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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