Archive for October, 2017

October 31 Energy News

October 31, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Trump Admin. Desperate To Keep Coal Power Plant Alive With Taxpayer Dollars” • Trump supporters have repeated often, “government shouldn’t be picking winners and losers.” Now, the administration is trying to prop up the Navajo Generating Station in Arizona with taxpayer dollars, perfectly illustrating the depth of the lie. [CleanTechnica]

Navajo Generating Station

¶ “Why More Flexible Operation Won’t Save US Nuclear Power Plants” • Flexible nuclear operation is happening in Europe. But for nuclear plants that depend purely on power sales, as is the case with US merchant plants, operating flexibly just reduces the total amount of energy sold, and thereby reduces the profits. [Greentech Media]

¶ “If we don’t talk about water, are we really talking about resiliency?” • Depending on the type of technology, generating just one megawatt-hour of electricity could use anywhere from 500 to 50,000 gallons of water. Solar and wind, on the other hand, use negligible amounts of water, and energy efficiency uses none. [Environmental Defense Fund]

Sunset, water, and power lines (pixabay)

¶ “Wine Country post-fire rebuilding offers an opportunity for microgrids” • Electric lines are notoriously vulnerable to a variety of hazards, and may even have caused the recent fires. It is time to think about replacing some of our centralized electrical system with decentralized “microgrids,”  and without utility poles. [San Francisco Chronicle]

Science and Technology:

¶ Concentrations of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere surged to a record high in 2016, according to the World Meteorological Organization. Last year’s increase was 50% higher than the average of the past 10 years. Researchers say a combination of human activities and El Niño drove CO2 to a level not seen in 800,000 years. [BBC News]

Emissions (Getty Images)

World:

¶ Climate change is already affecting the health of populations around the world, but things are set to get worse if adequate changes are not made. Fueling the impact is the fact that more than 2,100 cities globally exceed recommended levels of atmospheric particulate matter, a report published in the medical journal The Lancet says. [CNN]

¶ A poor country in the Caribbean did a good deal better than Florida with Hurricane Irma. In fact, as far as hurricane preparedness goes, the Dominican Republic beat the US hands down. After losing many power lines and over 40% of their generating capacity, the grid was still operating, partly thanks to two backup battery systems. [CleanTechnica]

Storm in the Dominican Republic
(Photo: MIGUEL montojo Wikimedia Commons)

¶ London’s long awaited “T-Charge” went into effect in the city last week, effectively limiting access to central London by those driving the oldest and most heavily polluting vehicles still on the road (those not meeting Euro 4 standards). Such vehicles must now pay a £10 daily tax. The city will increasingly restrict such cars in the future. [CleanTechnica]

¶ British solar developer Lightsource Renewable Energy and Australian bank Macquarie will jointly fund development of large solar power projects in India, the bank said. Macquarie’s UK Climate Investments will provide 49% of the equity for the first project, Lightsource’s 60-MW solar project in the Indian state of Maharashtra. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Solar system in Asia

¶ United Breweries Limited has joined hands with CleanMax Solar to adopt large-scale rooftop and ground mounted solar power for ten of their breweries across India. With a total solar capacity of 4 MW peak across six large facilities in the first phase, the initiative will reduce United Breweries’ carbon footprint and save electricity costs. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ Salmon are leaping in a scenic Perthshire river for the first time in nearly 70 years after pioneering work was carried out to restore flow cut off by a hydro-electric scheme. A 10-mile stretch of the River Garry, which had been dry since the mid-1950s, is now running with water, promising major benefits for local salmon populations. [The Scotsman]

River Garry (Photo: Sarah Charlesworth, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ In mid-December, National Grid Plc will start an automated trading system that pays hospitals and research facilities at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus to sell electricity from their onsite solar panels, batteries, and other generators to doctors’ offices and businesses, the first power market ever designed within a single utility service area. [Bloomberg]

¶ New Mexico’s largest electric provider put out a request for proposals for hundreds of megawatts of power to fill a future void it plans to wean itself from coal-fired generation over the next several years. Public Service Co of New Mexico plans to close two units at the San Juan Generating Station before the end of the year. [Power Engineering Magazine]

San Juan Generating Station

¶ The loss of 2,000 MW of power resulting from the shutdown of the Indian Point nuclear plant will be filled by natural gas until renewable sources like solar and wind power become more readily available, experts at an Iona College conference said. The event was sponsored by the pro-natural gas Empire Energy Forum. [The Journal News | LoHud.com]

¶ Entergy Arkansas completed the state’s largest solar energy project near Stuttgart in partnership with NextEra Energy Solutions of Florida. Now it hopes to top itself with an even bigger solar facility near Lake Village. Entergy filed documents with the Arkansas Public Service Commission seeking approval for a 100-MW project. [Arkansas Business Online]

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October 30 Energy News

October 30, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “A sustainable energy future is within our grasp … if we take action now” • The world is in a major energy transition, underpinned by renewable energy. A new study from the International Renewable Energy Agency finds that an energy transition in line with Paris Agreement is both technically feasible and economically attractive. [The National]

Shams 1 power station (Christopher Pike | The National)

¶ “Productivity Commission pulls no punches on ‘appalling’ energy crisis, calls for carbon price” • The Productivity Commission report contains some blunt assessments on the nature of Australia’s energy problems and how to fix them. Dealing a blow to the Coalition, the primary recommendation is to adopt a carbon price. [ABC Online]

Science and Technology:

¶ With the tale the Three Little Pigs embedded in our psyches since childhood, we can’t help but think of a straw house as a flimsy thing, just waiting to be blown away by a big, bad wolf. But straw dwellers know better, and given that there are no wolves at our doors, there are many good reasons to build with straw. Here are a few. [New Atlas]

Straw-bale house (Photo: Six B Design)

World:

¶ International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, said it completed a $653 million debt package to finance building 13 solar power plants near Aswan in Egypt, planned to be part of the largest solar park in the world. The Nubian Suns Feed-in-Tariff Financing Program is to generate up to 752 MW of solar power. [Reuters Africa]

¶ Research by UK renewable energy company Pure Planet shows that 50% of people currently with the biggest energy suppliers say they want out after a year of price hikes. The news comes after all six of the UK energy giants, British Gas, SSE, NPower, Scottish Power, E.On, and EDF, raised prices in the past year despite falling production costs. [The Sun]

Transmission lines (PA image)

¶ Elon Musk said he cannot believe the mess Australia finds itself, in regard to its power supply problems. He is building the world’s largest lithium-ion battery to secure South Australia’s power supply. But he had no idea of the firestorm of how to power Australia, he had walked into. He warned that the choice is to move to renewables or collapse. [Gatton Star]

¶ Because of the energy crisis, record numbers of Australian families are on hardship plans or deferred payments, and the rate of disconnections in most states is up sharply. Many people tailor their lives around trying to afford their next electricity bill. Elon Musk has pointed out the cost advantages of renewable energy in Australia. [9news.com.au]

Wind farm in Queensland (Leonard Low, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ UK billionaire Sanjeev Gupta is leveraging an investment in Australian renewable energy and storage company Zen Energy. It is planning 1 GW of dispatchable renewable capacity in South Australia. This will be based around up to 680 MW of solar capacity, a 100-MW/100-MWh battery at Port Augusta, and other resources. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Vattenfall is to invest more than €200 million ($2.33 million) in an onshore wind project in the Netherlands. The firm plans to repower and expand the Wieringermeer wind farm, replacing older wind turbines with the latest technology, to a capacity of 180 MW and combine it with an adjacent 115-MW wind farm extension. [Energy Live News]

Vattenfall wind project (Vattenfall image)

¶ EDF’s departing UK chief executive indicated that first power from the Sizewell C nuclear plant in Suffolk should come by 2031. It is a sister project to Hinkley Point C in Somerset, which is due to start producing electricity by the end of 2025, although EDF has warned that the £20 billion project could be delayed until early 2027. [The Times]

US:

¶ OhmConnect aggregates a network of residential subscribers across the territories of California’s three major utilities: Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric. When demand is high and peaking plants could come online, a text message is sent, and subscribers who cut their loads earn money. [InsideClimate News]

California power plant (Photo: David Monniaux | CC-BY-SA-2.0)

¶ Lancaster, California, had a 17% jobless rate and a housing market dominated by foreclosures when its Republican mayor met with a tech innovator planning a solar thermal plant. The mayor, seeing a way to bring jobs to town, read everything he could about renewable energy. What he learned about climate change terrified him. [HuffPost]

¶ French renewable power producer Akuo Energy said it has completed construction of the 150-MW Rocksprings wind farm in Texas. The works took nine months, in line with the project’s schedule. The plant in Val Verde County uses 53 units of 2.3-MW wind turbines and 16 units of 1.72-MW machines supplied by General Electric. [Renewables Now]

How can I help the people of Puerto Rico? One way is
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October 29 Energy News

October 29, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Rise of renewables a growing challenge to natural gas” • Even though natural gas demand is forecast to continue its ascendancy over the next 20 to 30 years, supported by low cost and the drive for cleaner fuels, new evidence shows that it faces challenges from fast growth of renewables and stubbornly remaining coal, particularly in Asia. [Cyprus Mail]

Growing renewable generation

¶ “How Fossil Fuel Allies Are Tearing Apart Ohio’s Embrace of Clean Energy” • As fossil fuel interests mobilized at the national level to fight proposals to mitigate climate change that threaten their profits, they made Ohio a priority for fighting clean energy policy at the state level. Now, they are getting laws passed that benefit only themselves. [InsideClimate News]

¶ “Communities in Illinois can take lead against climate change” Chicago, Elgin, Evanston, Highland Park, and other Illinois municipalities have pledged to fill the void left by  Trump and seize opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas pollution. For both environmental and economic reasons, now is the time for them to act. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Crawford power plant in Chicago, the last coal-burning power
plant in a major US city (Photo by Scott Olson | Getty Images)

Science and Technology:

¶ Historically, nearly all of the world’s power has either been used as quickly as it is made or wasted. But climate change has made governments interested in renewable energy and storage. The economics of adding storage to a grid or wind farm are increasingly making more sense. Here is a list of important storage technologies. [Ars Technica]

World:

¶ China is getting serious about pollution. Up to 40% of its factories have recently been closed at least temporarily as the country has struggled to meet its year-end pollution reduction goals, sources say. Officials from more than 80,000 factories have been charged with criminal offences relating to emissions over the past year. [CleanTechnica]

Factory in China (Photo: High Contrast, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ British billionaire Richard Branson plans to lead a post-hurricane rebuilding effort in the Caribbean, with a focus on clean energy projects. The effort focuses on “a green energy revolution” to make area economies more sustainable, he said. But it may also include debt relief negotiations mediated by the International Monetary Fund. [Times LIVE]

¶ Norway is the top country in the world as regards market share for plug-in vehicles (by far). In the first 9 months of 2017, electric vehicles captured a 32% market share, as compared to a 24% share in 2016. For comparison, #2 was Iceland at 8%, #3 was Sweden at 4%. China was at 1.6% and the US at 1.1%, according to world sales tracker EV Volumes. [CleanTechnica]

Street in Oslo (Photo: Bjørn Erik Pedersen, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ France will detail at the end of 2018 how many nuclear reactors will close to meet a target on reducing atomic energy, French Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot said. France aims to cut the share of atomic energy in power generation to 50% by 2025 from 75% now. The nuclear sector currently supports about 220,000 jobs, directly and indirectly. [Sky News Australia]

US:

¶ At the ninth annual NH Local Energy Solutions Conference, a large number of people attended a session on remaking the power grid. The future of the grid is drawing increasing interest because the growth of renewable energy sources and online devices has upended the business model used by regulated electric utilities. [Concord Monitor]

Grid infrastructure (Don Bartletti | Los Angeles Times | TNS)

¶ Hydropower is making a comeback in Northwest Colorado. A push by the state to develop small hydro projects resulted in new state policies in 2007, but it was insufficient in the face of federal regulations. Then Congress passed the Small Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act in 2013, to simplify the permitting process. [Craig Daily Press]

¶ Across the US, the year’s first freeze has been arriving further and further into the calendar, according to more than a century of measurements from weather stations nationwide. Scientists say it is yet another sign of the changing climate, with both good and bad consequences, more fruits and vegetables, but also more allergies and pests. [The Olympian]

Fall colors in Pennsylvania (David Mckeown | AP)

¶ More US organizations, including Adobe, CVS Health, Gap, Nike, and Merck, are taking climate change seriously and have committed to emissions reduction targets in line with the Paris Agreement, according to Picking up the pace: tracking progress on corporate climate action, by CDP, a nonprofit global environmental disclosure platform. [Chief Executive Group]

¶ Findings of the Risky Business Project, run by a broad group of US business leaders, is that climate change poses tremendous risk to American agriculture, business, and citizens. The solution is to adapt rapidly and transition to a low-carbon, clean-energy economy that also would boost both jobs and the economy. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

How can I help the people of Puerto Rico? One way is
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October 28 Energy News

October 28, 2017

World:

¶ Spanish utility Iberdrola has completed the installation of 70 wind turbines at the 350-MW Wikinger offshore wind farm in the German area of the Baltic Sea. The wind farm is a flagship offshore wind project for Iberdrola, which committed €1.4 billion ($1.63 billion) to the project. It is off the coast of the German island of Rügen. [CleanTechnica]

Installing the nacelle of a wind turbine

¶ European solar industry association SolarPower Europe has published its latest market analysis for annual global solar power demand. It projects that the solar market demand will reach 100 GW for the first time ever this year. This is a 30% growth from solar demand levels of 2016, when 76.6 GW was connected to electricity grids. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The C40 Fossil-Fuel-Free Streets Declaration was signed by the mayors of twelve of the world’s largest, most economically important cities, paving the way for the cities in question to transition completely away from internal combustion engine vehicles and to create zero-emissions areas in their cities by 2030. [CleanTechnica]

Boris Johnson’s cycle superhighway in London

¶ A paper published in the journal Environmental Research Letters confirms that significant sea level rise is inevitable, requiring humans to adapt rapidly. But the study reveals the majority of that much of the rise could be avoided if the world meets the commitment made in Paris to keep global warming to “well below 2°C.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ German company Max Bogl is claiming to have the world’s tallest wind turbine, sited near Stuttgart. The Gaildorf complex, which features pumped storage hydro technology, has a GE 3.4-MW machine with a 178-meter hub height sitting atop a 40-meter water reservoir. The total height of the system is 246.5 meters (809 feet). [reNews]

Max Bogl wind turbine installation (Max Bogl image)

¶ Belgian developers InControl and Otary have reached agreement with government ministers over offshore wind supports, clearing the way for construction of three projects totaling 770 MW. The wind farms will receive €79 per MWh (9.17¢/kWh) for roughly 16 years, said the government, saving some €3.9 billion over their lifetimes. [reNews]

¶ Jordan’s Ministry of Water and Irrigation is scheduled to reduce its energy use by half in early 2019. It constitutes 14% of the country’s total energy consumption, according to officials. Under the 10-million-dollar project, the pumps and electric equipment at the stations will be replaced with energy-efficient systems. [ZAWYA]

Distributing water in a refugee camp (Ammar Awad | Reuters)

¶ South Africa can not afford a major nuclear program for lack of money, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said, as concerns mounted over the country’s pursuit of nuclear energy. A major nuclear program would be out of the question for at least the next five years, he told a gathering of business people and journalists in Cape Town. [Coastweek]

US:

¶ In a state that still gets nearly 80% of its electricity from coal, the city of St Louis is charting a course to use entirely clean energy by 2035. The city Board of Aldermen unanimously passed a resolution calling for promoting greater energy efficiency measures and transitioning to wind and solar energy, for 100% carbon-free energy. [STLtoday.com]

St Louis (Photo: Becherka, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Help from Vermont is going to Puerto Rico. Joseph Mangum, of Sunnyside Solar in West Brattleboro, is heading to Puerto Rico with five solar systems for towns in the island’s interior. The systems were partly paid for by the first $5,000 of a $20,000 gofundme campaign. He is also taking food, water purification systems, and seeds. [Green Energy Times]

How can I help the people of Puerto Rico? One way is
to donate at [Sunnyside Solar’s crowdfunding website].

¶ More than 200,000 black glass panels stretch across former farmland in southern Fauquier County, Virginia. The $46 million development stands on 125 acres that Dominion owns east of Remington. Because Dominion owned the property and transmission lines near Remington, it proved to be the perfect spot. [Fauquier Now]

Dominion solar farm (Dominion image)

¶ On Monday and Tuesday, the wind blew hard enough for wind turbines to meet all of the electricity needs of MidAmerican’s customers in Iowa, a spokesperson said. MidAmerican’s goal is to produce 100% of its power with renewable resources, and it has been investing in windpower. There are 670,000 MidAmerican electric customers in Iowa. [KCCI Des Moines]

¶ The Trump administration may try to prop up coal companies at the expense of renewable energy, but it faces increasing headwinds from market forces. Data from the Bureau of Labor statistics shows that jobs in solar and wind are projected to grow fastest over the coming decade. Demand is expected to double for some renewable industry jobs. [CBS News]

Wind turbine technician (Photo: energy.gov | flickr)

¶ New York Gov Andrew M Cuomo announced that NY Green Bank seeks to raise at least an additional $1 billion in private sector funds to expand financing availability for clean energy projects. These additional funds to be raised will enable NY Green Bank to deliver even greater environmental and cost benefits to New Yorkers. [LongIsland.com]

¶ A bill that would allow the Millstone Nuclear Station to compete in a program that was intended to foster Connecticut’s young solar and wind-power industries has been passed by both houses of the state’s legislature. A number of consumer groups and environmental activists are asking Gov Dannel P Malloy to veto it. [CT Post]

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October 27 Energy News

October 27, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Fortune 500’s, traditional utilities: Everyone is buying wind power” • Our research team ran the numbers, and the wind industry’s third quarter results paint a clear picture: wind power is in high demand across all sectors of the electricity market. American Electric Power’s Wind Catcher project in Oklahoma is just one example. [HuffPost]

Power County Wind Farm in Idaho

¶ “Joyce out, Canavan in, Roberts out – What High Court ruling means for climate, renewables” • Australia’s deputy prime minister and leader of the National Party, Barnaby Joyce, is headed for a by-election, after the High Court ruled him ineligible to hold his seat due to dual citizenship. He is just one of the climate deniers affected. [RenewEconomy]

World:

¶ Siemens Gamesa is to supply turbines totalling 281 MW to the Nordlicht wind farm in Norway. The order is for supply and installation of 67 SWT-DD-130 4.2-MW machines – 47 on the Kvitfjell mountain and 21 on the Raudfjell mountain near Tromsø. Asset manager Prime Capital will manage the wind farm on behalf of project investors. [reNews]

Nordlicht – northern lights (Siemens Gamesa image)

¶ Solar Energy Corporation of India issued a tender on behalf of Coal India Limited, the largest coal mining company in the world, for setting up two solar power projects of 100 MW capacity each at a planned solar power park in the state of Madhya Pradesh. The solar power park will have an eventual installed capacity of 500 MW. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A self-driving minibus, EZ10, is now in operation in Bad Birnbach, Lower Bavaria. It can carry six people on a route between the town center and the rail station. This is not a pilot project – that was implemented in the spring. And the bus is not acting as a lone wolf, but is actually part of the Deutsche Bahn (German Railways) network. [CleanTechnica]

EazyMile EZ10

¶ Working in conjunction with ClimateWorks Foundation, Bloomberg New Energy Finance has published the China Renewable Curtailment and Coal Stranded Assets Risk Map which aims “to cast light on the issues central regulators will have to weigh up as they steer the power system through fundamental restructuring.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ German power producers are poised to pay customers to use electricity this weekend. Wind generation is forecast to climb to a record on Sunday, possibly driving electricity prices below zero, broker data compiled by Bloomberg show. It would be the first time this year that the average price for a whole day is negative. [The Independent]

Wind turbines in action (Bloomberg image)

US:

¶ The “We Are Still In” coalition of US non-federal leaders set up immediately after of President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the country out of the Paris Climate Agreement has committed to send delegations to COP23, the next round of UN Climate talks to be held in Bonn, Germany, next month, spurning their President’s decision. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Organic Valley, America’s largest organic farmer co-operative, will be one of the largest food companies in the world to use 100% renewable electricity. It is working with the Upper Midwest Municipal Energy Group and OneEnergy Renewables in solar community partnership, with over 12 MW of solar installations in Wisconsin. [Co-operative News]

Organic Valley office building (PRNewsfoto | Organic Valley)

¶ DOE secretary Rick Perry’s pro-coal market intervention would cost taxpayers as much as $10.6 billion a year over the next decade, according to a joint analysis by the non-partisan groups Climate Policy Initiative and Energy Innovation. Just a handful of companies, operating about 90 plants in the East and Midwest, would benefit. [The Guardian]

¶ Kansas City Airport became the first airport to integrate fully electric buses for passenger service as it took delivery of four BYD 30 foot electric coaches. The four buses will be parking lot shuttles, carrying passengers between airport terminals and parking lots. The airport shuttles were custom built for service in the airport by BYD. [CleanTechnica]

BYD electric bus at KCI

¶ NextEra Energy, whose holdings include Seabrook Nuclear Station, has hopes of making money on the largest proposed solar site in New Hampshire, but several other sites are in the works. Combined, the projects proposed in New Hampshire total 210 MW of capacity, triple the state’s solar capacity in 2016. [New Hampshire Business Review]

¶ The American Wind Energy Association has published “The US Wind Industry Third Quarter 2017 Market Report.” Almost 30 GW of new wind projects were under construction or in advancement development in the US at the end of the third quarter of 2017, up 27% on the same period last year, according to the AWEA study. [reNews]

Farm in a wind farm

¶ After extended debate, Vermont lawmakers imposed new statewide limits on wind power that are meant to prevent sound from disturbing neighbors’ health and sleep. Some renewable energy advocates claim the restrictions will effectively stop the construction of large wind projects, which deliver the lowest cost energy in the area. [BurlingtonFreePress.com]

¶ Connecticut lawmakers gave final legislative approval to a bill that could change the rules for how the Millstone Nuclear Power Station sells electricity. The House voted 75-66 for the bill, which allows state regulators to determine whether the power should be sold on the clean energy market like renewable power. [WTNH Connecticut News]

How can I help the people of Puerto Rico? One way is
to donate at [Sunnyside Solar’s crowdfunding website].

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October 26 Energy News

October 26, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Donald Trump, Bird Killer” • He campaigned as a guardian of birds against windpower. His secretary of the Department of Interior, Ryan Zinke, recently noted renewable energy’s risks to birds in arguing against using public lands for solar power. Now, his administration is pushing policies that could send billions of birds to their deaths. [New Republic]

Victim of obsolete technology (Historical Picture Archive | Getty)

¶ “Game 1 of the World Series breaks heat record” • In a year of catastrophic hurricanes and devastating wildfires, the heat wave in Southern California this week is another urgent reminder that climate change is already here. Evening temperatures at Dodger Stadium reached 103° F. The average October high in Los Angeles is 75° F.  [ThinkProgress]

Science and Technology:

¶ New research suggests that the oceans hundreds of millions of years ago were much cooler than we thought. If this is correct, it means that the global warming we are currently undergoing is unparalleled within the last 100 million years and far worse than we had previously calculated. The research was published in Nature Communications. [The Independent]

Arctic ice (Getty Images | iStockphoto)

World:

¶ An unwritten UK Government promise of “no subsidies” for onshore wind could end up costing more than £1 billion over the next four to five years relative to other technologies. A report from the Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit outlines reasons why the UK Government may want to revisit its policy on onshore wind installations. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Singapore is to trial two types of utility-scale battery energy storage, lithium-ion and redox flow battery storage systems. As part of an $18.3 million project, contracts have been awarded install and test a total of 4.4 MWh of storage. Singapore’s tests support a goal of having 1 GW of solar power installed beyond 2020. [Power Engineering International]

Singapore

¶ South Korea’s energy ministry said it will resume the suspended construction of two new nuclear reactors but has shelved plans to build six more reactors, Reuters reported. Work on the two reactors was halted after President Moon Jae-in came to power in May on a platform calling for scaling back nuclear power. [Kallanish Energy]

¶ The 37 MW of power Microsoft will get from GE’s Tullahennal wind farm in County Kerry, Ireland, will bring the renewable energy the company uses worldwide to a total of 600 MW. But it will also be used to help Microsoft understand how much energy storage it needs to fully run on its hyper-scale cloud on 100% renewable energy. [Data Center Knowledge]

Partially constructed wind turbines (Getty image)

US:

¶ With Amazon Wind Farm Texas, Amazon has launched 18 wind and solar projects across the US, with over 35 more to come. Together, these projects will generate enough clean energy to power over 330,000 homes annually. These projects also support hundreds of jobs in local communities across the country. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ More than a month after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico’s aging electric grid, 80% of people on the island are still without power. Most are also without access to clean water. Two of the world leaders in solar power and microgrids – Tesla and sonnen – are making heroic efforts to provide power to hospitals and other critical facilities. [CleanTechnica]

Solar system for a Tesla microgrid in Puerto Rico

How can I help the people of Puerto Rico? One way is
to donate at [Sunnyside Solar’s crowdfunding website].

¶ Illinois state legislature enacted the Future Energy Jobs Act. This policy updates the Illinois Renewable Portfolio Standard, which requires increased energy production from renewable sources. Illinois now has about 80 MW of solar installed, but the new RPS means that solar installations will increase to 2,700 MW by 2030. [CleanTechnica]

¶ MHI Vestas Offshore Wind signed an agreement with Clemson University in South Carolina to test the world’s most powerful wind turbine, with a capacity of 9.5-MW, helping to elevate the US as one of the world’s leading testing and research locations for offshore wind. The university has a state-of-the-art 15-MW test bench. [CleanTechnica]

Clemson’s test bed (Credit: Clemson University Relations)

¶ At the Minds + Machines Industrial Internet conference, GE announced a wide-ranging software and professional services agreement with the New York State Power Authority to advance NYPA’s goal to be the world’s first fully digital utility. NYPA’s goal is to use digital solutions to optimize its entire electricity value network. [Digital Journal]

¶ SunPower has announced that it has been chosen by AES Distributed Energy to supply its modular Oasis power blocks for the largest solar and battery storage project to date not only in Kaua’i, but in Hawaii. The 28-MW PV plant will be accompanied by 20 MW of batteries, with a five-hour duration, for a 100 MWh rating. [pv magazine International]

Kaua’i (Photo: MariaMichelle | Pixabay)

¶ The EPA’s Edison, New Jersey, campus has installed 4,788 PV panels, which will generate enough electricity to power 45% of the campus’ electrical demand based on annual consumption. This project was contracted through the Defense Logistics Agency Energy, which provides comprehensive energy solutions. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ Akamai, a midsize American cloud-delivery-platform company, signed a virtual power purchase agreement with the Seymour Hills wind farm, a Texas project of Infinity Renewables. The PPA is for 7 MW of the project’s total 80 MW capacity, sufficient to cover the electricity load of Akamai’s entire network in Texas for 20 years. [GreenBiz]

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October 25 Energy News

October 25, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “‘Can You Say Corruption?’ Puerto Rico Contract for Trump-Connected Raises Concerns” • Two-year-old Whitefish Energy won $300 million no-bid contract to restore Puerto Rico’s electrical grid. Its financiers have important connections to the Trump administration. It had two employees when the hurricane struck. [Common Dreams]

Downtown Whitefish, Montana, home of Whitefish Energy,
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and a major donor to Trump campaign (Photo: WikiCapa, Wikimedia Commons)

How can I help the people of Puerto Rico? One way is
to donate at [Sunnyside Solar’s crowdfunding website].

World:

¶ Nicaragua has signed on to the Paris Agreement, so now the United States and Syria are now the only two nations in the world that have refused to be members of the climate pact. The Central American country held out on signing the deal for two years, based on its government’s criticisms that the pact was “insufficient” in addressing climate change. [CNN]

¶ China is currently on track to install close to 50 GW of solar energy in 2017, nearly half of total global demand, but new research from Princeton University concluded that China’s severe air pollution is “significantly reducing” the country’s solar energy output because the pollution is blocking light from the sun reaching solar installations. [CleanTechnica]

Beijing National Stadium (Photo: Ry Tweedie-Cullen)

¶ Authorities in Singapore have announced a plan to limit the number of private cars on its streets to the number currently in use starting in 2018. After that date, apparently, one existing car will need to be retired from service before a new vehicle will be allowed on the roadways. There are about 600,000 vehicles on the road in the city. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Nelson Mandela spent 18 years in maximum security prison on Robben Island, now a World Heritage Site attracting nearly 2,000 tourists every day. In the past, the island was powered by a diesel generator that used nearly 600,000 liters a year. With a microgrid based on solar power and a storage battery, fuel use is reduced by 250,000 liters. [Cape Business News]

Solar Power (Photo: BusinessTech)

¶ According to CDP, formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project, 89% of companies responding now have emissions reductions targets. And if all responding companies meet their current targets, they would be 31% of the way towards being consistent with limiting global warming to below 2 degrees – a 6% improvement from 2016. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The government of Italy today announced its intention to phase out coal-fired electricity generation by 2025, and increase the deployment of renewable energy. Think tank E3G said that coal plants with as little as 15 years of operational life will need to be retired. Canada, France and the UK are also taking action to phase out coal power generation. [reNews]

Pollution sxc image

¶ Saudi Arabia announced  $500 billion plan to create a business and industrial zone extending across its borders into Jordan and Egypt. Adjacent to the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba, the zone will power itself solely with wind power and solar energy, according to the Public Investment Fund, Saudi Arabia’s top sovereign fund. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ New Zealand’s next prime minister Jacinda Ardern has set ambitious environmental policies to confront a warming planet, including a “Zero Carbon Act.” Green initiatives include transitioning the country’s power grid to 100% renewable energy, a significant investment in regional rail, and a goal to plant 100 million trees a year. [EcoWatch]

New Zealand

¶ More than 100 citizen groups and 19 affected communities in the Philippines recently filed a historic complaint against the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank’s private-sector arm, accusing the IFC of fueling global climate change through its investments in a Philippine bank that is a major financier of the coal industry. [Manila Bulletin]

US:

¶ Entrepreneur Elon Musk has followed through on his plan to boost power resources in Puerto Rico after it was devastated by Hurricane Maria. Mr Musk’s firm, Tesla, has set up solar panels and energy storage batteries at Hospital del Niño, a children’s hospital in San Juan. He said on Twitter this was the “first of many” such projects. [BBC News]

Hospital del Niño solar project (Tesla image)

¶ Storm-ravaged Puerto Rico has promised a full audit of a $300 million deal won by a small electrical firm with connections to the Trump administration. A US House committee is also scrutinizing the contract. The chief executive of Whitefish Energy Holdings in Montana has close political connections to the Trump administration. [BBC News]

¶ On Block Island, it used to be that electric clocks could not keep time and appliances that wore out years ahead of schedule because of Block Island’s poor “quality” electricity, running at anywhere from 59 to 61 hz. Now powered almost entirely by wind turbines, the electric grid is not only more reliable, but of higher quality. [Into the Wind]

Block Island wind farm (Photo: Ionna22, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Opposition continues to grow against DOE Secretary Rick Perry’s plan to subsidize the coal and nuclear industries for their supposed contribution to grid resiliency. A diverse group of 12 energy industry associations and a large group of manufacturers called on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to ditch the plan. [CleanTechnica]

¶ As New York State moves toward its goal of getting 50 percent of the state’s energy from renewable sources by 2030, much of the focus is on wind and solar energy. But there is another energy source out there whose boosters want to shine a light on it. Renewable energy advocates want to boost the use of biogas from manure. [WSKG News]

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October 24 Energy News

October 24, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “The importance of grid resilience during severe storm conditions” • With increasingly powerful storms, the Dominican Republic set a surprising example during September’s storms. It used battery-based energy storage to keep its grid operating, despite damage to power lines and 40% of its generating assets being forced offline. [pv magazine USA]

Flooding in Houston after Hurricane Harvey (Public domain
photo: Staff Sgt Daniel J Martinez, US Air National Guard)

¶ “What’s Resilience? DOE Should Say Before Spending Your Money” • The US DOE proposed that consumers further subsidize certain power plants that can store fuel onsite, because it will somehow provide the electric grid with “resilience.” But it never explained what resilience is or how it relates to piles of coal. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

¶ “Small nuclear reactors are a 1950s mirage come back to haunt us” • The UK’s government is due to announce a £250 million support package for “small modular reactors” this week, just as the price renewable energy contracts push wholesale prices down. It looks like a camouflaged subsidy to the UK’s Trident nuclear missile system. [The Ecologist]

Nuclear submarine HMS Ambush (© Defence Images)

Science and Technology:

¶ Massive insect population declines indicate we are “currently on course for ecological Armageddon,” one scientist said. The causes are unknown, but one likely culprit is widespread use of pesticides. A recent UN report has denounced using pesticides on such a massive scale and claims they kill 200,000 people annually. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ According to the Wall Street Journal, Tesla will build its first factory outside the US in the free trade zone outside Shanghai. Under new foreign ownership policy, Tesla will be the sole owner of the factory. If the market for electric cars continues to soar, as Chinese officials hope they will, Tesla could open more factories in China in the future. [Gas 2.0]

Tesla in China

¶ Media reports say four Indian companies agreed to supply 300 MW of solar modules to the Energy Efficiency Services Limited. They will be used in rooftop solar power systems and at rural sub-stations for agricultural purposes. Adani Green Energy is said to have quoted the lowest price of modules at 30¢/watt, beating Chinese prices. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Enel SpA said its renewables subsidiary is partnering in the project with Ethiopian infrastructure firm Orchid Business Group to build a 100-MW solar power plant in Metehara, Ethiopia. The consortium will invest about $120 million (€102 million) to build the solar PV park. It is planned to start power generation in 2019. [Renewables Now]

Sunset in Ethiopia (Photo: Rod Waddington)

¶ India will put 4.5 GW of windpower capacity on the block by February 2018. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has announced that auctions of 1.5 GW of capacity each will take place in October, December 2017 and February 2018. So far two auctions have been organized at the central level with 1 GW capacity each. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Brazilian financial services provider Banco do Nordeste, partly owned by the Brazilian Federal Government, announced it has granted loans for the construction of PV power plants with a combined capacity of 482 MW in Brazil. Enel Green Power will build systems totaling 350 MW, and Scatec Solar will install 132 MW. [pv magazine International]

Enel’s 254-MW Ituverava solar plant in Brazil (Enerray)

¶ Germany calls its plan to transition to a low or zero carbon economy Energiewende. It says it is moving ahead with the plan, which will allow it to honor the commitments it made to the world community in Paris in 2015, and is on schedule. But critics charge that it is stalled and stands in need of an immediate jump start. [CleanTechnica]

US:

¶ Puerto Rico is looking to rebuild its electric grid long-term and is considering Tesla’s suggestion about scaling its microgrid technology using batteries and solar power, and so transforming the island’s energy infrastructure to make it resilient. A month after Hurricane Maria, 80% of the people on the island have no electric power. [Digital Journal]

Repairing power lines in Loiza (Ricardo Arduengo | AFP)

How can I help the people of Puerto Rico? One way is
to donate at [Sunnyside Solar’s crowdfunding website].

¶ A government report is sounding an alarm over the threat of costs of climate change. The US government has spent more than $350 billion over the past decade in response to extreme weather and fire events, and the GAO report estimated the US would incur far higher costs as the years progress if global emission rates don’t go down. [CNN]

¶ In Maine, a legislative committee will consider a Democratic lawmaker’s bill to allow municipalities to create microgrids. The lawmaker says the goal of his conceptual bill is to create a legal framework within which municipalities can create electricity distribution systems that can be operated while independent of the main power network. [Electric Light & Power]

Floating wind turbine undergoing testing at Castine,
Maine (Photo: Jplourde umaine, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ A national solar energy company is betting nearly $1 billion on an Oregon development spree, including five new solar farms. Cypress Creek Renewables, a developer that sells electricity to utility companies and already operates seven PV sites in the state, is building farms near Salem, Silverton, Gervais, Turner, and Grand Ronde. [Bend Bulletin]

¶ The independent company that manages competitive wholesale power markets in Ohio and 12 other states believes a federal proposal to subsidize the owners of old nuclear and coal plants is unworkable and would not even be legal. PJM intends to file formal comments later today with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. [cleveland.com]

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October 23 Energy News

October 23, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “How to Keep the Lights On After a Hurricane” • More than a month after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, nearly 80% of the island remains without power, and food and water can be tough to find. As we rally to help the survivors and look to rebuild, we owe it to the victims to build more resilient infrastructure. [New York Times]

A resident of Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, trying to repair his
electrical lines. (Credit: Ramon Espinosa | Associated Press)

How can I help the people of Puerto Rico? One way is
to donate at [Sunnyside Solar’s crowdfunding website].

¶ “UN Officials Urge the World to Ignore Trump on Climate” • In a deliberate denial of mainstream science, Donald Trump’s administration has issued a strategic four-year plan for the US EPA that does not once mention “greenhouse gas emissions”, “carbon dioxide” or “climate change” in its 48 pages. Clearly, this was not an oversight. [Truthdig]

Science and Technology:

¶ All sea life will be affected because carbon dioxide emissions are making the oceans more acidic, a major new report will say. The eight-year study from more than 250 scientists finds that infant sea creatures will be especially harmed. The number of baby cod growing to adulthood could fall to a quarter or less of what it is today. [BBC News]

Mesocosms for acidification research (Maike Nicolai | Geomar)

¶ Scientists at MIT say they devised a cost-effective way to capture wasted methane and turn it into fuel or chemical feed stocks. Instead of venting it into the air, the process could allow companies to turn that wasted gas into money. Fossil fuel companies that are deaf to the plight of the earth can hear a dollar bill crinkling at 40 paces. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Hurricane Ophelia paid a visit to Ireland earlier this month with sustained winds of 119 miles per hour. Do you remember any other hurricanes hitting Ireland? Probably not. Ophelia was what is commonly known as an outlier. It was the most powerful hurricane in the eastern Atlantic ocean ever recorded and way beyond the norm. [CleanTechnica]

Ophelia in red, with major hurricane tracks (Credit: Spillo)

World:

¶ Solar power costs will fall by another 60% over the next decade giving an already booming market another boost, the head of the International Renewable Energy Agency said. Irena expects 80 to 90 GW of new solar capacity, enough to power more than 8 billion LED light bulbs, to be added globally each year over the next 5 to 6 years. [Times LIVE]

¶ Chongqing Changan Automobile, based in China, is one of the first auto manufacturers operating in the country to commit publicly to a total shift away from manufacture and sale of vehicles that burn fossil fuels. It was also announced that the company will invest over ¥100 billion ($15.10 billion) by 2025 into its “new energy strategy.” [CleanTechnica]

Changan Benni EV

¶ In July 2017, the share of renewable energy generation among India’s total electricity generation and imports touched 13.2%, the highest percentage in the country’s history. Total electricity generation and imports in India during July 2017 came to 98.1 billion kWh, while total renewable energy generation was 12.9 billion kWh. [CleanTechnica]

¶ An initiative to install 10,000 solar panels on the roof of the world’s second-biggest indoor snow center (by surface area) is now underway. The installation process at SnowWorld Landgraaf in the Netherlands should be complete by the end of the year, by which time the system should be able to generate 3.2 MWp of electric power. [InTheSnow]

Officials installing solar panels

¶ The environmental group Greenpeace issued a report giving technology titans, including Samsung Electronics, Amazon, and Huawei, low marks for their environmental impact. “Tech companies claim to be at the forefront of innovation, but their supply chains are stuck in the Industrial Age,” a Greenpeace USA statement said. [Business Mirror]

¶ Ireland’s largest wind farm, which is expected to generate enough renewable energy to power more than 140,000 homes, has entered commercial operation. Galway Wind Park was developed by SSE and Coillte as a €280 million ($328.8 million) joint venture. It has 58 Siemens 3-MW wind turbines, for a total capacity of 169 MW. [Irish Times]

Galway Wind Park

¶ There are no plans for an electricity rate hike in Taiwan even though the nation is transitioning to renewable energy, the Cabinet said yesterday, as the premier inspected a new solar power system in Kinmen County. The cabinet anticipates that the cost of renewable energy will continue to drop as technology advances. [Taipei Times]

US:

¶ Maryland issued a conditional utility permit to Elon Musk’s Boring Company to dig a 10.3 mile tunnel beneath a state-owned parkway its governor’s office said. The tunnel could be part of a Hyperloop system Musk says will carry passengers from New York City to Washington in 29 minutes, with stops along the way in Philadelphia and Baltimore. [CleanTechnica]

Boring Company tunneling machine (to put it objectively)

¶ The EPA canceled the speaking appearance of three agency scientists who were scheduled to discuss climate change at a conference today in Rhode Island, an EPA spokesman said, giving no further explanation. Scientists involved in the program said that much of the discussion at the event centers on climate change. [Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette]

¶ Over two years, the Connecticut Senate has voted three times for measures to change the rules for how Dominion sells electricity from the Millstone nuclear power plant, whose profits have eroded. The Senate voted 23-8 for a new version of the bill in special session five weeks ago, and it may come up for a vote in the House soon. [The CT Mirror]

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October 22 Energy News

October 22, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Trump’s moves to ease regulations, revive coal industry bring little relief” • As the Trump administration dismantles programs dealing with climate change, it invokes the suffering of those whose livelihoods depend on coal. But with the end to what has been called the “war on coal,” Homer City, Pennsylvania, is not any less under siege. [Tribune-Review]

Football, an aerobic workout, under the stacks

¶ “Pollution Has Been Linked To A Staggering Number Of Deaths Worldwide” • The recent Lancet report said 4.2 million people die each year from air-borne particulates. The pollutants do not simply strike people dead on the spot; they cause diseases of the heart and lungs and a wide range of other life-threatening or debilitating medical conditions. [Refinery29]

Science and Technology:

¶ A study published in the journal Science Advances suggested warming oceans could push fish species away from the equator, while driving a decline in the diversity of invertebrates like crabs and octopus. The research offered the first evidence of how ecological interactions affect marine species’ abundance at global scales. [New Zealand Herald]

Diver exploring a South Australian reef (Photo: Graham Edgar)

¶ Researchers from Stanford University have developed a cheap alternative to lithium-ion batteries. They created a sodium-based battery that can store the same amount of energy as a lithium-based battery at less than 80% of the cost. There have been sodium-based batteries in the past, but this new approach may be more cost-effective. [Futurism]

World:

¶ Australia’s Genex Power Ltd said it has optimized the design of its 250-MW pumped storage hydro project at the old Kidston Gold Mine in North Queensland, increasing its storage capacity to over 2,000 MWh from 1,500 MWh. The optimization also will include variable speed pump-generator turbines for greater flexibility. [Renewables Now]

The Kidston Gold Mine (Genex Power image)

¶ Taiwan is likely to phase out coal-fired power plants by 2050, its vice president told an environmental forum in Taipei, adding that the coal-fired facilities should be refined before then to reduce air pollution. France plans to shut down all its coal-fired power plants by 2023, and Finland is to ban the use of coal for energy production by 2030. [Taipei Times]

¶ With the government of Rwanda seeking to increase access to electricity to 100% by 2024, sector players say that subsidization of off-grid power will go a long way in reaching energy targets. A system with three lights, a 100-watt panel, and 55-amp hour battery goes for Rwf400,000 ($474) or Rwf12,000 ($14.22) monthly. [The New Times]

Installing the solar panel that will power a house (BBOXX image)

¶ The Rockefeller Foundation, which committed $50 million for mini-grids in India, is looking for public private partnerships to facilitate setting up projects, according to a senior official. The foundation has already facilitated setting up mini power grids in 106 villages and aims to have 1,000 such projects within three years. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ South Korea’s President said the government would continue to phase out nuclear-generated electricity, following a public opinion survey that dealt a blow to his plans to do so. Moon’s statement came after a public opinion survey found a majority of almost 60% in favor of resuming the stalled construction of two reactors. [South China Morning Post]

Nuclear power plant in Taiwan

US:

¶ The five living former US presidents gathered for a concert in aid of victims of the hurricanes which ravaged the US this year. Barack Obama, George W Bush, Bill Clinton, George HW Bush and Jimmy Carter appeared in Texas on Saturday for The One America Appeal, set up to help those caught up by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. [BBC News]

¶ Five US municipalities are already powered 100% by renewable sources (and saving a lot of money). Since Donald Trump was elected, the number of cities and towns that have committed to using only clean power sources has more than doubled, with 46 cities, including Atlanta and San Diego, promising a move in that direction. [HuffPost]

Rock Port, Missouri’s wind farm

¶ As part of an ongoing demonstration project being funded by the California Energy Commission, Motiv Power Systems will be deploying two all-electric, zero-emissions garbage trucks in the City of Los Angeles. This news follows the earlier deployment of California’s first all-electric refuse/garbage collection vehicle in Sacramento. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Evolution and climate change are returning to New Mexico’s education standards. The Public Education Department announced they would use uncensored Next Generation Science Standards for science, technology, engineering, and math. Their earlier proposed censored version created an uproar from the scientific community. [DeathRattleSports.com]

How can I help the people of Puerto Rico? One way is
to donate at [Sunnyside Solar’s crowdfunding website].

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October 21 Energy News

October 21, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “The Best Bet: Big Money Solves the Climate Crisis” • Make way for the modern clean-energy revolution, underway around the world and driven by major investment houses. They are making bold commitments and aggressive financial bets on the sure transition to a fossil-free future, regardless of the tornado in the White House. [HuffPost]

Union Point smart city project south of Boston (LStar Ventures)

¶ “Calls For Renewable Energy Rebuild In The Caribbean” • The destructive impacts of Hurricanes Irma and Maria have been felt across the Caribbean islands and beyond. In Puerto Rico, 85% of citizens are still without power; in the British Virgin Islands, key generation and distribution infrastructure face catastrophic damage. [Curacao Chronicle]

How can I help the people of Puerto Rico? One way
is to donate at [Sunnyside Solar’s crowdfunding site].

World:

¶ Nissan will roll out its vehicle-to-grid energy program promising the average customer will enjoy virtually free home electricity. The scheme, announced at an event in Oslo, was tested in Denmark and is to begin its European rollout next year. The trial involving a fleet of e-NV200 vans resulted in weekly revenue of €40 ($47) per vehicle. [Ward’s Auto]

Leaf battery-electric car

¶ EU investigators are looking into allegations that BMW, Daimler, VW, Audi, and Porsche colluded to limit their spending on emissions technology. BMW has confirmed that its head office, which is in Munich, was searched this week by European Union officials investigating an alleged cartel among the five German carmakers. [BBC News]

¶ French gas utility Engie has bought a Ugandan home solar systems company to expand in sub-Saharan Africa by providing power to millions of people who have no access to electricity. Engie said that it had acquired Fenix International, which sells home solar kits financed through tiny regular payments by mobile phone. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Solar system

¶ India’s largest power generator NTPC Limited achieved a unique feat in August 2017. The company reported over 100 million kWh of solar power generation in one month for the first time ever. NTPC’s solar power generation during the first 8 months of 2017 was 657 million kWh, up 237% from the same period in 2016. [CleanTechnica]

¶ France will propose rule changes to remove administrative hurdles and speed the development of onshore wind power projects within six months, its junior ecology minister said. France gets over 75% of its electricity from nuclear plants but plans to ramp up use of renewable energies to reduce its nuclear dependence. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Wind turbines

¶ Saudi companies are looking to solar electricity to hedge the risk of rising power prices if energy subsidies are cut, according to one of the Kingdom’s biggest plant developers. Saudi Arabia is implementing its Vision 2030 master plan to wean its economy off oil and diversify into other industries. With the change, tariffs are expected to rise. [Bloomberg]

¶ Renewable energy is booming in Iran, where installed capacity is expected to grow at least sevenfold over the next five years. Iran has agreements with 124 companies, mostly European, to install 2,380 MW of renewable capacity, in addition to the 340 MW currently in place, according to data from Iran’s Energy Ministry. [EnergyInfraPost]

Unusually mounted solar array

¶ Oil and gas workers and members of the Louis Bull Tribe installed rooftop solar panels on a community daycare in Maskwacis, Alberta, as part of an initiative to give workers new opportunities in clean energy. The goal is to “upskill” 1,000 oil, gas and coal workers, as well as members of the indigenous community, as solar specialists. [JWN]

US:

¶ The sun will be the source of electricity for about 70% of the government complex in Madison County, New York, from now on. Tucked between some cornfields and brush on a rural Madison County road, are more than 7,500 ground-mounted solar panels. They will save the county $3 million over the next 25 years. [WRVO Public Media]

Madison County’s solar array (Photo: Ellen Abbot | WRVO News)

¶ Distributed energy specialist Arensis has delivered an off-grid energy system to aid Puerto Rico and help with recovery from Hurricane Maria. A combined 50 kW of electricity and 120 kW of thermal energy will be powering the Sports Complex in the City of Fajardo, a refugee shelter and distribution center, as soon as it can be installed. [Decentralized Energy]

How can I help the people of Puerto Rico? One way is
to donate at [Sunnyside Solar’s crowdfunding website].

¶ AEP Ohio, an American Electric Power company, issued a Request for Proposals for up to 400 MW of solar generation resources in Ohio. The company will give preference to projects that are sited in Appalachian Ohio, that create permanent local manufacturing jobs, and which commit to hiring Ohio military veterans. [Daily Energy Insider]

Solar canopy at the Cincinnati Zoo (quadell, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Although the Trump administration announced that the so-called “war against coal” is over, Michigan’s largest utility believes there is no future left for such a dirty, carbon-dense fuel and is making plans to phase out all of its coal-based energy production within 23 years, including a massive coal-fired power plant in Monroe. [Toledo Blade]

¶ Facebook is building a massive data center to Papillion, Nebraska. The Omaha Public Power District played a key role in attracting Facebook to the area by providing access to 100% renewable energy, which will come from the resurrected Rattlesnake Creek Wind Project in Dixon County, Nebraska [Renewable Energy Magazine]

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October 20 Energy News

October 20, 2017

How can I help the people of Puerto Rico?
One way is to donate at [this crowdfunding website].

Opinion:

¶ “Pollution’s Annual Price Tag? $4.6 Trillion and 9 Million Dead” Pollution in all its forms killed 9 million people in 2015 and, by one measure, led to economic damage of $4.6 trillion, according to a new estimate by medical researchers who hope to put the health costs of toxic air, water and soil higher on the global agenda. [Yahoo News]

Inner Mongolian landscape (Photo: Kevin Frayer | Getty Images)

¶ “There’s a Dangerous Bubble in the Fossil-Fuel Economy, and the Trump Administration Is Making It Worse” • Investors have increasingly recognized the long-term instability of high-carbon industries. We must limit our use of carbon, if we are to avoid destroying our civilization, and that means not using 80% of the reserves. [The New Yorker]

¶ “Turnbull’s energy plan a disaster for renewables, climate and prices” • Prime Minister Turnbull’s latest proposal may be the most ill-considered, poorly detailed, and potentially useless policy that anyone can remember – the work of Australia’s “energy mafia,” defending the power of commercial interests, an oligopoly, and their ideology. [Echonetdaily]

Offshore wind farm

World:

¶ More than a billion people still lack access to electricity, but that number is shrinking, according to an International Energy Agency special report on energy access. The role coal has played in this is set to decline “dramatically,” because renewables are becoming cheaper and can be used for people in the hardest-to-reach, remote areas. [RenewEconomy]

¶ A group of Portuguese children whose district was ravaged by deadly forest fires this summer is to sue 47 European nations, accusing them of failing to take action on climate change. The group’s legal fees in the landmark case are being paid through a crowdfunding campaign, which has already raised more than £20,000 (US $26,340). [CNN]

Wildfire in Portugal

¶ Assembly of the ITER reactor, a nuclear fusion project costing €20 billion ($24 billion), will begin in France in May of 2018. But with wind-farm developers starting to promise subsidy-free power by 2025 and electricity demand stagnating, even the project’s supporters are asking whether ITER will ever make sense. [The Edge Markets MY]

¶ Ireland’s state forestry group Coillte is seeking partners to advance 1 GW of wind projects as it seeks to develop the “exceptional potential” of its landbank for renewables. Coillte could include the sale of its existing 150 MW of wind interests as part of a strategy to fund future developments, the Irish group said. [Recharge]

Galway Wind park (Photo: SSE)

¶ A nuclear power plant in Switzerland is set to operate flexibly after a software upgrade. The 1010-MW Goesgen pressurized water reactor plant can vary its output between 50% and 100% per cent of its installed capacity, with power ramps of up to 30 MW per minute, responding to changing supply and demand. [Power Engineering International]

¶ An ambitious renewable energy target of 40% by 2025 has been given the green light by Victoria’s parliament. The legislation, which also locks in a 25% target by 2020, passed the state’s upper house on Friday afternoon. Government modelling shows the target will cut the average Victorian household power bill by $30 a year. [SBS]

Solar power in Victoria

¶ South Korea has chosen to finish construction of two nuclear reactors in a symbolic decision between stability and a drastic change in economy and environment. Construction of two Shin Kori nuclear reactors was suspended on June 27,  under the new Moon Jae-in administration’s nuclear phase-out drive, at 29.5% completion. [The Korea Herald]

¶ A world first renewable energy project has taken its first steps in Australia, with big-name companies Vestas, Tesla, and Windlab backed by Australia’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation partnering on a $160 million, 60-MW hybrid wind, solar, and energy storage project at the Kennedy Energy Park in North Queensland. [CleanTechnica]

Kennedy Energy Park

US:

¶ Eight former members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, including five former chairmen, have filed a bluntly worded letter with the commission opposing Perry’s proposal that would give coal and nuclear plants credit for resilience to improve their chance of beating solar, wind and natural gas competitors. [The Columbian]

¶ Amazon Wind Farm Texas is now up and running. Built, owned and operated by Lincoln Clean Energy, the 253-MW facility is made up of 110 GE turbines capable of adding more than 1,000 GWh of clean energy to the grid each year. The project was christened by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos himself atop a turbine. [North American Windpower]

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos christening a turbine (Twitter)

¶ Green Mountain Power wants to build Vermont’s second commercial renewable energy storage battery near its solar array in Panton. The $3 million Tesla battery will store about 1 MW of power which will come off of the solar array nearby. The new battery will allow GMP to store renewable energy for helping meet peak grid demand. [Vermont Public Radio]

¶ Green Star Gasifiers LLC plans to begin construction of a $53 million renewable fuels power plant on a 17-acre tract in South Sioux City, Nebraska. The plant will be able to use multiple sources of fuel, including wood waste, municipal solid waste, construction and demolition waste, and agricultural waste, to make electricity. [Sioux City Journal]

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October 19 Energy News

October 19, 2017

How can I help the people of Puerto Rico?
One way is to donate at [this crowdfunding website].

Opinion:

¶ “A more climate-resilient Puerto Rico?” • As Puerto Rico faces a devastating humanitarian crisis, an emerging viewpoint is that the island should think twice about restoring its electrical system as it’s existed in the past. Instead, this reasoning goes, Puerto Rico should plan for more resilient, distributed infrastructure. [Yale Climate Connections]

Trees and power lines downed by Hurricane Maria
(Photo: SSgt.Michelle Y Alvarez-Rea, USAF)

¶ “What is electricity resilience worth to you?” • Power outages are a nuisance to some, an economic burden to others, and even lethal in some cases. It is impossible to place a price on electric resilience that could be applied to everyone. So it is crucial that customers know what power loss could cost them as they weigh needs for microgrids. [Microgrid Knowledge]

¶ “Making a swift transition in the energy sector” • Many in the energy industry have been surprised at how fast things are changing. And no sector has been as surprising as renewables. The pace of reduction in costs can be seen as wind and solar dominate new capacity additions in the power generation landscape. [Petroleum Economist]

Renewable energy

Science and Technology:

¶ It’s known as the windscreen phenomenon. When you stop your car after a drive, there seem to be far fewer squashed insects than there used to be. Scientists have long suspected that insects are in dramatic decline, but new evidence confirms this. German research suggests flying insects have declined by more than 75% over almost 30 years. [BBC News]

¶ A study from The Nature Conservancy presents twenty steps that can be taken to mitigate the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere naturally. Taken together, the effect on carbon levels would be equivalent to stopping the use of fossil fuels entirely. The study was published in the Proceedings Of The National Academy of Sciences. [CleanTechnica]

Ash trees

World:

¶ SunPower announced that it will provide 505 MW of products in two rounds of French energy regulator’s tenders for solar projects. Of this, 291 MW is for projects in the second round, which will include ground mount, carport, and rooftop projects in continental France, as well as storage and self-consumption in non-interconnected zones. [CleanTechnica]

¶ ABB has become one of the world’s leading EV charging station suppliers. Now it is leading the way in the compelling Indian market. Its Indian subsidiary has given a glimpse of its aggressive plans to capture a major share of this potentially giant market as India pursues its mission to adopt electric vehicles on a large scale. [CleanTechnica]

ABB electric bus charging station

¶ GE Renewable Energy and Sapphire Wind Power Co Ltd have installed an emergency medical center on the premises of the 52.8-MW Sapphire Wind Farm in Pakistan. The collaboration’s aim is to bring fundamental medical emergency services to Sapphire Wind employees and the community in a timely manner. [North American Windpower]

¶ LM Wind Power has unveiled a new 75.1-meter blade in China for Goldwind’s 6.7-MW offshore wind turbine platform. The LM 75.1 P is the longest blade in the Chinese market and was made at the company’s Jiangyin plant. The turbine was designed for wind class I offshore areas in south China off the coasts of Fujian and Guangdong. [reNews]

Unveiling the longest blade in China

¶ Australian conservation groups condemned the Turnbull government for abandoning the renewable energy target the country’s chief scientist recommended to comply with the Paris Climate Accord. The government plans to require utilities to provide a certain minimum amount of power from coal, gas and hydroelectric generation. [News24]

¶ The pros and cons of nuclear power generation have become a major focal point in the upcoming elections for the Japanese House of Representatives. The ruling party insists on moving forward the resumption of nuclear power plant operations. Some opposing parties favor nuclear power, but a number of them are rejecting it. [The Japan News]

Sampling seawater for radiation near Fukushima Daiichi
(IAEA Imagebank, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ Hurricane-devastated Puerto Rico will soon get help from Irving-based engineering and construction firm Fluor as part of federal efforts to return power to 3 million people. The Army Corps of Engineers awarded Fluor a $240 million contract to help restore the island’s electric grid. After a month, about 86% of Puerto Rico is still without power. [Dallas News]

How can I help the people of Puerto Rico?
One way is to donate at [this crowdfunding website].

¶ About 1 million Americans are without running water. There are 3 million without power. “You wake up and it’s this mess as far as the eye can see,” one man said. One month after Hurricane Maria, these realities are starting to feel less like an emergency and more like the new way of life – a nightmarish loop that resets each day the sun rises. [CNN]

FEMA water delivery

¶ With President Trump planning to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, a new poll found that 55% of Americans want their local and state governments to fight global warming. States, regions, cities, businesses and colleges are stepping up efforts to reduce carbon emissions in and meet the US pledge for the Paris Climate Accord. [Phys.Org]

¶ Target announced a new climate policy and goals to further environmental progress. Target’s new policy and goals align with those of the Science-Based Targets Initiative, as it aims to cut back on carbon emissions, minimize water use, produce more eco-friendly products and foster a more sustainable supply chain. [Sourcing Journal Online]

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October 18 Energy News

October 18, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ According to two scientists from Harvard University, solar super-flares could blast the Earth within the next decade and result in trillions of dollars of damage. One said that such a flare today could shut down all the power grids, all the computers, and all the cooling systems in all the nuclear reactors. A lot of “things could go really bad.” [Sputnik International]

Solar storms (NASA image)

World:

¶ GE is to supply turbines totaling 158 MW to Vetroelektrane Balkana’s Cibuk 1 wind farm in Serbia. The project, located 50 km outside of Belgrade, will consist of 57 GE 2.75-120 turbines, with blades made by LM Wind Power. GE will deliver, install and commission the wind farm, as well as provide servicing for 15 years. [reNews]

¶ Large incumbents such as the “Big Six” utilities have an undue dominant influence over UK energy policy, potentially holding back a clean power transition, a report claimed. The influence, which the report calls “regulatory capture,” could result in a dysfunctional energy market, given the rate at which technology is changing. [Clean Energy News]

Transmission infrastructure (Getty Images)

¶ Over a quarter of the 1,675 companies that owned or developed coal-fired power capacity since 2010 have entirely left the coal power business, according to research from CoalSwarm and Greenpeace. This represents nearly 370 large coal-fired power plants, and equivalent to nearly half a trillion dollars in assets retired or not developed. [Scoop.co.nz]

¶ The world’s first floating wind farm is being opened today in waters off the northeast coast of Scotland. The £210 million ($277 million) development, which will be opened by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, is a partnership between Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable power company, and Norwegian energy giant Statoil. It will power about 20,000 homes. [The Scotsman]

The final turbine being put into place at the wind farm

¶ Norway’s Saga Energy said it signed a €2.5 billion ($2.94 billion) deal to build solar power plants in Iran. Its preliminary agreement with Iran’s state-owned developer was the latest in a flurry of deals by foreign companies since sanctions on the country were eased in 2016, after it agreed to limits on its nuclear program. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ Atlantis Resources has redeployed the fourth and final 1.5MW turbine at its MeyGen Phase 1A tidal array in the Pentland Firth in waters off northern Scotland. Following final completion testing, MeyGen Phase 1A is expected to formally complete its construction phase. It should enter into its 25-year operational phase within the coming weeks. [reNews]

AR1500 at MeyGen Phase 1A (Atlantis image)

US:

¶ In a scathing indictment lodged in US courts, the Securities and Exchange Commission accused British-Australian coal mining giant Rio Tinto and two former corporate leaders of fraud in concealing from investors the true state of a struggling subsidiary in Mozambique. Rio eventually took a 99% loss on the business. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

¶ A study by researchers at the University of Delaware found that the most cost-effective way to build offshore windfarms is to assemble turbines and foundations in port. The researchers calculated that their innovative process will cost up to $1.6 Billion less for a 1-GW project than conventional approaches and take half the time. [Offshore Wind Journal]

Block Island wind farm

¶ GTM Research has published a report investigating the potential impact of introducing various levels of tariffs on the solar industry as a result of the trade case currently in front of the US International Trade Commission. The report predicts that the net impact to its base forecast could likely range from between 9% to a devastating 48%. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Dominion Energy has launched a request for proposals that could result in construction of the first wind farm in Virginia, one of only nine US states without installed capacity. The utility is seeking bids for 300 MW of onshore wind and solar power capacity and environmental attributes including renewable energy certificates. [Recharge]

Wind farm

¶ NRG’s request to suspend review of the controversial natural gas facility, while it ponders a possible withdrawal, highlights pressures that it faced from regulators, lawmakers and other stakeholders. State regulators and lawmakers are targeting gas-fired peaking plants for scrutiny, recommending carbon-free alternatives instead. [Utility Dive]

¶ Sun Number and Zillow® have partnered to provide instant analyses of a properties’ solar energy potential to homeowners, home buyers and real estate agents. Sun Number scores are available on Zillow for more than 40 million individual buildings nationwide. Buildings are rated for solar potentials to reduce utility bills. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Small house with solar panels

¶ The Florida Public Service Commission denied Florida Power & Light Co the ability to recover 2017 costs for a nuclear reactor project at Turkey Point, which has been indefinitely postponed. An FPL spokeswoman said, “A new feasibility analysis is not necessary to know that it’s not the right time to begin building Turkey Point 6 & 7.” [Sun Sentinel]

¶ The Maine Yankee Community Advisory Panel on Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage and Removal received updates on the Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation in Wiscasset and the prospects for removal, as well as a state inspector’s update, during its annual meeting at the Wiscasset Community Center on October 10. [The Lincoln County News]

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October 17 Energy News

October 17, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Puerto Rico hurricane shows islands must have renewable energy” • The recent storms remind us of the many advantages of renewables and one particular solution stands out: microgrids. These localized electric grids allow communities to keep power even if centralized systems go down. And there is really no limit to their scalability. [Climate Home]

Solar array with interesting tracking system (Photo: Deposit Photos)

¶ “Turnbull dumps clean energy target for ‘national energy guarantee'” • The Turnbull government has formally abandoned the idea of a Clean Energy Target, proposed by chief scientist Alan Finkel and endorsed by nearly all Australians, in favor of a new policy that will protect fossil fuel generation and slow down the uptake of renewable energy. [RenewEconomy]

Science and Technology:

¶ Zero energy buildings produce renewable power, sending it to the grid when they can and drawing it from the grid when they need to. They not only cut net energy use and net carbon emissions to zero, but also lower cost of ownership and enhance the quality of life of their occupants. The Zero Energy Project enumerates ways to achieve this. [R & D Magazine]

National Renewable Energy Laboratory (Zero Energy Project)

¶ A Washington State University research team, Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance, has found a way to replace ethanol-based energy sources with biofuels created from lumber mill waste. The long term goal behind the project was to replace ethanol based energy sources with an environmentally friendly approach. [The Daily Evergreen]

World:

¶ The UK National Infrastructure Commission will be looking into whether there are unnecessary barriers to onshore wind, which is one of the cheapest renewable technologies, it said in its draft assessment of UK infrastructure. Onshore wind farms have been once again excluded from a round of auctions for contracts for difference. [Renewables Now]

Wind farm in the UK (Photo: Mycatkins, CC BY-SA 2.0)

¶ Swedish power company Vattenfall has announced it has begun moving forward on developing the mammoth 1,800-MW Norfolk Vanguard Offshore Wind Farm, which is expected to be completed and operational sometime in the mid-2020s. The wind farm will supply sufficient power for about 1.3 million households in the UK. [CleanTechnica]

¶ For the third year now, the student team from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) has taken first place in the Cruiser Class at the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia. The Cruiser Class is the division for solar cars that could be practical in the real world, owing to seating capacity, range, and so on. [CleanTechnica]

Cruiser Class car from Tu/e

¶ The UK will invest more than £2.5 billion ($3.31 billion) into research and development efforts aimed at helping achieve carbon dioxide emissions reductions targets, as outlined in plans unveiled by the UK’s government. The sectors impacted by the new funding include transport, agriculture, energy, and waste management. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Ireland and Northern Ireland’s integrated electricity system could save €19 million a year from 2019-20 by using battery-based energy storage to stabilize the grid, according to a report by Queen’s University Belfast. It showed that 360 MW of battery storage could provide the same fast frequency response as 3 GW of conventional power. [reNews]

Battery storage (AES image)

¶ After months of internal controversy, the clean energy target favored by Australian chief scientist Alan Finkel was dumped by the government in favor of a new “national energy guarantee,” which will impose both reliability guarantees and emissions reduction guarantees on retailers and some large energy users. Opposition is fierce. [The Guardian]

¶ A coalition of Canadian municipal utilities has prepared and submitted joint proposals to develop two wind energy projects in New Brunswick. They propose to build the Charlotte County Community Wind Farm and Chapman Community Wind Farm. Each is a 20-MW project valued at about C$60 million ($47.8 million). [North American Windpower]

Flag of New Brunswick

US:

¶ The solar power industry is booming across Trump country, fueled by falling development costs and the subsidies for solar and wind power, which many Republicans in Congress continue to support. With falling development costs, solar firms now see strong prospects in conservative states with no clean energy mandates. [Reuters]

¶ Increasing amounts of renewable energy has sparked worries in the federal government over grid reliability and resilience. But some grid operators are successfully demonstrating that large amounts of intermittent resources can be integrated and sustain system reliability as successfully as, for example, a natural gas plant. [Utility Dive]

Large solar array (Credit: Array Technologies Inc)

¶ Arizona had faced some of the nation’s steepest emissions cuts under the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. But Arizona utilities and regulators said they plan to continue working toward the lower carbon emission goals that had been set in the plan, even though EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said this week that the agency is scrapping the program. [Arizona Daily Sun]

¶ Canada believes it may have the answer to replacing some US nuclear capacity with other forms of carbon-free energy. When New York state and Massachusetts retire three nuclear reactors between 2019 and 2021, the two states will lose a combined 2.7 GW of carbon-free power, but it can be replaced by Canadian hydro power. [OilPrice.com]

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October 16 Energy News

October 16, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “The war on coal is over. Coal lost.” • According to a new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists, many old American coal power plants are being retired or converted to natural gas, and new coal power plants aren’t being built because they’ve become more expensive than natural gas, wind, and solar energy. [The Guardian]

Fish ponds in China with floating solar and wind
turbines (Photo: VCG | VCG via Getty Images)

¶ “Wild is the wind: the resource that could power the world” • The UK’s wind energy industry is celebrating. Last month, the cost of wind power dropped dramatically to undercut by almost half the government’s projections for 2025. At £57.50/MWh, it is far cheaper than the £92.50 awarded in 2016 to Hinkley nuclear power station. [The Guardian]

¶ “Forget Abbott’s wishful thinking, climate change is here” • As Prime Minister, Tony Abbot was proud of his strong interest in rural Australia, but his recent claims in London about climate change can only be viewed as a betrayal of the bush by someone who has always seen themselves as a champion of our farming communities. [Queensland Country Life]

Aussie farmer, feeling the brunt of climate change

¶ “The Texas town where all the energy is green” • Dale Ross, the mayor of Georgetown, Texas, is “a good little Republican.” Ever since his city weaned itself off fossil fuels, he has also become an environmental hero. But his decision to run Georgetown on 100% renewable energy was based on cold-eyed pragmatism. [The Guardian]

World:

¶ Australia’s competition watchdog said the country’s residential electricity price rise, 63% over inflation during the past decade, was mainly due to higher network costs. Transmission “poles and wires” took up 48% of a household bill, 22% was wholesale costs, 16% was retail and other costs, 8% was retail margins, and 7% was Green schemes. [The Guardian]

Poles and wires, 48% of the bill (Photo: Joe Castro | AAP)

¶ The France-based energy giant Total, along with partner energy group Erg, is now looking to expedite the sale of its Italian gas/petrol station network, TotalErg, due to investor worries about the impact of the growing electric vehicle market. TotalErg operates around 2,600 gas/petrol service stations throughout Italy. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Orange Renewable, a 100% subsidiary of Singapore-based AT Holdings Pte Ltd, has secured a 200-MW Wind Power project in the state of Tamil Nadu under an intensely competitive global bid floated by Solar Energy Corporation of India. The company’s bid of a highly competitive rate of ₹2.64/unit (4.1¢/kWh) is the lowest tariff in India. [EnergyInfraPost]

Wind farm

¶ Royal Dutch Shell announced that it has acquired NewMotion, which specializes in converting parking spots into electric charging stations and operates one of Western Europe’s largest EV charging networks, with more than 30,000 EV charging points. Shell has been introducing fast charging points at its gasoline and diesel stations. [CleanTechnica]

¶ China expects to solve the problem of renewable energy going to waste by 2020, according to an official at the National Energy Administration, as the government takes aim at one of the biggest challenges in its efforts to promote clean energy. He also said that the agency expects the wind sector to wean itself off government subsidies by 2022. [Nasdaq]

Renewable energy (Reuters)

¶ In partnership with the noted medium- and heavy-duty truck manufacturer Shaanxi Automotive, Efficient Drivetrains Inc has unveiled a zero emissions capable, plug-in hybrid electric cement mixer truck. It’s the world’s first, reportedly. The company reportedly expects field deployment of the new offerings in Quarter 4 2017. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Building Energy announced that Tororo Solar Plant has been commissioned. It is the company’s first PV system in Uganda. With a capacity of 10 MW, this plant is among the largest in Eastern Africa. It will generate around 16 GWh of electricity annually, providing the electric power needs of over 35,000 people. [PR Newswire UK]

Tororo solar plant (PRNewsfoto | Building Energy)

US:

¶ The news of Luminant closing coal-burning power plants in Texas boosts the expected capacity of 2018 power plant closures to over 13,600 MW, or a whopping 79% more than the known closures for this year. It is not a record high (nearly 18,000 MW went offline in 2015), but it is clear that Trump administration claims that it will save coal are foundering. [Engadget]

¶ Wind technician is the fastest growing occupation in the US. As utilities rapidly increase the amount of power they get from wind farms, workers who climb hundreds of feet to keep turbines running smoothly are in high demand. Students in Minnesota’s wind power training programs sometimes get jobs before they graduate. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

Inside the nacelle of a Vestas turbine (Glen Stubbe | Star Tribune)

¶ If adopted, a bill now before New Jersey’s Senate would require 100% of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2050. Another bill would set a target of having 3,500 MW of offshore wind capacity by 2030. The third measure would require power suppliers to achieve aggressive goals for storing energy. [NJ Spotlight]

¶ DE Shaw Renewable Investments LLC and its development partner, Torch Clean Energy LLC, announced the closing of construction financing and start of construction on the Gray Hawk Solar Project, near the town of Kingman, Arizona. The 46 MW-AC project is expected to reach commercial operation in the second quarter of 2018. [Solar Industry]

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October 15 Energy News

October 15, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Clean energy provides jobs boom in state” • Clean Energy Economy Minnesota released an analysis showing that Minnesota gained 2892 clean energy jobs over the last year, a growth rate almost four times faster than the rest of the economy. The clean energy sector now employs over 57,000 people across the state. [St. Cloud Times]

Solar array in Ramsey, Minnesota seeded with a pollinator
habitat by Prairie Restorations, Inc (Photo: Courtesy of PRI)

¶ “Balance of power: Shift toward renewable energy appears to be picking up steam” • Japan introduced a feed-in tariff system after meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Now, despite the power of the political and economic “nuclear village,” people in government and industry are increasingly embracing renewable energy. [The Japan Times]

Science and Technology:

¶ Scientists constantly research materials that might catalyze a revolution in renewable energy harvesting and storage. One candidate appears to be metal-organic frameworks, very small, flexible, ultra-thin, super-porous crystalline structures. Now, researchers have discovered some important secrets about their conductivity. [ScienceBlog.com]

Metal-organic framework

World:

¶ Few people ever venture into data centers, places with massive series of servers kept in buildings like giant warehouses. But in Stockholm, anyone who goes inside one of these information labyrinths will discover that they’re not just housing data. All the heat they give off is helping to warm homes in the city of over 900,000 people. [BBC]

¶ Oman has been encouraging development of new energy sources, especially solar and wind power. A wind resource assessment campaign will be conducted by Oman Power and Water Procurement Company. For conducting the campaign, OPWP has floated a tender seeking proposals from bidders to carry out the campaign. [OPWP]

Wind turbines (Bloomberg file photo)

¶ Queensland’s Energy Minister declared the state’s electricity network to be “summer-ready,” after the release of an Energy Security Taskforce plan. But serious test of Queensland’s energy security could come as soon as next month. A mothballed gas-fired power plant coming back online to avert a shortfall will not be ready until January. [Courier Mail]

¶ A futuristic car that not only uses the sun as power but supplies energy back to the grid has been hailed as “the future” as the annual World Solar Challenge wrapped up in Australia. The Dutch entrant, Nuna 9, won the race for the third-straight time, crossing the finish line after travelling at an average speed of 81.2 kmh (55.5 mph). [The Guardian]

The Nuna 9 solar car (Photo: David Mariuz | AAP)

US:

¶ EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s move to roll back the Clean Power Plan will have little impact in Oregon. The economics of power generation left coal behind some time ago. Consumer demand for cleaner sources of power, and government insistence on them, are pushing utilities to investment more in renewable power sources. [Bend Bulletin]

¶ “Zombie oil” that ought to stay in the ground is kept alive thanks to federal and state governments feeding it billions of dollars, a study shows. The subsidies are not cash handouts. They’re a mix of tax breaks, tax credits, and regulations that forego government revenue, transfer liability, or provide services at below-market rates. [Motherboard en_us]

Oil pump (Image: Bureau of Land Management | Flickr)

¶ US Representative Elise Stefanik, a Republican from Willsboro, New York, does not support the Clean Power Plan. According to her spokesman, she thinks Congress should do something to rein in pollution from coal-fired plants, both because she believes it exacerbates global climate change and because it harms the Adirondacks. [WatertownDailyTimes.com]

¶ Puget Sound Energy wants the Trump administration to keep regulating greenhouse-gas emissions even after the repeal of the federal Clean Power Plan. But according to a white paper from a coalition of PSE and a dozen other utilities, any new effort should be more narrowly focused and offer states more time to come into compliance. [Seattle Times]

Colstrip power plant (Alan Berner | The Seattle Times)

¶ A Springfield City Utilities official says the Missouri company will continue to focus on alternative energy despite the Trump administration’s plans to repeal a federal law designed to reduce carbon emissions from power plants. Repealing the Clean Power Plan would only affect the utility if it significantly reduces the cost of coal. [KTTS]

¶ Summit County’s elected officials agreed last week to help the community completely transition to renewable electric energy by the year 2032 as part of the county’s ongoing effort to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels. The Summit County Council joined only three other confirmed counties in the country that have made similar declarations. [Sky Hi News]

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October 14 Energy News

October 14, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder recruited 20 sedentary volunteers to ride electric bicycles to work at least three times a week for a month. The riders were free to choose the level of assist they preferred, but each trip had to take at least 40 minutes. After one month all of the riders showed measurable health benefits. [CleanTechnica]

Researchers demonstrating pedal electric bicycle in Boulder
(Photo: Sydney Chinowsky | University of Colorado Boulder)

World:

¶ In March of this year, Paris suffered through a period of intense smog, during which the air over the city was dirtier than the air over Beijing. The city has since made a series of moves to reduce pollution from vehicles. Now it is considering a plan that seeks to remove all gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles from its streets by 2030. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The state-owned Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica intends to invest in the wind and solar power business in order to diversify its offering. It got a grant to conduct a feasibility study for a 30-MW offshore wind farm from the US Trade and Development Agency, and it is working on developing other projects, including rooftop PV. [pv magazine International]

Jamaica (Photo: Flickr | Darryl Braaten)

¶ A new Power Purchase Agreement reached between NL Hydro and a private company will help reduce the reliance on diesel generation for residents of Mary’s Harbour, Labrador. The president of St Mary’s River Energy Limited says they are reactivating a small hydro plant on the St Mary’s River that had operated from 1987 to 2007. [VOCM]

¶ Mongolia’s second wind site was completed in early October, taking its installed wind capacity to 100 MW. The 50-MW Tsetsii project, located near Tsogttsetsii, in southern Mongolia, is powered by 25 Vestas V110 2-MW turbines. At present, Mongolia has a power capacity of 1,130 MW, of which 88% is coal-fired and 8% renewable. [Windpower Monthly]

First Vestas turbine installed at the Tsetsii project

¶ Mongolia plans to expand its windpower capacity to 8 GW. The country aims to focus its wind power development on export potential in anticipation of the so-called Asian super-grid, which is planned to connect China, India, Russia, South Korea and Japan in a massive cross-border transmission network. [Power Engineering International]

¶ Olleco, the renewable division of ABP Food Group, has opened a 15-MW anaerobic digestion facility in Aylesbury, England. The ABP Food Group said that the new plant, a £22 million ($29.2 million) investment, would generate enough energy to power the equivalent of 12,000 households. The facility is situated next to an Arla dairy. [CNBC]

Lunching on simple salad (Andia | UIG | Getty Images)

¶ A scandal over product inspections data faked by Japanese materials and machinery giant Kobe Steel expanded to include products shipped to more than 500 customers. Kobe Steel has not identified the customers affected, but the company is a major supplier to many manufacturers, including nuclear power plants. [Japan Today]

¶ Dozens of government ministers and senior officials in the Maldives to coordinate efforts on renewable energy development and other ways to stave off the impacts of a changing climate. Small island states and nations with developing economies pledged to take a stronger initiative in the fight against climate change, low-carbon leaders said. [UPI.com]

Maldives beach (Photo: Élite Diving Agency | Wikimedia)

US:

¶ California has put its utilities on notice: When you’re putting together your next integrated resource plans, you’d better have non-gas generating options for meeting peak demand. That’s what Governor Jerry Brown mandated to utilities when he signed SB 338 into law yesterday, requiring that peak loads be met by alternatives to fossil fuels. [solarpaces.org]

¶ Congress has approved a loan of nearly $5 billion loan that will further burden the already bankrupt US territory of Puerto Rico. But various solar companies and nonprofits are continuing to work together to offer aid to the storm-ravaged island while also promoting a more sustainable future and resilient energy system. [Common Dreams]

Renewable energy technology (Photo: SolarCity)

¶ In Puerto Rico, Barrio Obrero fire station installed a 4-kW solar system that will provide it with full power. The station has been without reliable power since Hurricane Maria struck. While the federal government has focused on supplying diesel power, Tesla, Sonnen, New Star Solar, and others are building reliable microgrids. [CNBC]

¶ Officials of Wester Energy, the largest electric utility in Kansas, say new guidelines set by the EPA will not result in a major shift in fuel strategy. EPA chief Scott Pruitt announced ending the Clean Power Plan, but this does not affect Westar because it has a commitment to renewable energy sources, according to a company spokeswoman. [KMBZ]

Wind farm

¶ Wind energy is expected to overtake coal in Texas news that two large coal-fired power plants are set to close in the next year. The utility firm Luminant announced that it would close the Sandow Power Plant and the Big Brown Power Plant in early 2018. The plants have a capacity of 2,300 MW, enough to power 2.1 million Texas homes. [Washington Examiner]

¶ Sunnova is the largest residential solar provider in Puerto Rico. It installs it its own equipment on rooftops and sells the electricity to the customers, who only pay for the power. Until recently, the Puerto Rico’s public utility made it difficult for customers to generate their power without also relying on the electric grid. [Houston Chronicle]

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October 13 Energy News

October 13, 2017

 

Opinion:

¶ “Pioneering Community Solar in the Granite State” • Legal and regulatory roadblocks forced solar advocates in Keene, New Hampshire, to develop a comprehensive framework for adding a 43-kW rooftop array to Monadnock Food Co-op, whose focus on sustainability and downtown location made it a natural partner. [ilsr.org]

Solar power in winter (Photo: 1010uk via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

¶ “California Fires Are an Urgent Reminder to Get the Country Off Fossil Fuels Now” • Is this the new normal? Summers and autumns filled with extreme hurricanes in the East and fires in the West. Billions of dollars of damage, thousands of lives uprooted – many lost completely. And global temperatures continuing to increase. [Food and Water Watch]

Science and Technology:

¶ For the second year in a row, scientists have discovered a massive hole in Antarctica’s sea ice, and they’re not sure what’s causing it. Scientists discovered the South Carolina-sized hole about a month ago, according to National Geographic. The phenomenon is known as a polynya, an area of open water where sea ice should be. [The Weather Channel]

Antarctica

World:

¶ The Carbon Disclosure Project published new research, which reveals that 1,389 companies disclosing their plans or current practices to CDP are putting a price on carbon emissions. This is “because they understand that carbon risk management is a business imperative.” This is a phenomenal increase from 150 companies in 2014. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The UK’s Government has left the door open for a boom in offshore wind power in the next decade to power low-carbon economic growth. If costs continue to fall, it would consider opportunities for additional projects beyond the 10-GW cap. It will also allow proposals for wind projects on Scottish islands to bid in the next auction. [Telegraph.co.uk]

Offshore wind power (Credit: AFP | Getty Images)

¶ Samsung Renewable Energy and its partner Pattern Energy Group have turned on the switch at their joint venture, 100-MW Belle River Wind power facility. It is expected to generate enough electricity to power as many as 35,000 Ontario homes annually. Pattern Energy Group now has 1.3 GW of operating projects, with more on the way. [Windsor Square]

¶ Queensland’s tender for 400 MW of large-scale renewables and 100 MW of energy storage has received 115 proposals from 79 different entities with a wide range of technologies. Proposals included 2.2 GW of wind, 6.4 GW of solar, around 500 MW of other renewable energy technologies, and 6 GW of energy storage proposals. [Energy Storage News]

Queensland (Photo: flickr | Timothy Swinson)

¶ Indonesia will not approve any new coal-fired power stations on the heavily populated island of Java as the country strives to reach its renewable energy development targets, the energy minister said. Java is home to about two thirds of Indonesia’s population of 250 million, but the island is also well supplied with electricity. [Reuters]

¶ Welsh developer Marine Power Systems has completed fabrication of a quarter-scale prototype of its WaveSub device at Pembroke Dock. The wave generator made by local outfit Ledwood Mechanical Engineering will be shipped in the coming weeks for testing at the FabTest nursery test site off Falmouth in Cornwall. [reNews]

WaveSub (Marine Power Systems image)

¶ The Netherlands, a country that recently commissioned three state-of-the-art coal plants and has been reluctant to close them, has moved to phase out coal power by 2030. At the same time, the UK and Canada have jointly urged other nations to drop coal from their power profiles. Many countries are reducing coal consumption. [POWER magazine]

¶ The Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council put forward their proposal for a Zero Emission Zone in the Oxford city center in an attempt to yield “historic reductions in air pollution.” The Zero Emission Zone, which would ban emitting vehicles from city centers, would be introduced at the beginning of 2020. [CleanTechnica]

Cornmarket St, Oxford (Photo: Grue, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Eight environmental have broken into a French nuclear power station and set off fireworks to urge better protection for nuclear waste and protest France’s dependence on atomic energy. The activists were detained, and Utilite EDF insisted that the stunt by Greenpeace had no impact on safety at the plant in Cattenom in eastern France. [PennEnergy]

US:

¶ Southern California Gas Co and the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory installed a bioreactor to test power-to-gas technology as a way to store excess renewable power. In the facility, renewable energy produces hydrogen, and archaea microorganisms in the bioreactor consume hydrogen and carbon dioxide to produce methane. [Renewables Now]

Bioreactor installation (Source: Twitter, @SoCalGasNews)

¶ Facing questions on Capitol Hill over his proposal to subsidize coal and nuclear power plants, Energy Secretary Rick Perry said the notion of a free market in energy generation is a “fallacy.” One lawmaker accused Perry of “killing off competitive electricity markets just to save generation assets that are no longer economical.” [Yahoo Finance UK]

¶ In light of the Trump administration’s plans to rescind the Clean Power Plan, former New York Mayor Michael R Bloomberg has announced a new commitment of $64 million to support the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign and other organizations working to advance the US clean energy market at the state and local level. [North American Windpower]

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October 12 Energy News

October 12, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Nuclear Cannot Keep Up With Wind, & Solar Is Coming Next” Even countries with long-standing nuclear aims are adding wind power much faster, as Brazil, China, and India show. Those interested in the fastest way to mitigate climate change can forget nuclear. Even China has experienced delays in reactor construction. [CleanTechnica]

Solar Panels (Image via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0)

¶ “Unlikely allies fight Trump backing of coal, nuclear energy” • Dow Chemical, Koch Industries and US Steel Corp are standing with environmentalists in opposing an Energy Department plan to reward nuclear and coal-fired power plants for their constant power generation and are pressuring the administration to shift course. [Daily Journal]

Science and Technology:

¶ MIT researchers have developed an “air-breathing” battery that could store electricity for very long periods for about one-fifth the cost of current technologies, with minimal location restraints and zero emissions. Systems that could store electricity for multiple days to entire seasons would cost about $20 to $30 per kWh of storage capacity. [Gears Of Biz]

Energy Storage

¶ Scientists have developed a ceramic pump that can operate at 1,400° C, several hundred degrees hotter than existing heat transfer systems, opening up new possibilities for energy storage. Higher temperatures mean that more thermal energy can be converted to mechanical or electrical energy, improving overall efficiency. [MIT Technology Review]

World:

¶ Battery storage system installations in Australia look set to treble in 2017, driven by a growing uptake of home battery systems. New data shows more than 7000 were installed in the first six month of the year, surpassing the 6500 sales recorded for all of 2016, and the installations  may total over 20,000 by the year’s end. [One Step Off The Grid]

Sonnenbatterie sonnen eco

¶  Australian developer Windlab secured a landmark power purchase agreement for the country’s first grid-connected large scale hybrid project combining wind, solar, and battery storage. Kennedy Energy Park’s first phase includes comprises 43.5 MW of wind capacity, 15 MW of solar PV capacity and a 2-MW lithium-ion battery. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Guyana, as part of its strategy to transition towards a 100% renewable energy supply by 2025, has hired a company to design, supply and install a 400-kW solar system for the remote community of Mabaruma in the North West District. The new system, to be installed by meeco, will cut diesel fuel use by 21,000 liters per month. [Demerara Waves]

Mabaruma, Guyana (meeco image)

¶ The Netherlands’ new government coalition, to be finalized this week following elections in March, will set ambitious energy and climate targets, according to the Dutch energy consumer lobby VEMW. The lobby said Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s new coalition will set a new target to cut CO2 emissions by 49% from 1990 levels by 2030. [Platts]

¶ China aims to boost its large-scale energy storage capacity over the next decade, the government’s central planner said, in a major push to deal with stranded renewable power in the west of the country. China generated 5.9 trillion kWh of power in 2016, of which 25.6% came from hydro, wind, nuclear and solar power stations. [Nasdaq]

Floating solar array in China (Reuters image)

¶ Origin Energy is using artificial intelligence to help control customer energy usage in new demand-management trials. This comes as the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Australian Energy Market Operator started a $35.7 million trial in three states, rewarding households for cutting power usage on hot summer days. [Brisbane Times]

¶ The creation of a publicly-owned energy firm in Scotland to provide lower cost power should boost the country’s renewables sector as well as reducing household bills, according to experts. Ofgem, the industry regulator, was among the first to back the announcement made by Nicola Sturgeon in her speech to the SNP conference. [The National]

Wind turbines at sunrise

¶ The US Trade and Development Agency awarded a grant to Tayabas Geothermal Power Inc supporting development of a 60-MW to 100-MW geothermal power project in southeast Luzon. The project will help the Philippines meet its growing energy demand and diversify its energy mix, while creating market access for US industry. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

US:

¶ Environmentalists decried the Trump administration’s decision to terminate the Clean Power Plan, and threatened lawsuits. But San Antonio’s city-owned utility company CPS Energy said the EPA’s decision will not have any affect on its plans to decommission the coal-fired Deely Power Plant by the end of 2018. [San Antonio Business Journal]

Deely Power Plant (CPS Energy image)

¶ At the end of September, DOE Secretary Rick Perry formally proposed to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that the coal and nuclear industries propped up and subsidized. The move has received opposition from nearly every group and institution with a stake in the matter, except for the few who will benefit financially. [CleanTechnica]

¶ EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s decision to “withdraw” the Obama-era Clean Power Plan is intended as a sign to coal miners that “the war on coal is over.” Nevertheless, experts are confident the repeal will not bring coal back, and a number of states are continuing to move forward with their own climate change initiatives. [CleanTechnica]

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October 11 Energy News

October 11, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Let sun & wind power Puerto Rico’s future” • In the wake of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Ricans are stuck in an intensifying humanitarian crisis. The island could emerge from this disaster as a global leader in the transition toward clean energy. But it is loaded with an unjust debt burden and an unsustainable energy system. [New York Daily News]

Puerto Rico (Photo: Carlos Giusti | AP)

¶ “Pruitt Picks Winners & Losers – Clean Power Plan Rescinded” You know how all the people who feed at the trough full of Koch Brothers money always carry on about how government should not pick winners and losers? It is eyewash to bamboozle the weak-minded. In reality, they insist government pick winners (them) and losers (everyone else). [CleanTechnica]

¶ “What’s the Real Story on the Future of Coal?” • Analysis from the Union of Concerned Scientists tracks the changes in the nation’s fleet of 1,256 coal-fired electric generating units from 2008 to 2016, and concludes that 38% of the nation’s coal generating capacity is less economic to run than alternatives. [Union of Concerned Scientists]

Coal

World:

¶ When EY published its latest Renewable energy country attractiveness index (RECAI) report, it revealed that China has held on to its position as the world’s most attractive renewable energy market. China and India both overtook the United States in May’s RECAI report, dropping the US out of top spot for the first time since 2015. [CleanTechnica]

¶ German wind turbine manufacturer Senvion secured its first partnership in Argentina with EREN Renewable Energy for the supply and delivery of 27 of its 3.6M114 NES turbines. Senvion will undertake engineering, procurement, and construction. The 97.2-MW Los Hercules wind farm is expected to be completed in December, 2018. [Power Engineering International]

Wind turbines

¶ Australian households and businesses added another 97 MW of rooftop solar in 2017, setting a record for the first nine months of the year at 780 MW. This puts rooftop solar on track to break through the 1,000 MW mark for the first time in 2017. The increase in installations is clearly tied to rapidly increasing consumer electric bills. [RenewEconomy]

¶ One of the largest issues facing humans is our wastefulness. We waste food, resources, space and everything in between. To combat this, Google and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, are working together in a partnership focusing on building a circular economy for cities to follow. A circular economy encourages reduction of waste. [PSFK]

Solar PV panels in Berkeley, California

¶ The chair of Australia’s newly formed Energy Security Board, Dr Kerry Schott, stressed the importance of demand response in meeting the nation’s energy security and affordability needs, telling ABC Radio that if we could harness the technology effectively, we could “all stop worrying about building new plants of any description.” [RenewEconomy]

¶ Work has started on development and construction of a €38 million, 19.2-MW wind farm in County Wicklow, south of Dublin, after full planning permission was granted. Local people will run a co-operative that was established for the sole purpose of developing the wind farm to supply renewable energy to the electricity grid. [Independent.ie]

Wind farm (Independent.ie)

¶ International experts warned about security shortcomings at French and Belgian nuclear plants that make them vulnerable to attack, in a report commissioned by the Greenpeace group. The seven experts are from France, Germany, Britain and the US, and are specialists in nuclear safety, proliferation, economics and radiation. [The News International]

US:

¶ Michigan, which experiences harsh, cold winters, is now home to a 200,000 panel solar array on a 250-acre site. The Lapeer solar park is operational and generating enough renewable energy to power 11,000 homes. It is one of the largest utility-owned solar parks east of the Mississippi River, Detroit based DTE Energy said in a statement. [CNBC]

Lapeer solar farm (DTE image)

¶ The EPA has identified its priorities, and climate change is not one of them. In fact, the term “climate change” does not appear in the agency’s draft four-year strategic plan, a document of 38 pages quietly released for public comment last week. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has questioned the authority of his agency to regulate climate change. [CNN]

¶ Colorado Springs Utilities’ plan to decommission Martin Drake Power Plant will not change despite US EPA chief Scott Pruitt’s announcement that he will override the Clean Power Plan. The utility also is moving forward with contract negotiations for 100 MW more electricity from solar power as part of its “Energy Vision” plan. [KKTV 11 News]

Martin Drake Power Plant

¶ Apex Clean Energy and the GreenBiz Group surveyed 153 major corporations. Among them, 84% are “actively pursuing or considering purchasing renewable energy over the next 5-10 years.” Surprisingly, they found that 43% of the corporations intend to be more aggressive in their pursuit of renewable energy in the next two years. [The Guardian]

¶ A public-private partnership is pushing ahead with plans to build the nation’s largest wind farm, the second largest in the world, in western Oklahoma. The 2,000-MW Wind Catcher Energy Connection Project is a collaborative venture by Invenergy, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company. [KUAR]

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October 10 Energy News

October 10, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “How The Big Clean Switch is taking the power back” • Changing to renewable energy used to seem like an expensive luxury. But there’s money to be saved now. And it’s easy being green with this Big Issue-backed campaign, whose director said, “The most common reaction we always hear is: ‘I can’t believe how easy it was.'” [Big Issue]

Renewable energy

¶ “Economics, Not Regulations, Are Waging a War on Coal” • Speaking in Hazard, Kentucky, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said, “It was wrong for the last administration to declare a war on coal, and it’s right for this administration to say the war is over.” But even a drastic policy shift will likely not “put our miners back to work.” [Greentech Media]

Science and Technology:

¶ There is considerable opportunity for generating wind power in the open ocean, according to research from the Carnegie Institution for Science published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In wintertime, North Atlantic wind farms could provide sufficient energy to meet all of civilization’s current needs. [Science Daily]

Offshore wind farm (Credit: © StockphotoVideo | Fotolia)

World:

¶ A leading energy analyst if governments were serious about lowering electricity prices for consumers, they would focus more on supporting rooftop solar and battery storage than subsidizing ageing coal-fired power generators. He says the combination of solar and batteries is already cheaper than grid prices in South Australia and could be elsewhere. [CleanTechnica]

¶ In South Australia, a record was set with 47.8% of the state’s electricity demand being met by rooftop solar systems. This was a result of low grid demand, during a weekend with moderate early spring temperatures, with few air conditioners switched on, combined with excellent rooftop solar output, producing a stunning 538.54 MW. [CleanTechnica]

Power graph (Image: Melbourne’s Climate and Energy College)

¶ Audrey Zibelman, the head of the Australian Energy Market Operator, has made a call for some sort of policy certainty, and new market mechanisms, repeating her view that the shift to renewable energy is unstoppable, but needs to be managed. She cited the 21,000 MW of wind and solar plants queuing for a place on grid. [RenewEconomy]

¶ The Caribbean Development Bank announced that it has partnered with the government of Suriname to finance a project aimed at expanding the country’s grid capabilities and building three PV power plants. Local press also reports that the US solar company Solarreserve is planning to build a 100-MW solar plant in the country. [pv magazine International]

Suriname (Flickr | Rob Oo)

¶ The Fukushima District Court held the Japanese government and TEPCO responsible for the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and ordered them to pay compensation ¥500 million ($4.4 million) to about 2,900 evacuees. Some 3,800 plaintiffs, most of whom were residents of Fukushima Prefecture, had sought a total of about ¥16 billion. [Asahi Shimbun]

¶ A Joint venture between Enel subsidiary Enel Green Power and the Dutch Infrastructure Fund has begun construction of the 137.7-MW Bungala Solar One plant, near Port Augusta in South Australia. This is the first part of the Bungala Solar PV Project, whose capacity will total more than 275.4 MW when it is completed. [PV-Tech]

Construction at the Bungala Solar PV Project (Credit: Enel)

US:

¶ EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced his agency’s plans to withdraw the Clean Power Plan, the sweeping Obama-era rule regulating greenhouse gas emissions. While speaking in Kentucky at an event with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Pruitt said he will sign the proposed rule repealing Obama’s plan on October 10. [CNN]

¶ The City of Cincinnati is updating its Green Cincinnati Plan, which was first adopted in 2008 and then revised and readopted in 2013. City officials met with residents at the Cincinnati Zoo, which is claimed to be the greenest zoo in America, to present and take new recommendations to help improve Cincinnati’s sustainability. [Soapbox Cincinnati]

Solar panels over a parking lot at the Cincinnati Zoo

¶ Enel Green Power North America announced that it has signed a $330 million tax equity agreement with the Alternative Energy Investing Group of Goldman Sachs and GE Energy Financial Services to spur development of Oklahoma’s 298-MW Thunder Ranch wind project. Half of Thunder Ranch’s output has been sold to Anheuser-Busch. [CleanTechnica]

¶ EPA head Scott Pruitt’s plan to repeal the Clean Power Plan is unlikely to stop Iowa’s nation-leading adoption of wind energy, say environmental advocates, electric associations, and a number of government leaders. Iowa’s attorney general said he and other states’ attorneys general plan to challenge Pruitt’s efforts in court. [DesMoinesRegister.com]

Iowa wind turbines (Photo: Zach Boyden-Holmes | The Register)

¶ Republic Services and renewable energy company Soltage recently celebrated the activation of a 13.5-MW solar energy project in Randolph and two other towns, constructed on three former landfill sites, or brownfields, in Massachusetts. The project is expected to produce enough electricity to power 1,900 local households. [Wicked Local Randolph]

¶ If there were any remaining doubts, the age of coal is over and the era of natural gas and renewables is officially here. The decision by Luminant to shut its Monticello Power Plant, one of Texas’ largest and dirtiest coal-fired electricity plants, is a prime example of this shift. The plant is scheduled to be closed in January. [Dallas News]

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October 9 Energy News

October 9, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Solar Power and Water for Puerto Rico” • Here is a chance to help people stand up to a president who makes light of disaster by throwing out paper towels, a moment right up there with “Let them eat cake.” We are all in this together, and together, we can make things better. Please help Joseph, Rosemary, and their family. [Green Energy Times]

Puerto Rico National Guard delivering supplies (Sgt Jose Diaz-Ramos, Puerto Rico National Guard, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “New Orleans is the canary in the coal mine for coastal cities” • There were at least three “1,000-year” storm events in 2016. Now New Orleans is coping with Hurricane Nate. It and other flooding cities are signposts for countless communities that face the specter of their own natural hazards made unfathomable by climate change. [CNN]

¶ “Energy industry will be unrecognisable within a decade” • Whether we like it or not, Australia is transitioning to a low-carbon environment. Such is the scale and pace of change, our existing power model could be unrecognisable within a decade. Change and disruption will open the door to a new breed of energy utility. [The Australian Financial Review]

Accelerating transition (AP)

¶ “Rising Costs Slow The Growth Of Nuclear Power” • The troubled history of Britain’s Hinckley Point C nuclear power station illustrates the blind alley in which nuclear power finds itself. Eight years behind schedule, it should have come on stream by the end of this year, but is not now likely before 2025, and costs keep climbing. [OilPrice.com]

Science and Technology:

¶ Hurricane Nate, which pummeled the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama at Category 1 status early Sunday, has made the 2017 hurricane season one of the worst on record since 1893 and possibly earlier, just in terms of numbers of hurricanes. And US territories have never before been hit by three category 4 storms in one season. [Gizmodo]

Hurricane damage (AP photo)

World:

¶ Brazil’s wind power output increased by 39.7% year-on-year to an average of 6,915 MW September, according to figures released by the Power Trading Chamber. Wind power share also went up to 11.1% from 8% in the country’s electricity generation mix. Biomass and solar power also were increased over the period, though hydropower output fell. [Renewables Now]

¶ As costs of renewable energy fall, the Turnbull government is rethinking the need to adopt a clean energy target. In the keynote address to The Australian Financial Review National Energy Summit, Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg will stress that emissions reduction cannot come at the expense of reliability and affordability. [The Australian Financial Review]

Falling costs of renewable energy (Photo: Eddie Seal)

¶ Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is pledging to create Renewable Energy Zones to drive cost-effective renewable projects. In a speech to be delivered to the Australian Financial Review’s National Energy Summit, he will also reiterate Labor’s willingness to negotiate with the Turnbull government a “fair dinkum” clean energy target. [Brisbane Times]

¶ Some 1.2 billion people around the world have no access to electric power. In Rwanda, for example, less than 20% of the population live in homes that enjoy electricity, a fact that stymies development and reinforces poverty. It is a huge problem, but to some people, it is a statistic that rings not of hopelessness, but of opportunity. [BBC News]

Installing a large system in Rwanda (Credit: BBOXX)

¶ Britain’s first industrial-scale battery plant will come online in Sheffield this week to help the grid cope with the rapidly growing amount of renewable power. E.ON said the facility, which is next to an existing power plant, marked a milestone in its efforts to develop storage for power from wind farms, nuclear reactors and gas power stations. [The Guardian]

¶ Microsoft signed a 15-year power purchase agreement with GE for all the electricity generated by the 37-MW Tullahennel wind farm in county Kerry, Ireland. The electricity will support Microsoft’s growing cloud services in Ireland, the company said. The PPA builds on Microsoft’s strategic partnership with GE, which was announced last year. [reNews]

Wind farm (Pixabay image)

¶ Finland will have to add another five months to the decade-long wait to start production at a nuclear reactor once billed as the world’s biggest. Plagued by cost overruns and legal tangles, the delay is the latest setback for the 1,600-MW reactor meant to provide cheap power. Finland is seeking to reduce reliance on imported power. [Bloomberg]

US:

¶ The Kankakee Valley REMC, a membership cooperative that delivers electricity to more than 18,000 customers in rural areas of seven Indiana counties, began offering a new Co-Op Solar Program this month. It allows members to buy up to half of the electricity they use from solar energy sources without having to install solar panels. [nwitimes.com]

Kankakee Valley REMC solar array (Photo provided)

¶ Like many other frivolous things in Puerto Rico these days, the shiny motorcycles at the Planet Honda showroom have been pushed to the side. In their place are dozens of folding chairs, and on Thursday morning, they were all filled with people waiting to buy portable generators, to light their powerless homes. [Standard Republic]

¶ Dominion Energy will develop a series of PV projects to help serve a new data center that Facebook plans to develop outside Richmond, Virginia. This will be Facebook’s eighth data center in the US, and it comes with an innovative new renewable rate option that could also benefit other large companies looking to use renewable power. [PV-Tech]

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October 8 Energy News

October 8, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Attempts To Silence Climate Scientists Have Been Desperate But Effective” • Scientists overwhelmingly agree that humans are altering the climate in ways that have potentially catastrophic consequences. Climate deniers can’t dispute the data. They can’t win on facts. Instead, they employ tactics that have proven both ugly and effective. [CleanTechnica]

Port Arthur, Texas, after Hurricane Harvey (Photo: US Air
National Guard Staff Sgt Daniel J Martinez, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Electric Vehicles Will Drive A $5 Trillion Transition” • The excitement is palpable. Auto shows are rolling out new EV models; China says it’s planning on banning internal combustion engines; and Daimler is jockeying with Tesla in the budding electric truck segment. And anticipating growth, lithium prices have reached an all-time high. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “How green is Britain’s record on renewable energy supply?” • As one of the UK’s renewable energy chiefs has pointed out, electric cars will not tackle climate change if they run off fossil fuels. Put simply, the greener the electricity mix, the greener your electric car. About half of power generated in the UK comes from low-carbon sources. [The Guardian]

Dunlaw wind farm (Photo: Murdo Macleod for the Guardian)

¶ “Who wins when power companies make political contributions? The lawmakers who police utilities.” • Donations going to members of the Public Utilities Review Committee show how South Carolina’s regulatory system is broken, critics say, noting the $1.7 billion that a utility was allowed to charge its customers for a failed nuclear project. [The State]

World:

¶ The anniversary of the death of St Francis of Assisi saw about 40 Catholic institutions announcing their faith-centric divestment from the fossil fuel industry and its ancillaries. The value of the divestment was not disclosed, but thought to be in the tune of $5.5 trillion. This sum is four times more than any previous church records. [World Religion News]

Cooling towers (Photo: Gerry Machen, CC BY 2.0)

¶ Australia’s two biggest clean energy financiers are putting money into a new venture by Melbourne-based start-up, Relectrify. It proposes to re-use electric vehicle batteries for household storage, saying it has developed “advanced battery control technology” that reduces the cost of repurposing EV batteries while boosting performance. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Albany, Western Australia, will be the site of a new green energy project that will seek to harness the power of waves to light people’s homes. Carnegie Clean Energy, a Perth company, was announced to be the winner of a $15.75 million State Government grant to build a pilot plant using wave power technology in Albany. [The West Australian]

Albany windfarm (Michaeldolphin, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ Puerto Rico’s Gov Ricardo Rosselló and Tesla chief Elon Musk had a 25-minute phone conversation in which the two discussed relief efforts as well as Tesla playing a leading role, Rosselló said in an interview with USA TODAY. Teams from Tesla and Puerto Rico’s energy sector will continue the talks early next week, Rosselló said. [USA TODAY]

¶ The Trump administration is moving to ease restrictions on emissions from coal-fired power plants, repealing the Clean Power Plan without offering a replacement. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the 43-page document, which underscored President Trump’s bid to revive the struggling coal industry. [CP24 Toronto’s Breaking News]

Coal-fired Plant Scherer (AP Photo | Branden Camp, File)

¶ Elizabeth Mine, whose excavations left a moonscape of waste rock and tailings that leached orange effluent into nearby streams, is a “brownfield” that has been transformed into a “greenfield” that will generate 5 MW of electricity. It will power annual needs of about 1,200 Vermont homes for decades to come, its promoters say. [Valley News]

¶ Scientists and utilities are reconsidering the grid in the age of renewables. A sudden windstorm near a nuclear plant could blow out a substation because the plant takes time to ramp down. Idaho Falls Power has collaborated with nearby Idaho National Laboratory to find ways to improve the electrical grid for several years. [Twin Falls Times-News]

Fly fishing at Idaho Falls (Photo: John Roark | Post Register)

¶ Sen Chuck Grassley of Iowa says he recently got a surprise phone call from President Trump reiterating his support for corn-based ethanol. But now, the EPA, citing the concerns of big oil, signaled it is considering lowering the amount of ethanol and other renewable fuels required in transportation fuels and heating oil. [Beckley Register-Herald]

¶ Approximately 50 of the Interior Department’s most experienced managers have been reassigned to jobs outside their areas of expertise. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke may have shed some light on why this happened when he told a petroleum industry group that he believes nearly a third of his workforce is disloyal to the Trump agenda. [La Crosse Tribune]

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October 7 Energy News

October 7, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ A major climate based on a 26-year record of observations tracking the emissions of carbon from artificially heated plots of the Harvard Forest in Massachusetts, reinforces fears about the possibility of a climate change “feedback” involving the planet’s soils. The study’s findings were published in the journal Science. [New Zealand Herald]

Forest (Photo: AP)

¶ The cost of stationary energy storage could fall by up to 66% by 2030, according to a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency. The report, “Electricity Storage and Renewables: Costs and Markets to 2030,” also said that the falling price of batteries could stimulate 17-fold growth of installed battery storage over the period. [reNews]

World:

¶ The Gullen Range solar farm – the first in Australia to be co-located with a wind farm – has begun generation into the grid. The 10-MW solar farm is adjacent to the 165-MW Gullen Range wind farm to share infrastructure such as roads, power lines, and telecommunications. The solar and wind farms complement each other’s output, as well. [CleanTechnica]

.

¶ German battery storage maker sonnen is offering Australian households “free energy” for two years if they have rooftop solar and use an approved installer for one of their battery storage devices. Previously, under the so-called “sonnenFlat” deal launched in July, households would pay nothing for energy but face a monthly fee of $30-$50. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Here’s a fun fact about Russia: it gets a fifth of its energy from hydropower. This might sound shocking for a country whose image is so tightly linked to oil and gas, but Russia has a lot of big rivers and it’s putting them to good use. Now, Moscow is moving into other renewables and, more interestingly, energy storage as well. [Nasdaq]

Oil pump (Shutterstock image)

¶ Elon Musk did not need 100 days after obtaining a connection agreement to switch on the Tesla big battery in South Australia. The battery was up and running, providing power for unveiling the first demonstration, less than 100 minutes after the ink dried on the connection deal. Installation is still continuing, but Elon Musk made his point. [RenewEconomy]

¶ The European Investment Bank today entered into a partnership agreement with International Solar Alliance for €800 million of financial aid to support India’s clean energy project. The partnership between the two bodies will mobilize finance to develop affordable solar energy in countries that get ample sunlight. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Large solar array

¶ Shell country chief executive for the Netherlands, Marjan van Loon, says Shell has joined other companies calling on the Dutch government to increase its commitment to offshore wind energy. The country is currently struggling to meet its renewable energy goals, and the current plan is for 5 tenders of 700-MW farms. [Power Engineering International]

¶ In Australia, the Clean Energy Council Chief Executive said 41 renewable energy projects have now been committed in 2017, creating an unprecedented wave of investment worth over $8 billion. It is creating approximately 4680 new direct jobs and massive economic benefits for local businesses across the country. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Albany Windfarm, Australia

US:

¶ The upside of Twitter showed in an exchange between Gov Ricardo Rossello of Puerto Rico, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Gov Rossello was seemingly sending a desperate plea for help to someone increasingly asked for it. He needed support rebuilding the collapsed grid in Puerto Rico. Ever so swiftly, Elon Musk responded positively. [CleanTechnica]

¶ One of America’s largest energy companies sees potential in abandoned mines in Virginia. In fact, Dominion Energy this week is looking at an abandoned coal mine, the Bullitt Mine, that is filled with water. And that’s where the promise may lie: the water. Dominion is considering the mine as part of a pumped storage facility. [Courthouse News Service]

Pumped storage facility in Virginia (Photo: Dominion Energy)

¶ Secretary of Energy Rick Perry addressed his agency’s recent proposed rule to provide cost recovery for baseload coal and nuclear generators, saying it is “not a directive” for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Washington Examiner reports. FERC Commissioner Robert Powelson said he would quit before voting for the rule. [Utility Dive]

¶ A California Energy Commission committee assigned to evaluate NRG Energy’s proposed 262-MW Puente natural gas plant recommended against approving the facility. Well ahead of its original timeline to complete its evaluation, they said the power plant was “inconsistent” with several laws, regulations and policies, the committee said. [Utility Dive]

Puente Power Project (Credit: California Energy Commission)

¶ The Trump administration plans to scrap former president Barack Obama’s signature plan for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions from the nation’s power plants, arguing that the Obama administration overstepped its legal authority with the Clean Power Plan, according to a 43-page proposal obtained by The Washington Post. [Chicago Tribune]

¶ Georgia Power announced that it has received the first parent guarantee payment from Toshiba for the Vogtle nuclear expansion. The $300 million payment, of which $137 million is Georgia Power’s share, is the first of multiple scheduled payments to Georgia Power and the other project co-owners totaling $3.68 billion. [Southern Political Report]

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October 6 Energy News

October 6, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “A trio of storms could mean grid modernization in hard-hit areas” • Harvey, Irma and Maria struck Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, respectively, with varying degrees of severity. Puerto Rico was especially hard hit, with 80% of transmission lines down. But in each location, there are opportunities to consider new ways to move forward. [Utility Dive]

Hurricane damage (Getty Images)

¶ “Rick Perry’s new coal subsidy could wreck America’s power markets” • The US DOE has set a new record for gall in the old practice of taxing the common good for private interests. In a fairly stunning move, it would impose a new tax on electricity consumers to support coal. It could roil America’s power markets for years to come. [The Hill]

World:

¶ The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis has released a report documenting the gathering momentum of the disruption of the electricity markets by renewables. It describes impacts of renewable resources on electricity prices as a key driver of this change, and provides eleven case studies revealing the trend. [RenewEconomy]

Transmission lines (Image: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire)

¶ A new incentive scheme for PV projects not exceeding 1 MW has been announced by Denmark’s Ministry of Energy, Utilities and Climate. The new scheme’s budget is 105 million Danish krone ($16.5 million) and it is capped at 35 MW for 2017. Selected projects will get a tariffs ranging from 0.66 to 0.77 krone per kWh (10¢ to 12¢/kWh). [pv magazine International]

¶ Calgary-based TransCanada, the company behind the Energy East oil pipeline plan, abruptly announced that they are shelving the multibillion-dollar project, citing regulatory hurdles. The 4,600-km pipeline, designed to ship 1.1 million barrels of oil daily, faced opposition from environmentalists and First Nations concerned about drinking water security. [VICE News]

Oil pipeline (Getty Images)

¶ A report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance credits seven wind farms around the world, each costing $600 million to $4.5 billion, with helping global clean energy investment jump 40% year-on-year in the third quarter of 2017. Its figures show that the world invested $66.9 billion in clean energy in the third quarter of this year. [North American Windpower]

¶ Wind turbines generated over twice as much power as Scotland needed on October 2. WWF Scotland analyzed wind power data and found that wind turbines in Scotland provided 86,467 MWh of electricity to the National Grid on that day. Scotland’s total electricity consumption, including homes, business and industry, for the day was 41,866 MWh. [The Scotsman]

Wind turbines (Photo: Ian Rutherford)

US:

¶ The California ISO identified eight trends shaping the power sector. Those trends include energy efficiency, decline of gas-fired generation, growth of wind and solar, and decarbonization. The grid operator called for a reduction in fossil-fuel use and a focus on regulatory policy to use clean energy resources to base operations. [Utility dive]

¶ The commercial deployment of self-driving car tech in the US now appears to be on the fast track, following the unanimous approval of a bill aimed at just that outcome by a US Senate panel. The bill, which would block states from imposing regulatory roadblocks against fully autonomous cars, can go on to the Senate for a vote. [CleanTechnica]

Google self-driving car

¶ The Trump administration will formally propose repealing former President Barack Obama’s sweeping plan for curbing greenhouse gas emissions from power plants by arguing it went beyond the bounds of federal law, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg News. The EPA will ask for public comments on carbon emissions. [Bloomberg]

¶ While his competitors wait for diesel oil deliveries to restart generators after Hurricane Maria, flower grower Hector Santiago is already back in business because of solar panels powering his 40-acre nursery in central Puerto Rico. “Everybody told me I was crazy because it was so expensive. Now I have power and they don’t,” he said. [EMTV Online]

Solar powered greenhouse

¶ The vice chairman of a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee criticized the DOE’s proposal to provide cost recovery for coal and nuclear plants. His comments came after his subcommittee heard testimony from consumer advocates and large power consumers warning that the proposal would “destroy” the power markets. [Utility Dive]

¶ The parent company of two Vermont skiing destinations, Killington Resort and Pico Mountain, announced an investment of $5.7 million that will upgrade everything from snowmaking equipment to summer attractions like mountain biking trails, to renewable energy that will power the ski destinations. Nine solar installations are planned. [Rutland Herald]

Killington (Image courtesy of USSA)

¶ The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, a national non-profit that advances policies and programs for energy efficiency, has, for the fourth year in a row, ranked Vermont among the top five in the nation (this year number 4) for advancement and support of energy efficiency. Massachusetts was ranked in first place. [Vermont Biz]

¶ ENGIE North America and Holyoke Gas & Electric announced plans for the largest utility-scale energy storage installation in Massachusetts. Green Charge, an ENGIE NA subsidiary, will operate the 3-MW storage system at Mt Tom Solar, which began operation this year adjacent to the former Mt Tom Power Station. [Windpower Engineering]

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October 5 Energy News

October 5, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Coal Will Not Bring Appalachia Back to Life, But Tech and Government Jobs Could” • Whatever the White House says, coal jobs are in a terminal decline. And whatever cynics claim, it’s not some cabal of heartless environmentalists to blame. It’s the power industry itself, driven by advances in technology and simple market forces. [EcoWatch]

Closed coal mine in West Virginia (WVPB | Janet Kunicki)

¶ “Special Report – The bankrupt utility behind Puerto Rico’s power crisis” • Two weeks after the storm plunged the island into a blackout, fewer than 10% of Puerto Rico’s people have seen power restored – and many will wait months. Governor Rossello said, “The emergency plan was as follows: There is no way to fix the nature of the grid.” [swissinfo.ch]

¶ “It’s our choice: renewable energy superpower or Asian Pacific rust belt” • While its opponents portray decarbonizing as the death of Australia as an energy superpower, nothing can be further from the truth. As the world decarbonizes, Australia can not only continue to be an energy exporting superpower, it can enjoy a manufacturing boom. [The Guardian]

Great resources (Tim Phillips Photos | Getty Images)

World:

¶ China accounted for more than 40% of capacity growth in renewable energy in 2016, and this was in a record year for worldwide renewables, according to an International Energy Agency study. Last year, new solar capacity around the world grew by 50%, reaching more than 74 GW, with China accounting for almost half of that expansion. [China Daily]

¶ Property Fund, Emira has completed the installation of a 16 million Rand ($1.8 million) solar farm on the roof of its mall in Randpark Ridge, Johannesburg. The PV solar farm, with 10,900 panels, produces about 1.2 MWh of electricity. It is estimated that over 15 years, the use of this solar power will save Emira over 40 million Rand ($2.9 million). [BusinessTech]

Randridge Mall

¶ Statoil is to acquire a 40% share in the construction-ready 162-MW Apodi solar plant in Brazil from Scatec Solar, marking the energy giant’s first foray into the PV market. The two Norwegian companies also agreed to develop potential future solar projects jointly in Brazil. Statoil also said it will acquire a 50% share in the project execution company. [reNews]

¶ Solar energy was the fastest-growing source of electric power last year, a new International Energy Agency report said, amid the “birth of a new era” for the renewable energy sector. Last year was the first time solar energy growth had surpassed any other fuel as a source of power, the report said, surpassing the net growth in coal. [Deutsche Welle]

Solar power in China

¶ The Australian Capital Territory government put the finishing touches on its mammoth “solar highway” project as it unveiled its 36,000 solar panels at Williamsdale. The Climate Change Minister said the long-awaited Williamsdale Solar Farm, just south of Canberra, could generate enough electricity to power 3,000 homes. [The Canberra Times]

¶ Batteries provided by Samsung have been chosen for the second big battery storage project in South Australia. The 30-MW/8-MWh facility to be built on Yorke Peninsula will work with a local wind farm and rooftop solar to create a renewable energy micro-grid. It will cost A$30 million ($23.46 million), which will be partly subsidized. [RenewEconomy]

Wattle Point wind farm on Yorke Peninsula

¶ The wind tariff in India touched lowest level of ₹2.64/kWh (4¢/kWh) in the second wind auction conducted by the Solar Energy Corporation of India on behalf of the Indian Ministry of New & Renewable Energy. This tariff is much lower than the winning figure for the first wind auction, ₹3.46/kWh, in February of this year. [Business Standard]

US:

¶ Puerto Rico’s power grid has been down since Hurricane Maria devastated it on September 20. With reports that the island could continue without power for months, several tech companies are stepping in to provide relief, in the form of energy. Among those companies, three examples are Tesla, Sunnova, and Sonnen GmbH. [ARCHITECT Magazine]

Solar system in Puerto Rico (Cegli via Adobe Stock)

¶ The National Resources Defense Council’s fifth annual energy report, America’s Clean Energy Revolution, confirms that the country shattered dozens of clean energy records over the last year and a half. It proves that a massive shift is taking America away from traditional fossil fuels and nuclear towards renewable energy sources. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The first permanent tidal power test site in the US has been approved, following several environmental studies and careful review by multiple agencies. The Marine Renewable Energy Collaborative has received final approval from the US Army Corps of Engineers to install the Bourne Tidal Test Site within the Cape Cod Canal. [Marine Technology News]

Cape Cod Canal (Image: MRECo)

¶ The US Solar Energy Industries Association published a new analysis this week proving that more than $78 million worth of solar projects are currently on hold in Massachusetts due to a failure to extend the state’s Net Metering Cap. The analysis was published in advance of legislative hearings taking place at the State Capitol. [CleanTechnica]

¶ American Wind Energy Association’s CEO Tom Kiernan appeared before the House Energy and Commerce Committee where he said that, thanks to technological advances, wind farms are now competitive with other energy technologies with regard to reliability and resiliency. AWEA endorsed market-based solutions. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

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October 4 Energy News

October 4, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “The Energy Department Is Making Up Reasons Why You Need To Pay More For Dirty Energy” • A new proposal from the Trump administration would require regional electric grids to keep coal and nuclear plants running, even if they are too expensive. They say it is because they’re needed to keep the power on during natural disasters. [Fast Company]

Is this piece of our past worth saving? (Photo: rozpedowski | iStock)

Science and Technology:

¶ Australia’s largest cities need to prepare for temperatures reaching 50° C (122° F) in “just a few decades,” researchers say. A new study led by the Australian National University warned that Sydney and Melbourne need to be prepared to deal with the crippling level of heat as climate change impels rising local temperatures. [The Sunshine Coast Daily]

World:

¶ On October 2, European windfarms set a production record. According to data from WindEurope, offshore windfarms generated 265 GWh, and onshore windfarm provided 1235 GWh. The combined 1499 GWh covered 18.2% of electricity demand. It was enough electricity to provide for 151 million homes or 51% of average industrial demand. [reNews]

Offshore wind power (reNews image)

¶ Vestas Wind Systems A/S announced a flurry of wind turbine orders to mark the end of the third quarter last week, with orders from the United States, India, Europe, and Latin America totaling 463 MW. The largest order was the 174-MW order for the MidAmerican Energy Wind XI project being developed in Iowa. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Australian Greens unveiled a new policy that aims for 20 GW of energy storage to be installed by 2030, providing incentives for storage at household and grid level, and try to move the energy debate beyond baseload vs renewables. They say their proposal is sufficient back-up for a 100% renewable energy grid. [RenewEconomy]

Tesla storage, South Australia

¶  The Scottish Energy Minister confirmed that the government will ban fracking in Scotland, adding that the government must make decisions in the best interests of Scotland as a whole. The decision follows extensive consultation and consideration of its potential impact. Scotland has had a moratorium on fracking since January 2015. [Aberdeen Evening Express]

¶ Horizon Power, the power utility in regional areas of Western Australia, has taken the golf club in the resort town of Exmouth off the grid as part of a drive to cut costs and focus on renewable energy solutions. Horizon is planning to roll out a series of stand-alone power systems across its grid to reduce the cost of grid upkeep. [One Step Off The Grid]

Solar panels in Exmouth

¶ The International Energy Agency has raised its forecasts for renewable energy over the next five years following a record 2016, mainly driven by a surge in solar PV capacity in China, India, and the US. In its medium-term renewables market report, the IEA expects global renewable electric capacity to rise by over 920 GW, or 43%, by 2022. [Business Day]

¶ India is set to overtake the European Union in expansion of new renewable energy generation capacity, according to the International Energy Agency in its latest report, Renewables 2017. India’s renewable capacity is expected to double by 2022, as PVs and wind together represent 90% of the country’s capacity growth. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Realigning a PV system in India  (Photo: Kiran Jonnalagadda, Wikimedia Commons) Please click on the image to see her smile.

¶ Saudi Arabia has received offers to supply solar electricity for the cheapest prices ever recorded. The energy ministry said Abu Dhabi’s Masdar and Électricité de France bid to supply power from a 300 MW PV plant for as little as 6.69736 halalas per kWh, or 1.79¢/kWh, according to a webcast. Some analysts are skeptical about the terms. [Business Day]

¶ Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority endorsed a draft document that serves as certification that TEPCO’s No 6 and No 7 reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa power station. It is the first time TEPCO reactors have passed the screening review since the Fukushima Disaster. However, the actual restart of the reactors may still take years. [The Japan Times]

Anti-nuclear activists in Japan (Photo: KYODO)

US:

¶ The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has given an October 23 deadline for testimony under a rule intended to subsidize nuclear and coal plants, a schedule which the solar and wind industries are joined by oil, gas and other public power groups in opposing. This could be the beginning of a long fight. [pv magazine International]

¶ Just when it looked like concentrated solar power could not get cheaper, a startup says it found a way of cutting heliostat costs by a third. Skysun, based in Ohio, is aiming to achieve the cost reduction by tying multiple heliostats onto a single motor and support structure. Heliostats are the mirrors that reflect sunlight onto CSP receivers. [solarpaces.org]

Skysun solar collector

¶ Metropolis Farms has constructed a 500-kW solar array made up of 2003 solar panels on the roof of a building in Philadelphia. On the fourth floor, it is constructing a vertical farm that will be powered entirely by electricity from the roof. It plans to grow the equivalent of 660 outdoor acres worth of crops in less than 100,000 sq feet. [CleanTechnica]

¶ At the Renewable Energy Vermont Conference, state officials described how they see Vermont, like the US, as standing at a critical crossroads in terms of both climate change and politics. The state’s renewable sector created 13,000 jobs since 2000 and represent 6% of the state’s workforce, REV Executive Director Olivia Campbell Andersen said. [RTO Insider]

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October 3 Energy News

October 3, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Military Leaders See Solar and Energy Storage as Differentiator” • There might be a debate in the political world about the value of solar energy and energy storage for the grid, businesses, and homeowners. But there doesn’t seem to be any disagreement in the military over the value of solar energy, both in the field and at bases in the US. [Motley Fool]

Solar system (Getty Images)

World:

¶ Tesla has already reached the half-way point in its plan to build the world’s biggest battery, in South Australia. Elon Musk said Tesla would build the $A150 million ($117 million) wind-charged battery in 100 days or the state would not have to pay for it. The official countdown to the end of the 100-day deadline began on 30 September. [BBC]

¶ Morocco is getting ready to launch a €200 million program to spark investment in solar power projects in the agricultural sector by 2021. The program is set to promote the use of solar energy to power water pumps for irrigation in order to help farmers reduce their energy costs and use less butane gas in farming operations. [Climate Action Programme]

Moroccan city built of mud bricks

¶ Siemens Gamesa is to supply Guangdong Electric Power Design Institute with turbines totaling 34 MW for the Hubei Energy Lichuan Zhonghao wind farm in China. The order consists of 13 G114-2.625MW machines, with delivery already underway. Commissioning of the project in the province of Hubei is slated for December. [reNews]

¶ Germany is seen as a pioneer in the fight against climate change. But Germany still has a filthy coal habit, and its so emissions have not fallen much. Adding its voice to a chorus of environmentalists, an expert advisory council has now urged the German government to start phasing out coal-fired power plants immediately. [Deutsche Welle]

German coal-burning power plant (Reuters image)

¶ About 30% of the Japanese seashore is protected with devices to break waves, but the same waves can be used to generate power, using a special turbine design. One scientist pointed out, “Using just 1 percent of the seashore of mainland Japan can [generate] about 10 gigawatts [of energy], which is equivalent to 10 nuclear power plants.” [OilPrice.com]

US:

¶ New York State has asked the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to consider identifying and leasing at least four new Wind Energy Areas off New York’s Atlantic Coast, and it submitted an Area for Consideration to locate the new Wind Energy Areas. Each would be able to accommodate at least 800 MW of offshore wind. [North American Windpower]

Offshore wind turbines

¶ Ford is putting together a new internal unit known as Team Edison to claw its way back into the electric car game after years of inaction. Bill Ford, the great-grandson of Henry Ford, told the press, “If you look at the technology coming into our industry, the competitors coming into our industry … we really need transformational leadership.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ First Ford announced its new Team Edison unit to focus on electric cars. Now Mark Reuss, vice president of global product development for General Motors, announced that his company will introduce two new EV models in the next 18 months, with a total of 20 planned by the end of 2023. “GM believes the future is all electric,” he said. [CleanTechnica]

Chevy FNR X concept car

¶ Tesla has promised to send hundreds of battery storage packs to help Puerto Rico, which is almost entirely without power after Hurricane Maria devastated the island two weeks ago, according to Bloomberg. About 5% of the grid is currently operating, The New York Times reports, it could be as long as six months before power is fully restored. [Utility Dive]

¶ The University of Utah is finalizing agreements to supply 50% of its electricity from renewable energy sources. A joint proposal from Cyrq Energy and Berkshire Hathaway Energy Renewables is to provide 20 MW of geothermal energy and 10 MW of solar energy, reducing the university’s greenhouse gas emissions by 25%. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

University of Utah (flickr | Edgar Zuniga Jr, creative commons)

¶ In an effort to find the most efficient way to add at least 1,200 MW of wind energy to the resource mix of a six-state service area by 2020, Rocky Mountain Power opened a competitive bidding process for wind projects. The wind projects would generate enough energy to power the annual consumption of roughly 400,000 homes. [Daily Energy Insider]

¶ Residents of Great Barrington, Massachusetts, will now have the option to buy green energy at lower prices, because the selectboard voted to sign a deal with NextEra Energy Resources. The one-year contract will offer lower prices on wind power than both standard and green rates offered by National Grid, which currently serves the town. [theberkshireedge.com]

Jiminy Peak wind turbine in Hancock, Massachusetts

¶ The latest issue of the Energy Information’s “Monthly Energy Review ” reveals that domestic production and use of renewable energy sources (wind, solar, biofuels, biomass, geothermal, hydropower) continued to show strong growth during the first half of the year as the consumption of both nuclear power and fossil fuels declined. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ A report released by the independent research organization Integrity Florida analyzed dozens of decisions made by the Florida Public Service Commission in recent years and concluded that there is an “inordinate focus on what additional money a [utility] company wants, at the expense of attention to what the public interest needs.” [Miami Herald]

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October 2 Energy News

October 2, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “What the Trump administration doesn’t understand about wildfires” • The major fires erupting across the West this year have burned through over 8 million acres and $2 billion. It seems the right time to carefully assess wildland fire, its climate drivers and forest-health consequences. But the administration blames “radical environmentalists.” [Los Angeles Times]

Fire in Corona, California (Watchara Phomicinda | Associated Press)

¶ “Puerto Rico needs a new energy grid (not just repairs to the old one)” • Hurricane María devastated Puerto Rico. As has been widely reported, the US territory’s essential infrastructure is down. A week after María, 60% of our homes lacked running water, and 100% lacked electricity. What is needed now is a stronger and “smarter” grid. [The Hill]

¶ “What civilians can learn from military investments in solar” • Without electricity from civilian power plants, the US military could be crippled. In January, the US DOE begged for new authority to defend against weaknesses in the grid in a nearly 500-page study warning that it’s only a matter of time before a massive grid failure. [GreenBiz]

Solar PVs at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada (SunPower image)

Science and Technology:

¶ The Rapid Roll system allows flexible solar panels to be unrolled from a trailer in two minutes. The technology is being used to meet demands from greater tourism and environmental and logistical challenges on the island of Flat Holm. The hope is for the technology to offer a solution in areas hit by natural disasters like hurricanes in the future. [BBC News]

World:

¶ The World Bank’s private sector lending branch of the International Finance Cooperation announced plans to triple its funding to Egypt from approximately $300 million, in the past year, to $1 billion during the current financial year, the National reports. Around $700 million of the total will be dedicated to renewable energy initiatives. [Egyptian Streets]

Transmission lines

¶ Last week, the Loeriesfontein Wind Farm and the Khobab Wind Farm, in the Northern Cape province of South Africa, marked a milestone as the wind farms officially connected to the Eskom grid. The wind farms have been synchronised through Eskom’s Helios Substation and commissioning of wind turbines is reported to have commenced. [ESI Africa]

¶ Wind power tariff may drop marginally to ₹3.2 per unit (4.9¢/kWh) in the second auction for 1 GW capacities scheduled on Wednesday as against ₹3.46 per unit discovered in the first competitive bidding held earlier this year, an industry source said. A free fall below this price is not expected, as has been the case with solar power. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Wind farm in India

¶ A new company called Forsa Energy has been set up to develop renewables and natural gas projects combined with energy storage across Europe. It will start with a portfolio of 150 MW of consented and 225 MW of advanced development onshore wind and a fully-consented 400-MW pumped storage scheme under development. [reNews]

¶ DONG Energy, an oil and gas operator that shed its assets to focus on green projects, said its name does not “fit the company anymore.” The name stands for Danish Oil and Natural Gas. The new name, Ørsted, references the innovative Danish scientist Hans Christian Ørsted, who discovered electromagnetism in 1820. [Energy Voice]

Offshore wind turbine (DONG photo)

¶ The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is gearing up for a radical change in its energy formula, but it is not the only Gulf nation doing so. The United Arab Emirates is setting its sights on nuclear power to ensure the small nation can meet demand in the coming years, energy minister Suhail Al Mazroui told reporters this week. [OilPrice.com]

US:

¶ Xcel Energy has a proposal, called the Colorado Energy Plan, that could lead to $2.5 billion in clean energy investments in rural Colorado. It would secure low-cost power for customers, stimulate economic-development opportunities in rural communities, and grow the state’s use of renewable and clean-energy resources. [Boulder Daily Camera]

Installing a solar system (Xcel Energy photo)

¶ In a humanitarian effort to help Puerto Rico’s devastated population, one of the companies stepping in to help is Tesla. Tesla is sending hundreds of its Powerwall battery systems to be paired with solar panels, Bloomberg reports. The joint systems will help the battered island territory restore electric power. Some systems are already there. [CleanTechnica]

¶ President Donald Trump and his daughter-adviser have been going all out to tout the administration’s commitment to “high-quality STEM and computer science education” as a means of boosting the US economy. But Trump has yet to choose a top science adviser, who would play a crucial role in turning the horn-tooting into reality. [Newsweek]

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October 1 Energy News

October 1, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “The US’s War on Coal Is Purported to Be Over – What About the Rest of the World?” • When it comes to coal, one can truly say as China goes, so goes the rest of the world. According to new data from the International Energy Agency, coal production fell sharply in China in 2016 by about 320 million metric tons, or 9%. [POWER magazine]

Coal train, coal power plant, coal pollution

¶ “Saving Puerto Rico with Renewable Energy, Debt Relief, and Democracy” • Following two horrible, climate-change-driven hurricanes Irma and Maria, Puerto Rico is facing a humanitarian crisis. Millions of people are without clean water, electricity, walls on some of their houses, passable roads, and many of the other basic essentials. [HuffPost]

Science and Technology:

¶ The US Department of Agriculture, the Joint Global Change Research Institute, and the US Department of Energy have just completed a study that shows the problem of methane emissions coming from cattle is worse than previously thought. There may be two possible solutions – feeding cows seaweed or stop eating beef. [CleanTechnica]

Belted Galloway (Amanda Slater, Wikimedia Commons)

World:

¶ The environmentally hopeful results of a recent survey found that 51% of the 1,000 polled British motorists expect to be motoring in an electric vehicle soon. The poll was conducted to mark the launch of Total EV, a website for all things EV and hybrid. The results show amplified progress in the UK as EVs become mainstream. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Despite its close relationship with Panasonic, Tesla revealed that it will be using Samsung SDI lithium-ion battery cells at the facility that is now under construction in South Australia. Panasonic reportedly would not be able to meet demand for the project. Tesla’s offer to build the battery in 100 days is paying off as a PR bonus. [CleanTechnica]

Tesla Powerpack installation

¶ Saint Lucia has launched construction of a 3-MW solar farm on the island, its first ever utility-scale renewable energy project. Diesel-powered generators currently account for over 99% of the island’s electricity generation. Both costs and resiliency are on people’s minds after hurricanes devastated neighboring islands. [St. Lucia Times Online News]

US:

¶ A storm of scientific information about sea-level rise threatens the most lucrative, commission-boosting real estate properties along US coastlines. But some real estate lobbyists are teaming up with climate change skeptics to block public release of sea-level rise predictions and ensure that coastal planning is not based on science. [Houma Courier]

Flooding after Irma (Stephen M. Dowell | Orlando Sentinel | TNS)

¶ The range of the southern pine beetle could expand further north significantly within just a few decades as the result of increasingly warm winters, according to a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change. The only thing limiting the range of southern pine beetles is the coldest winter temperatures, and they are rising significantly. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Hurricane Maria destroyed Puerto Rico’s antiquated and bankrupt electrical system, leaving millions in the dark and utility crews scrambling to help. Now some politicians and renewable energy investors see a golden opportunity in the crisis to re-invent the US territory’s grid as a storm-resistant network that relies on renewable power. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Solar array in Puerto Rico (US Army photo, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Plug-in electric vehicle sales in New York State have surged 74% (year-on-year comparison) since the launch of the Drive Clean Rebate program there, a statement from the governor’s office has revealed. The program offers up to $2,000 in rebates for the purchase of new plug-in electric vehicles from participating dealerships. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The fossil fuel industry has cost the US around $240 billion per year over the last decade through the effects of extreme weather and air pollution, according to a new study from the non-profit Universal Ecological Fund. But that figure represents an average. This year, the bill for damage is estimated to be approaching $300 billion already. [CleanTechnica]

Hurricane Irma from space

¶ Researchers at the US DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory have developed a unique large-scale power converter that can swiftly switch between multiple energy sources to help ensure an uninterrupted power supply. The “Consolidated Utility Base Energy” system is already being used at US Army forward operating bases. [POWER magazine]

¶ Executives of the state-owned Santee Cooper utility are the next ones called to testify before lawmakers investigating South Carolina’s botched nuclear reactor projection. Members of the South Carolina House’s “utility ratepayer protection“ committee will hear from Santee Cooper executives and board members at a hearing on Tuesday. [The State]

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