July 7 Energy News

July 7, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ Scientists have found evidence in computer simulations for a possible abrupt change to heavy seasonal rainfall in the Sahel, a region that so far has been characterized by extreme dryness. They detect a self-amplifying mechanism which might kick in beyond 1.5° to 2° C of global warming, the limits of the Paris Climate Agreement. [Eurasia Review]

The Sahel region (Image: Wikipedia Commons)

¶ Flooding is already one of the most costly perils for the re/insurance community and a recent report by AIR Worldwide shows flooding costs are set to skyrocket; it’s the risk with the most evidence from climate science supporting forecasts of an increase in frequency and intensity of both coastal and inland flood events. [Reinsurance News]

World:

¶ An Australian state will install the world’s largest lithium-ion battery in a “historic” deal with electric car firm Tesla and energy company Neoen. Tesla boss Elon Musk confirmed a promise that Tesla would build the battery within 100 days, or it would be provided for free. The 100-MW/129-MWh battery should be ready this year. [BBC]

A need for storm resilience in South Australia (Getty Images)

¶ G20 countries continue to spend billions in public financing for fossil fuels, spending nearly four times as much as on clean energy, with the total coming to $215.3 billion in deals for oil, gas, and coal in the years 2013 through 2015. This is according to a report that a group of non-profit organizations published this week. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Google’s big data center campuses in Europe are to be powered using renewable energy sourced from Norway starting next September. A Google spokesman said the company expects a wind farm currently being built by Tellenes to be operational by then and ready to export power to be used in at least one of the Google data center. [Data Economy]

Rural European Windpower (Pixabay image)

¶ Nearly 400 global investors who together manage more than $22 trillion in assets have written to G20 leaders in advance of the G20 summit, urging them to commit to the Paris Agreement and help drive its implementation. This is not the first time that investors have spoken up and urged nations to support climate change action. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Scotland set a record for total wind power output in March, jumping more than 80% year-on-year. Wind power covered 136% of Scottish household demand, or 58% of the country’s total demand for the month. The news increases pressure on the UK Government to rethink its decision to withdraw new subsidies for onshore windfarms. [Power Technology]

Scottish wind power

¶ Electric vehicles are not just transforming the auto industry. They are also about to reshape the global power market. By 2040, more than half of all new cars sold will be plug-ins like those offered by Tesla, according to a report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. That means electricity demand from vehicles will surge 300-fold. [Bloomberg]

¶ A report from Morgan Stanley predicts “surprisingly large” reductions in global power sector emissions – even in Trump’s America – as solar and wind energy hurtle towards being the cheapest new sources of electricity generation, with or without ambitious policy targets. The power industry will be steered by economics. [RenewEconomy]

Coal-burning power plant in New Mexico

US:

¶ Appalachian Power Co is asking state regulators in Virginia and West Virginia to approve 225 MW of new wind generation from facilities located in Ohio and West Virginia. With the approval of the two new projects, the company would have a total of 1,000 MW of renewable energy from a combination of wind and hydro power. [Bacon’s Rebellion]

¶ Hawaiian Electric Companies has to deal with the most ambitious renewable energy mandate in the nation, and one of the most ambitious in the world, which requires that it procure 100% of its electricity from renewables by 2045. If that weren’t daunting enough, it is dealing with limitations imposed by having a series of island grids. [pv magazine USA]

Hawaiian rooftop solar (RevoluSun image)

¶ In what is becoming a trend in the Western US, Public Service Co of New Mexico plans to exit coal-fired generation by 2031 in favor of renewables and natural gas-fired generation. Its integrated resource plan’s preferred portfolio replaces baseload resources with resources that have lower operating costs and greater flexibility. [Platts]

¶ The three primary power grids – the Eastern Interconnection, the Western Interconnection and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas – have very little electricity moving among them. As Part of the Grid Modernization Initiative the DOE is working with researchers  to study ways to increase resilience by tying the eastern and western grids together. [Tech Xplore]

US grids (Please click on the image to enlarge it.)

¶ Speaking by videoconference to the Global Citizens Festival in Hamburg, California Governor Jerry Brown reinforced his reputation as America’s de facto leader on climate change, announcing to cheering crowds that his state would gather leaders from around the world for a global warming summit next year. [The New York Times]

¶ Since May, hackers have been penetrating the computer networks of companies that operate nuclear power stations and other US energy facilities. The Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation was one target, according to security consultants, and an urgent joint report was issued by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI. [CNBC]

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