to enable funds for clean energy developments to be used to bankroll construction of new low emission, coal-fired power plants. This comes after a major power outage during a heat wave in South Australia state worsened a row with the national government over energy security and renewable power. [AsiaOne]

¶ The air Indians breathe is turning more toxic by the day and an average of two deaths happen each minute due to air pollution, says a new study based on 2010 data. According to medical journal The Lancet, over a million Indians die every year due to air pollution and some of the worst polluted cities of the world are in India. [thenortheasttoday.com]

Air pollution (Internet sources)

Air pollution in India (Internet sources)

¶ Before a robot investigating the state of a reactor at Fukushima Daiichi became stuck in deposits and other debris that are believed to have interfered with its drive system, it took radiation measurements that indicate TEPCO, operator of the plant, was too optimistic about the state and location of the melted fuel within the reactor. [Asahi Shimbun]

¶ Strong winds and stormy seas have helped the Shetland Islands produce more power than it knows what to do with. The tidal power underwater turbines that were completed last month are only the latest green energy project. Even homeowners are acting, putting in small wind turbines in their gardens and solar panels on their roofs. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Wind turbine, Fair Isle (Dave Wheeler, Wikimedia Commons)

Wind turbine, Fair Isle (Dave Wheeler, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ The threat of a catastrophe at California’s Oroville Dam may be over. California’s Department of Water Resources lifted the evacuation order. But the dam’s troubles have also temporarily brought down one of the state’s major renewable energy assets, likely replacing 819-MW of hydro capacity with natural gas for a time. [POWER magazine]

¶ An energy trade association that includes Apple supports a proposal that would make it easier to participate in wholesale markets for energy storage and distributed energy resources. Advanced Energy Economy hopes that the removal of barriers on energy storage at the regulatory level will make it easier and cheaper to store energy. [9 to 5 Mac]

Apple facility in Mesa, Arizona

Apple facility in Mesa, Arizona

¶ The Iowa Lakes Regional Water board of directors hopes renewable energy will a great fit for a water and wastewater treatment plant. The district is trying to offset rising electrical costs. They hope teaming with Trusted Energy will lead to status as a net producer of clean energy, putting excess production on the power grid. [Dickinson County News]

¶ A 3.9-MW solar array is being installed by GenPro Energy Solutions in Lexington, Nebraska on a site owned by the city. Once operational, the power generated by the system of nearly 12,600 panels will meet about 3% of the city’s annual needs. The city also purchases power from Nebraska Public Power District. [Lexington Clipper Herald]

Lexington's solar array (C-H photo, Malena Ward)

Lexington’s solar array (C-H photo, Malena Ward)

¶ Earlier this month, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources accepted 30 new cities and towns into the state’s Green Communities program, an initiative that provides grants to municipalities that adopt a series of energy efficiency policies and set a goal of reducing their energy consumption by 20% within five years. [SouthCoastToday.com]

¶ Nevada lost over 2,500 rooftop solar installation jobs in 2016 after less generous net metering rates were approved by the state Public Utilities Commission. Both the Assembly and the Senate have created special subcommittees on energy to focus on ways to make rooftop solar financially attractive for homeowners again. [Las Vegas Review-Journal]

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