December 3 Energy News

December 3, 2017


¶ “Use solar panels and batteries to put the power back in your hands” • Australia’s power bills have increasingly become a threat to household budgets. From 2008 to 2016, power prices in Victoria and New South Wales more than doubled. Now, many Australians are looking to solar power to reduce, or even to end, electric grid reliance. [Brisbane Times]

Australian Peter Youll with a Tesla battery that paid for
itself before the warranty ran out (Photo: Louie Douvis)

Science and Technology:

¶ Because no two automated driving technologies are exactly alike, the Society for Automotive Engineers International issued standard J3016 in 2014. It outlined 6 levels of automation for automakers, suppliers, and policymakers to use to classify a system’s sophistication. Here is an explanation of what the levels of mean. [CleanTechnica]


¶ China has launched the first all-electric cargo ship. According to China Daily, the 230 foot long vessel is equipped with a 2,400 kWh lithium-ion battery that stores enough electrical energy to transport 2200 tons of cargo a distance of 50 miles on a single charge at a top speed of about 8 miles per hour. It will be used to transport coal on the Pearl River. [CleanTechnica]

Electric cargo ship (China News)

¶ Saudi-based Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector and Shobak Wind Energy signed agreements for $26 million of financing to partly fund the construction of a 45-MW wind farm in Jordan, 160 km south of capital Amman. The project will deploy 13 wind turbines supplied by Vestas Wind Systems. [Ammon News]

¶ Taiwan’s central government is building a power grid on an island in the Penghu Archipelago to generate wind and solar energy. It will serve as a model for other island communities. The government hopes to have as much as 45% of Qimei Township’s electricity generated from renewable energy sources by 2019. [Focus Taiwan News Channel]

Wind turbines on Taiwan (Photo: courtesy of Taiwan Power Co)

¶ Last year, Vietnam abandoned plans to build the country’s first nuclear power plants with Japanese and Russian assistance. This was not due to cost, but rather because of heightened concern over nuclear energy in the wake of events such as the Fukushima nuclear disaster, former President Truong Tan Sang said in an interview. [The Mainichi]

¶ The television service of Yemen’s Houthis has claimed the group fired a cruise missile towards a nuclear power plant under construction in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates, though it provided no evidence. The UAE’s state-run news agency WAM denied the claim and said the country had air-defense systems that could protect it. [Daily Sabah]

Weapons bound for Yemen, intercepted by the US Navy
(Photo: Darby C. Dillon | US Navy, Wikimedia Commons)


¶ According to a report from the US Army Corps of Engineers, climate change will set off economic and environmental crises like nothing ever seen before across the 13-state region of the Ohio River. It will cause more frequent flooding, drought, and power failures in Kentucky, Indiana, and the rest of the Ohio River basin. [The Messenger]

¶ The tax bill passed by Republican senators elevates American fossil fuel production at the expense of renewable energy. The measures they approved included proposals to open the Arctic to oil and gas development, weaken investment incentives for solar and wind production, and end a big tax credit for new electric vehicles. [Los Angeles Times]

Solar installer (Keith Schneider | Los Angeles Times)

¶ All over the state, New Yorkers are experiencing the impacts of global climate change. Researchers at Cornell University project that summers in New York will increasingly see scorching high temperatures. State officials say the evidence supporting the idea that human activities cause global warming is overwhelming. [Plattsburgh Press Republican]

¶ Eversource customers are footing the bill for the company to pay $100 million over-market rate to buy energy from a biomass plant in Berlin, New Hampshire by 2020. But a spokeswoman for the plant’s manager said the 4-year-old Burgess BioPower plant provides more economic benefits than the cost of over-market rates. [The Union Leader]

Burgess BioPower plant in Berlin (Courtesy photo)

¶ A solar power initiative in America is putting communities at the heart of the renewable energy transition. GRID Alternatives is a non-profit that trains people on low incomes to install the solar technology themselves, for the communities they live in. The platform has just received a $500,000 grant from the Bank of America. [Innovators Magazine]

¶ Morningstar analysts broke with the pessimistic consensus on nuclear power this fall when they predicted the industry would not just hold its own against renewables and cheap natural gas, it might even grow up to 5%. They have changed their prediction, saying they had assumed the two new units at the VC Summer plant would be built. [Forbes]

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