December 28 Energy News

December 28, 2017


¶ “2017: The year climate change hit” • “Crazy” weather has been a hot topic for elevator conversations this year, as extremes are becoming the new normal. No continent was spared by 2017’s extreme weather. From droughts to hurricanes, from smog to forest fires, events killing thousands of people have been directly linked to climate change. [Deutsche Welle]

Flooding in the Philippines

¶ “Green tech will be everywhere in 2018” • With climate change problems mounting, national and local governments are pushing for more renewable energy and an end to fossil-fueled cars, despite hostility from President Donald Trump. People want fewer gas-powered vehicles and coal plants, and more EVs, solar panels and wind turbines. [Yahoo Finance UK]


¶ The Loeriesfontein and Khobab wind farms in South Africa are operational, with 280 MW of capacity. Lekela Power said the commercial operations were achieved “on schedule, on budget, and without a single incident of lost-time over the two million man-hours expended on construction that began on 1 September 2015.” [Farmers Weekly]

Wind Turbines (Lekela Power | Mainstream Renewable Power)

¶ With cheap shale gas, petrochemical companies have invested about $186 billion in 318 new facilities to turn shale gas into feedstocks for plastics since 2010, according to the American Chemistry Council. Half have already been completed. As a result, production of plastics is set to rise 40% from today’s levels over the next 10 years. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Five years ago, an electric-utility think tank issued a dire warning to its members: Your century-old business model is ending. The falling costs of renewable energy generation, especially solar panels, would begin to erode revenues. Now, in Germany, hardly known for its sunshine, utilities are starting to see the impact. [Green Car Reports]

PV installation at a VW plant in Tennessee

¶ European charging company Allego announced that it now has four ultra-high-speed EV charging stations operational near Frankfurt am Main. Each can service 4 cars at once and is rated at 175 kW, with a plan to boost that to 350 kW. The new chargers are capable of adding enough energy to drive an additional 60 miles in just 5 minutes. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Ashalim Solar Thermal Power Station, located in Israel’s Negev desert, is one of the largest projects of its type in the world. The generator will sit on top of the central tower, which, at 787 feet, will be the tallest in the world. Construction is currently underway and the project is expected to be completed in early 2018. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Ashalim Solar Thermal Power Station

¶ The Indian state of Bihar has 39,073 villages, and now all of them are electrified. Every household in the state would have a free power connection by the end of the next calendar year, its Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said. The efforts in this regard were a part of Kumar’s seven resolutions (“saat nischay”) of good governance. [Doordarshan]

¶ Armenia has long relied on Russia for its energy needs, but the government is hoping to reduce that dependence by tapping a resource that is plentiful in the region: the sun. With few fossil fuel resources of its own and its sole nuclear power plant nearing the end of its working life, Armenia is banking on renewable energy. [Daily Times]

Looking to the sun for power

¶ Chinese vertically integrated solar power company Canadian Solar has this week connected to the Japanese grid a 19.1 MW solar PV installation on the island of Honshu, Japan. The Gunma Aramaki solar plant lies some 100km northwest of Tokyo and is comprised of 59,544 CS6X MaxPower Canadian Solar panels. [pv magazine International]

¶ On 75% of days this year, British wind farms generated more electricity than coal plants, the analysis website MyGridGB said. It also said that over the year solar power outperformed coal more than half the time. Overall, renewables provided more power than coal plants on 315 days in 2017, or more than 90% of the year so far. [Metro]

Wind farm (Photo: Gareth Fuller | PA Wire)


¶ Solar power is growing in Pennsylvania, as individuals, businesses, and communities take action to reduce carbon emissions. Since the US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, local and state efforts to combat climate change have increased. One clean energy company director also pointed to returns on investment. [Public News Service]

¶ A study from the University of California system found that developing solar energy arrays on alternative sites like buildings, lakes, and contaminated land would allow the state to meet its 2025 electricity demands without sacrificing farmland. The study’s authors focused their analysis on California’s Central Valley. [Yale Environment 360]

Floating solar panels on an irrigation pond in Oakville
(Photo: Far Niente Winery | UC Riverside)

¶ Numerous for-rofit, non-profit, and public sector organizations have filed objections to the Illinois Power Agency Long-Term Renewable Resource Procurement Plan, which has been filed with the Illinois Commerce Commission. There were fifteen specific objections, but the petitioners supported the overall plan. [pv magazine USA]

¶ Missouri is the latest state where rules around clean energy are being reevaluated. Regulators are assessing outdated rules about customer-owned solar energy along with various distributed energy sources. The experiences of two neighboring states show that the effort will not necessarily be favorable for renewable power. [Edition Truth]

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