January 11 Energy News

January 11, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “This is How Wind and Solar Energy Will Crush Fossil Fuels” • Newly leaked bids for energy contracts for Xcel Energy’s 2017 All-Source Solicitation show that wind and solar are not only competitive, they’re dominant when combined with energy storage. This is a game-changer for utilities, and may spell the end for fossil fuels. [Motley Fool]

Solar power in the mountains (Getty Images)

¶ “Get ready for a lot of coal-plant shutdowns” • President Trump has promised to revive the coal industry, but objective market analysis indicates that is not likely. Roughly 13 GW of coal electricity at more than a dozen different units across the country are set to retire this year. That amount is second only to 2015 when nearly 15 GW shut down. [Axios]

Science and Technology:

¶ Thanks to fast falling solar, wind, and battery costs, renewable charged batteries are becoming advantageous. And, as Elon Musk showed with his now famous 100-day Australian bet, batteries go in fast and once in place can feed power instantaneously into the grid as needed. Once used on islands, they are now attractive to mainland utilities. [Seeking Alpha]

Tesla batteries and solar array on Kauai

¶ Scientist at the National University of Singapore report they have discovered a new way to cool air to as low as 65° F without using any chemical refrigerants or compressors. The system depends on a membrane that removes water from the air, which it then cools by evaporation. It could reduce the amount of average global warming appreciably. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ Part of an oil tanker that has been ablaze for days off the coast of Shanghai exploded on January 10, forcing the rescue boats searching for 31 missing sailors to retreat, Chinese authorities said. The Sanchi was carrying about 1 million barrels of oil from Iran to South Korea when it collided with the a freighter in the East China Sea on January 6. [CNN]

The Koshiki helping to extinguish the flames

¶ China is the largest force developing clean energy globally, by far. Its companies are increasingly looking abroad to expand opportunities, according to a report by the US-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. Chinese companies and investors for low-carbon projects outside the country are rapidly growing important. [eco-business.com]

¶ China is seeing signs of success in its fight against smog as pollution levels slump dramatically in the capital region Beijing. Concentrations of PM2.5 plunged 33% from a year earlier in the fourth quarter in 26 cities around Beijing, according to a Greenpeace East Asia report. Levels in the capital alone tumbled 54%. [Bloomberg]

Beijing region, December 4, 2017 (Photo: VCG via Getty Images)

¶ The Japanese government plans for nuclear power to provide around 21% of the nation’s electricity once more by 2030. But it also stipulates that 22-24% should come from renewable energy sources. Two prefectural governments, Fukushima and Nagano, pledged that all of their electricity will come from renewables by 2050. [The Conversation UK]

US:

¶ Renewable energy accounted for half of the utility-scale power sources installed in 2017, according to analysis by the DOE. As renewable energy sources contribute more energy to the grid, fossil fuel power plants continue to shut down, and nearly all of the utility-scale power sources retired in the past decade were powered by fossil fuels. [Chron.com]

Texas wind turbines (Bill Montgomery, Houston Chronicle)

¶ In a short press conference after meeting with Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg for just over an hour, President Trump said the US could consider reentering the Paris Climate Accord that he pulled out of last summer, and spoke wistfully about Norway’s hydroelectric capacity. “So, we can conceivably go back in,” Trump said. [Quartz]

¶ The DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory will be heading the Electrification Futures Study over the next two years. It is a large research collaboration to explore the impacts of widespread electrification in all US economic sectors, including commercial and residential buildings, transportation, and industry. [Phys.Org]

Electrification in all sectors (NREL image)

¶ Backed by an ongoing $1 billion investment, Dominion Energy has grown its solar fleet in Virginia and North Carolina over the last two years from near zero to approximately 1,350 MW in service, in construction or under development. That is enough clean energy to power nearly 340,000 homes during peak sunshine. [Electric Light & Power]

¶ Nevada’s NV Energy issued a request for proposals that could add up to 330-MW of new renewable energy projects to be built in Nevada. The RFP includes the potential integration of battery energy storage systems. It will provide enough carbon-free electricity to power approximately 200,000 Nevada homes. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Solar and wind power

¶ A $46 million solar project in California’s Imperial Valley will be built by Boston-based nonprofit Citizens Energy Corporation following the unanimous vote of the local utility’s board of directors. Under the Imperial Irrigation District’s eGreen program, it will yield savings to 15,000 low-income households. [Solar Power World]

¶ The Trump administration is ruling out plans to sell new drilling rights off the coast of Florida after pressure came from Republican Governor Rick Scott. The about-face came just five days after the Interior Department said it was considering selling oil and gas leases in more than 90% of US coastal waters. [Bloomberg]

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