June 21 Energy News

June 21, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “New report: Adding renewables keeps the lights on and money in America’s pockets” • This week, a new report from Analysis Group looked at how technological progress has affected electric grid reliability and power markets. One of the top takeaways is that adding renewables creates a more diverse, reliable system. [HuffPost]

Midwest wind turbines

Science and Technology:

¶ The research team for ExxonMobil and Synthetic Genomics modified an algae strain to enhance the algae’s oil content from 20% to more than 40% without significantly inhibiting the strain’s growth. Results of the research were published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Biotechnology by Synthetic Genomics scientists. [Your Renewable News]

¶ We already know much about the threat of climate change to staple crops such as wheat, maize and rice, but the impact on tea is just coming into focus. Early research indicates that tea grown in some parts of Asia could see yields decline by up to 55% thanks to drought or excessive heat, and the quality of the tea is also falling. [CNN]

Tea pickers in Zhejiang Province, China

World:

¶ The chief executive of Enel says he believes the accelerated development of storage technology will hasten a renewables-dominated energy future, while reducing the need for gas power as a bridging technology. He said it is “obvious” that renewables are winning the competition with fossil fuels and nuclear power. [Power Engineering International]

¶ Welsh Power has left its previous supplier in favor of DONG. It is now the largest multi-site customer in DONG Energy’s history, and the contract means a doubling of the number of UK sites receiving power from the company. A DONG announcement puts it 27 years ahead of the schedule it had for the Paris climate change agreement. [NW Evening Mail]

DONG’s Walney Wind Farm (Janet Ellen Smith)

¶ New wind power capacity in the Middle East and Africa region in 2016 amounted to 676 MW, but in its report, 2017 Middle East and Africa Wind Power Outlook, MAKE Consulting says it expects the region’s capacity to expand greatly over the next decade. MAKE projects that 40 GW will be installed in the period from 2017 to 2026. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Jamaican utility, Jamaica Public Service, announced that its directors approved a hybrid energy storage solution which may be the first of its kind in the Caribbean. If approved by the Office of Utilities, the 24.5-MW project will feature flywheels and lithium-Ion batteries. It could become operational by the third quarter of 2018. [Energy Storage News]

Jamaica (Image: Loic Cas | Flickr)

US:

¶ Two months after newly-minted US Energy Secretary Rick Perry authorized a study about the reliability and market rules of the US electricity grid, an independent report by Analysis Group has concluded that there is simply no evidence that the changing mix of the United States’ electricity sector will affect system reliability. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The California ISO will study clean energy alternatives to a planned gas plant expansion near Oxnard. In February, several lawmakers expressed doubts about the plant, saying regulators should “adequately justify” its need. Local residents say they would prefer to shutter the existing plant there and restore the beachfront. [Utility Dive]

Gas-burning power plant (credit: Getty Images)

¶ An energy storage company, Renewable Energy Systems, announced an agreement with an independent power producer to build a 40-MW RESolve storage system in an unspecified location in California. Construction will begin this summer with an expected commercial operation date in the first quarter of 2018. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ Replacing coal-fired power plants with solar power installations could save nearly 52,000 lives every year, a study from the Michigan Technological University found. This is the probable number of people would will not die of things such as asthma and congestive heart failure if harmful emissions from coal-fired plants are eliminated. [Nasdaq]

Coal (Shutterstock photo)

¶ Green Power EMC, the renewable energy supplier for 38 Georgia Electric Membership Corporations, and Silicon Ranch, one of the nation’s largest independent solar power producers, announced an agreement to bring 200 MW of solar energy online in southern Georgia by 2020. The energy will come from four separate sites. [Your Renewable News]

¶ The annual Vermont Clean Energy Industry Report released by the Department of Public Service emphasizes Vermont’s climate economy as a “promising source of economic growth and employment opportunity.” The clean energy sector saw a 7.7% increase in employment over the last year to over 19,080 jobs. [Windpower Engineering]

A 150-Kw array in Guilford, Vermont, built by Soveren Solar
(Photo: Beyond My Ken, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Energy Secretary Rick Perry touted White House positions in the first of his three Capitol Hill hearings to defend its budget plan. It proposes to shift the DOE’s priorities dramatically, increasing spending on managing the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile while deeply reducing investment in clean energy research. [InsideClimate News]

¶ The House of Representatives passed legislation to expand the use of tax incentives for new nuclear power plants well into the next decade. The nuclear tax bill passed by voice vote. “Without this legislation, the nuclear power industry may cease to exist as we know it in this country,” one of the sponsors of the bill said. [Washington Examiner]

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