January 20 Energy News

January 20, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “NSW’s largest windfarm highlights power of community investment” • The Sapphire Wind Farm will be New South Wales’ largest wind project. It is an impressive undertaking, but community engagement is what makes it stand out. It will be the first large windfarm in Australia to offer community members an opportunity to invest. [The Guardian]

Investors posing by a turbine blade

¶ “It’s Time for Electric Companies to Pivot” • Renewable energy is rapidly changing the electric grid, and utilities need to adapt or face still greater disruption in their industry, according to a report from the Rocky Mountain Institute. Two directions in particular appear likely to offer opportunities for growth, the report says. [IEEE Spectrum]

Science and Technology:

¶ Climate change threatens the sugar maples in northern hardwood forests. As global temperatures rise, drought could stunt their growth, a decades-long study found. The number of sugar maple trees will decrease, diminishing the amount of maple syrup available and eliminating the stunning colors of these forests during autumn. [Newsweek]

Sugar maples, threatened (Photo: Muffet, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ NASA is working on a nuclear energy source that could power future outposts on the moon and Mars, as well as missions to the far reaches of the solar system. Los Alamos’ Kilopower device is no bigger than a garbage can, is said to be safe, could be built to produce 1 kW or 10 kW, and could generate power for years or even decades. [Popular Mechanics]

World:

¶ The government in Canada says it plans to invite expressions of interest in a renewable energy power program that could include offshore wind. The Honourable Jim Carr, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, announced C$200 million (US$161 million) of funding for innovative emerging renewable power to expand renewable energy sources. [Offshore Wind Journal]

Offshore wind power

¶ Enel has started construction of the 93-MW Salitrillos wind farm in the north-eastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas. The $120 million project, which will generate approximately 400 GWh of electricity a year, is expected to enter into service by 2019. It will sell electricity to the Federal Electricity Commission under a 15-year agreement. [reNews]

¶ Altogether, 1,612 GWh of energy from renewable sources was produced in Estonia last year, 14% more than in 2016. Renewable energy production made up 16.8% of total consumption, while the renewable energy accounted for 15.1% of consumption in 2016, according to Elering, the Estonian transmission system operator. [The Baltic Course]

Agriculture and wind farm

¶ New wind farms expected to start operations in 2018 will increase Mexico’s wind capacity by more than 1,100 MW this year, according to estimates by the Mexican Wind Energy Association. Mexico ended last year with a total wind power capacity of 4,005 MW, so the capacity is slated to increase by more than 25% this year. [Mexico News Daily]

¶ The Spanish solar project developer Grupo OPDE has submitted a request for an environmental license for a 50-MW solar power project it intends to build in Mérida, in the Spanish southern region of Extremadura. According to the filing, project construction is expected to require an investment of around €32.6 million. [pv magazine International]

Extremadura (Image: Ventura Carmona | Flickr)

US:

¶ Despite initiating a slew of regulatory rollbacks allegedly aimed at helping the struggling coal sector regain jobs, the entire sector grew by just 771 jobs during President Trump’s first year in office. Moreover, several key coal-producing states like Ohio, Kentucky, Montana, and Wyoming lost more coal jobs than they gained in the year. [ThinkProgress]

¶ Panasonic is building a smart city in Colorado. Called CityNow, the futuristic city is rising outside Denver and will be a living lab experiment for creating towns that can survive a disaster, run on clean, renewable power, and contain sustainable infrastructure that improves people’s lives, according to a report from Inhabitat. [Proud Green Building]

CityNow will be near Denver airport. (Image via Inhabitat)

¶ Abigail Ross Hopper, the Solar Energy Industries Association President and CEO, made a personal plea to US President Donald Trump to reject imposing high tariffs on solar imports and risking tens of thousands of US-based jobs. High tariffs would theoretically benefit two foreign-owned solar manufacturers in the US. [CleanTechnica]

¶ More than 100 MW of solar capacity was installed across the Hawaiian Electric companies’ service territories in 2017, a 19% jump from the previous year, according to the utility. The addition, which represents the largest increase in five years, is expected to help to move the state closer to its 100% renewable energy goal. [Solar Industry]

Solar system in Hawaii

¶ Community radio station Radio Casa Pueblo, located in Adjuntas, Puerto Rico, says it is now operating entirely with renewable energy. The station, whose operation no longer depends on electricity from the power grid, says it played a big part in informing inhabitants of the island’s central region during and after Hurricane Maria. [Radio World]

¶ Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres baseball team, will soon have a 336,520-watt solar power system. The project will be made up of 716 high efficiency, 470-watt SunPower solar modules, the Padres said this week. It will be the biggest solar system in Major League Baseball. Installation is expected to be completed by March. [CNBC]

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