March 29 Energy News

March 29, 2018


¶ “Trump Is Already Losing The Trade War” • Donald Trump has failed to understand one essential point about a trade war. To win it, you need friends. In that ignorance, he antagonizes customers at the very time strong Chinese competition is courting them. And he is pushing obsolete technology while the competition sells better things cheaper. [CleanTechnica]

Raspberry Pi computer (Sven.petersen, Wikimedia Commons)

Science and Technology:

¶ Researchers from Oregon State University have developed and begun testing a bird detection and deterrent system for wind turbines. They seek to better analyze the impact of wind turbines on birds and begin protecting them in the process. One system they developed records all impacts by a turbine, delivering an accurate count. [CleanTechnica]


¶ The burgeoning offshore wind industry in Taiwan has received yet another massive boost. It came as one of the world’s leading offshore wind energy companies, MHI Vestas, announced that it has signed four Memorandums of Understanding with leading local companies to begin building out their supply chain in the region. [CleanTechnica]

MHI Vestas wind turbine

¶ The Australian Renewable Energy Agency announced $7.7 million in funding for Simply Energy to build a second virtual power plant in Adelaide. The $23 million project will put 6 MW of Tesla Powerwall 2 home batteries in 1200 Adelaide households and 2 MW in 10 businesses. The VPP will be up and running in 2019. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ The cost of wind and solar energy continued to drop in 2017, falling another 18% across the globe, according to a report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The report also highlights the falling cost and growing uptake of battery storage, which is now encroaching on the flexibility and peaking revenues enjoyed by those fossil fuel plants. [RenewEconomy]

Renewable energy

¶ The under-sea cable linking Tasmania’s electricity market to that of the Australian mainland has been accidentally damaged during maintenance work, taking it out of action until mid-April. The operator of the cable, Basslink, said that during planned maintenance, a contractor damaged a vital piece of equipment at a transition station. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Low carbon sources accounted for 50.4% of electric power generated in the UK last year, according to latest government data, overtaking fossil fuels. Coal generated only 6.7% of the mix. However, the UK’s total energy consumption remains more than 80% reliant on fossil fuels, and transport consumption continues to rise. [The Energyst]

Pen y Cymoedd wind farm

¶ The world’s biggest-ever solar project, a $200 billion venture in Saudi Arabia, comes with a “batteries included” sticker that signals a major shift for the industry. Surging battery supplies to feed electric-car demand have sent prices plunging, and solar developers from California to China are adding storage to projects like never before. [Bloomberg]

¶ More than seven years after the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis, radioactive water is continuing to flow into the Pacific Ocean from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant at a rate of around 2 billion becquerels a day, a study has found. The amount of leaking cesium 137 has decreased from some 30 billion becquerels in 2013. [The Japan Times]

Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (KYODO image)


¶ Massachusetts announced that the New England Clean Energy Connect transmission project of Central Maine Power Co will proceed in the Massachusetts Clean Energy solicitation process. Northern Pass, which previously had been chosen as winner, was denied Certificate of Site and Facility by the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee. [Renewables Now]

¶ EPA chief Scott Pruitt is prepared to roll back the automotive emissions standards, it seems. The auto industry had agreed to them in 2010, when General Motors and Fiat Chrysler were facing bankruptcy. Now, GM wants to renege on its promises, and the EPA head is only too glad to oblige. But California officials are ready to push back, hard. [CleanTechnica]

Auto emissions

¶ In Michigan, the commissioners who run the Lansing Board of Water and Light have unanimously approved the construction of a new natural gas plant. The public utility says the new plant will complement its renewable energy projects and will allow it to close its two remaining coal-fired plants, Eckert in 2020 and Erickson in 2025. [Michigan Radio]

¶ Michigan City Area Schools today celebrated the addition of new solar arrays to its facilities in a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Krueger Middle School. The school corporation expects the new solar panels, which have been placed at seven of its 16 facilities including the main administration building, to offset utility costs by at least $704,000 per year. [WFYI]

Solar array at Krueger Middle School (Barbara Anguiano | WVPE)

¶ Canadian firm Innergex Renewable Energy Inc commissioned the 200-MW Flat Top wind farm in Texas, jointly owned with a fund managed by BlackRock Real Assets. The Flat Top wind farm, located near the town of Priddy in central Texas, uses 100 V100 turbines supplied by Danish manufacturer Vestas Wind Systems. [Renewables Now]

¶ Even if Maine converted all activities currently powered by gasoline, natural gas and other fossil fuels (like transportation and home heating) to electricity, the energy provided by offshore wind turbines could still produce 13.7 times as much power as the state would use, according to a report released by Environment Maine. [Environment Maine]

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