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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