September 29 Energy News

September 29, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “4 Utilities Betting Billions on Renewable Energy” • Utilities will soon be facing more disruption than they have ever seen. Customers are switching to solar and storage. The wholesale power markets being disrupted by new technology. To adapt, utilities are spending billions to build or buy renewable energy power plants. [Motley Fool]

Solar panels at dusk (Photo: Getty Images)

¶ “Trump officials have no clue how to rebuild Puerto Rico’s grid. But we do.” • Microgrids built around cheap renewable power and battery storage are now the fastest and cheapest way to restore power, and they build resilience. Energy Secretary Rick Perry is proposing small modular nuclear reactors, which might come in the mid 2020s. [RenewEconomy]

¶ “Smoke, mirrors and coal dust” • Something akin to a poor magic show is going on in Eurelectric with their latest attempt to show that handing over taxpayer money for decades to keep the European coal sector on its feet is in fact the best way to support the decarbonisation of European electricity, with no increase in emissions. [EURACTIV]

Ember (Shutterstock image)

Science and Technology:

¶ The National Weather Service reported on the heat wave in the Midwest and Northeast, calling it “the only occurrence on record of 7+ consecutive 90°[F] days entirely within September” on record. It may have happened because the behavior of the jet stream was impacted by climate change, causing increasing numbers of long-lasting events. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Major countries – like China, India, France, the UK, and even the state of California – are talking about banning all cars with internal combustion engines. Now, Silicon Valley has spawned another startup, Impossible Foods, that wants to eliminate all animal-based food products by 2035. And its reasons to do so are much the same. [CleanTechnica]

Impossible foods

World:

¶ Around a third of all iron ore mining licenses in China are to be cancelled as part of a bid to reduce associated emissions, and thus to reduce levels of the country’s deadly air pollution, an official from China’s mining association has announced. Most of the cancellations relate to small, relatively heavily polluting mines. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Scotland’s renewable energy generation was 17% higher in the first half of 2017 than the same period last year and is on course for a record year for clean power, according to UK government figures. The data show that renewables delivered the equivalent of 54% of Scotland’s gross electricity consumption in 2016, the Scottish government said. [reNews]

The Harestanes wind farm in Scotland (Iberdrola image)

¶ Tesla chief executive Elon Musk, visiting South Australia for a space conference, owed to install a huge battery within 100 days of signing a grid connection agreement or give it to the state for free. South Australia’s Energy Minister said that construction at the site is already well underway, and the batteries are on track to be operational by December 1. [CNBC]

¶ A Domino’s Pizza franchise in the western Sydney suburb of Plumpton has laid claim to the world’s largest commercial Tesla Powerwall 2 battery storage system, after installing 10 of the US company’s 13.5-kWh units – and not to store rooftop solar power, but to get around the expense of fixing an existing network supply problem. [One Step Off The Grid]

Domino’s Pizza and Tesla batteries

¶ Contaminated water may have leaked from the disaster-struck Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant since as early as April, the owner said. According to TEPCO, it is still unknown whether radiation-contaminated water actually leaked from damaged reactor buildings, because of a problem with monitoring equipment. [Japan Today]

¶ Coal is on the way out years ahead of schedule in China and India. A report by CoalSwarm (an Earth Island Project), Sierra Club, and Greenpeace showed that, in 2016, that Asia’s two fastest growing economies are closing mines, scrapping coal plant plans, and building renewables far faster than nearly anyone had expected. [Earth Island Journal]

Coal barge in Indonesia (Photo: Andrew Taylor | WDM)

US:

¶ New York-based Consolidated Edison continues to expand its use of clean energy. It plans to invest $1.25 billion in renewable energy sources over the next three years. The company, which provides energy for New York City and areas of the states of New York and New Jersey, has invested $3 billion in renewable energy in recent years. [Daily Energy Insider]

¶ New Jersey can have renewable energy produce a third of its electricity by 2030 while keeping energy costs stable, a report commissioned by the New Jersey Conservation Foundation said. By aggressively increasing renewable energy and efforts to reduce energy use, the state can cut carbon dioxide emissions from its power sector in half. [NJ Spotlight]

Maintenance vessel (Photo: Arnold Price, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Tampa Electric Co is making a major commitment to solar energy, pledging to build 600 MW of solar energy capacity, enough to power 100,000 homes, by 2021. Other major Florida utilities are also pushing for solar. Duke Energy Florida is adding 700 MW in four years, and Florida Power & Light is adding 2,100 megawatts by 2023. [TBO.com]

¶ The planned closure of the Palisades nuclear power plant in Michigan will be delayed until spring of 2022, Entergy Corp said. This came after the Michigan Public Service Commission said that Consumers Energy could opt out of buying power from the plant but couldn’t recover all of the $172 million requested as part of the deal. [The Detroit News]

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