February 26 Energy News

February 26, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “How to Support Renewable Energy (and Why You Really Should)” • Even with the divided US political climate, most people agree on public support for increasing our use of renewable energy sources. Some are concerned about pollution, others about the national security. But many are attracted to benefits of renewable energy. [Scientific American]

Sonoma Calpine 3 geothermal plant  (Stepheng3, Wikimedia Commons)

Geothermal power plant (Stepheng3, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Conservative group’s carbon plan gives us hope for climate change action” • The Climate Leadership Council, a conservative panel including former Secretaries of State George Schultz and James Baker and former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, is challenging climate skeptics in their party with a market-based approach. [Hawaii Tribune Herald]

¶ “Wind Energy Boom Hits The US” • It’s free, plentiful, carbon neutral and in the right hands could have a radical impact on the future. Installed wind capacity was greater than hydroelectric, according to the American Wind Energy Association. The AWEA points out that, with a new site in North Carolina, there are now wind farms in 41 states. [Yahoo Finance]

Wind turbines in Wyoming  (CGP Grey, Wikimedia Commons)

Wind turbines in Wyoming (CGP Grey, Wikimedia Commons)

Science and Technology:

¶ Digging for blood and sand worms along the Maine coast can pay well, particularly in areas of the state where it can be hard to make a living. Maine’s annual harvest of these popular bait worms, however, continues to decline, posing a quandary for marine biologists who cite climate change and predation as possible factors. [Bangor Daily News]

¶ A study by a British and French team of climate scientists has challenged the previously held notion that any significant change in temperatures here was unlikely before the end of the century. Writing in Nature Communications journal the team judged the chance of a significant change in the region as being as high as 50%. [MyBroadband]

Ocean Ice

Ocean Ice

World:

¶ After earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdowns devastated Fukushima communities, local people took power generation into their own hands, creating a co-operative, Aizu Power. Now it operates a dozen small-scale solar power facilities across inner Fukushima. They demonstrate that even in a snowy region, solar is a viable option. [Truth-Out]

¶ Work has begun on Genex’s $126 million Kidston Solar Project in North Queensland, the first solar farm to be built under the state government’s Solar 150 program. Visiting the site of the former Kidston Gold Mine, the Energy Minister said the project was a sign of investor confidence in Queensland’s renewable credentials. [The North West Star]

Genex Kidston solar farm

Genex Kidston solar farm

¶ According to the chairman and managing director of Suzlon Group, wind and solar energy do not compete but rather complement each other. Solar in India is in addition to wind and not a substitute. In India, wind power is at grid parity, solar power is getting there, and development of conventional power has stalled. [Telangana Today]

¶ The number of electricity users who voluntarily purchased green power in Taiwan has grown from 531 to more than 7,000 in three years. Consumption of green power has grown from less than 5 million kWh to more than 270 million kWh since 2014 when the Green Power Pilot Program, a three-year promotional scheme, was initialed. [Taiwan News]

Green power in Taiwan (Photo from Wikipedia)

Green power in Taiwan (Photo from Wikipedia)

US:

¶ In late 2015, Houston agreed to a 20-year deal to buy 30 MW of power from the Solaire Holman plant. Last week, the City Council ramped up that purchase to accept all 50 MW the plant will produce, at $44.68 per MWh over 20 years. That will cover 10.5% of the city’s annual electricity needs, replacing coal-generated power. [Houston Chronicle]

¶ Manchester, Ohio is a mass of closed storefronts, with a couple of restaurants and one bar. Its 2,000 residents rely on two coal-burning power plants to provide jobs and keep the local economy afloat. Both are closing in 2018, and the closest town with available work is an hour away. They are looking to Donald Trump to save them. [CNN]

In the distance, the coal-burning Stuart station, near Manchester

In the distance, the coal-burning Stuart station, near Manchester

¶ For 40 years the National Renewable Energy Laboratory has conducted unique scientific research and worked with industry to make sources such as solar, wind and biofuels increasingly big parts of America’s energy supply. But the Trump administration has roughly 1,700 NREL employees wondering what’s ahead. [Colorado Public Radio]

¶ In filings this week, Duke Energy said its actual avoided costs for solar power have dropped, largely because of falling fuel prices for natural gas, to $35 per megawatt-hour of energy. But it’s paying solar developers $55 to $85 under long-term contracts based on avoided costs the commission previously set. [Winston-Salem Journal]

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