April 1 Energy News

April 1, 2017


While Trump promotes coal, other countries are turning to cheap sun power • Last year when the Chilean government invited utility companies to bid on public contracts. The auction was dominated by solar producer offering to supply electricity at about half the cost of coal-fired plants. It wasn’t because of a government subsidy. [Prince George Citizen]

Concentrating solar power in Chile
(Tamara Merino for The Washington Post)

Toshiba debacle highlights huge risks in nuclear power business • The high-profile bankruptcy of Toshiba’s US nuclear subsidiary is graphic evidence of the gargantuan risk involved in the business. Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy under the weight of huge cost overruns at four nuclear reactors it has been building in the US. [Asahi Shimbun]


¶ The top court in India has gone ahead and banned the sale of vehicles running on Euro III standards (and older) in a bid to reduce the country’s growing air pollution problems. The ban becomes effective as of April 1. According to one expert, there are around ₹120 billion ($1.85 billion) worth of unsold Euro III stock in the country. [CleanTechnica]

Diesel cars in Delhi (Image via Scott Dexter, some rights reserved)

¶ Siemens Wind Power received an order for a new onshore wind project in the southwest of France. The new wind power plant, owned by Futuren, will be installed near the towns of Courant and Nachamps in the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine. It will consist of seven units of the Siemens direct-drive onshore wind turbine SWT-3.2-113. [PennEnergy]

¶ Poland has large untapped potential for geothermal energy. The country estimates that up to 30% of its heating demand could be covered by geothermal heating. Currently, there are 56 documented thermal water deposits, including 17 thermal water reservoirs. Only 25% of that potential is currently being tapped from 27 locations. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

Pieniny Mountains, Poland (flickr / Ministry
of Foreign Affairs Poland, creative commons)

¶ The Indian Power Ministry has achieved the milestone of electrifying 13,000 unelectrified villages against a target of providing electricity to 18,452 such settlements as envisaged by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In 2015, Modi announced in his independence day speech that all villages would be electrified by 1 May, 2018. [Hindustan Times]


¶ At the recent Maui Energy Conference, officials from Hawaiian Electric Company detailed a plan that would make Molokai the first island in Hawaii to completely kick the fossil fuel habit. The 2,000 power customers on Molokai are currently drawing on the 12-MW oil-fueled Palaau Power Plant, as well as 2.36 MW of solar power. [Hawaiipublicradio]

Sunset over the Ocean, off of Molokai Hawaii
(Rose_Braverman, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ This week, a who’s who of leading brands all publicly committed to staying the course on fighting climate change. Mars, Anheuser-Busch, Nestlé, General Mills, Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, General Electric, the Gap, and Walmart all weighed in following the announcement of Trump’s executive order to roll back the Clean Power Plan. [Forbes]

¶ Enel Green Power North America has brought online the second half of its 400-MW Cimarron Bend wind farm, in Kansas. Cimarron Bend can generate around 1.8 TWh per year, enough to meet the annual needs of over 149,000 households and avoid around 1.3 million metric tons of CO2 emissions each year. [North American Windpower]

Cimarron Bend wind farm

¶ The EPA has issued more details of a plan for laying off 25% of its employees and scrapping more than 50 programs. The lost programs include pesticide safety, water runoff control, and environmental cooperation with Mexico and Canada under NAFTA. The agency is considering a rollback in fuel efficiency standards. [Santa Fe New Mexican]

¶ The Intertubes are buzzing with news of an internal General Electric blog post that circulated earlier this week under the authorship of CEO Jeffrey Immelt. In response to the Trump Administration’s rollback of the Clean Power Plan, Immelt comes out swinging with a pledge that GE will soldier on to address climate change. [CleanTechnica]

GE “space frame” wind turbine tower (Image: Tina Casey)

¶ Navajo Nation leaders plan to ask the federal government for subsidies to keep the coal-fired Navajo Generating Station in northern Arizona open. The plant’s owners voted to close it in 2019 because it is not profitable, which would lead to closure of the coal mine supplying it. Hundreds of jobs for Navajo and Hopi workers would be lost. [Gillette News Record]

¶ A repeat attempt by state lawmakers to soften Ohio’s renewable energy requirements cleared the Republican-controlled House. The latest bill would soften mandates for utility companies to get a percentage of their power from clean sources by set dates. It also would eliminate penalties they face for non-compliance. [Electric Light & Power]

Wind turbine in Ohio

¶ A report from PJM Interconnection, a transmission operator serving 65 million people in the eastern United States, confirms that its system can remain reliable with the addition of more natural gas and variable renewable energy sources. The report also says that increased reliance on any one energy source brings resilience risks. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Moody’s Investors Service on Friday joined a chorus of investment and energy analysts who say President Trump’s decision this week to renounce the Clean Power Plan will have little short-term effect on the beleaguered coal industry. Moody’s said Trump’s decision will have little immediate effect to increase the use of coal to produce electricity. [Philly.com]

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