January 4 Energy News

January 4, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Why 2018 will be a make or break year for renewables” • The coming year will make or break US renewable energy markets, as state and regional governments defend their 21st century policies against a Trump administration plan to end competition in the nation’s power markets and begin new subsidies for old coal and nuclear plants. [GreenBiz]

Solar installers (Shutterstock)

Science and Technology:

¶ In November, 1959, the well-known physicist Edward Teller was the guest of honor at an American Petroleum Institute celebration to mark the 100th anniversary of the oil industry in America. In his remarks, he warned that climate change caused by carbon dioxide emissions would cause rising sea levels and destroy coastal cities. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A NOAA study said cacao plants, which are the source of chocolate, face the threat of extinction as a result of climate change. The cacao plants require specific conditions including uniform temperatures, abundant rain, high humidity and a nitrogen-rich soil to thrive. But scientists at UC Berkeley hope to save them through genetic modification. [inUth.com]

Cacao plant (Photo: Wikimedia)

World:

¶ In 2012, Norway set a goal for transportation-related emissions. The country decided that 85 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer would be the official target for the year 2020. The latest figures reported by Norwegian news channel NA 24 show that goal was achieved and even exceeded in 2017, 3 years ahead of schedule. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Biomass surpassed petroleum in Uruguay’s energy supply mix, reaching 41% versus 40%, according to the country’s 2016 National Energy Balance. And it has been four years since the country has imported any electricity, due to the diversification of the energy mix, according to the country’s Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy. [Renewables Now]

Cassava (Author: Chad Skeers, CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic)

¶ The 350-MW Wikinger wind farm, whose name means Viking in German, has fed electricity to the grid for the first time. The farm consists of 70 Adewen turbines, and is the result of a €1.4 billion ($1.68 billion) investment. Wikinger is in the Baltic Sea, and is expected to supply 350,000 homes with renewable energy. [Energy Digital]

¶ A proposed $130 million solar farm with 400,000 panels proposed on the outskirts of Mulwala, New South Wales, is before Federation Council. It will have a 140-MW capacity, may include battery storage, and is to be constructed on 270 hectares of farmland. The site is generally on a five-year rotation of cropping and sheep grazing. [Riverine Herald]

Farming energy from the sun

¶ Denmark is set to support 13 large heat pump projects with DKK23 million ($3.7 million) in funding, the country’s energy agency announced last week. The 13 projects will be installed at 11 combined heat and power (CHP)-based district heating plants across Denmark. The plants have a combined capacity of 29.7 MWe. [Decentralized Energy]

US:

¶ Climate change is causing the sea to rise. Mismanagement of water resources and pumping water and oil causes some land to subside. Now, the state of Louisiana is coming up with a plan that declare much of coast to be uninhabitable and aggressively force the abandonment of the region by offering buyouts and raising taxes on those who remain. [CleanTechnica]

Louisiana flood of 2016 (USDA photo)

¶ Due to a forecast snowstorm for Jan 4, the three-member Vermont Public Utility Commission postponed a public hearing on the petition to allow Entergy to sell the dormant Vermont Yankee nuclear plant to NorthStar for decommissioning. The PUC says it plans to reschedule the meeting to either Jan 16 or Jan 17, at 7 pm. [Commons]

¶ Ann Arbor is to power 100% of the city’s municipal government operations with clean and renewable energy sources such as wind and solar by 2035. The City Council unanimously approved the resolution in December, directing the city administrator to provide a multi-year action plan by September 2018 with five-year target objectives. [MLive.com]

Solar panels (Ryan Stanton | The Ann Arbor News)

¶ New York state confirmed a procurement for at least 800 MW of offshore wind power in two solicitations in 2018 and 2019. The proposal is included in governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2018 State of the State address. The state has plans to develop 2.4 GW of offshore wind by 2030. New York is also seeking to develop 1.5 GW of energy storage by 2025. [reNews]

¶ Colorado utilities are planning to add a lot more renewable energy over the next few years. One trend driving this is the emergence of demands for 100% renewable energy from the utilities’ major customers. But perhaps more importantly, the low costs of wind and solar energy have continued to fall, so they are cheaper than coal. [Clean Cooperative]

NREL wind turbines (Photo: Hustvedt, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Bitterly cold weather is causing a spike in natural gas prices that is rekindling debate over expanding pipelines to New England. Last week, wholesale prices for natural gas more than tripled to their highest level in three years, rising to $35.35 per million BTUs on the spot energy market that supplies much of the region. [Gloucester Daily Times]

¶ Dominion Energy Inc has struck a $7.43 billion all-stock deal to buy troubled energy company Scana Corp, ushering in the final chapter for Scana’s major South Carolina abandoned nuclear project. The deal requires a number of state and federal approvals and could face a tough time from South Carolina lawmakers. [Fox Business]

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