August 26 Energy News

August 26, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Here’s why oil’s future is grim” • What do the auto makers, major utilities, and oil companies have in common with Kodak, Blockbuster, and Macy’s? Their old business models are rapidly vanishing under the pressure of technology, innovation, and societal norms. Banning petroleum-powered cars may be unnecessary. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]

Pump jack (Photo: Greg Goebel, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “The US coal industry is going out, not with a whimper, but with a burst of rent-seeking” • The US coal industry is dying, but not with any dignity. As the end approaches, its demands for government handouts increasingly frantic. The industry’s product is outmoded, and “picking winners” doesn’t look so bad when you’re losing. [Vox]

Science and Technology:

¶ An increasing percentage of the world’s population are living in cities, and this number is set to keep growing. A startup based in Brooklyn, Square Roots, has just raised $5.4 million in seed funding that will be used to empower food entrepreneurs and increase urban farming to give city dwellers access to locally produced, healthy food. [CleanTechnica]

Square Roots farm

¶ An international research team led by scientists at Hanyang University in South Korea and the University of Texas in Dallas has developed high-tech yarns that generate electricity when they are stretched or twisted. The researchers describe “twistron” yarns and their possible applications in the August 25 issue of Science. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

World:

¶ Those Schools around the northern Indian city of Bikaner that have no supply of electricity will soon be illuminated with power fetched through solar panels. The district administration in a recent review meeting of electrification took this decision to give schools situated at distant locations in rural areas renewable power. [Daily News & Analysis]

Indian rooftop solar power

¶ A review of India’s National Solar Mission by a committee of the Indian Parliament identified 34 solar parks in 21 states with a cumulative capacity of 20 GW. It indicated that land has been acquired to support the implementation of 71 GW. So far, 7.3 GW of capacity has been tendered, while 1.5 GW capacity has been commissioned. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Chile’s abundant geothermal potential provides a good renewable energy option to further diversify the country’s power generation mix. This is consistent with Chile’s Energy Policy, which aims for at least 70% of electricity generation to come from renewable sources by 2050. Chile has long been the Latin American renewables leader. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

Cerro Pabellon geothermal plant, Chile (source: developer)

¶ Since 2010, the UK has more than doubled its capacity for burning residual waste, but that means the waste has not been recycled. The UK is building so many rubbish-burning facilities that it may be impossible for the country to meet its recycling targets. Overuse of incinerators could be a problem for much of northern Europe. [Gears Of Biz]

US:

¶ Eight Community Choice Aggregation nonprofit agencies currently serve over 1 million customers in California. With their success, Los Angeles, San Jose, and others are implementing CCAs. According to a Public Utilities Commission estimate, 67% of California’s electricity needs may be met by CCAs in three years. [The San Diego Union-Tribune]

Solana Beach is the first city in San Diego County to move
forward with a CCA program. (Union-Tribune file photo)

¶ The US DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory has released its 2017 Annual Technology Baseline, a highly respected analysis of current and projected energy technology generation costs. The analysis compares technology costs, and it’s good news again for wind and solar, which are cheapest alongside natural gas. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Oil companies like to push the narrative that Alaskans want more oil development, but that’s not true. Construction of a few wind turbines in Arctic villages cannot undo much of the damage the fossil fuel economy has already done here, but the transition to renewable energy can provide local economies a measure of control. [YES! Magazine]

Mayor Tim Gavin of the Inupiaq village of Buckland
has backed renewable energy. (Photo: Stephen Miller)

¶ Fresh off the first American Wind Week, the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory released a report finding wind energy cost reductions of 50% are possible by 2030. That’s on top of the 66% fall in costs since 2009. NREL expects advancements in wind turbine design, materials, and controls to unlock major cost reductions. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ The US Army will add a 1-MW energy storage system to a 10-MW PV system, which recently broke ground at the Redstone Arsenal in Alabama. Through a power purchase agreement, Army will purchase 18,000 MWh of electricity from the project at a cost equal to or less than the arsenal’s current and projected utility rates. [Red, Green, and Blue]

Redstone Arsenal (Image CC by Whitney Gal on Flickr)

¶ As of 2016, natural gas accounted for the production of 34% of the nation’s electricity, passing coal for the first time, according to a new report from the US DOE. Natural gas has disrupted electricity markets by creating sustained and low wholesale prices. Some coal and nuclear power plants are now operating at a loss. [Denver Business Journal]

¶ Duke Energy is asking the North Carolina Utilities Commission to approve cancellation of the development of a new reactor project at Lee Nuclear Station in Cherokee County. Duke officials cited the recent bankruptcy filing by Westinghouse Electric Co, which would make the reactor, as the primary reason for the project’s cancellation. [GSA Business]

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