August 17 Energy News

August 17, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “On the climb to renewable energy, solar and wind prices tumble” • When so little is getting done in Washington, it is heartening to see how much has already been accomplished. A report from the Environment New York Research & Policy Center highlights past growth of renewable energy and says it is set for more dramatic growth. [GreenBiz]

Looking at how far we have come (Shutterstock | kopov58)

¶ “US Power Companies Have A History Of Walking Away From Nuclear Projects” • William Freebairn explains how the story of the Summer project in South Carolina demonstrates the capital-intensive nature of nuclear energy and the substantial risks of cutting-edge nuclear plant design. Will the Vogtle project  be abandoned next? [Platts]

¶ “Pace of renewables shift leaves city planners struggling to keep up” • Renewable energy is driving changes in cities much more quickly than expected. Networks of city decision-makers have begun adopting climate change strategies to promote renewable energy. But land use planning has seemingly been lagging behind. [One Step Off The Grid]

Suburban solar array (Image: The Conversation)

World:

¶ Xinhua News Agency said that China is halting construction of 150 GW of new coal-fired generating capacity during the 13th Five-Year Plan period, which ends in 2020. The National Development and Reform Commission will also eliminate 20 GW of outdated capacity and upgrade almost 1,000 GW of coal capacity to decrease emissions. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The gas reserves in shale rocks in the UK have been “hyped”, a geology professor has warned. Professor John Underhill from Heriot-Watt University said UK shale deposits were formed 55 million years too late to trap substantial amounts of gas. He said the government would be wise to formulate a Plan B to fracking for future gas supplies. [BBC News]

Magma under Iceland tilted UK shale basins. (Getty Images)

¶ Most Europeans can choose who they buy their power from and can choose to purchase power from renewable power plants, instead of accepting a “grey default” power offer. More and more consumers prefer to buy clean energy from solar, wind, hydro, geothermal or bio. Growth in demand for renewable power stands at 39% this year. [Press Release Rocket]

¶ Ford of Europe has linked up with Deutsche Post to build a larger version of the electric truck DHL designed itself last year. Called the StreetScooter Work XL, it is customized to be ideal for urban delivery chores and has over 700 cubic feet of cargo space. The basic battery is rated at 30 kWh and has 50 miles of range. [CleanTechnica]

DHL StreetScooter

¶ Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen publicly apologized for power outages that hit more than 6 million households and disrupted some semiconductor manufacturing but defended her policies to phase out nuclear power in favor of natural gas and renewables. Outage factors included hot weather and damage from a recent typhoon. [Hong Kong Standard]

¶ In Milan, architect Stefano Boeri created two high-rise apartment blocks that are adorned with a massive number of trees and plants, including 800 trees and 16,000 other plants. Combined, the two towers can convert around 44,000 pounds of carbon dioxide into oxygen annually. They also filter dust from the air. [CleanTechnica]

Stefano Boeri’s high-rise towers

US:

¶ A partnership of Fuel cell maker Bloom Energy and Southern Company microgrid subsidiary PowerSecure have landed their biggest client to date. They have made a 37-MW fuel cell deal with data center company Equinix.  Twelve Equinix data centers in California and New York will get fuel cells over the next two years. [Greentech Media]

¶ The governor of Montana is worried about climate change. The eastern half of the Montana is now in the most severe drought in the nation. July farm losses are nearly $400 million more than last year’s, according to figures from the US Forest Service. And the state’s wildfire season is costing Montanans more than a million dollars a day. [MTPR]

A difficult year in Montana (Credit: Nate Hegyi | YPR)

¶ The Nederland, Colorado, city council unanimously voted to power their city with 100% renewable electricity by 2025. The vote came shortly after Orlando, Florida, and Nevada City, California, established similar goals last week. The Sierra Club said that Nederland is the 42nd US city to commit to 100% renewables. [North American Windpower]

¶ As climate change pushes US cities to build protections against more powerful storms and more frequent floods, the Rockefeller Foundation is helping with a kind of financing that transfers some of the risk of innovative projects from cities to investors. The environmental impact bonds were pioneered by The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. [Bloomberg]

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