Archive for March 10th, 2018

March 10 Energy News

March 10, 2018


¶ “Changing Course: Coal Country Students Working For A Power Switch” • Arlie Boggs Elementary sits between Kentucky’s two tallest mountains in a remote area that once had a booming coal economy. Ten years ago there were over a thousand coal miners employed here in Letcher county. Today, there are just 28. [Ohio Valley ReSource]

Kudzu grows near a coal preparation plant in eastern
Kentucky (Photo: Jeff Young | Ohio Valley ReSource)

Science and Technology:

¶ A collaboration project between MIT and a private company, Commonwealth Fusion Systems, is using a new, relatively cheap material to make extra-strong magnets, a crucial part of nuclear fusion reactors. The head of the fusion company involved told the Guardian that he could “put carbon-free fusion power on the grid in 15 years.” [Grist]

¶ A team of scientists from RMIT University in Melbourne have figured out to build rechargeable “proton” batteries from abundant carbon and water, instead of lithium. If the new battery technology is commercialized, it could allow for less expensive Powerwall-type home or grid storage to back up solar panels or windmills. [Engadget]

Battery demonstration (RMIT image)


¶ Nitrogen oxides, pollutants that are closely associated with diesel fuel combustion in diesel cars and trucks, cause the early deaths of around 6,000 people a year in Germany, the country’s Federal Environmental Agency has revealed. Only recently, a German court ruled that cities have the right to ban diesel vehicles. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Some hydroelectric dams on European rivers are expected to see greatly reduced water flows with the decline of Alpine glaciers due to climate change. Executives at the Compagnie Nationale du Rhone hydropower group have reportedly begun planning to increase greatly their investments in renewable energy projects. [CleanTechnica]

European hydropower facility

¶ The European Investment Bank provided €1.05 billion ($1.29 billion) in new funding for global solar projects in 2017, the most finance it has provided in one year for the sector. India received most of the money, with a total of €640 million going to new PV investments. Mexico and Peru were also recipients in 2017, as well as 13 EU countries, EIB said. [reNews]

¶ The Spanish autonomous community of Andalusia closed 2017 with 7,895 MW of installed renewable energy capacity. Data from the Observatory of the Association of Renewable Energies of Andalusia said wind power is the region’s top green energy source with 3,338 MW, and it can supply power for 1.44 million households. [Renewables Now]

Wind turbines in Spain (petter palander, CC-BY-SA 2.0 Generic)

¶ Brazil’s Ministry of Mines and Energy announced updates of conditions for contracting power supplies for consumer markets in the country’s isolated areas. The initiative was developed to guarantee the supply of electric power to over 200 localities in the north of Brazil that have no connection to the national grid system. [pv magazine International]


¶ New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that 22 utility-scale solar farms, three wind farms and one hydro project were selected for contract awards at an average price of 2.117¢/kWh ($21.17/MWh) to help the state meet its clean energy goals. The renewable energy projects will collectively add over 1,380 MW of capacity. [Platts]

Wind farm in New York (Windtech, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ New York Governor Cuomo said he had formally asked for the state to be excluded from a federal offshore drilling program that proposes to make over 90% of the total US offshore acreage available to oil and gas drilling. Cuomo said drilling would threaten the state’s ocean resources and endanger efforts toward a cleaner energy economy. [Business Insider]

¶ While steel company CEOs say tariffs will bring back American jobs, numerous trade experts, industry groups, politicians and even members of the aluminum industry argue tariffs will not revitalize US manufacturing and could harm other segments of the economy in the process. The clean energy industry is one of those segments. [Greentech Media]

Steel working (Shutterstock image)

¶ In 2015, 21 children and young adults, in conjunction with Our Children’s Trust, filed a lawsuit claiming that US climate policies violated their constitutional rights. The government asked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a lower courts’s refusal to dismiss the case. A three judge panel ruled that the case can proceed. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Florida Power & Light Co has integrated a 40-MWh battery-storage system into its 74.5-MW Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center in Charlotte County, Florida. FPL notes that this is the largest solar-plus-storage system in the US. The batteries will extend power delivery into evening hours and add power as needed to meet peak demand. [Solar Industry]

Babcock Ranch solar array

¶ Officials at Same Sun of Vermont say that they are aware of concerns about the solar industry, but also that their business is doing well and expanding. They even hope to hire several new employees this year. Same Sun recently moved to a new space in Rutland, where it has been able to add a solar awning and an EV car-charging station. [Rutland Herald]

¶ The Clean Power Coalition of Southeast Wisconsin held a press conference announcing results of independent testing of dust found covering homes, cars, and a neighborhood playground near coal-burning power plants in Milwaukee. It was coal dust. Coal dust contains toxic metals, including lead, mercury, and arsenic. [urbanmilwaukee]

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