May 8 Energy News

May 8, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Trump failure to lead on climate doesn’t faze UN policymakers in Bonn” • Policymakers from nearly 200 countries are gathering in Bonn for talks aimed at fulfilling the Paris Agreement. They are unfazed by Trump’s threat to withdraw from the accord. It seems likely China would step into the leadership gap left by the US. [Mongabay.com]

Arctic melt ponds (Photo courtesy of NOAA)

¶ “Stop insuring climate disaster” • The ‘massive and mighty’ insurance industry needs to play its part in speeding up the global transition to renewable energy, 350.org founder Bill McKibben says. He calls on the sector to stop underwriting fossil fuel projects. By distributing risk, insurers been enabling high-risk activities. [eco-business.com]

¶ “At the Bonn Climate Talks, Developing Countries Will Need to Hold Their Own” • While it is not clear whether a final decision on the US remaining in the Paris Agreement will be announced during the climate talks, what is clear, however, is that US’s decision to slash funding to UN systems will have an adverse impact. [The Wire]

An earlier UN Climate Change Conference
in Bonn (Credit: UN Climate Change | Flickr)

World:

¶ The European Commission approved three schemes to support electricity generation from small-scale onshore wind, solar, and sewage gas installations in France. The schemes will enable France to develop over 17 GW of additional renewable energy over the next decade, including 15 GW of onshore wind power and 2.1 GW of solar. [Power Technology]

¶ Construction of a small, two-turbine wind farm in western Victoria is due to begin soon after Future Energy secured equity and debt financing for the 6.9-MW project. The Maroona wind farm will feature just two Vestas V126 wind turbines, located on two separate properties, generating the equivalent power needs of 4,000 households. [RenewEconomy]

Chepstowe wind farm

¶ South Australia’s Treasurer said that with 53% of the state’s electricity last year coming from solar and wind – reaching a 50% target 8 years ahead of schedule – the focus in the state has to be on making all this clean energy more capable of being controlled with respect to when it is released to the grid. This means more emphasis on storage. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Chinese wind turbine manufacturer Goldwind acquired the 530-MW Stockyard Hill wind farm in Victoria from Origin Energy. Origin has committed to a long-term power purchase agreement for the project’s electricity below AUS$60/MWh (US $44.4/MWh). It will be Australia’s largest wind farm and will feature 149 turbines. [reNews]

Australian wind farm (Image: pexels)

¶ Wales’ largest wind farm, the 76-turbine Pen y Cymoedd Wind Energy Project, is operating, 38 months after construction began. It can meet the annual electricity needs of more than 13% of households in Wales. It can also displace in an average year more than 300,000 tonnes of CO2 from fossil-fueled generation. [Your Renewable News]

¶ A $100 million (US$74 million) solar power station will begin construction at the Queensland coal town of Collinsville within weeks, providing 120 construction jobs and 20 in operation. Developer Ratch Australia Corporation said it had reached a financial decision on the 180,000-panel, 42.5-MW project and would break ground this month. [Courier Mail]

Computer image showing how the Collinsville station will look

¶ About 200 people protested outside the gates of the Kansai Electric Power Co’s Takahama Nuclear Power Plant to voice their opposition to the planned restarting of the plant’s No 4 reactor in mid-May. Anti-nuclear protesters from groups based in Fukui Prefecture and the Kansai region turned up from cities such as Kyoto and Kobe. [The Mainichi]

¶ Some EU countries are using the low carbon transition to justify new subsidies to the coal industry, instead of investing in clean alternatives, say analysts. Six EU member states have introduced support totaling €875 million a year ($960 million) since 2015, according to a report by the Overseas Development Institute. [Climate Home]

Eggborough coal station, UK (Pic: Flickr | John Mabbitt)

US:

¶ The Climate Solutions Caucus, is a place representatives concerned about climate change can meet to exchange ideas about how the federal government should respond to environmental challenges. We might assume that most of those people would be Democrats, but in fact half of the caucus members are Republicans. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Owing to the widespread use of air conditioners, emissions of SO2, NOx, CO2 increase substantially during the summer. As global temperatures increase, many more people are turning on air conditioners, which use a lot of electricity. This requires increasing the electricity production, and that is a leading cause of global warming. [CleanTechnica]

Air conditioner (US Navy photo, Thomas Obungen)

¶ The solar power industry has boomed in Minnesota in the last few years, mainly on dropping costs. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, a industry trade association based in Washington, DC, Minnesota boasts 372.5 MW of solar capacity installed with most of that – 339.8 MW – utility-scale projects coming in 2016. [Winona Daily News]

¶ The California Public Employees’ Retirement System joined more than 150 other international investors in a letter Sunday urging the world’s largest economies to remain committed to the 2015 Paris Agreement. The letter is both a sign that investors consider the pact to be in jeopardy and an example of the shareholder activism. [Sacramento Bee]

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