Archive for April 17th, 2018

April 17 Energy News

April 17, 2018

Science and Technology:

¶ Back at the dawn of the electric car era, about 10 years ago now, the knock on electric cars was that their batteries would not last 100,000 miles. But a survey in Europe of 350 Tesla drivers reveals that such concerns are not warranted. On average, cars with 160,000 miles on them still have 90% of their battery capacity remaining. [CleanTechnica]

Tesla in the mountains (Tesla image)

¶ Most lithium-ion batteries use cobalt, an expensive metal with a number of associated problems. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley found a way to create cathodes from other metals, such as manganese, in their cathodes. Not only are other metals far less expensive than cobalt, the new cathodes have 50% more capacity. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Scientists have developed a plastic-eating enzyme that may be used to combat one of the world’s worst pollution problems. Researchers from the UK’s University of Portsmouth and the US DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory say the enzyme can “eat” the polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, that is used to make plastic bottles. [CNN]

A river in France (Lamiot, Wikimedia Commons)


¶ A small island in the Pacific Ocean is the site of a discovery that could change Japan’s economic future. The island has large enough supplies of several rare earth minerals to supply current world demand for hundreds of years. Rare earth elements are used for numerous specialty products. Nearly all supplies had been coming from China. [CNN]

¶ The UN International Maritime Organization has adopted a new commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the maritime sector, seeking to peak emissions “as soon as possible” and to reduce annual emissions by at least 50% by 2050. It is pushing strategies designed to increase the reduction to 70% by 2050. [CleanTechnica]

Container ship

¶ In Argentina, 44 renewable energy projects submitted dispatch priority requests during the first quarter of 2018, the manager of the country’s wholesale electricity market said. The combined capacity of the projects is 2,031 MW, according a market report, although there was no information about the capacity of two of the projects. [Renewables Now]

¶ Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy announced that it had been awarded the contract to supply wind turbines for four separate wind farms in Spain by developer Gas Natural Fenosa Renovables, for a total of 166 MW. Siemens Gamesa will provide 48 of its SG 3.4-132 wind turbines, which are due to be completed mid-2019. [CleanTechnica]

Wind farm (Gas Natural Fenosa Renovables image)

¶ The Australian Capital Territory says the federal government’s national energy guarantee will “lock in poor outcomes for the climate, for renewable energy, for states and territories who are pursuing strong climate actions and, ultimately, for electricity consumers.” The ACT will push for improvements at a critical meeting this Friday. [The Guardian]

¶ A consortium including Siemens and Austrian utility Verbund are building a 6-MW carbon dioxide-free hydrogen production plant in Austria. The €18 million H2Future project will be used to test the potential for green hydrogen in the various stages of steel production, as well as integration into reserve markets for the power grid. [reNews]

Hydrogen project (Siemens image)


¶ Hawaiian Electric Co has initiated construction on a 20-MW solar park at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, which it says will produce the lowest cost renewable power in Hawaii. To be located at the West Loch Annex base in Honolulu, the plant is expected to generate electricity at a cost of less than 8¢/kWh, Hawaiian Electric said. [Renewables Now]

¶ Falling prices for solar and wind power is helping the Iowa utility owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway gain on its goal of generating 100% of its electricity from renewable sources, a company officer said. But a major force driving MidAmerican Energy’s renewable energy plans is its customers, who want more clean energy. [GreenBiz]

Wind farm (Photo: Shutterstock | Justin C. Hilts)

¶ Green Mountain Power in Vermont has several high-impact opportunities to build upon its customer-focused energy programs while re-imagining its business model as an “energy transformation company,” delivering low-carbon, affordable, reliable energy to customers, according to a new Rocky Mountain Institute report. [Solar Builder]

¶ Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport may become the nation’s first airport to get 100% of its energy from solar power. Officials have agreed to move ahead with initial work on a third phase of its solar farm. The newest phase would help create enough electricity to pay the airport’s power bill, its chief executive said. [Chattanooga Times Free Press]

Chattanooga Airport (Staff File Photo | Times Free Press)

¶ Duke Energy customers in North Carolina will be able to get rebates of up to $6,000 each, starting this summer, for installing solar panels on their homes. The four-year, $62 million rebate program has been approved by state regulators. It is required under a 2017 state law designed to keep solar power growing in North Carolina. [WUNC]

¶ Brattle Group released an analysis of FirstEnergy’s planned nuclear plant closures that said closing the four plants would leave a huge hole in the zero-carbon capacity serving mid-Atlantic grid operator PJM. This would lead to increased carbon emissions, raising social costs of about $921 million per year over a 10-year period. [Greentech Media]

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