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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