December 29 Energy News

December 29, 2017


¶ “The Power of Water, Wind, and Solar (and Nothing Else)” • From more frequent wildfires to devastating hurricanes to persistent droughts, we are already seeing the effects of climate change. It is not just the planet that is at risk. Air pollution causes 4–7 million human deaths each year, and energy security is a concern. [Eos]

Storm at Porthleven, England (Photo: Tony Armstrong, flickr)

Science and Technology:

¶ Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer of Microsoft, announced that his company will invest $50 million over the next 5 years to democratize access to the data available about the environment available from the thousands of land, sea, and atmospheric sensors in place around the world using AI or artificial intelligence. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The International Energy Agency published “Getting Wind and Sun onto the Grid – A Manual for Policy Makers.” It lays out two theses for integrating PV and wind power into the grid. Twenty countries’ grids were used as references, from Mexico, with a low percentage of PV and wind in its grid, to Denmark, with its high percentage. [pv magazine USA]

PV and wind power (Public domain image)


¶ Britain’s effort to scrap coal as a power generation fuel and spur renewables means its electricity industry is on track for its greenest year ever. Renewable-energy production broke 13 records this year in the UK, including the first day with zero coal power, according to data compiled by National Grid Plc and WWF. [Bloomberg]

¶ The government of China has elected to extend the current tax rebate program for so-called “new energy vehicles,” including all-electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, etc. A tax exemption will not be phased out at the turn of the new year as had been planned. Instead, it will be extended until December 31st 2020. [CleanTechnica]


¶ The fissures in the Canada-U.S. relationship will be more apparent than ever this week during the United Nations climate change talks in Germany. Canadian Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, ahead of her trip, said, “If the US is going to step back, we’ve said we‘re going to step up, and that’s exactly what we’ll be doing.” [Oakwood Herald]

¶ Element Power will identify a route to market early next year for its 41-MW Windy Rig and 27-MW Twentyshilling wind farms in south-west Scotland. Local authority councillors approved the larger project earlier this month after a positive planning recommendation while the smaller scheme was permitted in 2014. [reNews]

Wind farm built by Element Power (Kevin Arkins)

¶ The government of the state of Victoria is ready to build a major new wind farm with battery storage at Bulgana that will power the expansion of Stawell’s Nectar Farms. The project would make the advanced agriculture facility the world’s first ever crop farm to be completely powered by renewable energy. [The Stawell Times-News]

¶ Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy received orders for two new onshore wind projects in southern Italy. The company will deliver 13 SWT-3.0-113 direct-drive units to European Energy’s 39 MW project in Tolve and 10 G97-2.0 MW turbines to a further 20 MW project near Capoiazzo. Both wind farms are located in the Basilicata Region. [Trade Arabia]

Siemens wind farm in Italy


¶ Air pollution originating in the US Midwest region is being blown into the Northeast region, leading to harmful effects on the region’s population, according to a lawsuit filed against the US EPA by 8 Northeastern states. The lawsuit seeks to impose stricter controls on emissions in the Midwestern states in question. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Puget Sound Energy announced plans to reduce its carbon emissions in half by 2040. The utility, which serves energy to more than 1.5 million customers, said it will accomplish this through a variety of different initiatives. However, the Sierra Club, an environmental group with a Seattle chapter, objects to the plans. [Mercer Island Reporter]

Snoqualmie Falls plant, built in 1898 (Photo: Puget Sound Energy)

¶ The Vermont Public Utility Commission approved a 5% rate increase for Green Mountain Power. The approval ratified an agreement between GMP and the Department of Public Service, the state agency that represents the public interest in utility rate cases. GlobalFoundries, GMP’s largest customer, unsuccessfully disputed the increase. []

Block Island wind farm

¶ Avangrid Renewables is pursuing two new wind projects, one in the heart of New Mexico, and another off the coast of Massachusetts. Avangrid Renewables is working with Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners on a bid to build an offshore wind farm in waters of the Bay State. That partnership is known as Vineyard Wind. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Duke Energy Florida filed a petition with the Florida Public Service Commission to recover from customers an estimated $381 million in costs associated with the company’s response to Hurricane Irma in Florida. The company also is seeking $132 million to replenish its storm reserve fund for use in responding to future storms. [BOE Report]

¶ South Carolina Electric & Gas Co has formally asked federal authorities to let it withdraw its operating licenses for a failed nuclear reactor construction project in the state. The move was expected as the power company seeks to show it has given up on the unfinished reactors and is eligible for a $2 billion tax write-off. []

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