March 16 Energy News

March 16, 2018


¶ “US utilities have finally realized electric cars may save them” • This year, the Tennessee Valley Authority scrapped its 20-year projections through 2035. It was clear they had drastically underestimated how much renewable energy would depress demand for grid electricity. But EVs offer a bright spot for utilities in the future. [Quartz]

Transmission lines (Reuters | Mike Hutchings)


¶ BayWa is entering the Dutch solar market by taking a 70% stake in a 2-GW project pipeline owned by the GroenLeven Group. GroenLeven will continue to hold a 30% interest. Tariffs have already been secured for about 800 MW of the pipeline, BayWa said. The deal is still subject to final approval from the relevant antitrust authorities. [reNews]

¶ Sumitomo Forestry Co recently released a plan to build the tallest wooden high-rise in the world. At a height of 350 meters and comprised of 90% wood, the building has been dubbed the W350. Wood is considered more environmentally friendly than most other building materials, and much of Japan is covered by unmanaged forest. [CleanTechnica]

Sumitomo Skyscraper (Image via Sumitomo Forestry Co)

¶ German chemicals producer BASF will use 100% renewable power at its headquarters in Ontario and its production plants in Ontario, Alberta, Quebec, and Saskatchewan, under a deal with local wind and hydropower producer Bullfrog Power. Bullfrog said it will produce power renewably to match BASF’s electricity consumption. [Renewables Now]

¶ India’s renewable energy capacity was 65 GW at the end of February 2018, government data shows. The country has set a goal of adding 175 GW of renewables capacity by 2022, of which 100 GW will be solar PV. The lowest tariffs have dropped to ₹2.43/kWh (3.7¢/kWh) for windpower, and solar power is close to matching this. [Renewables Now]

Cleaning solar panels in India (Photo: IBC Solar AG)

¶ British billionaire Sanjeev Gupta revealed plans to build the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery in South Australia. Since its completion last year, the big Tesla battery in South Australia has surpassed expectations, regularly supplementing the state’s power grid to prevent widespread blackouts. Gupta’s battery would be about 20% larger. [Economic Times]


¶ Massachusetts Gov Charlie Baker released a $1.4 billion bond bill that would authorize spending on climate change preparedness and environmental protection. The bill provides $300 million to respond to the impacts of climate change, including $170 million to repair dams and sea walls and help coastal communities. []

Storm at Lynn, Massachusetts

¶ Georgia Power said that it awarded power purchase agreements for three new solar projects totaling 510 MW to be built in Central, South, and Southwest Georgia through the company’s Renewable Energy Development Initiative. The company expects to add up to 1,600 MW of additional renewable energy by 2021. [Daily Energy Insider]

¶ Xcel Energy filed a stipulation with a coalition of 14 diverse groups, asking the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to approve a process that could lead to $2.5 billion in clean energy investments in rural Colorado, without bill increases. Upper portfolio estimates are 1,000 MW of wind, 700 MW of solar and 700 MW of natural gas. [Windpower Engineering]

Denver, Colorado

¶ The Southern Environmental Law Center and Environmental Defense Fund are suing the EPA for failing to release information about the Heartland Institute’s efforts to attack climate science. Officials at the Heartland Institute, a promoter of climate denial, publicly stated that EPA requested their assistance in a review of climate science. [Augusta Free Press]

¶ Allete Clean Energy will construct, own, and operate an 80-MW wind energy facility near Great Falls, Montana. ACE acquired the South Peak project from Peak Clean Energy and is managing construction. It will supply electricity to NorthWestern Energy under a power sale agreement. The facility is scheduled to be online in 2019. [Electric Light & Power]

Wind farm

¶ The DOE wants to spend $175 million on a program that would include designing at least two small-scale, coal-fired power plants. The units would have a capacity of about 200 MW, roughly one-third the size of a typical generator that uses coal. The assistant secretary for fossil fuel claimed that mini plants could be fired up quickly. [Bloomberg]

¶ According to an alert from the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team, Russia has hacked into many of our government entities and domestic companies in the energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation, and critical manufacturing sectors. This is essentially most of what makes our country go. [Forbes]

Browns Ferry control room (Archives of Les Corrice)

¶ The Arizona Corporation Commission has voted 3-2 not to acknowledge the 15-year plans by electric utilities Arizona Public Service, Tucson Electric Power, and Unisource Energy Services. The body also put a 9-month halt to natural gas development via a 4-1 vote. The ACC suggested a plan calling for 80% clean energy by 2050. [pv magazine USA]

¶ The New Hampshire Senate has passed a bill allowing larger businesses to get into net metering. The bill would increase five-fold the size of net metering systems, from 1 MW, perhaps a size for a midsize store or a town hall, to 5 MW, which might be used by facilities like those of BAE Systems or Foss Manufacturing. [New Hampshire Business Review]

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