December 9 Energy News

December 9, 2017


¶ “A Spectacle At The Coliseum – US To Hold Public Climate Change Debate As Soon As January, EPA Head Says” • Scott Pruitt announced that the EPA may launch a “public climate debate.” So, spectacle and entertainment worthy of ancient Rome will be used to distract the people from actual discussion of the issues threatening our civilization. [CleanTechnica]

Coliseum, a theater of distraction

¶ “Solar and Wind Power Face Serious Threats From the Trump Administration” • Less than a year into President Trump’s time in office, clean energy developers face a slew of unanticipated threats from the White House and Republicans in Congress that could slow the industry’s growth in ways unimaginable just a year ago. [TIME]

¶ “No stabilization without flexibilization” • Power networks need more and different sources of flexibility to maintain a safe and stable system of operations. This is the main point of the report “Flexibility in the Power System – The need, opportunity and value of flexibility” released by Dutch consultancy DVN GL. [pv magazine International]

Transmission lines (Photo: Flickr | Gavin Fordham)

Science and Technology:

¶ The melting of the Arctic region will very possibly result in a further drying out of California, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Communications. Warming of the Arctic will produce high-pressure atmospheric ridges in the Northern Pacific off of the coast of California, steering storms towards Canada and Alaska. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Eighteen-year-old Ethan Novek has invented a CO2 capture technology that could capture CO2 at about $10 per metric ton – around 85% less than the industry standard. It works by reacting the exhaust gases at a fossil fuel plant with ammonia. Water and CO2 react with the ammonia to form a salt, which can the be used industrially. [Inhabitat]

Emitting CO2 and other pollutants


¶ Eurelectric represents the interests of 3,500 electric companies all across the European continent on major issues. Its members create more than €200 billion in revenue each year. Its members agreed unanimously to commit to an ambitious program of making all electricity generated in Europe carbon neutral by 2050. It will save them money. [CleanTechnica]

¶ AGL has confirmed it will close its Liddell coal-fired power plant, replacing it with a mix of renewable sources. The decision serves as an embarrassment to Australia’s Coalition Government, which had publicly and privately pressured AGL’s CEO, Andy Vesey, either to sell the plant or keep it open for another five years. [The Guardian]

Liddell coal-fired plant (Photo: Jonny Weeks | Guardian)


¶ A new chairman was sworn in on December 7 at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. With Kevin McIntyre’s swearing-in, the FERC panel has five members and can vote on issues. He will lead the agency as it considers a directive from the Trump administration to subsidize ailing coal and nuclear power plants. [E&P]

¶ Nevada is now the nation’s number one producer of both solar and geothermal power per capita. Speaking at the ninth annual National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, a Republican, said “$734 million in incentives has attracted a return of $7 billion in capital investments, payroll, and taxes paid.” [HuffPost]

Las Vegas rooftop (Photo: Ballonboy101, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Massachusetts has awarded $20 million in grants to 26 projects designed to grow the state’s energy storage market. Governor Charlie Baker’s administration doubled the available funding from the initial $10 million commitment. The awarded projects will benefit 25 communities and draw in $32 million in matching funds. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ CleanTechnica reported that Anheuser-Busch had placed the largest pre-order yet for Tesla’s new Semi Trucks, with 40 units being reserved. Then, on the following day, Sysco Corporation, one of the world’s largest food service distribution firms, announced that it has reserved 50 units of the upcoming Tesla Semi Truck. [CleanTechnica]

Tesla Semi event

¶ As far back as a dozen years ago, when gas supplied less than 40% of Florida’s electricity, then-Governor Jeb Bush said utilities needed to stop depending so heavily on it. The state, which has abundant sunshine, must import gas from elsewhere. Florida’s power providers and state regulators, however, are doubling down on the strategy of buying gas. [Florida Today]

¶ Open water in the Arctic causes rapidly elevating temperatures in Arctic areas because water is absorbs heat faster than ice. The effect is particularly strong between October and December, a time that used to have sea ice, but now often does not. Octobers in Utqiaġvik are now nearly 8° warmer than Octobers in the 1980s and ’90s. [Grist]

Barrow, Alaska (David L Ryan | The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

¶ The Boston University Board of Trustees voted to pass the BU Bold Climate Action Plan. It commits the university to 100% renewable electricity by 2018 and net zero carbon emissions by 2040. It would quickly scale up increasing energy efficiency, transitioning to renewable energy, and improving the resilience of the campus. [Environment America]

¶ New Jersey lawmakers are exploring legislation after the state’s biggest utility warned that its nuclear reactors are at risk of being shut down in the next two years without a “safety net” because they’ll be unable to cover their costs. Nuclear power accounts for almost half of the electricity generated in New Jersey. [BloombergQuint]

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