July 29 Energy News

July 29, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Electric trucks and vans cut pollution faster than cars” • The clock may be ticking for petrol and diesel-powered cars, but it’s vans, trucks and buses that are driving the electric vehicle revolution on the world’s roads. The larger vehicles are far bigger polluters than cars, and the need to switch the fleets over to electric power is greater. [BBC News]

Electric garbage truck in Sacramento (Electrek image)

¶ “Al Gore Returns with an Ever-More Inconvenient Truth” • An Inconvenient Truth was released in 2006. Since then more polar ice has melted, and global temperature and carbon dioxide levels have climbed. Hurricanes are growing stronger, droughts more intense and flooding more extensive. And Al Gore has an urgent, but hopeful, message. [Scientific American]

Science and Technology:

¶ The western US is ablaze as the wildfire season has gotten off to an intense start. More than 37,000 fires have burned more than 5.2 million acres nationally since the beginning of the year, with 47 large fires burning across nine states as of Friday. The fire season comes earlier and lasts longer than it used to, partly due to climate change. [Climate Central]

Fire in Arizona (Credit: Prescott National Forest | flickr)

World:

¶ The Indian government reviewed the status of 34 stressed thermal power projects with an estimated debt of nearly ₹1.8 lakh crore ($15.6 billion), according to the country’s energy minister. NTPC, India’s largest utility has no proposal to acquire stressed power projects or enable their lenders to operate on a contract basis. [BloombergQuint]

¶ A report by Health and Environment Alliance has assessed the subsidy spending and health costs of seven economically powerful countries. India spent $16.9 billion on fossil fuel subsidies in 2013 and 2014, but health costs to meet the burden of diseases linked to air pollution are eight times the fossil fuel subsidies, at $140.7 billion. [Times of India]

Air pollution in India

¶ Air conditioners are cranked up and summer power use is at an all-time high as Saskatchewan continues to bask in a heat wave. SaskPower reported Saskatchewan broke its summer power use record Thursday, with a peak usage of 3,419 MW. The previous record was set earlier this month, on July 10, with a peak use of 3,360 MW. [CTV News]

¶ Energy giant Emera Inc is upping the amount of electricity it wants to carry on a proposed $2-billion transmission line from New Brunswick to Massachusetts from 900 MW to 1,000 MW. The 563-km HVDC transmission line would have two converter stations, one at Coleson Cove and the other near the Pilgrim nuclear plant. [TheChronicleHerald.ca]

The pulling end of the submarine cable

¶ EDF Energy suffered a drop in half-year profits amid rising competition, unexpected outages, and lower UK nuclear energy prices. A breakdown of regional operations showed that its UK operations suffered the biggest drop in earnings for the period, falling 34.4% to €627 million (£560 million) partly due to lower nuclear prices. [East Anglian Daily Times]

¶ Next year, Santiago’s subway system will buy 60% of its energy from solar and wind projects. A 100-MW solar farm in northern Chile’s Atacama Desert, with 254,000 panels and covering an area the size of 370 football fields, will produce 42% of the subway system’s power, and a recently built wind farm will supply 18%. [MarketWatch]

Subway in Santiago (Photo: Bloomberg)

US:

¶ When Tesla’s Gigafactory was first announced, it was shared that it would be able to produce more batteries than the rest of the world could build at the time combined. Now, in an update, Tesla shared that when it is running at full capacity, the Gigafactory will produce more batteries than the rest of the world combined – by a factor of 2! [CleanTechnica]

¶ Throughout Vermont, customers are signing up for a program that will allow them to power their homes while disconnected from the grid. The projects are part of a bold experiment aimed at turning homes, neighborhoods and towns into virtual power plants. Behind this movement is the local electric company, Green Mountain Power. [New York Times]

CEO Mary Powell of GMP (Jacob Hannah | The New York Times)

¶ New York banking giant JPMorgan Chase announced it plans to switch all its facilities to 100% renewable power by 2020. In Texas, 75% of JPMorgan Chase’s facilities will run on wind energy by the end of this year. That covers 584 branches and 8 million square feet, including a new 1.2 million-square-foot Plano campus. [Dallas News]

¶ The Trump administration may have to reconsider its proposal from earlier this month to curb biofuel use after a US appeals court in Washington ruled that the EPA does not have the authority to cut quotas while citing inadequate domestic supply. The decision was a unanimous ruling by a panel of three judges. [Bloomberg]

Loading ethanol (Photo: Daniel Acker | Bloomberg)

¶ SCANA Corp and state-owned utility Santee Cooper said Toshiba agreed to pay nearly $2.2 billion to cap its liabilities from the unfinished VC Summer nuclear project in South Carolina. Toshiba subsidiary Westinghouse, which was building two nuclear units at the Summer site, filed for bankruptcy in March. [POWER magazine]

¶ South Carolina Electric & Gas and Santee Cooper said there are “significant challenges” to completing two 1,150-MW partly built nuclear generating units at their Summer station. The likely cost to complete the units will “materially exceed” previous estimates, and they may not be completed in time to meet a December 2020 deadline for tax credits. [Platts]

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