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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