January 9 Energy News

January 9, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “What an integrated Western grid means for California” • All renewables are on the rise in the US, especially wind and solar. But only some electricity grids are well positioned to capture the benefits low-cost renewable power offers. The electricity grids of the Western US are home to both major electricity and major grid challenges. [GreenBiz]

The wild West (Shutterstock | BCFC)

¶ “Clean Line: A TVA Failure of Clean Energy and Environmental Leadership” • It has become increasingly clear that the Tennessee Valley Authority is taking a hostile position towards renewable energy. TVA is woefully behind peer utilities in the US Southeast in procuring significant resources of both solar and wind energy resources. [Clean Energy News]

Science and Technology:

¶ NASA wants you to head for the mountains with a smartphone and a measuring stick. The space agency’s earth science arm is funding research that recruits citizen scientists on snowmobiles, skis, and snowshoes to measure snow depth in backcountry areas of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. Early results have been promising. [The Cordova Times]

Backcountry skiing in Alaska

¶ Since the sexes of sea turtles are determined by the heat of sand incubating their eggs, scientists doing a survey expected that with climate change there would be slightly more females. But instead, they found female sea turtles from the Pacific Ocean’s largest green sea turtle rookery now outnumber males by at least 116 to 1. [National Geographic]

World:

¶ Giving an overview of what to expected over the next few months, the Solar Energy Corporation of India announced three tenders for solar power projects, totalling 1.2 GW, within the first week of this year. The announcements are part of an accelerated program to auction at least 77 GW of solar power capacity by March of 2020. [CleanTechnica]

Solar Park in Gujarat

¶ Wind power developers are building new onshore projects in the UK, despite the cancellation of government subsidies in 2015. This is highlighted by the news that renewables developer Dulas has won agreements for  British met mast installations from four major firms: SSE, Innogy, E.ON, and Brookfield Renewable UK. [Power Engineering International]

¶ Philippine Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi announced that for the third consecutive year, the country ranked first among 125 countries in the World Energy Council’s World Energy Trilemma Index. The WETI ratings are based on three criteria: energy security, energy equity, and environmental sustainability. [Philippine Canadian Inquirer]

Bangui Wind Farm (Ignacio Malapitan III, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ According to statistics released by ABSOLAR, the Brazilian solar association, the country has reached a cumulative installed solar power of around 1,099.6 MW. This makes Brazil the second Latin American country to have over 1 GW of solar power, after Chile. Of Brazil’s capacity, 935.3 MW is in large-scale solar plants. [pv magazine International]

¶ The UK’s trade body for anaerobic digestion said on-farm anaerobic energy plants can make a “key contribution” toward meeting the goals set out in Scotland’s first Energy Strategy. The Scottish Government’s Energy Strategy’ target is for at least 50% of all heat, transportation, and electricity to be supplied from renewable sources by 2030. [FarmingUK]

Biogas facility

US:

¶ The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission unanimously rejected Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s plan to subsidize coal and nuclear power plants by raising consumer energy bills. This was a major blow to the Trump administration’s effort to bring back coal power, especially since 3 of the 5 commissioners are Trump appointees. [ThinkProgress]

¶ 2017 was the costliest year ever for weather and climate disasters in the United States, NOAA announced, totaling $306 billion. The previous record year, 2005, saw $215 billion in disasters. Last year saw 16 weather events that each topped a billion dollars in damage, including three record-breaking hurricanes. [CNN]

Minnesota storm (David Joles | Minneapolis Star Tribune | TNS)

¶ Attorneys seeking customer refunds from SCE&G for its failed multi-billion-dollar nuclear power plant accused the utility of breaking its promises to its ratepayers. They maintained that the utility had promised its customers that if they paid higher rates while two nuclear reactors were being built, they would get lower rates later. [The State]

¶ President Trump renominated Kathleen Hartnett White to lead the Council on Environmental Quality in the White House. The Senate had declined to consider her nomination during the congressional session that expired last month. Democrats object that White’s views on climate change are contrary to established science. [Washington Examiner]

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