July 8 Energy News

July 8, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ In recent years, some scientists have suggested that climate change will be less severe than the projections suggest. A study published in Science Advances joins a growing body of literature suggesting the models are correct. That may be worrisome for the planet, but it is good news for the scientists working to understand its future. [The Independent]

Tabular ice bergs off Antarctica (Reuters image)

World:

¶ German authorities have arrested an Audi manager in connection with the VW diesel scandal. This is the first arrest in Germany related to Volkswagen’s emissions-test cheating scandal. The person may have been former Audi manager Giovanni Pamio, who the US had just charged with directing staff to design emissions-cheating software. [BBC]

¶ France has announced plans to ban all petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040, following India’s push to switch to entirely electric vehicles. The country’s Environment Minister revealed the plan as part of a national goal to be carbon neutral by 2050. The French Prime Minister wants France to be the European leader in clean energy. [Interesting Engineering]

Cars in Paris (Image: Pixabay)

¶ Internet giant Amazon is establishing an electricity trading unit in Dublin as it continues to expand its footprint in Ireland and plans a €1 billion data center complex. It is not clear what type of electricity trading the Amazon Web Services unit will engage in, but it is clearly linked to the large electricity consumption of its data centers. [Independent.ie]

¶ SSE’s latest wind farm development, Slieve Divena II in County Tyrone, is fully operational, generating enough green energy to power 16,500 homes. The Ballygawley wind farm’s capacity is 18.8 MW, and its eight turbines will help offset approximately 24,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year from fossil fuel generation. [the Irish News]

The Slieve Divena II windfarm in Co Tyrone

¶ According to research and ratings agency India Ratings, private developers are facing more challenges operating thermal power projects than renewable energy projects. With aggressive bidding and falling renewable tariffs, thermal power has become less economical, leading to muted demand for private thermal power projects. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ Google is reportedly preparing to invest nearly €1 billion in the construction of a data center in Luxembourg, according to local media. The facility is to be built on a 25-hectare piece of land, making it the largest in the country. Local state-funded radio said further details on the project are to be revealed at the end of July. [Data Economy]

Luxembourg

¶ Ukraine is talking to one of France’s largest energy companies about building a giant, €1 billion ($1.25 billion) solar park in the uninhabited radioactive zone surrounding the abandoned Chernobyl nuclear reactor. Engie is beginning a pre-feasibility study funded by the French government, with the results expected for the end of the year. [National Post]

¶ Officials in Portugal inaugurated the world’s first hydro-solar power station this week. The Alto Rabagão dam, near the country’s northern border with Spain, added 840 floating solar panels earlier this year, boosting the plant’s total peak capacity by 220 kW. The solar array is about the size of what might be put on a large warehouse. [HuffPost]

Floating solar array (Horacio Villalobos/Corbis via Getty Images)

¶ A coal baron is delivering the world’s first solar train to Australia. The Byron Bay Railroad Company, operated by mining executive Brian Flannery, expects to have its two-carriage heritage train running before Christmas. It will operate on part of the disused Casino-to-Murwillumbah line, which closed in 2004. [Walcha News]

US:

¶ Massachusetts utilities, in coordination with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, issued a Request for Proposals for long-term contracts for offshore wind energy projects. The RFP, issued under the Energy Diversity Act, calls for bidders to offer from 400 MW to about 800 MW of offshore wind energy capacity. [EnergyOnline]

Block Island Wind Farm (Photo: Ionna22, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The North Carolina House and Senate voted to enact a compromise version a bill, “Competitive Energy Solutions for North Carolina.” This major new energy legislation evolves and, in some respects, expands solar business opportunities in North Carolina significantly. It establishes an 18-month moratorium on wind power permits, however. [JD Supra]

¶ The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approved Xcel Energy’s plan for a huge wind energy expansion in the Upper Midwest. Seven wind farms are planned for Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota, and the plan is for them to be operational by the end of 2020. The projects’ combined capacity is over 1,500 MW. [North American Windpower]

Wind farm in the Midwest

¶ On a tour of a coal-fired power plant, US Energy Secretary Rick Perry was asked about the economics of coal when natural gas is cheaper. He said, “Here’s a little economics lesson, supply and demand: You put the supply out there and the demand will follow that. The market will decide which of these they’re going to pick and choose.” [The Daily Times]

¶ Tucson Electric Power is seeking bids for the engineering, design, and construction of natural gas generators to help provide reliable electric service by supporting the expansion of renewable energy. A new facility will house 10 reciprocating engines, powered by natural gas, with a combined capacity of up to 200 MW. [BOE Report]

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