March 28 Energy News

March 28, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “A future after oil and gas? Norway’s fossil-free energy start-ups” • Norway already produces a lot of renewable energy. About 97% of electricity generated in the country comes from renewable sources, mainly hydropower, according to Innovation Norway. But petrochemicals are still king, as half of Norway’s exports relate to oil and gas. [The Guardian]

Offshore platform near the Stavanger, Norway
(Nerijus Adomaitis / File Photo: Reuters Staff / Reuters)

¶ “Trump’s Anti-Climate Crusade Can Still Be Stopped” • This is not just another Trumpwellian sideshow. The President is sounding the retreat from the promise of cleaner, smarter ways to power our future. Trump’s retreat, though, is not a done deal. Congress controls the budget and should fully fund responsible climate protections. [TIME]

Science and Technology:

¶ A team of climate scientists found a connection between many extreme weather events and the impact climate change has on the jet stream. The researchers’ interests included the 2003 European heat wave, the 2010 Pakistan flood and Russian heat wave, the 2011 Texas and Oklahoma heat wave and drought, and the 2015 California wildfires. [Telegiz News]

Jet streams

World:

¶ The former head of former head of GDF Suez Australia (now Engie) says solar PV and battery storage are already cheaper than gas-fired generation. He cited an estimate given to Reach Solar, which he now heads, in late December 2016 for solar PV and energy storage at A$110/MWh to $130/MWh (US$83.64/MWh to $98.85/MWh). [CleanTechnica]

¶ The 402-MW Veja Mate wind farm in the German North Sea has reached a half-way mark for turbine installations two-and-a-half months ahead of schedule, with 34 of the project’s 67 Siemens 6-MW turbines fully commissioned and producing power. The project is will produce over 1.6 TWh of electricity per year. [reNews]

Veja Mate wind farm (Veja Mate image)

¶ The UAE forecasts that savings from switching half its power needs to clean energy by mid-century will outstrip costs. The UAE plans to invest $150 billion in renewable power to 2050, weaning the country from subsidized natural gas power in stages, its Minister of Energy said. Clean energy sources will help it save $192 billion. [MENAFN.COM]

¶ Although the Amazon region is home to dozens of big hydroelectric dams, their energy is sent thousands of miles south to power the homes and factories in the big cities, or to feed electricity-intensive industries, many of them foreign-owned aluminium smelters. Local power is usually from diesel generators. But that is changing. [Climate Home]

Homes in the state of Amazonas (Pic: Flickr/Monica Posada)

¶ The Australian Energy Market Operator has issued a final report on the blackout that cut power to 850,000 customers in South Australia on September 28. It said two tornadoes were the likely cause of five electrical faults that led to the grid failure. Problems that caused wind farms to shut down have been identified and corrected. [NEWS.com.au]

¶ In Africa, while hydropower and fossil fuel power plants are favored approaches in some quarters, a new assessment by the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has found that wind and solar can be competitive options both economically and environmentally, and they can significantly contribute to rising demand. [Eurasia Review]

Ngong Hills Wind Farm in Nairobi, Kenya
(Credit: Grace Wu / Berkeley Lab)

US:

¶ China’s GCL New Energy is developing eight new solar projects in Wilson County, North Carolina. Six of the sites have a maximum power output at peak performance of 10 MW while two have an output of around 5 MW. Three of the facilities are expected to be producing power by the end of this month, and will sell electricity at fixed rates. [PV-Tech]

¶ In California, renewably sourced electricity has been setting production records since February 24. On March 23, renewables broke 56% of total demand. According to the daily report, solar peaked around 11:16 am. Three minutes later, the solar plus wind peaked at 49.2% of demand, and nine minutes later, total renewables peaked at 56.7%. [Electrec]

Wind turbines in Edelstal, Austria
(Photo: Matej Kova, National Geographic)

¶ According to American media watchdog Media Matters, the level of climate change coverage on evening newscasts and Sunday shows across broadcast networks in 2016 decreased significantly, dropping by 66% compared to 2015 levels, amounting to a total of only 50 minutes of coverage for the whole year. [CleanTechnica]

¶ As part of court settlements with the California Air Resources Board and the EPA, Volkswagen will build around 400 electric vehicle fast-charging stations in the US, according to reports. The $2 billion settlement will see the majority of stations installed in metro areas with high expected demand for electric vehicles. [CleanTechnica]

EVgo Superfast Charging Station

¶ What is expected to be Illinois’ largest rooftop solar array is under construction in Joliet, but it isn’t the initiative of a utility or solar company. Instead, the system will be paid for and owned by Swedish retailer Ikea as the company boosts its renewable energy portfolio. Its almost 9,000 panels will have a capacity of 2.91 MW. [Midwest Energy News]

¶ For the small towns that are home to 61 US nuclear plants, each one has been like the golden goose supplying high-paying jobs and money for roads, police and libraries. But those same places and their residents are bracing for what may come next. Due to the soaring costs of running aging reactors, at least a dozen reactors may close. [Electric Light & Power]

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