March 24 Energy News

March 24, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Culture Shift: Redirecting Humanity’s Path to a Flourishing Future” • A tax on carbon, big investments in renewable energy, a livable minimum wage, and accessible healthcare – we need all of them. But even taken together they are utterly insufficient to redirect humanity away from impending doom. We need to address the system. [Common Dreams]

Rice Terraces in Yunnan Province, China (Photo:
Jialiang Gao | peace-on-earth.org | Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Grid security falls to industry to self-regulate” • The US power grid is coming under increasing attacks from hackers. A cyber attack against the grid could do as much damage as a bomb, but security experts say rules on dealing with cyber threats are being written mostly by the energy industry, leaving the public in the dark. [The Salem News]

Science and Technology:

¶ A world addled by climate change has seen a four-fold increase in major flooding events since 1980, and a doubling of significant storms, droughts, and heat waves, Europe’s national science academies jointly reported. In Europe, where precise data reaches back decades, the number of severe floods has jumped five fold since 1995. [Sin Chew Jit Poh]

Extreme weather (Photo courtesy: AFP)

¶ Data in a study published this week shows that extreme weather events have become more frequent over the past 36 years. The study shows that man-made climate change has resulted in increasingly frequent extreme weather events such as excess rainfall leading to flooding, coastal flooding, heatwaves, and increased risks of wildfires. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Earth’s life support system is failing. Nearly everywhere, the various forms of non-human life are in decline, according to a series of landmark international reports. This ongoing decline endangers economies, livelihoods, food security, and the quality of life of people everywhere. Nevertheless, there are reasons to hope, the reports say. [National Geographic]

Specimens (Frans Lanting, National Geographic Creative)

¶ Silicon-Valley based Software Motor Company has built a new type of electric motor demonstrating 30% energy savings, with potentially dramatic impact for the HVAC industry. Internet of Things technology has shown promise for industries from manufacturing to healthcare, but had not yet seen broad use in the HVAC industry. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ County Durham company Banks Group has been granted permission to build the 22-turbine Lethans wind farm in East Ayrshire, Scotland. The developer has been given approval by ministers for turbines ranging from 136 meters to 176 meters in height. The top power at the wind farm near New Cumnock is expected to be 88 MW. [reNews]

Banks wind farm in the UK (Banks image)

¶ Austria’s largest power provider has announced a plan to invest approximately €100 million ($124 million) in solar and €15 million in recharging stations over the next five years. The plan is part of a €870 million investment program that will address security of supply, renewable energy, and a number of other innovations. [pv magazine International]

¶ Kyushu Electric Power Co reactivated the No 3 reactor at its Genkai nuclear power plant in Saga Prefecture. The 1,180-MW reactor resumed operations for the first time since December 2010, when it went offline for a routine inspection. It is the seventh nuclear reactor to be restarted since the Fukushim Disaster. [The Japan News]

Genkai nuclear plant (IAEA Imagebank, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ San Francisco and Oakland sued five major oil companies, claiming they kept secret for decades their knowledge that their operations were causing global warming. Lawyers for Chevron say they will not contest that climate change is real and accept findings reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Houston-based solar power company Sunnova has this week expanded its offerings to bring it into the solar-plus-storage market alongside its bigger-name competition Tesla and Sunrun, with the introduction of its Sunnova SunSafe solar and home battery storage service. Sunnova’s move follows similar offerings by Tesla and Sunrun. [CleanTechnica]

Installing a solar system (Sunnova)

¶ Despite a surprise veto threat that rattled Congress, President Donald Trump signed a $1.3 trillion spending bill, avoiding a federal government shutdown and sparing energy-related programs the steep cuts once envisioned by the White House. The Senate had worked through the night, passing the legislation by a vote of 65-32. [Platts]

¶ Rod Cushing, of Johnson Controls in North America, said that the University of Hawaii Maui College would most likely be the first campus to supply 100% of its energy requirements. This is sixteen years earlier than expected. The college plans to achieve this through use of “on-site photovoltaic systems coupled with battery storage.” [Study Breaks]

The University of Hawaii (Image via UH)

¶ The state of Colorado has granted electricity users the right to store energy without being subjected to compounded rates for power or unfair barriers in connecting to the grid. Gov John Hickenlooper said reductions in the price of batteries in recent years have now made energy storage a more affordable option for ratepayers. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ Arizona utilities could violate the state’s clean energy standards for nominal penalties under a law Gov Doug Ducey (R) signed March 23. Lawmakers debated the bill for less than two weeks as the bill was fast-tracked. It was preemptively aimed to declaw higher renewable energy mandates a group wants to bring to voters this year. [Bloomberg BNA]

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