April 9 Energy News

April 9, 2017


¶ “The new sun kings: How China came to dominate solar power” • For much of the past century, the ups and downs of the American economy spelled the difference between jobs or poverty for people in the rest of the world. Now China’s policy shifts can have the same kind of impact. And China has half the solar market. [The Kathmandu Post]

Installing solar panels in Wuhan (New York Times photo)

Science and Technology:

¶ A recent survey reveals the increasing mode of temperature in the eastern part of the Arctic Ocean. The cold water beneath the ice is not as salty as the somewhat warmer water below it, so it is lighter and floats on it to shield the ice. Now, that inversion is being reversed, and the Arctic Ocean is becoming more like the Atlantic. [Science Times]


¶ With a wind farm, solar park, biogas plant, and Germany’s largest battery system, the village of Feldheim is independent of the utility grid, getting all its electricity and heat – a significant factor in an area with sub-zero winter temperatures – from a local grid paid for by residents, the municipality, EU subsidies and loans. [The Hindu]

Wind turbines at Feldheim (Photo: Odd Andersen)

¶ The share of renewable energy in the Philippine power mix already reached as high 31.4% on combination of emerging and conventional technologies, according to the Energy Secretary. Hydropower has a 16.7% share, followed by geothermal with a 8.8% share, solar with a 3.1% share, wind power at 2.0%, and biomass at 0.8%. [Manila Bulletin]

¶ The Gulf Cooperation Council states, which have huge proven crude oil reserves, are now on a journey to develop renewable energy sources to better serve the planet. Since the COP21 conference held in Paris in 2015, the nations have been rolling out strategies to fight climate change and reduce their carbon footprint. [AMEinfo]

MASDAR buildings with solar panels on the roofs

¶ The French government issued a decree on the Fessenheim nuclear plant, fulfilling a campaign pledge by President Francois Hollande to shut it down. It said the plant will cease operations when a new reactor being built at Flamanville enters service in 2019. But construction of the new reactor has its own serious problems. [Luxemburger Wort]


¶ When Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and the Legislature changed the state’s renewable energy standard from a mandate to a goal two years ago, some feared it could put the brakes on alternative energy development in Kansas. But that hasn’t happened. Kansas wind power generation grew 18 percent in 2016. [Wichita Eagle]

Wind turbines in Kansas

¶ At the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation’s Burlington headquarters, numerous stakeholders met to review the key findings of the Vermont Solar Pathways study and participate in a roundtable discussion about implications for utility planning, economic development, land use, and sustainable energy goals in the state. [vtdigger.org]

¶ Tesla inaugurated a solar farm with a capacity of 13 MW on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. It has 54,000 panels connected to 272 Tesla Powerpack lithium-ion batteries for a storage capacity of 52 MWh. The new farm can store surplus energy harvested during sunny days, to supply electricity island at any time, including when it rains. [The Quebec Times]

Tesla batteries on Kauai

¶ PacifiCorp, a division of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, issued a three-year, $3.5 billion plan for its renewable energy system from Wyoming to California. The six-state plan will add 900 MW of capacity by upgrading wind turbines, build a 140-mile-long power line in Wyoming and add 1,100 MW of new wind projects. [Omaha World-Herald]

¶ NRG, a leading independent power producer whose fleet once depended heavily on coal, has made big bets on low-carbon energy technologies and publicized its embrace of sustainability as essential to its future. It has aggressive carbon emissions goals. Now it has a member of its board of directors who says climate change is a myth. [Longview News-Journal]

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