Archive for November, 2017

November 30 Energy News

November 30, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Life After Coal” • At one time, 500,000 miners worked in Germany’s Ruhr Valley, producing as much as 124 million tons of coal every year. Next year, that era will come to an end when the last mine closes. Wind turbines have sprung up among old shaft towers and coking plants, as Germany strives to hit its renewable energy goals. [Grist]

Coal mines in the Ruhr Valley (Photo: Amelia Urry)

¶ “Senate bill threatens US renewable energy tax equity market” The Base Erosion Anti-Abuse Tax provisions in the Senate version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would hurt wind and solar investments in the US and damage tax equity markets, renewable energy groups warn. The BEAT provisions apply retroactively to existing plants. [Renewables Now]

Science and Technology:

¶ ABC News in Australia is reporting that rising sea levels are threatening a nuclear waste dump left behind by the US on Runit Island, part of the Eniwetak Atoll. The dump is now leaking radioactive material into the Pacific Ocean, threatening every man, woman, and child living on the edge of the world’s largest body of water. [CleanTechnic]

Nuclear test at Eniwetak Atoll (Photo courtesy of National
Nuclear Security Administration, Wikimedia Commons)

World:

¶ The International Energy Agency said coal use would double in India by 2040, but research by the US-based Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis sees India’s peak thermal coal demand coming within a decade. The transition is fueled by renewables, whose costs are now below the average of coal-fired power. [Business Standard]

¶ Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy SA won an order to supply 200 MW of low-wind turbines to a project in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It will supply 100 G114-2.0 MW T-106 turbines to the Poovani wind park, according to an announcement. Orange Renewable Power Private Ltd, a unit of AT Capital Pte Singapore, will develop the project. [Livemint]

Indian wind turbines (Mint photo)

¶ Argentina expects between $2.5 billion and $3 billion in investment in renewable energy projects after its government awarded projects to generate 1,408 MW of power. The energy ministry said 665.8 MW would come from wind plants, 556.8 MW from solar, 117.2 MW from biomass and 48.1 MW from biogas. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ BMW AG is in talks with a number of auto manufacturers and parts providers around the world about potential small electric vehicle production partnerships, a key management figure at the company disclosed. The aim of the talks, and any partnerships that may result, is to lower the cost of electrifying the company’s Mini brand. [CleanTechnica]

Electric Mini Cooper concept car

¶ GE Renewable Energy is to provide 38 turbines for Enlight Renewable Energy’s 105-MW Blacksmith wind farm in Serbia. The deal is for 2.75-120 machines with 110-metre hub heights. The turbines will be produced at GE’s Salzbergen facility in Germany, with blades manufactured by LM Wind Power in Spain and Poland. [reNews]

¶ The Industry Committee of the European Parliament backed a binding target of at least 35% renewable energy for 2030 and stricter renewable energy laws. Members of the European Parliament voted on the committee’s position on the post-2020 Renewable Energy Directive, steered by Spanish MEP José Blanco López. [Offshore Wind Journal]

Offshore wind turbines

¶ The planned restart of four reactors in southwestern and central Japan will be delayed as nuclear operators need time to confirm whether peripheral equipment used parts affected by Kobe Steel’s data fabrication, the operators said. The reactors, two in Fukui Prefecture and two in Saga Prefecture, were set to go online early next year. [The Japan Times]

¶ The government of Wales and several Welsh energy and environmental organisations called on the UK government to support development of onshore wind and solar in the country. They urged the UK government to allow both technologies to compete with other renewables in Contracts for Difference auction rounds. [reNews]

Pen y Cymoedd wind farm in Wales (Vattenfall)

US:

¶ Sales demand for sedans in the US could fall by more than half by 2030 due to the influence of self-driving taxis on the market, going on the findings of a new study from the consulting firm KPMG. The study predicts a “precipitous decline” in the US from the current 5.4 million sedan sales each year to 2.1 million by 2030. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Nearly 5,500 K-12 US schools, about 5% of them, are now powered by the sun, and their solar capacity has almost doubled in the last three years, according to a study by the Solar Energy Industries Association, The Solar Foundation, and Generation 180. Their total generating capacity is 910 MW, enough to power 190,000 homes. [InsideClimate News]

Students in Arlington, Virginia (Credit: Lincoln Barbour)

¶ We Energies announced that it will close its coal-fired power plant in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, during the second quarter of 2018. The utility said it decided to close the plant due to “the economy of energy and market and customer demand.” The low price of natural gas and the decreasing cost of renewable energy were contributing factors. [Journal Times]

¶ The Truckee, California, Town Council adopted a resolution to move to 100% clean electricity town-wide by 2030, as well as all energy sources by 2050. A total of 50 cities and towns across the US have now committed to transition to 100% clean, renewable sources of energy like wind and solar, according to the Sierra Club. [North American Windpower]

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November 29 Energy News

November 29, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ Three of the top aviation engine engineering firms in the world, Airbus, Siemens, and Rolls-Royce, are now collaborating on the development of a hybrid electric aircraft engine, the companies have jointly revealed. The new collaboration aims to fly a demonstrator aircraft in 2020 after ground tests have concluded. [CleanTechnica]

Airbus prototype electric aircraft

¶ There is a new backpack on the market that is made of fabric sourced from 33 recycled PET bottles. It has a rigid body, 25 liters of storage, a padded sleeve for a 15-inch laptop, a 12,000-mAh USB Battery Pack with 2 USB Charging Ports, and a 10-watt solar panel. It is sold by Energizer Solar, and the retail price is $190. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ The head of EY Global’s power and utility section told the Sydney Morning Herald that Australia may be one of the first nations to achieve grid parity between renewable energy and electricity generated by fossil fuels. He said he expected grid parity to be reached globally as early as 2021, but for Australia it would come in 2020. [CleanTechnica]

Tesla storage, South Australia

¶ The European wind energy industry contributed €36 billion to the EU’s GDP in 2016, supported 263,000 jobs, and generated €8 billion worth of exports outside of Europe, according to findings from European wind energy industry group WindEurope. This is despite the fact that over half of the EU states gave the industry no support. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Northern Powergrid, which distributes electricity in northern England, aims to create a new energy market in which customers can make money from solar panels, electric vehicles, and home batteries. It wants to put its eight million customers at the heart of the smart grid and is working to identify the best technologies to use. [Network]

Rooftop solar system

¶ Swedish power company Vattenfall has announced it has placed a near-1 GW wind turbine order with Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy for three new offshore wind farms in Denmark, making the order the world’s largest offshore wind turbine order in 2017. Two wind farms will be in the North Sea and one in the Baltic. [CleanTechnica]

¶ According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s Climatescope report, which assesses 71 countries in emerging markets, the total solar PV capacity built in them scaled up from 3 GW in 2011, to 22 GW in 2015, and 34 GW in 2016. Last year’s 34 GW would meet the total annual electricity demands of 45 million homes in India. [pv magazine International]

Microgrid in Kenya (Image: TFE Consulting)

¶ Oil major Shell is to “continue to target opportunities” in the power sector and will increase the capital allocated to its new energies division, which includes offshore wind, to $1 billion to $2 billion a year until 2020, UK-Dutch company announced. The company also announced plans to cut the net carbon footprint of its energy products. [reNews]

¶ In Queensland, the Townsville City Council has approved construction of a 400-MW solar farm to be built at Woodstock. The solar farm was given the green light after it was found to meet environmental regulations. The facility will generate enough clean electricity to meet the power needs equivalent to 50,000 households. [Energy Matters]

Australian solar farm (Image: Pixabay)

US:

¶ Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren proposed a bill earmarking $146 billion for reconstruction of the hurricane-hit US territories of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Sanders told journalists that the situation in the US Caribbean territories was “not acceptable” two months after the islands were hit by two hurricanes. [Daily Mail]

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¶ As the recent fires in Northern California blazed through wine country, workers at Stone Edge Farm had to evacuate. The farm had no grid power for nearly a week, but workers controlled its microgrid over the internet. They maintained heavy irrigation, counteracting the extreme heat from the fires and minimizing the potential for fire to spread. [CleanTechnica]

Olive trees at Stone Edge Farm

¶ Two of the world’s biggest coal producers, Peabody Energy and Arch Coal, are headquartered in St Louis, and the city’s utility, Ameren, uses coal as its primary fuel for power generation. Nevertheless, St Louis lawmakers are working on a plan to get the city off of coal-fired power and switch to 100% clean energy by 2035. [GreenBiz]

¶ Windpower is overtaking coal in Texas. When a 155-MW wind farm in West Texas recently became operational, it pushed the state’s windpower capacity to over 20,000 MW. This surpassed the 19,800 MW of coal-fired power plant capacity, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which oversees 90% of the state’s grid. [Chron.com]

Wind turbines (Photo: Michael Paulsen)

¶ The EPA scheduled a single hearing on reversing the Clean Power Plan. It was in Charleston, West Virginia, capital of a state heavily dependent on coal mining. Bob Murray, head of Murray Energy Corp, gave three minutes of testimony, as did many miners. But many who spoke, including some miners, supported the CPP. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ Members of the agency that regulates California’s utility companies held a final public hearing on San Luis Obispo County’s Diablo Canyon Power Plant. Four Public Utilities Commissioners joined an administrative law judge to hear final oral arguments in Pacific Gas and Electric’s request to retire California’s last nuclear power plant. [KCBX]

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November 28 Energy News

November 28, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ New analysis from The Nature Conservancy, WRI and others estimates that stopping deforestation, restoring forests and improving forestry practices could cost-effectively remove 7 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, or as much as eliminating 1.5 billion cars – more than all of the cars in the world today! [CleanTechnica]

Restored forest in Costa Rica (Photo: Aaron Minnick | WRI)

World:

¶ China’s National Development and Reform Commission said local Chinese authorities should “seriously deal with” coal-fired captive power plants that fail to meet power efficiency, safety and environmental standards. Captive power plants are typically built by large industrial enterprises to secure their own supplies of cheap power. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy is to supply 260 MW of turbines to an unnamed local developer for the Hanuman wind complex in northeast Thailand. Siemens Gamesa will supply and commission 103 G126-2.5-MW machines, which will have 153-meter towers and 62-meter blades. Delivery is scheduled for May of 2018. [reNews]

Gamesa wind farm (Siemens-Gamesa image)

¶ India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has released details of the largest wind energy tender ever in the country. The Ministry is likely to launch the tender for 2000 MW of wind energy capacity soon. This is part of an ambitious Ministry program that would see 60 GW of installed wind energy capacity by March 2022. [CleanTechnica]

¶ In Australia, the Northern Territory’s energy market will undergo a massive transformation as the Gunner Government tries to reach a 50% renewable energy target by 2030. The target was a key election promise by the Labor Government. This year only 4% of the territory’s energy generation came from solar power. [ABC Online]

Solar power in Australia’s Northern Territory (ABC file photo)

¶ The first turbines in a wind farm off the Sussex coast is now spinning and generating power. Rampion offshore wind farm saw the first of its 116 turbines put online on November 26. The wind farm will be fully operational next year. It will then generate enough electricity to supply around half the homes in Sussex. [Worthing Herald]

¶ Global drinks company Carlsberg group announced that its brewery in Falkenberg, Sweden, now runs on zero carbon emissions. As part of the Carlsberg’s ‘Zero Carbon Footprint’ sustainability program, its Swedish subsidiary Carlsberg Sverige changed the Falkenberg brewery’s power supply fully to biogas and green electricity. [ESM]

Carlsberg brewery (Carlsberg image)

¶ Denmark is on track to meet its ambitious goal of becoming a low carbon economy, independent of fossil fuels, by 2050. That’s according to the International Energy Agency, which suggests the nation is also powering towards its 2030 target to generate at least half of the country’s total energy consumption through renewables. [Energy Live News]

¶ The Solar Energy Corporation of India has signed power sale agreements for 1 GW of wind projects tendered in the country’s second wind power auction. The tender was conducted by SECI on behalf of the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy and attracted record-breaking low bids of just ₹2.64/kWh (4.1¢/kWh, €0.034/kWh). [Renewables Now]

Wind park in India (Image: Regien Paassen | Shutterstock.com)

¶ West Africa’s biggest solar power plant is going online as Burkina Faso, one of the world’s poorest countries, inaugurates a novel scheme to boost renewables and cut energy dependence. The 135-acre plant near of the capital Ouagadougou will be able to churn out 33 MW, enough to power tens of thousands of homes. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ A mere 100 meters from the wrecked nuclear reactor at Chernoby, a 1-MW, $1.2 million solar installation is to be commissioned next month, according to Bloomberg. The Ukrainian government was eager to get solar projects on the radioactive land, and Ukrainian engineering firm Rodina Energy Group is an early arrival. [Ars Technica]

Land near the Chernobyl plant (Photo: Sean Gallup | Getty Images)

US:

¶ Results of a poll conducted by the Yale Program On Climate Change Communication and the Center For Climate Change Communication at George Mason University showed increased awareness of climate change and an elevated level of concern for the future among Americans. They are quickly growing more concerned with the issue. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Michigan Public Service Commission has approved the new avoided cost formula Consumers Energy Co must use to buy power under the federal Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act. It is the first update in nearly 30 years. Renewables advocates said the new rates will make Michigan more attractive for clean energy investment. [Utility Dive]

Wind farm (Image: Flickr | Nic McPhee)

¶ The University of Hawaii and Hawaiian Electric Companies announced that they signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a green tariff program. It will be based on a competitive solicitation so the university can buy power from renewable energy projects to meet its goal of getting all of its power from renewables by 2035. [pv magazine USA]

¶ Empire State Connector Corp started an open solicitation process for interested parties to reserve space on a new 265-mile, 1-GW transmission line, which will carry power from upstate New York renewable generators to New York City. The electricity will be transmitted through two submarine cables in the Erie Canal and the Hudson River. [reNews]

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November 27 Energy News

November 27, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “American leaders should read their official climate science report” • The United States Global Change Research Program’s report on the science of climate change and its causes is available for anyone to read, and it gives an overview of the most up to date science. It paints a bleak picture of the consequences of climate denial. [The Guardian]

Signorello Estate winery smolder after the October
wildfires in Napa, California (Photo: Eric Risberg | AP)

World:

¶ The rapidly declining cost of solar equipment has opened new markets in developing countries. Afghanistan, which imports most of its electricity, will build its first 20-MW solar power plant in Kabul, in a bid to meet rising energy demand. The project will be funded by the Asian Development Bank, which is providing $45 million. [Bloomberg]

¶ UPS is testing an elegant depot-to-door delivery e-bike system in London. The e-bike is powered by a trailer it pulls to deliver its cargo. The trailer can carry up to 440 pounds (200 kilograms) of cargo along with the batteries. The UPS electric trailer delivery trial is being done in London in anticipation of the city’s closure to gas cars. [CleanTechnica]

Low-impact logistics in London

¶ Caribbean island nations and territories have been shattered by this year’s hurricanes. For China, the crisis in the Caribbean is an opportunity to expand its influence in an area where it already has deep historic and economic ties dating to Cuba’s 1959 revolution. Aside from China, much of the area’s hope is for private investment. [The St. Kitts-Nevis Observer]

¶ Israel’s Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resources published a policy allowing 1,600 MW of electricity from solar PVs to be added to Israel’s electric grid over the next three years. The PVs will take Israel 44% of the way to its target to have 10% of its electricity from clean energy sources by 2020 The target was set in 2009. [World Israel News]

Solar panels in Israel (Photo: shutterstock)

¶ Low carbon energy was placed at the front and center of the UK’s long-awaited industrial strategy white paper, with offshore wind set to be one of the main beneficiaries. In the paper, the UK government identified clean growth as one of four “Grand Challenges” to “put the UK at the forefront of the industries of the future.” [reNews]

¶ Elsewedy Electric plans to build two 500-MW wind farms in cooperation with Marubeni Corporation of Japan, with up to €500 million of investments, company sources said. It is choosing between a site in the Gulf of Suez and one west of the Nile. The sources said the cost of energy from the wind stations will not exceed 3.8¢/kW. [Daily News Egypt]

Wind farm

¶ Australia can meet its 2030 greenhouse emissions target, cutting emissions 26-28% below 2005 levels, at zero net cost, according to analysis of a range of options for the National Electricity Market. This is because the cost of electricity from new-build wind and solar will be cheaper than replacing old fossil fuel generators with new ones. [MENAFN.COM]

¶ France saw 12,758 new PV systems installed, with a combined capacity of 484 MW, in the first three quarters of this year, the latest statistics from the Ministry of Ecology and Sustainable Development show. This is up 4% from the same period in 2016, when 13,196 PV installations totaled 465 MW were installed there. [pv magazine International]

Solar system (SunPower image)

¶ The Japanese government is being urged by experts to release radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean gradually, more than six years after a tsunami overwhelmed the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The water is stored on site in around 900 large and densely packed tanks and could spill should another major disaster strike. [Daily Mail]

US:

¶ As wind and solar energy have grown, they have created many jobs nationwide in fields from construction to manufacturing. A January count by the DOE concluded that solar generation employed 373,807 people nationwide, the most of any type of electric power production. Windpower came in second, with 101,738 workers. [Madison.com]

Wind technicians at work (Photo: Glen Stubbe | Star Tribune)

¶ The US-based electric bus manufacturer Proterra has received an order for 10 all-electric Catalyst E2 transit buses and associated charging infrastructure. They will be used at the Norman Y Mineta San José International Airport, which serves the San Francisco area. The order is expected to be completed in late 2018. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Columbus, Georgia, may soon have its first solar farm. An Atlanta-based company, SoLAmerica Energy, went before the Columbus Council with a proposal to develop an “an urban solar farm” on under-utilized property owned by the city. The solar farm would generate $25,000 in city revenue annually from leasing and taxes. [Columbus Ledger-Enquirer]

Solar panels

¶ The DOE’s new point person for power restoration in Puerto Rico, Bruce J Walker, won confirmation as the Assistant Secretary of the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability last month, shortly after Hurricane Maria tore through the island. He said his office has already identified 200 locations for Puerto Rican microgrids. [CleanTechnica]

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¶ Some tribes in Colorado are setting themselves up to thrive by using renewable energy. The Southern Ute tribe is one of them. Their reservation lies in the southern part of Colorado, near the New Mexico border. A $1.5 million award from the DOE’s Office of Indian Energy made it possible to install the Oxford Solar Farm. [9NEWS.com]

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November 26 Energy News

November 26, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Wine and the Weather – How Will a Changing Climate Affect Santa Barbara’s Wine?” • Climate change can be very different for neighboring microclimates. With more warming, vineyards near the coast it may see more fog, while those farther inland may see warming weather that requires shading grape clusters. [Santa Barbara Independent]

Santa Barbara County (Courtesy Hilliard Bruce Vineyards)

¶ “Michael Howard: Low-carbon wind is set to power Brexit Britain. The work that Thatcher, Major and I undertook is paying off.” • John Major, and Michael Howard signed the UN climate change convention for Britain 25 years ago. Three years earlier, Margaret Thatcher was the first world leader to call for such a convention. [Conservative Home]

World:

¶ Europe’s race to quit coal has hit a speed bump as energy companies face local political resistance to the closure of power stations burning the polluting fuel. For example, Iberdrola was closing its last two coal power stations in Spain, but the Spanish government reacted by blocking the shutdowns, a result of coal union lobbying. [The Guardian]

German coal-burning power plant (Photo: Martin Meissner | AP)

¶ The re-election of Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in Saturday’s nail-biting poll will guarantee the medium term future of the solar industry in Australia, along with several large scale wind developments, hybrid projects, and some key energy storage installations. It is also likely to have a bearing on federal politics. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Cabo Verde is a remote island nation of 550,000 people spread over 10 islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, about 370 miles from the coast of West Africa. It announced it intends to be 100% reliant on renewable energy sources by 2025, a report in the Independent said. Cabo Verde is considering solar, wind, marine energy, and storage. [TravelPulse]

Cabo Verde (Photo via Flickr | James Whatley)

¶ Efforts under the Fukushima New Energy Society Initiative, intended to revitalize the area from the 2011 nuclear disaster through advances in the field of energy, are starting to bear fruit. With help from the Abe government, Fukushima is becoming known as a pioneer in the field of renewable and hydrogen energy. [New Straits Times Online]

¶ The £10 billion plans to spearhead tidal ­lagoon power projects in Wales could fall apart after the Treasury vowed to tighten its grip on green spending until the pressure on energy bills eases. The fate of green industrialist Mark Shorrock’s £1.3 billion front-runner tidal scheme in Swansea appear to depend on decisions by the government. [Telegraph.co.uk]

Rendering of the Tidal Lagoon Power project (Credit: PA)

¶ A French renewable energy firm with wind and solar plants across Australia believes federal Labor’s target for 50% clean power is an inevitability. The Turnbull government has called Labor’s pledge for 50% renewables by 2030 as a “road to ruin.” But Neoen’s deputy chief executive believes the target is quite realistic. [DeathRattleSports.com]

¶ Renewable energy company Mytrah Energy Limited, which is based in the Indian city of Hyderabad, has 2 GW of operating and under-construction capacity. It plans to invest ₹18,000 to ₹21,000 crore ($2.7 to $3.16 billion) in wind and solar power over the next three years and to develop predictive tools to maximize efficiency. [Telangana Today]

Myrtah wind farm

¶ Although ¥34.5 billion ($309 million) in taxpayer money has funded building an “ice wall” to keep out groundwater out of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant site, after two months of operations the frozen barrier may not be meeting hopes and expectations. In particular, the wall has been vulnerable to heavy rain brought by typhoons. [Asahi Shimbun]

¶ India’s renewable energy ministry announced a tender for 2 GW of wind capacity to be carried out by the Solar Energy Corporation of India. The government will be inviting bids for creating capacity of up to 21 GW of solar and wind power by March 2018, Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy RK Singh said. [Newburgh Gazette]

Wind farm in India (Photo: Ponzie wiki, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ Despite President Donald Trump’s intentions of “bringing back coal,” the US coal industry continues to shrink. This is mostly because of issues with the fuel’s environmental ramifications, aging industry infrastructure, and a greater focus on renewable energy. In the US, solar and wind are the fastest-growing sources of electricity. [Pakistan Observer]

¶ A coalition of 13 different environmental groups advocating for “clean” transportation solutions has sent an open letter to the United States Postal Service calling for the next-generation delivery vehicles to be of a plug-in electric design. The USPS fleet currently uses over 180 million gasoline gallon equivalents of fuel per year. [CleanTechnica]

USPS delivery (Image: Elvert Barnes, some rights reserved)

¶ High school students will stay dry and the town will save money, thanks to solar-power carports officially launched at one of the high schools in Fairfield, Connecticut. And another high school will get its shortly. Together, the two solar facilities will save the Town at least $1.2 million in energy costs over the next 20 years. [Fairfield Daily Voice]

¶ More evidence has come to light that Santee Cooper and SCANA acted imprudently by proceeding with construction of two nuclear reactors despite warnings that the project had flaws and was far behind schedule. The Post and Courier reported that important information was scrubbed from a 2015 audit of the nuclear project. [Charleston Post Courier]

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November 25 Energy News

November 25, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Trump Resists Progress on Global Warming” • With many of the GOP’s bills being paid by petrochemical billionaires Charles and David Koch, it’s no wonder conservative policymakers are pushing hard to protect dirty fossil fuels against competition from clean, renewable energy. But entrepreneurial capitalists are fighting back. [Consortium News]

Crescent Dunes (Murray Foubister, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Solar Cell Tariffs Won’t Create A Significant Number Of Jobs For Americans, Will Eliminate Tens Of Thousands” • Analysis by Bloomberg suggests that only a few jobs may be created if tariffs are imposed on Chinese solar cells, but the number of jobs lost in the solar installation business would be huge, in the tens of thousands. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶ Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute For Solar Energy Systems experimented with 720 bi-facial solar panels covering about a third of a hectare of agricultural land high enough for farm equipment to operate under them. A year of trials showed that the dual use system increased the total productivity of the land by 60%. [CleanTechnica]

Farming under solar panels (© Hofgemeinschaft Heggelbach)

¶ A study by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research gives details on how mesoscale convective systems, which are large, long-lasting storms, are likely to become more intense and more frequent by the end of the 21st century. This research and similar studies have captured the attention of some US military advisors. [KREM.com]

¶ Nearly a third of the carbon dioxide released each year into the atmosphere can be traced back to bacteria living in the soil, where they break down plant and animal matter for energy. New research shows that climate change and certain farming practices can alter the soil systems and shift the amount of CO2 released from the soil. [Phys.Org]

Soil (Credit: Shutterstock)

World:

¶ In a bid to exceed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s climate pledges, the Indian government announced that it will tender enough renewable energy projects over the next three years to surpass 200 GW of green capacity construction by 2022. Its original target was to install 175 GW of clean-energy capacity within five years. [Livemint]

¶ Onshore wind energy costs have fallen again in Germany’s latest onshore wind auction, with 1,000 MW of capacity awarded at an average support price of €38/MWh ($45.35/MWh), and with a lowest bid of €22/MWh ($26.25/MWh). The auction was again significantly oversubscribed, with 210 bids submitted, totaling 2,591 MW. [CleanTechnica]

Wind turbines in Germany

¶ A report has found it would cost A$1.3 billion ($1 billion) more to keep the Liddell coal-fired power plant in New South Wales open five years beyond its use-by date, than to replace it with a mix of renewables and other sustainable energy solutions. If it is kept open, the Liddell plant would also emit 40 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. [Green Left Weekly]

¶ France added 500 MW of new wind power capacity in the third quarter, taking the amount of new wind capacity since the start of the year to 1,019 MW. This is 23% higher compared with same period a year ago, official data shows. The new additions take France’s installed wind capacity to 12.9 GW, according to the ecology ministry. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Offshore wind farm

¶ The French government is considering spinning off EDF’s nuclear power business, as part of a plan aimed at shifting its focus from nuclear to renewable energy and resolving debt issues. The country’s finance ministry has been tasked with the job of evaluating best strategies for the restructuring of the company. [Power Engineering International]

US:

¶ IBM and Xcel Energy announced that by late 2018 a large solar array will be running on 54 acres of IBM’s Gunbarrel facility in Boulder, Colorado. The solar system will provide six megawatts of solar energy to the IBM facility. It will be the largest solar array on any IBM campus worldwide and the largest in Boulder. [Left Hand Valley Courier]

Site of the new IBM array (Photo: Vicky Dorvee)

¶ South Dakota’s environmental regulator said the cleanup process for the recent 5,000 barrel oil spill along TransCanada Corp’s Keystone pipeline will probably take several weeks. The timeline for the restarting of pipeline operation is unclear for the present, but more will be known when the impacted section of pipe is exposed. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Traverse City, Michigan, could achieve its goal of powering all city operations with 100% renewable energy by 2020 ahead of schedule, thanks to proposals coming forward from multiple companies looking to sell the city renewable energy. The city has options to get power from both solar and wind projects to meet its goal. [Traverse City Ticker]

Wind turbines in Michigan

¶ In a seemingly confounding move, US Rep Matt Gaetz, who represents Florida’s 1st congressional district and turned heads in February by pushing to abolish the EPA, now sits on the Climate Solutions Caucus. The Earth, Gaetz asserted, is warming, and politicians should no longer waste time debating the validity of the issue. [Pensacola News Journal]

¶ California released its annual climate check-up. The good news is the electricity is getting much cleaner. But there is also bad news: emissions from cars and trucks have not changed. Even so, carbon dioxide emissions were 16 million metric tons lower than in 2015 – a “huge and unexpected drop,” according to economist Michael Wara. [89.3 KPCC]

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November 24 Energy News

November 24, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ The world has been given a stark warning by some of its leading scientists: there is much worse climate change on the way. The warning came in a report introduced at COP 23, which had been prepared by the League with Future Earth. The report summarizes recent Earth-system science and economic research. [environmentalresearchweb]

Refugee shelters in Somalia (Image: DFID/UK Dept for
International Development via Wikimedia Commons)

¶ A study by scientists at the University of Bath shows that the fatty acids released into the air while frying food may help clouds that cool the atmosphere to form. Fatty molecules in the air form complex structures that endure longer than most molecules, allowing moisture to gather and form into clouds, which in turn cool the air. [Daily Sabah]

World:

¶ According to ClimateWise, a global network of 28 insurance industry organizations, not only is 2017 likely to be the most expensive year on record due to natural disasters and extreme weather events all over the globe, but over the past decade only 30% of catastrophic losses were insured, leaving a climate risk protection gap of $1.7 trillion. [CleanTechnica]

Flooding in Houston

¶ Italy’s Enel SpA has launched the construction of an 8-MW solar park in Panama for Swiss food giant Nestle SA. About $8 million (€6.8 million) will be invested in the Estrella Solar project, which is expected to be commissioned by June of next year. The plant is estimated to produce around 12 GWh of electricity annually. [Renewables Now]

¶ A group of Melbourne businesses, universities, council groups, and cultural institutions are working to deliver an 80-MW wind farm Victoria. The planned wind farm will be owned and operated by Pacific Hydro. The group plans to purchase 88 GWh of energy, enough to power over 17,000 Melbourne households, each year. [Business Review Australia]

Australian wind farm

¶ The Council of Australian Governments Energy Council, made up of all state and territory energy ministers, voted to look further into the Federal Government’s National Energy Guarantee. By avoiding an all-out energy war with those states opposing the NEG, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull can now concentrate on its details. [Energy Matters]

¶ The Turnbull government’s goal of reducing emissions by 28% by 2030 only requires an additional 1.5 GW of new large-scale renewables, Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimated. That target “could decimate large-scale wind and solar construction,” while a 45% reduction target advocated by the Labor party would “continue the current boom.” [Bloomberg]

Australian solar station (Richard Gifford, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ EV drivers are responding well to price signals suggesting there will be sufficient energy capacity, predominately renewable, to power New Zealand’s increasing uptake of EVs well into the future, according to Mercury Energy. With a 20% discount Mercury offers for overnight EV charging, a significant number of drivers changed charging hours. [Voxy]

¶ The Australian Renewable Energy Agency and TasNetworks will explore a more detailed feasibility and business case for a second Bass Strait interconnector connecting the Tasmanian grid with Victoria’s grid. It would provide Tasmania with a backup power supply and allow it to play a greater role in the National Electricity Market. [iTWire]

Cape Grim, Tasmania (Ian Cochrane, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ South Africa’s new Minister of Energy appears determined to push ahead with nuclear procurement at some future date. This is despite the Minister of Finance announcing categorically in the October Medium Term Budget Policy Statement that the country could not afford a nuclear program and does not have the money to fund one. [AllAfrica.com]

¶ Enel’s subsidiary Enel Rinnovabile won tenders for the construction of four wind farms in Mexico, totalling 593 MW of capacity. The Italian energy company plans to invest a total of $700 million on their construction. The four plants will range in size from 100 MW to 244 MW, all in the northern parts of the country. [CleanTechnology News]

Mexican wind turbines (Photo: Steve Ralston | FreeImages.com)

¶ Nuclear industry specialists will set up a commission to find the source of origin of the radioactive ruthenium-106 detected by European and Russian environmental monitoring systems in the atmosphere, Russia’s civil nuclear power corporation Rosatom reported. Rosatom will provide all the necessary assistance to the commission. [TASS]

US:

¶ A privately held real estate investor based in Missouri believes that the waterfront site of a former coal-fired thermal power station in Massachusetts could be turned into an offshore wind port. Commercial Development Company Inc said it intends to invest significant resources to reposition the Brayton Point facility for post-coal utilization. [Renewables Now]

Brayton Point (Commercial Development Company image)

¶ Marine Renewable Energy Collaborative installed its Bourne Tidal Test Site in the Cape Cod Canal. It is  ready for test engineers to assess tidal energy equipment performance and output. The next step in preparing the site for testing is to install data acquisition, processing and transmission systems on top of the platform. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ Michigan utility Consumer Energy is proposing a plan for renewable energy that will not raise customer’s rates. An order setting rates for renewable energy developers from Consumers Energy will create the certainty necessary to encourage new growth in solar energy while ensuring utility customers’ electricity rates do not increase. [WILX-TV]

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November 23 Energy News

November 23, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ Two glaciers on Pine Island Bay are the largest and fastest-melting in Antarctica. They act as a plug holding back enough ice to pour 11 feet of sea-level rise into the world’s oceans, enough to inundate every coastal city on the planet. Finding out when these glaciers will collapse is one of our most important scientific questions. [Mother Jones]

The Getz Ice Shelf (Photo: NASA | Jeremy Harbeck)

¶ With updated agricultural sector estimates, analysis from the UC Davis and Purdue University shows that the true “social cost of carbon” is 72% to 129% greater than had earlier been estimated. It also reveals that climate change has a net-negative effect on agriculture, with every ton of CO2 emitted causing up to $8.50 in agricultural costs. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Nordex is offering upgrades for wind turbines at sites that are noise sensitive. The upgrade includes sound mode optimization and blade serrations. The serrations are components added to the trailing edges of the blades, which reduce the sound power level of the turbines by around 1.5 decibels, making the turbines considerably quieter. [reNews]

Wind turbines in Turkey (Nordex image)

World:

¶ New research from the Alternative Technology Association has shown that Australia could transition to a fully renewable energy electricity grid by 2030, and this would be cheaper and less risky than building new coal-fired power stations. If solar and wind installation continues at the 2017 rate Australia will be fully renewable by 2040. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Tesla has finished installing the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery in South Australia. Elon Musk had said the battery would be free if it was not installed within 100 days, but it will meet its December 1 deadline. The 100-MW battery is to provide grid security for the state. The power it stores would be enough for 30,000 homes for about an hour. [BBC]

Tesla Powerpack

¶ The Netherlands is seeing significant increase in the number of PV projects developed by energy cooperatives, according to a report. It shows that in the first ten months of this year, 100 new collective PV projects with a combined capacity of around 37 MW were built in the country. This represents a 53% increase from 2016. [pv magazine International]

¶ In India, imports of coal from North America have increased rapidly on the back of a regional ban on the use of petroleum coke and a domestic coal shortage, according to recent reports. Though other sources give lower figures, shipping data compiled by Thomson Reuters, suggest that India’s imports of coal from North America have tripled. [CleanTechnica]

Air pollution in Delhi

¶ Bloomberg New Energy Finance has some good news for us. Global electric car sales (including plug-in hybrids) surged 63% in the third quarter of this year and are up 23% since the second quarter. BNEF is now confident EV sales will top 1,000,000 units this year. But there is also bad news. China accounted for almost all of those increases. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Statoil and its partners in the 402-MW Dudgeon offshore wind farm, off the coast of Norfolk, are now opening the facility. The Norwegian oil and gas group is the operator of the wind farm and owns a 35% stake. Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company Masdar and Norwegian state-owned utility Statkraft own 35% and 30%, respectively. [Renewables Now]

Dudgeon wind farm (Jan Arne Wold – Woldcam | Statoil ASA)

¶ Costa Rica has charted another clean energy accolade. So far this year, the Central American country has run for 300 days with 100% of its power generation from renewable energy sources, setting a new record. This is according to the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity, citing figures from the National Center for Energy Control. [Common Dreams]

¶ A South Australian company has spent almost a decade developing its Thermal Energy Storage System to store electricity as thermal energy at a cost estimated to be up to 10 times cheaper than lithium batteries. 1414 Degrees has moved into a plant near Adelaide, where it will build its first 10-MWh TESS-IND system. [RenewEconomy]

Artist’s impression of a 1-GWh integrated system

¶ Earlier this month, the French nuclear safety institute released data showing that a cloud of radioactive pollution was over much of Europe, raising speculations of an accident at a nuclear facility in Russia or Kazakhstan. Now, the Russian meteorological service reports levels of ruthenium 106 in the Urals 1,000 times higher than normal. [CleanTechnica]

US:

¶ UPS is continuing to electrify its delivery vehicles. It recently announced an e-bike delivery vehicle in downtown Pittsburgh, as the latest example. In addition to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, the deployment of the electric delivery/cargo bike will also clearly reduce traffic congestion, air pollution, and noise pollution. [CleanTechnica]

UPS electric delivery bike

¶ North Carolina has risen to become the country’s second-largest solar market. It now has over 3,500 MW of solar installed. The Solar Energy Industries Association projects the state will see 3,818 MW of growth in the next five years. According to GTM Research, the state has contracts in place for 2.4 GW. But there are still growing pains. [Greentech Media]

¶ South Dakota is one of only two states where wind power provides over 30% of in-state power generation. Wind power has contributed more than $2 billion in capital investment for the construction and maintenance of the state’s 14 operating wind farms. The South Dakotas wind industry supports nearly 2,000 well-paying jobs. [STL.News]

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November 22 Energy News

November 22, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “The Queensland election’s renewables versus coal debate isn’t about jobs. It’s a culture war” • The choice between wind turbines and steam turbines might seem to be purely one of technology. But since environmentalists support renewable energy, the demands of the culture war require that conservatives must oppose it. [The Guardian]

Installing a solar system (Photo: Solar Savers)

Science and Technology:

¶ The chances of a hurricane flooding parts of Texas, like Harvey did, have soared sixfold in just 25 years because of global warming and will likely triple once again before the end of the century, a study says. What was once an extremely rare event, 20 inches of rain over a large area of Texas, could soon be almost common. [The Japan News]

World:

¶ A report from CDP has found that 87% of companies identify deforestation as a financial risk and 32% are already experiencing impacts from those risks, but only 13% of companies are making any effort to mitigate the risks of deforestation, a decision which could end up costing billions. The report is based on responses from 272 companies. [CleanTechnica]

Deforestation for palm oil (Photo: Bay Ismoyo | AFP | Getty Images)

¶ Mercedes-Benz Van plans for all of its commercial van model lines to have electric versions, a press release said. Deliveries of the eVito will begin in late 2018, deliveries of the eSprinter begin in 2019, with others to follow. The eVito will apparently start at €39,990 ($47,000) in Germany, not including VAT, and the range will be 150 km (90 miles). [CleanTechnica]

¶ The number of renewable energy industry jobs in Queensland has almost doubled in four months, a report said. Green Energy Markets’ Renewable Energy Index showed there were 7194 renewable energy construction jobs in the state in October, up from 3634 at the end of June. The report was paid for by GetUp. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

Solar system in Australia

¶ Transitioning quickly to wind, rather than gas, would be more cost-effective and decarbonise Europe’s energy sector more quickly, a report finds. The fall in the cost of renewables has gone far beyond all expectations, tipping the economics in favor of decarbonization, but it requires good policy, according to experts from Artelys. [Offshore Wind Journal]

¶ The municipal-owned energy company in the German city of Wuppertal launched a blockchain-based trading platform to allow customers to buy certified local wind and other renewably generated electricity. The company sees big potential for the blockchain platform, Tal.Mark, to sell electricity from projects over 20 years old. [Windpower Monthly]

Renewable energy selling direct to customers

¶ Bloomberg New Energy Finance released a report forecasting thats the global energy storage market will “double six times” from now to 2030, from less than 5 GWh last year, to more than 300 GWh and 125 GW of capacity by the end of the next decade. An estimated $103 billion will be invested in energy storage over that period. [Greentech Media]

¶ Three solar farms capable of generating enough power over 100,000 homes are planned for South Australia. Tilt Renewables proposes to build a 45-MW and a 70-MW solar farm next to a wind farm at Snowtown. Spanish renewable energy developer FRV proposes a 100-MW farm paired with 50-MW battery near Mintaro. [The Advertiser]

Rendering of a Tilt Renewables project (Tilt Renewables image)

¶ The solar energy sector has accounted for the largest capacity addition to the Indian electricity grid so far this year. It has contributed over 7,100 MW, around 39% of capacity additions, according to data from Mercom Capital Group. For comparison, solar energy capacity additions stood at only around 4,313 MW in all of 2016. [Quartz]

¶ Preliminary results from Mexico’s latest energy auction have broken the record for solar costs. According to Electrek, Italian developer Enel pitched two solar lots at $17.70/MWh, or just 1.77¢/kWh, the lowest bid achieved anywhere in the world so far. The Mexican government said the average price in the auction was $20.57/MWh. [Greentech Media]

Utility-scale solar system in Mexico

¶ The UK’s Public Accounts Committee, which scrutinizes government expenditures, has slammed the government over its handling of the Hinkley Point C contract. It identified a catalog of errors that it said could see consumers footing the bill for what stands to be the UK’s first new nuclear power station in more than two decades. [Clean Energy News]

US:

¶ BYD delivered to the City of Palo Alto and GreenWaste, its waste management firm, their first all-electric automated side-loader garbage/refuse truck, a report said. The truck uses its battery pack for both propulsion and operation of its hydraulic system. It has a range of 76 miles per full charge and a charge time of two to three hours. [CleanTechnica]

BYD electric garbage truck

¶ TechCrunch reports that Uber has struck a deal with Volvo to purchase 24,000 self-driving XC90 SUVs beginning in 2019. The SUVs will be equipped with autonomous driving systems developed by Uber and integrated into the XC90s at the Volvo factory. The contract, which runs from 2019 through 2021, is valued at $1.4 billion. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Solar development has contributed significantly to the University of California system’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2025, and UC Davis has played a major role in this progress. However, more challenges still lie ahead to achieve a balance between environmental and economic sustainability. Skeptics still question the costs. [The Aggie]

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November 21 Energy News

November 21, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “At least 40% of the world’s power will come from renewable sources by 2040” • With falling costs of solar and wind power, the International Energy Agency predicts that renewable energy will provide approximately 40% of global power generation by 2040. Renewables worldwide are set to grow faster than any other source. [Business Insider UK]

Abengoa solar plant (Photo: Reuters | Marcelo del Pozo)

¶ “The International Energy Agency Is Steering The World To Climate Disaster” • Governments and investors routinely use the WEO as a guide to make decisions. Power plants, pipelines, and other infrastructure get built based on the IEA’s projections of future demand. But the IEA spends its resources promoting fossil fuels. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶ MIT and Lamborghini have partnered to develop an electric car. The Terzo Millenio is powered using supercapacitors instead of traditional batteries, allowing it to charge faster and hold more power. The vehicle can induce its own health check, and if any damage is detected the car can fill in cracks with nanotubes. [Energy Digital]

Lamborghini Terzo Millenio

World:

¶ Every hour, Chinese workers install an array of solar panels at least the size of a soccer field. Already home to the world’s largest solar plant and floating solar installation, over half of the world’s current construction on solar power installations is taking place in China. Meanwhile others, including the US, are increasingly falling behind. [HuffPost]

¶ In a move to diversify, Chemicals giant Ineos is making a move into deep water oil and gas exploration in the North Sea, buying a majority stake in two exploration licenses in areas far to the north of Shetland. It recently bought the motorcycle wear brand Belstaff, and it also bought Swiss football club Lausanne-Sport earlier this month. [BBC News]

Oil rigs in Cromarty Firth (Getty Images)

¶ A university in New South Wales has installed what it says is Australia’s largest rooftop solar power system. Charles Sturt University switched on a 6,000-panel system at its Wagga Wagga campus. It cost A$3.2 million ($2.4 million), and produces 1.77 MW of power, enough to provide for approximately 400 typical Australian households. [ABC Online]

¶ The Azores’ government inaugurated a 3.5-MW geothermal plant in the Terceira island, news agency Lusa reported. The Pico Alto plant should help the Portuguese island region source about 10% of its electricity needs from geothermal in 2018. Production from renewable sources will increase from 22% in 2016 to almost 40% next year. [Renewables Now]

Geothermal plant (Photo: gamene, CC BY SA 2.0)

¶ Footage gathered by a robot shows a large hole at the bottom of Fukushima Daiichi’s Unit 3 reactor, with objects “like icicles” around the control rod mechanism. These were confirmed to be uranium. Up until now, no one knew the state of the nuclear material, but the images give more confidence about a clean-up. [International Business Times UK]

¶ Last week BMW announced that it has an audacious plan to make sure all the energy used for its manufacturing needs will come from renewable sources. BMW will have to resort to unusual sources to meet its CO2 emissions reductions goals for its plants. They include use of manure and landfill gas, along with solar power. [BMWBLOG]

BMW plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina

US:

¶ Whitefish Energy is stopping its work to restore Puerto Rico’s electricity grid because it is owed more than $83 million by the island’s power authority, the company says. The Whitefish CEO told CNN that repeated requests for agreed payments were not met. The company’s contract had already been cancelled and is under investigation. [MyHighPlains]

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¶ Nebraska officials voted to allow the Keystone XL pipeline to cross the state, a key step toward the completion of the Keystone Pipeline network. The state’s Public Service Commission voted 3-2 in favor of the expansion pipeline, days after the existing Keystone Pipeline spilled 210,000 gallons of oil in South Dakota. [Houston Chronicle]

Pipeline construction (Houston Chronicle photo)

¶ Middlebury College will significantly reduce its carbon footprint thanks to an innovative partnership with Goodrich Family Farm in Salisbury, Vermont, Vanguard Renewables of Wellesley, Massachusetts, and Vermont Gas. A facility at Goodrich Family Farm will combine cow manure and food waste to produce Renewable Natural Gas. [vtdigger.org]

¶ As the world’s single largest consumer of petroleum the US Department of Defense is expected to double-down on deploying military microgrids to sustain its operations. The annual microgrid implementation spending is expected to reach $1.4 billion in 2026, according to a new deep-dive by Navigant Research. [CleanTechnica]

US military field microgrid

¶ Electricity generator Luminant is cutting about 600 jobs as it closes three coal-fired power plants and a mine in Texas. Luminant plans to make the layoffs in January. The company had already announced the power plant closings earlier, due to competition from cheap natural gas and renewable generation. [CanadianManufacturing.com]

¶ Ford has just unveiled the country’s newest plug-in hybrid targeted for the police force and government fleets. Technically speaking, the new Ford will have a modest 7.6-kWh lithium-ion battery pack for up to 21 miles of range on electric mode. The car is a modified Ford Fusion Energi, which has the same specifications. [CleanTechnica]

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November 20 Energy News

November 20, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Sea Levels Are Already Rising. What’s Next?” • President Trump has dismissed climate change as a hoax. But scientists project that, within the next 100 years, rising sea levels caused by climate change will submerge much of southeast Florida, including Mar-a-Lago. Jeff Goodell’s a new book is The Water Will Come. [National Geographic]

Houston after Hurricane Harvey (Photo: Joe Raedle | Getty)

World:

¶ Chinese EV battery manufacturer Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd is now planning a $2 billion IPO to be completed by the end of June 2018. The funds are to be used to accelerate the company’s expansion plans. The company will reportedly be building two new EV battery manufacturing plants. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Australia’s chief scientist contradicted the government’s claims that Labor’s 50% ­renewables target by 2030 is “a road to ruin.” Dr Alan Finkel is issuing a major report that shows the plan for more renewable energy sources will not lead to major blackouts despite the government’s claims that the “huge renewable target” is irresponsible and “crazy.” [PerthNow]

The Liddell Power Station in the Hunter Valley (Photo:
Jane Dempster | The AustralianPicture: News Corp Australia)

¶ The Turnbull government’s plan to keep the old Liddell power station running for five extra years would cost about $1.4 billion more than replacing it with clean energy, and spew millions of tonnes of damaging carbon pollution, a new analysis shows. The findings have implications for the retirement of other coal-fired power stations. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

¶ In order to prevent mass-scale evaporation of water, the state government of Maharashtra has given a nod to a proposal that involves setting up floating solar panels on the reservoir at Ujjani Dam. The solar panels will be set up on a water surface of 4,640 acres, to generate 1,000 MW of electricity, making it one of the largest projects of its type. [EnergyInfraPost]

Ujjani Dam

¶ China, the world’s biggest carbon emitter, is poised to install a record amount of solar-power capacity this year, prompting researchers to boost forecasts as much as 80%. About 54 GW of solar power will be put in place this year, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said, raising a forecast of more than 30 GW that BNEF made in July. [Bloomberg]

¶ French developer EDF Energy Renewables has exported first power from its 41.5-MW Blyth demo project off the coast of Northumberland. The project began exporting electricity to the grid from its five MHI Vestas 8.3-MW turbines on 21 October, the company said. The project should be fully operational in the coming weeks. [reNews]

Offshore wind (EDF Energy Renewables image)

¶ Intel has become the latest multinational to cut its carbon footprint after striking a deal to power its manufacturing campus in County Kildare with renewable energy. The plant relied on 100% local renewable energy sources for a year, making it the State’s largest, voluntary, private purchaser of environmentally sustainable energy. [Independent.ie]

¶ The Longyuan Mulilo De Aar Wind Power Project has been successfully commissioned, connecting an estimated 85,000 local residents to clean the power. Situated in the Northern Cape Province, South Africa, the plant has a generating capacity of 100 MW. The wind farm was developed by China Longyuan Power Group Corporation. [ESI Africa]

Longyuan Mulilo De Aar Wind Power Project

¶ South African utility Eskom should cut down on its coal power network and should not embark on any new nuclear, gas, or coal building programs if it wants to save itself from financial ruin, a new study has found. Also, an Eskom report seen by media shows Eskom’s poor governance has left it teetering on the edge of insolvency. [Cape Business News]

US:

¶ Dozens of Catholic leaders wrote a letter to President Donald Trump calling for the United States to resume its leadership role in addressing climate change. They asked the president to honor US commitments to the Green Climate Fund and to participate meaningfully in the framework convention deliberations. [Crux: Covering all things Catholic]

Warming seas, melting ice (NASA photo, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ One of the fathers of climate science is calling for a wave of lawsuits against governments and fossil fuel companies that are delaying action on what he describes as the growing, mortal threat of global warming. Former NASA scientist James Hansen says the litigate-to-mitigate campaign is needed alongside political mobilization. [The Guardian]

¶ Groups including the Idaho Rural Water Association conducted “Safeguarding Idaho’s Economy in a Changing Climate,” a two-day conference at Boise State University. The discussion on climate change has pivoted, moving from how to prevent it to how to live with it, including looking at the costs of the new normal. [Idaho Business Review]

Boise River

¶ An Ohio University communication studies professor has a standing offer for students in his environmental communication courses: “Anybody that can bring into class information … that denies the truth of anthropogenic warming can have as much class time as they want to teach the class.” No one has taken him up on the offer yet. [The Post]

¶ The owners of South Carolina’s unfinished nuclear power plant have a $2 billion decision to make, and just six weeks to make it. The question is whether two partially built reactors in Fairfield County are done for good, or if it’s worthwhile to maintain them in case the project’s prospects improve. The parties are not near agreement. [Charleston Post Courier]

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November 19 Energy News

November 19, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “The energy transition – A threat or an opportunity?” • South Africa’s long-awaited Integrated Resource Plan is to be released for public comment next week. But two facts are undisputable from the IRP 2016 update: A least cost scenario cannot include nuclear, and 27.5 GW of coal-fired power stations must be decommissioned by 2040. [Fin24]

Power plant near Capetown (Photo: Simisa, Wikimedia Commons)

Science and Technology:

¶ A cost-effective catalyst has been developed to recycle two of the main causes behind climate change – carbon dioxide and methane. In a study, published in the journal Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, scientists have described how they created an advanced nickel-based catalyst to create synthesis gas for fuel or chemical feedstock. [The Indian Express]

World:

¶ The Volkswagen board has just approved a plan to invest $40 billion by 2022 to develop electric cars, autonomous cars, and other mobility solutions. The new investments VW is planning will strengthen the company’s 10 factories in Germany. The company appears to be responding to pressures created by Elon Musk and the government of China. [Gas2]

VW e-Golf at a show (Photo: Mariordo, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Daimler AG will be investing some ¥5 billion (~$755 million) as part of its push to manufacture plug-in electric vehicles and associated battery packs in China with its joint-venture partner there, BAIC Motor Corp. The investments are part of the company’s already announced €10 billion ($11.8 billion) global green car initiative. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer BYD will be opening its first assembly facility in Canada next year in Ontario. This is in anticipation of surging demand for electric trucks in the country, the company has revealed. BYD chose to move into Canada because it has a friendlier environment for EVs than the US currently has. [CleanTechnica]

BYD bus being tested in New York City
(Photo: Marc A. Hermann | MTA New York City Transit)

¶ A UK-backed solar power project in Peru has officially been opened. Located at an altitude of more than 4,000 meters, it provides renewable electricity to one of the nation’s most remote regions of Ocoruro, Arequipa. The off-grid system has allowed the common areas of the community and 14 families to tap into solar power. [Energy Live News]

¶ Qantas today announced it will operate the world’s first bio-fuel flight between the US and Australia. The Los Angeles to Melbourne flight will take place early next year, in collaboration with World Fuel Services and Altair Fuels, and will see Qantas’ new Dreamliner being powered by carinata, a non-food type of mustard seed used in industry. [RusTourismNews]

Qantas airplane

¶ China and Ukraine have agreed to step up their cooperation in renewable energy, according to the Ukrainian government. The agreement was reached during the plenary meeting of the Chinese-Ukrainian Subcommittee on Trade and Economic Cooperation in Beijing, the Ukrainian government press service said in a statement. [Xinhua]

¶ The Hydrogen Council coalition launched its first quantified study of the role of hydrogen, developed with support from McKinsey and Company. It shows that hydrogen could generate $2.5 trillion worth of business, creating more than 30 million jobs by 2050, and it could account for almost 20% of final energy consumed by then. [The Peninsula Qatar]

Toyota Mirai, hydrogen powered vehicle, being refueled

¶ French nuclear group Areva announced the discovery that it delivered defective fuel rods for nuclear reactors. It said there was no safety risk, but Swiss media reported that a Swiss nuclear plant was closed due to problems with the rods. The company said fuel rods that were loaded in reactors can operate without any safety impairment. [ETEnergyworld.com]

US:

¶ A study showed that Wisconsin ranked 9th in carbon dioxide releases due to farming practices. Converting unused land to produce crops for ethanol production releases a lot of carbon dioxide from the soil. The authors said most of the state’s new farm land had previously been pastures or forests, with some wetlands. [Wisconsin State Farmer]

Corn field and ethanol plant (Photo: Associated Press)

¶ The proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which would carry natural gas from West Virginia to North Carolina, has received approval from the US Forest Service. The pipeline would go through 21 miles of National Forest Service land. Environmental groups criticized the approval, and some plan to challenge it. [West Virginia Public Broadcasting]

¶ Empire District Electric Company has filed with Missouri state regulators a plan to move forward into wind-generated energy with the development of an additional 800 MW of wind energy by the end of 2020. According to a spokesperson for the electric utility, the project would save customers an average of $10 per month. [Cedar County Republican]

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November 18 Energy News

November 18, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “If we act on climate change now, the economic prize will be immense” • Climate negotiators are meeting in Bonn. Beyond the intricacies of the climate negotiations, here is one key thing to remember: about $1 trillion is already being invested in climate solutions, ranging from renewables and energy efficiency to public transport. [The Guardian]

Installing panels (Photo: Mike Kemp | Corbis via Getty Images)

COP23:

¶ China, through statements made in official speeches, active participation in the Bonn talks, and various side events the country organized to exchange ideas and practices, has reasserted itself a responsible player in global battle against climate change at COP23 to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. [ecns]

¶ Delegates to COP23 say they are pleased that the rulebook for the Paris climate agreement is finally coming together. But these technical discussions took place against the backdrop of a larger battle about coal, oil and gas. This means that next year, at the conference in Katowice, Poland, there will be a major showdown on the future of fossil fuels. [BBC News]

Coat of arms of Katowice 

Science and Technology:

¶ Fisker filed patent applications on a solid state battery design. The automotive company says that its battery would deliver up to 2.5 times more energy density than current lithium-ion batteries, and cost ⅓ as much to manufacture. It could have a range of more than 500 miles per charge, and recharging would take less than one minute. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ The government of Croatia is drafting a strategy to reduce energy imports, which supply 40% of its power. Croatia could develop 3,200 MW of solar power by 2030, the International Renewable Energy Agency says, but it needs a supportive legal framework. Croatia has 4,500 MW of capacity, mostly from coal and hydroelectricity. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Solar power plant

¶ Investors are now better able to gauge the climate risks likely to impact their investments thanks to a new risk management tool developed by Deutsche Asset Management and Four Twenty Seven and published for COP23, which maps more than a million physical corporate locations alongside climate models to assess their climate risk. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Credit Union Place, in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, is now partially powered by the sun. The municipal civic center has 1,404 new solar panels and lithium-ion storage battery backup. The system is expected to cut CUP’s $380,000 annual electricity bill by about $100,000. It is the first phase of a three-phase project. [The Guardian]

Credit Union Place (Photo: Higher Design Inc)

¶ Siemens is to release 2% of its global workforce, mainly in Germany, as its power and gas division continues to suffer from the onslaught of clean energy expansion. “The market is burning to the ground,” Siemens board member Janina Kugel, who is in charge of group human resources, told journalists in a call. [Power Engineering International]

¶ Norway’s government has been told its state-run fund should drop its investments in oil and gas stocks, worth £28 billion ($37 billion). Norges Bank, the fund’s manager, said the step would make the country “less vulnerable to a permanent drop in oil and gas prices.” Its advice was not based on a price forecast or the sector’s sustainability. [BBC News]

Offshore oil rig (Photo: Norsk olje og gass, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ Virginia would regulate carbon emissions from power plants and become the first Southern state to do so, with a carbon cap-and-trade program under a proposal that won preliminary approval from state regulators. It is the most recent state taking steps to address climate change as the federal administration rolls back its climate actions. [WSET]

¶ Walmart says that it intends to be among the first companies to pilot Tesla’s new all-electric Semi heavy-duty truck. The retail company will pilot the Tesla Semi across both US and Canada, it told CNBC. Walmart currently operates approximately 6,000 of its own trucks to transfer stock from distribution centers to its stores. [TechCrunch]

Tesla Truck

¶ A major New England transmission line planned by Eversource Energy and Hydro-Quebec has won a Presidential Permit from the US DOE. The federal permit marks a significant milestone for the $1.6 billion, 192-mile Northern Pass, first proposed in 2010. The line would carry electricity from Canada to the New England power grid. [MassLive.com]

¶ By as early as mid-December, construction crews will invade a 420-acre field in Millington, Tennessee, and proceed to fill it with 580,000 sun-tracking PV panels, creating by far the largest solar-energy project in the state. As impressive as the 53-MW project might seem, Tennessee will still be trailing other states in solar power. [The Commercial Appeal]

Solar system in Tennessee

¶ By the year 2020, Xcel Energy’s power grid will use 35% renewable sources, and less than a quarter of energy will come from coal, the utility’s CEO told Minnesota Public Radio News. It will have slashed carbon emissions by nearly half, and customers won’t see much of a change in their bills, unless it is a lower bill. [Minnesota Public Radio News]

¶ According to Boston Business Journal, a lawsuit filed in federal court in Boston alleges that GE’s decisions dating back to the 1960s led to the failure of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, causing an estimated $250 billion in damage. The suit was filed against GE on behalf of people affected by the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011. [Boston magazine]

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November 17 Energy News

November 17, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “What the UN Climate Summit is teaching us about environmental action” • This year’s UN Climate Summit is almost over. Clear leaders have emerged, and the US is not one of them. Syria has agreed to sign the Paris agreement on climate change. The US is alone in refusing to make a voluntary climate change commitment. [GlobalComment.com]

Glacier (Photo: derwiki | Pixabay)

COP23:

¶ World leaders took center stage at the COP23 climate change conference in Bonn this week to promise dramatic new actions aimed at reducing global climate emissions. They also used the occasion to castigate the United States and Donald Trump for being entirely out of step with the rest of the world community on this issue. [CleanTechnica]

¶ India has announced some good news for COP23. Just a few years ago, India relied almost exclusively on coal to fuel its rapid development, opening new coal-burning power plants and increasing coal mining and imports. But it has cancelled plans for 14 GW of coal power and increasing its use of renewable energy. [Millennium Post]

Small solar system

¶ The Canadian Environment and Climate Change Minister helped bring more than 25 new governments on board for a Canadian and British push to power past coal at COP23. Those in the new alliance include major European industrial nations, such as France and Italy. Others range from New Zealand to the US state of Oregon. [National Observer]

¶ COP23 has built on innovative solutions that were introduced in COP21. This included changing our understanding of carbon’s function, says an Indian environmentalist. When we disrupt the Earth’s self-regulating climate systems, we receive climate chaos and climate uncertainty, not something we can predict and change. [Deutsche Welle]

Flooding in Assam (Getty Images | AFP | B Boro)

World:

¶ Instead of traditional 25-year deals, Indian power distributors are negotiating ten-year agreements with coal power providers. The distributors believe the development of renewables and storage makes long term agreements redundant because solar and wind have become the country’s least expensive power resources. [Power Engineering International]

¶ In separate announcements, Microsoft Corp and Daimler indicated that hydrogen fuel cells could provide significantly better energy solutions for data centers than existing electrical grid and backup power technology. Fuel cells can be used to add such services as grid security at data centers, but they can also power vehicles. [Network World]

Daimler hydrogen fuel cell system

¶ The city of Saskatoon and the Saskatoon Tribal Council in Saskatchewan announced the development of the new Saskatoon Weir Hydropower Station. The estimated cost is about C$65 million ($51 million). The new power station will have a capacity of 6.1 MW and is being built at the weir on South Saskatchewan River. [HydroWorld]

¶ Levels of pollution in the UK’s air are still way above the targets set by the EU. According to a new report from the National Audit Office, 85% of UK “air quality zones” still exceed legal pollution limits eight years after they were supposed to meet them. The Government estimates that it will not meet some of the pollution targets until 2026. [The Independent]

Measuring air pollution in central London (Getty)

¶ So much of the decommissioning funds for the Japan Atomic Power Co’s reactors have been diverted that it now lacks enough cash to scrap its old units or even resume operations of existing ones. The company is banking on a decision by the Nuclear Regulation Authority, but even that might not be sufficient to save it financially. [Asahi Shimbun]

US:

¶ The Shell GameChanger™ program has agreed to provide financial support for demonstration of closed-loop geothermal power generation at a currently inactive well in the Coso California geothermal field, GreenFire Energy Inc announced. GreenFire Energy Inc’s innovative ECO2G™ uses directional drilling technologies. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

Coso well, California (Photo: GreenFire Energy)

¶ Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveiled the highly anticipated Tesla Semi Truck in Hawthorne, California. This truck promises to transform not just the trucks that move goods around the world but the entire shipping industry. It has a number of safety improvements, but it will probably also cost less to operate than internal combustion semi trucks. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Elon Musk unexpectedly disappeared from stage during the Tesla Semi Truck unveiling, and then to everyone’s surprise, a Tesla Roadster 2.0 appeared. The base model will be the fastest production car ever made when it comes to market in 2020. Musk said, “The point of all this is just to give a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars.” [CleanTechnica]

Tesla Roadster 2.0

¶ US solar developer Cypress Creek Renewables cut the ribbon on a 9-MW solar installation in Maryland. The Baker Point solar array uses 34,074 solar modules and is expected to produce enough power to meet annual needs of over 2,000 homes. It was inspired by Maryland’s legislation support for pollinator-friendly solar sites. [Renewables Now]

¶ TransCanada announced that it has shut down the Keystone pipeline in South Dakota because it discovered 210,000 gallons of oil has spilled from the pipeline. The state of Nebraska will decide next week if it will allow a stretch of the Keystone pipeline to be built through the state. Waterways or wildlife areas appear not to have been impacted. [Anadolu Agency]

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November 16 Energy News

November 16, 2017

COP23:

¶ The World Resources Institute announced at COP23 that $2.1 billion in private investment funds have been committed to efforts to restore degraded lands in the Caribbean and Latin America. The WRI’s Initiative 20×20 has already put 10 million hectares (about 25 million acres) of land under restoration thanks to 19 private investors. [Mongabay.com]

Deforestation (Photo by Rhett Butler)

¶ At least 15 countries have joined an international alliance to phase out coal from power generation before 2030, delegates at UN climate talks in Bonn said on Thursday. The alliance aims to have 50 members by the next UN climate summit in 2018 to be held in Poland’s Katowice, which is one of the most polluted cities in Europe. [Reuters]

¶ Denmark wants its entire electricity supply to be coal free by 2030, energy and climate minister Lars Christian Lilleholt has confirmed. The goal was announced as Denmark joined a coalition of 15 countries at the UN’s annual COP23 climate conference in Bonn. Denmark currently has three coal-driven power stations. [The Local Denmark]

Danish power plants (Thomas Borberg | Polfoto | Ritzau)

¶ French president Emmanuel Macron says that Europe will cover any shortfall in funding for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The scientific organisation has been facing uncertainty since President Donald Trump outlined plans earlier this year to cut US funding. The UK government also pledged to double their IPCC contribution. [BBC]

World:

¶ The Airbus Vahana project is ready for flight testing, just as Boeing, Uber, and others jumping into the electric plane game and electric airplanes and other vertical take-off and landing aircraft taking off. The Airbus Vahana project says it will not need a runway, will be self-piloted, and can automatically detect and avoid obstacles and other aircraft. [CleanTechnica]

Rendering of Airbus Vahana

¶ German wind project developer PNE Wind AG wants to evolve into a “Clean Energy Solution Provider”, expanding the range of services it offers, entering new markets, and adding a full range of green technologies to its portfolio. Wind, solar PVs, energy storage and power-to-gas are all key components of the new strategy. [Renewables Now]

¶ Levels of carbon pollution from Britain’s electricity generation have almost halved in just a few years, making the country’s power system one of the world’s cleanest, according to a report. Emissions associated with each unit of electricity produced fell 47% between 2012 and 2016 as coal was replaced by more gas and renewables. [Epping Forest Guardian]

Ferrybridge power station in West Yorkshire

¶ Giant wind turbines set to be built as part of an extension to the current Thanet Offshore Wind Farm off the coast of Kent will be the biggest in the world, some 250 meters tall. Swedish energy company Vattenfall revealed plans earlier in the year to expand their existing site, which lies around 7.5 miles off Foreness Point in Margate. [Kent Live]

¶ Strong demand is set to give a huge boost to renewable energy growth in sub-Saharan Africa over the next five years, driving cumulative capacity up more than 70%, a senior international energy official said. Millions of people will get access to electric power for the first time, as the continent turns to solar, wind and hydropower projects. [Business Day]

African wind farm (Yash Polychem image)

US:

¶ Google installed methane detection systems in some of its Street View cars and began testing in Boston, Indianapolis, and New York City. A GPS unit records the route driven and uploads information to a Google server. The Street View cars driving around Boston found an average of one methane leak for every mile driven. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Rattlesnake Creek Wind Project is now being built northeast of Sioux City, Nebraska. Enel Green Power will spend $430 million to build the 320-MW wind farm. It will distribute $80 million in property tax and landowners payments over the first 20 years of its existence,  according to officials at Enel Green Power North America Inc. [Sioux City Journal]

Rendering of the Rattlesnake Wind Project

¶ Microsoft has announced that it intends to cut its carbon emissions by 75% by 2030 against a 2013 baseline, making continued progress with its carbon neutrality and renewable energy commitments while also making future investments in energy efficiency. Microsoft has recently agreements to buy power from wind farms. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Puerto Rico just met the halfway mark to restoring power, and the lights went out. Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló had just tweeted that power was back to 50% of utility customers when the outage hit San Juan. Fifty-six days after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico is still experiencing the longest blackout in US history. [Grist]

Repairs in Puerto Rico (Getty Images)

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

¶ Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Acting Chairman Neil Chatterjee has said he is “sympathetic” to a rule that would prop up struggling US coal and nuclear power plants. He apparently has an interim plan to keep financially troubled plants operating while his agency considers a market-changing cost proposal from the DOE. [POWER magazine]

¶ Federal officials have restarted an eastern Idaho nuclear fuel testing facility amid efforts to boost the nation’s nuclear power generating capacity. The US DOE said the facility at the Idaho National Laboratory about 50 miles west of Idaho Falls began operating Tuesday for the first time since it went on standby status in 1994. [Jackson Hole News&Guide]

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November 15 Energy News

November 15, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “After the storms, it’s microgrid season in the Caribbean” • The destructive winds of Hurricanes Irma and Maria exposed the vulnerabilities of the islands. They also showed how renewable energy sources, such as solar panels backed  up by batteries and microgrid technology, can bring resilience to islands where they have been installed. [GreenBiz]

Solar farm powering the microgrid on St Eustatius (Stuco image)

¶ “3 ways Dynegy is trying to make Illinoisans bail out its aging coal fleet” • Dynegy, a Texas-based energy giant, is pulling out all the stops in Illinois to keep uneconomic and dirty coal plants running. After a nearly successful attempt to get subsidies from the state legislature last year, it is still trying to maintain profits. [Environmental Defense Fund]

¶ “Low-Priced Renewables Driving Change At US Utility Companies” • Renewables are finally getting the attention they deserve from US utility companies. The utility giants are still committed to preserving their monopoly status and locking out any upstart competitors, but they are trying to do it with renewable power sources. [CleanTechnica]

Asbury coal-fired plant in Missouri (via District Energy)

World:

¶ The joint venture led by Danish wind company, Vestas, and Japanese engineering company, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd has created the most powerful turbine in the world. MHI Vestas’ new wind turbine generator has a 9.5-MW capacity. The nacelle is 20 meters long and 8 meters wide, and it weighs a total of 390 tonnes. [Energy Digital]

¶ In 1992, 1,700 independent scientists signed the “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity.” The letter warned that if environmental damage was not stopped, our future was at risk. Over 16,000 scientists from 184 countries published a second warning. It says things are alarmingly worse and we must act quickly. [CNN]

Sunny day flooding in Miami Beach, caused by rising seas

¶ BMW AG’s plan to switch exclusively to green electricity uses some rather unusual power sources, including a South African biomass plant that runs on cow dung and chicken droppings. The arrangement is part of the carmaker’s bid to shift all its external power purchases to renewables by 2020, up from 63% last year. [Bloomberg]

¶ Wind power will be the EU’s leading source of electricity soon after 2030, boosted by strong growth both onshore and offshore wind plants, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency. The “World Energy Outlook 2017” report also said that solar PVs will be the largest source of clean power globally by 2040. [reNews]

Offshore wind farm (Pixabay image)

¶ Over 450,000 Rwandan households are expected to get power in the next five years following the launch of Rwanda Renewable Energy Fund project. Financing for the $50 million project was done by the World Bank. The fund is intended to increase off-grid solar energy access for those who do not have power, mostly in rural areas. [News Ghana]

¶ As Australia’s federal Coalition continues to fudge and delay on a national energy and climate policy, the state Labor government in Victoria has pressed “go” on what will be the largest renewable energy tender held in Australia – 650 MW of mostly wind and solar. The tender will require completion of the solar and wind farms by 2020. [RenewEconomy]

Wind farm in Victoria

¶ Zurich has become the latest insurance giant to cut ties with coal-intensive businesses, bringing the amount insurers have pulled from these companies to about $20 billion (£15.2 billion) in just two years. Zurich is pulling investments and stopping offering insurance to companies that depend on coal for more than half of their turnover. [Telegraph.co.uk]

US:

¶ Maine is seeing neat technology developed for capturing energy at sea, from both wind and water. The University of Maine has been testing floating platform technology for wind turbines. And Ocean Renewable Power Company, based in Portland, developed their TideGen device, which was tested in the Bay of Fundy. [The Coastal Journal]

TideGen device (Ocean Renewable Power Company image)

¶ International energy markets are set for “major upheaval” as the US cements its status as the world’s largest oil and gas producer and China becomes the biggest oil consumer, the International Energy Agency says in its annual energy forecast. It expects 80% of the increase in global oil supply to 2025 to be in the US, driven by shale oil production. [BBC]

¶ Enel Green Power North America has started commercial operations at the 300-MW Rock Creek wind farm in Missouri, almost two months ahead of schedule. Electricity from Rock Creek  will be sold to Kansas City Power & Light and the Greater Missouri Operations Company under two separate power purchase agreements. [reNews]

Rock Creek wind farm (Enel Green Power image)

¶ With help from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, UPS plans to convert many of its diesel-powered delivery vans into battery electric trucks beginning as soon as next spring. UPS currently has more than 2,200 trucks plying the streets of New York City. It expects 1,500 of them be electric by 2022. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The largest solar farm in Missouri was dedicated in a ceremony at its 72-acre site in Nixa. It has 33,280 solar panels and a capacity of 7.92 MW AC, to provide over 15 million kWh per year. Nixa Solar Farm has a 25-year power purchase agreement with its owner, Gardner Capital, covering 100% of the power it generates. [Christian County Headliner News]

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November 14 Energy News

November 14, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Repair or Renovate? Puerto Rico Faces Stark Power Grid Options” • It has been 68 days since Hurricane Irma took down much of Puerto Rico’s aging power grid and 54 days since Maria took the rest, leaving nearly all 3.4 million residents without electricity. Experts say the island is in desperate need of a power grid makeover. [Scientific American]

Destroyed power lines (Credit: Hector Retamal | Getty Images)

Joseph Mangum, of Sunnyside Solar, is on the ground in
Puerto Rico, helping people. How to help him help them?
One way is at [
Sunnyside Solar’s crowdfunding website].

¶ “Even IEA says coal boom is dead, hails the solar age” • Here is bad news for the coal industry, its advocates, and acolytes: Even the highly conservative International Energy Agency is calling the end of the coal boom and hailing the age of solar. Its annual World Energy Outlook buries myths about coal, renewables and climate targets. [RenewEconomy]

COP23:

¶ The Rocky Mountain Institute published a report at COP23 that provides cities worldwide with “22 ready-to-implement, no-regrets solutions that have proven success” to help move them toward climate-neutrality and provide results within a year. The solutions in The Carbon-Free City Handbook have been proven in use. [CleanTechnica]

New York Smog

¶ At their sole function at COP23, US delegates promoted “clean” fossil fuels as a solution to reduce emissions. The Governor of California Jerry Brown ridiculed the attempt to promote fossil fuels, and dozens of activists chanted “Keep it in the ground” over the speech of executive director of the United States Energy Association. [Deutsche Welle]

¶ Protesters interrupted an event sponsored by the U.S. climate delegation at the UN climate summit in Bonn, Germany on Monday with a repackaged version of the song “God Bless the USA” before staging a mass walkout. Then the room was empty, aside from the press, panelists, and White House guests in the front row. [Common Dreams]

Attendees at the US pro-coal speech (Twitter image)

World:

¶ Iberdrola said it decided to phase out its coal generation capacity completely and accordingly asked for permission to decommission two plants totaling 874 MW in Spain. About 170 employees at the plants will either be relocated to other facilities or engaged in the decommissioning process, which will cost €35 million ($40.8 million). [Renewables Now]

¶ Alberta is putting aside $40 million to help workers losing their jobs as the province transitions away from coal mines and coal-fired power plants over the next decade. The Labour Minister said the money will top up benefits to 75% of a worker’s previous earnings during the time they collect employment insurance. [CanadianManufacturing.com]

Coal-fired power plant (Photo: Paul Jerry | Wikimedia)

¶ French utility EDF, which is about 80% state-owned, has an abundance of problems. It has about €31 billion ($36 billion) in net debt and €21 billion of pension obligations. It faces a €50 billion bill to upgrade France’s aging nuclear fleet, plus massive future decommissioning costs. It also faces tepid demand and increasing competition. [Bloomberg]

¶ In Australia, 64,000 jobs depend on the health of the Great Barrier Reef, contributing $6.4 billion to the Australian economy. But the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s second World Heritage Outlook report confirmed the Reef is at a “very high level of threat” from climate change and says that its condition is deteriorating. [Gizmodo]

Great Barrier Reef

US:

¶ A year after Donald Trump was elected president on a promise to revive the ailing US coal industry, the sector’s long-term prospects for growth and hiring remain as bleak as ever. US utilities are shutting coal-fired power plants at a rapid pace, as they continue shifting to cheap natural gas, along with wind and solar power. [Business Insider]

¶ Rebuilding Puerto Rico’s grid is going slowly. As an example, AES sent six giant containers of lithium-ion batteries for 6 MW of flexible power. But it does not know how the batteries will be used because the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority cannot say. “It’s just, they’re busy,” AES’s CTO said. “They’re recovering from a disaster.” [E&E News]

Palo Seco oil-fired power plant (@Jenniffer2012 | Twitter)

¶ Legislation calling for an increase in New Mexico’s renewable portfolio standard was unsuccessful during the 2017 session, but advocates told the lawmakers they will continue to press for a higher percentage. The initiative would place New Mexico on a similar trajectory to California and New York, both of which are planning for 50% by 2030. [New Jersey Herald]

¶ Two years ago, Gov Jerry Brown signed a law ordering California utilities to get 50% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030. It looks like they may hit that goal a decade ahead of schedule. An annual report by California regulators found the state’s three big utilities are on track to reach 50% by 2020. [San Francisco Chronicle]

Wind turbines (Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez | The Chronicle)

¶ US President Donald Trump is wrapping up a 12-day tour of Asia, which he said created $300 billion in sales to companies in the region and several major energy deals. Energy agreements made up roughly half the total value of deals in China. But analysts have doubts over whether any of the multi-billion dollar projects will be realised. [BBC]

¶ Dominion Energy Virginia has notified the NRC it intends to relicense the North Anna Power Station in Louisa County for an additional 20 years. The official license renewal application will be filed in 2020. Dominion had previously announced it will file for a license extension at the Surry Power Station as well. [Power Engineering Magazine]

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November 13 Energy News

November 13, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Are villages embracing the Fourth Industrial Revolution faster than cities?” • Villages in rural India, Bangladesh and Africa may be racing ahead of cities when it comes to embracing the Fourth Industrial Revolution and cutting-edge technology for their energy needs, Global Himalayan Expedition’s Energy Access Leader says. [eco-business.com]

House in the Himalayas running on solar power
(Image: Global Himalaya Expedition)

Science and Technology:

¶ Global emissions of CO2 in 2017 are projected to rise for the first time in four years, dashing hopes that a peak might soon be reached. The main cause of the expected growth is greater use of coal in China as its economy expanded. Researchers are unsure of whether the rise in emissions is a one-off or the start of a new period of CO2 build-up. [BBC News]

World:

¶ Elgin Energy is seeking permission for a major 100-acre solar PV farm in the Irish town of Kilkenny, adding to its solar power play. The application is just the latest in a slew of proposals by developers for solar farms on sites right across the country over the past year, following a significant fall in the cost of solar PV technology. [Independent.ie]

Solar array with sheep

¶ Electric buses have been selling like hotcakes in China. The EV-loving city Shenzhen is taking it one step further. In Shenzhen, electric buses will make up all public bus transportation by the end of this year. The city already has 14,000 electric buses on the streets, with only has a few hundred diesel-powered buses left to replace. [CleanTechnica]

¶ According to Agora Energiewende, shutting down twenty lignite-burning power plants in Germany would not lead to electricity shortages in the country, even during the coldest parts of the winter; it would only mean a reduction in the amount of electricity is exported. It would also get the country halfway to its carbon reduction goals. [CleanTechnica]

Coal-burning power plant

¶ Namibia has the potential to light up Southern Africa, given its strategic location and ambitious plan for private investments in the power generation sector, according to the Finance Minister. The majority of the upcoming electricity generation projects are expected to be developed through private sector investments. [solarpaces.org]

¶ Nexif Energy, based in Singapore, has achieved financial close for the first stage of its 212-MW Lincoln Gap wind farm in South Australia. The developer announced that the project would also include a 10-MW battery storage system to be sited near Port Augusta. The 126-MW first phase envisages the installation of 36 turbines. [Renewables Now]

Lincoln Gap wind farm site (Source: lincolngapwindfarm.com.au)

¶ Climate change talks in Germany are headed for a collision course on coal this week, and Canada is right in the middle of it. Canada’s Environment Minister and her British counterpart want the conversation to focus on getting rid of coal as a power source. But their anti-coal initiative is in direct contrast with the US position. [Huffington Post Canada]

¶ In a notice published in South Africa’s Government Gazette, independent generators of up to 1 MW of electricity have been exempted from the legal obligation to be licensed. This means that owners of embedded renewable generation facilities will not have the administrative and financial burdens of obtaining a generating license. [Citizen]

Installing solar panels

¶ China will launch a pilot program to trade distributed electric power generation starting on February 1, 2018, the National Energy Administration announced. The move will promote renewable power consumption in the country. Distributed power plants are typically small and medium-sized power stations sited close to consumers. [Reuters]

¶ Australian renewable energy developer CWP Renewables has proposed building a 250-MW solar tower and storage project in Queensland, saying it could be a cost effective alternative to either a new coal generator or even battery storage proposed by wind and solar projects. It is one of several solar thermal projects proposed for the state. [RenewEconomy]

Crescent Dunes solar thermal project in Nevada

¶ Workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have installed a device to remove nuclear fuel from a meltdown-hit reactor nearly seven years after the crisis was sparked by a tsunami, a spokesman said. The plant’s operator, TEPCO, said a crane on the roof of the No 3 reactor will extract a total of 566 rods from its fuel pool. [Japan Today]

US:

¶ An effort by Vermont utility regulators to settle the long-standing and contentious issue of how much noise neighbors of industrial wind projects should be subject to ended up satisfying no one. Both proponents of wind power and those who say the noise poses a health risk to people who live near turbines were upset with the result. [Westport News]

Wind farm (Photo: Tim Roske | AP)

¶ TDI New England wants to lay a high-voltage transmission cable under Lake Champlain. It has pledged $20 million for low-income energy retrofits in Western Massachusetts if its New England Clean Power Link wins a major contract in the Bay State. The retrofits would include things other programs do not pay for, a spokesperson said. [MassLive.com]

¶ When it comes to renewable energy, Hawaii stands out, with 15% of the state’s power coming from solar and wind. Now, the state may also be pioneering ocean waves for renewable energy. NewsHour Weekend’s Megan Thompson visited a naval base in Hawaii, where researchers are testing a new frontier of wave power technology. [PBS NewsHour]

Joseph Mangum, of Sunnyside Solar, is on the ground in
Puerto Rico, helping people. How to help him help them?
One way is at [
Sunnyside Solar’s crowdfunding website].

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November 12 Energy News

November 12, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Letter from Bonn: Pollution Killing More Indians Than Wars, Govt Must Understand Urgency of Now” • India loses more people to pollution than it would possibly to a war. Yet, successive governments resort to ad hoc measures, lacking implementation of a long term strategy to ensure clean air to people and address their right to life. [News18]

Schoolboy with his face covered by a handkerchief

¶ “COP 23: Bill McKibben says the drive for 100% renewables is too slow. Time to accelerate!” • It may be possible for the world to reach 100% renewable energy by 2050, or sooner. But Bill McKibben said preventing absolute catastrophe requires action on emissions far faster than what market conditions alone would produce. [Red, Green, and Blue]

¶ “Hurricane Maria has made Puerto Rico the land of opportunity for solar power” • Seven weeks after hurricane Maria, the traffic lights are still down in San Juan. The bankrupt Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority has 1.4 million customers, but it cannot supply power to most of them. Now it has serious competition. [Quartz]

In Utuado, after fifty days of cleanup (Raquel Pérez Puig | Quartz)

Joseph Mangum, of Sunnyside Solar, is on the ground in
Puerto Rico, helping people. How to help him help them?
One way is at [
Sunnyside Solar’s crowdfunding website].

¶ “Stop rewarding failure: Protect consumers, not profits” • More than a decade ago, our nation decided to pursue more nuclear power generation. But what we did not support was providing corporate welfare, putting all the project’s risks on the backs of electric customers, instead of on the people who decided to take the risk of investment. [The Augusta Chronicle]

World:

¶ An oil pipeline exploded in Bahrain, causing a massive fire near a market and a hospital. The General Director of Civil Defence said that 21 vehicles and 78 personnel were deployed to control the fire in an oil pipeline near Buri village. He also said the explosion was the result of an act of terrorism, and linked the act to Iran. [Іnsіdеr Cаr Nеws]

Fire after the pipeline explosion in Bahrain

¶ With solar panels tacked to their sledges and a biofuel made from wood chips to keep them warm, a British father and son duo will attempt to reach the South Pole relying solely on green energy. Seasoned explorer Robert Swan and his 23-year-old son Barney will begin their eight week, 600-mile expedition on November 15. [Yahoo News UK]

¶ Pope Francis blasted “shortsighted human activity” for global warming and rising sea levels and urged leaders at climate talks in Germany to take a global outlook as they negotiate ways to curb heat-trapping emissions. Francis met with a delegation of Pacific leaders and told them he shares their concerns about rising sea levels. [CTV News]

Pope Francis listening to Baron Waqa, President of
Nauru (L’Osservatore Romano | Pool Photo via AP)

¶ Queensland’s Labor government is in ongoing talks with American energy firm Boston Global to build a battery factory in Townsville, amid a $151 million election pledge to kickstart plans for a new solar plant. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk promised the multi-million dollar cash injection into the state’s renewable energy sector. [Yahoo7 News]

¶ Environmental activists protested at a German coal-fired power plant, just as Italy announced when it would its use of coal. Protesters projected images of Pacific islanders threatened by climate change onto the cooling tower of the lignite-fuelled power station in Neurath, in western Germany, along with the words “coal destroys our future.” [New Delhi Times]

Greenpeace coal protest

US:

¶ A group of US states, cities, businesses, and universities said they are still committed to curbing global warming even as the Trump administration is walking away from the Paris climate accord. They said, however, that they will not be able to achieve the necessary cut in greenhouse gas emissions without some efforts at the federal level. [Newser]

¶ Stories of Kauai are turning heads at the United Nations Climate Conference. The island’s strides in clean energy, along with the progress in the rest of the state, are catching attention. Sen Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, is part of a five-person legislative delegation representing the American people at the UN Climate Conference. [Thegardenisland.com]

Kauai (Photo: Christopher Michel, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Empire District Electric Co, based in Joplin, Missouri, plans to develop an additional 800 MW of wind power and to generate that power as close to its Missouri service area as possible, it announced. That $1.5 billion investment could change the face of a rural area north of Joplin, where Empire is looking at its options. [Joplin Globe]

¶ Wind power and other renewable energy sources are playing an important role in keeping the campus of the University of Illinois sustainable. The University is purchasing wind power from Rail Splitter Wind Farm LLC under a contract that goes until October 2026. The university has a goal to eliminate 100% of carbon emissions by 2050. [Daily Illini]

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November 11 Energy News

November 11, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “We Already Know Which Grid Fixes Can Keep Lights On During Bad Storms. Here Are 3.” • Restoring electricity after the fires in California or Hurricane Irma in Florida took about 10 days. And 70% of Puerto Ricans still lack power six weeks after Hurricane Maria. But there are solutions available on the market today. [Breaking Energy]

Wreckage after a hurricane

Joseph Mangum, of Sunnyside Solar, is helping people in Puerto Rico. How can you help the people of Puerto Rico? One way is to donate at [Sunnyside Solar’s crowdfunding website].

Science and Technology:

¶ Researchers at Sandia National Labs have figured out how to downsize concentrating solar power facilities so that they are economically viable without taking up as much space as more traditional solar panel arrays. The objective of the research was to create small-scale CSP facilities of 1 MW or less to be used by small rural communities. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ Dutch group NERO Renewables wants to build three wind parks, with a total installed capacity of 1 GW, in Romania. They proposed that the Dutch Government adopt the project so the Netherlands can reach its renewable energy target for 2020. The project’s cost is estimated at €1.4 billion, according to a local site, Profit.ro. [Romania-Insider.com]

Romanian wind park

¶ The German government faces the prospect of not meeting its 2020 carbon emission reduction goal. It is considering investing in carbon reduction abroad, to compensate. The government could pay other countries to cut emissions so it can meet future targets and avoid building new coal-fired power plants. [Power Engineering International]

¶ The China National Renewable Energy Center advises the Chinese government to increase its 2020 solar target to 200 GW, up from its current 110 GW. The boom of installations saw the country pass its existing 2020 target last August. CNREC also advises increasing to wind and bioenergy targets and halting approvals of coal power capacity. [PV-Tech]

Chinese solar farm (Credit: Panda Green Energy)

¶ As the world gathers in Bonn for COP23, a professor from The University of Manchester’s School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering, outlined why he thinks offshore wind could be a boom industry for the UK. The UK gets around 5% of its electric power from offshore wind and generates more than any other country in the world. [Phys.Org]

¶ UK solar developer Hive Energy announced plans to develop a 350-MW solar park in Kent without any government subsidies. The proposed power project would located on the north coast of the county. The project would constitute the UK’s largest solar farm to date, by far, able to supply enough electricity for 110,000 households. [Climate Action Programme]

Small olar system

¶ Although China and India remain the largest consumers of coal, a new University of Maryland-led study found that China’s sulfur dioxide emissions have fallen by 75% since 2007, while India’s emissions increased by 50%. The results suggest that India is becoming the world’s top sulfur dioxide emitter, if it is not already. [Scoop.co.nz]

US:

¶ Officials of Dairyland Power inaugurated a $167 million wind farm in the southwestern part of Wisconsin. The 98-MW Quilt Block project, with 49 turbines, is the state’s fourth largest wind farm and boosts the Wisconsin’s wind capacity by 15%. It is expected to provide enough energy for over 35,000 average households. [The Courier Life News]

Wisconsin farmland (Dairyland Power Cooperative image)

¶ Practically the entire island of Puerto Rico went dark again after a major power line repaired by Whitefish Energy failed. Even though that the failure may have had nothing to do with Whitefish’s work, it is still a demonstration that microgrids and renewable energy are the way to go for grid resiliency and reliability. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Despite the US decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accords and uncertainty around other government initiatives, utilities and consumers are driving a transformation of the energy system. The political uncertainty created by federal government has not stopped increased investments in green and renewable energy. [Electric Light & Power]

Storage for solar power

¶ Senate Republicans have put forward their own tax reform plan this week which, unlike the tax reform bill proposed by the House, does not take aim at renewable energy provisions such as the wind Production Tax Credit. The House plan proposed eliminating the vehicle tax credit and added a retroactive tax hike on the wind industry. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Con Edison Development, one of the largest owners and operators of renewable energy infrastructure projects in the US, announced the acquisition of Big Timber Wind, a 25-MW wind power project that will provide Montana residents with low-cost electricity. Big Timber Wind is expected to come online in the upcoming weeks. [Electric Light & Power]

Wind farm in the mountains

¶ Years of delays and billions of cost overruns at Plant Vogtle cannot be blamed on any mistakes made by Georgia Power, the company’s CEO said in an interview. He told reporters at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that other factors were to blame, including bankruptcy of the main contractor and requirements imposed by the NRC. [MyAJC]

¶ The South Carolina House speaker is proposing six laws aimed at protecting consumers from financial consequences of a failed project to build two nuclear reactors. South Carolina utilities spent more than $9 billion on two nuclear reactors before abandoning them. They had collected nearly $2 billion from ratepayers as they did. [New Jersey Herald]

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November 10 Energy News

November 10, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Cities Stand United on Paris Agreement at COP23” • Cities face a new reality of monster storms, unprecedented flooding, dangerous and record-breaking heat and drought, wildfires, and other challenges. More than 350 US “Climate Mayors” have pledged to commit to reduce emissions 80% by 2050, as laid out in Paris. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

Bonn, site of COP23 (Pixabay image)

Science and Technology:

¶ Self-driving systems don’t have to be perfect to save tens of thousands of lives, the RAND Corporation says in a report, The Enemy of Good: Estimating the Cost of Waiting for Nearly Perfect. If autonomous vehicles systems drive only slightly better than humans, they could prevent hundreds of thousands of fatalities worldwide over the next 30 years. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ A report by the International Energy Agency underscores the important implications of the recent rapid cost reductions in solar PVs and wind power. One of the report’s main findings is that greening the industry may be achieved either directly from electricity or through the production of hydrogen-rich fuels and chemicals. [pv magazine International]

Solar array (Duke Energy image)

¶ South America’s biggest facility, now being built in Brazil’s south-east, aims to give the country its place in the sun. The plant in the state of Minas Gerais, has 1.2 million solar panels, covering the equivalent of more than 1,200 soccer fields. The first of three phases began producing power in September, and the second is now going online. [Phys.Org]

¶ In one of the biggest demolitions every undertaken, explosions have brought down the main section of the Northern Power Station at Port Augusta, South Australia. Alinta Energy closed the coal-fired power station 18 months ago. The two 80-meter tall boilers, with 10,000 tonnes of steel in each, were brought down by a series of explosive charges. [ABC Online]

Northern Power Station’s end (Supplied: McMahon Services)

¶ The failure of wealthy nations to deliver on short-term climate commitments could hinder the rollout of a landmark treaty, a bloc of 134 developing countries, including India and China, warned Thursday at UN negotiations in Bonn. The diplomatic spat has underscored the difficulty of reaching a consensus at the 196-nation talks. [Phys.Org]

¶ The world’s first floating wind farm, launched by Statoil off the coast of Scotland in October, will generate 30 MW of energy, enough to power 20,000 homes. In France, the 2-MW Floatgen facility was launched on the Atlantic Coast. Now commercial floating wind farms are planned to be commissioned in the UK, Ireland, France, and Portugal. [Energy Digital]

Towing floating turbines to sea (Getty Images)

US:

¶ Apple signed a deal to power to a Nevada data center with one of the cheapest contracted starting prices for solar power in the US. The deal was signed with NV Energy, owned by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway. The start price is 3.099¢/kWh with a 2% a year escalator, making it very inexpensive energy. The project has a capacity of 50 MW. [Electrek]

¶ The federal government is ignoring threats to life presented by climate change, according to a claim of a lawsuit against Trump administration officials. The suit was filed in federal court in Philadelphia, on behalf of two Pennsylvania children and the Clean Air Council. Donald Trump, Scott Pruitt, and Rick Perry are named as defendants. [Public News Service]

Protecting future generations (Photo: Pezibear | Pixabay)

¶ As demand for electricity on Nantucket has grown, National Grid considered adding a new undersea power cable or buying two new generators. Instead, it invested some of its money in a grid-scale battery system. Tesla will install 200 Powerpack batteries on the island, for a total storage capacity of 48 MWh, in place of one of the new generators. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The US car industry will be wrecked if President Trump relaxes emissions standards, California Governor Jerry Brown said. He said China would dominate car manufacture because it was heavily promoting the electric vehicles that would dominate the future. He said President Trump and US car-makers had not understood the scale of the challenge. [BBC]

Assembly line (Getty images)

¶ The California Department of Food and Agriculture has awarded $35.2 million to 18 dairy digester projects. The projects are part of the Dairy Digester Research and Development program and aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from manure at California dairy farms, helping to address the problem of climate change. [Biomass Magazine]

¶ The owners of StuyTown, a rental apartment complex comprising Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village in Manhattan, have announced plans to make the property home to the largest private multifamily residential rooftop solar project in the US. The 3.8 MW-DC solar project will triple Manhattan’s installed PV capacity. [Solar Industry]

StuyTown apartments in Manhattan

¶ Madison Gas & Electric, based in Wisconsin, has the green light from state regulators to build a wind farm in northeastern Iowa in 2018 to serve its customers. The $107 million Saratoga wind farm is to be built near Saratoga, Iowa, about 200 miles west of Madison. It won unanimous approval from the three-member state Public Service Commission. [Madison.com]

¶ SCANA may fully abandon two unfinished nuclear reactors at VC Summer station in South Carolina by the end of the year in order to apply for a roughly $2 billion tax deduction. The  proposed federal tax write-off could be equal to 40% of the $4.9 billion that SCANA paid for its share of the Westinghouse-designed reactors since 2009. [Charleston Post Courier]

Joseph Mangum, of Sunnyside Solar, is helping people in Puerto Rico. How can you help the people of Puerto Rico? One way is to donate at [Sunnyside Solar’s crowdfunding website].

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November 9 Energy News

November 9, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Will the US put the lights out in the waning Coal Industry?” • Like the largest dinosaurs, the coal industry has put a giant footprint on the planet. In recent years it has played a cancerous role in global environmental problems. Global temperatures have already risen by nearly 1° C, and they are continuing the rise. [Industry Leaders Magazine]

Coal mine

¶ “A year after Trump’s win, coal is still losing to renewables” • It has been a year since President Trump’s election and his pledges to transform the energy markets have not exactly come to pass. In fact, what was true under President Barack Obama is still true: Coal’s generation is declining, and renewable’s share is growing fast. [Fairfield Daily Republic]

Science and Technology:

¶ HomeBiogas, which successfully launched its first home biodigester system on Indiegogo in early 2016, has been working to improve the design of its product into a more durable, lower cost, and more efficient model. It recently unveiled the next iteration of this backyard biogas device, cutting the cost of the device in half. [CleanTechnica]

HomeBiogas system

¶ Exposure to particulate matter air pollution is responsible for more than 10.7 million cases of the development of chronic kidney disease per year, according to a study. Chronic kidney disease is just one of a  long list of reasons moving away from petrol/gas and diesel cars, and coal-fired power plants, would benefit public health greatly. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ Tennet announced that it was running the first European blockchain-controlled power stabilization scheme, in a partnership with battery supplier Sonnen, using IBM’s blockchain software. The partners announced test pilots in May, as CoinDesk reported at the time. That work has now entered the phase of practical application. [CoinDesk]

Transmission lines (Shutterstock image)

¶ The European Commission published its annual climate action progress report this week. Between 1990 and 2016 the European Union has cut greenhouse gas emissions by 23% while at the same time growing its economy by 53%. This proves again that environmental action need not negatively affect the financial bottom line. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A global transition to 100% renewable electricity, far from being a long-term vision, is happening now, a study says. It is the work of Finland’s Lappeenranta University of Technology and the Energy Watch Group, and it was published at the UN climate change conference, COP23. The conference is now underway in Bonn, Germany. [eco-business.com]

Thai solar Farm (Asian Development Bank image, CC BY 2.0)

¶ ACCIONA Energía will double its renewable energy capacity in Latin America to over 2,000 MW by 2020. It alreadly owns 897 MW of wind and PV power capacity in the region. In the last four months of 2017, 700 MW more will be under construction, and other projects are being developed for completion in 2020. [Windpower Engineering]

US:

¶ A diverse group of a dozen US energy industry associations representing a wide range of technologies, including oil, natural gas, wind, solar, efficiency, and others, have come together to urge the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reject the DOE’s proposal to subsidize the coal and nuclear energy industries. [CleanTechnica]

Power plant

¶ Wells Fargo & Company announced that 100% of its global electricity consumption for 2017 will be met with renewable energy. The company has met the first part of a commitment that includes a transition to long-term agreements that fund new sources of green power by 2020. Its real estate portfolio is already 24% LEED certified. [Energy Voice]

¶ While the market for offshore wind power is well established in Europe, it still is in its nascent stage of development in the US. Now, Denmark, a leader of the offshore wind power industry, and the US have decided to work in collaboration to help expand the offshore wind power generation capacity in both of the countries. [CMFE News]

Offshore wind power

¶ The Republican-controlled House has approved a bill aimed at expanding hydroelectric power by a vote of 257-166. The bill was sponsored by Rep Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington. It defines hydropower as a renewable resource and streamlines the way projects are licensed, with primary authority granted to a single federal agency. [ABC News]

¶ Lincoln Clean Energy announced that its 250-MW Willow Springs wind farm has begun commercial operations in Haskell County, Texas. The Willow Springs wind farm is expected to generate about 1 million MWh of energy annually. Lincoln Clean Energy now has brought a total of 503 MW of wind power online this year. [Electric Light & Power]

Willow Springs wind farm

¶ Solar and wind power production, though still only a small contributor to the region’s overall power supply, has started to reduce demand on traditional power plants, according to ISO New England. The study predicts that there will be an adequate electrical power generation overall in New England through at least 2021. [Hartford Business]

¶ California’s last nuclear power plant may be one step closer to closing, despite a vocal campaign to save it. The California Public Utilities Commission issued a proposed decision that would approve plans by Diablo Canyon’s owner, Pacific Gas and Electric Co, to shut its two reactors down when the operating licenses expire, in 2024 and 2025. [San Francisco Chronicle]

Joseph Mangum, of Sunnyside Solar, is helping people in Puerto Rico. How can you help the people of Puerto Rico? One way is to donate at [Sunnyside Solar’s crowdfunding website].

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November 8 Energy News

November 8, 2017

 

Opinion:

¶ “Lazard: Wind & Solar Power Costs Continue To Fall, Putting Coal & Nuclear At A Disadvantage” • Lazard’s new Levelized Cost of Energy report shows costs of onshore wind and solar fell while others did not. So just operating a coal-fired facility may now be more costly than building and operating a solar or wind power installation. [CleanTechnica]

MHI Vestas offshore wind farm

¶ “Hotel in One of Earth’s Driest Places Is Powered by the Sun” • Chile’s Atacama Desert is so dry that some parts of it have never seen precipitation, and there’s rarely lasting cloud-cover. While these conditions are hostile for human life, some businesses believe they are just right to host enough solar panels to power all of South America. [National Geographic]

¶ “White House admits Trump climate policies will destroy all US coastal property” • The massive climate report released by the Trump administration makes clear that its climate policies will destroy every last bit of US (and global) coastal property in the decades to come, and over $1 trillion in US coastal property will eventually be valueless. [ThinkProgress]

Flooding in downtown Houston (Photo: Jason Dearen | AP)

Science and Technology:

¶ Digital technologies are set to transform the global energy landscape, making it more reliable and sustainable, a report by the International Energy Agency says. Demand side response from buildings, industry, and transport could provide 185 GW of flexibility, avoiding $270 billion of new infrastructure investment through 2040. [ETEnergyworld.com]

World:

¶ The 353-MW Galloper offshore wind farm off the Suffolk coast has generated first power, according to the company leading the project, Germany’s Innogy SE. The milestone means the process to commission the wind park’s 56 turbines, of which 38 are in place, has now begun. It is expected to be completed early next year. [Renewables Now]

Galloper (Source: galloperwindfarm.com)

¶ The US is now a party of one in its stance on climate change. Syria will join the Paris climate agreement, leaving the US as the only country in the world not signed on to the landmark climate deal. Syrian officials announced their intention to ratify the accord at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn on Tuesday. [CNN]

¶ Royal Society for the Protection of Birds lost its long and expensive case against the Scottish Government over the giant Neart na Gaoithe wind farm in the Firth of Forth. The UK Supreme Court refused permission for the RSPB to appeal against the decision of Scotland’s top civil court that Mainstream Renewable Power’s development. [The National]

Burbo Bank Offshore Wind Farm

¶ Some of Europe’s top utilities have called the EU’s green energy targets unambitious, urging the bar to be raised in the fight against climate change, Reuters said. A letter, signed by Enel, Iberdrola, and four others, called for the energy target, currently to get at least 27% of energy from renewables by 2030, to be raised to 35%. [Financial Tribune]

¶ Potentially sparing Western Australia hundreds of millions of dollars, electricity provider Synergy is poised to partner with a Dutch investment fund to bankroll obligations under federal green energy laws. The Cabinet signed off on plans by Synergy to establish a green power fund to meet its commitments under the renewable energy target. [The West Australian]

Albany  wind farm (Photo: Miles Liedtke | Instagram)

¶ The French government said that it probably would not be able to keep its 2025 deadline to reduce the proportion of electricity generated from nuclear to 50%, an admission which angered ecologists. The Environment Minister said that it would be difficult to keep to the 2025 calendar without increasing use of fossil fuels. [The Local France]

¶ Green Investment Group Ltd and General Electric Co have achieved financial close on the 650-MW Markbygden ETT onshore wind farm in Northern Sweden, having raised about €800 million ($925 million). Svevind has been developing the scheme since 2002. The European Commission approved the transaction in August. [Renewables Now]

GE wind farm in Europe (GE image, all rights reserved)

US:

¶ In its mania to prove how horrible the Clean Power Plan is, the EPA has rejiggered the numbers and found that the Clean Power Plan could save more lives than the Obama officials thought. Oddly enough, the means that rolling back its provisions could lead to between 40,000 and 100,000 more premature deaths in America by the year 2050. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Last week, the annual National Climate Report stated that all the increase in average global temperatures since 1950 can be attributed to human activity. This week, a lawsuit has been filed in federal court in Philadelphia claiming the federal government has a duty to protect its citizens from injury or death due to climate change. [CleanTechnica]

Air pollution

¶ The governor of Puerto Rico announced that the island will pursue a 20% and 25% renewables share for power generation. The renewable sources planned to be used include solar, wind and hydro. Electric micro grids will also be deployed, and a new program will aim to equip 85,000 homes with solar panels and batteries. [Renewables Now]

¶ The local utility in Kongiganak, Alaska, has not only managed to cut some of its residents’ heating bills in half, but built a revolutionary microgrid along the way. Five wind turbines now produce 25% of the village’s electricity, but when they produce more power than can be used, the excess is diverted to heating homes, cutting bills by 50%. [KYUK]

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

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November 7 Energy News

November 7, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Embattled Navajo coal plant is a preview of what’s ahead as coal declines across the US.” • It looks like it doesn’t belong there. The lonely, aging power plant stands out against the red desert, connected to the nearest town by a single, crumbling road. If it closes as scheduled, it will soon become an artifact, a relic from when coal was king. [ThinkProgress]

Navajo Generating Station (Credit: Wolfgang Moroder)

World:

¶ The largest retailer in Canada that specializes in food and pharmaceuticals unveiled a 53 foot, fully electric class 8 BYD truck that is the first in a transition of its company-owned fleet to electric vehicles. The new semi truck is the first of many, as Loblaw announced a commitment to move its entire trucking fleet to electric vehicles. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Petroleum Development Oman and GlassPoint Solar have announced completion of the first block of one of the world’s largest solar plants, the 1,021-MW Miraah solar plant in Oman. Each of the 36 blocks has a separate greenhouse protecting its solar array from the harsh conditions on the oilfield, such as strong winds and dust storms. [CleanTechnica]

Miraah solar plant

¶ Zhangbei County, 150 miles northwest of Beijing, has 128 low income villages where residents have an abundance of sunshine but struggle to get by. Now each of those villages is in line to benefit from a 300-kW solar power plant, for a total installed capacity of 38.4 MW. The project will use 140,000 solar panels supplied by Yingli. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Waves4Power, based in Sweden, hopes to establish a wave energy park in UK waters, off the Cornish Isles of Scilly, to help generate 40% of the islands’ power from renewable sources by 2025. The buoy was developed to supply fish farms, offshore power platforms and remote island communities with renewable electricity. [Business Cornwall Magazine]

Inauguration of the WaveEL buoy

¶ London Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced that the city’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone will begin in central London from the 8th of April, 2019, and will reduce lethal air pollution and reduce harmful emissions from up to 60,000 vehicles daily. He said, “London’s lethal air is one of the biggest health challenges of this generation.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ The solar and wind power generated in Germany in October has reached a record high. According to research released by IWR on behalf of Entsoe-e, 14.6 billion kWh of energy was generated last month. This is almost double the production of last October, and significantly beats the previous record of 12.5 billion kWh set last March. [Energy Digital]

Solar array (Getty Images)

¶ Some of the world’s largest and most notable energy companies, traders and financial institutions have united to create a blockchain-based digital platform that replaces the current manual tasks in the energy sector with digital contracts. The blockchain digital platform is expected to be launched by the end of 2018. [pv magazine International]

¶ Strong winds and storms in October helped Scottish turbines produce more than 1.7 million MWh of electricity for the National Grid. Wind power provided more than 100% of electricity demand for Scotland on 15 days during October and supplied enough electricity to power all of Scotland’s homes on 28 days. [Aberdeen Evening Express]

Wind turbines

US:

¶ A $48.8 million loan from the US Department of Agriculture will help the Umatilla Electric Cooperative build 25 miles of new power lines, while improving 41 miles of lines and investing in smart grid projects. The upcoming projects include a new power line that will boost reliability for customers, a UEC spokesman said. [East Oregonian]

¶ After NRG Energy pulled plans for the construction of a 262-MW gas plant in Oxnard, California, state regulators allowed the company to place the development process on hold for six months, the Ventura County Star reported. NRG said it needed six months to analyze the feasibility of an alternative renewable energy project. [Power Engineering Magazine]

Oxnard Puente Power Project

¶ Regulators have approved a plan allowing Tampa Electric to expand its solar power generation to provide nearly 7% of the utility’s capacity while also granting a rate freeze for electricity customers for the next four years. The electricity generated by the utility’s anticipated solar capacity could power 100,000 homes, a press release said. [Patch.com]

¶ American Electric Power announced it is increasing capital investment in its regulated operations and new, renewable generation over the next three years to provide more advanced, cleaner energy solutions for its customers. The company plans to invest $1.8 billion in new renewable generation during 2018 to 2020. [Digital Journal]

Wind Catcher project in Oklahoma

¶ The future looks promising for the local and regional offshore wind business. Three recent reports project up to 36,000 new jobs and 8,000 MW of offshore wind power between New Jersey and Maine by 2030. The reports were released by the Clean Energy States Alliance, a coalition of state energy agencies and other organizations. [ecoRI news]

¶ Georgia Power and partner companies overseeing the construction of nuclear plant, Vogtle, presented a united appeal to PSC commissioners, as hearings began on the fate of the nuclear power plant. The CEO’sof the companies argued the project would present “the best economic choice” and “long-term benefits to customers.” [MyAJC]

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

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November 6 Energy News

November 6, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Bonn talks test global resolve to fix climate, without Donald Trump” • Governments will try to bolster a 2015 pact to combat climate change at annual talks in Germany, strained by President Donald Trump’s plan to pull out and instead promote the US coal and oil industries. Almost 200 nations will meet in Bonn starting November 6. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Renewable energy

¶ “Here’s How Far the World Is From Meeting Its Climate Goals” Two years after nearly all countries signed the climate agreement in Paris, the world remains far off course from preventing drastic global warming. The latest round of post-Paris international climate talks begin in Bonn, Germany, to discuss how to step up efforts. [New York Times]

¶ “How telling the right stories can make people act on climate change” • The latest UN Climate Change Conference will be presided over by the government of Fiji, a country that is no stranger to global warming’s devastation. Fiji’s narrative tells a familiar tale of vulnerable villages in fear of rising tides from climate change. [The Conversation UK]

Fiji Islands (Photo: catlin.wolfard, Wikimedia Commons)

Science and Technology:

¶ Lazard has released its annual Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis (LCOE 11.0), with analysis of power costs. It shows a continued decline in the cost of generating electricity from alternative energy technologies, especially utility-scale solar and wind, but energy storage is not yet cost competitive in most applications. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

World:

¶ EDF Energies Nouvelles has brought online five wind farms totaling 164 MW in India, as well as three solar plants with a combined capacity of 87 MW. The wind farms, which are in the state of Gujarat, have a total of 82 turbines. Two of the solar projects are in Uttarakhand in northern India and each has an installed capacity of 36 MW. [reNews]

Wind turbines (EDF image)

¶ Frustrated by disinterested state and federal governments, some Australian communities have taken renewable energy into their own hands. In Goulburn, New South Wales, residents and businesses have come together to build a community-funded 1.2-MW solar farm, with the capacity to power 350 to 500 households. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

¶ Cape Verde, a small island archipelago nation off Africa’s northwest coast, set itself a bold renewable energy target. As part of its “sustainable energy for all” agenda, it pledged to get 100% of its electricity from renewable resources by 2025. A quarter is now provided renewably, and the rest mostly by petroleum products. [AllAfrica.com]

Port in Mindelo, Cape Verde (Photo: Harry and Rowena Kennedy)

¶ HSBC bank has pledged to provide $100 billion in sustainable financing and investment by 2025, as one of five commitments to help combat climate change. HSBC will also reduce its exposure to coal, by discontinuing the financing of new coal-fired power plants in developed markets and of thermal coal mines worldwide. [reNews]

¶ Following investments of £30 million, renewable energy firm Green Hedge, based in Bath, is poised to expand the production of its battery-energy storage units, with hopes to develop, build and operate them across the UK. The director of non-profit Regen SW expects up to 10 GW of energy storage projects in the UK by 2030. [TechSPARK]

Green Hedge energy barn

¶ Nuclear-powered electricity generation in Taiwan has already shown signs of a sharp reduction, down from 400 TWh in 2015 to 300 TWh in 2016, and anticipated further reductions to zero by 2025. But debate over the possible future of nuclear power in Taiwan continues, with calls for the restart of nuclear reactors. [Center for Research on Globalization]

¶ Indonesia‘s PT PLN is will sign power purchase agreements for 640.45 MW of renewable energy projects by the middle of this month, its strategic procurement director announced. The largest part of the capacity will be for a 515-MW hydropower plant in Central Sulawesi, to be constructed at a cost of $831 million (€715.5 million). [Renewables Now]

Geothermal plant in Indonesia

US:

¶ As Rick Perry makes one laughable statement after another, the Department of Energy goes about its renewable energy mission, full steam ahead. A new article appeared on the DOE’s website on November 3 under the title, “Concentrating Solar Power Could Provide the Flexibility and Reliability the US Electric Grid Needs.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ Despite the lack of renewable-energy-friendly policies and the reluctance from Republican-led state legislatures to address climate change, states across the South and Appalachia are rapidly expanding their solar markets. Utilities are investing in solar projects, which are now cost-competitive with coal and gas. [InsideClimate News]

Nashville’s Music City Center (Credit: Roofmeadow)

¶ City of Farmington, Missouri, and a set of companies held a groundbreaking ceremony at the future site of the new Farmington Solar Farm. The solar farm will consist of over 9,000 solar panels, covering around 20 acres of land. The solar panels will generate enough electricity to power nearly 500 homes in the Farmington power grid. [STL.News]

¶ The New England grid will integrate more renewable resources and increase its reliance on natural gas-fired generation over the next decade, according to ISO-NE’s 2017 Regional System Plan. It highlights increasing wind and solar penetration, flat load growth, and fuel security concerns because of natural gas pipeline constraints. [RTO Insider]

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November 5 Energy News

November 5, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “The COP23 climate change summit in Bonn and why it matters” • Aiming to “prevent dangerous human caused interference with the climate system,” nations are meeting for the 23rd annual “conference of the parties” (COP23) under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. It is taking place in Bonn starting November 6. [The Guardian]

Homes in West Bengal (Photo: Sushavan Nandy | Barcroft Images)

Science and Technology:

¶ The Trump Administration released a sweeping federal climate report concluding that the Earth is warming at an alarming rate due to human activity. The congressionally mandated report said the Earth is undergoing its warmest period “in the history of modern civilization,” fueled primarily by rising levels of carbon dioxide. [Bloomberg]

World:

¶ Roughly a quarter of the world’s oil refineries face closure by 2035 if governments around the world actually manage to meet their current greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, according to a report from the think tank Carbon Tracker, the investment fund AP7, and PKA, a pension fund is based in Denmark. [CleanTechnica]

Oil refinery (Image: James Daisa | Flickr, some rights reserved)

¶ Over 100 Vietnamese provincial government officials, investors and other stakeholders have gathered in Ho Chi Minh City to discuss policies for the development of solar energy. The central government has a target of increasing the installed capacity of solar power from around 7 MW at the end of 2017 to 850 MW by 2020. [en.vietnamplus.vn]

¶ The chief minister of the Indian state of Maharashtra launched a pilot project under which farmlands could get up to 12 hours of uninterrupted power tapping solar energy, officials said. The pilot project will come up at a famed model village created under the state’s “Mukhyamantri Agricultural Solar Feeder Scheme.” [ETEnergyworld.com]

Solar panels at sunset

¶ SaskPower’s president said it is “highly unlikely” his company will recommend the government pursue carbon capture and storage projects in the foreseeable future because of the costs. The economics of power generation have changed since the company decided in 2010 to retrofit a coal-fired generating unit to capture and store carbon emissions. [CBC.ca]

¶ To the anger of environmentalists, a Trump adviser is expected to take part in a presentation in at COP23, the UN’s climate conference in Bonn, promoting coal as a solution to climate change. Separately, a group of governors will say that the US is still committed to climate action despite Mr Trump’s rejection of the Paris agreement. [BBC News]

Clean as it can be (Getty Images)

¶ South Africa’s Energy Minister is forcing his plans for nuclear power into action, and officials at his department are working weekends to finalize the country’s reviewed integrated energy resource plan four months ahead of schedule. Last week, the Finance Minister said nuclear energy was neither affordable nor immediately necessary. [News24]

¶ Historically, Flinders Island, off Tasmania’s north-east coast, has been powered by diesel fuel. In December, Hydro Tasmania will enable the island to be powered by 60% renewable energy on average by putting its Hybrid Energy Hub into service. Solar, wind, and battery storage will reduce the island’s reliance on expensive diesel power. [ABC Online]

Hybrid Energy Hub (Photo: Rhiannon Shine | ABC News)

US:

¶ The White House has sought to downplay a major climate change report, which was compiled by 13 US federal agencies. The study is at odds with assertions from President Donald Trump and several members of his administration. It says it is “extremely likely” human activity is the “dominant cause” of global warming. [BBC News]

¶ President Trump is accused of deliberately obstructing research on global warming, blocking a critically important technique for investigating sea-ice cover at the poles. The row has erupted after a key polar satellite broke down a few days ago, leaving the US with only three ageing ones, and the only backup was ordered dismantled. [The Guardian]

Melting sea ice (Photo: David Goldman | AP)

¶ Storage specialist Sonnen launched its Puerto Rico Energy Security Initiative with the specific aim to restore power to a number of communities around the island nation with microgrid technology. Sonnen donated 15 microgrid systems, partnered with Pura Energia, and hit the road en route to Puerto Rico to get them up and running. [CleanTechnica]

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

¶ There’s been more than $3.3 billion in insured losses caused by the wildfires in California so far this year, with the figure expected to rise, the California Department of Insurance has revealed. California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said he is concerned that the fires represent a new normal, as climate change raises temperatures. [PlanetSave.com]

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November 4 Energy News

November 4, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Long-Awaited US Tax Reform Signals Continued Undermining Of Renewables” • US Republicans finally published their proposed tax plan to much ballyhoo and recriminations, not only among Democrats but also in the country’s renewable energy industry, which will likely lose thousands of jobs and billions in investments if it passes. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “The clean energy revolution tipping point is inevitable – but the sooner, the better” • As global leaders gather for the UN’s annual COP meetings on mitigating the impacts of climate change, an energy revolution is underway with enormous implications, not least for the world’s poor, and market forces are accelerating those adoption rates. [Quartz]

¶ “Trump’s Coal Threat to Renewable Energy” • The Trump administration is plotting a series of moves in 2018 that could end up harming the wind and solar industries. The planned actions include asking regulators to rewrite power market rules, revamping the tax code, and imposing tariffs on foreign-made solar panels. [Bloomberg]

Solar panels (Photo: JG Photography | Alamy)

Science and Technology:

¶ Enevate, located in Irvine, California, claims its latest silicon-dominant lithium-ion battery technology makes 5 minute charging possible. In a press release, the company says an electric car equipped with one of its batteries can add 240 miles of range in just 5 minutes or 50 miles of range in a minute. And it has a number of other advantages. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Renewable energy may offer emissions-free electricity, but it isn’t always easy for electrical grids to integrate that energy. Dutch company Alfen is launching their answer to the dilemma. The Cellular Smart Grid Platform allows a central grid to be divided into smaller cells that can operate independently, if necessary, and even self-heal. [Inhabitat]

Alfen Energy Storage

World:

¶ Kinder Morgan plans to build the Trans Mountain pipeline to carry crude oil from the Alberta tar sands to an ocean terminal in Vancouver. But the route crosses more than 300 miles of land claimed by the Secwepemc Nation in British Columbia, and they plan to put a solar powered tiny house community in the way of the pipeline. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Indian EPC contractor Sterling and Wilson said it plans to build 500 MW of solar power stations in Australia in the coming three years. The company said in a statement it expects these projects to attract an investment of about A$600 million ($459 million, €395 million) and create over 750 jobs during the construction process. [Renewables Now]

Sterling and Wilson solar park (Photo: Business Wire)

¶ Enel Generación Chile was awarded the supply of 1.18 TWh per year to a number of Chilean distribution companies through the tender launched by the country’s National Energy Commission, and aimed at meeting the energy demand of regulated market customers over the 2024-2043 period. The award was 54% of a 2.2-TWh-per-year tender. [pv magazine International]

US:

¶ Duke Energy is investing $3 billion in South Carolina over the next 10 years or so to strengthen the energy grid and provide a major boost to the state’s economy. The Power/Forward Carolinas initiative will result in an average of 3,300 jobs and more than $100 million in new tax revenue to benefit communities. [Windpower Engineering]

South Carolina grid

¶ City Utilities, in Springfield, Missouri, can now store electricity from renewable wind, solar, and hydroelectric source, thanks to a $1 million battery bank on the city’s south side. CU split the cost of the Battery Energy Storage System at Cox Substation with NorthStar Battery, which has a large manufacturing plant in Springfield. [OzarksFirst.com]

¶ A group of officials including the mayor of Duluth and the chancellor of the University of Minnesota-Duluth celebrated the start of a new “Solar Garden” pilot program in Wrenshall. The 1-MW solar array in Wrenshall and another in Duluth help provide power to the City of Duluth, UMD, and Minnesota Power customers who sign up. [KDAL]

Wrenshall solar array (Minnesota Power)

¶ Starwood Energy Group Global, LLC, announced that it finalized agreements to finance and construct the 100-MW Northwest Ohio Wind Project in Paulding County. The project will use GE 2.5-116 wind turbines. It contracted to sell 100% of its output to General Motors pursuant to a long-term power purchase agreement. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ In Oregon, a spokesman for the Portland General Electric Company said the utility is testing several different models to best use energy storage. That includes installing storage alongside existing solar and biomass facilities, installing batteries at a substation, and starting a pilot project to install batteries at people’s homes. [KLCC FM Public Radio]

Solar array in an Oregon vineyard (eyeliam, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The North Dakota Public Service Commission gave its okay to Otter Tail Power for a North Dakota wind farm and a South Dakota Natural Gas power plant. The two will replace an aging coal plant in Fergus Falls. The natural gas plant will be built near Astoria, South Dakota, and the wind farm will be built near Ashley. [Prairie Public Broadcasting]

¶ Westinghouse plans to be the first company to install a 3D printed fuel component in a commercial nuclear reactor. The company plans to explore how to reduce costs and lead times for obsolete and difficult-to-source parts, along with fuel structural components and prototypes for next-generation plants, such as microchannel heat exchangers. [3DPrint.com]

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November 3 Energy News

November 3, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “We already know which grid fixes can keep lights on during bad storms. Here are 3.” • There are solutions available on the market today that can reduce the impact of weather related grid outages. Here are three cost-effective grid improvements that could keep the lights on for more people during future storms. [Environmental Defense Fund]

Building a solar microgrid (US Army Corps of Engineers image)

¶ “Puerto Rico Suffers While Defending Against ‘Disaster Capitalism'” • Over a month after Hurricane Maria hit, most of Puerto Rico remains dark. Its 3.5 million US citizens struggle to obtain the basic essentials of life, and many are leaving the island for the mainland. There are people coming to the island, though: disaster capitalists. [Common Dreams]

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

¶ “Renewables Are Starting to Crush Aging US Nukes, Coal Plants” • In parts of the US, it has become a less expensive proposition to build new solar and wind farms and use their power than to keep the existing, and aging, fleet of coal and nuclear generators producing electricity, according to financial adviser Lazard Ltd. [Bloomberg]

Wind farm construction (Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg)

Science and Technology:

¶ The yearly average levels of atmospheric CO2 rose up to 403.3 parts per million in 2016, but methane levels rose fairly rapidly also, according to a report from the World Meteorological Organization. With scientific reserve, the scientists involved said that they do not know why atmospheric methane levels are rising rapidly. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Climate deniers’ new dodge: ‘All energy matters’ + ‘Very fine scientists on both sides'” • Trump’s nominee to lead NASA, asked about climate change, admitted that it is already destructive and caused by greenhouse gases. But he said scientists disagree about the ultimate cause. A leaked report from federal agencies says humans cause 93% to 123% of it. [Red, Green, and Blue]

.

World:

¶ A quarter of all global refining capacity could be stranded and forced to close by 2035 if demand continues to fall and climate regulations and rapid clean technology advances continue to impose themselves, according to a new report, Margin Call: Refining Capacity in a 2° C World, published this week by Carbon Tracker. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Windpower provided a record 24.6% of the EU’s electricity demand on October 28, according to WindEurope. The new high broke the previous record of 19.9% set on October 7. Onshore wind accounted for 21.8% of EU power demand and offshore wind for 2.8%. Danish windpower provided 109% of the national needs. [Renewables Now]

Wind farm in Hamburg (Photo: ID-een, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ An explosion at a newly commissioned unit of a coal-fired power plant in northern India killed 29 people and injured 85. Flue gases and steam were released by the blast at NTPC Ltd’s Unchahar power plant, the company said. NTPC shut the unit, which began operations in September, but the rest of the facility is still operating. [Energy Voice]

¶ Australia’s largest cities could begin experiencing extreme heatwaves with 50° C (122° F) temperatures within the relatively near term, possibly 20 years, even if international climate change and greenhouse gas emissions reductions goals are met, according to a recent study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. [PlanetSave.com]

Please click on the image to enlarge it.

¶ Nigeria must use its oil wealth to prepare for a future when the world no longer runs on fossil fuels, the country’s vice president said. He said the nation, an OPEC member, needed to develop renewable energy and help other businesses flourish as the significance of oil dwindles. “It is no longer a question of if but when,” he said. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ Microsoft confirmed it will use wind energy to power its international data center in Holland. It has signed a deal to source 100% of the output produced from Vattenfall’s new onshore wind farm, being developed at Wieringermeer polder, from 2019. The data center provides local cloud services and extra global capacity. [Innovators Magazine]

Wind turbine

US:

¶ Louisville, Kentucky, has problems with air pollution, and some areas of the city are worse than others. Residents in the poorer neighborhoods of Louisville, those closest to Louisville’s industrial areas, have life expectancy that is 11 years shorter than those in more upscale neighborhoods where trees, parks, and green spaces are common. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The states of Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island released reports setting out contexts for development of offshore windpower in the Northeast and revealing potential economic benefits. The Northeast could see offshore wind deployment of between 4,000 and 8,000 MW by 2030, creating up to 36,000 jobs. [Offshore Wind Journal]

Offshore wind farm

¶ US Energy Secretary Rick Perry suggested that the expansion of fossil fuel use in Africa would help protect people there from sexual assault. The comment was followed by a swift rebuke from environmental activists. The Sierra Club, which campaigns for increased use of wind and solar power, called for Perry to resign. [The Japan Times]

¶ The nascent market for electric cars will suffer a big setback if the Republican tax plan enters into law. Among the changes to the current tax code would be an end to the Plug-In Electric Drive Vehicle Credit, the tax incentive that you can get from the IRS when you purchase a new battery or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. [Ars Technica]

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November 2 Energy News

November 2, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ The burning of biomass in the Amazon releases particulate matter air pollution that causes oxidative stress as well as severe DNA damage in human lung cells – primarily through the actions of the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon known as retene – according to a new study published in the journal Scientific Reports. [CleanTechnica]

Deforestation in the Amazon (NASA image)

¶ Even when they are powered exclusively by the “dirtiest” grid-provided electricity in the world, plug-in electric vehicles are responsible for a smaller greenhouse gas footprint than that of diesel cars, according to a new lifecycle analysis from Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the nonprofit research organization Transport & Environment. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ As of November 1st, the sale of high-sulfur content diesel fuel – that is, diesel fuel with more than 10 ppm of sulfur – will be banned nationwide in China, the government in the capital of Beijing has revealed. High-sulfur diesel fuel is typically used in China as a relatively low-cost option for those running tractors or ships. [CleanTechnica]

Haikou Xiuying Port

¶ Egyptian outfit Orascom Construction partnered with French company Engie and Japan’s Eurus Energy Holdings to develop a 250-MW wind farm in Egypt. The $400 million project at Ras Ghareb, in the northern Red Sea Governorate, has a 20-year power purchase agreement with the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company. [reNews]

¶ China is working on a “trackless electric train.” Developed by China’s CRRC Corporation, responsible for the country’s high-speed trains and hailed as one of the world’s largest train manufacturers, the trackless electric train concept was first unveiled by the company in June. It is now being tested in Zhuzhou, Hunan Province. [CleanTechnica]

Trackless electric train

¶ Italy saw the addition of 323 MW of new PV systems in the first nine months of 2017, based on data provided by the country’s grid operator Terna. This represents a 13% growth over the same period in 2016 and a 31% increase from the first nine months of 2015. In the third quarter of this year, new additions totaled 89.9 MW. [pv magazine International]

¶ TPREL, a subsidiary of Tata Power, commissioned a 30-MW solar plant in the Indian state of Maharashtra. It will produce over 62 million kWh annually, covering the annual energy needs of over 14,000 households. Tata Power has seen major growth in its solar engineering, procurement, and construction business. [pv magazine International]

Indian solar system (Tata Power image)

¶ Pu Neng has been awarded a contract for a 3-MW/12-MWh flow battery as phase 1 of the Hubei Zaoyang 10-MW/40-MWh Storage Integration Demonstration Project. There are plans for a larger 100-MW/500-MWh energy storage project that will be the cornerstone of a new smart energy grid in Hubei Province. [GlobeNewswire]

¶ A report says at least $1 trillion are being invested globally in ways to reduce the threat of climate change, including renewable power, energy efficiency, and public transportation. Investments like these may make it possible for the world’s governments to meet their commitments under the Paris agreement on climate change. [The Guardian]

Renewable energy (Pablo Blazquez Dominguez | Getty Images)

¶ Ten years after PetroChina peaked on its first day of trading in Shanghai, the state-owned energy producer has lost about $800 billion of market value, a sum large enough to circle the Earth 31 times with $100 bills. In current dollar terms, it’s the world’s biggest-ever wipeout of shareholder wealth. And it may only get worse. [Montreal Gazette]

US:

¶ Duke Energy is seeking state permission to build a 2-MW solar farm and a power-storage system at the Indiana National Guard’s Camp Atterbury training base. If it is approved, the company says the solar farm and battery storage equipment would become the first microgrid at any National Guard facility in the state. [WISH-TV]

Camp Atterbury (WISH Photo)

¶ Sen Lisa Murkowski was unequivocal when asked recently about rising global temperatures. “Climate change is real,” the Alaska Republican told an audience in Anchorage. Yet her stance on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is  that it must happen, for the economic prosperity of her state and the security of the country. [Seattle Times]

¶ Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives has dedicated Cooperative Solar Farm One, a 60-acre solar energy facility located in Clark County. Cooperative Solar Farm One has 32,300 solar panels, for a total capacity of 8.5 MW. The output will be enough to provide all the annual power needs for about 1,000 typical homes. [The Lane Report]

Cooperative Solar Farm One

¶ President Trump has declared an end to the “war on coal.” But coal country is grappling with powerful market force. More evidence of coal’s challenges came as Armstrong Energy, a western Kentucky coal company, filed for bankruptcy protection. Armstrong recently warned it would lay off workers at two of its facilities. [KVIA El Paso]

¶ Southern Co is seeking to raise cash as it expects about $1.4 billion in added costs to complete nuclear power units at Vogtle, which are soaring to over $25 billion. The company is also bailing out its Mississippi Power unit after regulators said they would not allow it to recover costs for a failed coal-gasification power project. [The Sun Herald]

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November 1 Energy News

November 1, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ Scottish Association for Marine Science researchers predict that cod, herring and haddock could migrate out of the local ecosystem by 2100, most likely to colder waters further north, because of global warming. Waters off Scotland’s west coast are already nearing the highest temperatures cod and herring can tolerate. [Aberdeen Evening Express]

Fishing boat

¶ A record loss of global tree cover in 2016 – totaling around 297,000 square kilometers (114,672 square miles) – was driven partly by increasingly common wildfires worsened by rising temperatures and drought, according to the Global Forest Watch, based on data from the University of Maryland. The area was a rise of 51% on 2015. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ During the weekend starting October 28, so much energy was created by German windstorms, that it was being given away for free. Output equivalent to that of 40 nuclear power plants was generated during the storms, causing the wholesale prices to fall below zero. Output from windpower rose to as much as 39,409 MW. [Energy Digital]

Wind turbines in a storm (Getty Images)

¶ A report on the viability of a new coal-fired power station in north Queensland has found it would only return big profits if power prices remain high. Queensland’s premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, told Sky News the report said the plant was not viable. It had been commissioned by the Department of Energy and completed in February. [Sky News Australia]

¶ There is still a large gap between the pledges by governments to cut greenhouse gas emissions and the reductions scientists say are needed to avoid dangerous levels of climate change, the UN has said. Current pledges from across the world, would lead to temperature rises of as much as 3° C or more by the end of this century. [The Guardian]

Emissions in Paris (Philippe Wojazer | Reuters)

¶ Radioactive material from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster is accumulating in sands and brackish groundwater beneath beaches up to 60 miles away from the nuclear power plant itself, a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says. The material is radioactive cesium. [CleanTechnica]

¶ If South Africa’s National Energy Regulator grants Eskom the 19.9% tariff hike it has applied for, it will simply enhance the utility death spiral it faces where users move to renewable energy alternatives. This was the message from the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry at Nersa’s public hearings on the Eskom tariff hike application. [Fin24]

Khi Solar One, South Africa (Hp.Baumeler, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ There are now more than 50,990 public and private plug-in electric vehicle charging sites located throughout the US – up from 34,151 in 2015 – according to the newly released Electric Vehicle Charging Association’s 2017 State of the Charge report. In 2011, there were 5,070 charging sites in the US; there are currently 15,930 in California. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A deal calling for further cooperation in the offshore wind energy sector has been signed by the US and Denmark, recent reports say. The new agreement means that top Europe-based wind energy firms, such as DONG Energy and Vestas, should have an easier time developing projects and relationships within the US market. [CleanTechnica]

MHI Vestas offshore wind turbines

¶ Norway’s Statoil aims to sign a power purchase agreement with a US utility to develop an offshore wind power project off New York, a senior company official said. Statoil won a lease sale of 79,350 acres offshore New York, which could be used to develop a windpower site with up to 1 GW of capacity, by bidding $42.5 million. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ While nearly 70% of Puerto Rico remains without power six weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated the island, eleven United Nations human rights experts have issued a joint statement decrying the “absence of adequate emergency response” by the US. The storm has put a spotlight on Puerto Rico’s colonial history with the US. [eNews Park Forest]

UN experts inspecting (Photo: Puerto Rico National Guard | Flickr)

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

¶ Efforts to restore electricity to Puerto Rico nearly six weeks after Hurricane Maria are shifting as Whitefish Energy, a tiny Montana contractor, was removed. The Army Corps of Engineers, which is leading the federal power restoration effort, said it planned to boost the size of a contract awarded to Fluor Corp by $600 million, to $840 million. [Nasdaq]

¶ Renewable energy has St Cloud, Minnesota, producing more power than it consumes, to the tune of some 40 million kWh. The city uses about 30 million kWh of energy across city buildings while producing 70 kWh from various renewable energy products. St Cloud’s Public Services Director says more solar energy projects are coming. [WJON News]

St Cloud hydro dam (Photo: Rebecca David | WJON.com)

¶ Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed a bill that could change the way the state’s only nuclear plant sells its energy. Dominion, which owns the Waterford-based plant, could compete against power from renewable sources, but only if state regulators say it is in the interest of ratepayers and the state’s long-term carbon goals. [WNPR News]

¶ Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy announced that it will supply 310 wind turbines of different types for five projects in the US. Together, these five onshore wind projects will have the potential to provide clean power to nearly 240,000 US homes. So far, the company has installed 17 GW of wind capacity in the US. [Gulf Digital News]

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