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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