February 19 Energy News

February 19, 2018


¶ “Meet the new ‘renewable superpowers'” • A world powered by renewable energy will prize a very different set of resources than we do today. Which countries hold the key to unlocking wind and solar energy, and how will this shake up the world order? University of Swansea’s Andrew Barron discusses some of the issues. [eco-business.com]

Child looking at wind turbines (Image: Ben Paulos, CC BY 2.0)

¶ “La Plata Electric Association grapples with era of change” • Texas utility LPEA is locked into a contract for the next 30 years with its electricity provider, Tri-State. Tri-State generates most of its electricity by burning coal and only promises to increase prices. Expensive and dirty power is not what most LPEA members want. [The Durango Herald]

¶ “Why Electrification of Everything Can Combat GHG Emissions” • About 80% of the world’s GHG emissions relate to fossil fuels. Aggressive electrification of the ways we drive, power up our personal energy devices, and regulate the temperatures in our homes can make the difference we need to decarbonize our world. [CleanTechnica]

Rooftop solar systems

¶ “Tell the EPA: The economic cost of repealing the Clean Power Plan is just too high” • Repealing the CPP would deny Americans the opportunity to create 560,000 jobs and add $52 billion in economic value. That is in addition to the more than 3 million clean energy jobs in the US already, a nonpartisan environmental business group’s report says. [Kansas City Star]

¶ “Pushing the Limit: How demand flexibility can grow the market for renewable energy” • As coal’s share of US electricity generation continues its steady decline, there is still a question about what will end up supplying energy. Driven by technology and innovative business models, wind and solar give natural gas strong competition. [RenewEconomy]

Transmission infrastructure (istock image)

Science and Technology:

¶ A new thermoelectric device developed at MIT draws power from the daily cycle of temperature swings. In trials, the device reacted to a 10° C temperature difference, such as would happen between night and day, generating 350 millivolts of potential and 1.3 milliwatts of power. This can power communications systems and sensors. [Digital Journal]


¶ Thailand has emerged as South-East Asia’s leading developer of renewable electricity, with providers obliged to guarantee minimum levels of supply. The country’s biggest wind power generator, Wind Energy Holdings, plans to invest in other power sources to back up its capacity, including solar, biomass, and hydro, its CEO told Reuters. [Star2.com]

Solar array (Photo: Filepic)

¶ Japan is falling behind other leading countries in renewable energy use, while its promotion of coal-fired plants risks hindering the competitiveness of domestic firms in a global market increasingly concerned about carbon emissions. Those were conclusions of a report to the Foreign Minister released by an expert panel. [The Japan Times]

¶ The government of the Netherlands plans to turn an offshore seaweed farm in the North Sea into a huge solar power farm that aims to supply energy to the Dutch mainland. They plan to finish the project in a span of three years. A pilot project costing €1.2 million ($2.48 million) will test environmental impacts and equipment performance. [GineersNow]

Solar array (Source: Lawyer Issue)

¶ Canada’s minister of Natural Resources, Jim Carr, announced a call for proposals for the Clean Energy for Rural and Remote Communities Program. The program will provide approximately $220 million in funding for initiatives to reduce reliance on diesel fuel in rural and remote communities, most of which are Indigenous. [EP Magazine]

¶ The Lakeland project in far north Queensland, Australia’s first large-scale solar and big battery storage installation, has been officially connected to the grid. The 10.8-MW solar facility, combined with a 1.4-MW/5.3-MWh battery storage facility is located near the very edge of the grid and could be a model for similar projects. [RenewEconomy]

Lakeland project (Screen shot)

¶ For over a decade an energy revolution has been underway in Japan, spurred on by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and the nuclear disaster that followed at Fukushima. Since then, microgrids have sprung up by the dozens around the country, in a number of different guises to help Japan meet its energy needs and build resilience. [Power Technology]


¶ President Donald Trump’s 2019 budget request would slash funding for farm bill conservation programs by about $13 billion over 10 years, on top of cuts already sustained in the 2014 farm bill. In a study, we found that it is highly uncertain whether the benefits these programs have produced can maintained with such cuts. [The Conversation]

Black-necked stilts

¶ A planned community solar project could allow for Omaha Public Power District customers to power homes and businesses mostly with renewable energy. The district expects more than 50% of its retail electricity sales to be from renewable resources by 2020. Most of the energy would be generated by solar panels and wind turbines. [Lincoln Journal Star]

¶ While the rest of the world is warming, one part of the US is getting colder. The Corn Belt has seen summer temperatures drop 1°C (1.8°F) while rainfall increased by 35%. According to research published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, this time it is agricultural production, not greenhouse gases, that is to blame. [IFLScience]

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