April 11 Energy News

April 11, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ E.ON is collaborating with Dutch company Ampyx Power to develop the latter’s airborne wind energy system. The agreement aims to further development of the system towards commercial deployment. Ampyx is moving toward building and operating a demonstration site for the airborne wind energy concept in County Mayo in Ireland. [reNews]

Ampyx Power system (image: Ampyx Power)

World:

¶ The BBC has seen evidence that top executives at Shell knew money paid to the Nigerian government for a vast oil field would be passed to a convicted money-launderer and had reason to believe the money would be used to pay political bribes. The deal happened while Shell was operating under a probation order for separate Nigerian corruption. [BBC]

¶ Electricity generated at Barrow’s Walney Wind Farm will help to power one of the UK’s biggest building materials companies. Its owner, Dong Energy, has signed a deal with Leeds-based firm Weinerberger to supply it with “clean” electricity. This will come from the company’s eight UK offshore windfarms, including Walney. [NW Evening Mail]

Walney Wind Farm (Photo: Janet Ellen Smith)

¶ Auto manufacturers should be held to a minimum electric vehicle sales quota, the head of Germany’s Federal Environment Agency, Maria Krautzenberger, recently argued in an interview with the German paper Die Zeit. Without such an EV quota, the country won’t achieve its climate agreement targets, according to Krautzenberger. [CleanTechnica]

¶ ERM Power and Nexif Australia have signed two long-term, large-scale generation certificate agreements to support the construction of a new 212-MW wind farm in South Australia, 15 km from Port Augusta. Work on the 220-MW Bungala Solar Project is also expected to begin shortly. It is 10 kM north of Port Augusta. [ABC Online]

Solar panels in the Australian Capital Territory

US:

¶ Tesla has inched ahead of General Motors to become the most valuable car company in the United States. The electric-car maker hit a market value of $50.84 billion on Monday, edging past GM, with its market value of $50.79 billion. It’s another milestone for Tesla, which passed Ford, valued at about $45 billion, last week. [CNN]

¶ In Florida, speaking before a field hearing of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, one expert after another warned about the dangers that rising sea levels pose to Florida’s coast. They were and gave a clear signal: Much of Florida’s coastline could one day be underwater, including Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. [CNN]

Florida coast (Screenshot from CNN video)

¶ Native American and Environmental Groups filed suit in Federal District Court challenging the Presidential Permit President Trump issued allowing construction and operation of the Keystone XL Pipeline. “We have asked Federal Courts to order him to comply with our nation’s environmental laws,” the attorney filing the suit said. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A report, commissioned by the Clean Water Fund found there are several oil and gas wastewater wells that could be injecting into drinking water supplies in Oklahoma. In addition, there are private wells whose supply could be overlapping with wastewater disposal wells that were permitted by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. [ThinkProgress]

Jars of brine on display at the state Capitol in
Oklahoma City (Credit: AP Photo | Sue Ogrocki)

¶ Elon Musk tweeted at the end of last week that SolarCity will begin accepting orders for its new SolarRoof product in April. The SolarRoof is not a conventional rooftop solar system. It is the roof. Glass tiles with solar cells embedded in them replace conventional roofing materials like asphalt shingles, terra-cotta tiles, or slate. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The only US sector where emissions of carbon dioxide increased last year was in the transportation sector, the US Energy Information Administration reported. CO2 emissions from the transportation sector increased 1.9% from 2015 levels. The EIA reported overall energy-related CO2 emissions last year were down 1.7% from 2015 levels. [UPI.com]

Transportation (Photo: AJ Sisco | UPI | License Photo)

¶ The viability of 100% renewable energy is a raging debate in energy circles, but for political leaders in the Oregon region, the answer is clear: Portland and Multnomah County need to be at all-renewable electricity by 2035 and all-renewable everything else by 2050. That’s community-wide, not just for city and county operations. [Portland Business Journal]

¶ The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association commissioned a new solar array at the Common Ground Education Center in the town of Unity, where more than 300 panels are spread out over five barn roofs. The 102-kW array, with other renewable resources, will provide all electricity and offset fossil fuel consumption. [Press Herald]

Barns with solar panels (Staff photo by David Leaming)

¶ The Vermont Public Service Board has approved the sale of 13 TransCanada-owned hydropower facilities on the Connecticut and Deerfield rivers to a Canadian company, ArcLight Capital Partners. The amount of the purchase is not immediately available, but TransCanada had previously estimated its value at more than $1 billion. [HydroWorld]

¶ Vermont State Representative Sarah Copeland Hanzas unveiled a plan to phase out the Vermont sales tax and replace it with a carbon tax, helping the state reach its energy goals while supporting local retail business. She will introduce legislation to remove the sales tax as part of a revenue-neutral scheme that would bring in the carbon tax. [Valley News]

¶ The Ohio Senate has taken up a bill to bail out two struggling nuclear power plants, Perry and Davis-Besse. Senate Bill 128 would generate some $300 million in annual revenue for FirstEnergy, which is based in Akron. That windfall would come through rate hikes forced onto electricity customers across Northeast Ohio. [Cleveland Scene Weekly]

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