June 25 Energy News

June 25, 2017

World:

¶ Energy companies in Iceland are looking to harness the country’s geothermal potential by tapping directly into a source deep in the Earth, under a volcano. The Icelandic Deep Drilling Project aims to make use of changes the high temperature and pressure can cause in water when it is deep in inside a volcano. [International Environmental Technology]

Iceland

¶ Currently, Papua New Guinea has less than 600 MW of installed generation capacity, according to the Department of National Enterprises, and frequent outages due to spikes in demand mean the existing grid is consistently under pressure. Now, there are three hydro projects under way, with a combined capacity of 2030 MW. [OilPrice.com]

¶ According to SaskPower, interest in renewable energy sources has been growing in Saskatchewan. The Crown corporation recently completed a series of stakeholder engagement surveys across the province. SaskPower has two programs for solar power, a net metering program and a small power producer program. [Regina Leader-Post]

Solar power is growing in Saskatchewan.
(Scott Olson | Getty Images North America)

¶ A former coal mine could be transformed into a massive lake near one of Victoria’s most popular Surf Coast destinations, as it is rehabilitated. An Anglesea Community Energy member is pushing to build a floating PV array on the lake, along with a pumped storage system large enough to meet the town’s electricity needs. [The Age]

US:

¶ The Bonneville Power Administration, once the cheapest source of power in region, is losing its competitive edge in the face of growing renewable energies and inexpensive natural gas. In the last three years, Bonneville’s customers have seen rates rise 16%, while prices for power on the open market dropped by more than 35%. [Longview Daily News]

Refurbishing a turbine (Bonneville Power Administration photo)

¶ Vermont lawmakers put off until October the deadline for adopting new rules governing wind turbines, after the Public Service Board offered a major revision in response to concerns it said it heard from legislators and others. A legislative committee postponed the July 1 deadline for adopting new limits for turbine noise. [vtdigger.org]

¶ In the US, solar energy employs more people than traditional coal, gas and oil combined. A report by the DOE said solar power employed 374,000 people over the year 2015-2016, which is 43% of the power sector’s workforce. By contrast, the traditional fossil fuels employed 187,117 people, making up to just 22% of the sector’s workforce. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Worker installing solar Panels in Oregon
(Oregon Department of Transportation, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Two years ago, Stanford University civil and environmental engineering professor Mark Jacobsen published a study claiming that the United States could completely phase out the use of fossil fuels and nuclear power by 2055. Now, he is defending that work from skeptical analysts and scientists questioning his methods. [The American Interest]

¶ With the installation of more solar gardens, a continued commitment to energy-efficiency, and fruitful negotiations with Xcel Energy, Breckenridge, Colorado, could draw all of its electricity, public and private, from renewable resources as early as 2035, according to a new plan to be presented to the town council. [Summit Daily News]

Breckenridge Colorado snow train
(Photo: Dave Dugdale, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Customers enrolled in Redwood Coast Energy Authority’s community choice energy program can “opt up” to get all their electricity from 100% renewable sources. The base option for RCEA, which operates in Humboldt County, California, is 40% renewable. Hundreds of customers have decided to pay the extra cost of 1¢/kWh. [Eureka Times Standard]

¶ With US withdrawal from the Paris climate accords, mayors at the annual US Conferences of Mayors meeting in Miami Beach have been talking about taking the issue up at the local level. The conference supported the Paris agreement, and it looks like as many as 90% of US mayors want to work to respond to climate change. [New Jersey Herald]

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio talking about rising sea levels (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

¶ The Tennessee Valley Authority wants to use the site of a nuclear reactor design abandoned in the 1970s to develop technology for small modular reactors. Critics of the Oak Ridge project say the new small modular reactors are still untested, unsafe and unneeded. The NRC has not yet approved a design for such reactors. [Chattanooga Times Free Press]

¶ The owners of the VC Summer Nuclear Station believed a detailed construction schedule by their builder was the basis for the timing and cost of adding two reactors at the South Carolina plant. They have learned it doesn’t exist, calling into question repeated assurances that the new units can be built by 2020 for $14 billion. [Charleston Post Courier]

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