May 23 Energy News

May 23, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “A 100 percent renewable grid isn’t just feasible, it’s already happening” • The ongoing debate around whether it is feasible to have an electric grid running on 100% renewable power in the coming decades often misses one key point: There are many countries and regions that are already at or close to being 100% renewably powered now. [ThinkProgress]

Chinese solar farm (STR | AFP | Getty Images)

¶ “How renewables can provide the same grid services as new gas plants” • Nearly 500 GW of coal, gas, and nuclear plants in the US are likely to retire by 2030. That is about half of the existing thermal generator fleet. Replacing them will require investments of about $500 billion, but they can be replaced with reliable and inexpensive renewable power. [RenewEconomy]

¶ “Waiting for cheaper renewables can cost more in the long run” • Waiting for the price to come down before switching to a new technology may sound like being frugal. But for electrical grids, what saves you money now could cost you much more in the long run, according to a study led by Imperial College London’s Clara Heuberger. [Ars Technica]

Offshore wind (Paul | Flickr)

World:

¶ Following on the heels of a deal for 500 electric refuse trucks in Shenzhen a few days ago, BYD announced another deal for an impressive 200 electric refuse trucks in Indaiatuba, Brazil. The electric refuse weigh in at 21 metric tons when fully loaded. The first twenty of the trucks will be delivered in September, and the rest over 5 years. [CleanTechnica]

¶ As the existential threat of climate change grows, people and communities across the world are growing frustrated with governments dragging their feet on environmental policy. The village of Tyalgum, New South Wales, is going off the grid. And for the people in this bohemian town in Australia’s east coast hinterland, the stakes are high. [CNET]

Tyalgum, New South Wales

¶ The Netherlands has announced that it will ban the use of coal for electricity generation from 2030 onwards, and that the two oldest plants must close by the end of 2024. Germany utility company RWE has deemed the plan “ill judged.” But according to Carbon Tracker, over half of all European coal-burning power plants are losing money. [CleanTechnica]

¶ In France, development company Fonroche will drill the second well of its future deep geothermal power plant near Strasbourg. The first well for the future geothermal power plant in Fonroche has yielded promising results. The second well will be used to create a geothermal doublet, without hydraulic fracturing. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

Geothermal drilling rig in Germany (source: Herrenknecht)

¶ The Taishan power station, operated by China General Nuclear Power Corp, is being loaded with its first nuclear fuel. It is set to become the first plant to operate a European Pressurized Reactor within months. The Franco-German technology has been hit by delays and cost overruns since it was designed in the 1990s, but France is pinning hopes on it. [OZY]

¶ Azure Power secured rights to develop four 50-MW solar farms in the Indian state of Maharashtra. The solar projects will deliver electric power to Maharashtra State Power Generation Company under a 25-year power purchase agreement at 4.7¢/kWh. They are set to be commissioned in 2019 and will take Azure Power’s total capacity to over 2 GW. [reNews]

Solar farm (Azure Power image)

US:

¶ The Oregon Public Utility Commission has declined to acknowledge a short list of four Wyoming wind power projects from a request for proposals by PacifiCorp, saying the process was not sufficiently competitive. PacifiCorp said it will move ahead with the $3.5 billion wind and transmission expansion anyway. [Portland Business Journal]

¶ The American Wind Energy Association says that the number of contracts signed for wind power projects hit a record of 3,500 MW in the first quarter of 2018, a possible predictor of a strong year for wind power. Among the news items it cited was an announcement by PacifiCorp of a plan for a $2 billion wind farm in Wyoming. [Energy Manager Today]

Wind farm

¶ In its Corporate Responsibility Report, Xcel Energy announced it cut carbon emissions 35%, putting itself on track to reach its ambitious goal of reducing carbon emissions 60% by 2030 from 2005 levels. This means that Xcel Energy is a step closer to achieving one of the most aggressive carbon-reduction goals in the industry. [POWER magazine]

¶ Portland General Electric Co, which serves 877,000 Oregon customers, opened bidding on a request for proposals for 100 average MW of renewable power resources. Proposals can include geothermal, biomass, biogas, solar, wind, or hydropower. PGE  is looking for projects at least 10 MW to be added to its portfolio by 2021. [Renewables Now]

Wind farm (Tony Webster, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Research on nearly 700 North American fish species predicts Atlantic cod habitat could shrink by as much as 90% by century’s end and that lobster populations could shift 200 miles farther north due to climate change. A separate research project suggests Maine’s soft-shell clam industry could collapse because of the warming waters. [Press Herald]

¶ New Jersey Gov Phil Murphy plans to sign a bill requiring utility customers to spend over $300 million a year to rescue struggling nuclear power plants run by Exelon Corp and Public Service Enterprise Group Inc, an informed source said. He is also expected to sign a bill calling for  50% of the state’s electricity to be from renewables by 2030. [Bloomberg]

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