August 5 Energy News

August 5, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ A finger of ice spilling out of the Chugach Mountains marks Alaska’s rapidly warming climate – almost literally. The path approaching Exit Glacier, the most accessible of the 500 square miles of ancient ice covering Kenai Fjords National Park, is a timeline of retreat. The glacier lost 252 feet last summer. Visitors notice the change. [Alaska Dispatch News]

Glacial terminus of 1917 (Marc Lester | Alaska Dispatch News)

¶ Extreme weather could kill up to 152,000 people yearly in Europe by 2100 if nothing is done to curb the effects of climate change, scientists say. The number is 50 times more deaths than reported now, a study in The Lancet Planetary Health said. The study also said heat waves would cause 99% of all weather-related deaths. [BBC News]

¶ The North Atlantic Ocean is home to a “warming hole” that has enthralled scientists, but a new study on it in the journal Nature Climate Change is troubling. The study is part of a growing chorus of research that suggests the cold patch shows a major ocean current system may be slowing down, and melting Arctic sea ice could be the culprit. [The Weather Channel]

Observed temperature trends, 1900 to 2012. (NOAA image)


¶ The Trump administration has taken another step towards exiting from the Paris climate agreement. It has notified the United Nations of its decision to leave the deal. The actual withdrawal process will prove lengthier and cannot be initiated until 2019 at the earliest. The administration still pledges to stay engaged on the issue of climate change. [CNN]

¶ In early July, the world’s first ever hybrid hydro-solar plant began full-scale operation in Portugal. Now floating on the surface of the dammed river at the Alto Rabagão Dam are 840 solar panels that work together with the dam’s hydroelectric generators. Energias de Portugal’s project the first of its kind. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Alto Rabagão Dam

¶ Plans to promote electric vehicles in the UK do not go far enough to tackle air pollution, a leading government adviser said. Writing in the Guardian, Prof Frank Kelly said fewer cars, not just cleaner ones, were the key to cleaner air. Electric cars produce particulates from their tires and brakes, and these are linked to serious health problems. [BBC News]

¶ ABB has won a $30 million contract from TenneT to supply grid stabilization technology to help increase the uptake of renewable energy in Germany. The work will involve delivery and installation of a hybrid static compensator at the Borken substation in Hessen in central Germany to provide dynamic voltage support. [reNews]

Statcom system (ABB image)

¶ More than $2 million in funding from the state of Victoria and the Moreland Council has been committed to kickstart the construction of a hydrogen refueling station. The council has partnered with hydrogen utility company H2U for the project and international vehicle manufacturer CNH Industrial is set to develop the hydrogen fuel cell trucks. [Herald Sun]


¶ Allete Clean Energy is planning to refurbish 385 turbines at three wind farms in Minnesota and Iowa. The work will include replacing select blades, gearboxes and generators at the 104-MW Lake Benton project in Minnesota and the Storm Lake 1 and 2 wind farms in Iowa, which have capacities of 109 MW and 79.5 MW, respectively. [reNews]

Iowa farm (Image: Pixabay)

¶ President Donald Trump came to the heart of coal country and told a large and cheering crowd what they wanted to hear: that Obama’s war on coal has ended. But in fact, Kentucky coal jobs and production continued down in the second quarter of the year. In eastern Kentucky, employment in the second quarter dropped 5.3 %. [The Independent]

¶ Toyota and Mazda will be partnering to develop a new $1.6 billion assembly plant in the US, as well as to develop electric vehicle technologies. The new assembly plant will reportedly be capable of producing around 300,000 vehicles a year and will employ around 4,000 people. Operations are expected to begin by 2021. [CleanTechnica]

Toyota Prius Prime (Image: Zach Shahan)

¶ In Utah, like many places in the US, the growth of rooftop solar panel systems is being thrown some shade. Rooftop solar has been booming, with the number of installations increasing by an estimated 900% in six years. But the state’s largest power utility is pushing to raise the rates on rooftop solar customers who tie into the electrical grid. [St. George Daily Spectrum]

¶ South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson is opening an investigation and state Senate leaders are calling for a special legislative session following the abandonment of construction of two nuclear reactors at the VC Summer plant in Fairfield County. The $9 billion failure of the plant prompted the multi-pronged response. [Charleston Post Courier]

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