March 17 Energy News

March 17, 2018


¶ “Microbes, Drones, & AI May Be Keys To Farms Of The Future” • Fertilizers, pesticides, and genetically modified seeds are doing a dance of death that is making it harder for farmers to grow crops without using more fertilizers, pesticides, and genetically modified seeds. And they are turning farms into land that is barren for agriculture. [CleanTechnica]

Glennoe Farms, Arkansas

¶ “‘Keep It In The Ground’ Activists Optimistic Despite Oil Boom” • A day after Trump failed to mention climate change in his State of the Union speech, Vermont Sen Bernie Sanders fired up a crowd of activists by mentioning Trump and his Cabinet appointees who lead the administration’s policies for energy and the environment. [Colorado Public Radio]

¶ “Hope from chaos: could political upheaval lead to a new green epoch?” • We face a “cumulative problem”, with temperatures rising relative to the build up of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Based on this, the Paris 1.5° C and 2° C commitments demand total emissions remain within a small and rapidly dwindling “carbon budget.” [Phys.Org]

Offshore windpower (Credit: Dominic Alves | flickr, CC BY)

Science and Technology:

¶ The global ocean power market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of over 10% during the period 2018-2022, according to a market research study, Global Ocean Power Market 2018-2022, by Technavio. The report presents a comprehensive research of the global ocean power market by technology. [Renewable Energy Magazine]


¶ Chinese suppliers of solar panels may be facing epic headwinds in the year ahead, as rising production capacity is set to coincide with growing trade protectionism in the US and India and a downturn in domestic demand. Chinese solar manufacturing supplied 55% to 83% of global demand for various solar products last year. [South China Morning Post]

Solar panels in China

¶ Google confirmed it is investing a further €500 million in expanding a Dutch data center. Google says the expansion is necessary to service the needs of both businesses and consumers as the take up of its cloud services increases. The expansion will take the company’s total investment in the data centre so far to about €1.5 billion. [Data Economy]

¶ Some Rwandans in remote areas of the country have decided not to wait for the government to provide them with electricity. Instead, they invested in off-grid energy to change lives in their villages. One village will soon bid farewell to darkness, thanks to a hydropower project that was designed by a local entrepreneur and built by local people. [KT Press]

Hydropower project in Rwanda

¶ The Canadian federal government’s Western Economic Diversification Ministry announced $7.5 million dollars for projects in the province driven by fourteen First Nations. First Nations Power Authority of Saskatchewan received $600,000 for renewable energy partnerships in First Nations communities and SaskPower. [CTV News]


¶ The former site of a coal mine could be producing solar power by the end of 2020. Plans were unveiled by electricity provider TransAlta for a mine shut down in 2006. Reclamation work had begun the following year to restore it to forest and pasture land. But now, TransAlta believes it’s a prime location for a new solar project. [The Olympian]

Open pit mine in 2004 (Adam Amato | The Chronicle)

¶ In addition to the US federal tax credit for plug-in electric vehicle purchases, there is a smorgasbord of state incentives and policies that affect electric drivers. In fact, according to a report from the NC Clean Energy Technology Center, 43 states and the District of Columbia took some type of action having to do with EVs during 2017. [CleanTechnica]

¶ An expansion underway at the McGinness Hills Geothermal Facility near Austin, Nevada, will make the Ormat Technologies Inc complex the largest geothermal power generating facility in the state, and the largest located on Bureau of Land Management property. Ormat has developed eleven geothermal power plants in Nevada. [Elko Daily Free Press]

McGinness Hills Geothermal Facility

¶ Officials from state and local governments, Alabama Power, and Walmart celebrated the launch of AL Solar A, a 79.2-MW solar energy project developed by Alabama Power to help Walmart reach its corporate renewable energy goals. The project features more than 338,662 solar panels spread across 1,100 acres just south of LaFayette. []

¶ In Florida, Gulf Power customers may be surprised to learn that some of the energy they use comes from wind. At the beginning of 2016, Gulf Power became the leading purchaser of wind energy in the state. That year it provided more than 1.7 million MWh of wind-generated energy, enough to power 131,842 houses. []

Wind turbines

¶ Despite a disaster-stricken 2017, the Federal Emergency Management Agency dropped discussions of climate change from its strategic plan, the document intended to guide the agency’s response to hurricanes, flooding, and wildfires through 2022. The plan projects that “rising natural hazard risk” will drive higher disaster costs. [InsideClimate News]

¶ Russia was behind a cyber intrusion of the business network tied to a nuclear power plant in Kansas, according to allegations made by the DHS and the FBI. The attacks on the Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corp in Burlington, Kansas, was one target of numerous cyberattacks against electric, water, and power plants in the US. [Kansas City Star]

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