July 20 Energy News

July 20, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ The energy costs of operating the world’s largest oil fields can rise dramatically as extraction rates begin dropping, according to a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change. As extraction begins to ramp down, the net energy from the process can begin to fall rapidly, so that each unit of oil becomes more carbon intensive. [CleanTechnica]

Offshore oil structure

¶ Global asset manager Schroders launched a Climate Progress Dashboard designed to provide investors “a unique insight” into the global progress towards limiting global warming to the 2°C target and the overall progress of the transition to a low-carbon global economy. It currently says we are on path for a 4°C rise in temperature. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ Eddie O’Connor’s Mainstream Renewable Power’s plans to develop a £2 billion ($2.59 billion) wind farm off the Scottish coast passed a significant legal milestone. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds was denied the right to appeal an earlier court decision to the Scottish supreme court, paving the way for the development. [Irish Times]

Moon over wind turbines

¶ The European Investment Bank has this week approved new financing worth a total of €12.4 billion for projects all over the world, including €4.3 billion for new renewable energy and security of energy supply schemes. It is also investing in support of rail, road, air, and maritime transport systems around the world. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Toyota announced a “Virtual Power Plant” project in Toyota City, Japan utilizing its popular 2nd generation Prius Plug-In (called Prius Prime in the US), focusing on local production and local consumption of renewable electricity. Delayed charging of the cars provides one of several elements for regulating power on the demand side. [InsideEVs]

Toyota Prius Plug-In at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show

¶ Major utility EnergyAustralia has signed a long-term deal to buy 100 MW of the output from a yet to be built solar farm in New South Wales, marking its fifth renewable energy PPA in just seven months. The deal is yet another coup for Neoen, a French renewables developer, which is building the solar farm in New South Wales. [RenewEconomy]

¶ The Nordex Group won an installation contract for the Pays Chaumontais wind farm, 250 km southwest of Paris in Jonchery. With a capacity of 14.4 MW, the project will comprise six N117/2400 turbines to be installed in the first quarter of 2018. The contract includes delivery, operation and maintenance for a period of 16 years. [North American Windpower]

Wind farm in France

¶ Major transmission company Transgrid says 100% renewable energy is both feasible and affordable. It is urging policy makers to “step out in large ways” because incremental change will not deliver climate goals or potential cost savings. Transgrid’s head of regulation said the company would benefit from such a move, but so would consumers. [RenewEconomy]

¶ SolarReserve has received an environmental approval from the Chilean government to build a 390-MW solar thermal power station with 5,100 MWh of energy storage. This is SolarReserve’s third approval of a solar thermal project that will provide Chile with a continuous, 24-hour supply of energy, at a competitive price. [PennEnergy]

SolarReserve solar station (Rendering: Business Wire)

¶ New images of inside the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant taken by a swimming robot reveal previously unseen damage from the meltdown. Almost all of the nuclear fuel in the No 3 reactor likely melted and dropped from the pressure vessel and accumulated at the bottom of the containment vessel, TEPCO said. [Asahi Shimbun]

¶ SaskPower says it will rely on power generated by wind to achieve its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The power company plans to reduce emissions by 40% from 2005 levels by 2030. It wants to have added an additional 1,600 MW of wind power by then. There are currently just 225 MW of wind power installed in Saskatchewan. [CBC.ca]

Wind turbine (Credit: Rick Bowmer)

US:

¶ Agricultural yields in certain “hot spots” in the US will be severely diminished by 2050 as a result of the impact that climate change will have on water availability, according to an MIT study. The hot spots are mostly within the Southwestern US, where agriculture is highly dependent upon unsustainable groundwater extraction rates. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The San Diego County Water Authority issued a request for proposals for a pumped storage facility, which would provide energy when needed by releasing water it has pumped into a reservoir during low demand times. The facility will be up to 500 MW in capacity. The DOE says US pumped storage capacity is 184 GW. [pv magazine USA]

San Vicente Reservoir (Photo: H Hooks)

¶ A closed landfill in Berkley, Massachusetts has made the leap from disposable to renewable. It is now home to a 3.6-MW solar farm that began generating power on April 27, according the owner of the landfill site. Including the landfill, Berkley now has four working solar farms up and running, the town’s Selectmen Chairman said. [Taunton Daily Gazette]

¶ An attorney for a group fighting the Keystone XL pipeline says the organization plans to appeal a South Dakota judge’s decision upholding state regulators’ approval for the pipeline to cross the state. Dakota Rural Action, a conservation and family agriculture group, plans to raise the issue to the South Dakota Supreme Court. [PennEnergy]

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