April 24 Energy News

April 24, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Renewables, Not Natural Gas, Should Replace Shuttered Nuclear Plants” • US utilities continue to announce the planned shutdown of nuclear power plants. Early retirement of these crumbling, outrageously expensive and dangerous plants is long overdue. But will they be replaced by polluting natural gas plants? [Environmental Working Group]

Davis-Besse nuclear plant (NRC photo, Wikimedia Commons)

Science and Technology:

¶ SoCalGas and Opus 12 announced a successful demonstration of a new process to convert unwanted carbon dioxide in raw biogas into methane via a single electrochemical step, Kallanish Energy reports. This represents a simpler method of converting excess renewable electricity into storable natural gas, according to the companies. [Kallanish Energy]

¶ The novel “supermaterial” graphene could hold the key to making one of the oldest building materials greener, scientific research suggests. Graphene has been incorporated into traditional concrete production by scientists at the University of Exeter to develop a composite stronger and more water-resistant than existing concrete. [The Guardian]

Graphene lattice (Image: nobeastsofierce | Alamy | Alamy)

World:

¶ Paris is fighting back against smog by restricting motor vehicle access in the center of the city and requiring all new buildings to have roofs that are covered with solar panels or vegetation. Now the two largest public transportation companies in the Paris area have decided they will have only zero emissions buses in their fleets by 2025. [CleanTechnica]

¶ France is sitting on a tidal energy “goldmine” that could see as much as 2 GW of projects at Le Raz Blanchard off the Normandy coast by 2027, according to developer Atlantis. The company has submitted a strategic plan to the French government outlining how 1 GW of tidal power could be delivered by 2025 and 2 GW by 2027. [reNews]

Atlantis tidal turbine (Atlantis image)

¶ In a major relief to solar power project developers in India, the government exempted solar panels from customs duty. The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs has reclassified imported solar modules in order to provide the customs duty exemption. The CBITC had made them subject to a 7.5% customs duty in 2016. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Diu Smart City became the first city in India that runs on 100% renewable energy during daytime, setting a new benchmark for other cities to become clean and green. Diu, which is a town in the district by the same name in the Union Territory of Daman and Diu, had been importing 73% of its power from Gujarat until 2017. [Zee News]

Installing solar panels

¶ For the first time in history, the production cost of renewables is lower than that of fossil fuels, according to Kaiserwetter, a renewable energy asset manager. Fossil fuels presented costs between US $49 and $174 per MWh in the G20 countries during 2017, while renewable energy projects were between $35 and $54. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ Costa Rica’s Electricity Institute signed a memorandum of understanding with Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, better known as Masdar, on a plan to exchange technical knowledge and experience in renewable energy projects. Under the MOU, the state company and Masdar will collaborate in numerous areas of technology. [Renewables Now]

Costa Rica (Richie Diesterheft, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ Sunrun, a leading solar company, has won the right to take its practically zero-down rooftop solar leasing program to Florida, under a ruling by the state’s Public Service Commission. The issue is that in Florida, it is illegal to sell electricity to somebody unless you are a utility. The Florida PSC ruling clarified that Sunrun is not a utility. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Walt Disney World Resort has announced that it is partnering with developer Origis Energy USA to develop a new 50-MW solar project that will power two of its four theme parks in central Florida. The Walt Disney Company’s target of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2020 and already has a 5-MW system in operation. [CleanTechnica]

Disney’s 5-MW solar project near Epcot

¶ To win over big tech buyers (and the 20-year contracts they often promise), many energy companies are changing their policies to help tech companies hit their renewable energy targets. Focusing on renewable energy is often used as a way for companies to get an edge in the marketplace. Many see it as a competitive advantage. [ConsumerAffairs]

¶ New York State has announced a new energy efficiency target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 and tackle climate change. The scheme aims to reduce energy consumption by 185 trillion British thermal units below the energy use forecast for 2025. This is equivalent to the energy consumed by 1.8 million New York homes. [Energy Live News]

New York City (Shutterstock image)

¶ Hawaii’s public utilities commission is considering how to amend the traditional utility rules to support the state’s 100% renewable energy goals without being unfair to utility companies that have invested in traditional generation systems. Its latest proposal would encourage electric utilities to increase renewable energy investments. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Lockheed Martin Corp hopes to launch a new flow battery made of inexpensive, nontoxic materials that can help utilities save money and use more renewable energy, company officials said. An earlier report said Lockheed hoped to introduce a flow battery by the end of 2018, but there are no details on what materials would be used. [ETEnergyworld.com]

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