May 10 Energy News

May 10, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Buffett Thinks That If You Are Tied to Coal, You Are Screwed” In a nutshell, that’s how the oracle of Omaha perceives the direction that coal is taking. Buffett’s approach is the opposite of that of the Trump administration, which favors reviving US coal industry. He sees a possibility of no coal being burned at all in 20 years. [Wall Street Pit]

Coal smoke

¶ “Australia’s Renewable Energy Target Is Within Grasping Distance” • According to the Clean Energy Regulator, Australia’s 2020 Renewable Energy Target, sourcing 33,000 GWh of large-scale renewable energy by 2020, is potentially within grasping distance if the current pace of investment continues through the rest of 2017. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶ The pace of global warming is likely to quicken as natural processes in the Pacific switch from serving as a brake to an accelerator, placing the planet on course to exceed a landmark level within a decade, a paper says. The Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation, a cycle that lasts 10-30 years, is switching to its “warm” phase. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

Global warming may speed up. (Photo: Leigh Henningham)

¶ A research project, led by the VTT Technical Research Center of Finland, has developed a concept for increasing solar energy production and reducing fuel consumption at traditional power plants by over 33%. It creates a hybrid plant that combines concentrated solar power technology with that of a traditional power plant. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

World:

¶ Navigant Research published its latest Distributed Solar PV Plus Energy Storage Systems report this week. It says the global annual market for the deployment of distributed solar PV plus energy storage is expected to exceed $49 billion and reach 27.4 GW by 2026. The largest growth is expected to be in the Asia Pacific region. [CleanTechnica]

Distributed and remote off-grid solar plus storage growth

¶ Customers visiting thousands of hotels and coffee shops across the UK can now be assured that they are using 100% renewable power. Hospitality giant Whitbread confirmed that all of its UK operations are now sourcing electricity from renewable energy projects. The company owns Costa Coffee, Premier Inn, and Beefeater Grill. [businessgreen.com]

¶ A record €18.2 billion was invested in new offshore wind farms in Europe last year, out of total wind farm investments of €43 billion, according to data released by WindEurope. The report from Wind Europe, Financing and Investment Trends 2016, showed wind farm investments were up 22% in 2016 from €35 billion in 2015. [reNews]

Offshore wind farm (DONG image)

¶ Solar power tariff dropped to a record low of ₹2.62 per unit (4.05¢/kWh) in an auction for Bhadla solar park in Rajasthan. This price is lower than the average rate of power generated by the coal-fuelled power generation utility, NTPC Ltd, at ₹3.20 per unit. The price is considered a major milestone toward powering India. [Deccan Herald]

¶ In Alberta, the County of Grande Prairie and other local municipalities are looking into developing geothermal power. Proponents say makes it economic sense, as a carbon tax makes traditional power more costly. A study identified enough sources to power all of the county’s domestic and commercial needs. [Alberta Daily Herald Tribune]

Steam rising from a geothermal station in Iceland (Wikipedia)

¶ The South African government may appeal a recent High Court judgement that declared a nuclear deal with a Russian company as invalid. South Africa and Russia signed an Intergovernmental Agreement in 2014 for cooperation between Rosatom and Eskom, aiming to build 9,600 MW of nuclear energy capacity. [IMIESA]

US:

¶ Enel Green Power North America has started construction of the 298-MW Thunder Ranch wind farm in Oklahoma. The $435 million project, which is in Garfield, Kay, and Noble counties, will be financed through the Enel Group’s own resources. It is supported by long-term agreements and is expected to be online by the end of the year. [reNews]

Enel wind Farm (Enel image)

¶ With the internal White House debate over whether to remain in the Paris Agreement, a bipartisan group of 20 retired senior military officers and national security experts have signed companion joint letters urging Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis to lead the security implications of climate change. [CleanTechnica]

¶ New restrictions are coming to Southern New England’s lobster fishery in an attempt to save their populations in the area. Numbers of lobsters have dwindled as climate changed has warmed waters. An arm of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission voted to pursue new management measures to try to slow their decline. [The Providence Journal]

Lobster boat in Casco Bay (KPWM Spotter, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Last year, New Mexico’s Kit Carson Electric Cooperative ended its long-term wholesale electricity contract with Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association. Now, Kit Carson and its new electricity supplier, Guzman Renewable Energy Partners, have announced a plan to build 30 MW of solar arrays, starting this month. [High Country News]

¶ A 20-foot hole in the ground at Washington state’s Hanford nuclear waste site appeared when a section of a tunnel caved in. The tunnel, which was covered in 8 feet of soil, was built during the Cold War to hold rail cars loaded with equipment that had been contaminated in the process of plutonium production. There was no evidence of contamination. [CNN]

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