February 24 Energy News

February 24, 2018

World:

¶ Germany’s Federal Network Agency announced the winners from its first onshore wind and solar auctions for 2018, awarding more than 900 MW to over 100 separate projects. The successful wind energy bids were up slightly from those of a similar auction in November, but solar power prices have fallen below those of windpower. [CleanTechnica]

Solar power in Germany

¶ A new report published this week by GTM Research, Global Solar PV Tracker Market Shares and Shipments 2018, shows that the amount of solar PV trackers shipped in 2017 has increased 32% year-over-year, to 14.5 GW. The California-based company NEXTracker retains its top spot and accounted for a third of all trackers sold last year. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Asian Development Bank signed a loan equivalent of up with $235 million to B Grimm Power Public Company Limited, one of the largest power producers in Thailand, to develop and enhance renewable energy capacity in Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Viet Nam. [Modern Diplomacy]

Wind turbines along a shore

¶ The Irish Government has announced plans to spend €22 billion over the next four years to aid the country’s journey to a low-carbon and climate resilient economy. Energy efficiency, renewables, agriculture, transport, and climate adaptation are all covered under the scheme, which has an initial target date of 2021. [Climate Action Programme]

¶ Austria filed a legal complaint with the European Court of Justice against the European Union’s approval for the expansion of the Paks Nuclear Power Plant in Hungary. Nuclear power already currently meets 40% of the country’s electricity needs. Paks 2 would add two more nuclear units with a capacity of 1.2 GW each. [CleanTechnica]

Paks Nuclear Plant

¶ A paradigm shift from depleting conventional to sustainable resources for electricity generation will drive the global solar PV module market size, MarketStudyReport.com said in its research report, Solar PV Module Market. The report projects that the solar PV module market size will exceed $30 billion worldwide by 2024. [The Financial]

US:

¶ A study by the Environmental Defense Fund finds that methane escaping from fracking operations in Pennsylvania “causes the same near term climate pollution as 11 coal-fired power plants” and is “five times higher than what oil and gas companies report” to the state. An earlier assessment found similar results for New Mexico. [CleanTechnica]

Gas Well (via EDF)

¶ BlackRock has almost $5 billion invested in the renewable power sector, according to Jim Barry, the global head of BlackRock Infrastructure Investment Group. Barry offered an insight into why this shift was taking place. “What’s driving it now, is not that people want to be green, it’s not about climate – it’s cost,” he said. [CNBC]

¶ Residents of the Alaskan island of Unalaska know the island’s wind is strong. It can blow over 100 miles per hour. In 2005, a study funded by the city council to look at the potential of windpower found that there was no technology strong enough to withstand Unalaska’s wind. Now, the technology has changed, and they are looking again. [KUCB]

Unalaska (Credit: Berett Wilber | KUCB)

¶ The mayors of Honolulu, Hawaii, Maui, and Kauai counties joined 236 mayors from 47 US states and territories in signing a joint letter opposing the Trump Administration’s proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan. Together, they represent over 51 million Americans, according to a press release sent jointly by all four mayors’ offices. [Honolulu Star-Advertiser]

¶ For the third time in three years, California energy officials are working to expand governance of the electric power grid to become a regional function covering up to 14 states. Opponents of the plan, which would fundamentally rewrite how electricity is managed across most of the West, are steeling for another fight. [The San Diego Union-Tribune]

CAISO control center (David Butow | For The Times)

¶ Despite robust growth in earnings, the head of New Jersey’s largest power utility told Wall Street analysts he would make good on his pledge to close the state’s remaining nuclear power plants unless lawmakers agree to a surcharge to keep them profitable. That surcharge would come in the form of higher utility bills for customers. [NorthJersey.com]

¶ In Washington state, the Snohomish County Public Utility District plans to locate a microgrid and technology center, a new local office and training center, a vehicle-to-grid charging station for the utility’s electric fleet, battery storage, a substation, and a backup data center on 25 acres east of the Arlington Municipal Airport. [Arlington Times]

Arlington Municipal Airport (Joe Mabel, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The Rhode Island Convention Center Authority will buy more than half of its power from a local renewable energy company by the end of this year. They made an agreement with Green Development, LLC to buy up to 8.3 million kWh of wind energy each year at a discounted rate. They use about 11 million kWh annually. [Rhode Island Public Radio]

¶ South Carolina’s electric cooperatives plan to sue Santee Cooper to stop the public utility from charging customers for VC Summer. The two business groups had a long-held relationship, but an economic crisis is consuming the state. The decision to file a legal claim comes half a year after the nuclear project was abandoned. [Charleston Post Courier]

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