September 28 Energy News

September 28, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “The most effective clean energy policy gets the least love” • Though they aren’t as sexy as perpetually-discussed-but-rarely-passed carbon taxes, and they are flawed and insufficient in a number of ways, renewable portfolio standards have been the quiet workhorses of renewable energy deployment in the United States. [Vox]

Renewable energy (Shutterstock image)

¶ “US Courts Taking Climate Change Seriously” • Hallelujah! The judicial branch of the federal government is finally getting serious about climate science. No longer can the executive branch and the legislative branches cave in to pressure to avoid the inconvenient truth that climate change adaptations will be hugely expensive. [Hartford Courant]

World:

¶ Major European carrier EasyJet announced that it is teaming up with US startup Wright Electric to build an all-electric airliner. The aircraft they have in mind would handle short routes of 335 miles or less – think New York to Boston or London to Paris. EasyJet said the new aircraft would cover 20% of its passenger journeys. [CNN]

Rendering of an all-electric airliner

¶ The first utility-scale solar power facility in Egypt will be built by General Electric Power Conversion. The GE subsidiary will provide both equipment, including 1,500-volt inverters, and the financing. The 50-MW solar project will generate enough power for up to 15,000 homes. Egypt has developed a new government-sponsored feed-in tariff policy. [CleanTechnica]

¶ New South Wales is getting a fifth of the its electric power from renewable sources. The latest figures obtained by the ABC show that the state’s electricity mix includes 19.6% from hydro, solar, wind, bioenergy, and small hydro. Coal-fired power generation now accounts for 75.8% of the state’s electricity, with natural gas providing 4.6%. [ABC Online]

Solar panels in New South Wales (Repositpower image)

¶ An executive of one the top mining firms in the world, BHP, was quoted as saying that 2017 represented the “tipping point” for electric vehicle adoption. He said the first impacts of the expected mainstream embrace of electric vehicles would be observed in the metals market, with impacts to the oil market only being observed much later. [CleanTechnica]

¶ France plans to increase carbon taxes to boost support for renewable energy, the government said, and it will repay a longstanding renewables-related debt to utility EDF. The 2018 draft budget sets higher carbon taxes on fossil fuel, part of a tax on transport and heating fuels paid by all consumers, with exemptions for corporations. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Windpower

¶ France has launched what it is calling its “Great Investment Plan 2018-22.” The €57 billion plan will include €20 billion for its energy transition plan, which has three components: €9 billion for energy efficiency measures, €7 billion for renewable power sources, and €4 billion to expedite the switch to electric vehicles. [CleanTechnica]

US:

¶ Extreme weather, made worse by climate change, along with the health impacts of burning fossil fuels, has cost the US economy at least $240 billion a year over the past ten years, a report found. This does not include the recent three major hurricanes or 76 wildfires in Western states, which are estimated to cost over $300 billion. [National Geographic]

Hurricane debris (Luke Sharrett, Bloomberg, via Getty Images)

¶ California may join the growing list of places where vehicles powered by internal combustion engines will soon no longer be welcome. China is an important model for the idea, as it has the largest new car market in the world. But France, the UK, and India are also banning cars powered by internal combustion engines. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Regulators in the state of Washington have denied a permit to Millennium Bulk Terminals for a coal export facility located on the Columbia River in the town of Longview, about two and a half hours north of Portland, Oregon. The decision was based on an environmental impact study by the Washington Department of Ecology. [CleanTechnica]

Coal train (Source: Think Progress)

¶ MidAmerican Energy Co is upgrading hundreds of wind turbines in Iowa. GE is retrofitting older wind turbines with newer, more efficient components, such as longer blades. The upgrades move MidAmerican Energy closer to its vision of providing renewable energy equal to 100% of its customers’ annual energy use. [North American Windpower]

¶ Philadelphia officials unveiled a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions from buildings, reduce energy use from the built environment and use 100% renewable energy for city properties by 2030. The goals are part of the new Municipal Energy Master Plan which aims to help the city meet the goals of the Paris Climate Accord. [StateImpact Pennsylvania]

Installing a solar system (Photo: Emma Lee | WHYY)

¶ Thermal power plants, including all those that have coal, natural gas, or nuclear reactors heating water in boilers, require cooling, often from water. Research published in Nature Scientific Reports found that by the 2030s, about 27% of the US power production will be severely impacted by droughts and warmer, scarcer water. [Tech Xplore]

¶ Westinghouse Electric has asked a New York bankruptcy court to stop Georgia Power from terminating Westinghouse’s contract to continue construction of two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle. Georgia Power has said Westinghouse’s bankruptcy filing showed it had abandoned the Vogtle project, voiding its contract. [POWER magazine]

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