June 22 Energy News

June 22, 2017


¶ “Energy majors warn of falling fossil fuel demand” • BP’s annual statistical review makes the prospects for the fossil fuels industries look bleak. Oil prices are depressed, gas growth is weak, and coal is failing. “In contrast, renewable energy globally, led by wind and solar power, grew strongly, helped by continued technological advances.” [eco-business.com]

Coal strip mine (Stephen Codrington, Wikimedia Commons)

Science and Technology:

¶ The wine industry’s new normal is heavy rains, hailstones, floods, drought, and sometimes even frost. Wine makers who once took great pleasure in competing against each other to offer the best wine are now locked in a duel with Mother Nature to simply save the vines they manage to grow, as a changing climate devastates vineyards. [News18]


¶ The Scottish Government has approved plans for a 30 turbine tidal park off the south-west coast of Islay. West Islay Tidal Energy Park, led by Cork-based DP Marine Energy Ltd, will create up to 32 full-time jobs. The tidal park will have a generating capacity of up to 30 MW – enough to power around 18,000 homes. [insider.co.uk]

Tidal turbine (West Islay Power image)

¶ Five of the world’s six largest listed oil companies, including ExxonMobil and Shell, run the risk of wasting more than 30% of potential investment on high-cost upstream projects that are unnecessary and potentially harmful if we are to ensure the world does not warm beyond 2° C above pre-industrial levels. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Asia will reach peak coal in 2024, amidst a rapid increase in renewable energy investment, BNEF projections say. By 2040, there will be $4.8 trillion invested in new power generation capacity in Asia. A third of this investment will be in wind power, another third in solar, 18% in nuclear, and 10% in coal and gas. [Global Trade Review]

Wind Farm in Yorkshire

¶ Ireland and Northern Ireland received a major green energy boosts, as three wind projects came online. Gaelectric opening the Inishative and Cregganconroe wind farms in Northern Ireland, with a combined capacity of 27.6 MW. And SSE announced the Comhlacht Gaoithe Teoranta wind Park came online with 66 MW. [www.businessgreen.com]

¶ GE Renewable Energy announced an agreement with Shimizu Corporation to supply 22 units of GE’s 3.2-103 wind turbines, for the Akita Katagami wind farm in northern Japan. The project will provide 66 MW, enough to power 40,000 average homes in Japan. Commercial operation is expected to begin in May of 2020. [Windpower Engineering]

GE Wind turbines


¶ A study from the Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP law firm and the Power Research Group questioned the underlying finances of the merchant electric generating industry. It said that with flat demand for electricity, low gas prices and high penetrations of zero marginal cost renewables, merchant generators cannot recover fixed costs. [PR Newswire]

¶ Weeks after its mayor joined hundreds of other mayors across the country denouncing the White House’s move to reject the Paris climate accord, Philadelphia announced it is committing to using 100% clean energy by 2035. Currently, energy used by buildings and industry in Philadelphia accounts for 79% of its carbon pollution. [Curbed Philly]

Philadelphia, moving to 100% clean energy (Shutterstock image)

¶ Vermont state and local leaders joined with businesses and nonprofits to announce an initiative to galvanize support for addressing climate change, after the president’s decision to withdraw from the Paris accord. Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger and Governor Phil Scott announced the Vermont Climate Pledge Coalition. [vtdigger.org]

¶ Michigan Technological University researchers published a study saying that ditching coal in favor of solar power would save nearly 52,000 lives in the United States each year. It says external costs of use of coal for generating electricity amount to 27¢/kWh. Bureau of Labor Statistics data says the US has 51,000 coal miners. [CleanTechnica]

Coal miners (Photo: US National Archives)

¶ Sarasota, Florida, and Columbia, South Carolina, committed to transitions to 100% renewable energy, according to the Sierra Club. The Sarasota City Commission adopted a goal of 100% renewable power by 2045. The Columbia City Council voted unanimously to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2036. [North American Windpower]

¶ The California Senate passed a bill that would give consumers more access to clean energy and provide the next critical piece for California to achieve its greenhouse gas and renewable energy goals. The bill, SB 700, would increase availability of local, customer-sited energy storage for homes, schools, farms, and businesses. [Windpower Engineering]

Solar panels

¶ Republicans and Democrats criticized budget cuts proposed for the DOE as Energy Secretary Rick Perry testified on Capitol Hill. Washington state Republicans questioned administration proposals for cuts on cleaning up radioactive waste at the Hanford nuclear site and for selling off much of the Northwest’s power grid. [KUOW News and Information]

¶ Energy Secretary Rick Perry proposed using a process floated by a former Obama administration official to resolve the debate over global warming by allowing government scientists to hash out the facts through an open “adversarial” process. Perry offered up the red team process during his testimony before congress. [Washington Examiner]

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