January 28 Energy News

January 28, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “The Energiewende paradox” • The German adoption of renewable energy has truly been revolutionary in many ways. In the 1980s, the government and power companies did not believe renewable power production would surpass 4% even in the long run. Today, it has a 38% share. But Germany is not likely to reach its target for 2020. [Livemint]

German rooftop (Getty Images)

¶ “Coal country at crossroads: Future shaky despite promises from Trump” • As ageing coal-fired power plants are shut, coal’s share of the nation’s power mix has plummeted from nearly half in 2008 to roughly a third today. Roughly 20 of 380 have closed or are in the process of shutting since Trump took office, and the future is gloomy. [Longview News-Journal]

¶ “Why decommissioning South Africa’s Koeberg nuclear plant won’t be easy” • South Africa is likely to decommission the Koeberg plant in the same way other countries have done theirs, by effectively leaving the waste on site indefinitely in temporary storage facilities. But decommissioning cannot be ignored for much longer. [Mail & Guardian]

Koeberg nuclear plant (Paul Scott/Wikimedia Commons)

Science and Technology:

¶ William Ruckelshaus, who was appointed first head of the EPA by former President Richard Nixon, commented on climate denial, warning that it would be a disaster for the US. “It’s a threat to the country,” he told HuffPost. “If you don’t step up and take care of real problems, and don’t do anything about it, lives will be sacrificed.” [Independent Journal Review]

World:

¶ Danish ministry of industry, business, and financial affairs presented a plan, called The Blue Denmark, that covers 36 different initiatives to strengthen maritime development in the country. One of them is about modernizing the ferries that connect the many small populated islands to the mainland. Their primary power will be electric. [CleanTechnica]

The ferry Assens Baagø (Image: Carsten Lundager)

¶ Norway’s Scatec Solar said it plans to build solar plants in Southeast Asia. The firm said it is negotiating its first 50-MW project in Vietnam, which has a goal for more than 4 GW of new solar capacity. Scatec is also awaiting approval for a 50-MW farm in Bangladesh and has proposal a 70-MW project for Myanmar. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ Morocco’s plans to boost renewable energy development were discussed at a meeting chaired by King Mohammed VI. Morocco intends to enhance its renewable energy potential “in order to reach the expected goal of increasing renewable production capacity to 42% by 2020,” a statement from the royal office said. [The North Africa Post]

King Mohammed VI in a meeting in Casablanca

¶ Regional Australia is already feeling the impact of climate change, with intensifying heatwaves, storms, and bushfires. Local councils are stepping up to address the problem. The Cities Power Partnership, Australia’s fastest growing local government climate network, this week welcomed 35 new councils, bringing it to 70 councils. [The Advocate]

¶ The Philippine Department of Energy has endorsed 29 power projects with over 1,500 MW of total capacity. Of the 29 projects, there are 15 renewable energy plants, 10 diesel-fired plants, and three power barges, data from the DOE showed. Only of them is a coal-fired plant, though that represented 1,000 MW of the new capacity. [Philippine Star]

Coal-fired power plant

US:

¶ Obsidian Renewables has optioned 7,000 acres of high desert territory along transmission corridors in Oregon. In the next five years, the company hopes to install a series of arrays with a total capacity of 600 MW, backed up by 400 MW of battery storage, to replace ageing coal plants. The new tariff and state policy may limit growth. [OregonLive.com]

¶ North Carolina state regulators gave the go-ahead for a $5 billion natural gas pipeline to be built in eight of the state’s counties. Development of the 600-mile pipeline, which will carry gas from fracking wells in West Virginia into Virginia and North Carolina is being led by Virginia-based Dominion Energy. It is opposed by environmentalists. [ClickLancashire]

Near the North Carolina pipeline route (Photo: Steve Helber | AP)

¶ Central Maine Power is forging ahead with plans to build a major transmission line in western Maine to bring wind and hydro power from Canada into New England’s electricity grid. This is despite losing its bid for a big renewable energy contract from Massachusetts, which was instead provisionally awarded to the Northern Pass project. [Bangor Daily News]

¶ Almost 200 employees at the Siemens manufacturing plant in Fort Madison, Iowa, lost their jobs over the last two days in a round of layoffs. A spokesperson said about 330 employees will remain working at the facility. The facility manufactures wind turbine blades. It has a history of fluctuations in the size of its work force. [Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier]

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