July 12 Energy News

July 12, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Can Urban America Save Paris Agreement?” • Hundreds of mayors have pledged to remain committed to reducing US greenhouse gas emissions. But how much can cities do on their own, without the federal government supporting the Paris accord, to curb climate change? We talked with climate experts to find out. [Live Science]

New York City (Credit: Songquan Deng | Shutterstock)

¶ “G20 Communique: Strong On Climate Change, On Sustainability, On Environmental Justice” • It was a victory for climate change action and support for the Paris Climate Agreement. The G20 Communique at the end of the Hamburg summit was more: A statement about sustainability, income inequality, and human rights. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Koch Bros and ALEC Shout From the Rooftops: ‘Stop Rooftop Solar!'” • There is a nationwide push to make rooftop solar less attractive so utilities can continue to make money without competition from individual home owners. Spearheading the effort is the top energy lobbyist, Edison Electric Institute. [Tucson Weekly]

Installing a solar system (Courtesy of Bigstock)

Science and Technology:

¶ New rules are urgently needed to protect the open seas, scientists have warned. A report to a UN ocean conference in New York points out that more than 60% of the ocean has no rules because it’s outside national jurisdiction. It says the open ocean is at risk from climate change, over-fishing, deep-sea mining, farm pollution and plastics. [BBC]

¶ According to a study published in Nature Communications, carbon dioxide concentrations are heading towards values not seen in the past 200 million years. The sun has also been gradually getting stronger over time. Put together, these facts mean the climate may be heading towards warmth not seen in the past half a billion years. [The Conversation]

Desert (Neo Studio | shutterstock)

World:

¶ In an extraordinary speech, Don Harwin, the energy minister of the New South Wales Coalition government, has made a dramatic departure from the bulk of his state and federal colleagues by declaring that it was time to move on from the notion of “baseload” power as essential to the reliability of the future grid. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The future of fresh local produce could include distributed farming, with more foods being grown in smaller systems right near the point of sale, instead of everything being shipped in from larger growing operations. Now, Infarm, a Berlin startup, is aiming to put tiny vertical farms into the grocery stores themselves. [CleanTechnica]

Infarm’s in-store herb garden

¶ With four new additions of AkzoNobel NV, AXA, Burberry, and the Carlsberg Group, The Climate Group’s RE100 initiative has reached a 100-member milestone. Its members, large businesses transitioning to 100% renewable energy globally, include 30 Fortune Global 500 companies have a total revenue of $2.5 trillion. [Solar Industry]

¶ European power giants Engie and Uniper have withdrawn from a test project to capture and store carbon dioxide generated by one of several major new coal plants in the Netherlands, dealing yet another blow to the prospects of “clean coal” technology, in which the Australian government and fossil fuel lobbyists still hold much stock. [RenewEconomy]

Maasvlakte power plant in Rotterdam

US:

¶ Engineering giant Siemens and AES, an international power company based in Arlington, Virginia, are partnering to expand into the alternative energy market, selling industrial-scale batteries. They formed a company, Fluence, based in the District of Columbia, to compete against such established players as Tesla. [Standard-Examiner]

¶ Green Mountain Power can seem more like a disruptive high-tech start-up than Vermont’s largest electric utility. It has emerged as a leading national innovator in renewable energy, demonstrating how electricity can be generated, stored, and distributed in ways that are cheaper, cleaner, and more resilient to interruptions. [Triple Pundit]

Green Mountain Power solar array

¶ ViZn Energy Systems Inc is integrating its zinc iron flow battery storage system for a record low price of 4¢/kWh. A ViZn 30-MW, 4-hour system added to a 100 MW solar plant can generate a seven percent internal rate of return with a 4¢/kWh power purchase agreement, 20% below the lowest published values. [AltEnergyMag]

¶ Asset manager Capital Dynamics acquired the Mount Signal 3 solar plant in California from 8minutenergy Renewables. Development of the 328-MW plant started in 2011, and 8minutenergy will oversee construction. First Solar will supply 2.8 million thin-film solar panels, and commercial operations are expected to start by the end of 2018. [reNews]

California solar array (Image: 8minutenergy)

¶ Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has committed the state to greenhouse gas reductions consistent with the global accord reached in Paris, despite President Trump’s decision to pull the United States from that accord. Colorado has joined the US Climate Alliance, which now includes 13 states and Puerto Rico. [Grand Junction Daily Sentinel]

¶ Energy Secretary Rick Perry reversed course today and confirmed that hackers are targeting US nuclear power plants, though he said federal labs can safeguard the nation’s sprawling grid. When asked about FBI and Department of Homeland Security reports about hackers, Perry said, “Well, obviously it’s real, it’s ongoing … ” [E&E News]

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