August 23 Energy News

August 23, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ Scientists found that some bacteria have a natural defence to cadmium, mercury, or lead that lets them turn the heavy metal into a sulfide, which the bacteria express as tiny crystals on their surfaces. These turn out to be semiconductors that the bacteria can use to photosynthesize atmospheric carbon dioxide into acetic acid, a chemical feedstock. [BBC]

“Cyborg” bacteria making and using tiny solar panels.


¶ China has installed 24.4 GW of solar PV in the first six months of 2017, including an extraordinary 13.5 GW in the month of June alone, as developers rushed to complete installations to capitalize on a higher feed-in tariff that expired on July 1. The 24.4 GW is equivalent capacity to Australia’s entire fleet of coal-burning power plants. [CleanTechnica]

¶ As India’s energy needs are rising fast, the increased use of renewables could save the economy 12 times the installation costs in 2030, when environmental and health damage are taken into account, a report from the International Renewable Energy Agency said. It outlines areas that can unlock the vast renewable energy potential in India. [pv magazine]

Solar installation (Photo: Baywa re)

¶ Coal generation might have a future in Australia’s energy grid, but it may not be a long one. It is now clearly recognized, outside the imaginary world of the fossil fuel lobby, that the cheapest form of new generation in Australia – and most other places in the world – is wind and solar, and certainly not coal and gas (or nuclear). [CleanTechnica]

¶ Reliance Industries Ltd and British Petroleum Plc are planning to invest in the power-storage business to tap into the renewable energy sector, a Bloomberg report said. The oil and gas giants have plans to set up energy-storage projects near renewable energy installations. Investment decisions will be taken by year’s end. [International Business Times]

Reliance Industries facility in India (Reliance Industries photo)

¶ The company behind the huge Sapphire Wind Farm in New South Wales published plans to add a solar project. CWP said it submitted an outline of the expansion, with an assessment of the environmental impact, to the state’s Department of Planning and Environment. The solar part of the complex could have 200 MW of capacity. [Glen Innes Examiner]

¶ Victoria, Australia’s second-most populous state, has proposed a new law that would require 40% of its power needs to be generated by renewable energy by 2025. Victoria also launched a 650-MW renewable energy auction, which the government expects to spur up to A$1.3 billion ($1 billion) of investment in the sector. [reNews]

Victoria’s Macarthur wind farm (Image: Vestas)

¶ Foreign investors have filed proposals for a combined $3.6 billion to develop renewable energy projects in Iran. The Iranian government has set an ambitious target to add 5 GW of renewable power generating capacity by 2022, Iran’s Financial Tribune reports. A target of adding 1 GW of renewable capacity per year is considered feasible. []


¶ When the Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort in Massachusetts installed a $4 million wind turbine in 2007, many thought the resort was taking a huge financial risk. According to the resort, the turbine paid for itself in seven years. Now, with 2.3-MW solar field and 75-kWh cogeneration unit, the resort is powered 100% by clean energy. [North American Windpower]

Skiing at Jiminy Peak

¶ Wyoming’s congressional delegation wrote a letter to President Trump urging him to ignore a proposal for a $4.5 billion federal subsidy for eastern Appalachian coal. The subsidy, proposed by West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, would provide a $15 per ton subsidy for utilities that purchase Eastern rather than Western coal. [Jackson Hole News&Guide]

¶ The US DOE issued a Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Northern Pass transmission project. It concluded that the hydroelectric system is the “preferred alternative” and will result in minimal impacts. Northern Pass Transmission is developing a 192-mile transmission line to move power from Canada to a substation in Deerfield, NH. [Utility Dive]

Transmission lines (credit: Depositphotos)

¶ Coal executives say President Trump pledged to enact an emergency order to protect coal-fired power plants, but his DOE has decided not to use its authority to offer temporary relief to the plants. This type of order is intended to protect the nation’s electricity supply and temporarily allows power plants to skirt environmental regulations. [ThinkProgress]

¶ Executives from Gulf Power and Coronal Energy joined US military officials at Naval Air Station Pensacola for a “Flip the Switch” ceremony signifying the completion of the three largest combined solar facilities on Department of Defense property. The solar arrays have nearly 600,000 PV panels with a total capacity of 50 MW. []

Gulf Power solar array

¶ Five recently completed Community Solar Projects were launched with a ribbon cutting ceremony at Twin Elm Farm in Mendon, Massachusetts. The solar arrays have a combined capacity of about 6.9 MW. Overall, the projects will increase the amount of power generated by Massachusetts community solar by an estimated 13%. [Stockhouse]

¶ Ohio governor John Kasich, said that he would not support a rescue plan for FirstEnergy Corp that would ensure the state’s two nuclear power plants would have viable financial futures. According to the Associated Press, he made his comments on the state’s energy future after touring a new, $800 million natural gas plant near Toledo. [Nuclear Street]

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