December 25 Energy News

December 25, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ The Arctic saw its smallest winter sea ice coverage on record in 2017. Drawing attention to this fact, NOAA’s annual report has the interesting subtitle, “Arctic shows no sign of returning to reliably frozen region of recent past decades.” In fact, NOAA even has a new name for the area at the top of the world, which it calls “New Arctic.” [CleanTechnica]

Sea ice plunging


¶ In 2016, non-hydro electric generation in Canada grew by 8%. Canada’s electricity generation was 66% renewable, with non hydro renewables accounting for 7.2% and hydro accounting for 58.8%. When nuclear power generation is added, a total of 80.6% of Canada’s electricity was non-emitting in terms of greenhouse gases. [SteelGuru]

¶ Another 500 MW of onshore wind and solar power will be in the portfolio of a French joint venture, energy company ENGIE said. The company said its joint venture with insurance company Crédit Agricole Assurances would work to increase its energy holdings with around 500 MW of onshore renewables by the end of next year. [Infosurhoy]

Wind turbines

¶ Saudi Arabia’s Alfanar Energy is to build a solar power plant in Bangladesh with a capacity to generate 40 to 100 MW of electricity, Saudi-based Arab News reported. The plant will be located near Chittagong and require an investment of $51 million,  a commercial officer at the Bangladeshi embassy in Riyadh, told the Saudi daily. [SteelGuru]

¶ A hydro-electric plant in the UK’s Lake District finished its first year of operation. The Hayeswater micro hydro plant, which is owned by the National Trust, generated more than one million kWh of electricity, enough to meet the power needs of more than 300 properties. The plant sells power to provide income for a conservation charity. [The Westmorland Gazette]

Hayeswater micro hydro plant

¶ Next year, a solar panel scheme in Oman will target residential customers with the promise of subsidized installations and huge savings on current energy bills. Residents who opt to install panels will be able to sell excess power back to the national grid, all the while enjoying cheaper electricity, with some saving as much as 42%. [Times of Oman]

¶ German spot power prices plunged below zero for much of Sunday and the early hours of Christmas Day. Thanks to the country’s effort to encourage investment in green power generation, German electricity prices have dipped below zero more than 100 times this year, according to the EPEX Spot trading exchange. [The New York Times]

Renewables (Photo: Gordon Welters for The New York Times)

¶ The energy division of Toshiba Corp has just showcased a telescopic pipe that holds a pan-tilt camera designed to gather important information from inside the chambers of nuclear reactors that melted down in Fukushima. The 13-meter-long device is designed to give better insight into the full extent of the damage. [Interesting Engineering]


¶ California still gets a small part of its electricity from three out-of-state coal plants in Oregon, New Mexico, and Utah. For the last 24 years, some of that highly polluting coal-fired electricity has powered parts of the Coachella Valley. But the shutdown of a unit at the San Juan coal plant in New Mexico makes Coachella Valley coal-free. [The Desert Sun]

Desert Sunlight solar farm (Photo: Jay Calderon | The Desert Sun)

¶ Southern California Edison proposed to meet energy needs in Ventura County with a new transmission and power storage. The plan, submitted to a division of the California Public Utilities Commission, is seen as a significant road block or even a dead end to fossil fuel power plants proposed in Oxnard and Santa Paula. [Ventura County Star]

¶ After the Trump administration ordered a halt to work on a study of the health effects of mountaintop removal coal mining, the prestigious National Academy of Sciences is pursuing private funding to complete the work. A spokesperson for the National Academies said private donors have expressed interest in paying to complete the study. [WKU Public Radio]

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