March 27 Energy News

March 27, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “A conservative still pushing for a carbon tax” • If five years ago Bob Inglis’ optimism about building a coalition of conservatives to enact a carbon tax seemed far-fetched, today it’s a study in faith. He lost his South Carolina Congressional seat to a Tea Party candidate in 2010, but has been reborn as a conservative climate activist. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

With rising seas, sunny day flooding in Hollywood, Florida (AP)

¶ “What Rural Alaska Can Teach the World about Renewable Energy” • Many remote Alaskan communities have integrated renewables into their diesel-based power grids very successfully. In remote Alaskan villages, the cost of electricity was usually based on the cost of transporting diesel fuel, until renewable power became available. [Scientific American]

Science and Technology:

¶ In bacterial fuel cells, microbes convert chemical energy into electrical energy. They emit little to no CO2 doing this, but the cells created so far have not been efficient. Researchers at Binghamton University are testing systems based on using two types of bacteria in combination, and have had a power cell generate power for 13 days. [ZME Science]

Bacteria (Credit: NAIAD)

World:

¶ Major oil producers are considering extending their recent output cuts a fresh bid to boost prices. OPEC countries and several other oil nations started to reduce production at the start of 2017. The move initially pushed up the oil price, but it has dropped in the last few weeks on fears the limits would not be enough to deal with an oil glut. [BBC News]

¶ The Australian government’s official position on fossil fuel subsidies is that it doesn’t pay any. But in Western Australia, Horizon Power, the state-owned utility, guarantees customers will pay no more than the 26¢/kWh charged in Perth. Now, Horizon Power is working on reducing those subsidies with renewable microgrids. [RenewEconomy]

A 110-kW solar farm in Western Australia (Horizon Power)

¶ Canadian province Alberta is all set to start its Renewable Electricity Program and expects to attract at least $7.88 billion of investment by 2030, while creating more than 7000 jobs in the region. As part of the program, the Alberta Electric System Operator is readying to begin the first of a series of competitions to generate green energy. [CleanTechnology News]

¶ The regional director for Asia Pacific of the International Water Association, speaking at the Water Philippines Expo in Pasay City, pushed for the Philippine government to establish and implement policies that will provide renewable energy to make it available to the majority, pointing out that solar power has become affordable. [Power Philippines]

Solar array in the Philippines

¶ According local media, construction of six nuclear reactors in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh may not be launched as planned. This is partly due to reports that Westinghouse, the nuclear unit of the Japanese Toshiba Corporation, is planning to file for bankruptcy in the US soon on the grounds of the amassed financial losses. [Sputnik International]

¶ The government of Vietnam’s Yen Bai province has requested assistance from South Korea for a proposed 500-MW solar PV project planned for Thac Ba Lake. The effort is intended to increase clean energy output and strengthen ties between Vietnam and South Korea. South Korean renewable energy developer Solkiss is already on board. [pv magazine]

The man-made Thac Ba Lake

US:

¶ President Donald Trump will sign an executive order this week scrapping Obama cuts in power plant emissions, according to Trump’s environmental chief. EPA director Scott Pruitt told ABC Television’s “This Week” broadcast that Trump believes the US needs what he calls a “pro-growth and pro-environment approach.” [Voice of America]

¶ Solar power use in Alaska has grown quickly amid falling prices for PV panels and reduced doubts by Alaskans about solar energy in the land of sun-starved winters. New businesses have launched to take advantage of the trend. Now that it’s March and days are growing longer, people are clamoring for project estimates. [Alaska Dispatch News]

Solar installation in Anchorage. (Stephen Trimble)

¶ Despite being ranked third in the nation for rooftop-solar potential by the Solar Energy Industries Association, Florida has not had many installations. Nevertheless, the Sunshine State’s solar prospects are beginning to brighten. In 2016, the SEIA reported, Florida recorded 404 solar installations, up from 43 recorded in 2015. [The Northwest Florida Daily News]

¶ The Greater Richmond Solar Co-op, a group-purchasing program that vets and solicits bids from installers who drop their usual prices in exchange for a steady stream of customers. The group says the purchasing program can shave up to 20%. Recently passed legislation in Virginia can help them put their power onto the grid. [Richmond.com]

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