May 22 Energy News

May 22, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Officials tried to censor a report on national parks. Here’s what was in it.” • The Trump administration attempted to release a report from the National Park service about dangers to National Parks from rising sea levels with all references to climate change removed. It identified human-caused climate change as the main culprit behind the rising sea levels. [Grist]

Acadia (Nate Parker Maine Photography | Getty Images)

World:

¶ When Shell holds its annual meeting, shareholders will be asked to support a resolution from the Dutch group Follow This, which demands the company clearly state how it will transition away from being a traditional oil company to leading in renewable energy. Follow This has the support of some major institutional investors. [CleanTechnica]

¶ An independent analysis from Imperial College London found that Gravitricity’s gravity-fed energy storage system may offer a better long-term cost of energy storage than batteries or other potentially available alternatives. The report makes comparisons among the various systems based on their levelized costs of storage. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Gravitricity storage system (Gravitricity image)

¶ Scientists from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden say that an array of new technological achievements relating to gasification of biomass has an impressive potential for the switch to renewable energy. The researchers say the new systems they are putting forward could be even be applied at existing plants worldwide. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ Using electric car battery packs for large-scale energy storage projects is becoming increasingly common. A new one made of BMW i3 battery packs has been connected to the UK National Grid and is one of the largest to date. The project has five units the size of shipping containers, each with 500 i3 BMW battery packs, each with a 33-kWh capacity. [Electrek]

Vattenfall turbines and BMW i3 batteries

¶ Russia’s first floating nuclear power plant arrived in Murmansk, where it will take on nuclear fuel. It is on its way to an isolated area in eastern Russian. The state company behind the plant says it could be a pioneer power source for remote regions, but green campaigners are concerned about the risks it poses of nuclear accidents. [Daily Sabah]

Australia:

¶ Documents obtained under Freedom of Information say the Liddell power station is allowed to emit nearly three times as much nitrogen oxide as is considered best practice. Liddell, in New South Wales, is permitted to emit 1,400 µg of NOx per cubic meter; less than 500 µg per cubic meter is considered an international standard. [ABC Online]

Liddell power station

¶ Some Australian Coalition politicians want AGL punished for refusing either to sell the Liddell coal-burning power plant or to keep it open. They propose changes to fine it heavily or have it face class action. AGL would replace Liddell with a gas-fired plant, upgrades at another coal plant, and renewable energy generation. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

¶ Australian power companies can lead in the clean energy transformation, but must fully integrate renewables, Catherine Tanna, Energy Australia’s managing director, told Bloomberg. She said coal will continue to have a role in Australian energy, but she said she does not think Australia will build any new coal-fired power stations. [Energy Matters]

Australian solar farm (Grahamec, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The main union representing workers at the doomed and decrepit Liddell power station has welcomed AGL Energy’s plan to transition the asset to a clean energy hub, even as conservative politicians insist on a forced sale of the asset to another buyer. The union praised AGL for striking a balance that secures future jobs. [RenewEconomy]

¶ The new coal plants former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has proposed will be uncompetitive in a power grid with increasingly higher shares of renewable energy, the head of Snowy Hydro told the Senate. He said wind and solar energy could outcompete coal power because their short run marginal cost of supply was zero. [The Australian Financial Review]

Snow Hydro turbines (Ear1grey, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ Ameren Missouri has agreed to buy a 400-MW wind farm in the northeast of the state from an affiliate of developer Terra-Gen, once the project is completed. The 175-turbine wind farm will be located in Adair and Schuyler counties, with construction expected to kick off in summer 2019, according to a statement from Ameren. [reNews]

¶ EDP Renewables North America is to sell power from its 50-MW Hidalgo 2 wind farm in Texas to an unnamed client under a 15-year power purchase agreement. The project is expected to start operations in 2019. EDPR said it has now secured over 1.6 GW of long-term PPAs for US wind projects being built between 2016 and 2020. [reNews]

Wind farm and cattle (EDPR image)

¶ Power producers are rushing to build natural gas plants and pipelines to replace retiring coal, but in less than 10 years much of that infrastructure will be more expensive to operate than the cost to build new renewables, analysis released by the Rocky Mountain Institute says. That would leave investors saddled with billions in stranded assets. [Forbes]

¶ A University of Colorado research scientist said she was “extremely happy” the National Park Service released a study on sea level rise even though it “probably destroyed” her career doing agency research. Maria Caffrey refused to accept NPS corrections that are said to have removed words linking global warming to human activity. [The Western Journal]

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