September 16 Energy News

September 16, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Yes, climate change made Harvey and Irma worse” • Warm water feeds energy to hurricanes, increasing their intensity, and oceans have warmed on an average 1° to 3° F over the last 100 years. Sea levels have risen about 7 inches in that time. Throw in compound flooding from seal level rise and storm surge, and you have a perfect mix for record flooding. [CNN]

Flooding after Irma

¶ “Sachs: Big Oil will have to pay up, like Big Tobacco” • Here is a message to investors in the oil industry, whether pension and insurance funds, university endowments, hedge funds or other asset managers: Your investments are going to sour. The growing devastation caused by climate change is going to blow a hole in your fossil-fuel portfolio. [CNN]

¶ “What can Kodiak teach the world about renewable energy? A lot.” • Since 2007, Kodiak Island has transformed its grid so that it now generates almost 100% of its power with renewable energy. The electric rates are stable and have actually dropped slightly since 2000. It is a model with lessons for remote communities from the Arctic to the equator. [KTOO]

Kodiak Island wind turbines (Eric Keto | Alaska’s Energy Desk)

Science and Technology:

¶ MetStat is a company that provides analysis on precipitation and weather event frequency to industries like utility companies that need to know where to put their infrastructure so it won’t be damaged by extreme weather events. It has now released an analysis of Hurricane Harvey. It found that the storm was a once in 25,000 year event. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ In Araria, a rural district in eastern India, this monsoon season has been unlike any other. A flash flood swept away houses, collapsed bridges, swamped farmland, and killed at least 57 people. Power to parts of Araria was cut off for days or weeks. But thanks to the power of the sun, some villagers managed to keep their lights on. [CleanTechnica]

Though flooded, DESI Power had electricity. (DESI Power image)

¶ New nuclear power stations may not be the best option for keeping Britain’s lights on and meeting the country’s carbon targets, according to Liberal Democrats. They have concerns over nuclear’s cost and the risks it would not be delivered on time. This comes just days after windfarms secured state support at a record low cost. [The Guardian]

¶ Finnish engineering services company Neste has collaborated with Switzerland’s Genève Aéroport to support the use of sustainable and renewable jet fuel for aircraft operations from Geneva International Airport. The airport intends to use increasing amounts of renewable jet to reduce carbon emissions, starting late next year. [Airport Technology]

Geneva International Airport (Neste photo)

US:

¶ A report from Carbon Tracker concluded that phasing out unprofitable coal plants in the United States could end up saving consumers $10 billion per year by 2021, while boosting the country’s competitiveness. It said that by the mid-2020s it will be cheaper to replace 78% of the existing coal power plants in the US than keep them running. [CleanTechnica]

¶ For over a decade, plans have been underway to expand the coal-fired electrical generating station in Holcomb, Kansas, owned by Sunflower Electric Power. Now, it appears those plans are being taken off the table. The reason is simple. Compared to wind power, the price building and feeding more coal-fired generating facilities is too high. [CleanTechnica]

Please click on the image to enlarge it.

¶ Hurricane Irma cut the power to about 6.7 million customers across Florida, and though about two-thirds of them had power back by Thursday, the outages could last weeks in some areas. Some homeowners, some businesses, and even some cities were able to take advantage of the Sunshine State’s solar power while the grid was down. [InsideClimate News]

¶ Somerset Operating Company announced plans to construct one of New York’s largest solar farms at the site of its coal-burning power plant. If the plans go forward, Somerset Solar, will generate 18 MW, the power demands of about 3,100 homes, the company said. The project cost is estimated at $25 million. [Lockport Union-Sun & Journal]

Somerset Operating Company coal-burning plant (Joed Viera)

¶ Sources say the Trump administration is starting to accept arguments from industry and business groups that some limits on carbon emissions from power plants may be a good idea. It is planning to pursue a less ambitious, more industry-friendly climate change rule for coal-fired power plants as it works to scrap the Clean Power Plan. [The Hill]

¶ According to a press release from the Salt Lake City mayor’s office, investment in solar power on seven separate municipal facilities, including five fire stations, brings the city’s total for sites with solar energy to 14. The city government is getting roughly 12% of the annual electricity needs for its facilities met by solar energy. [Solar Industry]

Solar system on the roof of a Salt Lake City fire station

¶ For at least two years before work at VC Summer was abandoned, its owners had a secret report showing the nuclear reactors could not be completed as planned, an attorney for a legislative panel said. Essentially, the report says “this wasn’t going to work. … If things don’t change dramatically, you’ll never finish these projects.” [The Augusta Chronicle]

¶ Unwilling to allow a nuclear plant in Connecticut to close, the state Senate passed legislation that asks energy regulators to examine the Millstone facility and determine if it’s necessary to give them the power to bid on energy contracts. The bill passed 23-8 with five members not voting, but its fate in the House is an unknown. [CT News Junkie]

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