February 9 Energy News

February 9, 2018


¶ “Economic collapse: The real message of the fall of Troy” • The fall and sack of the city of Troy at the hands of an avenging Greek army is one that has been told for some 3,000 years, but within that story are some clues to a much wider collapse of multiple civilizations. The events of that time have lessons for our own 21st Century. [BBC]

Fall of Troy (BBC | Wild Mercury)

¶ “Could plant-based plastics help tackle waste pollution?” • One company trying to eliminate plastics pollution is Biome Bioplastics. It developed a fully compostable and recyclable plastic using natural materials such as potato starch, corn starch, and cellulose, the main constituent of plant cell walls, instead of materials from oil. [BBC]

Science and Technology:

¶ Damless hydropower plants divert a section of the running body of water into a pipe that runs through a turbine. People at the Belgian company Turbulent believe that micro-hydropower plants could be important in the future of electric generation. Last year they built a 15-kW system that could be a model for distributed power generation [AZoCleantech]

Running river (Image: InnaVar | shutterstock)

¶ Last August, a team led by Mark Jacobson published a roadmap to a world powered by 100% renewable energy. That report got some pushback from a number of scientists who questioned its assumptions. Now, Jacobson and his colleagues have published a new report they believe thoroughly addresses the skeptics’ concerns. [CleanTechnica]


¶ France added a record of almost 2.8 GW of new renewables capacity to the mainland grid in 2017, according to a report. It said 2,763 MW of new capacity was installed last year, with wind and solar representing 65% and 32% respectively. Total installed capacity of 48,685 MW takes France 94% of the way its 2018 target. [reNews]

French countryside

¶ China filed complaints with the World Trade Organization this week, seeking talks on compensation with the United States for the recent tariffs that President Donald Trump signed off on for imported solar cells and modules and washing machines. China claims the tariffs are inconsistent with two international trade agreements. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Latest quarterly data confirms continued strong performance for UK renewables sector. The renewables sector continued to perform strongly during the third quarter of last year, according to new official data, which shows that increased capacity and availability helped push its share of the electricity mix to 30%. [www.businessgreen.com]

UK onshore windpower (Credit: SSE)

¶ Wind overtook nuclear to become the UK’s second biggest power generator in January. Independent energy market monitoring specialists, EnAppSys, released data showing high wind generation has recently propelled wind energy to second from the top in the UK’s energy pecking order, after gas-fired power. [Power Engineering International]

¶ Renewables developers are celebrating after South Africa’s Minister of Public Enterprises unexpectedly signed off on power-purchase agreements, ending years of uncertainty for winners in the country’s renewable energy procurement program. The uncertainty had been made worse recently by financial troubles of state-owned utility Eskom. [Greentech Media]

Wind turbines in South Africa

¶ Germany’s coalition government partners have concluded an agreement that may set a final deadline for coal-fired power production in Germany, a report in Clean Energy Wire say. A commission will decide the timeline for phasing out coal, under a coalition deal agreed between the social democrats and Angela Merkel’s conservatives. [Energy Collective]


¶ A Finnish company, Taaleri Energia, acquired its first US wind project, the 277-MW Truscott-Gilliland East Wind Project in Knox County, Texas. This represents approximately $350 million of investment in the North American renewable power sector. The project is planned to reach commercial operations by the end of 2019. [Windpower Engineering]

Wind turbines above the fog

¶ AT&T announced that it is buying a large amount of wind power from two wind farms with a combined capacity of 520 MW. The projects, in Texas and Oklahoma, will be operated by subsidiaries of Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources. The electricity they will generate is roughly the amount needed for a quarter-million homes. [Dallas News]

¶ The American Wind Energy Association and the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition submitted comments to the Ohio Power Siting Board to oppose changes to a wind farm setback waiver process proposed by State Rep Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, saying they would be detrimental to the state’s wind industry. [North American Windpower]

Storm at a windfarm

¶ ISO New England, the non-profit organization that operates the region’s six-state power grid, announced that it had secured 34,828 MW of capacity to meet peak demand in the 2021-2022 season. The target was 33,725, leaving a 1,103-MW surplus. The forward capacity auction produced the lowest clearing price in five years. [MassLive.com]

¶ Scott Pruitt, the head of the EPA, who has previously denied that carbon dioxide is a key driver of climate change, suggested that global warming may be beneficial to humans. It is another departure from mainstream climate science, and his suggestion that warming temperatures could benefit civilization caused consternation among scientists. [Grist]

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