March 25 Energy News

March 25, 2017


¶ “Keystone XL is no done deal” • On paper, the TransCanada Corporation has obtained the Trump administration’s blessings to add hundreds of miles of pipeline through the Midwest. It is a permission twice denied by President Barack Obama two years ago, but it’s premature to assume the project will actually get built. [Baltimore Sun]

Protest, 2011 (chesapeakeclimate, Wikimedia Commons)

Science and Technology:

¶ Following 2016’s record high global average temperatures, and 2017’s already quite strange weather, we are now in “truly uncharted territory,” according to a new report from the World Meteorological Organization. In particular, the record-low levels of sea ice extent in the Arctic and Antarctic is considered “alarming.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ Ahead of this year’s Earth Hour, researchers have proposed a new “carbon law” to enable the international community to nearly eliminate fossil-fuel emissions by 2050. In order to meet the COP21 goal, the team recommends directing international efforts toward cutting global carbon emissions in half each decade. [Courthouse News Service]

Renewable power to limit emissions


¶ Beijing and the entire surrounding province of Hebei will be planting trees and creating new greenbelts, according to reports. The idea is apparently to leverage existing rivers, wetlands, mountains, and open spaces, to create a “green necklace” that will help to reduce smog problems, the Hebei government has revealed. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The small Dutch energy company Vandebron, which allows consumers to buy their renewable energy directly from local producers on an online marketplace, has offered the utility Nuon €1 million for its coal-fired power plant in Amsterdam. After the purchase, the energy startup wants to shut the plant down and turn it into a theme park. [CleanTechnica]

Impression of coal power plant Hemweg 8 as a theme park

¶ Six years after the natural disaster and the nuclear meltdowns in Fukushima prefecture, the governor commissioned a biomass-based power plant. The power plant was produced by UK-based Entrade. It is located at a small health resort and uses biomass to provide a hotel and a spa resort with electricity and heat. [Bioenergy Insight Magazine]

¶ A £10.8 million project, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund, is laying the foundation for a smart energy system across the Isles of Scilly off the coast of Cornwall. The Smart Islands project will link rooftop solar panels, solar gardens, batteries, domestic heat pumps, and electric vehicles in the archipelago. [TechSPARK]

View on the Isles of Scilly

¶ Afghanistan’s High Economic Council has approved a plan to deploy 100 MW of renewable energy generation capacity across the country. A local TV channel reports that the plan includes 65 MW of solar, 14 MW from wind power projects, 13.5 MW from biomass and 7.5 MW from hydropower plants, for a total of 30 projects. [pv magazine]

¶ A new “super inquiry” has been launched in the UK by MPs aiming to force action on the country’s growing air pollution problems, reports say. In an unprecedented action, four different Commons committees will question a variety of ministers and air quality experts, to better understand the situation and the available remedies. [CleanTechnica]

London’s age-old smog (Claude Monet, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Three European transmission system operators have signed a trilateral agreement this week that intends to develop a large renewable European electricity system in the North Sea. It is expected that the North Sea Wind Power Hub could supply as many as 70 to 100 million people in Europe with renewable energy by 2050. [CleanTechnica]


¶ President Donald Trump has announced that he is granting approval to the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline. Trump said the 1,900-mile pipeline, which will cross much of the Great Plains in a path from Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico, will be “the first of many infrastructure projects” he believes will stimulate jobs. [National Geographic]

Pipes near Cushing, Oklahoma (Photo: Larry W Smith, EPA)

¶ Maryland has increased its renewable generation portfolio target to 25% of all generation by 2020. The old target was 20% by 2022. Maryland’s new standard includes solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, fuel cells, ocean, small hydro, and certain waste technologies, which will ramp up to 2.5% of sales by 2020. [Power Engineering Magazine]

¶ Commissioners of the Port of Oakland, on San Francisco Bay, voted to approve an $8.9 million deal to purchase solar power for the next 20 years. Under the deal, the port will buy about 11,000 MWh of solar-generated electricity at $39/MWh from a solar farm in Lancaster, California, according to port officials. [CBS San Francisco Bay Area]

Port of Oakland (CBS image)

¶ Myron Ebell, the longtime climate-science denier who led President Donald Trump’s pre-inauguration EPA transition team, says Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is among the “swamp creatures” that have infiltrated the president’s administration. Tillerson has supported keeping the US in the Paris climate agreement. [Huffington Post]

¶ Calling warnings of the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant’s premature closure “real” and the need for a bailout “urgent,” FirstEnergy Corp’s top nuclear official left little doubt that the largest employer in Ottawa County, Ohio, is in trouble. He said the utility’s other nuclear plants, Perry and Beaver Valley are also in danger of closing. [Toledo Blade]

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