December 27 Energy News

December 27, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Mark Kelly: This year has been an unequivocal disaster for the future of the planet” • As an astronaut, I’m often asked about the climate, our environment, and how we are destroying the Earth. My response often surprises people. “Don’t worry about the planet, the Earth will be just fine,” I tell them. “What you need to worry about is us – all of us.” [CNN]

Earth (Photo: NASA’s Earth Observatory)

Science and Technology:

¶ For years, scientists have known that 4% of the global methane budget consists of methane that is released from the Earth’s oceans into the atmosphere, but not its exact source. A team of researchers from the University of Illinois and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology may have found the answer to that question. [Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette]

World:

¶ Wärtsilä will retrofit the world’s first energy storage solution on board a large offshore supply vessel. The North Sea Giant, one of the world’s most advanced subsea construction vessels, will be fitted with an energy storage system to reduce the vessel’s energy consumption, operating costs, and exhaust emissions. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

North Sea Giant

¶ A US-trained Kenyan engineer came up with a new way to deal with plastic: Pay locals to gather up plastic debris and pollution, and then repurpose them as a binder in composite construction materials (fence poles, roof tiles, road signs, flooring, containers, etc). He explained, “Basically we are substituting plastic for cement.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ As wind farms are being built in the Thar Desert, a very rare bird, the great Indian bustard, is under increased threat. The birds are not being killed by wind turbines, but by collisions with the much lower power lines. The bustards have poor frontal vision, and do not notice the power lines until it is too late to avoid hitting them. [Mongabay.com]

Great Indian bustard in Naliya grasslands, Kutch, India
(Photo: Prajwalkm via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)

¶ State-run Rural Electrification Corporation said a scheme was launched in Madhya Pradesh to provide additional electrical connections for about 45 lakh (4.5 million) families that are not now electrified. All states and Union territories of India are required to complete household electrification by March 31, 2019. [Moneycontrol.com]

¶ Pattern Energy and the Henvey Inlet First Nation broke ground on a 300-MW wind farm on the northeast shore of Georgian Bay in Ontario, Canada. The milestone follows completion of a C$1 billion ($791 million) financing deal for the Henvey Inlet project, which will feature 87 Vestas V136-3.45MW turbines with 132-meter hubs. [reNews]

Vestas turbine reaching for the skies (Vestas image)

US:

¶ Elon Musk sent out some tweets that more or less confirm that Tesla has plans for a pickup truck in the foreseeable future. At the same time, he offered information on Tesla’s growth goals for clean and sustainable energy. Though he offered no hard dates or financial estimates, he provided a rather bullish outlook on the projects. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Solar power will soon be an option for many Hawaii residents and businesses, regardless of whether they rent, live in a condo, or lack a rooftop to install their own solar panels. The Public Utilities Commission issued a decision directing Hawaii’s electric utilities to implement a community-based renewable energy program. [Maui Now]

MACC Solar project (Photo: Wendy Osher)

¶ Masonic Village at Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, is in the midst of constructing a 2-MW solar PV system, which is being added to an existing 1-MW solar array. The system will be one of the largest solar arrays of any retirement community in the US, once it is complete in February, and it is expected to save Masonic Village $250,000 annually. [Quebec Daily Examiner]

¶ Remote villages in Alaska provide an example of how safeguards could build resilience into a larger electrical grid. Nine articles in the recent issue of the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, from AIP Publishing, provide the first reviews of energy technologies and costs for microgrids in Alaska. [Science Daily]

Wind turbines supplying power to a microgrid in Alaska
(Photo: Chris Pike, University of Alaska Fairbanks)

¶ Throughout 2017 the City of Fremont, Nebraska, focused on harnessing the power of the sun, with concept becoming reality as a new Community Solar Farm broke ground in October. A survey of residents in 2017 indicated that 70% of them were interested in participating in a community solar farm. Now, that solar farm is a reality. [Fremont Tribune]

¶ In South Carolina, Santee Cooper and SCE&G customers could be stuck paying as much as $9 billion thanks to a 2007 law. A similar law was passed in Florida, but no one has applied for permission to build a nuclear power plant there since it was altered with the addition of two words, “reasonable” and “feasible.” [Charleston Post Courier]

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