June 8 Energy News

June 8, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ A CityTree is, in fact, not really a tree at all – it’s a moss culture growing on a mobile installation. It is just under 4 meters tall, nearly 3 meters wide and 2.19 meters deep. It is available in two versions: with or without a bench. Its maker, Berlin-based Green City Solutions, claims it has the environmental benefit of up to 275 actual trees. [CNN]

CityTree

World:

¶ The electricity grid in Western Australia will be unrecognizable in 20 years, according to the operator of the east coast National Electricity Market. The NEM chairman cites declining costs of renewable generation, climate change policy, and unwillingness of banks to finance fossil fuel investments, all of which work against coal. [The West Australian]

¶ At midday on June 7, gas power plants generated just 20% of the UK’s electricity, and coal plants generated none. The amount of power from fossil fuels was surpassed by not only wind power, but nuclear and solar as well. Renewables alone – wind, solar, biomass and hydro – produced about 50.7% of the total demand, a record amount. [The Independent]

UK windfarm

¶ Vietnam’s TTC Group, a sugar, energy, real estate, and tourism conglomerate, is planning to spend as much as $1 billion on an ambitious plan to build one of the country’s largest portfolio of solar projects in an effort to capitalize on the nation’s growing power needs. The company expects to have 10 to 20 solar parks in operation by 2018. [Bloomberg]

¶ This week the UN is hosting its first large-scale conference devoted to protecting and saving the oceans. For small island countries, the ocean can be an imposing and valuable friend, but increasingly, with climate change, pollution, and overfishing, humans have transformed the gigantic oceans of the planet into rising, junk-filled threats. [CNN]

Kiribati, in the central Pacific

¶ At the UN oceans summit, delegates from China, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines said they would work to keep plastics out of the seas. Environmentalists say the measures proposed are not nearly urgent enough. But UN officials praised the statement as part of a clear international shift against ocean pollution. [BBC]

¶ Vestas is to supply turbines totaling 50 MW to Aluar Aluminio Argentino. The El Llano wind farm is close to Aluar’s aluminium smelting facilities in the Argentine province of Chubut. The order is for 14 V126 3.45 machines optimized to 3.6 MW, to be delivered in the fourth quarter. Commissioning is scheduled for the third quarter of 2018. [reNews]

V126 wind turbine (Credit: Vestas)

¶ German power companies stand to get billions in refunds from the government after the country’s top court declared a nuclear fuel tax illegal. The Constitutional Court ruled that the nuclear fuel tax imposed from 2011 to 2016 was unconstitutional and scrapped it retrospectively. The tax has come to nearly €6.3 billion. [The Local Germany]

¶ The recent joint statement by Germany, Denmark, and Belgium on building offshore wind farms in the next decade aims to increase Europe’s current capacity by almost 500%. In theory, this new decision means offshore wind could power up to 25% of the EU by 2030. The current capacity of EU offshore wind power is 12.6 GW. [IFLScience]

Offshore wind farm (Chuyuss | Shutterstock)

US:

¶ GTM Research, with the Energy Storage Association, published its latest US Energy Storage Monitor. The US had its largest ever quarter for energy storage deployment, deploying 234 MWh worth of energy storage across the first quarter of the year, representing a more than fifty-fold growth as compared to the same quarter a year earlier. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Santa Barbara has become the 30th city in the country to commit to transition to 100% renewable energy, according to the Sierra Club. The city council approved a measure that establishes a community-wide goal of switching to 100% renewable energy by 2030, with all municipal buildings and operations 50% clean by 2020. [North American Windpower]

Santa Barbara

¶ Vermont may be able to avoid expensive electrical grid upgrades by increasing the use of technological solutions and in particular efficiency, according to speakers at an industry conference in Burlington. Managing peak demand will be especially important, as electric vehicles proliferate and reliance on fossil fuels for other purposes is cut. [vtdigger.org]

¶ The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power will reconsider a $2.2 billion natural gas investment plan, instead signaling that the largest publicly-owned utility in the country will first look to renewable resources to meet demand. The Board of Water and Power Commissioners is putting projects on hold while analysis is conducted. [Utility Dive]

Natural gas plant (Credit: Alan Stark | Flickr)

¶ Minnesota Power, with Dairyland Power Cooperative, based in Wisconsin, will build a $700 million gas-fired power plant in Superior, Wisconsin. The Duluth-based utility also announced it would buy power from a big new wind farm in southwestern Minnesota. The moves are part of Minnesota Power’s drive to diversify from coal. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

¶ A Penn State College of Medicine study linked the partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant on March 28, 1979, to thyroid cancers in the surrounding counties. The researchers found a “shift in (thyroid cancer) cases to cancer mutations consistent with radiation exposure from those consistent with random causes.” [CleanTechnica]

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