March 1 Energy News

March 1, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “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)

World:

¶ 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. [eco-business.com]

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. [Moneyweb.co.za]

US:

¶ 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. [vtdigger.org]

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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