February 7 Energy News

February 7, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Why a Big Utility Is Embracing Wind and Solar” • Imagine that first-class airline seats sell for less than the cramped seats in economy. So you fly first class to New York, where you discover that every dish in the best French restaurant is cheaper than the burger and fries down the street. Something rather like that is happening with electricity. [New York Times]

Spring Canyon Wind Farm outside Peetz, Colorado 
(Credit: Ryan David Brown | The New York Times)

¶ “Healing with solar in Puerto Rico” • More than four months after Hurricane Maria tore across Puerto Rico, over 450,000 people are still without power. For critical facilities like hospitals, the lack of electricity has meant cutting services and relying on generators until power is restored. Solar power has an important role in healing. [One Step Off The Grid]

World:

¶ Last month, Brazil announced its intention to begin the process of becoming a full Member of the International Renewable Energy Agency, and this month the Agency has welcomed the country’s intentions, saying Brazil’s decision “reflects the country’s strong commitment to multilateralism and sustainable energy.” [CleanTechnica]

Rooftop solar system in Brazil

¶ ACWA Power announced that it had been awarded the rights to develop the 300-MW Skaka IPP PV solar project. The project is to be built in the Al Jouf region of Saudi Arabia and cover a site with an area of over 6 square kilometres. ACWA Power was awarded the project at a record-low tariff of 8.782 halala per kWh, or around 2.34¢/kWh. [CleanTechnica]

¶ European wind power enjoyed a record year in 2017, as more offshore capacity was installed than ever before. Europe’s wind power generation had a bumper 12 months last year, after 3,148 MW was installed at sea and connected to the grid, twice the total for 2016 and 4% higher than 2015, the year with the previous record high. [publics.bg]

Wind turbine in the mountains

¶ Tilt Renewables will build a 300-MW pumped-hydro plant at a quarry near Adelaide, South Australia. The site was picked because of its existing reservoir and road infrastructure, the company’s CEO said. The company also announced plans for a $90 million solar farm and 21-MW battery near Snowtown in the state’s mid-north. [Yahoo7 News]

¶ Underlying operating profit at Vattenfall’s wind power division more than doubled to Skr2.1 billion ($260 million) in 2017, from Skr0.9 billion in 2016. The Swedish company’s annual results reveal net sales from the segment also increased to Skr9.4 billion ($1.18 billion), from Skr6.7 billion. Much of the growth was from wind assets. [reNews]

Pen y Cymoedd wind farm in Wales (Vattenfall image)

¶ One of China’s biggest makers of solar panels, Longi Solar Technology Ltd, said it will invest $309 million to expand manufacturing in India in a move to guard against a rising threat of import controls in the US and other markets. New US tariffs are to be applied against solar panels from most producing countries, but not India’s. [PennEnergy]

¶ As debate rages in Queensland over Adani’s controversial coal mine, the state is seeing a quiet start of construction of Australia’s largest wind farm. Due to be completed in 2019, the 453-MW wind project will produce 1.5 million MWh annually, as the state government moves towards a 50% renewable energy target by 2030. [Bendigo Advertiser]

Site of wind farm to be built in Queensland

¶ The Tokyo District Court ordered TEPCO, the operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to pay ¥1.1 billion ($10.1 million) to 321 plaintiffs who claimed they had suffered psychological damage from losing their livelihoods in the Kodaka district of the city of Minamisoma. They had sought ¥11 billion. [The Japan Times]

¶ Far North Queensland is set to get another wind farm, after a 100-MW project got the green light from the state government for construction on the Cape York Peninsula. The project will include up to 30 wind turbines as well as electrical infrastructure. It will generate enough power to supply more than 50,000 homes. [RenewEconomy]

Collgar Wind Farm in Western Australia (Windlab image)

US:

¶ The Narragansett Bay Commission, operator of two wastewater treatment plants in Rhode Island, decided to turn the byproducts of wastewater treatment into energy, according to Jamie Samons, public affairs manager of the Bay Commission. Within the next month, a biogas generation facility will begin to convert waste into power. [The Brown Daily Herald]

¶ SpaceX’s big new rocket has blasted off on its first test flight, carrying a red Tesla sports car which it released into orbit. The Falcon Heavy rocket rose from the same Florida launch pad used by NASA to send men to the moon. Falcon Heavy cut costs by returning the three main-stage boosters back to Earth to be reused. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

Two booster rockets returning to Earth for reuse (Photo: SpaceX)

¶ Rhode Island Gov Gina Raimondo wants to ramp up the amount of renewable energy flowing to electric customers. Raimondo set a state target of 400 MW of new wind, solar, biomass, and small-scale hydropower by the end of summer. Rhode Island has promised to meet the carbon-reduction goals of the Paris Accord. [ecoRI news]

¶ Standard Solar, Inc announced it will finance a 9.8-MW solar project to provide power to the City of Gallup, one of the largest municipally-owned utilities in New Mexico. The single-axis tracker array is expected to generate more than 20 million kWh of power annually providing nearly 10% of the city’s energy use. [pv magazine USA]

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