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)

World:

¶ 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. [AllAfrica.com]

¶ 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:

¶ 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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