June 10 Energy News

June 10, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “No, Virginia, There Is No Nuclear Santa Claus” • Virginia is about to receive approval for the most expensive nuclear reactor ever built in the USA. We might ask how much its electricity would cost if it actually goes forward. The answer? Much more than with modern technologies that are cheaper and faster to build. [CleanTechnica]

North Anna nuclear plant

¶ “Five things you need to know about DUP politicians and science” • Having failed to win a majority in the UK’s general election, Theresa May’s Conservative party has hopes for an informal coalition with Democratic Unionist Party. Here are five things you need to know when it comes to science and the DUP. They start with climate change denial. [New Scientist]

Science and Technology:

¶ Movement of sea ice off Alaska’s coasts is accelerating due to global warming, with unfortunate consequences for polar bears, according to a new study. Because most sea ice shifts throughout the year, polar bears are constantly on the move in order to stay within their preferred habitat, a US Geological Survey research ecologist said. [The Weather Channel]

Mendenhall Glacier (Flickr | Pat W Sanders)

¶ Finnish researchers have developed technology for producing a renewable hydrocarbon. The process has the potential to shakeup the global energy industry, if it moves beyond the experimental stage. The Soletair project uses hydrogen extracted from water and carbon dioxide captured from the air as raw materials to produce hydrocarbons. [YLE News]

World:

¶ WindEurope, the European trade body for wind energy, published a report this week at the Offshore Wind Energy 2017 event being held in London. According to the WindEurope report, not only has floating offshore wind energy technology reached maturity, but its costs are expected to plummet over the coming years. [CleanTechnica]

Floating wind turbine

¶ Ireland’s largest ever windfarm officially opened following a €145 million investment by Energia at Meenadreen in south Donegal. The Meenadreen windfarm is among the most technologically advanced generating facilities in the world with 38 turbines producing 95 MW of electricity. It can power up to 50,000 homes. [TechCentral.ie]

¶ The Renewable Energy Association has called for “clear commitment and direction” from the next UK government on the Clean Growth Plan, despite the general election resulting in a hung parliament. Several results are still to be announced, but no single political party will have an overall majority following the 8 June vote. [reNews]

Houses of Parliament (Image: Free Images)

¶ UK renewable generation increased 4.2 GW in 2016, according to latest government figures. Solar PV capacity, much of it added in the first quarter of the year to beat subsidy cuts, was up by 2.4 GW. A further 1.4 GW of onshore wind was added to the mix while bioenergy increased 345 MW, driven mainly by straw-fired plants. [The Energyst]

¶ The UN’s 193 nations issued an urgent call to protect oceans by reversing the threats from plastic garbage, illegal and excessive fishing, increasing ocean water acidity, and rising sea levels that could wipe out small islands. The US backed the action plan but rejected its support for the Paris agreement to tackle climate change. [The Japan Times]

Sri Lankan beach

US:

¶ Hawaii is the first state in the nation to enact legislation that implements portions of the Paris agreement. Governor Ige signed SB 559, which puts the state in alignment with the principles and goals adopted in the Paris agreement. The governor also signed HB 1578, which establishes a Carbon Farming Task Force. [The Rafu Shimpo]

¶ Rising sea levels are already forcing one American town to relocate, and there are warnings that many others will follow. The US Government announced this year it would pay $48 million to help residents of Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana, whose residents have been called the first climate refugees in the country. [NEWS.com.au]

Roads leading into Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana
(Photo: Louisiana Office of Community Development)

¶ Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval is expected to sign Assembly Bill 405. It seeks to revive net metering in the state, a program essentially gutted by state utility regulators under the direction of the 2015 Legislature. Solar installers Vivint Solar and Sunrun pulled out of the state after the net-metering change, but are now planning to return. [Las Vegas Sun]

¶ The community on Tangier Island, with 450 residents, is losing roughly 15 feet of coastline per year and will soon be lost. It is now only 1.3 square miles and is shrinking more and more every day. The residents here are extremely scared that if something isn’t done soon, their homes and livelihoods will be washed away by the Chesapeake Bay. [CNN]

Tangier, Virginia

¶ In partnership with developer Clean Energy Collective, South Carolina Electric & Gas Co has launched what the utility claims is the state’s largest community solar program. SCE&G says the 16-MW AC program will make solar generation available to electric customers who cannot, or do not wish to, install rooftop solar panels. [Solar Industry]

¶ Toshiba Corp said it agreed to pay $3.68 billion in guarantees to Southern Co over two unfinished nuclear reactors that were being built by the conglomerate’s now-bankrupt nuclear unit. Toshiba projects its group net loss to have widened considerably to a record ¥950 billion ($8.61 billion) in the year ended in March. [The Japan Times]

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