December 24 Energy News

December 24, 2017


¶ “Year of reckoning for climate change” • The Thomas Fire has demonstrated to Southern Californians how climate change can be consequent for us. One event is not typically attributable to climate change, but it is just the latest in a series of $1 billion weather events and climate disasters that has made 2017 the worst year on record. [Ventura County Star]

Thomas fire, just another $1 billion weather event in 2017
(Mike Eliason | Santa Barbara County Fire Department via AP

Science and Technology:

¶ Earlier this month, the director-general of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) announced that construction of the project had reached the halfway point. It is an important milestone for the multi-billion-dollar nuclear fusion facility being constructed in southern France. The goal is to begin generating plasma by 2025. [Digital Trends]

¶ Energy startups have been using blockchain for sharing electricity in microgrid trials from Texas to Tasmania for a year or so. But now companies are moving from trials to commercial projects, leveraging the distributed ledger technology for trading and payments on scales ranging from neighborhoods to city-wide and even national. [Daily Times]

PowerPod used to record data for blockchain transactions


¶ The first all-electric e-Crafter vans have now been delivered to customers by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. Initial deliveries in Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, and Sweden will be used as test vehicles until the middle of 2018, when a widespread rollout may follow with design changes based on test fleet operator feedback. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Egypt’s Ministry of Electricity will offer tenders in the first quarter of 2018 to establish 500 MW of solar power plants. The Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company has set a cap on the price for purchasing electrical power at 3.8¢/kWh, the same price agreed upon with Sky Power to establish 600 MW of solar power. [MENAFN.COM]

Keeping solar panels clean in Egypt

¶ The world’s largest spark plug manufacturer, Japan’s NGK Spark Plug Co, has now revealed that it is shifting its focus towards solid-state battery tech. Apparently, execs at NGK Spark Plug had seen the writing on the wall in 2010, following the launch of the Nissan LEAF and right as the Tesla Roadster was making waves. [CleanTechnica]

¶ RES Australia and Macquarie Capital are to supply power to a Telstra-led consortium from the 226-MW first phase of the Murra Warra wind farm near Horsham in western Victoria. The consortium also includes ANZ, Coca-Cola Amatil and the University of Melbourne. The wind farm is expected to be operational by mid-2019. [reNews]

Wind farm (Pixabay image)

¶ Kuujjuaq, the largest Inuit community of the Nunavik territory, is leading the way on solar energy for the region with a project that saved more than 400 liters (105.67 gallons) of diesel between September and October, by providing 1,100 kWh from solar panels. This follows successful use of solar power in Alaska as a model. [Futurism]

¶ State-owned Swedish utility Vattenfall expects to be carbon neutral sooner than planned, its Chief Executive Magnus Hall told German weekly Welt am Sonntag. “Believe that 2050 is not enough. We can manage that sooner,” the paper quoted him as saying. “Whether it will be 2040 or 2045, we can’t and won’t define that exactly.” []

Thermal power plant

¶ Sri Lanka on its drive to meet its current and future electricity demand by use of renewable energy has planned to set up several solar and wind power plants in the country’s northern areas. A 300-MW wind energy park is expected to be built in Mannar Island. And solar arrays totaling 220 MW are under construction. [Colombo Page]


¶ Alliant Energy Corp’s Iowa utility company is adding a wind farm in central Iowa to serve its customers in that state. The wind farm will have 69 turbines with a capacity 170 MW. Output is expected to be enough to provide for the annual needs of about 50,000 homes. Construction will start in 2018 at a cost expected to be $300 million. []

Alliant Energy wind farm (Photo: Alliant Energy Corp)

¶ Kit Carson Electric Cooperative and its electric energy supplier, Guzman Energy Partners, announced a land-lease agreement and 30-year solar Power Purchase Agreement to build up to a 4-MW solar array at the Taos Regional Waste Water Treatment Plant. It will be the largest solar array built in KCEC’s service area to date. [Los Alamos Daily Post]

¶ California’s freakish, “rainy-season” Thomas Fire is only 65% contained. It is expected to burn into the new year, during what is normally the area’s wettest season. The Los Angeles Times reports that the Thomas Fire has done that despite a record number of firefighters (8,500) and amount of money spent ($175 million). [National Observer]

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