August 21 Energy News

August 21, 2017


¶ “Why solar towers and storage plants will reshape energy markets” • The 150-MW solar tower and molten salt storage plant to be built in Port Augusta has been made possible by a ground-breaking pricing and contract structure that could help completely reshape Australian power markets, including the end of “baseload” power as we know it. [RenewEconomy]

Visitors at a solar thermal power plant

¶ “How Nigeria Can Cure Its Oil Addiction” • Nigeria is addicted to oil. The oil industry contributes over 90% of export earnings and around 70% of Nigeria’s government revenue. Successive governments have sought to diversify the economy with limited success. But global moves toward electric cars and renewable energy signal the decline of oil. [Newsweek]


¶ The developer of a large-scale Queensland renewable energy hub has struck a “critical” new agreement as the project powers towards production. The agreement between Genex Power and Powerlink finalizes a “vital element” in connecting the Kidston solar and hydro projects – 400 km southwest of Cairns – to the national electricity grid. [The Cairns Post]

Former gold mine to be repurposed (Photo: Marc McCormack)

¶ Powerlink is investigating plans to connect up to 2000 MW of renewable projects in North Queensland. This could make the area an exporter of wind and solar power. The state government has announced plans to connect renewable projects in five cities and towns, while Powerlink has called for expressions of interest from potential stakeholders. [Townsville Bulletin]

¶ With an expected boost from regional suppliers of coal and equipment, Vietnam plans to rely more heavily on coal-fired power plants by 2030. Unless it can be mitigated, this is not only bad news for a Southeast Asian nation already suffering from severe air pollution but also for international efforts to battle climate change. [Asia Times]

Hawking coal bricks in Hanoi (Photo: AFP | Hoang Dinh Nam)

¶ GreenWish Partners, a renewable energy company run by a former Morgan Stanley executive, is planning to invest $800 million on solar-powered telephone towers across Africa. The project could fuel economic growth by providing power for essential services. Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest rates of energy access in the world. [Bloomberg]

¶ Panasian Power has announced the acquisition of Lower Kotmale-Oya Power Two (Pvt) Ltd to construct two mini hydro-power plants in the Sri Lankan district of Nuwara-Eliya in early 2018. The construction will have an estimated investment of 400 million rupees ($2.6 million), and envisages combined output of 7.53 GWh per annum. [Lanka Business Online]

Power grid in Sri Lanka

¶ Northland Power has reached financial close at its 252-MW DeBu offshore wind farm in the German North Sea. The total cost of the project is €1.3 billion, and a financing run was oversubscribed, the Canadian company said. MHI Vestas is supplying 31 V164-8.0MW turbines. Vattenfall will provide direct marketing for the project’s power. [reNews]


¶ According to the University of Minnesota’s Energy Transition Lab, starting in 2019 the overall cost of building grid-scale storage there will be less than that of building natural-gas plants to meet future energy demand in that state. Current plans for adding 1,800 MW of gas-fired “peaker” plants by 2028 may be unnecessary. [Yahoo Finance UK]

Solar panels

¶ In late 2015, DME unveiled its Renewable Denton Plan to almost immediate controversy, as it pivoted on a $265 million investment in a new, gas-fired power plant. After management changes, a new plan is expected to identify clear steps to get 70% to 100% percent of Denton’s electricity from renewable energy by 2019. [Denton Record Chronicle]

¶ Rocky Mountain Institute has released its 2017 Micropower Database. This comes shortly after leaked drafts of Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s electric grid reliability study said renewable power does not threaten the grid, and another study to be published by federal scientists found that the US is already suffering effects of climate change. [RMI]

Global growth of micropower and nuclear power, 2000 to 2016
(Please click on the image to enlarge it)

¶ The Trump administration has decided to withdraw the official estimate of the Social Cost of Carbon and disband the inter-agency working group that developed it. Despite this, a group of prominent economists and lawyers have highlighted the metric’s continued validity for policymaking in a letter published in the journal Science. []

¶ President Donald Trump’s administration has dissolved a federal panel of scientists and other experts tasked with helping create and implement new policy based on the latest climate change research findings. It is a decision that does not bode well for the future of climate change preparation and prevention during Trump’s time in office. [HuffPost]

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