Archive for March, 2017

March 31 Energy News

March 31, 2017


¶ “Why Oil Is Not the Future” • While the oil market has stabilized a bit in recent months, there are many good reasons to believe that the industry is on the decline for good. In fact, petroleum consumption in the past couple of years is much lower than it was in the 90s, despite the fact that the economy grew close to 50% in this time. []

Train carrying coal in Wyoming

¶ “Why Donald Trump Can’t Save the Coal Industry” • President Donald Trump set off a panic among environmentalists and celebrations in coal country in an executive order he proclaimed would lead to a “new era in American energy.” The terror and revelry are both based on projections for a future that will never arrive. [Newsweek]


¶ Installed renewable energy capacity around the world grew by 161 GW in 2016 bringing the global total to more than 2 TW, according to data from the International Renewable Energy Agency. Renewable energy now accounts for 8.7% of total energy capacity. Of the 161 GW installed last year, 71 GW was solar, and 51 GW was wind. [reNews]

Wind turbines (Image: sxc)

¶ It looks like the honeymoon with the world’s most notorious “carbon bomb” is winding down. ConocoPhillips has announced that it will join a growing list of major oil companies that are selling off Canadian tar sands oil assets. It looks like the company might not see much of a future in Canadian tar sands oil … or does it? [CleanTechnica]

¶ Italian power provider Enel announced that construction work has begun on the largest PV plant on the American continent. It is the 754-MW Villanueva project, which is in the Mexican state of Coahuila. The company is investing €650 million in the project, and it is scheduled for completion in the second half of 2018. [pv magazine]

Mayan temple

¶ A new solar farm to be built in Australia this year will consist of 3.4 million solar panels and 1.1 million batteries which will be able to produce 330 MW (1 MW can power up to 1,000 homes) and store up to 100 MW. According to Lyon Group, its developer, this immense battery storage will make the farm the biggest of its kind in the world. [TNW]

¶ The 332-MW Nordsee 1 wind farm in the German North Sea has exported its first power to the mainland. The first Senvion 6.2M-126 turbine exported electricity to the German grid, developer Innogy said. So far, MPI Offshore jack-up vessel MPI Enterprise has installed seven machines. The wind farm is due to be complete by early October. [reNews]

Nordsee 1 (Image: Nordsee One GmbH)

¶ Vattenfall has confirmed plans for a 16-turbine extension to the 36.9-MW Clashindarroch wind farm in northeastern Scotland. The Swedish company aims to add 54 MW of capacity to the existing 18-turbine facility in Aberdeenshire. The proposed wind farm would be one of Vattenfall’s most competitive in the UK, it said. [reNews]


¶ In an attempt to put the kibosh on the suits brought by New York and Massachusetts, Exxon filed its own suit seeking to have the cases transferred to a court in Texas, where it expected to receive a more sympathetic hearing. But that court ruled that Exxon’s complaints should be transferred to the Southern District of New York. [CleanTechnica]

Oil rig

¶ Researchers from the US DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory have published what is in some ways the most cost detailed breakdowns for residential solar PV equipped with energy storage. The report also serves to quantify the previously unknown or uncertain soft costs for combined solar PV and energy storage. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Just after its merger with Solar City to build a factory that will be used for the production of Tesla battery cells, now as a part of the infrastructural plan, Tesla is in plans to build world’s largest solar panel rooftop on the roof of Nevada’s Gigafactory. The construction of this green energy facility will be completed by 2018. [The Legman News]


¶ Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee could help decide the fate of his moves to undo climate-related US regulations, but legal experts said Neil Gorsuch’s judicial record makes it hard to predict whether as a justice he would back a sweeping rollback. Gorsuch’s views on issues related to climate change are unclear. [AOL]

¶ A new Iowa Policy Project report claims that Iowa’s electricity prices, which are appreciably lower than the national average, can be attributed to the state’s growing wind industry. The project’s lead environmental scientist said the data shows the cost gap between Iowa and other states is increasing. [The Gazette: Eastern Iowa Breaking News and Headlines]

Wind turbine technician students (Liz Martin / The Gazette)

¶ Donald Trump may have signed an order intended to save coal industry jobs by rolling back environmental protections, but officials with Oklahoma’s largest electric utilities say it likely won’t have a big impact on their future electricity generation plans. A spokesman for Public Service Company of Oklahoma says coal is not economically viable. [KOSU]

¶ States that value nuclear power’s low carbon emissions have begun throwing lifelines to struggling nuclear plants in the form of subsidies. Nevertheless, opponents contend that these schemes illegally interfere with power markets. Litigation is underway and some believe the arguments will reach the Supreme Court. [Forbes]

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March 30 Energy News

March 30, 2017


A Path To Prosperity That We Can All Embrace • Now, as President Trump charges through his first 100 days, there is a risky theme being pushed that a prosperous America comes with a choice between environmental protection and economic growth. This concept is not only false, but dangerous and short-sighted. [Forbes]

Shadow of a Montana wind turbine (Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg)

Undoing the Clean Power Plan Will Be a Legal Nightmare • When it comes to the Clean Power Plan, Trump’s words are “legally not all that relevant,” according to a senior attorney at the National Resources Defense Council. That’s because the EPA is legally required to regulate greenhouse gases as pollutants under the Clean Air Act. [New Republic]

Trump’s Pro-Coal Orders Are Doomed to Fail • Between the cuts to the EPA budget, the executive order, and the Administration’s sweeping deregulatory agenda, it appears that the White House is trying to revive fossil fuels. But while the Administration could do a lot of damage to our health and businesses, its policies are doomed to fail. [Time]

Strip mining on Native American burial grounds by
Peabody Coal in 1972 (EPA photo, Wikimedia Commons)

Science and Technology:

¶ Climate change is stirring life in the Arctic Ocean as thinning sea ice lets in more sunlight, allowing microscopic algae to bloom there, scientists said. The micro-algae may now be able to grow under the ice across almost 30% of the Arctic Ocean at the peak of the brief summer in July, up from about 5% thirty years ago. [The News International]

¶ The rapid growth of solar arrays and wind farms is a win for the environment, but storing energy from them efficiently for the grid remains a challenge. EU scientists are turning to a cheap and plentiful natural resource for the answer: air, using surplus electricity to compress air, which is then stored in a cavern or abandoned mine. [New Atlas]

Old mine (Credit: svedoliver / Depositphotos)


¶ While China has become a world leader in the fight against global warming, its severe winter air pollution has worsened. This is likely as a result of changing atmospheric circulation, resulting from decreasing Arctic ice and increasing snowfall caused by climate change, according to a new study published in the journal Science Advances. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Vestas has secured three contracts to supply turbines to wind farms in China. One deal is to deliver 22 V110 2-MW machines power optimised to 2.2 MW for an unnamed customer for a 48-MW project in Shandon province. The turbines will have hub heights of 137 meters and the order also includes a two-year service contract. [reNews]

Vestas V110 wind turbine (Vestas image)

¶ Vattenfall plans to invest around $1.94 billion in wind power during 2017 to 2018. The Swedish state-owned utility said wind power will account for 60% of an investment program displaying a strategic shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Most of the rest of the funds will go on solar power and distribution. [Power Engineering International]

¶ In 2008, the Scottish island of Eigg became the world’s first community to launch an off-grid electric system powered by wind, water, and solar. Today, Eigg continues to set an example of how societies could meet their energy needs without grid access. Getting electricity without a grid is a challenge that affects nearly one-fifth of the world’s population. [BBC]

Cleadale church, Eigg (Credit: Alamy)


¶ Vermont State regulators have approved a massive Windsor County solar array that will be four times the size of any such project built in Vermont so far. The Coolidge Solar project, to be built in Ludlow and Cavendish, will have a capacity of 20 MW. The largest existing array in Vermont is just under 5 MW, state officials said. [Valley News]

¶ Energy companies could pay the US government higher royalties for oil, gas and other resources extracted from public land, under a review Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke authorized. The two-year review is designed to determine whether Americans are getting a fair return for those natural resources, he said in an interview. [Chicago Tribune]

Drilling on public lands (Ed Andrieski / AP)

¶ As Trump was signing the order to roll back environmental protections, American Electric Power Company, based in Columbus, Ohio, focused foremost not on the boost for the coal industry but its “important transition to support a cleaner energy economy.” AEP was once one of the largest coal plant operators in the country. [Columbus Business First]

¶ A private Nebraska-based energy firm is proposing to build a wind farm with 70 to 150 wind turbines in Nodaway County, Missouri. The facility would have a capacity of 200 to 300 MW, and would be built at a cost of $200 million to $300 million. Construction would start in 2019 and be completed in 2020. [News-Press Now]

Wind and corn (File photo)

¶ Colorado will push ahead on development of more affordable renewable energy despite President Donald Trump’s order eliminating many restrictions on fossil fuels production, Governor John Hickenlooper said. He said, Colorado has already met its carbon pollution goals under the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. [Hastings Tribune]

¶ Southwest Michigan residents can tell state officials how they feel about the proposed closure of Palisades Nuclear Power Plant when the Michigan Public Services Commission hosts several public meetings in May. The meetings will be presided over by an administrative law judge. There will be a court reporter to record the proceedings. [Herald Palladium]

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March 29 Energy News

March 29, 2017


¶ “The 150-Year-Old Energy Giant Ready To Disrupt The World (#CleanTechnica Original)” • Engie has been acquiring top startups in the various arenas it considers to be the biggest playing fields of the future. In energy, there are 5 “tsunamis” or 5 disruptive trends they see occurring all at approximately the same time. [CleanTechnica]

Thierry Lepercq, Engie’s Executive Vice President
of Research, Technology and Innovation


¶ A summer of record high temperatures, heat waves, and unplanned electricity outages appears to have bolstered the Australian rooftop solar market in 2017. Installations at end of February are up nearly 50% on the same time last year. Growth in rooftop solar installs has not been limited to South Australia, but in all of the major states. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A new $3.9 million project led by a company in South Canterbury, New Zealand, aims to have 95% of the Cook Islands running on renewable energy by the end of year. Infratec general manager Luke van Zeller said the project was the latest in a series of upgrades to overhaul the country’s dated power grids which relied on expensive fossil fuels. [Timaru Herald]

Solar farm at Rarotonga Airport (Supplied)

¶ Just three of Japan’s 42 usable reactors are running at present, according to the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum. That number is to rise after the Osaka high court backed a restart of reactors 3 and 4 at the Takahama power plant north of Kyoto. In doing so, it overturned the first ruling ordering an operating nuclear reactor to shut down. [The Guardian]

¶ Australia’s wind farms could soon become “core providers” of crucial grid stability services, assuming a role now dominated by fossil fuel generators. Australian Energy Market Operator principal Jenny Riesz said the growing need for frequency control and ancillary services presents an emerging opportunity for wind power. [CleanTechnica]

Wind turbines

¶ The UK’s nuclear regulator has granted its first consent for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant’s construction. The French utility’s £18 billion project will be the first nuclear plant to be built in Britain in a generation. The consent covers the placement of the structural concrete for the first nuclear safety-related structure at the site. [Energy Live News]


¶ President Donald Trump has signed an executive order rolling back Obama-era rules aimed at curbing climate change. He said this would put an end to the “war on coal” and “job-killing regulations.” The Energy Independence Executive Order suspends more than half a dozen measures enacted by his predecessor, and boosts fossil fuels. [BBC News]

Donald Trump, possibly lobbying for a new job (AFP)

¶ Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s biggest beer maker, plans to get all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025, shifting 6 TWh of electricity away from fossil-fuel plants. The company’s announcement comes the same day President Donald Trump signed an executive order undoing the Clean Power Plan. [Salt Lake Tribune]

¶ A coalition of 23 US states and local governments has vowed to challenge in court President Trump’s latest Executive Order reversing a raft of President Obama’s climate change regulations. The coalition includes states such as California, Massachusetts and Virginia, as well as cities including Chicago, Philadelphia and Boulder, Colorado. []


¶ Just last week, the California Air Resources Board voted to protect the environment even if the federal government refuses to. Now the governors of California and New York released a joint statement condemning the federal government’s move to harm the health of Americans and kill jobs by reversing Clean Power Plan. [Electrek]

¶ President Donald Trump’s efforts to roll back clean power standards will probably have a minimal effect on Minnesota, since the combination of state policy with changing energy economics, has already been leading utilities away from coal. Trump can sign orders, but it is too late. They are already on a clean-power path. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

Fenton Wind Farm (Windtech, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Frustrated by bloated power bills and frequent shutoffs, citizens of Pueblo, Colorado, have lobbied the city council to abandon natural gas and switch to more affordable renewable energy. Based on cost of electricity from utility-scale wind farms in the region, ratepayers could save money by switching to clean energy. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Westinghouse, Toshiba’s US nuclear unit, has filed for US bankruptcy protection. The US firm has struggled with hefty losses that have thrown its Japanese parent into a crisis, putting the conglomerate’s future at risk.Westinghouse has suffered huge cost overruns at two US projects in Georgia and South Carolina. [BBC News]

Westinghouse plant in Waynesboro (Reuters)

¶ The US wind industry already supports more than 100,000 jobs, but Navigant Consulting believes that number will increase to 248,000 total jobs by 2020, helping to deliver 35,000 MW of new wind power capacity through 2020. Navigant said the state of Iowa could support more than 17,000 wind-related jobs by 2020. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Utility company National Grid says it wants to build a new transmission line that would bring 1,200 MW of renewable power from Canada into New England. The major new project would take a different route than the controversial Northern Pass proposal put forward by Eversource. Most of it would be in New Hampshire. [New Hampshire Public Radio]

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March 28 Energy News

March 28, 2017


¶ “A future after oil and gas? Norway’s fossil-free energy start-ups” • Norway already produces a lot of renewable energy. About 97% of electricity generated in the country comes from renewable sources, mainly hydropower, according to Innovation Norway. But petrochemicals are still king, as half of Norway’s exports relate to oil and gas. [The Guardian]

Offshore platform near the Stavanger, Norway
(Nerijus Adomaitis / File Photo: Reuters Staff / Reuters)

¶ “Trump’s Anti-Climate Crusade Can Still Be Stopped” • This is not just another Trumpwellian sideshow. The President is sounding the retreat from the promise of cleaner, smarter ways to power our future. Trump’s retreat, though, is not a done deal. Congress controls the budget and should fully fund responsible climate protections. [TIME]

Science and Technology:

¶ A team of climate scientists found a connection between many extreme weather events and the impact climate change has on the jet stream. The researchers’ interests included the 2003 European heat wave, the 2010 Pakistan flood and Russian heat wave, the 2011 Texas and Oklahoma heat wave and drought, and the 2015 California wildfires. [Telegiz News]

Jet streams


¶ The former head of former head of GDF Suez Australia (now Engie) says solar PV and battery storage are already cheaper than gas-fired generation. He cited an estimate given to Reach Solar, which he now heads, in late December 2016 for solar PV and energy storage at A$110/MWh to $130/MWh (US$83.64/MWh to $98.85/MWh). [CleanTechnica]

¶ The 402-MW Veja Mate wind farm in the German North Sea has reached a half-way mark for turbine installations two-and-a-half months ahead of schedule, with 34 of the project’s 67 Siemens 6-MW turbines fully commissioned and producing power. The project is will produce over 1.6 TWh of electricity per year. [reNews]

Veja Mate wind farm (Veja Mate image)

¶ The UAE forecasts that savings from switching half its power needs to clean energy by mid-century will outstrip costs. The UAE plans to invest $150 billion in renewable power to 2050, weaning the country from subsidized natural gas power in stages, its Minister of Energy said. Clean energy sources will help it save $192 billion. [MENAFN.COM]

¶ Although the Amazon region is home to dozens of big hydroelectric dams, their energy is sent thousands of miles south to power the homes and factories in the big cities, or to feed electricity-intensive industries, many of them foreign-owned aluminium smelters. Local power is usually from diesel generators. But that is changing. [Climate Home]

Homes in the state of Amazonas (Pic: Flickr/Monica Posada)

¶ The Australian Energy Market Operator has issued a final report on the blackout that cut power to 850,000 customers in South Australia on September 28. It said two tornadoes were the likely cause of five electrical faults that led to the grid failure. Problems that caused wind farms to shut down have been identified and corrected. []

¶ In Africa, while hydropower and fossil fuel power plants are favored approaches in some quarters, a new assessment by the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has found that wind and solar can be competitive options both economically and environmentally, and they can significantly contribute to rising demand. [Eurasia Review]

Ngong Hills Wind Farm in Nairobi, Kenya
(Credit: Grace Wu / Berkeley Lab)


¶ China’s GCL New Energy is developing eight new solar projects in Wilson County, North Carolina. Six of the sites have a maximum power output at peak performance of 10 MW while two have an output of around 5 MW. Three of the facilities are expected to be producing power by the end of this month, and will sell electricity at fixed rates. [PV-Tech]

¶ In California, renewably sourced electricity has been setting production records since February 24. On March 23, renewables broke 56% of total demand. According to the daily report, solar peaked around 11:16 am. Three minutes later, the solar plus wind peaked at 49.2% of demand, and nine minutes later, total renewables peaked at 56.7%. [Electrec]

Wind turbines in Edelstal, Austria
(Photo: Matej Kova, National Geographic)

¶ According to American media watchdog Media Matters, the level of climate change coverage on evening newscasts and Sunday shows across broadcast networks in 2016 decreased significantly, dropping by 66% compared to 2015 levels, amounting to a total of only 50 minutes of coverage for the whole year. [CleanTechnica]

¶ As part of court settlements with the California Air Resources Board and the EPA, Volkswagen will build around 400 electric vehicle fast-charging stations in the US, according to reports. The $2 billion settlement will see the majority of stations installed in metro areas with high expected demand for electric vehicles. [CleanTechnica]

EVgo Superfast Charging Station

¶ What is expected to be Illinois’ largest rooftop solar array is under construction in Joliet, but it isn’t the initiative of a utility or solar company. Instead, the system will be paid for and owned by Swedish retailer Ikea as the company boosts its renewable energy portfolio. Its almost 9,000 panels will have a capacity of 2.91 MW. [Midwest Energy News]

¶ For the small towns that are home to 61 US nuclear plants, each one has been like the golden goose supplying high-paying jobs and money for roads, police and libraries. But those same places and their residents are bracing for what may come next. Due to the soaring costs of running aging reactors, at least a dozen reactors may close. [Electric Light & Power]

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March 27 Energy News

March 27, 2017


¶ “A conservative still pushing for a carbon tax” • If five years ago Bob Inglis’ optimism about building a coalition of conservatives to enact a carbon tax seemed far-fetched, today it’s a study in faith. He lost his South Carolina Congressional seat to a Tea Party candidate in 2010, but has been reborn as a conservative climate activist. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

With rising seas, sunny day flooding in Hollywood, Florida (AP)

¶ “What Rural Alaska Can Teach the World about Renewable Energy” • Many remote Alaskan communities have integrated renewables into their diesel-based power grids very successfully. In remote Alaskan villages, the cost of electricity was usually based on the cost of transporting diesel fuel, until renewable power became available. [Scientific American]

Science and Technology:

¶ In bacterial fuel cells, microbes convert chemical energy into electrical energy. They emit little to no CO2 doing this, but the cells created so far have not been efficient. Researchers at Binghamton University are testing systems based on using two types of bacteria in combination, and have had a power cell generate power for 13 days. [ZME Science]

Bacteria (Credit: NAIAD)


¶ Major oil producers are considering extending their recent output cuts a fresh bid to boost prices. OPEC countries and several other oil nations started to reduce production at the start of 2017. The move initially pushed up the oil price, but it has dropped in the last few weeks on fears the limits would not be enough to deal with an oil glut. [BBC News]

¶ The Australian government’s official position on fossil fuel subsidies is that it doesn’t pay any. But in Western Australia, Horizon Power, the state-owned utility, guarantees customers will pay no more than the 26¢/kWh charged in Perth. Now, Horizon Power is working on reducing those subsidies with renewable microgrids. [RenewEconomy]

A 110-kW solar farm in Western Australia (Horizon Power)

¶ Canadian province Alberta is all set to start its Renewable Electricity Program and expects to attract at least $7.88 billion of investment by 2030, while creating more than 7000 jobs in the region. As part of the program, the Alberta Electric System Operator is readying to begin the first of a series of competitions to generate green energy. [CleanTechnology News]

¶ The regional director for Asia Pacific of the International Water Association, speaking at the Water Philippines Expo in Pasay City, pushed for the Philippine government to establish and implement policies that will provide renewable energy to make it available to the majority, pointing out that solar power has become affordable. [Power Philippines]

Solar array in the Philippines

¶ According local media, construction of six nuclear reactors in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh may not be launched as planned. This is partly due to reports that Westinghouse, the nuclear unit of the Japanese Toshiba Corporation, is planning to file for bankruptcy in the US soon on the grounds of the amassed financial losses. [Sputnik International]

¶ The government of Vietnam’s Yen Bai province has requested assistance from South Korea for a proposed 500-MW solar PV project planned for Thac Ba Lake. The effort is intended to increase clean energy output and strengthen ties between Vietnam and South Korea. South Korean renewable energy developer Solkiss is already on board. [pv magazine]

The man-made Thac Ba Lake


¶ President Donald Trump will sign an executive order this week scrapping Obama cuts in power plant emissions, according to Trump’s environmental chief. EPA director Scott Pruitt told ABC Television’s “This Week” broadcast that Trump believes the US needs what he calls a “pro-growth and pro-environment approach.” [Voice of America]

¶ Solar power use in Alaska has grown quickly amid falling prices for PV panels and reduced doubts by Alaskans about solar energy in the land of sun-starved winters. New businesses have launched to take advantage of the trend. Now that it’s March and days are growing longer, people are clamoring for project estimates. [Alaska Dispatch News]

Solar installation in Anchorage. (Stephen Trimble)

¶ Despite being ranked third in the nation for rooftop-solar potential by the Solar Energy Industries Association, Florida has not had many installations. Nevertheless, the Sunshine State’s solar prospects are beginning to brighten. In 2016, the SEIA reported, Florida recorded 404 solar installations, up from 43 recorded in 2015. [The Northwest Florida Daily News]

¶ The Greater Richmond Solar Co-op, a group-purchasing program that vets and solicits bids from installers who drop their usual prices in exchange for a steady stream of customers. The group says the purchasing program can shave up to 20%. Recently passed legislation in Virginia can help them put their power onto the grid. []

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March 26 Energy News

March 26, 2017


¶ “World reaching turning point on carbon emissions as coal fades” • Humanity seems to be reaching a turning point in its emissions of greenhouse gases. Last year was the third in a row that global emissions of carbon dioxide trended sideways, ending what had been a long, unbroken climb interrupted only by the 2008 financial crisis. [Nikkei Asian Review]

Carbon dioxide emissions (© Reuters)

¶ “Guangzhou, New York, & Vancouver Are Making Climate Solutions A Reality” • While a lot of media coverage around the crisis is doom and gloom, cities around the world are coming up with powerful solutions on the local level. Here’s how a Canadian city, an American city, and a Chinese city are taking on climate action. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶ The German Aerospace Center just powered up a massive “artificial sun.” Using an array of 149 gigantic spotlights, it produces “synlight,” which can heat things up to 5,432°F. The effort is part of research to use sunlight to make hydrogen to use for fuel. With an artificial sun, the research can continue on rainy days. [Smithsonian]

Artificial sun (DLR image)


¶ Enthused by drop in renewable energy tariff, India’s Power Minister said India’s 60% to 65% of installed power generation capacity will be green energy. Earlier this month, Goyal had predicted that India’s solar power generation capacity will cross 20,000 MW in the next 15 months, from the current 10,000 MW. [Hindustan Times]

¶ The four wind turbines that have become emblematic of the City of Summerside, Prince Edward Island, are getting some company. The city is looking to generate another 16 MW of electricity locally to feed current and future demands of its municipally-owned power utility. Council passed a motion approving a request for proposals. [The Guardian]

Summerside wind turbines (©Google Maps image)

¶ Britain’s nuclear ambitions were thrown into doubt last night amid fears that a change of control at Moorside could set the project back by years. The plant was to be built by NuGen, a firm 60% owned by Toshiba, which would also supply the three reactors through its subsidiary Westinghouse. But Westinghouse is in trouble. [This is Money]

¶ By 2025, Sri Lanka hopes to boost its solar power output to 1,000 MW to meet fast-growing power needs. Solar power could meet 32% of Sri Lanka’s roughly 10,500 GW annual power demand, but so far nearly none of that potential has been developed, according to the energy sector development plan for 2015-2025. [The Sunday Times Sri Lanka]

Solar power used to irrigate papaya (File photo)


¶ Construction of the second largest commercial solar array in the state of New York is expected to begin next month, as developer Invenergy prepares to break ground at the former Tallgrass golf course in Shoreham. The 24.9-MW array is being developed under a 20-year contract with the Long Island Power Authority. [Newsday]

¶ After President Trump granted a permit for TransCanada Corp’s Keystone XL pipeline, the National Audubon Society issued a statement saying that the Keystone XL pipeline puts America’s birds and people in danger, and would further destabilize our changing climate. The pipeline will only make the future more uncertain. [Sierra Sun Times]

Sandhill Crane
(Photo: Sheldon Goldstein / Audubon Photography Awards)

¶ Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems and Carnegie Mellon University announced a new index to measure carbon dioxide emissions from the US electrical power generation sector. The Carnegie Mellon Power Sector Carbon Index will track the environmental performance of US power producers, comparing current and historical data. [Concord Register]

¶ After years of assembling some very complex pieces, officials close to the project to build a renewable energy biomass cogeneration facility adjacent to Albany’s Procter & Gamble say things are progressing as planned and that the $200 million plant should begin producing energy and steam for its customers in the next few months. [The Albany Herald]

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March 25 Energy News

March 25, 2017


¶ “Keystone XL is no done deal” • On paper, the TransCanada Corporation has obtained the Trump administration’s blessings to add hundreds of miles of pipeline through the Midwest. It is a permission twice denied by President Barack Obama two years ago, but it’s premature to assume the project will actually get built. [Baltimore Sun]

Protest, 2011 (chesapeakeclimate, Wikimedia Commons)

Science and Technology:

¶ Following 2016’s record high global average temperatures, and 2017’s already quite strange weather, we are now in “truly uncharted territory,” according to a new report from the World Meteorological Organization. In particular, the record-low levels of sea ice extent in the Arctic and Antarctic is considered “alarming.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ Ahead of this year’s Earth Hour, researchers have proposed a new “carbon law” to enable the international community to nearly eliminate fossil-fuel emissions by 2050. In order to meet the COP21 goal, the team recommends directing international efforts toward cutting global carbon emissions in half each decade. [Courthouse News Service]

Renewable power to limit emissions


¶ Beijing and the entire surrounding province of Hebei will be planting trees and creating new greenbelts, according to reports. The idea is apparently to leverage existing rivers, wetlands, mountains, and open spaces, to create a “green necklace” that will help to reduce smog problems, the Hebei government has revealed. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The small Dutch energy company Vandebron, which allows consumers to buy their renewable energy directly from local producers on an online marketplace, has offered the utility Nuon €1 million for its coal-fired power plant in Amsterdam. After the purchase, the energy startup wants to shut the plant down and turn it into a theme park. [CleanTechnica]

Impression of coal power plant Hemweg 8 as a theme park

¶ Six years after the natural disaster and the nuclear meltdowns in Fukushima prefecture, the governor commissioned a biomass-based power plant. The power plant was produced by UK-based Entrade. It is located at a small health resort and uses biomass to provide a hotel and a spa resort with electricity and heat. [Bioenergy Insight Magazine]

¶ A £10.8 million project, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund, is laying the foundation for a smart energy system across the Isles of Scilly off the coast of Cornwall. The Smart Islands project will link rooftop solar panels, solar gardens, batteries, domestic heat pumps, and electric vehicles in the archipelago. [TechSPARK]

View on the Isles of Scilly

¶ Afghanistan’s High Economic Council has approved a plan to deploy 100 MW of renewable energy generation capacity across the country. A local TV channel reports that the plan includes 65 MW of solar, 14 MW from wind power projects, 13.5 MW from biomass and 7.5 MW from hydropower plants, for a total of 30 projects. [pv magazine]

¶ A new “super inquiry” has been launched in the UK by MPs aiming to force action on the country’s growing air pollution problems, reports say. In an unprecedented action, four different Commons committees will question a variety of ministers and air quality experts, to better understand the situation and the available remedies. [CleanTechnica]

London’s age-old smog (Claude Monet, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Three European transmission system operators have signed a trilateral agreement this week that intends to develop a large renewable European electricity system in the North Sea. It is expected that the North Sea Wind Power Hub could supply as many as 70 to 100 million people in Europe with renewable energy by 2050. [CleanTechnica]


¶ President Donald Trump has announced that he is granting approval to the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline. Trump said the 1,900-mile pipeline, which will cross much of the Great Plains in a path from Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico, will be “the first of many infrastructure projects” he believes will stimulate jobs. [National Geographic]

Pipes near Cushing, Oklahoma (Photo: Larry W Smith, EPA)

¶ Maryland has increased its renewable generation portfolio target to 25% of all generation by 2020. The old target was 20% by 2022. Maryland’s new standard includes solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, fuel cells, ocean, small hydro, and certain waste technologies, which will ramp up to 2.5% of sales by 2020. [Power Engineering Magazine]

¶ Commissioners of the Port of Oakland, on San Francisco Bay, voted to approve an $8.9 million deal to purchase solar power for the next 20 years. Under the deal, the port will buy about 11,000 MWh of solar-generated electricity at $39/MWh from a solar farm in Lancaster, California, according to port officials. [CBS San Francisco Bay Area]

Port of Oakland (CBS image)

¶ Myron Ebell, the longtime climate-science denier who led President Donald Trump’s pre-inauguration EPA transition team, says Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is among the “swamp creatures” that have infiltrated the president’s administration. Tillerson has supported keeping the US in the Paris climate agreement. [Huffington Post]

¶ Calling warnings of the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant’s premature closure “real” and the need for a bailout “urgent,” FirstEnergy Corp’s top nuclear official left little doubt that the largest employer in Ottawa County, Ohio, is in trouble. He said the utility’s other nuclear plants, Perry and Beaver Valley are also in danger of closing. [Toledo Blade]

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March 24 Energy News

March 24, 2017


¶ According to 2017 Key Trends in Hydropower, published this week by the International Hydropower Association, a total of 31.5 GW of hydropower capacity was commissioned worldwide in 2016, including 6.4 GW of pumped storage, nearly twice the amount installed in 2015. Hydropower capacity is now 1,246 GW. [CleanTechnica]

Please click on the image to enlarge it

¶ One of the largest solar panel manufacturers in India has doubled its production capacity to 400 MW. The company may be looking to expand its capacity with an eye on the rapidly expanding Indian solar power market. The company has also increased its solar cell production capacity from 180 MW to 300 MW. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Global PV manufacturer Hanwha Q Cells said it has been awarded a tender to construct a 1-GW solar power plant in Turkey, in partnership with Kalyon. The Karapinar YEKA project will be the largest solar plant in the region. It will have 1,000 MW AC of capacity, enough to power over 600,000 households. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Solar array

¶ E.ON will be one of the first companies to stabilize the German electricity grid with wind power. This is made possible by the integration of a wind farm in Brandenburg into E.ON’s Virtual Power Plant. The wind farm is made part of a virtual power plant having 3,800 MW generation output from various sources. [Windtech International]

¶ Ireland’s wind energy generation is expected to increase significantly from today, following the opening of the largest wind farm in Ireland at Meenadreen in County Donegal. With a capacity of 95 MW, the wind farm has been developed over the past 26 months by energy firm Energia at a total cost of €145 million. []

Windfarm in Meenadreen (Image: Thomas McNulty)

¶ Dublin Airport has secured planning permission to build a small solar farm that will help power a large reservoir that delivers 500 million liters of water to the airport every year. The DAA, which operates Dublin and Cork airports, said that the solar arrays will provide as much as 50% of the reservoir’s power needs. [Irish Independent]

¶ China’s top power groups are lobbying the local government in the western province of Ningxia to force their main supplier of thermal coal to cut prices, which have been rising. With a glut of both renewable and coal-fired power capacity, electricity prices have dropped, forcing utilities to sell their power at a discount. [Jakarta Globe]

Workers in Chinese coal plant

¶ Toshiba’s main lenders are asking it to submit a bankruptcy filing for Westinghouse Electric Co, its US nuclear unit, by the end of this month, the Nikkei business daily reported. Toshiba has a multibillion dollar problem stemming from the ill-fated purchase of a US nuclear power plant construction company by Westinghouse in 2015. [The Straits Times]


¶ More than 600 acres of solar panels, with a total capacity of 60 MW, have been successfully installed and connected on land in North Carolina, thanks to a power purchase agreement with MIT and two other Boston-based organizations. The agreement was signed last August, and now they are delivering their power into the nation’s grid. [MIT News]

Solar farm in North Carolina (Image: Joe Higgins)

¶ While some states are beefing up efforts to promote efficiency and green power, the programs may fall away in places. Efforts to cut use of energy through efficiency are coming under attack in Washington and in at least two states, Ohio and Kentucky. People favoring efficiency say it benefits consumers by reducing utility bills. [Crain’s Cleveland Business]

¶ The declining cost of wind generation has many utilities looking to add it into their portfolios, a trend that could accelerate the demise of aging coal plants. According to new analysis from Moody’s Investor Services, some 56 GW of Midwest coal-fired generation is at risk, as wind energy comes online with lower costs. [Utility Dive]

Rainbows will not keep coal alive. (Credit: Flickr user Mike Baird)

¶ Black & Veatch is partnering with the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus to design and assess the financial and energy efficiency impacts of a microgrid in Buffalo, NY. The microgrid will provide resilient, clean energy for the 120-acre campus, long-term cost-savings and potential monetization opportunities for member institutions. [3BL Media]

¶ Developers have flipped the switch on solar power projects in Carver County, Minnesota. SunShare LLC of Denver, Colorado, started transmitting electricity in late December from the solar array it developed on about 30 acres leased from Bongards Creameries, midway between Cologne and the township of Norwood Young America. [SW News Media]

Installing solar panels
(Image: Enel Green Power of North America, Inc)

¶ Claiming that wind energy is unreliable and costly and that the region does not need any new power, a US senator is urging the Tennessee Valley Authority to avoid buying power from a proposed transmission project that would bring wind power from the Oklahoma Panhandle area to the Mid-south and Southeast. [North American Windpower]

¶ A proposed national budget from the Trump Administration seeks to greenlight the nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The move, if approved by Congress, would overturn the policy of the Obama Administration, which froze the Yucca Mountain project in 2009 over concerns that it was unfit to store nuclear waste. [Bellona]

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March 23 Energy News

March 23, 2017


¶ Toshiba and Ormat Technologies have commissioned the first 110-MW unit of the $1.17 billion Sarulla geothermal power plant located in North Sumatra, Indonesia. The 320.8-MW power plant uses technologies from Toshiba and Ormat to provide a high efficiency and 100% reinjection of the used geothermal fluid. [Energy Business Review]

Sarulla geothermal plant (Toshiba image)

¶ South African utility, Eskom, is expected to end its alleged opposition towards procurement of renewable energy. The energy minister said its impasse with renewable energy generators has ended. This could mean that the utility will fulfill its promise to buy the electricity generated from projects already auctioned. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Iran’s renewable energy generation capacity will reach 700 MW to 850 MW in the current Iranian calendar year (which began on March 21), the deputy energy minister announced. He said that wind and solar farms will account for about 90% of that capacity, Mehr news agency reported. Capacity in February was 340 MW. [Tehran Times]

Renewable energy in Iran

¶ The world’s largest steel manufacturer, ArcelorMittal, has sought approval for setting up one of the largest solar power projects developed by a single company in India. Media reports quoting the company’s annual report say ArcelorMittal has sought approvals from the state government of Karnataka to set up a 600 MW solar project. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Dounreay Tri Ltd signed planning consent from the Scottish government for the installation of a floating wind farm 9 km off the northern coast of Scotland. The prototype facility will be constructed in the Highlands at Global Energy Group’s Nigg facility. The twin-turbine project will be capable of generating 10 MW. [North American Windpower]

Floating offshore wind turbines

¶ According to media reports, Algeria’s Ministry of Energy will soon launch a tender for 4,020 MW of solar PV capacity. The tender is expected to be floated by early next year in three parts of about 1,350 MW capacity each. The tender is part of the Algerian government’s renewable energy policy announced in 2015. [CleanTechnica]


¶ Minnesota regulators have approved Otter Tail Power’s plan to double wind power resources and close a coal-fired plant. The utility’s 2016 Integrated Resource Plan had a proposal to add 200 MW of wind capacity, but the Public Utilities Commission bumped it up to 400 MW. The plan also includes a new 30 MW solar plant by 2020. [reNews]

Wind turbines in Minnesota (Image: Otter Tail Power)

¶ Residents and businesses in the Big Apple have collectively installed a whisker more than 101 MW of solar power capacity. According to Con Edison, which has over 40 kW of solar panels on its rooftop, more than 9,700 projects have been completed to date. Combined, these installations are enough to power more than 15,000 homes. [Energy Matters]

¶ Fifty Massachusetts lawmakers put their support behind a bill that would transition the state’s energy system to renewable sources. All of the state’s electricity would be required to come from clean energy initiatives like solar and wind by 2035. Energy for heating and transportation would all be renewably sourced by 2050. [pvbuzz media]


¶ Xcel Energy announced it has proposed the development of 11 new wind facilities in seven states, which would add 3,380 MW in new wind generation. The proposals would boost the utility’s wind portfolio by 50% and increase wind’s share of Xcel’s total generation to 35%. The proposals would come online through 2021. [Power Engineering Magazine]

¶ New transmission capacity in Western US could reduce total power generation costs by billions of dollars by reducing wind power curtailment, a study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory said. Utilities in the Mid-South and Southeast are importing wind energy on old lines, and congestion can cause curtailments. [Windpower Engineering]

Transmission lines

¶ Madison, Wisconsin and Abita Springs, Louisiana are moving to 100% renewable energy following city council votes. Madison and Abita Springs are the first cities in Wisconsin and Louisiana to make this commitment. They join 23 other cities across the United States, from large ones like San Diego to small ones like Greensburg, Kansas. [EcoWatch]

¶ New York lawmakers are continuing to push for more details about the state’s decision to make utility consumers pay up to $7.6 billion over several years to subsidize aging upstate nuclear plants. Democrats in the state Assembly are calling on state utility regulators to publicly release the financial review that they used to justify the decision. [PennEnergy]

Nuclear plant at sunset

¶ Exxon officials have been ordered by a New York judge to explain how the company overlooked a shadow email account used by its former CEO Rex Tillerson while the company was under subpoena by the New York attorney general’s office. Tillerson had used an alias email account under the name “Wayne Tracker.” [InsideClimate News]

¶ The Nuclear Power Modernization Act would help simplify the federal permitting process for new reactor designs at the NRC, the federal government’s nuclear reactor watchdog. It also would make the commission’s budget more transparent, especially on the fees it charges power plant operators. It has bi-partisan support. [Washington Examiner]

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March 22 Energy News

March 22, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ Start-up Wright Electric intends to offer an electric-powered commercial flight from London to Paris in 10 years. Its plane would carry 150 people on journeys of less than 300 miles. By removing the need for jet fuel, the price of travel could drop dramatically. British low-cost airline Easyjet has expressed its interest in the technology. [BBC News]

Wright One (Wright Electric image)


¶ A study says 2016 saw a “dramatic” decline in the number of coal-fired power stations in pre-construction, with a 48% fall in planned coal units, with a 62% drop in construction starts. The report, from several green campaign groups, says changing policies and economic conditions in China and India were behind the decline. [BBC News]

¶ A £300 million taxi manufacturing plant that created 1,000 new jobs is to be officially opened in Coventry. The London Taxi Company’s Ansty Park site is the home of its new electric taxi, the TX5. The first electric taxis will go on sale in London in the final quarter of the year, before being sold around the world early in 2018. [BBC News]

New London Taxi Company plant (London Taxi Company image)

¶ New research makes a projection that mining exploration for industrially important minerals is not keeping track with future demand and recycling on its own could not possibly meet the expected future demand. Because of this, the authors argue that some sort of global resource governance is needed for the mining industries. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Increased renewable capacity since the Fukushima nuclear disaster will see Japanese thermal power generation decline to 40% below 2015 levels by 2030, a report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis said. It says many of the 45 coal-fired power stations currently in the pipeline will not get built. [EnergyInfraPost]

Japanese thermal plant

¶ GreenWish Partners, a renewable energy developer dedicated to African renewables, will invest $280 million to build 200 MW of solar PV plants in Nigeria. GreenWish has already signed a long-term PPA with the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading company to sell power produced from the plants into the national grid. [PV-Tech]

¶ The Philippines had 903 MW of installed solar PV capacity under its Renewable Energy Law at the end of 2016, according to Department of Energy figures. Most of this was grid-tied, with 3.2 MW in the self-consumption category. The figures do not include 55 renewable energy-based projects installed under different laws. [PV-Tech]

Philippine solar system (Credit: Conergy)

¶ Early action in transitioning to a low-carbon energy sector is critical not only for keeping global warming to under 2° C, but also for minimizing the risks of additional stranded fossil fuel assets, which could be as much as an additional $10 trillion in assets by 2050. The report envisions coal use dropping by 65% and oil use by 50%. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Plans for a second solar farm for County Kildare have been given the thumbs up by the Council. Renewable Energy Systems Ltd will be putting up temporary (27 year) ground-mounted solar panels on a 29 acre site near Milltown. The solar farm is one of a number of large solar installations going up in Ireland. [Leinster Leader]

Solar farm in Ireland (file photo)


¶ AES subsidiary Dayton Power & Light confirmed that it will close two of its coal-fired plants by 2018 because they have become uneconomical. The Ohio utility announced its intent to close the two plants in January. DP&L will shift its power mix toward more renewable energy. Its announcement makes the move official. [POWER magazine]

¶ Allete Clean Energy recently announced its plan to build, own and operate a 100-MW wind farm north of Glen Ullin, North Dakota. It will provide power to Xcel Energy under a power purchase agreement. The Clean Energy One project has been under development since 2011. Construction is expected be completed in 2019. [Daily Energy Insider]

Wind farm in the Midwest (Shutterstock image)

¶ Salka LLC announced the execution of a purchase and sale agreement for the Summit Wind Project, an in-development wind farm in the east San Francisco Bay Area. The project will re-power a former Altamont Pass wind farm, replacing its 569 wind turbines with 27 modern turbines. The project is 45 miles from San Francisco. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ In Marion, New York, Marion Central School District and Monolith Solar commissioned a 253-kW solar array to power the district’s high school and bus garage. The system, adjacent to the Marion Jr-Sr High School, is projected to satisfy nearly 80% of the district’s usage, saving almost $13,000 in energy costs in just the first year. [Wayne Post]

Marion solar array (photo provided)

¶ Xcel Energy projects it can save Texas-New Mexico customers $2.8 billion over a 30-year period by displacing higher-cost energy with an additional 1,230 MW of wind energy. That is enough electricity to power more than 440,000 typical homes. Most of the new power would be generated at two facilities in New Mexico and Texas. [KCBD-TV]

¶ Legislation that would help the owner of the Millstone Nuclear Power Station in Waterford compete in a state renewable energy procurement program easily passed the Connecticut legislature’s Energy and Technology Committee. The vote allows the bill to be heard by the full state House of Representatives and Senate. [New Haven Register]

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March 21 Energy News

March 21, 2017


¶ “No place for new coal in Australia’s decarbonised pathway” With evidence mounting that energy efficiency and renewable sources can help decarbonize Australia’s energy system, it is obvious that coal’s role as the backbone of our electricity system is over, according to Amandine Denis-Ryan of ClimateWorks. []

Rooftop PV in an Australian suburb (Image: Shutterstock)

¶ “California Waiver Trumps EPA Dirty Fuel Rule” • It’s starting to look like our democracy is better defended against strong-man autocracy than I feared. The constitution, the fourth estate, the rule of law, have all taken massive hits, but are even eking out surprising wins after literally “unpresidented” assaults from the Oval Office. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶ The world’s oceans are a giant heat sink, and they work to modulate the world’s air temperatures to a large degree. With that in mind, the findings of a new study from the National Center for Atmospheric Research are somewhat unsettling. The world’s oceans may be storing as much as 13% more heat than was previously estimated. [CleanTechnica]

Measuring the warming ocean (Australian Commonwealth
Scientific and Industrial Research Organization)

¶ Chemists from the University of Glasgow report in a new paper in Science on a new form of hydrogen production that is 30 times faster than the current state-of-the-art method. The process also solves common problems associated with generating electricity from renewable sources such as solar, wind or wave energy. [Laboratory Equipment]

¶ Carbon emissions from electric generation could be eliminated by 2060, according to a report by the International Renewable Energy Agency. That emissions cut is necessary to prevent global temperatures from rising by more than 2° C above pre-industrial levels, generally considered the threshold for irreversible climate change. [Green Car Reports]

PVs at a VW plant in Tennessee


¶ In England, 12,000 workers in the solar industry were laid off last year and installations slowed by 85%, largely because the government had cut incentives to industry and private individuals. Now, some schools in England and Wales with rooftop solar systems are facing an 800% increase in taxes, beginning next month. [CleanTechnica]

¶ St1 Nordic Oy is teaming up with two wind power companies in a new joint venture, Grenselandet AS, to develop the two wind projects, Davvi and Borealis, in northernmost Norway. With a total capacity of 900 MW, the two planned wind farms would generate 3,600 GWh annually, St1 says in a press-release. [The Independent Barents Observer]

Wind turbines in Nordland county (Photo: Thomas Nilsen)

¶ Following the example of Japan, which has already begun constructing numerous floating solar arrays to meet it’s renewable energy goals, UK’s Thames Water has now announced plans to do the same. They are already building what will be the largest floating solar array in Europe, and they plan to install it on a reservoir in London. [Jetson Green]

¶ Queensland’s small-scale solar power systems recently passed a major milestone. Latest data from Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator shows Queenslanders have collectively installed more than 500,000 solar PV systems, crossing the halfway mark of a goal of 1 million solar rooftops across the state by 2020. [Energy Matters]

Solar array in Queensland (Shiftchange, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ A top Chinese official’s recent disclosure about how a nuclear disaster was averted after an earthquake nine years ago is a worrisome insight into Beijing’s readiness to be upfront about its nuclear industry. He said that along with an initial loss of electric power, the reactor’s coolant pool was damaged, but quick action averted disaster. [Asahi Shimbun]


¶ With the integration of its 60-MW Peak View Wind Project into the grid, Black Hills Energy is bringing renewable energy to its more than 94,000 customers in southern Colorado. The 34-turbine wind farm is located near the small city of Walsenburg. The Peak View Wind Project was completed in October. [North American Windpower]

Peak View wind turbines

¶ Google’s “Project Sunroof” tool revealed a vast untapped potential for rooftop solar installations in the US. Since 2015, the project has analysed around 60 million buildings across the US concluding that 79% are technically viable for generating solar power. Percentages range from 60% in cloudier northern states to 90% in sunnier. [Climate Action Programme]

¶ Even under the most trying circumstances, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the grid operator for most of Texas, says it will be able to maintain reliability. Part of that is due to substantial wind energy buildout: Recharge News reports ERCOT’s wind capacity could exceed 28 GW within three years. [Utility Dive]

ERCOT wind turbines

¶ A report from S&P Global Ratings has noted weakening conditions in ERCOT. Following demand changes and continued price volatility, ERCOT has continued to face new challenges, resulting in credit downgrades and forecast revisions. Texas has too much power pushing prices down, going to negative levels in some cases. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ Dominion Resources Inc said it plans to build and operate 81 MW of solar power plants in South Carolina’s Jasper County. A 71.4-MW plant near Ridgeland would sell its electricity to South Carolina Electric & Gas and its renewable energy credits to the local unit of Solvay SA. A 10-MW facility will go up near Ridgeland. [Renewables Now]

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March 20 Energy News

March 20, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels (as measured by NOAA at the Mauna Loa Baseline Atmospheric Observatory) rose at a rate of three parts per million for the second straight year in 2016, according to NOAA data. That brought atmospheric carbon dioxide levels (the average for 2016) up to 405.1 parts per million. [CleanTechnica]

Please click on the image to enlarge it.


¶ A joint venture of Qatar Electricity and Water Company and Qatar Petroleum is to build the largest solar power project in the country. According to media reports, construction of a 200-MW solar power project will begin next June, and it is expected to be fully operational by 2020. The project can be expanded to a capacity of 500 MW. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Vietnam Energy Association issued a report showing a huge potential from biomass and waste in Vietnam, according to This could amount to up to 1 billion kWh in 2020 and 6 billion kWh in 2050 from waste, with a total amount from biomass and waste of up to 9 billion kWh in 2020 and 80 kWh in 2050. [Renewable Energy Magazine]


¶ The second phase of the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park has been opened. It has a capacity of 200 MW, enough to supply annual power needs for 50,000 homes. The solar park is one of the major projects of the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, and is the world’s largest single-site solar park. []

¶ Beijing has closed the Huaneng Beijing Thermal Power Plant, its last big coal-fired power station, which had dominated the skyline of the city’s outskirts for 18 years. Beijing is the first coal-free city for electricity and heating in China. Environmental groups hope China will maintain momentum on its clean energy targets. []

Coal plant near Beijing (Photo: Jason Lee)

¶ A report commissioned by the German government says that stopping global warming won’t just keep the planet habitable. It would also boost the global economy by $19 trillion, as the investment in renewable power and energy efficiency to keeping warming below 2° C (3.6° F) will increase the global economy around 0.8% by 2050. [Bloomberg]

¶ Carnegie Clean Energy has plans to build large-scale solar and battery storage plants around Australia. The company is starting with a 10-MW solar farm in Northam, Western Australia. The project is a joint venture between Carnegie’s subsidiary, Energy Made Clean, and the Australian property group Lendlease. [RenewEconomy]

Australian solar array

¶ Japan’s atomic power establishment is in shock following the court ruling that found the state and the operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant liable for failing to take preventive measures against the tsunami that crippled the facility. The ruling has implications for a Japanese nuclear power industry trying to restart reactors. [Asia Times]


¶ With the Trump administration rolling back federal programs on climate change, leaders of labor six unions sent a letter to the governor of New York asking him to incorporate principles of the Climate and Community Protection Act in the 2017-2018 state budget. They want the state to have 100% renewable electric sources by 2050. [Public News Service]

Renewable power (Kenueone/

¶ The signs are that renewable energy has all green lights ahead, despite the current White House’s emphasis on the expansion of traditional fossil fuels. Governors from 20 states and much of corporate America are going all-in to support sustainable fuels. Their reasoning is grounded in economics. And rural America is benefiting. [Forbes]

¶ The River Bend solar farm, the largest in Alabama history, is now online and contributing about 75 MW of clean renewable energy to the electrical grid maintained by the Tennessee Valley Authority. There are about 300,000 solar panels in the 640 acre site. The TVA service area includes 9 million customers in seven southern states. [CleanTechnica]

River Bend solar farm (TVA photo)

¶ California’s power-grid operators are dealing with a glut of daytime electricity produced by household, government, business, and industrial solar installations. This makes electricity prices on state’s real-time marketplace plummet, so some power plants shut down until demand catches up with supply later in the day. [Daily Democrat]

¶ The latest shining example of South Sioux City’s increasing effort to reduce its carbon footprint is a 21-acre solar park south of the city with more than 1,200 solar panels. The yet-to-be-named solar park has a capacity of 2.3 MW, enough to meet 5% of the northeast Nebraska town’s total electrical needs. Operation began in January. [Sioux City Journal]

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March 19 Energy News

March 19, 2017


¶ “The old, dirty, creaky US electric grid would cost $5 trillion to replace. Where should infrastructure spending go?” • By the author’s analysis, the current (depreciated) value of the US electric grid, comprising power plants, wires, transformers and poles, is roughly $1.5 to $2 trillion. To replace it would cost almost $5 trillion. [Salon]

Power lines (indigoskies / flickr, CC BY-NC-ND)

¶ “Can NYC Reach Its Renewable Energy Storage Goals?” Sustainable CUNY published a roadmap for New York City to reach its energy storage targets, using resilient solar technology. Unlike normal grid-tied solar power, resilient solar can function when the electric grid is down, such as during the period after Hurricane Sandy. [Yahoo Finance]

¶ “Coal isn’t dead, but job prospects dim” • The battered US coal industry is showing flickering signs of life. Yet the prognosis for Big Coal remains dim. With the president’s pledge to bring coal back, the stocks of coal companies have enjoyed a “Trump bump.” But the obstacles on the other side of the ledger remain daunting. []

Coal train in Indiana (Luke Sharrett / Bloomberg)

¶ “Snowy Hydro 2.0: a breakthrough, a distraction or both?” Depending on who you listen to, Malcolm Turnbull’s proposed $2 billion expansion of the Snowy Hydro Scheme is a bold piece of nation-building by an Australian Prime Minister who had found his mojo, or a cynically timed thought-bubble that is years away at best. [Bega District News]

Science and Technology:

¶ The global temperature for the months of December, January and February soared to 1.6° above average this winter, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data. Still, this winter was nowhere close to the 2015-16 winter record, when the planet sweltered to a tremendous 2° above average. [Inland Empire News]

¶ From the moment a powerful blizzard hit the northeastern United States, the questions about climate change’s impact have been asked. According to leading scientists, we bear some responsibility for the storm, which covered much of the inland areas with up to two feet of snow. And Donald Trump definitely is not helping matters. [Salon]

¶ Universiti Malaysia Terengganu is in the process of developing innovation in producing energy using ocean wave as a new source of electrical power. The project known as “Hydraulic Wave Energy Converter System” involves three masters’ students of the Marine Engineering Study Center together with their lecturer as head. [Astro Awani]

Breaking wave (Alvesgaspar, Wikimedia Commons)


¶ A report, Wind Turbines Market Update 2016, provides detailed information of the global Wind Turbines Market. It says the global wind turbines market is set to experience a degree of turbulence over the next few years, rising steadily from $76.54 billion in 2015 to $81.14 billion in 2019, and dipping to $71.21 billion in 2020. [WhaTech]

¶ Plans to install turbines on platforms that float in the sea are gathering pace. Scotland granted planning permission for 92 MW in two separate projects in the past two weeks. Gaelectric Holdings Plc and Ideol SAS, a French floating wind company, agreed to develop floating wind projects in Irish waters, starting with a 30-MW array. [Bloomberg]

Please click on the image to enlarge it.

¶ Steel Authority of India Ltd, India’s largest public sector steel maker, will set up a processing plant for generating power from municipal solid waste generated in Bhilai township, company officials said. The processing plant would use current solid waste technology to generate power from 400 tonnes of municipal solid waste per day. [Daily Pioneer]


¶ Local wind-energy proponents breathed a measured sigh of relief this week after the Department of the Interior completed an offshore wind-power auction, and a Trump administration official offered support for wind as part of the country’s overall energy “toolbox.” The budget cuts for environmental programs are severe, however. [Newsday]

Block Island wind farm ( / Kevin P. Coughlin)

¶ The president’s proposed budget would eliminate funds for the Energy Star program, the Clean Power Plan, regional programs to clean up the Great Lakes, Puget Sound and Chesapeake Bay, four NASA Earth science missions, the Global Climate Change Initiative, and the UN Green Climate Fund, along with funding reductions. [Arizona Daily Sun]

¶ Donald Trump promised to bring back coal jobs, but even the country’s third-largest coal producer appears to be hedging its bets on a comeback. Kentucky is on the cusp of acting to open the door to nuclear power. The Republican-controlled state legislature is close to lifting its decades-long moratorium on nuclear energy. [Tribune-Review]

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March 18 Energy News

March 18, 2017


¶ “Trump’s budget sabotages America’s best chance to add millions of high-wage jobs” • President Trump’s budget slashes investment in clean energy ,  the world’s biggest new source of sustainable high-wage jobs. Meanwhile, China’s five-year energy budget invests $360 billion in renewable generation by 2020, creating 13 million jobs. [ThinkProgress]

Please click on the image to enlarge it.

Science and Technology:

¶ Wind and solar can provide power at or below the cost of traditional sources in a growing number of countries, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency. This makes renewables more appealing for countries seeking to meet growing electricity demand while decarbonizing their energy systems. [Energy Live News]

¶ The biofuel industry has had its ups and downs, so the latest news from NASA should warm a few hearts. The US aerospace agency has just released the results of a new study demonstrating that biofuels used in jet engines shave a good 50 to 75% off particle emissions. The biofuel in question was derived from the camelina plant. [CleanTechnica]

Camelina (Image via USDA)


¶ The fight to tackle climate change in the UK continues apace, but recent good news shows that household energy bills have actually decreased alongside efforts which have successfully reduced the country’s emissions, according to a new study from the Committee on Climate Change, the country’s climate advisory body. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Scottish government approved Hexicon’s plan for the two-turbine, 12-MW Dounreay Tri floating wind farm demonstrator off the Caithness coast, about 6 km from Dounreay. It is the third floating wind farm approved in the country, following the Kincardine and Hywind Scotland projects. Its construction will create about 100 jobs. [reNews]

Floating wind farm for Dounreay (Hexicon image)

¶ Global carbon dioxide emissions from the energy sector held stable for the third straight year in 2016 despite continuing growth of the global economy, the International Energy Agency said. The factors include growing renewable power generation, switches from coal to natural gas, and improvements in energy efficiency. [Prothom Alo]

¶ A coal-mine that powered German industry for almost half a century will get a new lease on life when it’s turned into a giant battery that stores excess solar and wind energy. North-Rhine Westphalia is set to turn its Prosper-Haniel hard coal mine into a 200 MW pumped-storage reservoir, enough to power more than 400,000 homes. [Bloomberg]

View from a slag heap near the Prosper-Haniel mine
(Photo: Arnoldius, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Solar Philippines has kicked off the construction of its 150-MW solar farm with battery storage, its largest solar power project to-date. The whole solar farm will start operating as a merchant plant in the third quarter of the year, providing the energy requirements for the province of Tarlac, in six months time, a top official said. [Philippine Star]

¶ Italian energy giant Enel plans to add 6.7 GW of renewable capacity over the next three years, adding to the 36 GW the company has worldwide. Enel said it plans to pursue a business model that will “allow the group to capitalize on its renewable pipeline more quickly, decrease the overall risk profile and crystallise value creation earlier.” [reNews]

Coulonges wind farm (Credit: Enel)


¶ President Donald Trump promised in his election campaign to put American coal miners back to work. Now, he has proposed eliminating funding for economic development programs supporting laid-off coal miners and others in Appalachia, stirring fears in a region that supported him of another letdown, just as the coal industry collapses. [Reuters]

¶ Elected officials and tribal leaders helped power up a solar array that was the first utility-scale power production plant approved by the Interior Department on Indian land. The 250 MW generated at the Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project, north of Las Vegas, will go to Los Angeles. It could power 111,000 homes. [Marshalltown Times Republican]

Solar power in Nevada (AP Photo / John Locher, file)

¶ Ikea continues to grow its US renewable energy portfolio, with a goal of being energy independent by 2020. The retailer has completed installation of its fifth biogas-powered fuel cell system in California, at its East Palo Alto location in the San Francisco Bay area. Ikea is on track to generate 1.5 MW in total of energy via fuel cells. [Biomass Magazine]

¶ Republican Senator James Inhofe is alarmed at what he accurately called the “unprecedented” wildfires which have burned more than 2 million acres in the grasslands of Oklahoma, Kansas, and the Texas panhandle. He and other climate change deniers remain eerily silent on the context: drought worsened by climate change. [Mother Jones]

Firefighters near Protection, Kansas
(Bo Rader / The Wichita Eagle via AP)

¶ SDG&E is partnering with Sumitomo Electric, based in Japan, to develop a 2-MW energy storage pilot project in California. The four-year scheme will see SDG&E research integrating Sumitomo’s vanadium redox flow battery system with renewable resources, testing voltage frequency, power outage support and shifting energy demand. [reNews]

¶ Nearly 70% of the electricity Pacific Gas and Electric Co (PG&E) delivered to customers in 2016 came from greenhouse-gas-free resources, the company announced. PG&E says it delivered an average of 32.8% of its electricity from renewable resources. Most of the rest came from the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant. [North American Windpower]

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March17 Energy News

March 17, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ About 10 years ago, researchers noticed a close correspondence between the fluctuations in CO2 levels and in temperature over the last million years. When Earth is at its coldest, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is also at its lowest. Now, a study of deep-sea corals reveals why atmospheric carbon was reduced during colder time periods, providing new insights into climate change. [Science Daily]


¶ France’s anti-fraud and consumer protection agency, DGCCRF, has released a new report that alleges that Renault has been (may have been?) falsifying vehicle emissions test data for the last 25 years. The report, very notably, claims that all of the company’s top executives, including CEO Carlos Ghosn, have most likely known of this. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Italy reached its 17.5% carbon emission target by the end of 2015, Eurostat said. Italy is one of 11 member states that have already reached their EU carbon emission targets, with Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, Hungary, Romania, Finland, and Sweden also achieving the feat. [The Local Italy]

Wind turbines in Sicily, near Palermo
(Photo: Marcello Paternostro / AFP)

¶ New figures from the European Commission show that the share of renewable energy in the European Union’s energy consumption has continued to grow, nearing its target of 20% by 2020, reaching 16.7% in 2015. The figures come from a new data article published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the EU. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The world’s longest undersea power cable, 450 km long, from Kvilldal, Norway, to Blyth, in Northumberland, will take years to build, but when it is completed, the UK could import 1,400 MW of electricity, enough to power more than 750,000 homes. It will also allow Britain to export surplus wind energy back to Norway. [The Guardian]

Coast near Blyth (Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA)

¶ A court in Japan ruled that negligence by the state contributed to the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011 and awarded significant damages to evacuees. The official claims were that the size and destructive power of the earthquake and tsunami were impossible to foresee, but the court said the nuclear meltdown could have been prevented. [The Guardian]


¶ President Donald Trump released a $1.1 trillion budget outline that makes good on a series of campaign promises, including cutting EPA by about one-third. Asked about the cuts to climate change-related programs, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said those programs are “a waste of your money.” [CNN]

Damage after Hurricane Irene
(US Fish and Wildlife photo, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Under the president’s 2018 budget blueprint, the program that put recovery money into local hands after Hurricanes Sandy, Katrina, Rita and Wilma would be zeroed-out, raising questions about how readily the cash would be available when the next disaster strikes and what oversight would be in place to ensure it is not misused. [CNN]

¶ EDF Renewable Energy has commissioned a new business unit focused on Distributed Electricity and Storage that will focus on distributed solar and storage projects up to 30 MW. As one of the largest renewable energy companies in North America, the team has vast expertise in wind, solar, bioenergy, and storage projects. [CleanTechnica]

Wind and solar (Credit: Kyle Field | CleanTechnica)

¶ Thirty cities are responding to the dangerous Trump policies that ignore the potentials of climate change by announcing interest in a $10 billion electric vehicle purchase. Bringing joint bargaining power to the table, they have been in talks with automakers to jointly purchase approximately 114,000 electric vehicles. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Florida Power & Light Company has selected Blattner Energy and Black & Veatch to build eight solar projects with a combined capacity of 596 MW. Blattner Energy will build four 74.5-MW plants scheduled for completion by the end of this year. Four plants of the same size will be completed by Black & Veatch by 1 March 2018. [reNews]

Solar in Florida (Image: Florida Power & Light Company)

¶ The Public Service Company of New Mexico is considering shutting down the remaining coal-burning units at its San Juan Generating Station near Farmington in 2022, a move that was applauded by renewable energy advocates. The utility said early analysis shows a shutdown could provide long-term benefits to customers. [Santa Fe New Mexican]

¶ Avangrid Renewables has won the 1.5-GW Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, offshore wind lease auction with a bid of $9,066,650. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has raised more than $58 million in six competitive lease sales so far, including a record-breaking $42.5 million paid by Statoil for the 1-GW New York lease area. [reNews]

Offshore wind (Credit: Sif)

¶ Pacific Gas & Electric Co expects to lose about 7.3% of its electric load this year, and possibly 21% by 2020, to community choice aggregators, according to Moody’s Investors Service. The same shift may also eventually account for 40% of the total load at San Diego Gas & Electric Co. and Southern California Edison. [BloombergQuint]

¶ Xcel Energy Inc will build its largest Upper Midwest wind project ever in eastern South Dakota, the latest phase of a huge new wind power investment in Minnesota and the Dakotas. The Minneapolis-based utility unveiled details of three wind new projects, one each in Minnesota, South Dakota and western North Dakota. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

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March 16 Energy News

March 16, 2017


¶ “Clean Energy Is Seeing Monumental Job Growth” • Multiple news outlets reported that the budget President Donald Trump plans to submit to Congress will gut or even eliminate two principal DOE research efforts fueling a renewable energy revolution in the United States. That would be an enormous mistake. [US News & World Report]

Wind energy – an economic driver (Getty Images)

¶ “Now there are air-pollution deniers, too” • There are very few people who believe air pollution – specifically “fine particulate” pollution, or PM2.5 – doesn’t cause death. But those who do are getting louder and gaining influence in conservative political circles and inside President Donald Trump’s administration. [Grist]

¶ “Turnbull drives stake through heart of fossil fuel industry” Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced his desire to spend $2 billion on a 2-GW pumped hydro scheme in the Snowy Mountains, in a move that will potentially drive a stake through the heart of the fossil fuel generation industry in Australia.[RenewEconomy]

Generating station in the Snowy River Scheme
(Cmh at English Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons)


¶ Britain’s low carbon energy revolution is actually saving money for households, according to a report from the Committee on Climate Change, with households saving £11 a month. The analysis shows that subsidies to wind and solar are adding £9 a month to the average bill, but that rules promoting energy efficiency save £20 a month. [BBC]

¶ An 18th century watermill in North Yorkshire has generated 1,000,000 kilowatt-hours of green power through a combination of traditional and new technology. Howsham Mill, which is run by the charitable Renewable Heritage Trust, has been generating hydroelectric energy, and exporting it to the National Grid, since the mid-2000s. [Gazette & Herald]

Howsham Mill (Picture: David Harrison)

¶ The South Australian Government has opened a two-week Expression of Interest period to attract companies interested in building Australia’s largest grid-scale battery. The project will seek to have bidders provide a battery that must have a capacity of approximately 100 MW and be operational in time for next summer. [iTWire]

¶ The Australian Federal Government could fund a $2 billion expansion of the Snowy Mountains hydro scheme alone, if the New South Wales and Victorian state governments did not want to invest. The Turnbull Government is planning to increase the 4,000 MW output by 50%, by building a 27 km tunnel and power stations. [ABC Online]

Snowy River (David Claughton, ABC Rural)

¶ Northern Ireland Electricity, which owns the country’s power transmission network, said 299 MW of renewable energy capacity was connected to the national grid in 2016, bringing the total to over 1 GW. Having reached that goal, renewables now generate over 25% of the electric power consumed in Northern Ireland. [Climate Action Programme]

¶ A multi-million pound EU funded project is set to provide the UK’s Isles of Scilly with a new smart energy system, using software to manage supply and demand through renewables, energy storage,and electric vehicles. Hitachi Europe will use the Smart Energy Islands project as a test-bed for developing smart grid technology. [Energy Storage News]

Isles of Scilly

¶ Energy company AGL just made a giant leap forward in the future of how energy is gathered and shared. It built the world’s largest residential virtual power plant in Adelaide, and now it has switched it on. The scheme connects multiple homes, generating power and storing it in onsite batteries, then sharing it on a network. [Business Insider Australia]


¶ US President Donald Trump may have called climate change a hoax, but the GOP is not necessarily united on this issue. Though climate science programs have been a top administration target, 17 Republicans in the US House of Representatives expressed their commitment to “conservative environmental stewardship.” [Triple Pundit]

A solar installation at a Navy base in Hawaii

¶ According to a report from Bloomberg, reporting on sources familiar with the administration’s plan, President Donald Trump is intending to drastically reduce the role climate change plays in decision making across a range of government branches, and is designed to roll back the Obama-era fight on climate change. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The battery technology and manufacturing firm Aquion Energy, well known for its Aqueous Hybrid Ion energy storage and battery systems, has filed a voluntary petition under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court of the District of Delaware, according to recent reports. [CleanTechnica]

Aquion battery

¶ Environmental advocates and members of a nearby Indian tribe are hailing the closure of a coal-fired NV Energy power plant, the Reid Gardner Generating Station. The plant was near Moapa, Nevada, 40 miles north of Las Vegas. Its closure leaves just one coal-fired generating station in Nevada, which is due to shut down by 2025. [Argus Press]

¶ The Trump administration’s budget proposal would cut spending at the DOE overall by $1.7 billion, or 5.6% from current levels, to $28 billion. But the money is redistributed. The National Nuclear Security Administration budget would grow 11.3% while the rest of the Energy Department’s programs would be cut by 17.9%. [Washington Post]

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March 15 Energy News

March 15, 2017


¶ “Trump’s Business Council Is a Who’s Who of Renewable Energy Investors and Climate Champions” • If Donald Trump asked the executives sitting on his business advisory council for energy policy advice, what kind of answer would he get? Judging by what their own actions, they’d probably tell him to emphasize the clean stuff. [Greentech Media]


¶ “Rolling Back The Clean Power Plan Is A Losing Proposition For America” • Why put the brakes on a good thing? In the last decade, America’s economy has grown, while its carbon emissions have dropped. The shift is good for people’s health, business and national security. But the Trump administration is expected roll it all back. [Huffington Post]

Science and Technology:

¶ A new technology could reduce the fuel consumption of shipping tankers by around 10%. Norsepower’s fuel efficient “rotor sails,” which use a spinning cylinder to harness wind power and help propel a ship, are to be trialed on a vessel owned by Maersk Tankers. The ship will be fitted with the sails in 2018 for trial in 2019. [Energy Live News]

Rotor sail technology on a ship (Image: Norsepower)


¶ Eon, Germany’s second largest energy company, unveiled a loss of €16 billion ($17 billion) in 2016, hit by a massive charge to the tune of €11 billion on its new subsidiary Uniper. Uniper combines Eon’s former coal and gas power plants, which were spun off in 2015 to separate them from the company’s healthier units. [Deutsche Welle]

¶ Toshiba president Satoshi Tsunakawa has said the company may sell its majority stake in US nuclear unit Westinghouse. The struggling electronics firm bought Westinghouse in 2006, but it has suffered huge cost over-runs. Toshiba has also been given permission to delay reporting its earnings for a second time, this time until 11 April. [BBC News]

Westinghouse’s Vogtle nuclear power station
under construction in Georgia (Westinghouse photo)

¶ After Stuttgart’s decision to begin selectively banning diesel cars from the city during times of high air pollution, diesel car sales in the region appear to have fallen notably. Presumably, public discussion on possible of future bans has put a damper on diesel cars. The diesel models’ share of the total German auto market is at 43.4%. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The swift-flowing Yorkshire rivers and streams could help to keep lights shining for generations. One Yorkshire hydroelectric power plant is providing electricity for hundreds of homes. As part of the scheme, a fish-pass has been built that should allow for the return of salmon stocks for the first time since the First World War. [Yorkshire Post]

Barn Energy’s hydro plant at Thrybergh Weir on the River Don

¶ South African utility Eskom is planning to meet with trade unions this week to discuss the planned phasing out of five coal power stations in Mpumalanga. Unions are up in arms claiming that they were not consulted over the move. Eskom’s Khulu Phasiwe says it is necessary to accommodate independent renewable power producers. [Eyewitness News]

¶ Mergers and acquisitions in the renewables sector picked up in 2016 across the Middle East and Africa region after a long period of slow activity, a report by professional services organisation EY said. Greenfield activities continue to dominate power and utility transactions in the region, attracting $8.7 billion of investment last year. []

Wind power in the Middle East


¶ In unpublished written testimony to the Armed Services Committee, Secretary of Defense James Mattis called climate change a security threat for which United States military leaders need to prepare, ProPublica reports. He wrote, “Climate change is impacting stability in areas of the world where our troops are operating today.” [Pacific Standard]

¶ New York’s oldest university, Columbia University, announced that its Trustees voted to recommend divesting from companies that derive 35% or more of their revenue from thermal coal production. The Trustees vote followed a recommendation from the Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing. [CleanTechnica]

Columbia University (Momos, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Under the Obama Administration, Los Angeles Air Force Base, home of the Space and Missile Systems Center, was an early adopter of renewables, electric vehicles, vehicle-to-grid systems and other low carbon technology. Apparently the Air Force has no intention of slowing down now that a fossil fuel fan is in the White House. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Connecticut legislators unveiled a bill that would put the Millstone Nuclear Plant on equal footing with renewable energy resources. The bill would allow Millstone to bid into the state procurement process now reserved for renewable energy resources such as large-scale hydropower, solar, wind, and trash-to-energy facilities. [RTO Insider]

Millstone Nuclear Power Plant (NRC image)

¶ Ralls Corp, an affiliate of China-based SANY Group Co Ltd, has formed a partnership with Star Wind LLC, a subsidiary of Indiana-based Star Energy Holdings LLC, to develop, own and operate 1 GW of wind projects in North America. The wind projects are expected to have long-term power purchase agreements. [North American Windpower]

¶ The New York Assembly suggested in its one-house budget a moratorium on the bailout program for three failing nuclear power plants until officials from the Public Service Commission testify before senators and Assembly members about how and why ratepayers would be funding the bailout with their electric bills. [Washington Times]

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March 14 Energy News

March 14, 2017


¶ “Can California Go 100 Percent Green?” • California’s Senate leader wants the state to shift to 100% renewable electricity by 2045, pushing it to lead the country in grabbing that green power goal. The nation’s most populous state switching to fully renewable electricity sounds idealistic. But several experts said it can be done. [Scientific American]

Installing a heliostat at the Ivanpah CSP plant
(Credit: California Energy Commission)

¶ “The SA Deal Is A Missed Opportunity For Cheaper, Cleaner And More Reliable Energy” • The South Australian Government announced an energy plan that would wed South Australians to struggling through huge electricity bills that won’t come down with an over-reliance on gas-fired generation ruled by the world market. [Huffington Post Australia]

Science and Technology:

¶ As the world’s soils continue warming over the coming decades and centuries, they could release much higher levels of CO2 than was previously thought, according to new research from the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. There is about three times as much CO2 in the soil as in the atmosphere. [CleanTechnica]

Soil research (Image by Berkeley Lab)

¶ A project headed up by the University of Manchester is investigating the role that advanced technologies, such as robotics and artificial intelligence, could have on reducing the costs for operation and maintenance of offshore wind farms. The value of the service could be £2 billion ($2.4 billion) annually by 2025 in the UK alone. [CleanTechnica]


¶ In Chile’s last power auction, SolarReserve bid a world-record low price at just 6.3¢/kWh for dispatchable 24-hour solar. The bid is for Concentrated Solar Power, a form of solar using heat from the sun that can be stored thermally. It was made in an open auction for both fossil energy and renewables, without any subsidy. [CleanTechnica]

Storage for solar

¶ The race to develop battery storage as a solution to the key problem of reliability appears to be on for Australian state governments. Victorian premier Daniel Andrews just announced an extra $20 million to roll out energy storage in the state. The government wants to boost energy storage capacity up to 100 MW. [Business Insider Australia]

¶ Short and medium term projections indicate that the development of wind power is likely to take an increasingly important position in Mexico’s energy landscape, particularly in light of growing uncertainty in future natural gas imports from the United States. Gas had a 54% stake in the country’s electricity production in 2015. [Global Risk Insights]

Mexican wind farm

¶ South Australia will build Australia’s largest battery to store renewable energy along with a new 250-MW gas-fired power plant. South Australia’s premier announced the government’s plan to build, own and operate the plant. He said it was part of a plan to spend $550 million to take control of the state energy market. [Yahoo7 News]

¶ Irish wave developer Sea Power is to retrieve its 1:5 scale device after winter testing at the Galway Bay Marine and Renewable Energy Test Site. The company said it has successfully concluded winter survivability testing of its prototype Seapower Platform device. The attenuator wave energy converter was deployed last October. [reNews]

Sea Power wave device (Sea Power image)

¶ Shares in Japanese conglomerate Toshiba have fallen more than 7% as the firm asked to postpone reporting its earnings for a second time. Last month, the firm announced a ¥712.5 billion ($6.3 billion) write-down due to some US nuclear assets being worth far less than estimated. Some analysts warn the company’s future is at risk. [BBC News]

¶ PPC SA, the largest power generation company in Greece, announced that geothermal energy will be a crucial element in its plans for renewable energy project deployment. Through its renewable energy subsidiary Public Power Company Renewables SA, the company is increasingly active with renewable energy sources. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

Thermopylae derives its name from its hot sulphur springs.
(Ronny Siegel, Wikimedia Commons)


¶ Electric vehicle manufacturer BYD, in partnership with Daylight Transport, the California Air Resources Board and the San Bernardino Council of Governments, has brought the largest deployment of all-electric heavy-duty trucks ever in the US to Southern California. The project will deliver 27 battery-electric trucks. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management says it has received unsolicited lease requests from two companies looking to develop wind projects offshore New York and Massachusetts. The requests, which are for areas on the Outer Continental Shelf, are not in response to a formal call for interest. [North American Windpower]

Offshore windpower (iStock image)

¶ A proposal to ramp up renewable energy requirements at New Mexico’s investor owned utilities and cooperatives through 2040 was voted down by a Senate committee. The Senate Corporation Committee voted 5-3 against a plan to gradually increase the share of electricity generated from renewable sources to 80%. [Electric Light & Power]

¶ An arbitration panel awarded California utilities $125 million in a lawsuit claiming that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries supplied faulty steam generators that helped lead to the closure of the San Onofre nuclear plant. It is a hollow victory that was a tiny fraction of the $7.6 billion sought by Southern California Edison and its partners. [LancasterOnline]

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March 13 Energy News

March 13, 2017


¶ “How we can turn railroads into a climate solution” • Railroads could drive the growth of clean energy. That is the aim of a new proposal to electrify railroads, run them on renewable energy, and use rail corridors as electricity superhighways to carry power from remote solar and wind installations to population centers. [Grist]

Cover illustration of the book, Solutionary Rail

¶ “Bringing Fresh Air to Biogas” • Swapping the predominant use of fossil fuels with bioenergy has benefits that extend far beyond meeting climate treaty obligations. Projects can be used to promote local economies and help create new job opportunities, as well as saving money and promoting social responsibility. [INSEAD Knowledge]


¶ The South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill will reveal a New energy policy tomorrow at 11 am. The announcement comes on the back of conversations with Tesla Founder Elon Musk about how the company could assist the state (and the country) in storing energy made from their high volume of renewable energy generation. [techAU]

Hallett Wind Farm (Ian Sutton, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ On Sunday afternoon, a private conversation between Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Tesla boss Elon Musk caught Australia’s attention. The two spoke on the phone for almost an hour about energy from renewable resources and battery storage. Musk had offered to stop South Australia’s electricity outages. [BBC News]

¶ In 2014, SolaRoad started its pilot project in the town of Krommenie near Amsterdam by replacing a stretch of 70 meters of a tarmac bike path with solar modules it developed. The project was quickly found to outperform expectations, and now it is expanding, both locally in Amsterdam, and as it is being copied in California. [CleanTechnica]

SolaRoad bike path in Amsterdam

¶ Barcelona will begin banning cars older than 20 years in 2019, and Munich was ordered by Bavaria’s highest administrative court that the state and city to develop “clean air” plans that will include diesel car bans when necessary, by the end of 2017. Bans are regarded as an option of last resort, but car companies are not acting. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Algerian government is set to launch a tender for the construction of large-scale PV projects totaling 4 GW. The tender will be held in three 1,350 MW phases and will select projects with an average capacity of 100 MW, starting in April of this year. Algeria aims to get 27% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. [pv magazine]

Hautes Plaines region, where development will happen

¶ The African Development Bank board of directors have approved a senior concessional loan of $25 million for Mali’s first utility-scale solar PV power plant. According to the multilateral bank, the Segou Solar PV Project is one of the first in sub-Saharan Africa that will consist of the design, construction and operations of a 33-MW power plant. [ESI Africa]

¶ Carnegie Clean Energy says it’s in talks with South Australia to build a battery solution for the state’s electric grid. Carnegie says its subsidiary, Energy Made Clean, is the largest provider of utility scale battery storage solutions in Australia. Elon Musk’s promise to fix the state’s blackout problem in 100 days has stirred action. [Business Insider Australia]

Storm damage caused outages in South Australia.
(Bradley Kanaris / Getty Images)

¶ The Clean Energy Finance Corporation has signed off on Australia’s largest single large-scale solar financing deal to date, tipping another $70 million into a total of 165 MW of big solar capacity in Queensland and Victoria and heralding a new level of investor confidence in the nation’s large-scale renewable energy market. [RenewEconomy]

¶ The change of government in Western Australia over the weekend has been welcomed by one of the state’s most successful renewable energy companies, in a political shift that perhaps heralds a new era clean energy investment in the state. Carnegie Clean Energy expects the Albany Wave Energy Project to benefit from the election. [RenewEconomy]

Wave energy

¶ The Tunisian government said it is expected to invest about $1 billion dollars to produce 1,000 MW of power from renewable energy in 2017. Wind power will produce 350 MW, 650 MW will be provided by PVs, according to sources at the Tunisian Ministry of Energy and Mines. The private sector plans to invest $600 million. [News Ghana]


¶ Electrical power used by SamTrans and Caltrain in San Mateo County, California, will soon come from 100% renewable sources. The boards of directors for the transportation agencies voted recently to switch from PG&E power to 100% renewable electrical energy through a joint powers authority, Peninsula Clean Energy. [The Almanac Online]

Burlingame Caltrain Station, San Mateo, California
(Kglavin, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Egged on by the auto industry, President Trump is expected to start unraveling strong mileage and emissions rules that protect US energy security, consumers, the environment and even automakers’ healthy profits. Current standards would phase in a new fleet of vehicles that would average more than 50 mpg in 2025. [CNN]

¶ Generation mPower, an early leader in the development of small modular reactors, has decided to terminate the Bechtel and BWXT partnership and put the design material that was developed onto a corporate shelf. This illustrates nuclear energy’s development hurdles, which it shares with other fields of technology development. [Forbes]

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March 12 Energy News

March 12, 2017


¶ India’s solar generating capacity saw a multi-fold surge, as it crossed the 10,000 MW mark on March 10, 2017. It stood at 2,650 MW in mid 2014. Crossing the 10-GW milestone is a stepping stone to a goal of 100 GW solar power capacity by 2022. India is to bring its overall renewable energy generating capacity to 175 GW by 2022. [The Dollar Business]

Tracking solar system

¶ Tesla’s Elon Musk may have put large scale battery storage on the national agenda with his offer to solve South Australia’s power crisis for free if he did not deliver a large system with 100 days of signing a contract. Both the Prime Minister and South Australia’s Premier are looking for more details on the offer. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

¶ A meeting this month will look at whether Guelph, Ontario, should join 1,000 communities worldwide that have declared their intent to have 100% renewable energy by 2050. The venue has been changed to meet the registration demand. Solar power generation in Guelph, with a demand of 300 MW, has already reached 11 MW. []

Rooftop solar system in Guelph

¶ Thousands of citizens took to the streets in Taiwan demanding that nuclear plants close and that citizens be allowed to be involved in decisions on radioactive waste storage. Over 60 anti-nuclear groups rallied in the anti-nuclear demonstrations, and they advocated moving toward adopting more sustainable forms of energy. []

¶ The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is to provide a financial injection aimed at developing the Greek renewable energy sector. EBRD is to provide €300 million ($318 million) in funding for renewable energy projects in Greece, aimed at mobilizing investment and commercial financing. [Power Engineering International]

Lake Plastira dam (Dim Philos, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi repeated his call for Japan’s complete departure from nuclear energy as the country marked the sixth anniversary of the Fukushima Disaster. “Nuclear power plants will become a negative legacy for future generations,” Koizumi said at an event organized by a civic group in Sapporo. [The Mainichi]

¶ The South African government lost the country’s first climate change lawsuit. The high court ruled against its plans for a coal-fired power station, the latest in a rising tide of international climate litigation. EarthLife Africa challenged the government’s approval of the proposed Thabametsi coal-fired power station. [Yahoo News]

Cooling towers in fog at Cape Town (Reuters)


¶ EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s phones have been ringing off the hook since he questioned the link between human activity and climate change. The calls to Pruitt’s main line, 202-564-4700, reached such a high volume by Friday that agency officials created an impromptu call center, according to three agency employees. [Salt Lake Tribune]

¶ When it comes to the adoption of solar power, K-12 schools across the US are leading the way. While less than one percent of all US homes, businesses, and government agencies rely on solar energy, the 3,700 schools around the country with solar installed represent nearly three percent of the all of K-12 schools in the country. [Times of San Diego]

California school parking lot (Courtesy Alta Energy)

¶ Kansas Electric Power Cooperative Inc built Prairie Sky Solar, a 1-MW solar facility near Andover. Mark Barbee, KEPCo’s vice president of engineering, explained that the solar system will not cause energy rates to increase because costs of solar power have declined. He said it “gave us the experience and gets us exposure to solar.” [Topeka Capital Journal]

¶ Colorado energy provider Holy Cross Energy is planning its largest solar-power project. The company, which provides electricity for much of the Roaring Fork Valley and most of Eagle County, issued a request for proposals for a solar generation facility that could provide enough renewable energy to power about 600 homes. [Aspen Daily News]

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March 11 Energy News

March 11, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ The rate of ocean warming has nearly doubled since 1992 compared with the previous three decades. And the warming has reached deeper waters, scientists reported Friday. The findings are important because the world’s oceans provide one of the best records of the excess energy trapped on Earth by increased greenhouse gases. [InsideClimate News]

Ocean environment at risk
(Credit: Torsten Blackwood / AFP / Getty Images)

¶ Climate change may be increasing the footprint of Lyme disease. Higher temperatures encourage the reproduction of mice, which are both natural reservoirs for the bacteria that cause Lyme disease and carriers of the ticks that spread the infection to humans. People also spend more time out doors, increasing exposure risks. [Huffington Post]


¶ A unanimous vote of the Ottawa city council approved a proposal to build a new cross-town rapid transit corridor. The system will start with 24 new stations along Baseline and Heron roads. The stations are to be built about 600 meters apart. The goal is to make cross-town travel more convenient and faster on mass transit than driving. [CleanTechnica]

Rapid transit corridor (City of Ottawa)

¶ The Netherlands’ PV market has probably set another growth record in 2016. The country is expected to have installed around 525 MW of PV installations last year, according to provisional figures. If this is confirmed, the country’s cumulative PV capacity will have reached about 2,040 MW as of the end of December 2016. [pv magazine]

¶ The next UK government auction setting prices for new renewable power projects will open in April. Clark MacFarlane, managing director for offshore wind for Siemens, said it could see offshore wind costs fall below new nuclear. The cost of producing electricity from UK offshore wind farms has fallen 32% in the past four years. [Yahoo Finance]

British offshore wind power (Reuters / Toby Melville)

¶ Researchers at Lappeenranta University of Technology in Finland say that major oil-producing countries in the Middle East and North Africa region could use renewable energy resources to develop lucrative energy systems within two decades. Iran could benefit financially from a transition to a fully renewable electricity system by 2030. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The UK’s first domestic vehicle-to-grid unit was installed at a home in Loughborough to research the potential for hooking up electric vehicle batteries to the national electric system. Cenex, the UK’s Centre of Excellence for low carbon and fuel cell technologies, said it is the first car-to-grid bi-directional charging. []

Electric car charging

¶ Saturday, March 11, 2017 marks the sixth anniversary of the Fukushima Disaster. It’s staggering to learn that more than 70,000 people still have not gone home due to contamination concerns and that clean-up efforts at the nuclear facility continue to fail while the price tag rises, with some estimates nearing $200 billion. [Clean Energy News]


¶ A proposed White House budget for NOAA could put coastal communities around the nation at a major disadvantage as they struggle to adapt to threats from sea-level rise, severe storms and other climate-related events, scientists and other experts said. Many of the coastal communities are in states that voted for Trump. [The Providence Journal]

Abandoned house in Cedarville, New Jersey
(Bloomberg / Christopher Goodney)

¶ Volkswagen has pleaded guilty to three charges, conspiracy to commit fraud, obstruction of justice, and entry of goods by false statement, as part of a $4.3 billion agreement with the US regulators over the diesel emissions scandal. VW general counsel Manfred Doess said the criminal acts occurred in both Germany and the United States. [BBC]

¶ Wastewater and drinking water treatment plants are usually major energy hogs. So when St Cloud, Minnesota, wanted to trim utility bills, it took look at a wastewater treatment plant. Now solar panels and methane gas from a digester are used to produce electricity. And other cities are paying attention. [Minnesota Public Radio News]

Solar panels at St Cloud (Kirsti Marohn | MPR News)

¶ An important committee of the New Mexico House of Representatives voted on a bipartisan basis to advance Senate Bill 227, which would require the state government to install solar energy panels on its 750 buildings, so long as it would provide a net savings on utility costs and not require any upfront costs. [Silver City Sun-News]

¶ Analysis by the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign backs up Michael Bloomberg’s assertion that the US will meet its climate commitments: Coal retirements and new clean energy through 2025 will reduce US carbon emissions by at least 437 million metric tons. That accounts for 60% of America’s commitments under the Paris agreement. [Triple Pundit]

Chicago is one of a number of US cities that have set climate goals. (Image credit: Pixabay – no attribution required)

¶ A new analysis of the US wind energy sector by Navigant Consulting could see the sector drive up to 248,000 jobs and $85 billion in economic activity over the next four years. Navigant believes that number will only increase, with 35,000 MW of new wind power capacity through 2020. And that is with Trump as president. [CleanTechnica]

¶ At an international energy conference held in Houston last week, Trump officials disparaged climate science. But the Saudi Arabian energy minister called on his colleagues to find ways to “minimize the carbon footprint of fossil fuels.” He was not alone, as he was joined by CEOs of ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell in the position. [Houston Chronicle]

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March 10 Energy News

March 10, 2017


¶ “What Is Wrong In Washington?” • Under the Donald Trump administration, the United States is like a train, running at high speed down a track, against a signal, on a collision course on climate change. The person at the throttle, blinded by incompetent arrogance of his advisers, is making every indication of increasing speed. [CleanTechnica]

Train wreck (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Toshiba US nuclear power unit liquidation may flare into diplomatic dustup” • Toshiba is considering bankruptcy protection for Westinghouse in an apparent bid to eliminate risks of losses by canceling unfavorable contracts. But the US government guaranteed $8.3 billion in loans for Westinghouse reactors at Vogtle. [The Mainichi]

Science and Technology:

¶ Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is seeing an unprecedented second straight year of mass coral bleaching, scientists said March 10, warning many species would struggle to fully recover. The 2,300-km (1,400-mile) reef suffered its most severe bleaching on record last year due to warming seas during March and April. [Rappler]

Bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef (File photo: Ray
Berkelmans / Australian Institute of Marine Science / AFP)


¶ After a series of blackouts in South Australia, Elon Musk said Tesla can help solve the state’s power crisis within 100 days. Asked on Twitter how serious he was about the offer, Mr Musk responded, “Tesla will get the system installed and working 100 days from contract signature or it is free. That serious enough for you?” [BBC News]

¶ Hundreds of radioactive wild boars moved into deserted towns after the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Now they scour the empty streets and overgrown backyards of the Namie town for food, an unexpected nuisance for those returning home from evacuation shelter six years after the meltdown. The boars have been known to attack people. [Voice of America]

Wild boar in Namie (Reuters image)

¶ Indian solar power generation costs are set to dip further during third and fourth quarter of 2017-18, helped by expected softening of interest rates and a drop in solar panel prices due to a supply glut in the market, analysts say. Average solar power prices are expected to become significantly lower than thermal power. []

¶ A growing number of studies point to renewables as the most affordable and secure, in addition to environmentally-friendly, options for energy in Australia. One says wind and solar would contribute an estimated 90% of Australia’s total electricity demand, with hydroelectricity and biomass supplementing for the remaining 10%. [Climate Action Programme]

Renewable power in Australia

¶ All of Japan’s nuclear power plants were shut down for safety checks after the Fukushima Disaster. Six years later, only three of 45 operable reactors are online: Kyushu Electric’s Sendai 1 and 2, and Shikoku Electric Power Co’s Ikata 3. Two of Kansai Electric’s reactors were restarted but were idled by a court injunction. [POWER magazine]

¶ The Kincardine Offshore Windfarm, which will feature eight floating turbines, will support the creation of about 110 jobs during assembly, installation and maintenance, and could power over 50,000 homes. Planning consent for the development was granted and announced by Holyrood’s minister for business, innovation and energy. [Energy Voice]

Kincardine Offshore Windfarm from the north-east coast (If you click on the image to enlarge it, you can see the turbines.)


¶ EPA chief Scott Pruitt has said he “would not agree” carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to global warming. He told CNBC that measuring human impact on the climate was “very challenging” and there was “tremendous disagreement” about the issue, contradicting his own agency’s findings on greenhouse gas emissions. [BBC News]

¶ The Hawaiian island of Kauai is now home to the largest integrated solar and battery facility in the world. The 52-MWh Tesla Powerpack plus SolarCity solar farm is the first utility scale solar-plus-battery storage system of its kind. It will bring Kauai Island Utility Cooperative’s renewable energy generation to more than 40%. []

Commissioning ceremony at a Hawaiian solar farm
(Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island)

¶ Vermont state regulators have proposed new sound limits for wind turbines. Some renewable energy proponents say they would effectively ban most new wind turbines and may preventing the state from reaching its renewable energy goals. The rules say turbines could produce no more than 35 decibels at night, measured outside nearby homes. []

¶ According to new figures published today by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association, the US solar market installed a total of 14,762 MW of solar PV in 2016, nearly doubling the 7,501 MW installed in 2015. This set the stage for what analysts expect could be a tripling over the next five years. [CleanTechnica]

Colorado Court Affordable Housing, Santa Monica, California
(Photo: CalderOliver, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association told legislators that Nevada more than doubled its solar capacity over the course of 2016. The Nevada Legislature is considering increasing the state’s renewable portfolio standard to 50% by 2030 and 80% by 2040. [Elko Daily Free Press]

¶ The US will meet its climate agreement goals, UN special envoy for climate change Michael Bloomberg said in Paris. President Trump’s team is reportedly divided over whether the US should withdraw from the Paris climate accord, negotiated under Barack Obama. Bloomberg said he hopes Trump will be a leader on the issue. [Rappler]

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March 9 Energy News

March 9, 2017


¶ “The business benefits of using renewable electricity” • The business sector is the largest consumer of power in the UK, buying around 56% of the electricity. Even a modest switch to renewable power could take a big step towards the government’s 2020 renewable target, and the switch can produce savings that outweigh the cost. []

Eon solar farm

Science and Technology:

¶ According to the energy market analysis firm RepuTex, “clean” coal technologies will not be commercially viable before 2030 without government subsidy. In Australia, the rising price of gas, coupled with the falling cost of energy storage, has made renewable energy the least expensive source of reliable power generation. [The Guardian]


¶ Just months after launching its residential battery storage offering in Australia, Germany battery maker Sonnen has introduced a household solar and storage deal that threatens to disrupt the traditional retail electricity model. The deal offers free power to households using the company’s integrated solar and storage system. [CleanTechnica]

Sonnen battery (Sonnen image)

¶ The Australian energy market is set for a major shake-up with the launch of a major new government-backed initiative to create an open marketplace, the Decentralised Energy Exchange, for locally generated and stored rooftop solar power to be traded between households, businesses, communities and network utilities. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Apple announced that supplier Ibiden has committed to using 100% renewable energy to manufacture Apple components, the first partner to do so in Japan. To meet the renewable energy promise, Ibiden will invest in over 20 new facilities, including a floating “island” solar photovoltaic system at a converted lumber yard. [ZDNet]

Floating solar array (Apple image)

¶ With lower costs for solar power, the Nigerian government is considering a $30 million allocation for off-grid solar projects. According to a report in Bloomberg solar panels are an “economic option” for cutting fuel costs in Nigeria, compared to the small diesel generators that currently form the backbone of off grid power generation. [CleanTechnica]

¶ TenneT TSO BV (Netherlands), (Denmark) and TenneT TSO GmbH (Germany) will sign a trilateral agreement that will press ahead on developing a large renewable European electricity system in the North Sea. Central to the plan is the construction of one or more islands in the middle of the North Sea at Dogger Bank. [Windtech International]

Power link island

¶ Work could start next year on a £160 million hydro power plant in Llanberis, Gwynedd, Wales, its developers have said. The Snowdonia Pumped Hydro project received consent from the UK Planning Inspectorate. Abandoned slate quarries, Glyn Rhonwy and Chwarel Fawr, will be turned into pumped storage reservoirs. [BBC News]

¶ Globally, solar power capacity has reached 305 GW spurred largely by increasing demand in China and the US. In 2016, installations of new solar PV capacity increased 50%, from 51.2 GW in 2015 to over 76 GW. The 305 GW of installed solar capacity worldwide represents a great increase from just 50 GW in 2010. [Climate Action Programme]

Solar panels at Nellis air force base

¶ A growing crisis in the Australian electricity market led to wholesale power prices more than doubling in a year, to at least twice what they were under the much-maligned carbon price. Analysis by the University of Melbourne’s Climate and Energy College said it nearly tripled in coal-reliant Queensland and New South Wales. [Daily Advertiser]

¶ Across Europe, the price of building an offshore wind farm has fallen 46% in the last five years, 22% percent last year alone. Costs now average $126/MWh, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. That’s below the $155/MWh price for new nuclear developments in Europe and closing in on the $88/MWh price tag on new coal plants. [Bloomberg]

Block Island wind turbine (Photo: Eric Thayer / Bloomberg)


¶ In Hawaii, the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative is now drawing energy from 272 Tesla power packs to provide electricity after dark. The Tesla’s power packs are expected to save KIUC 1.6 million gallons of diesel fuel annually, cutting costs from 15.5¢/kWh to a price fixed at 13.9¢/kWh for the next 20 years. [South China Morning Post]

¶ Georgetown, Texas, is now one of the first cities in the US to run on 100% renewable energy. The milestone is met after the city ended a long-term power contract in 2012, and found new options from power suppliers in West Texas and the Panhandle that would provide renewable energy, such as solar and wind power. [Austin American-Statesman]

Georgetown (Photo: Georgetown CVB)

¶ A new report from the Environment America Research & Policy Center says US colleges and universities can be leaders for a transition to 100% renewable energy. The report, “Renewable Energy 100: The Course to a Carbon-Free Campus,” cites a number of factors that make educational institutions suited to lead the country’s efforts. [Solar Industry]

¶ Westinghouse Electric Co LLC, the US nuclear power plant developer owned by troubled Japanese electronics giant Toshiba Corp, has brought in bankruptcy attorneys from law firm Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP, people familiar with the matter said. The move comes after a $6.3 billion write-down at Westinghouse. [The New Indian Express]

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March 8 Energy News

March 8, 2017


¶ “This Is Why Winter Is Important” • In normally cold regions, the record-setting heat  –  and the opportunity to wear shorts and drink iced tea in February – might seem like a blessing. But for the ecosystems we depend upon, the shortened winter threatens turmoil. Climate change is causing what is called “season creep.” [CleanTechnica]

Plants are regrowing leaves weeks ahead of schedule.
(Source: National Phenology Network)

¶ “Reasons for Japan to dump nuclear power more obvious now than ever” • It has been nearly six years since three reactors melted down at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The disaster has stolen so much from so many, and it is clear that real recovery will be a decades-long struggle with reconstruction and decommissioning. [The Mainichi]

¶ “Why US corporations are buying into home-grown wind power” • North Carolina first commercial-scale wind farm is just one example of a broader shift to wind power and clean energy across corporate America in recent years – including a host of leading companies that you’ve probably heard of before. [Windpower Engineering]

Please click on the image to enlarge it.

¶ “Trump’s Sisyphean Coal Revival Requires A Battle With The Free Market” • The US coal sector was in free fall when Donald Trump was elected president. Now he’s vowing to turn it around. Unfortunately for coal, government regulations have very little to do with coal’s problems. King Coal us up against natural gas and wind power. [Forbes]

Science and Technology:

¶ Permafrost, or frozen soil, is rapidly collapsing across a 52,000 square mile area in northwest Canada – about the size of the entire state of Alabama. New research from the Northwest Territories Geological Survey finds the permafrost thaw is intensifying, a dramatic disintegration that could speed up climate change. [Inhabitat]

Permafrost collapse

¶ Australia has seen one weather record broken after another over this summer. Now scientists have confirmed what anyone who lived through the heat knows to be true – climate change is driving hotter and longer summers. They are becoming “the new normal”, with worse to come unless tough decisions are made. [The Sydney Morning Herald]


Hornsdale wind farm

¶ French renewable energy firm Neon completed financing of the 109-MW Hornsdale 3 wind farm, now being built in South Australia. It signed an agreement last year with the Australian Capital Territory to provide electricity at $73/MWh for 20 years. The company has plans to install 1,000 MW of wind and solar facilities across Australia. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Australian solar power is headed for a “huge year” in 2017, on the back of a boom in the large-scale market and a home solar and storage market, a report said. In fact, the market is expected to treble. The Climate Council’s State of Solar 2016 said solar is now the cheapest form of new large-scale power generation. [CleanTechnica]

¶ According to Carbon Brief, a UK-based site dedicated to covering climate science, climate policy, and energy policy, UK CO2 emissions fell by 5.8% in 2016, putting the country’s overall emissions around 36% below 1990 levels. The drop was partly due to a massive fall in coal use, which was down 52% in 2016 alone. [CleanTechnica]

Whitwell Colliery (Photo: Phil Sangwell, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The Australian government needs to put a price on carbon to unlock new investment in the electricity sector and drive an orderly transition to low-emissions power sources, according to the Investor Group on Climate Change. The group represents major institutional investors in Australia and New Zealand. [The Guardian]

¶ Pattern Energy Group has closed C$263 million in project financing for the 147-MW Mont Sainte-Marguerite wind farm in Quebec. The Mont Sainte-Marguerite wind farm, which is about 50 km south of Québec City in the Chaudière-Appalaches region, will consist of 46 Siemens 3.2-MW direct drive wind turbines. [reNews]

Meikle wind farm (Credit: Pattern Energy)


¶ A Bloomberg report says that, Consol Energy, a Pennsylvania-based energy producer that has billed itself as “one of the largest independent natural gas exploration, development, and production companies,” has hired advisers from Credit Suisse Group AG and Bank of America Corp in an effort to move ahead on divesting its coal business. [CleanTechnica]

Blue Creek Wind Farm in Van Wert, Ohio (Plain Dealer file)

¶ The Republican majority in the Ohio House is moving again to get rid of the state’s renewable energy rules. In a bill sponsored by a Cincinnati Republican, the House would make voluntary the mandates that now require power companies to generate or buy and sell a percentage of power from wind, solar and other renewable technologies. []

¶ State tax credits enacted in 2003 for renewable energy production have helped to create an industry in New Mexico, generating more than 11,000 jobs and $1.6 billion in economic activity, according to a new study. It says, “Taxpayers are getting a huge return on their investments …” The tax credits are set to expire in 2018. [Santa Fe New Mexican]

¶ The Arkansas congressional delegation introduced legislation that could effectively block construction of a new power line stretching from Oklahoma to Tennessee, potentially halting the $2 billion project. If approved, federal officials would need permission from state officials and Indian tribes to use eminent domain for transmission lines. [Arkansas Online]

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March 7 Energy News

March 7, 2017

Opinion: Interview:

¶ “What Rural Alaska Can Teach The World About Renewable Energy” • In many remote Alaskan villages, the cost of electricity is the highest in the nation, reaching a wallet-emptying $1/kWh in some communities (the national average is 12¢/kWh). The price is due to the cost of hauling fossil fuels by plane or barge to these remote areas. [Ensia]

Alaskan renewable power (Photo © Adina Preston Photography)


¶ More than 130,000 solar households in Victoria will benefit from a steep increase in their solar feed-in tariff in 2017/18, to a minimum 11.3¢/kWh for their exports back to the grid, up from 5¢/kWh currently. The new price is based on an increase in the wholesale costs, with 3.5¢/kWh added for network, climate and other benefits. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Solar firm WElink Energy, based in the UK, has signed an EPC agreement with China Triumph International Engineering and will develop a 220-MW solar plant in southern Portugal. The £200-million Solara 4 solar project, spread over 800 hectares in the region of Algarve, will produce enough energy for the equivalent of 200,000 homes. [PV-Tech]

Landscape in Algarve (Photo: Jose A, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Norway is a country with a lot of oil and a relatively low solar radiation, in theory not an Eldorado for solar pioneers. Last year, however, the country’s PV market showed it first signs of real growth. Around 11 MW of new PV capacity was installed in Norway in 2016. The volume of new installations grew by 366% compared to 2015. [pv magazine]

¶ Mining and power firm NLC India is setting up a 5-MW floating solar PV plant in the Andaman and Nicobar islands. This comes as part of plans for an overall total of 50 MW solar deployment on the islands. The 5-MW of floating solar will be installed at the Kaplong Hydro Electric Project in North Andaman. [PV-Tech]

Floating solar array (Credit: Kyocera)

¶ The Zambian Government and a firm based in France, Neoen SAS, the preferred bidder under the Scaling-Up Solar Project, have completed negotiations on taxation, land provision and equity financing. Neoen SAS will construct a 100-MW solar power plant from the planned 500 MW under the Scaling-Up Solar Project. []

¶ A £4.5 million investment will be used to create a solar farm on council owned land in Monmouthshire. The Welsh Government approved the repayable investment for the Oak Solar Farm in Crick, which could generate enough electricity to power around 1,400 homes, while saving 2,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. [Free Press Series]

The Oak Solar Farm in Crick

¶ European regulators have cleared Hungary to expand its Paks nuclear plant. Doing so, they have approved a project that will extend Russia’s influence over the energy policy of a state that has actively promoted its interests within the EU. Budapest signed a €12 billion ($12.7 billion) deal for two reactors in 2014, to be built by Rosatom. [Voice of America]

¶ Senior executives from AGL Energy have given evidence at an inquiry in Melbourne that the main issue causing problems with reliable energy supply in South Australia is “dysfunction” in the gas market, not too many windfarms making the grid unreliable. Many witnesses blame a lack of a clear policy direction from Canberra. [The Guardian]

Queensland gas processing facility (Photo: AFP / Getty Images)


¶ US electric car sales jumped approximately 68% in February 2017 versus February 2016. Fully electric car sales were up 74%, while plug-in hybrid sales were up 61%. One of the standout points this month is that the estimates for Tesla Model S and Model X sales put the two high-end EV models in first and second place. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Even in the red states of the US Great Plains, local leaders of communities of all sizes are already grappling with the issue of climate change. Though their actions are not always couched in terms of addressing climate change, their strategies can provide insights into how to make progress on climate policy under a Trump administration. [CleanTechnica]

Wind power on farms (paytonc / flickr, CC BY-SA)

¶ After the federal government approved the Dakota Access pipeline last week, Catholics came together to call the project “morally unacceptable.” It’s not the first time the federal government dismissed the rights and health of the native American people. The Trump administration continues a federal tradition of oppression. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A number of major milestones occurred on the electric grid in 2016, almost all of them involving wind power. Now the Energy Information Administration is confirming that’s because of a big overall trend: wind power is now the largest source of renewable energy generating capacity, passing hydroelectric power in 2016. [Ars Technica UK]

Please click on the image to enlarge it.

¶ The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has unanimously approved Rocky Forge Wind’s “Permit by Rule” application, a wind project being developed by Apex Clean Energy in Botetourt County, Virginia. This marks the first PBR approval for a wind-power project in the Commonwealth of Virginia. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ Kentucky may lift a decades-old moratorium on nuclear power plants, with supporters of the move hoping to perhaps attract a smaller modular facility to the commonwealth to help diversify its coal-dominated generation fleet. Senate Bill 11 easily passed the full Kentucky Senate on a bipartisan 27-8 vote last week and has gone to the House. [Platts]

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March 6 Energy News

March 6, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ A Reversible Solid Oxide Cell device uses electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen gas by a process more efficient than the technologies in current use. ReSOC is particularly interesting because the exactly same device can also be operated “in reverse” to produce power from the hydrogen it produced. [EETE Power Management]

Please click on the image to enlarge it

Please click on the image to enlarge it.


¶ Each year, environmental pollutants cost an estimated 1.7 million lives among children under 5, one in four deaths of children 1 month to 5 years old, according to World Health Organization reports released Monday. More than 90% of the world’s population is thought to breathe air that violates quality guidelines set by the WHO. [CNN]

¶ Abu Dhabi’s government-owned power utility aims to close a financing package for a 3.2 billion dirham ($872 million) solar power plant in April, a senior official at the utility said. The plant will be the world’s largest, with a capacity of 1,177 MW, and is expected to be operational in 2019, providing electricity for 2.42¢/kWh (US). []

Shams solar power station in Morocco

Shams solar power station in Morocco

¶ More than 100 Canberra homes and businesses have installed battery storage systems through the ACT’s Next Generation Renewables Energy Storage Grants program. The program aims to see 5,000 energy storage systems installed by 2020, and provides discounts of around $2900 for an average home battery system. [Energy Matters]

¶ Blackouts were averted in South Australia after an incident that saw more than 600 MW of electricity generation capacity suddenly lost. A transformer at a power plant exploded, resulting in units at the Pelican Point Power Station tripping. The loss was taken up by power transmitted from Victoria, solar PVs, and wind generators. [Energy Matters]

Pelican Point Power Station (Wikipedia)

Pelican Point Power Station (Wikipedia)

¶ UK electricity and natural gas prices in February fell from winter highs as supply and demand concerns eased, according to S&P Global Platts data. Demand for natural gas from power stations fell to a six-month low on weaker electricity demand, while both nuclear and renewable energy generation picked up. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]

¶ At the opening of the annual National People’s Congress, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang pledged to make the country’s smoggy skies blue again and “work faster” to address pollution caused by the burning of coal for heat and electricity. China’s middle class is growing increasingly vocal with greater awareness of the dangers of pollution. []

Temple of Heaven park (Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images)

Temple of Heaven park (Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images)

¶ MHI Vestas is looking to recruit 414 employees for its nacelle and blade manufacturing facilities in Denmark, almost doubling the workforce at the company’s Lindø and Nakskov factories. The recruitment drive follows the company’s production ramp up at its UK facility on the Isle of Wight, where it hired over 100 employees. [reNews]

¶ Wind turbines generated enough energy to cover two-thirds of Scotland’s total electricity consumption last month, according to industry figures. WWF Scotland described the WeatherEnergy data as “amazing progress” and urged politicians to maximise renewable opportunities. Wind power output increased 43% from February, 2016. [The Scotsman]

Wind power in Scotland (Photo: John Devlin)

Wind power in Scotland (Photo: John Devlin)


¶ California utilities are testing new ways to network solar panels and battery storage to create “virtual power plants” that manage green power and feed it into the power grid as needed. Solar farms in California create so much power during daylight hours that they often drive real-time wholesale prices in the state to zero. [The Australian]

¶ Scientists are warning that super floods and aging dams in the West could be a dangerous combination. An expert paleo-hydrologist of the University of Arizona found that floods much larger than any in recorded history are routine occurrences, and the historic record, which dates back only to the late 1800s, is inadequate for understanding risks. [Yahoo News]

Rushing water at the Oroville Dam  (Dale Kolke / California Department of Water Resources / Reuters)

Rushing water at the Oroville Dam
(Dale Kolke / California Department of Water Resources / Reuters)

¶ The Renewable Fuels Association has reported that President Trump will direct the EPA to make a big change to the country’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The change is one that has been long sought by refiners, who loathe the biofuel mandates that are in place, but it has been resisted by the country’s biofuel industry. [Forbes]

¶ One way or another, come next year, FirstEnergy Corp is getting rid of the Beaver Valley nuclear power station in Shippingport, Pennsylvania. It will shut down the 1,800-MW plant two decades ahead of schedule unless it can sell it. Selling it is a nonstarter unless legislators in Pennsylvania and Ohio give the plant a boost. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

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March 5 Energy News

March 5, 2017


¶ With the Irish Government in a race against time to avoid a potential €360 million fine from the EU for failing to hit renewables targets, 2017 looks set to be a defining year for the country’s energy sector. The EU’ s fine is €120 million for each 1% the country is below target, and the clock is ticking down on a 2020 deadline. [Irish Independent]

Irish wind power

Irish wind power

¶ Starting this summer, Ontario’s Fair Hydro Plan would provide households with this 25% break in their electric bills. ‎People with low incomes would receive even greater reductions to their electricity bills. As part of this plan, rate increases over the next four years would be held to the rate of inflation for everyone. [Cambridge Now!]

¶ Canadian company Northland Power has agreed to acquire the 252-MW Deutsche Bucht offshore wind farm in the German North Sea. Construction is due to start before the end of the year with full operations in 2019. Headline contractors have already been lined up with MHI Vestas supplying and installing V164 turbines. [reNews]

Vestas V164 wind turbine (image: MHI Vestas)

Vestas V164 wind turbine (image: MHI Vestas)

¶ Armed factions are fighting for control of oil terminals in the east of Libya. Four oil terminals in the area provide much of the country’s export income. Libya remains regionally split, with two opposing centers of power, but there are also numerous rival armed groups that neither of the country’s rival governments controls. [BBC]

¶ India’s Central Electricity Authority expects coal-fired power generation to grow 4.05% in 2017-2018. The authority advised, however, that all coal-based thermal power plants need to brace for drastic fall in capacity utilization, to as low as 48% by 2022, as additional non-thermal electricity generation capacities come on stream. []

Transmission lines

Transmission lines

¶ More than 4.5 million solar home systems have been installed in the rural areas of Bangladesh, bringing energy to the homes of 20 million people who live in the off-grid areas of the country. Since 2009, the access to electricity have been increased from 47% to 80%, and per capita power generation has increased by 85%. [Dhaka Tribune]

¶ Russia began the commercial operation of the world’s first third generation plus nuclear power reactor. It is the same one that would be installed in Bangladesh’s Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant in the near future. After being tied to the grid last August, the plant has been tested, and commercial operation begin on February 27. [The Daily Star]

Westinghouse AP1000 generation 3+ nuclear plant

Westinghouse AP1000 generation 3+ nuclear plant


¶ The seemingly insatiable appetite for natural gas at the nation’s power plants could be on the verge of an abrupt hiatus. Energy analysts are forecasting gas demand from the US power sector will at best flat-line and possibly fall off significantly over the next five years as federal energy policies and market dynamics collide. [Longview News-Journal]

¶ Ta’u, one of the five main islands in the South Pacific that make up American Samoa, is very isolated, boasting just under 600 residents. The island has historically shipped in everything they can’t grow, including the diesel fuel that powers the generators for their electric system. But now, SolarCity and Tesla are setting it free. [Collective Evolution]

Solar power in American Samoa

Solar power in American Samoa

¶ Environmentally conscious investors are protesting President Donald Trump’s plans to slash environmental regulations by using their pocketbooks. This is fueling a rally in funds that only invest in companies meeting sustainability criteria. Funds without environmental or social mandates have seen outflows of $133 billion. [The Gazette]

¶ The Trump administration is seeking major cuts to NOAA, one of the government’s climate science agencies, reducing its budget by 17% overall, with a 26% reduction for its research budget. Proposed cuts include reducing the climate protection budget by almost 70% and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative by 97%. [Normangee Star]

Maybe Sandy would have gone away if NOAA's GOES-13  satellite had not taken a photo. (NASA image, public domain)

Maybe Sandy would have gone away if NOAA’s GOES-13
satellite had not taken this photo. (NASA image, public domain)

¶ The Catholic Church has been a surprising player in a local effort to create what could become the largest independent energy consortium in California. The church’s idea would be to purchase power from Pacific Gas & Electric Co and use the profits to develop renewable sources of energy. [Monterey County Herald]

¶ The Village of Glen Carbon, Illinois, and the Madison County Sustainability Program have partnered to introduce a bulk solar group purchase program for residents and businesses in Madison County. Organizers say the program will reduce carbon emissions while providing opportunities to invest in solar power. [The Edwardsville Intelligencer]

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March 4 Energy News

March 4, 2017


¶ “California’s Wild Climate Will Only Get More Volatile As Temperatures Rise” • The record rains soaking California this winter seemed an impossible reprieve: The state’s driest years on record was followed by a possible record amount of rain and snow. But that precipitation may just be the beginning of new water woes. [Huffington Post]

Lake Oroville went from drought in 2014, to overflow  in 2016. (California Department of Water Resources)

Lake Oroville went from drought in 2014, to overflow
in 2016. (California Department of Water Resources)

Science and Technology:

¶ The University of Leicester’s College of Medicine has done research indicating that common forms of air pollution directly increase the potential for bacterial respiratory infection and alter the effectiveness of antibiotic treatment. Outdoor air pollution causes loss of 7 million lives each year and costs $500 billion per year in the US alone. [CleanTechnica]


¶ Businesses in the Scottish renewable energy sector expect a sixth of their workforce to be lost within a year, an industry survey showed. The Director of Policy at Scottish Renewables said, “Onshore wind and solar are the two cheapest forms of electricity, but ministers are refusing to allow them to access long term contracts for power …” [Your Project News]

PNE Wind offshore project (PNE Wind image)

PNE Wind offshore project (PNE Wind image)

¶ Australia is set to become the first country in the world to offer its citizens a chance to participate in a program providing a network of “virtual” power stations. The Distributed Energy Exchange will create an open marketplace for trading the value of energy generated by solar panels and stored in battery pack. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ Australia is following the crowdsourcing trend, pioneering the movement into a new industry: solar energy. Beginning this week, approximately 10,000 Australian homeowners can engage in a program testing an open market designed to monetize rooftop renewable energy and storage – the first program of its type in the world. [Breaking Energy]

Concentrating solar system (Photo: Dennis Schroeder)

Concentrating solar system (Photo: Dennis Schroeder)

¶ A tanker docking in the UK is transporting a controversial cargo of gas from the Peruvian Amazon. It is thought to be the first shipment to the UK from the Camisea project in rainforest 60 miles from Machu Picchu. The gas project at Camisea field has been hugely contentious for reasons including effects on previously uncontacted tribes. [BBC News]

¶ Jack-up vessel MPI Enterprise has departed the Dutch port of Eemshaven to start turbine installation at the 332-MW Nordsee 1 wind farm in the German North Sea. The project, which is being developed by Innogy and Northland Power, will feature 54 Senvion 6.2M126 machines. Rotor stars are pre-assembled at a facility on land. [reNews]

MPI Enterprise (MPI image)

MPI Enterprise (MPI image)


¶ New York State Governor Andrew M Cuomo has announced that three New York ski resorts have pledged to be powered by 100% renewable energy by 2030. The three state-owned ski areas are joining the I AM PRO SNOW 100% Committed campaign of The Climate Reality Project founded by former Vice President and climate activist Al Gore. [First Tracks]

¶ The EIA’s Electric Power Monthly shows that the portion of electricity that the nation gets from solar grew nearly 40% in 2016, from around 1% of total generation to 1.4%. Wind is likewise growing, with the share of electricity from wind rising from 4.7% in 2015 to 5.5%. Renewable energy provided 15.3% of US electricity. [pv magazine]

Please click on the image to enlarge it.

Please click on the image to enlarge it.

¶ Lexington, Massachusetts could be in line to get all its power from renewable sources in the coming years. The Board of Selectmen approved a plan to pursue a contract with energy producers allowing all of Lexington’s energy to be sourced from renewable sources under Community Choice Aggregation. [Wicked Local Lexington]

¶ As one of her first official acts as Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao has pulled the rug out from under a proposal to fund electrification of the rail line between San Jose and San Francisco. The decision also puts the kibosh on California’s plan to build a high-speed rail line between Los Angeles and San Francisco. [CleanTechnica]

High speed rail (Photo: ZF Chen / Shutterstock)

High speed rail (Photo: ZF Chen / Shutterstock)

¶ As his first move as administrator of the EPA, Scott Pruitt has ended an Obama-era request for oil and gas companies to provide the agency with information on greenhouse gas emissions. Pruitt said that he would assess the need for gathering such information, but the Information Collection Request would be withdrawn immediately. [Oil & Gas 360]

¶ Georgia Power is suspending its study of a site near Columbus for a new nuclear power plant. In a letter to the Georgia Public Service Commission, the utility told officials that the proposed nuclear plant in Stewart County would not be needed as soon as previously expected. There is also uncertainty about other Georgia nuclear projects. [WABE 90.1 FM]

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March 3 Energy News

March 3, 2017


Please click on the image to enlarge it.

¶ “Note To Congress: Climate Change Is Real, And It’s Expensive” In 2016 alone there were 15 extreme weather and climate-related disasters that cost more than a billion dollars apiece. Climate change is contributing to worsening risks of loss from many of these types of events. And those risks are expensive to all of us. [Ecosystem Marketplace]


¶ Community Energy Social Enterprises Limited, a Nigerian company, and Renewvia Energy Corporation, an American firm, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to power to 25 Nigerian communities using local solar microgrids. They are expected to be operational by the end of this year and to have a total capacity of 10 MW. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Using the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s “worst case” scenario as the baseline, new research has determined that Europe’s coastal cities may be facing as much as $40 billion a year in associated economic losses by 2100. Their economic losses related to climate change may rise to $1.2 billion a year by 2030. [CleanTechnica]



¶ Acciona has started building the 168-MW El Cortijo wind farm in Mexico’s Tamaulipas state. The project will require an investment of $221 million and is expected to come online in August 2018, the company said. It will feature 56 AW125/3000 turbines with a rotor diameter of 125 meters and a 120-meter-high concrete tower. [reNews]

¶ In perhaps little more than a dozen years, Bavaria and the rest of southern Germany will be reliant on millions of solar PV panels and wind turbines for power. Inverters will be used to provide vital grid control. Gas fired plants will be available but not running most of the time as they can’t make enough money. [The Australian Financial Review]

German wind turbines (Julian Stratenschulte / AP)

German wind turbines (Julian Stratenschulte / AP)

¶ Victoria’s Labor government launched its first tender for a series of large-scale solar farms, a plan it hopes will attract $150 million of new investment, create 300 jobs and, ultimately, power Melbourne’s trams. The tender calls for up to 75 MW of solar farms, 35 MW of which are expected to provide power for Melbourne’s trams. [RenewEconomy]

¶ A waste-to-energy project undertaken by the world’s largest integrated pineapple operation, Del Monte Philippines Inc, has exceeded even the high effluent quality targets originally set for the job. The wastewater treatment installation achieved 93% organic pollution removal in its anaerobic reactors, while fueling two 1.4-MW generators. [WaterWorld]

Generators powered by biogas from wastewater at  Del Monte Philippines turn a problem into to a profit.

Generators powered by biogas from wastewater at Del Monte
Philippines turn a waste disposal problem into to a profit.

¶ The head of decommissioning for the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant said robots to assess the condition of melted fuel rods have to be more creatively developed. After earlier robotic probes failed, he wants another sent in before deciding how to remove the reactor’s debris. TEPCO still does not know the melted fuel’s exact location. [Japan Today]


¶ AES Distributed Energy held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday for its largest solar project so far, a 16-MW farm in Effingham County, Georgia. The solar PV project will produce an average of 32,000 MWh annually, powering the equivalent of 2,820 homes. The 287-acre solar array is on the site of an old timber farm. [Savannah Morning News]

AES solar farm

AES solar farm

¶ Former Texas Governor Rick Perry made his official return to government Thursday when the US Senate confirmed his nomination as secretary of energy. After taking earlier positions that climate change was contrived, he has taken a more centrist approach and has received the backing of a number of Democrat senators. [Houston Chronicle]

¶ It’s cheaper and cleaner to replace retiring coal-fired power plants with wind and solar power and energy efficiency upgrades rather than more costly and climate-polluting natural gas plants, according to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council. Renewable power also shields consumers from natural gas price increases. [AltEnergyMag]

Mystic Generating Station, Everett, Massachusetts (Photo: Fletcher6, Wikimedia Commons)

Mystic Generating Station, Everett, Massachusetts
(Photo: Fletcher6, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The governor of Rhode Island, home to the first US offshore wind farm, has set forth an ambitious goal to grow renewable energy in the state. According to local coverage from Providence Business News, the goal calls for 1 GW of renewable energy by 2020 – a tenfold increase over Rhode Island’s current levels. [North American Windpower]

¶ Amazon has launched a new initiative to install solar panels on its fulfillment facilities around the world. The company initially plans to deploy large-scale solar systems on rooftops of more than 15 fulfillment centers in the US this year and is planning to deploy solar systems on 50 fulfillment centers globally by 2020. [Solar Industry]

Amazon fulfillment center

Amazon fulfillment center

¶ For the third straight year, Efficiency Vermont and Burlington Electric Department are running a grant program for non-profit organizations to help low-income Vermonters reduce their energy bills. The grant program has successfully delivered measurable energy savings while receiving positive feedback from program participants. [Vermont Biz]

¶ Analysts now warn that the outlook for natural gas may remain weak over the long term. The Houston Chronicle reports one as saying renewable energy, particularly rising solar power usage and better yields from wind power, are fundamental headwinds to natural gas demand that will limit the commodity’s upside in the future. [Investopedia]

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March 2 Energy News

March 2, 2017


¶ “Will Autocracies Fall As The Oil Age Ends?” • The connection between reliance on a fossil fuel economy and corruption is well documented as the Resource Curse. Many of the petro-states have autocratic rule, with only Norway being democratic. With the failing profitability of fossil fuels, petro-chemical autocracies may also fail. [CleanTechnica]

Keep it in the ground. (Credit: Brylie, Wikimedia Commons)

Keep it in the ground. (Credit: Brylie, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Why coal companies want to be seen as clean-energy players even amid new support for fossil fuels” • The coal feels the need for more than a friendly administration in Washington to survive. Electric utilities continue to switch to lower-cost natural gas and renewable sources, so coal is looking for a new public image. [Christian Science Monitor]

Science and Technology:

¶ There’s no mistaking it now. Even though we don’t have the final numbers, it is abundantly clear that the sea ice ringing the Antarctic continent has fallen precipitously, reaching a record low just a few short years after it reached a record high. In 38 years of records, the sea ice lows seen this year are without precedent. [Washington Post]

Adelie penguins (Pauline Askin / Reuters)

Adelie penguins standing on ice (Pauline Askin / Reuters)


¶ The Canadian Commercial Corporation and the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan have signed a memorandum of understanding to set up 1,000 MW of solar capacity. The capacity is expected to be installed over a period of three years, but size and location within the province has not yet been disclosed. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Beijing has nearly 70,000 taxis. It also has an intractable problem with smog. While it has embarked on an aggressive program to encourage private citizens to buy low emissions cars, that push has not made much of an impact on its taxi fleet. Now it has announced a plan to replace all 67,000 fossil fueled taxis in the city with electric cars. [CleanTechnica]

Tiananmen Square

Tiananmen Square

¶ Energy companies are bailing on Canadian tar sands oil. The latest to pull back is Royal Dutch Shell, which just let word slip that it will probably not expand its operations in Canada. ExxonMobil and Chevron recently went a step farther and wrote down their tar sands reserves, as did Norway’s Statoil last year. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Nova Innovation has been awarded a €4.4 million grant from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 R&D program to develop a direct drive power take-off subsystem for tidal turbines. It will build the subsystem and conduct accelerated onshore testing in Germany followed by in-sea testing in Scotland with third party validation. [reNews]

M100 tidal turbine (Nova Innovation image)

M100 tidal turbine (Nova Innovation image)

¶ Banks Renewables secured £210 million in finance to support construction of three UK wind farms totaling 151 MW. The projects are the 88-MW Kype Muir and 51-MW Middle Muir projects in South Lanarkshire and the 12-MW Moor House wind farm near Darlington in northeast England. All three will feature Senvion hardware. [reNews]

¶ The Mugga Lane solar farm, the third solar farm funded by the Australian Capital Territory, opened this week, bringing the ACT to 35% renewable energy. Wind accounts for the vast bulk of the ACT’s planned renewable energy, with 600 MW being built. The three solar farms between them have just 40 MW of capacity. [The Canberra Times]

Dancers at the opening of the Mugga Lane solar farm (Photo: Jay Cronan)

Solemnities opening Mugga Lane solar farm (Photo: Jay Cronan)

¶ Japan is set to add 300 MW of wind capacity – enough to power more than 100,000 average homes – in the 12 months through March, Japan’s Wind Power Association said in a study. Some 157 MW of wind power were installed in the previous year. The association has hopes of seeing 10 GW of wind capacity installed in the early 2020s. [Japan Today]

¶ A major renewable energy project near Kingaroy, Queensland, is a step closer after the co-ordinator-general approved its environmental impact statement. The State Development Minister said AGL proposed to construct and operate up to 115 wind turbines with agreements secured with all affected landowners. [Courier Mail]

Environmental Impact Statement approved (File picture)

Environmental Impact Statement approved (File picture)

¶ In March, housing subsidies run out for those who fled the Fukushima nuclear disaster from areas other than the government-designated evacuation zones. Many of these so-called voluntary evacuees are mothers concerned to avoid any risk to their children’s health, with the fathers remaining back in Fukushima Prefecture. [Japan Today]


¶ Westar Energy’s new Western Plains Wind Farm in Spearville, Kansas, is in full operation. Westar, the state’s largest electric utility, can now boast it can now provide over half the annual electricity needs of its customers without carbon emissions. The 280-MW wind farm’s Siemens Wind turbines were made in Hutchinson. [Hutchinson News]

Spearville Wind Energy Facility in Kansas (Photo: Jennifer L. Sovanski, Wikimedia Commons)

Spearville Wind Energy Facility in Kansas
(Photo: Jennifer L. Sovanski, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Lancaster, California, has been requiring builders to install solar panels on all new homes since 2014. Its policies have served as a model for other California communities. Now, the city seeks to raise the bar by requiring each new home to have a rooftop solar system large enough to meet all of its energy needs. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Florida Power & Light Company announced the names and locations of its 2017 and 2018 universal solar projects, consisting of eight new 74.5-MW solar power plants to be built over the next 12 months. The plants are cost-effective, and should save millions of dollars for customers over their operational lifetimes. [Your Renewable News]

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March 1 Energy News

March 1, 2017


¶ “The trials and triumphs of offshore wind” • When it comes to renewable energy, there’s a new kid on the block and he’s making lots of new friends quickly. We’re talking of course, about offshore wind. While once resisted as too expensive and too unsightly, the technology finally has found its sea legs and is really making a splash. [GreenBiz]

Offshore wind farm under construction off the coast  of Britain (ShutterstockNuttawut / Uttamaharad)

Offshore wind farm under construction off the coast
of Britain (ShutterstockNuttawut / Uttamaharad)

¶ “Will US Solar Growth Continue To Shock, Explode, & Demolish Under Trump/Bannon/Pence?” • Solar power growth was more dramatic than almost anyone expected during the Obama administration. That was largely due to global factors, incentives in other countries and the dramatic drop in solar panel costs. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶ A US Geological Survey study combines climate change and invasive species research by examining how native Brook Trout interact with non-native Brown Trout under rising stream temperatures. Researchers found that non-native Brown Trout limited the ability of Brook Trout to live in warmer stream temperatures. [Satellite PR News]

Brown Trout (Photo: US Fish and Wildlife Service)

Brown Trout (Photo: US Fish and Wildlife Service)


¶ A study published by the Australian National University claims that pumped hydro storage could be used to help build a secure and cheap Australian electricity grid with 100% renewable energy sources. The 100% renewable energy grid would rely primarily on wind and solar PVs supported by off-river pumped hydro storage. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Spanish government said it will pay €600 million ($633 million) annually to renewable and cogeneration power plants as it seeks to reassure investors and revive its comatose clean energy industry. The country guarantees a “reasonable yield of 7.4 percent,” the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism said in an e-mailed statement. [RenewEconomy]

Spanish wind turbines

Spanish wind turbines

¶ China has managed to reduce its coal consumption for a third straight year as the energy-hungry country struggles to reduce its dependency on the heavily polluting fuel. According to a report from the National Bureau of Statistics, coal consumption fell by an annual rate of 4.7% in 2016. Coal production fell even more, by 9%. [Press TV]

¶ French renewable energy group Neoen expects the cost of wind power to continue falling in South Australia. The managing director said the Hornsdale wind farm’s owners will seek a rule change from the Australian Energy Market Operator if a trial of frequency control and grid stability services is successful. [The Australian Financial Review]

Wind power costs declining (Sean Gallup)

Wind power costs declining (Sean Gallup)

¶ The impasse between South African utility Eskom and the country’s renewable energy sector will soon be a thing of the past as the power utility will sign the outstanding power purchase agreements (PPAs) in the near future. This was reportedly said by energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson, during a briefing in Cape Town. [ITWeb]

¶ Despite another banner year for renewables growth in China, the country’s grid still struggles to get clean electricity to users. The problem is so serious in China’s north and west that turbines were forced to sit idle for much of 2016. In response, China’s policymakers are now turning to energy storage for wind and solar power. []

Inspecting a Chinese wind turbine (Image: The  Danish Wind Industry Association, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Inspecting a Chinese wind turbine (Image: The
Danish Wind Industry Association, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

¶ Coal-truck drivers brought traffic to a standstill on roads surrounding South Africa’s capital on Wednesday as the state-owned power utility said it won’t renew their contracts because of an electricity surplus. The blockade disrupted business in the city, with the nation’s Competition Tribunal canceling hearings because of the congestion. []


¶ The Hawaiian Electric Co and technology service company Stem Inc have successfully tested nearly 1 MW of energy storage systems at 29 commercial sites on Oahu, the companies said. The system is a “virtual power plant,” controlled by computer. It is providing better real-time grid operations, according to HECO. [POWER magazine]

Yes, this is a power plant. (Courtesy: Stem Inc)

Yes, this is a power plant. (Courtesy: Stem Inc)

¶ Construction has commenced on a 56-MW solar plant in Oregon. The Gala Solar Power Plant, in Crook County, is expected to be the largest operating facility in the state, sustainable energy company SunPower said. The plant is set to be completed by the end of the year, and is expected to generate around 300 jobs for construction. [CNBC]

¶ Vermont Electric Power Co and IBM announced a new venture that will have the computing giant analyzing weather and electric meter data to anticipate conditions on the grid as increasing reliance on wind and solar energy makes that important. The effort is predicted to save Vermonters money, possibly through smart grid technology. []

Lowell Mountain (Photo: Andrew Stein / VTDigger)

Lowell Mountain (Photo: Andrew Stein / VTDigger)

¶ Younicos will build a 3-MW lithium-ion battery system for the Kodiak Electric Association in Alaska with completion expected by August, ready for high wind season. The installation replaces a lead acid array installed in 2012. KEA has already achieved its goal of having 95% of its power from renewable sources by 2020. [pv magazine USA]

¶ The New York Legislature will meet on Tuesday at a public hearing on the impact of the shutdown of the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant in April, 2021. Tuesday’s hearing is slated to evaluate the shutdown’s impact on electrical grid reliability, jobs and local tax revenue, and the details on how the site will be decommissioned. [WABC-TV]

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