December 14 Energy News

December 14, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ Arctic temperatures are continuing to rise while sea ice declines, a NOAA-sponsored report has found, with the region showing no sign of returning to its “reliably frozen” state. The report shows that a warming trend continued in the Arctic in 2017, resulting in higher surface and water temperatures and melting sea ice. [CNN]

Helheim Glacier, eastern Greenland

¶ Climate change is partly to blame for the record rainfall that fell over Texas and Louisiana after Hurricane Harvey’s landfall, according to new scientific analysis. Air can hold about 7% more moisture per degree Celsius of warming, so there is more water vapor to be squeezed out of the air as rainfall in a world warmed by climate change. [CNN]

World:

¶ The UK and Canada announced that membership to their Powering Past Coal Alliance, which was only launched last month at COP2, has blown past 50 countries, regions, and businesses. Members include the State of California, Sweden, New Zealand, Italy, and France, as well as high-profile corporations such as Unilever, Virgin Group, and EDF. [CleanTechnica]

Coal train

¶ This week, on the sidelines of the One Planet Summit being held in France and hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron, three of the world’s leading financial institutions announced their own fossil fuel divestment targets. The World Bank, ING, and AXA all announced plans to divest from fossil fuels, including coal, oil, and gas. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Norway plans to offer one or two sites for the development of floating offshore wind projects. The ministry of petroleum said it will ask the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate to reassess five areas identified in 2013 as having potential for offshore windpower. The government intends to act quickly on the projects. [reNews]

Floating wind turbine (Statoil image)

¶ The government of Alberta, home to the world’s third-largest oil reserves, auctioned off 595 MW of renewable energy capacity to be built in the province. That exceeded the government’s target of 400 MW. The weighted average bid was 3.7 Canadian cents per kWh (3¢/kWh), the lowest price for wind power ever in Canada. [Bloomberg]

¶ Liquified natural gas is running out of steam. Natural gas demand in Europe is 12% lower than it was 10 years ago. Chinese and Indian demand continues to grow, but the dramatic gains by solar power and wind, where costs have fallen 85% since 2009, have severely limited the prospects for natural gas as a power source. [MetalMiner]

Liquefied natural gas ship (Photo: donvictori0 | Adobe Stock)

¶ Canada and the World Bank Group announced at the One Planet Summit in Paris on December 12 that they are teaming up in partnership to support effective climate action in developing countries and small island developing states and spurring the acceleration away from coal-fired electricity toward clean energy. [CleanTechnica]

¶ IFA2, a high-voltage direct current electrical interconnector project, is set to proceed after receiving all required consents in the UK. The UK’s Marine Management Organisation issued a comprehensive decision for the 1,000-MW link project. IFA2 will run between the transmission systems in Hampshire, UK, and Normandy, France. [Power Technology]

Power link (Photo: © Crown copyright)

¶ The landmark Hiroshima High Court ruling ordering a suspension of operations at the Ikata nuclear power plant focused the possibility of a nuclear calamity occurring due to a massive eruption at a volcano that is 130 km (80 miles) away. This may put the future of nuclear power in doubt, because Japan has 111 active volcanoes. [Asahi Shimbun]

US:

¶ Southern California Gas Co is partnering with the University of California-Irvine’s Advanced Power & Energy Program to design an “Advanced Energy Community.” The community is being planned to provide replicable model that optimizes a variety of energy options, including solar, wind, and renewable natural gas. [North American Windpower]

Southern California

¶ Multinational oil and gas megalith ExxonMobil has this week agreed to increase its level of climate disclosure. This follows shareholders voting to instruct the company to produce an annual report on the risks of climate change and government policies. The vote for disclosure took place at the annual meeting earlier this year. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Energy Information Administration’s “Short Term Energy Outlook” projects that renewable energy resources, excluding hydropower, will gain about two percentage points, reaching 10% of the US electricity generation market in 2018. The EIA expects generation from gas-fired power plants to drop to 32% in 2017 from 34% in 2016. [Utility Dive]

Wind turbines

¶ Tax provisions critical to the electric power sector remain in flux as Republicans try to reconcile competing House and Senate versions of tax reform, Sen Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said. The status of production tax credits for wind and nuclear energy, incentives for electric vehicles and a host of other “orphan” energy resources remain “in flux.” [Utility Dive]

¶ Moody’s Investors Service is telling cities that they must prepare for increasingly worse storms due to climate change or their credit ratings could suffer. Lower credit ratings mean a city has to pay more to borrow money. The warning comes after studies showed climate change worsened damage from Hurricane Harvey. [Houston Public Media]

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