April 18 Energy News

April 18, 2017


¶ “Rick Perry targets wind, solar after overseeing renewables explosion in Texas” • US Energy Secretary Rick Perry didn’t mention renewable energy by name. But his request for the DOE to investigate how federal subsidies boost renewables at the expense of baseload generation was clearly meant as a swipe at wind and solar energy. [RenewEconomy]

The Roscoe Wind Farm in Texas at sunrise
(Fredlyfish4, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “How Trump could make US a climate pariah over Paris pact” • EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is arguing to pull the US out of the Paris Climate Accord, but Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is arguing to stay. If Trump goes with Pruitt instead of Tillerson, he will create a worldwide consensus: to oppose the US for climate inaction. [KBZK Bozeman News]


¶ Renewable energy has hit a new record in Germany. It made up just over 41% of Germany’s power supply last month, the most ever at around 19.5 TWh. It’s a good thing, too, because nuclear power production may have fallen to its lowest monthly level since the 1970s – even though no nuclear plant has been shut off since 2015. [CleanTechnica]

Generation from hydro, biomass, wind, and solar
Please click on the image to enlarge it.

¶ Fortum Corporation, based in Finland, recently announced that it commissioned its largest solar power project. The project, located in the Indian state of Rajasthan, is also among the cheapest solar power projects in the country. Fortum said it commissioned the 70-MW solar project under India’s National Solar Mission. [CleanTechnica]

¶ In March, Germany conducted successful tests of the world’s first “Hydrail,” a hydrogen powered, zero-emission train. “The new train is 60% less noisy than a traditional diesel train, completely emission free,” said Jens Sprotte of Alstom, train’s producer. “The only sound it gives off comes from the wheels and air resistance.” [CNN]


¶ The Middle East and North Africa will need investments of $302 billion over the next five years to cover the rising demand for electricity, estimates by APICORP Energy Research say. Of this, $179 billion, a little less than 60%, will be needed to add generating capacity. The rest, $123 billion, is for transmission and distribution. [Zawya]

¶ Gaza’s only power plant has run out of fuel, leaving 2 million residents of the coastal enclave with only four hours of electricity a day in what the UN cautions could be the tipping point to making Gaza “unlivable.” The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza blame each other for the energy shortage. [CNN]

Darkened street in Gaza

¶ Egypt aims to increase its use of renewable energy to 22% by 2020, according to its investment and international cooperation minister, Sahar Nasr. She discussed investments in Egypt with the regional director of Norway’s Scatec Solar, Morten Langsholdt. He said various investors were interested in making $3 billion in investments. [Ahram Online]


¶ Energy Secretary Rick Perry ordered the DOE to conduct a study of renewable energy on the US electric grid. His Monday morning memo said that the review would assess whether federal environmental policies have hurt the power grid’s ability to supply baseload power, which depends on fossil fuels, over the past few years. [Washington Examiner]


¶ President Donald Trump’s top advisors will meet today, April 18, to discuss whether to recommend that he withdraw the US from the Paris climate accord, a White House official said. The accord, agreed upon by nearly 200 countries in Paris in 2015, aims to limit planetary warming in part by slashing carbon dioxide and other emissions. [The Wire]

¶ As part of its carbon-reduction plans, Boston-based nonprofit Partners HealthCare signed a contract to buy power from a 28.8-MW wind project to be built in Antrim, New Hampshire. Partners will purchase 75% of the project’s capacity. The wind farm, owned by Walden Green Energy, is to be completed in 2019. [North American Windpower]

Visual simulation of the Antrim wind farm
(Courtesy of Partners HealthCare)

¶ Southern California Edison, General Electric Co, and Wellhead Power Solutions partnered to install 10-MW lithium-ion batteries at two of the utility’s gas generators. During periods of peak demand, the batteries can provide instant power while gas turbines ramp up. They are expected to reduce emissions by at least 60%. [BloombergQuint]

¶ Hearings for PG&E’s proposal to close Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant will begin Wednesday. The California Public Utilities Commission will begin hearing testimony at 10 AM in San Francisco. The Commission has scheduled a total of eight hearings from April 19 and April 28 to hear testimony. [The San Luis Obispo Tribune]

Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant
(Joe Johnston jjohnston@thetribunenews.com)

¶ Saving money is at the core of the business case for going green. And in a lot of places around the country, solar and wind are now the cheapest energy option. In coal-loving Kentucky, General Motors, Ford, Walmart, L’Oreal, and even the state’s beloved bourbon makers are starting to look at renewables. [Minnesota Public Radio News]

¶ With federal clean energy programs under attack, local environmental activists gathered in Beverly, Massachusetts, last week to launch a statewide campaign calling on cities and towns in Massachusetts to commit to 100% clean, renewable energy. Many worry about effects on the environment from burning fossil fuels. [Wicked Local Beverly]

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