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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