May 11 Energy News

May 11, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Indian solar power prices hit record low, undercutting fossil fuels” • Wholesale solar power prices have reached a record low in India. They now undercut prices of fossil fuel-generated power, increasing the likelihood that India will exceed the renewable energy targets it set at the Paris climate accords in December 2015. [The Guardian]

Market in New Delhi selling PVs (Photo: Saurabh Das | AP)

¶ “While Trump Tries to Bring Back Zombie Coal, the UK Goes Coal-Free” • When President Trump told supporters at his 100th day rally in Pennsylvania, “We are putting our coal miners back to work,” he just burrowed deeper into the bed of administration lies on energy. But the truth is, the demand for US coal has collapsed. [Foreign Policy In Focus]

Science and Technology:

¶ SolarGaps motorized blinds, from a Ukrainian startup, is one of those ideas that seems so obvious after you hear about it, because while even ‘dumb’ window blinds can save a significant amount of energy by reducing the cooling load of a room, adding solar cells and a tracking mechanism to them makes a good thing better. [Treehugger]

SolarGaps smart solar blind (© SolarGaps)

World:

¶ The Oman Investment Fund and the Ningxia Zhongke Jiaye New Energy and Technology Management Co have signed an agreement to develop a 1,000-MW solar power plant in Oman. The first development phase will see the installation of 400 MW of capacity, with the full 1,000 MW to be installed during the second phase. [Climate Action Programme]

¶ South Africa’s energy regulator has agreed to investigate power utility Eskom’s refusal to sign power purchase agreements worth billions of rands with independent power producers. The chief executive of the South African Wind Energy Association said in a statement that it had received confirmation of the investigation from NERSA. [Nasdaq]

Eskom transmission lines

¶ Plans for a floating power plant that will harness solar energy in Cayman’s coastal waters are moving forward following the completion of an environmental impact study. Public meetings are expected for the summer, as the company seeks approval for the pioneering project ahead of a 36-month construction process. [Cayman Compass]

¶ A solar and battery storage mini-grid trial by Victorian network operator AusNet Services has succeeded in taking part of a Melbourne suburb completely off grid, demonstrating how utilities can use solar, battery storage and the internet of things to boost energy security and reliability in the future. Eight homes were in the trial. [RenewEconomy]

Eight homes went off the grid.

¶ TEPCO announced it will seek partners for its nuclear business as part of a recovery plan after the Fukushima disaster brought the utility to its knees. The company is trying to place itself on a sounder financial footing after the government estimated that costs related to the Fukushima disaster would be ¥21.5 trillion ($188 billion). [Reuters]

¶ India’s largest power generation company, NTPC Ltd, invited bids for battery energy storage system for an 8-MW solar project at Chidiyatapu in Andaman and Nicobar islands. NTPC has planned capacity addition of about 1,000 MW of renewable resources by 2017 and has already commissioned 310 MW solar PV projects. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Chidiyatapu seascape (Venkatesh Katta, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ President Donald Trump can’t seem to make up his mind about to keep the US in the Paris Climate Agreement or pull out, but there are signs he is getting advice from across the ideological spectrum. A source close to Gore said the president and the Nobel Prize-winning climate activist spoke by phone about the Paris accord. [Yahoo News]

¶ The town of Hanover, New Hampshire voted to establish a goal of transitioning to 100% clean and renewable energy by 2050. The article approved at town meeting sets a community-wide goal of 100% renewable electricity by 2030 and a 2050 goal of transitioning heating and transportation to clean sources of energy. [EcoWatch]

Dartmouth College, in Hanover, New Hampshire

¶ The 37 glaciers remaining at Glacier National Park are vanishing. In the past half century, some of the ice formations in Montana have lost 85% of their size, and the average shrinkage is 39%, a study released by the US Geological Survey and Portland State University says. One scientist said, “The glaciers will be gone in decades.” [CNN]

¶ Republicans’ bid to roll back an Obama-era rule limiting methane emissions from drilling rigs on public lands narrowly lost in the Senate after three GOP senators voted against the repeal in a 49-51 vote. The rule limited the amount of methane that can be vented and burned from oil and gas extraction sites on federal lands. [Huffington Post]

Gas being flared (Andrew Burton | Getty Images)

¶ Furman University’s $1.7 million solar facility is online and supplying the campus with electrical power. According to Furman, the facility is the largest of its kind on a college campus in South Carolina. It has 2,994 solar panels across six acres of land along Poinsett Highway near the campus. Excess power can be sold to Duke Energy. [GSA Business]

¶ The Tennessee Valley Authority, in partnership with the Tennessee Valley Public Power Association, has awarded 10 MW of solar capacity to seven local power companies that applied through TVA’s Distributed Solar Solutions pilot program. The projects will generate enough solar energy to power more than 900 average homes. [Solar Industry]

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