March 21 Energy News

March 21, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “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. [eco-business.com]

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

World:

¶ 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]

US:

¶ 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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