April 25 Energy News

April 25, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Tory windfarm policy endangers cheap energy in UK, commission finds” • A Shell-sponsored group says wind is “increasingly the cheapest form of electricity.” Conservative opposition to windfarms risks the UK missing out on one of the cheapest sources of electricity, according to the head of the Shell-funded industry group. [The Guardian]

By 2040, wind and solar would account for 45% of
the global power mix. (Photo: Alamy Stock Photo)

¶ “The train has left the station on renewable energy” • Obscured by debate and hype about the merits of renewable energy, an important change has quietly taken place: Unsubsidized renewable energy is economically viable in many regions. Powerful economic and technological forces have permanently altered the energy landscape. [GreenBiz]

¶ “Exelon-style nuke bailouts threaten wind, solar” • The push to save US nuclear plants for the sake of fighting climate change is threatening support for the bread and butter of clean power: wind and solar. New York and Illinois have already approved as much as $10 billion in subsidies to keep struggling reactors open. [Crain’s Chicago Business]

Wind turbine technician at work (Bloomberg image)

World:

¶ UK renewable energy companies secured billions of pounds of exports for their goods and services last year. Research by RenewableUK found UK firms are now taking a leading role in the growing global market for wind and marine power now valued at £290 billion. More than 500 contracts were signed by 36 firms on projects in 43 countries. [The Planner]

¶ An Icelandic exploration company is looking into tapping an enormous new source of green renewable energy in Iceland, submarine geothermal energy. The company envisions using the energy to generate electricity on off-shore geothermal power plants on platforms not unlike those used in off-shore oil drilling. [Iceland Magazine]

Steam – not smoke: Geothermal power in Iceland (Photo | Valli)

¶ Following a sharp correction in tariff rates for wind energy projects in the first competitive auction in India, several states have refused to sign power purchase agreements at higher feed-in tariffs. A total capacity of 500 MW is now reportedly stranded due to the unwillingness of power distribution companies to enter into PPAs. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Mexico will soon have a starring solar project, the largest in the entire Americas, showing off a new leading role in renewables, driven by a major energy market reform. Italian power giant Enel is set to develop the record 754-MW project, adding to the largest solar plants completed or under construction in both Chile and Brazil. [PV-Tech]

Site of the 754-MW solar project (Credit: Enel)

¶ The Energy Transitions Commission, a group of companies and nonprofit agencies including energy giants Royal Dutch Shell and BHP Billiton, said greenhouse gas emissions could be cut in half by 2040 without impeding economic development, in part by converting grids to use mostly renewable power. [Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly]

¶ Vestas has expanded its 2-MW turbine platform to include machines with 116 and 120-meter rotors. The V116 and V120 2-MW turbines have steeper power curves to increase output in medium to ultra-low wind conditions. They are particularly suited for the US, India, and China, the company said. The first deliveries will be in 2018. [reNews]

Vestas wind turbines (Image: Vestas)

¶ Jamaica is on course to getting 30% of its energy demand met by renewables by 2030, according to the country’s Minister of Science, Energy and Technology. He said as of last year, 10.5% of net electricity generated was obtained from renewables, and 80 MW of generating capacity from renewable sources were added. [Climate Action Programme]

US:

¶ Salt River Project has signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with NextEra Energy Resources for a project in Arizona that will combine a solar array with energy storage. NextEra plans to build the Pinal Central Energy Center near Coolidge, which will pair a 20-MW solar array with a 10-MW lithium-ion storage system. [Utility Dive]

Hualapai Mountains (Image: Wikipedia)

¶ The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis published its new research brief last week, working through the implications inherent in the expected coal-fired generating closures over 2017 and 2018. It concludes that the expected closures will eliminate about 28.2 million tons of annual coal demand by the end of 2018. [CleanTechnica]

¶ St Paul’s city officials have approved an agreement with GreenMark Solar to power a fourth of the city’s municipal buildings with electricity from community solar gardens. The agreement allows the city to buy up to 8 MW of electricity from the Minneapolis-based solar company. This is expected to save $165,000 next year. [TwinCities.com-Pioneer Press]

GreenMark solar garden (GreenMark Solar)

¶ If anyone doubts renewable energy is the future, they need only to look at job numbers. According to a recent report from the Environmental Defense Fund, employers in the renewables sector are hiring people 12 times faster than the rest of the economy. Within the sector, small businesses dominate, with 70% of jobs. [Sustainable Brands]

¶ To mark Earth Day 2017, the Hawaiian Electric Companies are highlighting their progress in replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy. Importantly, they reached a milestone last year when 26% of the electricity used by its customers came from renewable energy. This is up from 23% the year before. [North American Windpower]

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