March 31 Energy News

March 31, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “How Well Did Wind Energy Perform During the Bomb Cyclone?” • Extreme weather events offer opportunities to take stock of our power system. Earlier this year, much of the US faced one of these trials, as the “Bomb Cyclone” blasted the East with frigid air for days. What we saw was a power system holding strong. [EcoWatch]

Proposed Vineyard Wind project (Vineyard Wind image)

¶ “Will We Ever Harness Fusion Power?” • Scientists have been chasing fusion energy since the early 20th century as a source of safe, clean, and virtually unlimited power source. They have yet to find a way to capture and sustain the energy produced in any viable manner. But MIT claims to have a way to move forward on fusion. [Electronic Design]

Science and Technology:

¶ The Sahara, the world’s largest desert, has grown in size by around 10% since 1920. Scientists say climate change is one of the most likely reasons why the sands are shifting into new regions. This expansion of dry and arid landscapes is going on elsewhere around the world, based on variations in weather patterns and rising temperatures. [ScienceAlert]

Sahara Desert (Photo: Îll55shadows, Wikimedia Commons)

World:

¶ Indian automobile manufacturers, working in collaboration with government entities, are pushing for clean transportation options because of increased pollution and high petroleum import bill. India’s largest fuel retailer, Indian Oil Corporation Limited, launched the country’s first-ever hydrogen fuel cell-based bus in New Delhi. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Canadian province of Alberta is seeking proposals for the procurement of 700 MW of renewable energy capacity as part of a plan to reach 30% renewable power from renewables by 2030. The Alberta Electric System Operator invited Expressions of Interest for Rounds 2 and 3 of the state’s Renewable Energy Programme. [Renewables Now]

Bull Creek (BluEarth Renewables Inc, All Rights Reserved)

¶ Japanese retail giant AEON this week became the 131st member of a growing international collective of corporates pledging to move to 100% renewable energy. The RE100 campaign counts the likes of IKEA, Bank of America, eBay, and the BMW Group among the leading brands that have committed to 100% green energy. [Innovators Magazine]

¶ The Jakarta Post reports that Indonesian state-owned electricity firm PLN plans to boost its geothermal power generation by setting up a new subsidiary to manage geothermal development. The new subsidiary, PLN GG, is planned to develop geothermal projects on eight working areas with an expected potential of around 300 MW. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

Darajat Unit I (source: wienblog-growingtree | blogspot)

¶ TEPCO announced the launch of TRENDE Inc, an online renewable energy retailer selling electricity to residential customers in Japan. Customers will be able to sign up online or with their smartphones for the new service. TRENDE offers a simple and affordable flat rate plan to its customers. TEPCO also offers other plans. [AltEnergyMag]

US:

¶ Southern Power has launched commercial operations at its 20-MW Gaskell West 1 solar park in California. The PV park is in Kern County and is powered by around 85,710 Canadian Solar modules. The plant will sell its output and associated renewable energy credits to Southern California Edison under a 20-year contract. [Renewables Now]

Solar farm (Image: Recurrent Energy)

¶ Since Volkswagen’s diesel cheating scandal broke in 2015, it has taken a $25 billion hit in the US alone. Part of that is for fines imposed by various government regulators, and part of it is the cost of buying back 300,000 of the more than 500,000 diesel cars it sold in America after 2008. Storing all those cars is a problem in itself. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Ohio-based utility giant FirstEnergy wants the DOE to bail out its uneconomic coal and nuclear plants, along with all other ailing plants in the 13-state PJM Interconnection region. They claimed plant closings would threaten grid resilience. Federal regulators and many, many experts agree there is no imminent threat to the electric grid. [Environmental Defense Fund]

Coal plant (Public domain)

¶ A coalition of strange bedfellows came together to urge Energy Secretary Rick Perry to reject the request First Energy made for emergency relief for its ailing coal and nuclear fleet. The groups signing the letter included the American Council on Renewable Energy, American Petroleum Institute, and many other energy organizations. [Washington Examiner]

¶ With the hours winding down for FirstEnergy Solutions to repay its $98.9 million senior unsecured bond that matures on Monday, all signs point toward the power generating subsidiary of Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp filing soon for bankruptcy protection. FirstEnergy has warned about the possibility since November 2016. [Akron Beacon Journal]

Perry nuclear plant (AP Photo | Mark Duncan)

¶ DTE Energy Co is proposing new wind and solar projects in Michigan that would double the utility’s renewable energy capacity. The plan includes $1.7 billion in investments and would increase DTE’s renewable energy capacity by 2022 from 1,000 MW to 2,000 MW. That is enough clean energy to power over 800,000 homes. [ABC 12 News]

¶ A central Texas town that already uses 100% renewable energy is working out a plan to generate more electricity locally so it can stop buying power to meet demand. The city of Georgetown wants to start paying property owners to let the city-owned utility install solar panels on their roofs and feed the energy into the grid. [Big Country Homepage]

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