February 24 Energy News

February 24, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Will fossil fuels and conventional cars be obsolete by 2030?” In 2016, solar power became the cheapest form of energy in 58 lower-income countries, including China, India, and Brazil, and the cost is still dropping. In Europe, in 2016, 86% of the newly installed energy capacity was from renewable sources. Is it all over for fossil fuels? [Huffington Post]

Solar power rising

Solar power rising

World:

¶ London has air pollution levels that sometimes exceed those of Beijing. NOx levels have gone well beyond EU legal limits; over a 5 day period in January, their levels exceeded the EU’s legal limit for a full year. The Mayor announced that central London will institute a £10 charge for entering vehicles that don’t meet Euro 4 standards. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The government of France is reportedly now offering a state subsidy of €200 to buyers of certain electrically powered bicycles. This state subsidy will be on the table until January 31, 2018, though there possibly may be an extension. The new state subsidy does not apply to electric bikes relying on lead-acid batteries. [CleanTechnica]

Wave e-bike (Image of Wave Electric Bike)

Wave e-bike (Image of Wave Electric Bike)

¶ The UK’s energy policy is beset by failures, according to a report from the House of Lords economic affairs committee. The report says the UK should put energy security, ahead of climate policy. Energy experts say the report is “confused”, the summary is “very misleading” and the auction it proposes “doesn’t really make sense.” [Carbon Brief]

¶ A new report by Australia’s Climate Council, State of Solar 2016: Globally and in Australia, talks of a “huge” year ahead for the country’s large-scale solar sector, with more than twenty utility-scale solar plants totaling more than 1 GW set to come online in 2017, and with a further 3.7 GW of new capacity in the pipeline. [pv magazine]

Kidston solar farm in Australia

Kidston solar farm in Australia

¶ Indian wind power tariffs fell to a record low in an auction, just a few days after solar power rates also hit an all-time low. In the auction, which was conducted by state-controlled Solar Energy Corporation of India for various wind projects totaling 1 GW, five companies separately quoted ₹3.46 per unit (5.2¢/kWh) for the tariff. [BW Businessworld]

¶ Swedish developer Minesto struck a deal with shipping outfit Stena Line to use a new assembly hall in the Welsh port of Holyhead for the commercial roll out of the Deep Green tidal kite. Minesto is planning a first commercial array at Holyhead Deep and is currently also seeking to up top power at the site from 10 MW to 80 MW. [reNews]

Deep Green tidal kite (Minesto image)

Deep Green tidal kite (Minesto image)

¶ Renewable energy companies from three EU member nations, Finland, Germany and the Netherlands have just announced they will finance and build a total of 735 MW of wind power in Russia. All three have been victims of Putin-backed campaigns boosting anti-democratic candidates in an attempt to split and weaken the European Union. [CleanTechnica]

US:

¶ A solar project in Kearney, Nebraska will be the largest solar array in the state when its panels go online in the fall. It will have a capacity of 5.8 MW, at a cost of $11 million. Consumers will be allowed to buy shares in the array, for up to 80% of their usage, at a slight premium above regular rates, 86¢ per month for a 150-kWh share. [Kearney Hub]

Solar array in Nebraska (Courtesy photo)

Solar array in Nebraska (Courtesy photo)

¶ The main Standing Rock protest camp near the Dakota Access Pipeline was cleared Thursday, a day after a deadline to leave the area expired, authorities said. There were arrests, but no major conflict after police did not enter the camp. About 100 protesters left voluntarily. Protesters chanted, waved flags, and played drums as they left. [CNN]

¶ In the years of 2000 to 2014, Colorado River flows declined to around 81% of the 20th-century average. Researchers found that the higher temperatures in the region since 2000 are responsible for between one-sixth to one-half of the river flow reductions seen since 2000. Forty million people rely on the river for their survival. [CleanTechnica]

Relying on the Colorado River for survival  (Erik A Ellison, Wikimedia Commons)

Relying on the Colorado River for survival
(Erik A Ellison, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ California’s building standards mandate all new residential homes and commercial buildings under 10 stories to have a “solar ready” roof. The proposed California bill SB 71 would shift the focus from “solar ready” to “solar installed”. California would be the first US to requiring renewable energy installations by law. [Sun & Wind Energy]

¶ A bill aimed at classifying nuclear power as a renewable energy source in New Mexico stalled Thursday afternoon in committee on a tie vote. House Bill 406 would have amended the state’s Renewable Energy Act, which requires energy companies provide a certain amount of electricity from renewable sources. [New Mexico Political Report]

Vogtle Nuclear Power Plant (NRC photo  Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Vogtle Nuclear Power Plant (NRC photo
Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The Township Council of Willingboro, New Jersey voted to award a power purchase agreement to Eznergy of Toms River. The PPA calls for the company to install solar panels on certain township rooftops at no cost to the municipality, which will buy the power produced at 7¢/kWh, about half of what it currently pays, for 15 years. [Burlington County Times]

¶ Riverkeeper and the Natural Resources Defense Council claim a new study it commissioned puts to rest any lingering doubts over replacement power and shows that the closure of the Indian Point nuclear power plant can be done clean and green, without big increases in electric bills. Indian Points power units will be offline by 2021. [Mid-Hudson News]

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