September 30 Energy News

September 30, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “A Call For Help For Puerto Rico” • Since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico on September 20, the island is entirely without grid power. It faces the prospect of remaining without grid power for months. It is appalling that citizens of the US are so exposed to hardship. But we could crowdfund microgrids in large numbers and get them up quickly. [CleanTechnica]

Old San Juan in better days (flickr image, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Trump’s Plan to Prop Up Coal and Nukes Would Drive Up Utility Bills” • Energy Secretary Rick Perry is urging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to issue new rules to force regional electricity suppliers to pay premium prices for coal and nuclear power. This would drive up our monthly electricity bills. [Environmental Working Group]

Science and Technology:

¶ Researchers in Japan are working to create a strong material out of wood pulp that could replace steel parts in vehicles within a decade. Work is also charging ahead in the country to develop plastics that can withstand high temperatures, to replace metal for parts near the engine. These innovations are part of a wider industry push to make cars lighter. [BBC]

Replica Citroen 2CV crafted out of fruitwood (Getty Images)

World:

¶ European governments and the European Union itself are together handing out more than €112 billion a year in fossil fuel subsidies, with almost all of it going towards the transport sector, according to a report published by the Overseas Development Institute and Climate Action Network that details all subsidies for the first time. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Siemens Gamesa is to supply 4.2 MW turbines to the 96.6-MW Sorfjord wind farm in the far north of Norway. A total of 23 SWT-DD-130 machines will feature at the project, which is being built by Fortum. The deal includes a five-year service package and hardware will include the so-called OptimaFlex optimisation kit. [reNews]

Siemens Gamesa turbines (Siemens Gamesa image)

¶ The European Commission has approved four schemes to support onshore wind and solar on buildings and on the ground in France under EU state aid rules. The schemes will allow France to develop over 7 GW in renewable energy. France has a target of producing 23% of its energy needs from renewable sources in 2020. [EU News]

¶ Thai BCPG Pcl, the renewables arm of oil and gas company Bangchak Corporation, said  that its energy generation capacity under commercial operation rose by 94% to 394 MW in the year to date. New capacity includes a 9-MW Thai solar farm, a 20-MW Philippine wind farm, and a 182-MW geothermal power plant in Indonesia. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Wind farm

¶ Nuclear power is emerging as a key policy issue ahead of Japan’s Lower House election, with Tokyo Gov Yuriko Koike saying her new party will aim to phase it out. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his ruling Liberal Democratic Party view nuclear power as a stable source of energy and want to restart more of Japan’s idled reactors. [The Japan Times]

US:

¶ The diesel emissions cheating scandal in the US will cost Volkswagen an extra $3 billion because engines are proving “far more technically complex and time consuming” to adapt, the company said. The additional cost for fixing engines takes the total bill to $30 billion. VW is still struggling to put the two-year old crisis behind it. [BBC]

Cars VW repurchased because of the scandal (Photo: AFP/Getty)

¶ In a blatant money-grab for the coal industry, Rick Perry’s Energy Department is pushing for direct subsidies to dirty, un-economical coal-fired power plants. So much for “The government shouldn’t pick winners and losers.” So much for “Let market forces decide.” According to Rick Perry, dirty plants are needed as for “security.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ A new study commissioned by the New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium concludes the largest city in the US has a near-term opportunity to clean up its electric grid by replacing older steam generation units with batteries. About 2,860 MW of older steam and combustion turbines, are nearing retirement age. [Utility Dive]

Battery system (Convergent image)

¶ Car and energy company Tesla, striving for a world in which renewables play a more prominent role, is eyeing an expansion into storm-ravaged islands of the Caribbean. Hurricanes Irma and Maria wrought destruction on electric grids in the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. More resilient renewable grids could replace them. [Florida Today]

¶ Pattern Energy Group has reported “no material damage” to its wind farms in Texas or Puerto Rico as a result of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, or Maria. However, it expects production in the third quarter of 2017 to below the long-term average, because of the weather conditions. The hurricanes made it necessary to evacuate wind farm employees. [reNews]

Gulf wind farm (Pattern image)

¶ The 2,250-MW coal-fired Navajo Generating Station in Arizona is set to shut down in 2019 unless a new owner can be found. The deadline for interested buyers is Sunday. The utility and other owners voted this year to shutter the plant, but Peabody Energy, the owner of the coal mine that feeds the power plant is looking for buyers. [Gillette News Record]

¶ The US DOE said it has offered conditional loan guarantees worth $3.7 billion to help save efforts to build two nuclear reactors in Georgia, bringing the total federal backing for the delayed and over-budget project to $12 billion. The guarantees will go to three of the four owners of the plan to add two 1,150-MW reactors at the Vogtle site in Georgia. [Platts]

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