May 18 Energy News

May 18, 2018

Science and Technology:

¶ For 400 consecutive months, which is over 33 years, the earth’s temperature has been above average, and climatologists are not mincing words as to why. The dubious milestone was reported in NOAA’s monthly global climate report. It also says this April had the third-warmest of any April since NOAA began collecting such records in 1880. [CNN]

Warming planet

¶ A report in The Atlantic said that NASA’s Trump-appointed new administrator, Jim Bridenstine, told a town hall meeting, “Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. We’re putting it into the atmosphere in volumes that we haven’t seen, and that greenhouse gas is warming the planet. That is absolutely happening, and we are responsible for it.” [Newsmax]

¶ The naval architecture firm Robert Allan, based in British Columbia, unveiled an electric pilot boat design, the RAlly 1600-E. The all-electric aluminum pilot boat is designed to meet a demand for applications where runs are under 5 nautical miles in distance or so. Its electric twin screw drivetrain gives it a top speed of 20 knots. [CleanTechnica]

RAlly 1600-E

¶ A study by the British Antarctic Survey, the University of Oxford, and the University of Bristol looked at what effect a warmer world would have on winds, specifically across the UK and Northern Europe. In a world that is on average 1.5° C warmer, winds would be stronger, with greater potential for wind power to produce electricity. [Treehugger]

World:

¶ The 353-MW Blakliden/Fäbodberget wind farm in central Sweden is under construction and, upon completion, will be one of the country’s largest onshore wind farms.The project is jointly owned by Vattenfall, Vestas, and Danish pension fund PKA. It is expected to be completed and commissioned in the fourth quarter of 2021. [CleanTechnica]

Vestas windfarm in Sweden

¶ Vattenfall has started commercial operations at a 22-MW energy storage scheme co-located with the 228-MW Pen y Cymoedd wind farm in Wales. The 22-MW battery@pyc project, which shares electrical infrastructure with Pen y Cymoedd, will help the UK National Grid maintain frequency levels and reliability of electricity supply. [reNews]

¶ India’s diesel-guzzling railways now have an entire station that runs on renewable energy. The Guwahati railway station in the capital city of Assam is the first railway station in the country to be fully solar-powered. A major railway hub in the northeastern regions of India, the station handles around 20,000 passengers every day. [Quartz]

Guwahati railway station

¶ Africa is sometimes better known for its vulnerability to climate change than its action on the problem, but a set of African cities intend to change that. Eight cities, from Accra to Dar es Salaam, pledged this week to deliver their share of emissions cuts needed to meet Paris Agreement targets to limit climate change. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ South Korea will raise incentives for offshore wind farm operators and cut back subsidies on biomass producers to promote more eco-friendly energy sources, the energy ministry said. The ministry will reduce subsidies on solid recovered fuel, a fuel produced by shredding and dehydrating biodegradable waste and recycled materials. [Yonhap News]

Turbines (Korea South-East Power Co via Yonhap News)

US:

¶ A year after it was proposed, a $150 million solar PV project on Bent Mountain in Pike County, in the heart of Kentucky’s eastern coalfield, is still just a vision. Time may be running out for the venture, and this is thanks to foot-dragging by Kentucky Fuel, a coal company that is years behind in a nearby cleanup that must come first. [InsideClimate News]

¶ Rocky Mountain Power and partners are rolling out another rebate for electric vehicles. The utility, along with UCAIR and Utah Clean Energy, announced the second year of its Live Electric EV Discount program. It offers a $3,000 discount for a 2018 Nissan Leaf to all Rocky Mountain customers and all state employees. [Daily Herald]

Nissan LEAF (Nissan image)

¶ The US solar sector employs more workers than the coal and nuclear industries combined. A report from a think tank headed by former US Energy Secretary Moniz shows that some solar jobs are typically uncounted, and 100,000 jobs have a part-time solar component. The report hints at the political powerhouse that solar is becoming. [pv magazine Australia]

¶ The Interior Department said it plans to approve the Palen solar farm, which would be built in open desert on public lands just south of Joshua Tree National Park. The 3,100-acre, 500-MW power plant would be one of the country’s largest solar projects, but some environmentalists are unhappy about impacts to natural ecosystems. [The Desert Sun]

Solar farm (Photo: Jay Calderon | The Desert Sun)

¶ New York state officials issued a proposed rule that is expected to help the state meet Gov Andrew Cuomo’s goal of cutting carbon emissions 40% by 2030. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation plan would put strict emissions standards on the state’s coal power plants, effectively phasing them out by 2020. [ThinkProgress]

¶ A GOP lawmaker said this week that the rise in sea levels around the globe was not caused by climate change, but by rocks tumbling into the world’s oceans and silt flowing from rivers to the sea. Alabama Rep Mo Brooks also suggested at a Science, Space and Technology Committee meeting on climate change that erosion played a major role. [New York Post]

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