April 19 Energy News

April 19, 2018

Science and Technology:

¶ A study published in the journal Nature examined coral reefs suffering from warming waters. Die-offs since 2014 have hit every part of the Great Barrier Reef. Marine heat waves causing bleaching struck three-quarters of the world’s coral reefs, and the heat waves that cause corals to die struck almost a third of them, the researchers said. [CNN]

Coral bleaching

World:

¶ The Chinese government announced that it will eliminate the 50-50 rule, which requires foreign manufacturers to be equal partners with local companies, for makers of battery electric and plug-in hybrid cars. For companies making commercial vehicles, the rule will expire in 2020 and will disappear completely by 2022. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Saudi Arabia has received four offers from local and European bidders in a 400-MW wind tender and, according to sources cited by The National, the award is expected in June. Saudi Arabia recently awarded a 300-MW contract, and its wind and solar tenders support the country’s goal to have 9.5 GW of renewables in 2023. [Renewables Now]

Wind turbines (Ville-Matti Kaartinen, CC-BY-SA)

Wind turbines (Ville-Matti Kaartinen, CC-BY-SA)

¶ The UK confirmed its membership in Indian-led International Solar Alliance, which was created to provide affordable and sustainable energy to more than one billion poor people worldwide. ISA aims to raise $1 trillion of private and public finance to provide access to cheap, clean and renewable energy to all by 2030. [Power Technology]

¶ ICRA Ratings said Indian wind power capacity addition will improve to 3 GW over this fiscal year, backed by project awards by Solar Energy Corporation of India and state utilities. The SECI and the distribution utilities in Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu have issued bids for wind capacity of 7.5 GW over the past 14 months. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Wind turbines reflected in the water

¶ Italian oil company, Eni has presented its Strategic Plan for the period of 2018 to 2021. The plan includes the construction of 220 MW of solar power plants at several of the group’s industrial sites in Italy. The projects are expected to start commercial operations in 2021. Eni has already identified 25 industrial sites for the power plants. [pv magazine International]

US:

¶ On Monday, the Puerto Rican power utility boasted that it had restored electricity to 97% in the nearly seven months since Hurricane Maria. Two days later, the precarious electric grid collapsed as a result of a minor accident, plunging the entire island into a blackout. According to officials, the power should be restored in 24 to 36 hours. [The Guardian]

Living without power (Getty Images)

¶ Many Puerto Rican families staying on the mainland since Hurricane Maria were relying on FEMA to extend vouchers they depend on for housing until May 14. But on April 16, FEMA told evacuees the aid would be cut off by April 20. The fact that the FEMA has not restored utilities at their homes does not qualify them for help. [Orlando Weekly]

¶ Wind power generated a record 6.3% share of all US electricity last year, according to the American Wind Energy Association’s newly released US Wind Industry Annual Market Report 2017. Last year, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, and South Dakota generated over 30% of their electricity from wind energy, data in the the report showed. [OilPrice.com]

Wind power on the farm

¶ Walmart announced that suppliers have reported reducing more than 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions in the global value chain, as part of Walmart’s Project Gigaton initiative. Project Gigaton seeks to work with suppliers to reduce emissions from the company’s value chain by a billion metric tons, by 2030. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ Michigan utility regulators will soon decide on DTE Energy’s proposal to replace an old coal plant with a $1 billion natural gas plant. The plan has drawn fierce opposition. Both sides have increasingly focused on a simpler question: Must DTE comply with new state guidelines for proving power plants meet the public’s interest? [Bridge Michigan]

St Clair coal-fired plant (Bridge photo by Jim Malewitz)

¶ Alliant Energy Corp received approval from the Iowa Utilities Board to add 1,000 MW of wind energy in Iowa by 2020. The company is planning to invest $1.8 billion to boost renewable energy. The wind energy can provide power for  approximately 430,000 homes. Alliant Energy currently owns and operates four wind firms in the state. [Nasdaq]

¶ In a walk-the-talk move, California Gov Brown now has a solar plus storage microgrid serving his new home, a ranch north of Sacramento. Like 1.4 billion others in the world, the isolated home had no access to an electric grid. The Brown Ranch microgrid has 48 solar panels and 10 SimpliPhi PHI 3.4 kWh, 48-V batteries. [Microgrid Knowledge]

System at Gov Brown’s ranch (PRNewsfoto | SimpliPhi Power)

¶ The city of Boulder, Colorado, along with Boulder County and San Miguel County, filed a lawsuit against ExxonMobil and Suncor in state court. They are seeking to recover some of the costs associated with climate change impacts. The case is just the latest of many lawsuits to try to hold the major carbon polluters accountable. [Sierra Magazine]

¶ South Carolina lawmakers agree that they want to slash SCANA Corp’s electricity rates in the wake of the company’s failed nuclear project. The state Senate has moved to make SCANA and its subsidiary, South Carolina Electric & Gas, absorb more of the cost of its effort to expand the VC Summer nuclear plant, at least temporarily. [Charleston Post Courier]

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