March 8 Energy News

March 8, 2018


¶ “China’s Power Move” • Over the past decade, Beijing has undeniably dealt a blow to the United States in the clean energy technology market. China is now the world’s dominant producer of solar panels, wind turbines, and batteries as it continues to capture strategic, advanced technology markets. Beijing has its eye on power lines next. [Scientific American]

Solar power at a fish pond (China News Service, Getty Images)

¶ “FirstEnergy lobbying seeks to thwart the public’s interest in lower electricity rates” • Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejection of the US DOE proposal to prop up coal and nuclear was a big win for American families, competitive markets, and the environment. But it was a setback for two politically powerful Ohio companies. []

Science and Technology:

¶ In a paper in energy-related journal Joule, researchers said that some studies and models used to predict how whole energy systems may run on near-100% renewable energy by 2050 may fail to take into account “real-world challenges” or to consider power transmission, energy storage, and requirements for system operability. [Clean Energy News]

Renewable energy

¶ A major report released this week by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration highlights a growing threat facing coastal communities in all parts of the United States. As sea levels rise due to global warming, the kind of flooding currently experienced only in storms will happen during normal high tides. [CNN]


¶ Finnish consultancy Poyry has been chosen by Clic Innovation to manage an energy storage project on the Aland archipelago in the Baltic Sea. The storage system is part of six pilot schemes backed by the Finnish government to supply the 30,000 inhabitants of the 6500 islands that make up Aland with renewable energy. [reNews]

Wind turbine (Pixabay image)

¶ UN Secretary-General António Guterres has announced the appointment of US businessman and philanthropist Michael Bloomberg as his Special Envoy for Climate Action. Bloomberg was a promoted from a position as Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change. In the new position, he will engage leaders on a worldwide basis. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The UK has continued to reduce carbon emissions. Driving that decarbonization was a further 19% decline in coal use, marking the continuation of a trend that has seen emissions from UK electricity cut in half since 2012. (There are, it should be noted, legitimate questions to be had about biomass replacing coal in this transition.) [Treehugger]

Offshore windpower (Some rights reserved by NHD-INFO)

¶ The Climate Council has released its latest report, Clean & Reliable Energy: Roadmap To A Renewable Future. The report features 12 key policy principles for any national energy and climate policy framework, including calls for the rollout of a minimum 50%-70% renewable energy target across Australia by 2030. [EcoGeneration]

¶ Energy groups risk wasting $1.6 trillion, about a third of their investments to 2025, by assuming that current emissions-cutting policies will not be tightened up in the light of the latest science and international climate change goals, according to the think tank Carbon Tracker, in a report, Mind the gap: the $1.6 trillion energy transition risk. [Forbes]

Oil sands project in Alberta (AP | Eamon Mac Mahon)


¶ Groups of Republican college students, “Students For Carbon Dividends,” are organizing support for a plan put forth by James Baker, and George Schultz, Secretaries of State under George W. H. Bush and Ronald Reagan, respectively. The Baker/Schultz plan is simple. It would impose a tax of $40 a ton on all carbon emissions. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The US is making economic and energy efficiency gains as renewable and sustainable energy projects continue to get built, and Oklahoma is doing its part and then some, according to Ethan Zindler, the head of US research at Bloomberg’s New Energy Finance. He discussed Oklahoma’s role with legislators and state-based reporters. []

Oklahoma wind turbines

¶ The US energy storage market is officially growing up. GTM Research’s US Energy Storage Monitor 2017 Year in Review says it installed 431 MWh of grid-connected energy storage in 2017, surpassing 1 GWh of cumulative capacity installed between 2013 and 2017. Its forecasts predict that figure will nearly double re in 2018 alone. [CleanTechnica]

¶ ABB is to provide microgrids to the Alaskan communities of Deering and Buckland, which are both north of the Arctic Circle, to boost supplies of electricity generated by wind power and reduce costs associated with diesel power. The technology includes the ABB Ability Microgrid Plus automation system and PowerStore storage technology. [reNews]

Alaskan village of Buckland (NANA Archives)

¶ President Trump’s plans to slap a 25% tariff on imported steel and a 10% levy on non-American aluminum, if enacted, would likely trigger a rapid increase in prices that could force GE to re-value its $134 billion backlog across its power, renewable energy, and oil & gas businesses, a move its customers would likely resist. []

¶ The CEO of city-owned San Antonio utility CPS Energy said it wants to generate at least 50% of its power from renewable sources by 2040, part of a plan that includes 550 MW of battery storage, as it reduces its dependence on fossil fuels. But the utility will continue to operate its coal and natural gas-fired power plants. [POWER magazine]

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