March 31 Energy News

March 31, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Why Oil Is Not the Future” • While the oil market has stabilized a bit in recent months, there are many good reasons to believe that the industry is on the decline for good. In fact, petroleum consumption in the past couple of years is much lower than it was in the 90s, despite the fact that the economy grew close to 50% in this time. [Care2.com]

Train carrying coal in Wyoming

¶ “Why Donald Trump Can’t Save the Coal Industry” • President Donald Trump set off a panic among environmentalists and celebrations in coal country in an executive order he proclaimed would lead to a “new era in American energy.” The terror and revelry are both based on projections for a future that will never arrive. [Newsweek]

World:

¶ Installed renewable energy capacity around the world grew by 161 GW in 2016 bringing the global total to more than 2 TW, according to data from the International Renewable Energy Agency. Renewable energy now accounts for 8.7% of total energy capacity. Of the 161 GW installed last year, 71 GW was solar, and 51 GW was wind. [reNews]

Wind turbines (Image: sxc)

¶ It looks like the honeymoon with the world’s most notorious “carbon bomb” is winding down. ConocoPhillips has announced that it will join a growing list of major oil companies that are selling off Canadian tar sands oil assets. It looks like the company might not see much of a future in Canadian tar sands oil … or does it? [CleanTechnica]

¶ Italian power provider Enel announced that construction work has begun on the largest PV plant on the American continent. It is the 754-MW Villanueva project, which is in the Mexican state of Coahuila. The company is investing €650 million in the project, and it is scheduled for completion in the second half of 2018. [pv magazine]

Mayan temple

¶ A new solar farm to be built in Australia this year will consist of 3.4 million solar panels and 1.1 million batteries which will be able to produce 330 MW (1 MW can power up to 1,000 homes) and store up to 100 MW. According to Lyon Group, its developer, this immense battery storage will make the farm the biggest of its kind in the world. [TNW]

¶ The 332-MW Nordsee 1 wind farm in the German North Sea has exported its first power to the mainland. The first Senvion 6.2M-126 turbine exported electricity to the German grid, developer Innogy said. So far, MPI Offshore jack-up vessel MPI Enterprise has installed seven machines. The wind farm is due to be complete by early October. [reNews]

Nordsee 1 (Image: Nordsee One GmbH)

¶ Vattenfall has confirmed plans for a 16-turbine extension to the 36.9-MW Clashindarroch wind farm in northeastern Scotland. The Swedish company aims to add 54 MW of capacity to the existing 18-turbine facility in Aberdeenshire. The proposed wind farm would be one of Vattenfall’s most competitive in the UK, it said. [reNews]

US:

¶ In an attempt to put the kibosh on the suits brought by New York and Massachusetts, Exxon filed its own suit seeking to have the cases transferred to a court in Texas, where it expected to receive a more sympathetic hearing. But that court ruled that Exxon’s complaints should be transferred to the Southern District of New York. [CleanTechnica]

Oil rig

¶ Researchers from the US DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory have published what is in some ways the most cost detailed breakdowns for residential solar PV equipped with energy storage. The report also serves to quantify the previously unknown or uncertain soft costs for combined solar PV and energy storage. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Just after its merger with Solar City to build a factory that will be used for the production of Tesla battery cells, now as a part of the infrastructural plan, Tesla is in plans to build world’s largest solar panel rooftop on the roof of Nevada’s Gigafactory. The construction of this green energy facility will be completed by 2018. [The Legman News]

Gigafactory

¶ Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee could help decide the fate of his moves to undo climate-related US regulations, but legal experts said Neil Gorsuch’s judicial record makes it hard to predict whether as a justice he would back a sweeping rollback. Gorsuch’s views on issues related to climate change are unclear. [AOL]

¶ A new Iowa Policy Project report claims that Iowa’s electricity prices, which are appreciably lower than the national average, can be attributed to the state’s growing wind industry. The project’s lead environmental scientist said the data shows the cost gap between Iowa and other states is increasing. [The Gazette: Eastern Iowa Breaking News and Headlines]

Wind turbine technician students (Liz Martin / The Gazette)

¶ Donald Trump may have signed an order intended to save coal industry jobs by rolling back environmental protections, but officials with Oklahoma’s largest electric utilities say it likely won’t have a big impact on their future electricity generation plans. A spokesman for Public Service Company of Oklahoma says coal is not economically viable. [KOSU]

¶ States that value nuclear power’s low carbon emissions have begun throwing lifelines to struggling nuclear plants in the form of subsidies. Nevertheless, opponents contend that these schemes illegally interfere with power markets. Litigation is underway and some believe the arguments will reach the Supreme Court. [Forbes]

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