February 17 Energy News

February 17, 2018


¶ “Clean energy – not natural gas – drove decarbonization in 2017” • Last year, for the first time, power sector emissions were reduced more by energy conservation and renewable energy than switching from coal to natural gas. This happened despite all Trump administration and fossil fuels industry attempts to limit clean energy. [Environmental Defense Fund]

US wind farm

Book Review:

¶ Peter Carter and Elizabeth Woodworth’s, “Unprecedented Crime: Climate Science Denial and Game Changers for Survival” is a fascinating exposé of the climate crisis. It looks at the climate crisis comprehensively from a legal perspective, with a focus on the perpetrators of the climate emergency that confronts us all. [Center for Research on Globalization]

Science and Technology:

¶ Researchers hope to discover how solar and plant life interact and find effective ways for solar arrays and agricultural lands to co-exist. One special aim of a new partnership between Enel Green Power North American and the US DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory is to develop pollinator-friendly practices. [pv magazine USA]

Poppy (Pixabay image)

¶ Critics of renewable energy, lobbyists for fossil fuels, and those promoting nuclear power, often use solar and wind fluctuations as their major argument to hold on to the old system. A study by the Lappeenranta University of Technology, in Finnland, and the Energy Watch Group, based in Berlin, refutes this argument once and for all. [CleanTechnica]


¶ Powershop Australia signed a huge deal for the output of a 200-MW solar farm and two big wind farms, after being “stunned” by the low prices offered in market proposals. Exact figures were not disclosed, but Powershop’s CEO said, “If you said two and a half years ago that this is where solar will be, we would not have believed it.” [CleanTechnica]

Windpower in Australia

¶ Australia’s first large-scale solar farm co-located with a wind farm was formally opened this month. The 10-MW Gullen Range solar farm south of Crookwell in NSW is the first large-scale solar farm on Australia’s main grid to be co-located with a major wind farm. It shares facilities with the 165-MW Gullen Range wind farm. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The renewables division of Italian energy company Enel SpA announced that it commissioned the 103-MW Horizonte PV power plant in the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia. Plant construction started last September, after Enel won the project together with two other large PV plants in a public tender, held in August 2015. [Renewables Now]

Solar farm in Brazil (Otávio Nogueira, CC-BY-SA 2.0 Generic)

¶ According to project developer Statoil, the world’s first floating wind farm, Hywind Scotland, has been generating electricity at a level that surpasses expectations through its first three full months of production. Where bottom-fixed offshore wind farms operate at 45% to 60% of rated capacity, Hywind Scotland has averaged 65%. [CleanTechnica]

¶ EDF pledged to step up its renewable energy efforts as its sliding nuclear business sees revenues fall. The French energy giant’s annual results for 2017 show a 16% drop in earnings before interest and tax. Earnings in the UK fell by around a third as the company received lower prices than it expected for its nuclear power output. [Energy Live News]

Cooling towers (Shutterstock image)

¶ The Australian Capital Territory is expected to commission enough wind and solar farms by 2020 to reach the equivalent of 100% renewable energy for its electricity supply. Now it is turning attention to eliminating gas. A major development will start with 350 homes with efficient electric heating, cooling, and cooking. [CleanTechnica]


¶ As US president Donald Trump throws his support behind “beautiful clean coal,” the state of Arizona, a Republican Party stronghold, is poised to take the lead on energy storage. A proposed clean energy overhaul would impose an 80% clean energy target by 2050, including 3 GW of energy storage to be installed by 2030. [CleanTechnica]

Nestle Purina’s solar farm in Arizona

¶ Despite the current Presidential regime’s attempts to defend the coal industry, the US is home to a utility breaking world records for renewable energy development. With 47 GW of renewable capacity already built, NextEra plans to double its rate of install in the next few years, aiming for a total of 10.1 to 16.5 GW for the 2017-2020 period. [CleanTechnica]

¶ During a Board of Light & Power trustee meeting, the Grand Haven, Michigan, utility’s staff recommended that the coal-fired JB Sims power plant be closed June 1, 2020. The staff also recommended to the board that the municipal utility transition to a more “economical, sustainable and diversified” selection of energy sources. [Grand Haven Tribune]

Grand Haven Light (Photo: Daveth121864, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Massachusetts regulators said that Central Maine Power’s New England Clean Energy Connect will bring power from Canada to the Bay State if Eversource does not resolve its Northern Pass permitting problems in New Hampshire by March 27. The 1,200-MW New England Clean Energy Connect would run through 145 miles of western Maine. [MassLive.com]

¶ FirstEnergy Corp announced that its Allegheny Energy Supply subsidiary notified the regional transmission organization, PJM Interconnection, of its plan to deactivate the coal-fired Pleasants Power Station in West Virginia. The 1,300-MW plant will be sold or closed on January 1, 2019, subject to a PJM review for impacts on reliability. [Parkersburg News]

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