December 31 Energy News

December 31, 2017


¶ “Macro Grids May Be the Future of Renewable Energy” • Increasing numbers of countries are employing DC lines to move energy across continents. Since the sun and wind are always producing energy somewhere, they could deliver clean energy where it’s most needed at any time, helping solve the problem of intermittent supply. [Futurism]

Electric power grid

¶ “5 major changes to US environmental policy in 2017” • It has been a noteworthy year for US environmental policy. Obama-era rules and regulations governing the US approach to climate change and its natural resources have been the target of President Donald Trump’s deregulatory fervor. Here is a look at some of the most notable changes. [CNN]

¶ “Burning wood for power is ‘misguided’ say climate experts” • Policies aimed at limiting climate change by boosting the burning of biomass contain critical flaws that could actually damage attempts to avert dangerous levels of global warming in the future. That is the stark view of one of Britain’s chief climate experts. [The Guardian]

Burning wood pellets (Photo: Alamy)

¶ “A great year for clean energy in Australia ends, while bad news for coal continues” • The coal building spree is fast winding down in China and India. The head of infrastructure investment at BlackRock, the world’s largest investment manager, announced in May, “coal is dead.” Meanwhile renewable energy was setting records. [The Guardian]


¶ Nissan has begun offering some Japanese buyers of the new, refreshed Leaf free installation of home solar PV systems, if they sign up for specific retail electricity plans with Ecosystem Japan. The joint PR campaign aims to offer adopters of the new long-range Nissan Leaf in the Kanto region the chance to power their new cars with solar energy. [CleanTechnica]

Nissan Leaf

¶ As year 2017 nears to an end, India’s power woes are slowly cooling off, thanks to large capacity addition in renewables, improved coal availability for conventional plants and increasing demand for electricity. The peak hour power deficit has also come down from a -12.7% in 2009-2010 to -2% in 2017-2018. [EnergyInfraPost]

¶ Considering the future of offshore windpower for the next decade, TenneT proposes a man-made island on Dogger Bank in the middle of the North Sea to provide for a distribution hub for electricity. At the island, AC current from the wind turbines would be converted to DC, which would then be sent to shore via undersea cables. [CleanTechnica]

Proposed TenneT island

¶ Construction of China’s 600-MWe demonstration fast nuclear reactor at Xiapu, Fujian province, has officially begun with the pouring of the first concrete for the reactor’s basemat. The reactor is scheduled to begin commercial operation by 2023. It will be a demonstration of its sodium-cooled pool-type fast reactor design. [Next Big Future]

¶ China has joined France and the Netherlands in testing solar expressways, opening a one kilometer (0.6 miles) stretch of photovoltaic roadway in Jinan, the capital city of Shandong province.The biggest objection to solar highways has been the cost, as naysayers point out the energy requirement of making the thick glass needed. [Digital Journal]

France’s Wattway project (Colas)


¶ Wyoming is one of the epicenters of coal production in the US, but it is also blessed with rich wind resources. Wind farms have plenty of room to blossom in Wyoming. And though the state’s population is low, power-thirsty California is not too far away to use its energy. Now, a new transmission line is being developed. [CleanTechnica]

¶ US renewables developer SunEdison Inc announced on Friday that it has emerged from Chapter 11 as a privately held company after offloading more than $2.3 billion (€1.9 billion) worth of assets during the process. The assets sold include two of its most valuable, interest in TerraForm Power Inc and TerraForm Global Inc. [Renewables Now]

SunEdison PV park in India (See article for rights)

¶ Around 5 billion trips were made by transit rail services in the US during 2016, according to data published by the American Public Transportation Association. The number of transit rails trips in the US in 2016 was nearly twice the number for 1992. The increase is despite the decrepit condition of US public rail systems. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The projected 3.2 feet of sea-level rise by 2100 could submerge or destroy 300 structures, 11 miles of coastal highway, and 3,130 acres of land on the Hawaiian island of Maui. It would cause $3.2 billion in economic losses on the island and threaten its tourism industry. The projections are in a report commissioned for the state Legislature. [Maui News]

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