July 6 Energy News

July 6, 2017


¶ “Confronting the Himalayan environmental crisis” • Burning black carbon is accelerating glacial melt and disturbing weather patterns in the Himalayas. This has led to extreme droughts and flooding in the region. According to NASA, the black soot concentration in the Himalayas has increased three-fold in the last 20 years. [Online Khabar]

Avalanche on Everest (Photo: Chagai, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Is blockchain about to disrupt the electricity sector?” • When the leaders of Europe’s electricity industry gathered last month for their annual conference, they devoted a whole morning to technologies that promise a future “beyond utilities.” The buzziest such technology is blockchain, which brought us the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. [EURACTIV]


¶ Wind and solar electricity will be the cheapest forms of power generation in every G20 country by 2030, according to a report commissioned by Greenpeace Germany. It also said that in about half of the G20 countries, renewables have produced electricity at rates equal to or lower than those from coal or nuclear since 2015. [reNews]

Wind Power (Pixabay image)

¶ The tallest wind turbines ever to be built in Australia will come through the Port of Newcastle next month. The 200-metre tall turbines will be transported to the Sapphire Wind Farm project in the New England area of New South Wales. Newcastle-based CWP Renewables is building the $588 million project, which will have 75 turbines. [Newcastle Herald]

¶ The Philippine Department of Energy has authorized Citicore Power Inc to proceed with the pre-development stage of its five proposed hydropower projects in Southern Luzon. The pre-development stage covers permitting and conducting various studies for the contracts, which potentially have a combined capacity of 2,300 MW. [Power Philippines]

Philippine hydropower

¶ Australia has been ranked as very low in its performance tackling climate change in a new Brown to Green report. Other countries that were singled out for poor performance include the US, Russia, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. The best performers were China, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Mexico, and South Africa. [Energy Matters]

¶ Australia’s Climate Change Authority, a government board set up to advise on climate policy, has no climate scientists left. None. Not one. No climate scientists remain on the government agency appointed to advise on climate policy. The University of Melbourne’s Professor David Karoly lasted five years. He just left. [Gizmodo Australia]

Outback whirlwind (Image: iStock)

¶ Sanjeev Gupta, the flamboyant Indian-born billionaire who has agreed to buy the ailing steel producer Arrium, has promised to turn the ageing Whyalla steel plant “green” by getting electricity from renewables and pumped storage. A recent study found numerous potential pumped storage sites in South Australia, including a number near Whyalla. [RenewEconomy]


¶ A federal court has ruled that the EPA cannot suspend a methane emissions rule crafted by the Obama administration. Under EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, the EPA argued that the oil and gas industry has not been allowed to comment on the rules. An appeals court in Washington, DC, rejected that claim in a 2-1 ruling. [San Francisco Chronicle]

Pump jack in Midland, Texas (Photo: Michael Stravato, NYT)

¶ For automakers who report the monthly sales in the US of their plug-in models (which includes most big auto makers but not Tesla), fully electric car in June 2017 were up 102% from June 2016, and plug-in hybrid sales were up 11.5%. For the year through June, fully electric sales were up 96% and plug-in hybrid sales were up 42%. [CleanTechnica]

¶ To implement a renewable energy program, the Northern Marianas Commonwealth Utilities Corp will issue two requests for proposals for geothermal exploration and integrated-resource planning. The RFPs will focus on developing new energy sources. Project funding came from the US Department of the Interior. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

Saipan, Marianas (source: flickr | Matt Watts, creative commons)

¶ A federal appeals court affirmed the legality of Connecticut’s renewable portfolio standard and related clean energy initiatives. The groundbreaking decision should boost states’ confidence that they can exercise climate and clean energy leadership at a time when the Trump Administration wants to move backwards. [Microgrid Knowledge]

¶ Dominion Generation Inc, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dominion Energy Inc, is expanding its solar portfolio with the acquisition of a 10-MW solar facility in Clarke County, Virginia. It also intends to purchase a 20-MW solar farm currently under construction in Northampton County, Virginia, from the same developer. [Commercial Property Executive]

Clarke County 10-MW solar facility
(Image courtesy of Dominion Energy’s Facebook Page)

¶ The Phipps Bend Nuclear Power Plant has sat abandoned since 1981, as one of over 100 nuclear plants that have been cancelled in the US. Today, however, the site is finally producing CO2-free electricity, which it is generating with a 1-MW solar power plant. Many other sites of nuclear or coal-burning power plants can be similarly developed. [Electrek]

¶ Idaho Power has plans to phase out most of its coal-fired generation, partly because its plants are running less often amid persistently low natural gas prices, and partly because of expanded renewable generating capacity. This is according to the integrated resource plan the utility filed with state regulators prior to the holiday weekend. [Platts]

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