April 30 Energy News

April 30, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Energy costs: Renewables close in on fossil fuels, challenging on price” • Coal has been getting the squeeze for years now, but the plunging cost of renewable energy is starting to give natural gas a run for its money. The implications for the fossil fuel industry are dire. And batteries are making renewable power dispatchable. [Farmington Daily Times]

Golden Hills wind farm (Photo: Google)

¶ “No Need To Wait: Electric Buses Are Cost-Competitive Transit Buses Today” • Electric buses have proven savings and efficiencies. These are even more attractive when the extreme pricing fluctuations of diesel and CNG are taken into account. By contrast, electricity prices are extremely stable and can be supplied renewably. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ Australia has pledged more than A$500 million ($379 million) to help preserve the Great Barrier Reef, in an attempt to help better protect the world heritage site from the effects of climate change. Aerial surveys conducted in April last year showed more than two-thirds of the coral in the Barrier Reef had experienced “shocking” amounts of bleaching. [CNN]

Great Barrier Reef

¶ Chinese-owned Alinta Energy offered A$250 million ($189 million) for Australia’s ageing Liddell coal-fired power plant, creating a headache for owner AGL Energy amid a national debate over energy security and government pressure to keep the plant open. AGL wants to shut the plant down and use the site for a battery installation. [Nasdaq]

¶ Ideas have a power to transform lives. At Unidad Educativa Sagrado Corazon 4 school in rural San Juan, Bolivia, the ideas of a handful of dedicated educators are transforming not just their school, but their community and even their country through sustainable living practices, which range from solar power to rainwater capture. [CleanTechnica]

Unidad Educativa Sagrado Corazon 4 school

¶ Ireland faces fines of €600m a year from the EU for failing to meet renewable energy targets and cutting carbon emissions by 2020. New, more ambitious targets for 2030 do not let Ireland off the hook. A report for the Dáil Public Accounts Committee said they will be a matter for the European Court of Justice to impose. [Independent.ie]

¶ US technology that can harvest drinking water from “thin air” using the power of the sun is set to be tested in Australia, with backing from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. ARENA is providing $420,000 in funding to Arizona-based Zero Mass Water to test 150 of its solar-powered SOURCE drinking water systems in the country. [RenewEconomy]

SOURCE drinking water systems

¶ Authorities in Taiwan have announced the winners of the country’s first 3-GW-plus offshore wind auction. The Bureau of Energy made awards to 12 projects totaling 3836 MW. Confirmed winners include Orsted, WPD, Swancor and Macquarie, Yushan and Northland Power, Taipower, Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, and China Steel. [reNews]

¶ Australia’s ineluctable switch to solar power is gathering speed. In New South Wales, the 55-MW Parkes solar farm and the 30-MW Griffith solar farm started production at full capacity in the last couple of weeks. Another dozen due to connect in NSW and Queensland in coming months. The 25-MW Dubbo solar farm is already connected. [RenewEconomy]

Parkes solar farm

¶ Hitachi wants to sell more than half its stake in its Horizon Nuclear Power subsidiary, which is slated to build 5.4 GW of installed capacity at sites in Anglesey and Gloucestershire. If no agreement that would reduce Hitachi’s share to below 50% can be found, Hitachi plans to withdraw from both of the nuclear plant projects. [GCR]

¶ Falling prices and government policy are driving solar power. In 2016, solar power was the fastest growing source of new energy globally, accounting for up to two thirds of new power capacity added, the International Energy Agency said. This was partly due to China embracing the technology, installing half of all new solar panels. [Power Technology]

Crescent Dunes solar thermal power plant

US:

¶ An American Jobs Project report found that solar jobs in New Mexico could more than double by 2030. Projected growth of the state’s solar industry over the next 12 years could increase solar jobs to 6,800 from the current figure of about 2,500. A side benefit of solar power for New Mexico is that unlike coal or gas it needs no water. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Duke Energy’s annual sustainability report says it expanded renewable energy generation by about 19% in 2017. According to the report, Duke added 1,000 MW of renewable energy last year. That included not only solar and wind farms, but also biomass, a relatively new source of energy produced from natural sources like animal waste. [WFAE]

Duke Energy solar farm (David Boraks | WFAE)

¶ A new report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates the rooftops of low-to-moderate income households could potentially accommodate 320 GW of PV installations. The report determined that single-family, owner-occupied rooftops collectively held the greatest opportunities for PV installations. [National Mortgage Professional Magazine]

¶ Climate change is set to intensify summer droughts and increase forest fire frequency, with drastic consequences for unique bioregions of northern California and southwestern Oregon. These sort of forests are well-adapted to wildfire but even the most resilient species may find it difficult to recover in the face of abrupt climate change. [ZME Science]

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