May 3 Energy News

May 3, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Concrete is a disaster for our planet: can the building industry break its addiction?” • There are myriad proposed solutions to the problems posed by concrete, such as changing the way we make concrete, creating sustainable alternatives, or doing away with it altogether. But we use so much of it that it is hard even to imagine life without it. [CNN]

High-rise buildings (CNN image)

¶ “Is Offshore Wind About To Hit Cost-Competitiveness In New York And New England?” • Offshore wind may seem pricey, but it is actually extremely valuable. Analysis from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory shows that the market value of electricity generated by offshore wind will soon exceed its cost in the Northeast. [Forbes]

¶ “Are public objections to wind farms overblown?” • Renewable energy researchers wanted to see how much local opposition there is to existing wind farms across the US. With funding from the DOE , they teamed up to undertake the largest scientific study to date on how people who live near US wind farms perceive them. [Phys.Org]

Wind turbines and hay bales (Photo: MattJP, CC BY-SA)

Science and Technology:

¶ Ticks are making us sicker. Illnesses spread by ticks more than doubled between 2004 and 2016, a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows. Mosquito-borne illnesses are also on the rise. The lead author, declining to address the “politically fraught issue of climate change,” blames warmer weather. [Grist]

World:

¶ Official data from Germany’s Federal Network Agency has suggested that renewable energy provided more than 100% of the country’s power on May 1 for about two and a half hours. Renewable output, bolstered by a bright and blustery public holiday, reached 53,987 MWh of power; consumption was at 53,768 MWh. [Climate Action Programme]

Solar array

¶ This year, India had its highest-ever solar power capacity addition for any quarter, government data shows. India managed to add 4.6 GW of new utility-scale solar power capacity between January and March 2018. The previous highest solar power capacity addition in a quarter was in Q1 2017 with the addition of 3.3 GW. [CleanTechnica]

¶ According to a tracking report from five international agencies, the world is lagging behind its sustainable development goals for the period 2015-2030. The report underlines the fact that progress in electricity, where rapidly falling costs of wind and solar have driven the uptake, is not yet matched by heating and transportation. [pv magazine International]

Off-grid renewable energy (Image: Trine)

¶ Wave Energy Scotland has commissioned consultancy Arup to study opportunities for wave energy generation over 10 MW. The review, which will also involve Cruz Atcheson Consulting Engineers and the University of Plymouth, will consider manufacturing limits and how to de-risk future large-scale wave energy converters. [reNews]

¶ Swedish wave energy company, Seabased, is teaming up with UAEs’ Infocom Connect to provide wave energy for commercial projects in the Canary Islands. The partnership will begin with a project for a pilot 5 MW installation to provide energy for a desalination plant, but could expand to address other energy needs. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Canaries (© David Marquina Reyes | Flickr Creative Commons)

¶ A total shift to renewable energy would pay for itself within two decades, and ultimately save Australians A$20 billion ($15 billion) a year in combined fuel and power costs, a report says. It shows a path to powering homes and businesses from renewable sources by 2030 and says by 2035, 40% of transport could be emissions free. [The Guardian]

¶ Electricity output from the Hunterston B nuclear power station could fall by 40% this year after dozens of cracks were discovered in one of the reactors. The North Ayrshire power plant’s director said it would be necessary to reduce generation. But he insisted that Hunterston B, which is scheduled to operate until 2023, was still safe. [BBC News]

Hunterston nuclear power station (Reuters image)

US:

¶ The California Independent System Operator reported that the state had record-breaking amounts of solar power generated, at 10,539 MW on April 29. California also hit a new record for the instantaneous portion of demand met by renewable energy at 73%, just 15 minutes before the solar record, with solar and wind alone meeting 64% of demand. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Dominion Energy Virginia could expand its solar capacity by over 4.7 GW over the next 15 years, plans submitted to state regulators say. The expansion, which was included in a long-range Integrated Resource Plan filed with the Virginia State Corporation Commission, is higher than the 3.2 GW increase the company forecast last year. [reNews]

Solar system (Pixabay image)

¶ Research studies have found that chemicals present in some popular sunscreen products are harmful to ocean ecosystems. For example, they contribute to coral bleaching. And now, after state lawmakers passed a bill, Hawaii is set to become the first state in the US to ban the sale of sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate. [CNN]

¶ Federal subsidies for renewable energy dropped to $6.7 billion in FY 2016, a 56% decline from FY 2013. Renewable subsidies in FY 2010 and FY 2013 were about $15 billion. The decline came with decreasing support from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Renewable energy accounted for 46% of the FY 2016 total. [Biomass Magazine]

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