March 15 Energy News

March 15, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “South Australia’s renewable energy future hanging by a thread” • It is an election that is impossible to call. And too important to ignore. Just two days out from the South Australia state election, a three-way race, the result is in the balance. And so is the fate of South Australia’s status as a world leader in renewable energy. [RenewEconomy]

Artist’s impression of a plant to be built by SolarReserve

¶ “Solar saves carbon faster and more effectively than nuclear power” • Renewable electricity, chiefly from wind and solar power, adds electricity generation and saves carbon faster than nuclear power does or ever has, according to a data-rich new study by Amory Lovins and three colleagues at Rocky Mountain Institute. [Solar Builder]

Science and Technology:

¶ Exposure to common levels of residential air pollution during fetal development is linked with cognitive impairment and the presence of brain abnormalities, a study published in the journal Biological Psychiatry found. Notably, the levels of residential air pollution in question are lower than levels currently considered to be “safe.” [CleanTechnica]

Air pollution

¶ A study published on March 13th in Nature Communications suggests that the northeast region of the US may experience more frequent and stronger winter storms due to rapidly rising temperatures in the Arctic. The study was done by researchers from Atmospheric and Environmental Research and Rutgers University. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Researchers at the University of Maryland claim to have found a way to strip away lignin and hemicellulose from wood. They say that the result, which they call “nanowood” costs less and has insulating qualities that are superior to many insulation materials commonly used in building construction today. Nanowood is also stronger. [CleanTechnica]

Nanowood

¶ US Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke claimed the “carbon footprint on wind [energy] is significant.” But wind power’s carbon footprint is among the smallest of any energy source. The carbon footprints of coal and natural gas are close to 90 and 40 times larger, respectively, the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory says. [FactCheck.org]

World:

¶ The 226-MW Murra Warra Wind Farm Stage One announced financial close after securing investments from developer Renewable Energy Systems and banking giant Macquarie Group. Construction my commence immediately on the 61-turbine development. The Murra Warra Wind Farm Stage One is in northwestern Victoria. [CleanTechnica]

Macarthur Wind Farm

¶ Volkswagen, which is embroiled in ongoing disputes with German diesel car owners, is pushing ahead with plans to introduce an electrified version of all 300 models it sells by 2025. To make that happen, it has committed to buying $25 billion worth of batteries and associated components from three global battery manufacturers. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Australian Renewable Energy Agency has committed to provide partial funding for a A$1 million ($788,900) project in Tasmania, seeking to determine whether wind farms can provide frequency control services to the power grid and whether this is economically viable. The trial will be carried out at the 168-MW Musselroe wind park. [Renewables Now]

Tasmanian wind turbines (Ian Cochrane, CC-BY-SA 2.0 Generic)

¶ Renewable power plants generated over 100% of Portugal’s power for a period of 69 hours in March, local media report. The Portuguese Association of Renewable Energy said Portuguese renewable plants cover 54% of power demand on average, reducing annual imports of fossil fuels by €750 million ($928 million). [Renewables Now]

US:

¶ Encore Renewable Energy has commissioned a 200-kW roof-mounted solar array at the von Trapp Brewing & Bierhall in Stowe, Vermont. The electricity generated by the array will provide a clean source of electricity for Stowe Electric Department, with all renewable energy credits associated with the array being retired. [Solar Power World]

Von Trapp solar array

¶ After breaking a few energy storage records with its battery system projects in Australia, Tesla looks to come back to the US to build a new world’s largest Powerpack battery system in Colorado. Xcel Energy had requested bids for major renewable energy and storage projects in Colorado, and Tesla is one of the companies bidding. [Electrek]

¶ Boston-based developer WinnCompanies has completed the largest community solar project in Washington, DC, with a renewable energy facility installed on the community’s roofs. There are also plans for additional solar projects throughout the city in the near future, with a goal to reduce energy bills for low-income residents. [Curbed DC]

Community solar (Photo via WinnCompanies)

¶ Georgia Power, which announced a goal of 1.6 GW of renewable energy by 2021, is going to hit that goal with solar alone before the end of 2019. The company’s current goal for 2021 includes residential, community solar, and larger projects. Georgia Power already has 970 MW of solar capacity online and 649 MW of large scale project coming. [pv magazine USA]

¶ Southern California electricity provider NRG Energy has announced that it will retire three natural gas-fired power plants across Southern California over the next 10 months. California continues to make progress toward its bold renewable energy generation goals as residents increasingly oppose fossil fuel fired power plants there. [CleanTechnica]

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