April 3 Energy News

April 3, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Why EPA’s Effort to Weaken Fuel Efficiency Standards Could be Trump’s Most Climate-Damaging Move Yet” • By hitting the brakes on the decades-long drive to reduce automotive carbon emissions, the Trump administration has taken its most consequential step yet toward undoing his predecessor’s legacy on climate change. [InsideClimate News]

California car traffic (Credit: Mark Ralston | AFP | Getty Images)

Science and Technology:

¶ A report from ACS Central Science describes a new material that can remove heavy metals and provide clean drinking water in seconds. It is a metal-polymer sponge-like material that can sweep up lead and mercury pollutants from any source of water with extreme efficiency, and can even be cleaned and reused over and over again. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ Frank Bainimarama, Fiji’s prime minister has said the Pacific island nation is in “a fight for survival” as climate change brings “almost constant” deadly cyclones. He said Fiji had entered a “frightening new era” of extreme weather. His comments came after Cyclone Josie caused deaths and flooding on Fiji’s main island, Viti Levu. [BBC]

Flooding caused by Cyclone Josie (Reuters)

¶ Former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, who is often called the “godmother of sustainable development,” told a CNN interviewer in Taipei that neither nuclear power nor fossil fuel is a sustainable solution to the world’s energy problem. She said governments have to balance the risks of how they are used. [Focus Taiwan News Channel]

¶ The state-owned power utility Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam, Ltd, has reportedly come out with a plan to procure an additional 7 GW of solar and wind energy by 2022 in order to fulfill its Renewable Purchase Obligation, the minimum percentage of electricity a state needs to procure from renewable energy projects. [CleanTechnica]

Charanka Solar Park Gujarat

¶ French power company Engie SA announced it would close its coal-fired power plants in Chile, saying there was “little point” in trying to sell them. Instead, it plans to replace the capacity with renewable energy. Chile has been pushing power companies to phase out coal plants unless they are equipped with carbon capture and storage. [MINING.com]

¶ In the next five years, the world will incorporate 70,000 solar panels every hour, according to the World Economic Forum. The WEF clarified the figure by saying that number of solar panels cover a thousand football fields every day, for five years. Nearly half of all those solar panels are being installed in one country, China. [Devdiscourse]

Solar system

¶ The Australian government’s energetic coal fan club wants taxpayers to return to owning power stations at a cost of more than $2.5 billion each with 30 years of financial risk. It’s estimated that more than 30 MPs will join the group, which will serve to encourage the Government in the construction of coal-fired power stations. [NEWS.com.au]

¶ Belgium’s federal government signed an agreement that will see the country’s seven nuclear reactors shuttered by 2025. Doel and Tihange nuclear power stations will be closed and more investment will be put into renewable energy capacity building, particularly offshore wind farms. The reactors supply 50% of the country’s electricity. [EURACTIV]

Tihange nuclear plant (Photo: Hullie, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced that he is scrapping former President Barack Obama’s fuel-efficiency and greenhouse gas rules for cars and light trucks. Pruitt said rules that set a 54-mpg standard by 2025, up from the current 38.3 mpg, were “not appropriate” in light of recent automobile sales data and should be revised. [Washington Examiner]

¶ Danish wind energy company Vestas announced or confirmed four separate North American wind turbine orders totaling 598 MW. Two of the orders were for the 2-MW wind turbines and two for its 3.45-MW turbines optimised to 3.6 MW. The four orders highlight Vestas’ continued dominance in North America across its supply line. [CleanTechnica]

Vestas wind turbine

¶ US-based NextEra Energy has signed one of the largest solar panel supply deals in history with China-based JinkoSolar, for 2,750 MW. In a separate move, JinkoSolar said it will open its first US PV manufacturing facility in Jacksonville, Florida. The new manufacturing facility will have the capacity to build 400 MW of solar modules annually. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Ørsted and Eversource have lodged a bid in Connecticut’s first offshore wind round with their around 200-MW Constitution Wind project. Eversource will focus on the onshore transmission system and Ørsted is to develop offshore assets. The companies said the wind farm will be located 100 km off New London in federal waters. [reNews]

Offshore wind turbines (Ørsted image)

¶ Providence-based Deepwater Wind announced it will choose a site in Massachusetts to host a facility to build 24 wind-turbine foundations for its Revolution Wind facility, proposed for a federal wind zone between Block Island and Martha’s Vineyard. The company is also looking to build other renewable energy projects in the state. [ecoRI news]

¶ A renewable energy company is trying to revive a project to build one of the nation’s longest power lines across the Midwest. Former Missouri Gov Jay Nixon is to argue to the Missouri Supreme Court that utility regulators he appointed wrongly rejected the power line, based on an incorrect ruling by a judge he had also appointed. [Indiana Public Media]

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