Archive for March 15th, 2017

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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