April 19 Energy News

April 19, 2017


¶ “The State & Promise of the Electric Airplane” • The electric airplane industry truly is the final frontier. Hauling a battery pack in a car for propulsion is fairly easy compared to dragging one around in the air. This article provides a glimpse of the state and promise of the electric airplane – the new wild frontier. [CleanTechnica]

Hamilton aEro

¶ “What America’s workers know about climate change” • Unions and environmental advocates have had our differences over the years, but increasingly we are finding common ground based on our shared concerns. And more than ever, union members are experiencing firsthand the threat the climate crisis poses to those core values. [CNN]

¶ “To Build A More Resilient Electric Grid, Many Believe The Answer Is Going Small” • Nearly half a million miles of high-voltage transmission lines cross the country, but the people planning the future of America’s electric grid are thinking small. They say we should build microgrids – small systems that can connect and disconnect. [WBUR]

Brooklyn substation, hit by Hurricane Sandy
(Bebeto Matthews | AP)

Science and Technology:

¶ The herbicide Paraquat became a household word for all the wrong reasons during the Vietnam War, but now it is helping solve an EV battery “dendrite” problem that has stumped researchers for 40 years. If all goes well, the result will be a new generation of lithium-based EV batteries with five to 10 times the range of today’s. [CleanTechnica]


¶ Acciona has started building the 132-MW Mount Gellibrand wind farm in the Australian state of Victoria. The project, estimated to cost A$258 million ($194 million), will feature 44 Nordex AW125/3000 turbines mounted on 87.5 meter steel towers. The developer has an agreement to sell power into the wholesale electricity market. [reNews]

Waubra wind farm (Acciona image)

¶ Non-fossil fuels – renewables, nuclear and large hydroelectric power plants – will be 56.5% of India’s installed power capacity by 2027, according to a draft of the third National Electricity Plan. It notes that if India achieves its target for 2022, it will not need to begin construction of coal-fired capacity until after 2027, if then. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ Scottish Labour says its proposal to ban fracking was backed by 87% of the public in a recent consultation. A greater percentage worries over fracking. When asked if fracking poses “too many risks relating to pollution of the earth, water and air, and increased seismic activity”, 95% of respondents agreed, and 4% disagreed. [insider.co.uk]

No fracking (Getty image)

¶ According to a report in, the Financial Times, the fourth largest pension fund in Denmark divested itself of investments in five Canadian oil producers, and is assessing another 44 oil and gas companies. Its managers worry that fossil fuel companies are at risk of becoming stranded assets. The fund has assets worth €33.6 billion. [CleanTechnica]


¶ A former strip mine would be converted into a solar farm under a proposal to use it for hundreds of thousands of panels. The Berkeley Energy Group, EDF Renewable Energy, and former Democratic state Auditor Adam Edelen said they are looking at two mountaintop removal sites in the heart of Kentucky’s coal country. [Paducah Sun]

Mountaintop removal site near Pikeville
(Kenny Stanley | Berkeley Energy Group via AP)

¶ A pro-Paris bloc within the administration recruited energy companies for support ahead of a high-level White House meeting, according to two people familiar with the effort who asked not to be identified. ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell are among those endorsing the pact. So are Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband. [Livemint]

¶ Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed legislation to end the state’s tax credit for new wind developments, StateImpact Oklahoma reported. One of the bill’s sponsors said the state can no longer afford the tax credit due to extraordinary budget challenges. Fallin also called for an end to the subsidy in her 2017 budget proposal. [Power Engineering Magazine]

Oklahoma wind farm

¶ Portland Commissioner Nick Fish is asking the Portland, Oregon, City Council to commit $12 million in sewer ratepayer funds to convert waste methane from the city’s sewage treatment process into renewable natural gas. The proposal calls for the fuel to be sold in Portland and elsewhere to replace diesel fuel in trucks. [Portland Tribune]

¶ Despite the hit that many investors in the shale oil industry have taken in recent years because of producers going bust, about $19.8 billion was invested in the sector by private equity funds during the first quarter of 2017, the financial data provider Preqin says. This is a roughly 3-fold increase, year on year, in private investment. [CleanTechnica]

Oil and gas wells (Image via US EPA)

¶ Eagle Creek Renewable Energy, LLC, has struck a deal with now-defunct Madison Paper Industries to purchase the 8-MW Anson and 20-MW Abnaki hydroelectric projects in Maine. The pair of small hydropower plants on the Kennebec River had been used for power generation from 1978 until they were shuttered last year. [HydroWorld]

¶ Federal regulators ruled that the owners of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station will not have to re-evaluate the risks of floods and earthquakes to the Plymouth nuclear plant or upgrade the vent system intended to prevent explosions in accident scenarios. The decision was blasted by the state’s two US senators, Warren and Markey. [Recorder]

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