March 22 Energy News

March 22, 2018

Science and Technology:

¶ Under a memorandum of understanding, shipping operator Star Bulk will conduct a two-year study to assess the feasibility of installing solar panels, batteries, and other renewable energy technology provided by Eco Marine Power. The study will examine power from renewable sources for selected ship types on specific routes. [The Motorship]

Shipping

¶ Scientists from Princeton University proposed a plan in the journal, Nature, to stabilize the continental ice shelves that extend outward from Greenland and Antarctica. They say focusing on those areas will be less expensive and more effective than building sea walls around continents and would buy time to examine other actions. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Siemens Gamesa and start-up Stiesdal Storage Technologies are developing thermal energy storage that uses excess wind, solar, and other renewable energy to heat a “pack bed” of crushed rocks to as high as 600° C. The heat can be used to generate electricity to be sold at prices far below those from gas peakers or batteries. [Recharge]

Siemens Gamesa demonstration project (Siemens Gamesa)

World:

¶ The government of New South Wales identified three priority renewable energy zones that potentially have seven times the capacity of the state’s coal-fired power plants. In a submission to the Australian Energy Markets Operation, it said developing them “could unlock 77,000 megawatts of new generation capacity.” [The Sydney Morning Herald]

¶ The UK offshore wind industry committed to working with the Government on a “transformative” sector deal that could spur £48 billion in new investments in the country’s infrastructure and increase offshore wind capacity to 30 GW by 2030. The deal is expected to  reduce costs for electricity by 9% while more than doubling industry employment. [CleanTechnica]

Offshore wind farm (Shutterstock image)

¶ In a step towards a cleaner environment, the number of coal-based fired power plants under development has seen a steep decline, especially in India and China, according to a report by Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and CoalSwarm. The report warns, however, that emissions from operational plants are still far too high. [Business Standard]

¶ Chinese new energy giant BYD has kicked off its bus chassis production operations in Brazil with the launch of a new electric bus model in the nation’s capital, Brasília. The new BYD D9W was introduced at the 8th World Forum on Water, marking the launch of BYD’s bus chassis production facility in Campinas, Brazil. [CleanTechnica]

BYD D9W

¶ Tesla and Fluence are to build two new big battery storage installations in Victoria, with some funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. Tesla will build a 25-MW/50-MWh battery to be near the 60-MW Gannawarra solar farm. Fluence will build a 30-MW/30-MWh grid-connected battery at the Ballarat terminal station. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Tesla has deployed its Powerpack batteries to the Philippines, helping a local solar company construct a 2-MW/2-MWh micro-grid for the town of Paluan, which has been notoriously suffering from power outages for years. The project went online back in December, giving the town round-the-clock electric power for the first time. [Teslarati]

Celebrating solar panels and batteries (Credit: Solar Phils)

US:

¶ Renewable energy is getting cheaper and more popular, even among Republican voters, and that makes now a better time than ever for conservative candidates to support clean energy policies. At the annual Michigan Conservative Energy Forum in Lansing, Republicans rallied around renewable energy and free-market principles. [Energy News Network]

¶ In January, the natural gas tanker Gaselys pulled into a port near Boston. In came from the UK, where it had just topped off. It had come because a series of cold snaps had momentarily made gas prices in New England the highest in the world. The ship’s cargo included gas from Russia. “Sanctions? What sanctions?” teased a Russian tweet. [E&E News]

Russia’s Yamal LNG project (Yamal LNG image)

¶ From Maine to Florida, the winds blowing off the Atlantic Coast could be the power source for a clean energy future, according to a report, Wind Power to Spare: The Enormous Energy Potential of Atlantic Offshore Wind, released by Environment America and Frontier Group. So far, only one wind farm is operating in the country. [Environment America]

¶ Microsoft announced what it calls “the single largest corporate purchase of solar energy ever in the United States,” buying 315 MW from two new solar projects in Virginia as part of its ongoing renewable energy efforts. The power will come from 750,000 solar panels spread across 2,000 acres at the Pleinmont I and II projects. [GeekWire]

Microsoft’s renewable energy footprint (Microsoft Image)

¶ The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission approved unanimously a $1.6 billion plan to build two massive wind farms along the Texas-New Mexico border. The vote is a key step needed for Xcel Energy to move forward with its plans. Texas regulators are expected to act on the proposal in the coming weeks. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ Opposition to a deal for the US to provide nuclear power technology to Saudi Arabia is growing after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said the kingdom would develop a nuclear weapon if Iran did. The reaction in Washington, from members of congress of both parties, is increasingly opposed to the deal. [South China Morning Post]

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