September 11 Energy News

September 11, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “The constant risk from the Bruce Mansfield plant” • On Aug. 29, an accident at the Bruce Mansfield Power Plant that claimed the lives of two workers who were exposed to hydrogen sulfide gas. A spokesperson for FirstEnergy, the owner, stated that the plant posed no threat to the public. That statement is not completely true. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Bruce Mansfield Power Plant (Post-Gazette image)

¶ “Good news! Energy demand will peak for the first time in human history” • Global energy demand will plateau from 2030, oil demand will flatten from 2020 and then decline significantly, the shift to renewable energy will be quicker and more massive than most people realize, according to findings of DNV GL’s Energy Transition Outlook. [HuffPost]

¶ “Nationals demand “coal target” as energy politics spirals into loony fog” • It seems unbelievable, but the politics of energy just got worse. A week that began with a bizarre push save the life of a decrepit, 50-year-old coal-burning power plant, finished with the Nationals demanding that subsidies intended for renewable energy go to coal instead. [RenewEconomy]

Clean coal

¶ “Plastics Have Become The Bane Of All Humanity” • From a golden age where plastics made anything possible, the world has descended into a living hell of plastic detritus that has totally infiltrated the earth and its oceans. A study by Orb Media shows that 83% of the earth’s population is drinking water contaminated by plastic particles. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ China, the world’s biggest car market, plans to ban the production and sale of diesel and petrol cars and vans. The country’s vice minister of industry said it had started “relevant research” but that it had not yet decided when the ban would come into force. China made 28 million cars last year, almost a third of the global total. [BBC]

Chinese traffic (Getty Images)

¶ Sales numbers from August show that nearly 2% (1.88% to be exact) of new vehicle sales in Germany were plug-in vehicles, with fully electric vehicles up 137%. That’s a higher percentage share of new vehicle sales than in the United States. The data show that diesel continues to lose share as electric and plug-in vehicle sales rise. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Energy from offshore wind in the UK will be cheaper than electricity from new nuclear power for the first time. That development, revealed in government figures, has been seen as a milestone in the advance of renewable energy. The plummeting cost of offshore wind energy has caught even its most optimistic supporters by surprise. [BBC]

Burbo Bank wind farm (Getty Images)

¶ Surging prices for grid-supplied electricity have placed considerable pressure on Australian businesses, particularly in sectors such as retail and commercial property. Large shopping centers, other businesses, and the communities around them have a desire to reduce their carbon footprint with renewable energy. [EcoGeneration]

¶ Offshore wind is now cheaper than nuclear and gas in the UK. The second Contracts for Difference subsidy auction that saw two developers win the rights to build offshore wind farms for just £57.50/MWh ($75.83/MWh). This compares to the rate of £92.50/MWh agreed for the nuclear power station at Hinkley Point. [pv magazine International]

Growing renewable sources

¶ The Turnbull government is under renewed pressure from some conservative MPs to use the $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility to help bankroll either a new coal-fired power plant or upgrades for existing coal-fired power stations. There is also speculation about a rail line for another mining project. [The Australian Financial Review]

¶ Wind power has set a new Scottish national record, generating enough electricity to serve as many as nine out of ten homes in the country. Turbines generated 846,942 MWh of electricity to the national grid last month. The new stats from WWF Scotland and WeatherEnergy say the wind provided 48% of all Scottish electricity needs for the month. [The Scottish Sun]

Wind farm

US:

¶ Candy giant Mars is investing $1 billion to tackle emissions across supply chain. The company has previously taken steps to become more sustainable. Wind farms in Texas and Scotland already generate enough to power USA and UK Mars operations. The new investments are in renewable energy, the food-supply chain, and farming. [HiTechFacts]

¶ As Hurricane Irma swept through South Florida, power utility officials warned Sunday that restoring electricity to more than 2 million homes and businesses will be a slow, dangerous, and time-consuming process. A Florida Power & Light spokesman said  that he expects full power restoration after the storm to take “multi-weeks.” [The Recorder]

Boynton Beach (Jim Rassol | South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

¶ With Kentucky lagging behind most states in the production of sustainable energy, the Sierra Club is making a push at the community level to spike interest in solar and other renewable sources. According to the US DOE, 2.35% of the energy produced in Kentucky comes from renewables. By comparison, it is 42% in neighboring Missouri. [Public News Service]

¶ The Sierra Club is pushing Durango, Colorado to commit to 100% locally produced, renewable electricity by 2050. The goal no longer seems so far-fetched. Major utilities are rapidly investing in renewables because of tumbling prices for wind and solar. And the Xcel-owned local utility wants to close two coal-burning power plants. [Mountain Town News]

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