January 10 Energy News

January 10, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “How Much Longer Does South Florida Have Until The Real Estate Apocalypse Begins?” • At some point the reality that the region is not long for this world will have to sink in, and when it does, demand for homes in the region will crater to a degree that not many living there now probably fully comprehend … so, when will that be? [CleanTechnica]

Miami

¶ “How Blockchain Can Democratize Green Power” • The certification process for Renewable Energy Credits is expensive and cumbersome, and Power Purchase Agreements can only be negotiated by large green generators. But mom-and-pop green generators can enter the market effectively by using blockchain. [EcoWatch]

¶ “On Trump’s Watch, FERC Deals a Death Blow to US Coal Industry” • President Trump rolled into the Oval Office with an emotional appeal to coal miners and all those whose interests depended on the US coal industry. The president’s promises rang hollow throughout his first year in office. His second year offers no relief. [Triple Pundit]

Transmission lines (US DOE photo)

World:

¶ The UK government announced that it expects the 8 remaining coal powered generating stations in the country to be closed by 2025, mostly because of increased economic pressure on coal as the UK carbon tax makes coal more expensive than other fuels. Nevertheless, some climate activists fear the government’s plan is too timid. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Inter-America Development Bank’s IDB Invest signed a $1 billion senior, unsecured A/B loan package to Columbian utility, Empresas Públicas de Medellín, to build a 2,400-MW hydro-power facility in the northern region of Antioquia, Colombia. Ituango will be the largest hydropower project in the country. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Hydropower tunnel

¶ Eastern Europe’s largest biogas plant has opened in Teofipol, a farming town in the Ukraine’s Khmelnytskiy region. Fermenting cow manure, corn silage and sugar beet pulp, the plant is capable of generating 15.6 MW, enough electricity to power 16,000 households in the region. It uses four engines by GE Jenbacher of Austria. [Ukraine Business Journal]

¶ A giant solar-thermal power plant to be built in the mid-north of South Australia has received development approval from the state government. Construction will begin at Port Augusta this year on SolarReserve’s $650 million Aurora plant, creating 650 construction jobs and 50 ongoing positions, acting Energy Minister Chris Picton says. [SBS]

Solar thermal power plant (AAP)

¶ Two former Japanese prime ministers have jointly unveiled a plan for legislation to immediately scrap all nuclear power plants in the country, and to shift completely to renewable energy sources by 2050. The plan drawn up by the group says the 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant exposed the risks of nuclear power generation. [NHK WORLD]

¶ One of Australia’s largest coal-fired power stations has had six failures of one of its units in the past three weeks, straining the power grid and prompting a call for fossil fuel plants to be set the same reliability standards being considered for renewable energy suppliers. Two trips in two hours shed 230 MW and 161 MW respectively. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

Loy Yang coal-fired power station (Photo: Paul Harris)

US:

¶ An Xcel Energy solicitation for 238 projects of renewable energy resources with battery storage drew 430 proposals with record low median prices. Wind with storage drew 5,700 MW of bids priced at 2.1¢/kWh ($21/MWh). Wind and solar with storage drew 4,048 MW at 3.06¢/kWh. Solar with storage drew 16,725 MW, at 3.6¢/kWh. [Energy Storage News]
(The least expensive fossil fuel listed in Lazard’s LCOE analysis, combined cycle natural gas, produces electricity at 4.2¢/kWh to 7.8¢/kWh. Coal, nuclear, and other listed sources are higher than that.)

¶ Over 116 GW of new wind and solar capacity is expected to be installed in the US through the end of 2020, according to a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission projection. That total includes 72.5 GW of wind in 465 units and 43.5 GW of solar in 1,913 units. However, coal is expected to keep shrinking, losing 20.7 GW. [Power Engineering Magazine]

Wind farm in Idaho (From energy.gov, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ In Michigan, Wolverine Power Cooperative’s seven members and 268,000 member-consumers rang in the new year by cutting their carbon footprint from electricity by 25%. Now, more than half of their energy is carbon-free. The new carbon-free energy comes in addition to Wolverine’s current solar, wind, and hydro energy assets. [Broadway World]

¶ New York will be the first major city to be remapped by FEMA with climate change in mind, according to a report in the New York Times. Cartographers will take into account the new normal of rising sea levels and increasingly frequent 100-year (and 500-year) storms. FEMA’s maps represent the agency’s flood plain estimates. [Next City]

An empty lot in Queens where a house damaged
by Hurricane Sandy was demolished (Photo by AP)

¶ In January of 2018, the aging coal-fired St. Johns River Power Park in Jacksonville, Florida, was officially retired by co-owners Florida Power & Light and JEA, the municipal electric provider for the City of Jacksonville. FPL also announced it has opened four new large solar power plants, and four more are on the way. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ Opponents and supporters of a request by the owner of the Millstone Nuclear Power Station to gain access to Connecticut’s renewable energy marketplace are making last-ditch efforts to sway the opinion of state utility regulators. The regulators’ preliminary decision was to keep the plant open through 2035. [New Haven Register]

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