June 16 Energy News

June 16, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “With US absent from global climate accord, time to up Minnesota’s local game” • A Dickens quote comes to mind: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times …” It’s easy to see our own “winter of despair” in today’s US federal energy policies, while Minnesotans take pride in a well-earned “spring of hope” here at home. [MinnPost]

Wind power in Minnesota (CC | Flickr | Michael Janke)

¶ “Analysis: US states and cities could meet Paris climate goals without Trump” • Nearly 40% of US CO2 emissions are in the hands of states that have either committed to meeting their share of the US’s Paris Agreement target or who have established their own ambitious long-term emission reduction goals, a Carbon Brief analysis has found. [Carbon Brief]

World:

¶ The Greek isle of Tilos is set to be the first Mediterranean island powered by wind and solar energy. The island currently relies on oil-based electricity from neighbouring Kos, via a submarine cable that is vulnerable to faults. Power cuts are frequent. Tilos is creating a hybrid micro-grid that will generate and store energy. [The Guardian]

The Greek island of Tilos (Photo: Alamy)

¶ Vietnam’s TTC Group is planning to sink about $1 billion into solar energy projects in a country still dependent on coal-fired thermal and hydro power for its power needs, with national electricity demand growing faster than 10% annually. The company plans to build as many as 20 solar parks with a total capacity of 1,000 MW by next year. [Nikkei Asian Review]

¶ Renewable energy sources like wind and solar are expected to see their costs plummet even further over the coming decades. According to BNEF’s New Energy Outlook 2017 report, offshore wind costs will absolutely plummet, dropping 71% by 2040, and the levelized the costs of electricity from solar and onshore wind will drop 66% and 47%, respectively. [CleanTechnica]

Global electricity generation mix to 2040

¶ Global wind capacity has broken the 500-GW milestone, according to WindEurope and the Global Wind Energy Council, which celebrated recent successes on Global Wind Day. The organizations say unsubsidized renewable power was already cheaper than fossil fuels in more than 30 countries in 2016 and costs are still falling. [Energy Live News]

¶ The government of the Republic of Artsakh, a disputed region in South Caucasus which is commonly known as Nagorno-Karabakh, announced it has taken its first steps to develop solar energy on its territory. The Armenian state-owned press agency says a study to assess the solar potential of the republic is currently being conducted. [pv magazine]

Mountains of Nagorno-Karabakh (Wikimedia Commons)

¶ An Enel subsidiary, PJSC Enel Russia, was awarded a contract to build two wind farms in Russia with a total capacity of 291 MW. This contract was awarded as part of Russian government’s recent 1.9-GW wind capacity tender. Russia has committed to generate about 4.5% of its energy from renewable capacity by 2024. [CleanTechnology News]

US:

¶ While the fossil fuel industry still has a big chunk of the market and a staunch ally in President Donald Trump, experts generally agree that renewable energy will rule in the future. Now, a new study is warning energy companies to start adopting green sources if they want to stay in business. The study was conducted by  Wood Mackenzie. [EconoTimes]

Geothermal power plant (Gretar Ívarsson | Wikimedia)

¶ Republican lawmakers peppered EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt with tough questions on proposed budget cuts that many feared would result in drastic changes to their states. At a House hearing on the White House’s proposed EPA budget, a number of GOP members of Congress objected to the proposed cuts of over 30%. [CNN]

¶ After more than two years of planning and permitting, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality approved Apex Clean Energy’s application for the up-to-80 MW Rocky Forge wind farm – the first such project to be built in Virginia. Rocky Forge is expected to provide annual power needs for 20,000 homes. [North American Windpower]

Virginia has approved a wind farm.

¶ The Trump administration is backing off its threat to revoke California’s unique authority to set its own tough pollution standards for cars and trucks. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt assured lawmakers that his agency is not currently looking to take away the power that California has used for decades to reduce emissions. [Los Angeles Times]

¶ Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signed a handful of new solar and energy related bills today to help the state pivot away from the anti-consumer, anti-solar net metering regulation that forced SolarCity out of the state in late 2015. Tesla may have lobbied for the bills, which were signed at the Tesla Energy warehouse in Las Vegas. [CleanTechnica]

Solar array at sunset

¶ According to the authors of Deloitte’s annual “Resources 2017 Study – Energy Management: Sustainability & Progress,” the demand for clean energy has passed the point of no return in the US. It is no longer a political issue, but economic, driven by consumers and businesses, independent of positions of the federal government. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ A clean-energy advocacy group claims the Public Service Company of New Mexico intentionally misled the state’s Supreme Court. New Energy Economy says the utility’s own models show its plan to replace two coal-burning units at the San Juan Generating Station with coal and nuclear power was not economical after 2022. [Santa Fe New Mexican]

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