June 23 Energy News

June 23, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Exxon, Stephen Hawking, greens, and Reagan’s advisers agree on a carbon tax” • What do ExxonMobil, Stephen Hawking, the Nature Conservancy, and a number of former conservative cabinet members have in common? All are founding members of the Climate Leadership Council, which proposed a revenue-neutral carbon tax policy. [The Guardian]

Stephen Hawking (Photo: Jemal Countess | Getty Images)

¶ “Cuba unveils plan to confront climate change” • In April, Cuba’s Council of Ministers approved a climate change plan. It is the latest manifestation of Cuba’s sustained endeavor to contain the impact of climate change. The Cuban government has dedicated resources and talent to the project, relying on facts, data, and science. [Green Left Weekly]

World:

¶ The government of Alberta launched the Residential and Commercial Solar Program, a $36 million solar rebate scheme to support deployment of around 50 MW of PV power through 2019. The rebate would cover up to 30% of the costs for PVs for homeowners, up to a maximum of $10,000, and up to 25% for businesses, capped at $500,000. [pv magazine]

Calgary (Photo: Michael Gil)

¶ The Kurnool solar park, owned by NTPC Limited, India’s largest power generating company, has reached an installed capacity of 450 MW as two projects have been made operational. Two more projects need to be completed before the solar park will reach the milestone of 1 GW, possibly to become the world’s largest PV facility. [CleanTechnica]

¶ If countries want to reach their Paris climate agreement goals of limiting the long-term world temperature rise to 1.5°C, then many proposals to increase gas production and distribution will be unnecessary, according to a report, Foot off the Gas, published by the Climate Action Tracker, an independent science-based research group. [EcoWatch]

Oil and gas drilling platform (CSIRO | Wikimedia Commons)

¶ In addition to developing large solar projects and rooftop solar systems on its rail stations, Indian Railways is now planning to install solar panels on top of its trains. Flexible solar panels and batteries will be installed to power lights and fans on 250 of the network’s trains. A pilot program will have installations on six trains. [Climate Action Programme]

¶ Utility WEB Aruba NV is getting a microgrid. Its peak demand is just 134 MW for 103,000 island inhabitants, but its mix, which includes thermal, wind and solar, requires active management. This is particularly important, as the government has set a goal of meeting half of the island’s power needs with renewables by 2020. [pv magazine]

Aruba (Atilin | Wikipedia)

¶ Alice Springs, already dubbed Australia’s “solar center,” will be able to significantly lift its share of solar in its local grid after a tender for a 5-MW battery storage array was awarded to New Zealand utility Vector. The installation will likely be the biggest in Australia – at least for now. The battery can deliver full power for 40 minutes. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Britain’s deal with EDF to build the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant is risky, a parliamentary watchdog said. “Delays have pushed back the nuclear power plant’s construction, and the expected cost of top-up payments … has increased from £6 billion to £30 billion,” the report from the National Audit Office said. [Times of Malta]

Hinkley Point C nuclear power station (Photo: Reuters)

US:

¶ The EPA, under administrator Scott Pruitt has decided not to renew the employment of any scientist working for the EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors. Their terms expire at the end of August. The Board was created to make sure the actions of the Office of Research and Development are supported by a rigorous scientific foundation. [CleanTechnica]

¶ President Trump’s put-down of wind energy at his Iowa rally was denounced across the state, which takes pride in its position as a national leader in wind generation. Trump was talking up his support for coal during his speech when he told the audience, “I don’t want to just hope the wind blows to light up your homes and your factories.” [The Japan Times]

Cattle graze near a wind turbine in Iowa (AP image)

¶ With the wind turbine setback regulations in place since 2014, Ohio has lost billions of dollars in wind power investment, along with the jobs that would have produced, to its neighbors. Now, Ohio Senate lawmakers have advanced an important fix to wind turbine setback policy in the state’s proposed biennial budget. [AltEnergyMag]

¶ A provision in a bill before the North Carolina legislature allowing leasing of rooftop panels is intended to help many corporate customers to go solar. But the bill’s “green source rider” program could leave large, intensive electricity users like Google and the University of North Carolina still searching for answers. [Southeast Energy News]

Solar array in Montgomery County, North Carolina

¶ A first-of-its-kind “clean coal” power plant that utility owner Southern Co spent years building in Mississippi may end up running on natural gas. The state Public Service Commission said it is looking for a solution that eliminates the risk to ratepayers “for unproven technology” that captures carbon emissions. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]

¶ The Cape Light Compact is taking applications for its Low Income Solar Revolving Grant Program, which will fund 100% of equipment and installation costs of PV systems on affordable housing properties to reduce electric bills for low-income homeowners and renters. The first round of awards is funded by two grants. [CapeCod.com News]

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