March 1 Energy News

March 1, 2018


¶ “Is Bitcoin a Waste of Electricity, or Something Worse?” • Money is supposed to be a means of buying things. Now, the nation’s hottest investment is buying money. And while Bitcoin mining may not be labor intensive, it diverts time, energy and capital from other, more productive activities that economists say could fuel faster growth. [New York Times]

Computer to mine Bitcoin (Jacob Hannah | The New York Times)


¶ Environmental Action Germany sued authorities in Stuttgart and Düsseldorf last year to make them ban diesel-powered vehicles. The group argued that bans were needed to keep air quality in those cities within EU pollution limits. The court agreed with the environmentalists, opening the door to diesel bans in many German cities. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The sun has not shone on Cape Morris Jesup, Greenland’s northernmost point, since October 11. These should be among the coldest weeks of the year for the cape. But over the weekend, the weather station there recorded an air temperature of 43° F, more than 50° above normal for this time of year. Meanwhile, Europe is freezing cold. [The Atlantic]

Snow in Rome (Alessandra Tarantino | AP)

¶ The CEO of Hydro-Québec said it has “received hundreds of applications” from cryptocurrency miners in the past few weeks, for a total of over 9,000 MW of energy. That is about one-quarter of the utility’s total generating capacity of 37,000 MW. Hydro-Québec said last month it was in talks with more than 30 such companies. [Montreal Gazette]

¶ Microsoft Corp said it will buy solar power from the Sunseap Group in Singapore. It is Microsoft’s first renewable energy deal in Asia. Microsoft will purchase 100% of the electricity generated from Sunseap’s 60-MW solar power project for 20 years. The project consists of hundreds of rooftop solar arrays across the city-state. []

Small solar system

¶ SENER, an engineering and technology group, and ACCIONA Industrial connected a 100-MW Concentrated Solar Power plant to 132-kV ESKOM Distribution line in South Africa. The Kathu Solar Park CSP Plant will supply enough clean energy for about 179,000 homes, according to an estimate by the South African Department of Energy. [BizNis Africa]

¶ Victorian customers of electricity retailer Powershop can expect to pay around $70 less a year for their electricity costs starting this month, after the company announced a price cut it said was “all thanks to renewable energy.” The upstart retailer announced the price reductions of around 5% would begin on March 1. [RenewEconomy]

Kennedy wind and solar farm

¶ Nick Xenophon’s newly formed SA Best party says that having 90% renewable energy in South Australia by 2030 is perfectly feasible. But it stresses that this is not a target, unlike Labor’s 75% ambition for 2025. The debate in South Australia is very unlike that in the country as a whole, but then, SA is far ahead of the rest of the country. [RenewEconomy]

¶ The Ukrainian-German project Solar Chernobyl is preparing to launch a solar farm next to the Chernobyl nuclear reactors. Due to go online early in 2018, the 1-MW installation features 3,800 photovoltaic panels and will be capable of powering as many as 2,000 homes. A further 99 MW are planned for a future development. [Atlas Obscura]

Unfinished Reactor 5 building, now long abandoned


¶ Visa has pledged to use 100% renewable electricity across global operations by the end of 2019. The payments giant has also joined the RE100, a global initiative of some of the world’s biggest businesses, all committed to renewable power.Other members of the RE100 include Apple, HSBC, Microsoft and Tetra Pak. [CNBC]

¶ The Students for Carbon Dividends, a new coalition of student groups, includes 23 College Republican clubs, 6 Democratic clubs, and 5 environmental groups from schools across the country. The inclusion of Republican voices in the climate-change discussion offers some hope of future bipartisan cooperation on the issue. [Curbed]

Smokestacks (Shutterstock image)

¶ California officials, schoolchildren and at least one billionaire denounced the Trump administration’s plan to scrap Obama-era limits on power plant emissions in blistering comments to US officials visiting a state leading the fight against climate change. Officials from Pacific coast states turned out to make clear the extent of their opposition. [The Japan Times]

¶ Massachusetts Gov Charlie Baker and all eleven members of the state’s congressional delegation urged that the Trump administration back away from its plan to open new areas off the US East Coast to oil and gas drilling. They note that the North Atlantic has largely not been eligible for oil and gas drilling for over 30 years. []

Pelicans and an offshore oil rig (AP Photo | Mark J Terrill, File)

¶ Eversource is asking New Hampshire regulators to reconsider rejection of the Northern Pass project. The utility filed a motion with the state Site Evaluation Committee. Eversource says the SEC should rehear the case because it did not do required diligence in discussing all the criteria the project had to meet to get a permit. [New Hampshire Public Radio]

¶ The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities approved an order to put into effect Gov Phil Murphy’s executive order calling for full implementation of the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act. It is moving the state toward a 1.1-GW offshore wind solicitation. The BPU is starting with an offshore wind energy taskforce. [North American Windpower]

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