May 31 Energy News

May 31, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Home Battery Storage In Australia: Are We There Yet?” • There is a perfect storm of factors that make home battery storage look attractive in Australia, at least on paper. So, why aren’t Australians rushing to install battery storage? There’s no question that it is still mainly a matter of capital outlays and financial viability. [CleanTechnica]

Are we there yet?

Science and Technology:

¶ The Potsdam Institute For Climate Impact Research, which is commonly known as PIK, has published new research in the journal Nature Climate Change suggesting that the impact of local climate change related weather events, such as flooding along China’s rivers, could create ripple effects that disrupt economies around the world. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The energy efficiency of vertical farms could soon be boosted by as much as 20%. A new system developed by a student from Brunel University London. vFarm, by design student Jonny Reader, uses OLEDs (organic light-emitting diodes) and smart automation to reduce the amount of power used in vertical farming. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Vertical farm (Image ©Brunel University London)

¶ Researchers from Stanford University have determined that failure to meet climate mitigation goals of the Paris Climate Agreement could cost the planet trillions over the next century. This highlights less the climate and environmental benefits of achieving these targets but more the economic risks attendant with ignoring these targets. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Converting biomass to biocoal creates a product with similar characteristics to traditional fossil-based coal, making it a viable option for coal consumers looking to reduce their emissions. Clean Energy Generation claims that using biocoal makes it possible for existing coal-fired power plants to be sustainable without major adjustments. [CleanTechnica]

Biocoal (Image courtesy of Proud Green Building)

World:

¶ German developer Ib Vogt reached financial close on the 54.5-MW Scaldia solar farm in the Netherlands. The solar farm is already under construction on land owned by North Sea Port. HSH Nordbank is providing a €41 million debt facility for the project. Scaldia will supply electricity to Engie under a 17-year power purchase agreement (PPA). [reNews]

¶ Lithuanian state-owned electricity and gas provider Lietuvos Energija has unveiled a plan to increase renewable energy power production and pursue development in neighbouring countries. It will invest in on-shore wind, large-scale solar and biofuels. Its renewable energy assets are expected to reach 1,000 MW by 2025. [pv magazine International]

Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital (David Kosmos Smith | Flickr)

Australia:

¶ Mars Australia is going 100% renewables, and will source all the power for its six Australian factories and two offices from a 200-MW solar farm in Victoria. Mars announced that it signed a 20-year PPA with Total Eren to produce the equivalent of all its power needs from the new Kiamal solar farm when it is complete in mid-2019. [One Step Off The Grid]

¶ The Australian renewable energy sector had a record year on many fronts in 2017, the Clean Energy Council said. Sixteen large-scale renewable energy projects totalling about 700 MW were brought online during the year. Of that, 547 MW was wind capacity. But there was also 1.1 GW of rooftop solar, surpassing its record high, set in 2012. [Renewables Now]

Wind turbines (Photo: City of Melbourne)

¶ The Victoria government has announced planning approval for a new 40-MW wind farm, continuing the boom in renewable energy projects. Approval was given for the Wonwondah wind farm, also known as the Rifle Butts wind farm, to be developed by NewEn. The wind farm will feature 13 turbines on land south-west of Horsham. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Victorian dairy producer Burra Foods signed a 10-year PPA with energy retailer Flow Power for renewably generated electricity. Flow Power had earlier signed its own deal with the 240-MW Ararat wind farm, so it could provide its business customers renewable electricity that was “significantly cheaper” than power from the grid. [RenewEconomy]

Ararat Wind Farm (Photo: Ararat Wind Farm)

US:

¶ MidAmerican Energy proposed building a 591-MW wind farm and formally filed with the Iowa Utilities Board. The company said that it will be the first investor-owned electric utility in the country to generate renewable energy equal to 100% of its customers’ usage on an annual basis, when the Wind XII project is finished. [North American Windpower]

¶ Deepwater Wind’s 400-MW Revolution Wind offshore wind farm is expected to create over 800 jobs during construction and 50 permanent positions in the state of Rhode island. The developer is also planning to invest $250 million in the state, including $40 million in port investment. Work on the project could start as early as 2020. [reNews]

Block Island wind farm (Deepwater Wind)

¶ Facebook is set to build a new data center in Eagle Mountain, Utah. It will span nearly one million square feet and represent a $750 million investment in the city. The data center will be powered by 100% net-new renewable energy through Rocky Mountain power renewable energy tariffs. Facebook will develop its own water system. [KSL.com]

¶ The first large group of employees at the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in New Jersey’s Ocean County are set to leave as the nuclear plant prepares to shut down after nearly a half century of producing electricity. Exelon Corp filed notice that 84 of its workers would be ending their employment with the company, starting in June. [NJ.com]

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