May 20 Energy News

May 20, 2018


¶ “A ‘hostile environment’ for renewables: Why has UK clean energy investment plummeted?” • Headlines suggest renewable energy in Britain is booming. Windpower has overtaken nuclear. More days pass without using coal. But the reality is government indifference leading to “dramatic and worrying collapse” in green investment. [The Independent]

Wind turbine in the UK (Nigel Cox, Wikimedia Commons)

Science and Technology:

¶ The alternative energy revolution, based on such renewable energy sources as wind, solar, and geothermal being fed into the overall electrical grid, is reviving an argument Thomas Edison and Nicola Tesla had well over a century ago. The grid supplies AC power, but renewable energy sources such as solar and batteries are DC. [RTInsights]

¶ Global warming is on track to cause a major wipeout of insects, compounding already severe losses, according to a new analysis. Insects are vital to most ecosystems and a widespread collapse would cause extremely far-reaching disruption to life on Earth, and scientists warn that much more carbon needs to be cut than nations have promised. []

Monarch butterflies (Joel Sartore | NG | Getty Images)


¶ Hybrid power plants, microgrids, and energy storage systems are set to transform the power sector in the Indian state of Kerala, as it seeks to enlarge the share of renewable energy in its power supply. An example is a 25-kW grid-connected hybrid system with rooftop solar panels and diesel generators to provide power to 25 families. [The Hindu]

¶ A broadly consensus view among financiers, business owners, and energy experts at the African Utility Week conference in Cape Town this week is that Eskom, the debt-laden South African generator and distributor of electricity, is the biggest stumbling block to developing affordable, clean power in the country. They say it should be unbundled. [Fin24]

Coal power plant (Gerhard Roux, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Construction has started on the A$240 million ($180 million) Yarranlea solar farm west of Toowoomba, Queensland. The 121-MW project will create 200 jobs and generate enough electricity to power about 32,000 homes. Once completed, about 400,000 solar panels, each 1×2 meters, will dot the sprawling 250 hectares at Yarranlea. [Chronicle]

¶ Husband and wife Reverend Canon John and Elizabeth Sheen have had a wind turbine in their back garden on the Isle of Man for years. Elizabeth said, “The windmill is a joy and helps the pension very much. It generates electricity straight to the MUA, which counts out how many units have been produced. You then get a bill.” [Isle of Man Today]

The Sheens and their turbine

¶ The number of storage tanks for contaminated water and other materials is still increasing at Fukushima Daiichi, and space for still more tanks is approaching the limit. It is seven years since an earthquake and tsunami overwhelmed Fukushima and a way to get rid of treated water, or tritium water, has still not been decided. [New Zealand Herald]


¶ Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation has entered into a power purchase agreement with Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc, of Broomfield, Colorado, to purchase up to 100 MW of electric power. The solar power will be produced by an 800-acre solar farm near Crossett, Arkansas, to be completed in 2021. [Texarkana Gazette]

Solar power in Dawson County, Texas. (Submitted photo)

¶ Jonathan Naughton, director of the University of Wyoming’s Wind Energy Research Center, expects that in the next five to seven years up to 5,000 MW of wind power could be built in the state. That is three times the capacity of Wyoming’s current fleet of wind projects. The local utilities want wind power because it is inexpensive. [Casper Star-Tribune Online]

¶ When a New Mexico electric cooperative anxious to lower its rates and pursue greater use of renewable energy learned that doing so would cost it a net $37 million exit fee from its contract with its wholesale power provider, it did what once might have been unthinkable. Now co-op other members are weighing their options. [The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel]

Wind turbines (Photo: Willie Petersen)

¶ Columbia University Professor Jeffrey Sachs said the world’s ways of producing and using energy need to change “much faster, much more dramatically” than political leaders looking to tap hydrocarbon reserves understand. Sachs, a prominent American economist, was speaking at a conference in Cyprus about climate challenges. [El Paso Inc]

¶ Denver International Airport first installed solar power for sustainability reasons in 2008. Now, it has 11.6 MW of solar capacity, with most of the electricity being sold back to the grid. A 2015 survey indicated that the nation’s airports had 70 solar projects. Now more are coming, as the airports consider what to do with open land. [Longview News-Journal]

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