May 31 Energy News

May 31, 2017

World:

¶ Australia’s Great Barrier Reef lost nearly a third of its corals in the past year, officials said. Coral Surveys show that 29% of corals died in 2016. Researchers say that climate change is a significant driver behind the coral loss and experts have said the window is closing fast to cut the greenhouse gas emissions harming the reef. [BBC]

Bleached coral (Photo: ARC Center)

¶ National Grid has insisted it can cope with increasing amounts of solar in the UK’s energy mix as the technology set a new generation record last week. Ideal weather conditions swept the UK on May 26, when solar power supplied just under a quarter (24.3%) of the UK’s total demand, but National Grid says it can deal with that. [Clean Energy News]

¶ Under a new program, Uzbekistan plans to implement 810 renewable energy projects, for a total of $5.3 billion, by the end of 2025. In the next five years, 17,251 boilers are to be replaced, saving over 56.5 million cubic meters of natural gas. The country will increase renewable generating capacities from the current 12.7% to 19.7%. [AzerNews]

Wind power

¶ Australia could allow the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to fund carbon capture and storage projects under a proposal announced this week. Green and Labor parties pointed out that the move amounted to taking funds from renewable power projects to support fossil fuel power, which would not reduce net emissions. [Power Engineering International]

¶ Botswana state-owned electric utility Botswana Power Corporation is planning to build a 100-MW solar power plant at an unspecified location in Botswana in conjunction with the local Ministry of Minerals, Green Technology and Energy Security. The company is now seeking a potential partner for the project through an Expression of Interest. [pv magazine]

Botswana (Photo: Chris Parker)

¶ Solar Power Europe’s annual five-year outlook forecasts capacity additions in a range of 5.8 GW to 12.4 GW for this year, with the annual forecast range widening to between 8.1 GW and 27.3 GW by 2021. Solar additions across Europe plunged 22% on year in 2016 to just 6.7 GW, the lowest annual growth since 2009, it said. [Platts]

¶ India’s Ministry of Shipping is exploring the possibility of setting up 200 MW solar and wind energy projects on 1.5 lakh (150,000) acres of land at Kandla Port in Gujarat, the Union Minister for Shipping and Transport Nitin Gadkari said. The land is low cost and economically viable for investment in solar and wind projects. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Jawaharlal Nehru Port

US:

¶ ExxonMobil is seeking to fend off a shareholder rebellion over climate change, with major financial advisory firms BlackRock and Vanguard openly considering casting their votes against management on some key proxy resolutions at the annual meeting Wednesday. BlackRock said that climate disclosure is one of its top priorities. [Washington Post]

¶ The Three Mile Island nuclear plant, which experienced a partial reactor meltdown in 1979, spawning nationwide protests, will shut in 2019. Exelon Corp, which owns the facility, said the low cost of natural gas extraction had made nuclear-generated electricity unprofitable. Since 2013, six US nuclear plants have closed before their licences expired. [BBC]

Three Mile Island (Reuters image)

¶ A class-action lawsuit was filed against GM alleging that the company’s Duramax-equipped pickup trucks emit NOx pollutants at levels 2 to 5 times higher than legally allowed in the US, and that these vehicles do this by use of at least 3 illegal “defeat devices.” These allegations stem from on-road emissions testing done for the plaintiffs. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Solar power is affordable for low income Americans. In one predominantly African-American neighborhood in San Diego, nearly half of the 192 homes have rooftop solar panels, and residents talk about what they can now afford. They were paying $200 and $300 a month in electric bills. Now they’re paying zero to $50. [Union of Concerned Scientists]

Broadway Heights, San Diego

¶ The share of US electricity generated by renewables has eclipsed earlier projections by the Energy Information Administration, according to the SUN DAY campaign. EIA projections published in 2012 suggested we would have had renewables generating 19.35% of our electricity in about the year 2057. We achieved that in 2017. [Solar Industry]

¶ The Brayton Point Power Station in Somerset, Massachusetts, is extinguishing its boilers for the final time. When it does, coal will have all but disappeared from this six-state region of New England, with its 14 million people. Two small and seldom-used coal plants in New Hampshire will be all that remains of a once-mighty industry. [E&E News]

Brayton Point Power Station (Benjamin Storrow | E&E News)

¶ Xcel Energy cut carbon emissions 30% in 2016 while expanding its renewable energy portfolio. The company’s corporate responsibility report highlights Xcel’s transitions to cleaner energy sources and other benefits to the communities it serves, including energy efficiency programs, economic development, and energy assistance. [Electric Light & Power]

¶ Powin Energy entered into a contract with San Diego Gas & Electric to deliver a 6.5-MW/26-MW/h battery energy storage system in Escondido, California, subject to Public Utilities Commission approval. The system would improve reliability on the existing grid by optimizing the intermittent output of renewable energy. [Power Engineering Magazine]

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