Archive for June, 2018

June 30 Energy News

June 30, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “3 Oil Companies Getting Serious About Renewable Energy – and 2 That Aren’t” • The good news is that some of the world’s largest oil and gas producers are investing billions in renewable energy assets, from offshore wind farms to solar energy to next-generation batteries. Unfortunately, other oil majors are all talk with no action. [Motley Fool]

Wind turbines

¶ “‘We’ve turned a corner’: farmers shift on climate change and want a say on energy” • Out in the Australian bush, far from the political jousting in Canberra, attitudes are changing. National Farmers’ Federation head Fiona Simson says people on the land cannot ignore what is right before their eyes. They have turned a corner on climate change. [The Guardian]

Science and Technology:

¶ Levels of air pollution well below what is considered safe by the US EPA and the World Health Organization are causing an increased risk of diabetes worldwide, a study published in Lancet Planetary Health said. In 2016, air pollution contributed to 3.2 million new diabetes cases, worldwide. It is linked to 150,000 new cases per year in the US. [CNN]

Salt Lake City (Eltiempo10, Wikimedia Commons)

World:

¶ Offshore wind turbine manufacturer and developer MHI Vestas announced that its flagship V164 9.5-MW offshore wind turbine, the world’s most powerful wind turbine, was awarded an S class type certificate, paving the way for installations to begin in late 2019. MHI Vestas also held the previous record, which was 8.8 MW. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Following an agreement with Danish energy group Ørsted in February, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy confirmed that it will provide 165 of its SG 8.0-167 DD wind turbines to the 1,386 MW Hornsea Project Two offshore wind farm. The project is set to be built in the Hornsea Offshore Wind Zone off the west coast of England. [CleanTechnica]

Siemens Gamesa SG 8.0-167 DD turbine

¶ Poland’s upper house of parliament approved an amendment to the renewable sources of energy law to remove obstacles to green energy investment and help meet EU renewable energy targets. Poland’s conservative Law and Justice party won the 2015 election partly with promises to sustain the coal industry, but its direction has changed. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ New figures published by the UK’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy showed that renewable energy accounted for 30.1% of the country’s total electricity generation in the first quarter, up 3% from last year. There was record wind generation that accounted for over half of the total renewable energy generation. [CleanTechnica]

Hywind offshore wind farm in Scotland

¶ Three utilities announced a collaboration aimed to advance the research and development of renewable natural gas, including such technologies as power-to-gas, which uses renewable power to synthesize fuel. One of the utilities, Énergir (formerly Gaz Metro), is the parent company of Vermont Gas Systems and Green Mountain Power. [Vermont Biz]

¶ Denmark will build three new offshore wind farms with a total capacity of at least 2,400 MW by 2030, a unanimous Danish parliament agreed. In 2017, 43% of Denmark’s total electricity consumption was supplied by wind turbines, one of the largest shares in the world. Denmark has also increased its renewable energy goals. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Wind energy

US:

¶ According to a report produced by the National Association of State Energy Officials and the Energy Futures Initiative, there are more than twice as many solar power jobs in the US as jobs in the coal industry. Solar was also the fastest growing sector in US employment, before the Trump administration’s policies started to go into effect. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The US Energy Information Administration summarized the true coal power trends very concisely, saying, “At least 25 GW of coal-fired capacity will retire within the next three years (2018–2020), according to planned retirements reported to the EIA.” It also pointed out that natural gas now produces more power than coal. [CleanTechnica]

Coal-fired power plant

¶ A PacifiCorp study concluded that coal plants owned by Wyoming’s largest utility are not always the cheapest power source for customers, particularly compared to renewables. That finding runs counter to assumptions that proximity to coal mines always drives down the cost of coal power, compared with other options. [Casper Star-Tribune Online]

¶ Chinese company GCL New Energy completed construction of the first phase of its 50-MW GCL Oregon solar project, and the facility is already selling power to local utilities. GCL Oregon, located in Jefferson County, consists of four single sub-projects. Two additional sub-projects will reach commercial operation in July and November. [reNews]

GCL solar project (GCL image)

¶ Land O’Lakes, Inc and California Bioenergy have launched a collaboration to support financing, installation, and management of on-farm methane digesters to generate compressed natural gas fuel from renewable resources in California. State law requires that farms reduce methane emissions 40% from 2013 levels by 2030. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ The 11th Circuit shot down a novel request for NextEra Energy to get a tax refund on the $97 million it paid to dispose of nuclear waste. Citing the net operating losses from fees it had paid pursuant to the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, NextEra had sought a refund in from tax payments made between 1969 and 1995. [Courthouse News Service]

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June 29 Energy News

June 29, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “These Are the Toughest Emissions to Cut, and a Big Chunk of the Climate Problem” • Efforts to tackle climate change typically focus on renewable energy or cleaner cars. Without improving shipping, cement, and steel, however, major greenhouse gas pollution sources will be locked in for generations, new research shows. [InsideClimate News]

Ocean shipping (Photo: Sean Gallup | Getty Images)

¶ “How to convince a country to end their reliance on coal” • In a victory for all of us campaigning for a renewable future, Israel’s Minister of Energy, Yuval Steinitz, recently announced that Israel will be free of coal and oil by 2030. We focused on three issues: Coal is bad for public health, bad for public finances, and bad for our climate. [Greenpeace International]

Science and Technology:

¶ A paper by University of Southern Mississippi researchers, published in the journal Scientific Reports, says oil residue from the Deepwater Horizon fire and spill of 2010 caused fundamental changes in microbes playing an important role in marine carbon dioxide absorption. They are also essential building blocks in the food chain for marine life. [CleanTechnica]

Deepwater Horizon (US Coastguard photo)

World:

¶ BYD opened a 24 GWh battery factory in Western China’s Qinghai province, with plans to ramp up to a total production capacity of 60 GWh by 2020. The new factory joins BYD’s two other existing battery factories in Shenzhen and Huizhou. At full capacity, the factory’s 60 GWh of batteries can supply 1.2 million of BYD’s popular Tang EV. [CleanTechnica]

¶ BYD announced that it was releasing the technology for 341 sensors and 66 controllers for its DiLink system “on an open platform” to encourage other companies to adopt a standard platform for the developing EVs. BYD’s DiLink Intelligent Network System is a critical part of its e-Platform, the foundation for its EV technology. [CleanTechnica]

BYD production line in Shenzhen

¶ Canadian Solar has started commercial operations at the 56.3-MW Yamaguchi Shin Mine solar farm in Japan. The project comprises 173,000 Canadian Solar CS6U modules and is expected to generate approximately 66,000 MWh of electricity a year. Chugoku Electric Power will buy the electricity under a 20-year feed-in-tariff contract. [reNews]

¶ The Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro project would have to double or triple in size for Australia to meet its Paris climate change agreements, says Snowy Hydro chief executive Paul Broad. GE’s regional head of hydropower for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Bill Armstrong, agreed, saying the  single project was not enough. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro project (Photo supplied)

¶ Blackrock, the world’s largest investment company, bought a 197.4-MW wind farm in Norway through one of its funds, and it will cover its construction cost. The seller, Zephyr, will continue to manage the farm’s construction, which will cost about €200 million ($231.76 million) and is expected to be completed by the end of 2020. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ Seaway Heavy Lifting crane vessel Stanislav Yudin installed the first monopile foundation for Trianel’s 200-MW Borkum West 2.2 offshore wind farm in the German North Sea. The project is 45 km off the coast of Borkum island. The wind farm will feature 32 Senvion 6.3MW turbines and is scheduled to be operational before the end of 2019. [reNews]

First monopile installation (Image: Trianel | TWB II)

¶ Jan De Nul Group has completed export cable installation at Trianel’s 203-MW Borkum West 2.2 and Orsted 450-MW Borkum Riffgrund 2 offshore wind farms in the German North Sea. Cable laying vessel Willem de Vlamingh and trenching support vessel Adhemar de Saint-Venant were mobilised for both jobs, according to Jan De Nul. [reNews]

US:

¶ For the month of April, coal generated a total of 73,489 MWh, or 24.3% of the country’s total net generation. Natural gas is still dominant with 100,004 MWh, or 33% of production. Meanwhile, nuclear and renewables continued to battle it out, with nuclear having 19.5% and renewables (all sources, including hydroelectric) at 22% of total electricity. [CleanTechnica]

Renewable Energy

¶ Energy Secretary Rick Perry told reporters that bailing out struggling coal and nuclear power plants is as important to national security as keeping the military strong. “You cannot put a dollar figure on the cost to keep America free,” he said. When asked about the cost of a potential bailout, he said he did not yet know. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ Hydro-Québec and Central Maine Power Company jointly announced the successful conclusion of contract negotiations with Massachusetts electric distribution companies for the New England Clean Energy Connect 100% hydropower project. The deal will provide enough renewable electricity to power over 3 million electrical vehicles. [CleanTechnica]

Hydro-Québec reservoir

¶ At the World Gas Conference in Washington this week, the world’s biggest energy companies championed natural gas as the fuel of the future, rather than one that simply bridges the gap toward renewables. Their message was that to reduce emissions and provide affordable electricity, the world needs to burn more fossils, not less. [Bloomberg]

¶ South Carolina state lawmakers have overridden Governor Henry McMaster’s veto of a bill that gives SCE&G customers a rate cut of 15%. The governor had felt the cut did not go far enough in giving customers a break for footing the cost of a disastrous project. He had been hoping for a reduction of 18% for electricity customers. [WLTX.com]

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June 28 Energy News

June 28, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Can Wind Turbines Make You Sick?” • Whether the sound, audible or inaudible, actually impacts human health remains a deeply contested issue. Scientific consensus suggests it does not. Twenty-five peer-reviewed studies looking at a range of health effects have found that living near wind turbines does not pose a risk on human health. [NOVA Next]

Wind turbines

¶ “The single sentence that sums up the government’s latest betrayal of our future” • Just as the UK’s government decided to increase defence spending from 2% to 3% of GDP, it dropped support for “the world’s first tidal power lagoon” in Swansea. The Green Party observed, “The Government’s energy policy is in chaos.” [The Canary]

¶ “New coal doesn’t stack up – just look at Queensland’s renewable energy numbers” • Is all the pro-coal jockeying within the federal government actually necessary for the future of our energy or our economy? There is a reason why virtually all new generation being built in Australia is solar or wind energy. It is because PVs and wind are inexpensive. [Phys.Org]

Windy Hill (Credit: Leonard Low | Flickr | Wikimedia Commons)

World:

¶ Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy announced that it would supply 136 wind turbines to Brazil’s Santa Luzia wind complex, which consists of 15 wind farms with a total capacity of 471 MW. Brazil’s installed wind energy capacity sits at 13 GW, including about 3 GW installed by Siemens Gamesa, and has another 5 GW in its pipeline. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Chinese solar PV maker JinkoSolar confirmed that it intends to ship between 11.5 and 12 GW of solar modules in 2018. It shipped 2,015 MW of solar modules in the first quarter. This is a decrease of 18.8% from the 2,481 MW shipped in the fourth quarter of 2017 and a 2.6% decrease on the 2,068 MW shipped in the first quarter of 2017. [CleanTechnica]

Inside the JinkoSolar factory

¶ Britain must set out policies and incentives to cut greenhouse gas emissions more, or the taxpayer will face higher costs to meet legally-binding targets for reductions, the government’s climate advisers said. Britain has cut greenhouse gas emissions by 43% from 1990 levels, but three quarters of that came from the power sector. [Reuters]

¶ Lord mayor Clover Moore’s plan to make half of Sydney’s power come from renewable energy has been supercharged by the launch of an industrial-sized Tesla Powerpack battery and solar installation. The Alexandra Canal transport depot is powered by about 1600 solar panels and supported by a 500-kWh battery. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

Alexandra Canal Depot (Photo supplied)

¶ One of Scotland’s best known landscapes could become home to a transformational development to provide energy storage capable of meeting the country’s renewable ambitions. Red John, in Loch Ness, would follow the example of existing pumped-storage schemes by making use of two water sources connected by a pressure tunnel. [The Scotsman]

US:

¶ In Oregon, Eagle Point solar farm has a “solar apiary” that has agriculture with PVs. The owners believe the installation is the largest of its kind in the country. Utility-scale solar is sited with 48 beehives, covering 41 acres of land and providing pollination services to surrounding farms, while also producing electricity for the local grid. [Treehugger]

Bee visiting a flower (supersum, CC BY 2.0)

¶ For the first time, large-scale solar is coming to Wyoming. The US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management gave the final environmental approval for Wyoming’s first utility-scale solar project located on roughly 700 acres of land in Sweetwater County. The Sweetwater Solar plant is a project of 174 Power Global. [pv magazine USA]

¶ The City of Albuquerque is installing 12 solar power systems using a bond that will be paid back with electricity savings. Along with this, the local police and fire facilities are increasing their resilience with onsite energy generation. Along the way, the city moves closer to 25% renewable electricity and local jobs are being created. [pv magazine USA]

SunEdison carport (SunEdison photo)

¶ Renewable energy sources accounted for more than one-fifth (20.05%) of net domestic electrical generation during the first third of 2018, according to a SUN DAY Campaign analysis of data released by the US Energy Information Administration. And solar power alone is now providing 2.07% of the nation’s electrical production. [Solar Power World]

¶ In Hawaii, the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative signed a power purchase agreement with project developer and constructor AES Distributed Energy for 25 years, set at a price of 10.85¢/kWh. The utility said the facility will be one of its “lowest-cost power sources.” It has 19.3 MW of solar and 70 MWh of battery storage capacity. [Energy Storage News]

The coast of Kaua’i (Image: Flickr user Paul Bica)

¶ On June 22, Puerto Rico quietly asked the world to deliver one of the biggest battery systems ever built. The proposal, which was posted on a government website, calls for the island to add at least 200 MWh of batteries as it rebuilds in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. That is enough to supply 5% of the island’s peak electricity demand. [Quartz]

¶ The South Carolina House and Senate passed a proposal to cut temporarily SCE&G’s electric rates by almost 15%, almost wiping out the portion of the utility’s power bills that customers now pay for two abandoned nuclear reactors. Gov Henry McMaster threatened to veto the rate-cut bill, saying it does not protect customers well enough. [The State]

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June 27 Energy News

June 27, 2018

Science and Technology:

¶ Around the world, coral reefs are being wiped out by rising sea temperatures, a consequence of climate change. But in some places, there are corals that are able to withstand the heat. Marine biologists are trying to learn what gives these corals their ability to survive warming seas and whether genetic technology could be used to save dying coral reefs. [CNN]

Grouper and coral

¶ John Goodenough invented the lithium-ion battery. Now aged 95, he claims to have invented a new solid state battery with remarkable features. He and his fellow researchers claim their batteries can last for more than 23,000 charge/discharge cycles and have the highest known relative dielectric constant. But the numbers raise some red flags. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Swedish company Azelio says it has developed new technology that could make concentrated solar power suitable for projects as small as 500 kW or as large as 20 MW, according to a report in Renewable Energy Magazine. The key to the Azelio system is that is uses molten aluminum to store heat and a Stirling engine to generate electricity. [CleanTechnica]

Stirling engine

World:

¶ The ongoing renewables surge in Australia is making it harder for the Tony Abbott coal lobby push to gain traction against the National Energy Guarantee. Green Energy Markets predicts clean energy will supply 33.3% of market generation in the eastern states by 2020, rising to 40% by 2030. The NEG goes for 32% to 36% by 2030. [Energy Matters]

¶ Environmental impact non-profit CDP announced that the 115 of the world’s largest purchasers it works with, which together represent annual spend of over $3.3 trillion, are requesting environmental data from over 11,500 suppliers. The list of 115 companies includes behemoths like Walmart, CVS Health, Target Corporation, and Tesco. [CleanTechnica]

Loading containers on a ship

¶ India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy reiterated an offshore windpower capacity target of 5 MW by 2022. It also set a new capacity target of 30 GW by 2030. The announcement came about 18 months after Suzlon Energy started measurements of wind quality off the coast of Gujarat. India’s target for onshore windpower is 60 GW.  [CleanTechnica]

¶ Norwegian developer Equinor has installed and officially launched the batwind storage system at the 30-MW Hywind Scotland floating offshore wind farm. The 1-MW battery is located at the project’s onshore substation. Hywind features five Siemens Gamesa 6-MW turbines atop spar foundations and entered commercial operations last year. [reNews]

Offshore wind turbines (Image: Oyvind Gravas | Equinor)

¶ Xavier Ursat, Group senior executive vice president of EDF in charge of new nuclear projects and engineering, and Andreas Lusch, President and CEO of GE’s Steam Power business, announced signing of a strategic cooperation agreement between GE and EDF for the planned construction of 6 EPR reactors in Maharashtra, India. [New Kerala]

US:

¶ Dickinson College, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, has taken a step towards taking control of its electricity usage with the installation of 12,456 solar panels on a 12-acre plot adjacent to the school. The system represents about 5 solar panels per student and will offset 25% of the usage of the electricity used by the school each year. [CleanTechnica]

Dickinson College solar farm

¶ BP Plc, Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp escaped blame for the public costs of global warming when a US judge ruled that lawsuits by cities against oil companies are not the answer to climate change. The court did accept the reality of human caused climate change, and the cities are reviewing whether they should appeal. [Los Angeles Times]

¶ Golden Gate Zero Emission Marine, a San Francisco Bay Area company, announced it received a $3 million grant by the California Air Resources Board to build the first hydrogen fuel-cell ferry in the US. If hydrogen fuel cells become more widely adopted, the demand could also provide California with support to store renewable energy. [San Francisco Examiner]

Fuel-cell ferry (Courtesy rendering)

¶ In Irvine, California, the Irvine Water District and Michelson Capital announced the completion of the nation’s largest behind-the-meter energy storage project at the Irvine Ranch Water District’s Michelson Water Recycling Plant. The new 2.5-MW/15-MWh installation is a part of a distributed network of 11 energy storage installations. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Ohio lawmakers are considering a bill that would relax the state’s strict wind turbine setbacks rules but again weaken renewable and energy efficiency standards. House Bill 114 would roll back the state’s on-again, off-again clean energy standards, which resumed 18 months ago after a 2014 law suspended them for two years. [Energy News Network]

Wind turbines

¶ Following a strategic review, GE has announced a focus on aviation, power and renewable energy. GE says its energy strategy, driven by GE Power and GE Renewable Energy, is based on offering a range of energy solutions across the electricity value chain. GE is shedding positions in oil services, healthcare, and transportation. [North American Windpower]

¶ Warming waters have reduced the harvest of Alaska’s prized Copper River salmon to a fraction of last year’s harvest, Alaska biologists say. The runs of Copper River salmon were so low that the Alaska Department of Fish and Game shut down commercial harvests last month, cutting a season that usually lasts three months to less than two weeks. [The Japan Times]

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June 26 Energy News

June 26, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Microgrids are the future of U.S. energy security” • Puerto Rico serves as an alarming reminder of the increasing threat of disasters capable causing grid failure anywhere in the country. US Army Corps of Engineers officials are exploring the use of microgrids to reduce the risk of regional, state, or nation-wide power outages. [United States Army]

Puerto Rico (Photo: US Army photo by Preston Chasteen)

Science and Technology:

¶ A Danish company, Ecobotix, is developing solutions that may eliminate the use of chemical pesticides. It uses drones to deliver biological predators that can attack and eliminate agricultural pests. The drones also provide farmers with visual and infrared imagery recorded at fixed intervals so the farmer can see how crops are developing. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Polymetalic nodules containing cobalt, manganese, nickel, and copper can be found lying exposed on the ocean floor in some parts of the Earth. DeepGreen and Nauru Ocean Resources, Inc are developing technology to collect the polymetallic nodules, bring them to the surface, and process them with the objective of producing zero waste. [CleanTechnica]

DeepGreen nodule harvesting

¶ Perovskite solar panels cost much less than silicon-based solar panels, but they are easily damaged by moisture and are harder to manufacture commercially. Researchers at the New York University School of Engineering, working with colleagues at other universities in China and the US, think they have an answer for easier manufacturing. [CleanTechnica]

¶ On June 24, a purpose-built Volkswagen electric race car took its turn racing in the annual Pikes Peak Hill Climb. When it finished, not only had it beat the existing electric car record, it had set the fastest time ever recorded for the event. Its time was just a tick over 7 minutes, 57 seconds, beating the old record by almost 17 seconds. [CleanTechnica]

VW racer on Pikes Peak

World:

¶ The UK government has pulled support for the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon Project. MP Gregory Clark, who is also the Britain’s secretary of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said in the end, the £1.3 billion ($1.7 billion) project was not a value for the money. Ocean Energy Europe was among those that panned the decision. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ Investment in low-carbon energy sources must be at least double the current level to ensure temperature targets are attained, according to a paper published last week in Nature Times. The paper showed that, globally, an extra $460 billion investment into clean energy is needed each year over the next 12 years to meet the 1.5°C limit. [Power Technology]

Wind farm (Wikimedia image)

¶ Egypt’s Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy said it will inaugurate one of the largest wind power farms in the world, a state-run newspaper said. The wind farm, in Egypt’s Red Sea governorate, has 300 wind turbines and a capacity of 580 MW. Construction started in 2015 and cost 12 billion Egyptian pounds (about $625 million). [Arab News]

¶ According to Polish industry bodies, the nation’s government is creating a bill to enable development of offshore wind projects. The news was announced in the Offshore Wind Journal. Polish MP Zbigniew Gryglas confirmed that the country is targeting 6 GW of new offshore capacity by 2030, with the potential of reaching 10 GW by 2040. [Energy Digital]

Offshore wind farm (Getty Images)

¶ The government of South Australia has approved the first phase of a huge renewable energy project that eventually will add 400 MW of PV capacity and 270 MWh of battery storage. The approval was for Solar River Project Stage 1, which will include a 200-MW solar park and a 120-MWh lithium-ion energy storage facility. [Renewables Now]

¶ BYD, known for electric buses and SkyRail, has been working to develope stationary energy storage solutions. BYD brought its two new energy storage offerings to Intersolar Europe in Munich this week as falling battery prices continue to make stationary energy storage a cost-effective option for both businesses and homeowners around the world. [CleanTechnica]

BYD energy storage

US:

¶ The Senate passed a $145 billion spending bill 86-5, with provisions to fund the DOE for 2019. It keeps spending level or slightly increases funds for programs offered through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy as well as the Energy Information Agency. It includes $1.2 billion for nuclear energy research and development. [Greentech Media]

¶ Michigan’s CMS Energy announced the addition of two new planned wind farms to its portfolio. They will have a combined capacity of 250 MW. CMS Energy subsidiary Consumers Energy has entered into an agreement to own, construct and operate the Gratiot Farms Wind Project now being developed by Tradewind Energy. [Windpower Engineering]

Wind turbines

¶ The Hawaiian island of Kauai will become home to a 19.3-MW solar park with a 70-MWh energy storage system, which will help it move closer to reaching a 70% renewables generation target earlier than planned. The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative announced that the project had been approved by the state’s Public Utilities Commission. [Renewables Now]

¶ Santee Cooper asked the South Carolina Supreme Court to rule that twenty electric co-ops – and their almost two million customers – must continue to pay the costs of the state-owned utility’s failed effort to build two nuclear reactors. The petition was a reaction to lawsuits filed against Santee Cooper by some of the co-ops. [The State]

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June 25 Energy News

June 25, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Why solar is suddenly so sexy for Indian companies” • A few months ago, a few firms were experimenting with renewable energy. Now, solar and wind energy tariffs are below grid costs and the government pushing for renewables, so companies are going big on them. Some are even working towards meeting all their needs with clean power. [Quartz]

Solar power (Stringer | Reuters)

¶ “30 years later, deniers are still lying about Hansen’s amazing global warming prediction” • The incredible accuracy of James Hansen’s climate model predictions can debunk a number of climate denier myths. It shows that climate models are accurate and global warming is proceeding as predicted. But some people purposely distort Hanson’s work. [The Guardian]

World:

¶ India’s Directorate General of Trade Remedies is set to hold a public hearing in the national capital with regard to imposition of 70% safeguard duty on imported solar equipment. Solar power developers have expressed concerns that such a duty on solar equipment may jeopardize India’s target of installing 100 GW capacity by 2022. [Moneycontrol.com]

Solar array on water

¶ The roll-out of large-scale solar power in Queensland – and the ongoing rapid uptake of rooftop solar by homes and businesses – is starting to have an impact on electricity prices in the state, even sending prices into negative territory in the middle of the day. On June 19, wholesale electricity prices in the state dipped below zero. [RenewEconomy]

¶ China’s decision to cap deployment and reduce feed-in-tariffs for solar projects may lead to a further drop in module prices, and this is likely to result in further reduction in solar bid tariffs, experts say. Chinese module prices are expected to decline to 29¢/W or lower from the current average of 33¢/W, following this announcement. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Indian solar array

¶ Sembcorp Solar Singapore Pte Ltd won a 50-MW project from the Housing & Development Board and the Singapore Economic Development Board. Sembcorp will build, own, operate, and maintain grid-tied rooftop solar systems in the West Coast and Choa Chu Kang Town Councils along wtih 27 other government sites in Singapore. [The Straits Times]

¶ World leaders and officials from over 100 nations, top heads of UN agencies and multilateral financial institutions, scientists, and activists gathered in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang for the Global Environment Facility’s Assembly to tackle global climate change challenges. The GEF Assembly reviews policy every three to four years. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Air pollution

¶ A windpower boom is underway in Finland. Hundreds of new wind farms are in the pipeline, despite the state’s intention to curb subsidies for the energy source. A renewable energy expert at the Lappeenranta University of Technology, explains that today wind energy is €5 to €7 cheaper per megawatt hour to produce than nuclear power. [YLE News]

¶ Residents of five German cities, including Berlin and Hamburg, took it to the streets on Sunday to protest against the country’s reliance on coal for power production. The Associated Press reported that about 22% of Germany’s electricity comes from burning lignite or brown coal, 12% from hard coal, and 33% from renewable energy. [MINING.com]

Germans protesting against coal (Photo: WWF Twitter page)

¶ London’s first “virtual power station” is to be created using only electricity produced by solar panels fitted on the roofs of houses. Batteries will be installed at about 40 homes already fitted with solar panels within the borough of Barnet. The virtual power station will mean they can both save and earn money from excess energy. [Compelo]

US:

¶ Tippy Dam in Brethren, Michigan, has become Consumers Energy’s latest hydroelectric facility to mark 100 years. The company celebrated the milestone by opening the dam to public tours. A company spokesman said Consumers Energy anticipates that the dam will be vital part of its energy portfolio for years to come. [Manistee News Advocate]

Tippy Dam (Michelle Graves | News Advocate)

¶ Thirty years after many Americans first heard the term climate change, Skagit County, Washington – like the rest of the world – is warmer on average. The North Cascades now has less glacial ice and the Sauk River has more intense winter floods. The changes NASA scientist James Hansen warned Congress about in June 1988 are now real. [goskagit.com]

¶ Michigan energy suppliers say that the Trump administration proposal to declare an energy state of emergency is unnecessary and could lead to higher electric bills for customers. One nuclear and four more coal plants are to retire in Michigan by 2025. The closures would nearly eliminate grid-supporting coal generation in the state. [The Detroit News]

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June 24 Energy News

June 24, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Thirty Years Ago Today, Global Warming First Made Headline News” • On June 23, 1988, amid a host of environmental issues, global warming jumped from an esoteric news item to the front page. That day, NASA climate scientist James Hansen told a US Senate committee that human-produced greenhouse gases were measurably heating the climate. [NOVA Next]

Fire at Yellowstone National Park in 1988

¶ “How big corporations are – and aren’t – fighting global warming” • Major companies in the US and worldwide are increasingly acting to lower the carbon footprint of what they produce, how they ship goods, and the energy they buy. They are driven by market signals, government mandates, reputational interests, investor pressure, and other factors. [Axios]

¶ “Green energy feels the heat as subsidies go to fossil fuels” • The “big six” energy companies have raised their prices so that the average British household is paying £1,150 to £1,200 a year. Grassroots schemes can cut electricity bills in half, but with subsidy changes, the number that succeed dropped from 30 in 2016 to one last year. [The Guardian]

Bavarian village of Grossbardorf, fuelled by biogas from
its farms (Photo: Martin Siepmann | Rex | Shutterstock)

Science and Technology:

¶ North Dakota-based Weather Modification International uses planes to target clouds and draw out more rain from them. The concept, called cloud seeding, has been around for decades. But now, there is new urgency due to climate change and a rapidly growing global population, which have disrupted global water supplies. [CNN]

World:

¶ Talks over a 1,000 km (620 mile), 1,000-MW cable to carry electric power from geothermal plants in Iceland to the UK have been on the cards for decades. Iceland’s finance minister has called on the UK Government to offer a fixed energy price to enable plans for an undersea electricity cable between the two countries to move ahead. [Telegraph.co.uk]

Steam rising from a  geothermal power plant in
Iceland (Photo: Daniel Bosma | Moment Open)

¶ The Gujarat government announced a scheme under which farmers would be encouraged to generate electricity and sell their surplus to power distribution companies. The first phase of the ₹870 crore ($130.8 million) project would provide financial assistance to 12,400 farmers to generate an estimated 175 MW of power. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ Four renewable energy power plants with a total capacity of 120 MW will be put into operation in Mongolia’s southeast province of Dornogovi this year, the governor’s office said. They include three solar arrays with a combined capacity of 65 MW and a 55-MW wind farm. The country has more than 250 days of sunshine a year. [Pakistan Observer]

Small Mongolian PV system (Chinneeb, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ One of WWF Zimbabwe’s strategic objectives is to support renewable energy access and investments in the country. As part of achieving this objective, WWF Zimbabwe promoted biogas as a possible solution for reducing over-reliance on wood energy by households in two districts. Biogas makes people’s lives easier in a number of ways. [sundaymail.co.zw]

¶ While Japan’s government clings to atomic power even after the Fukushima nuclear crisis, its private sector is moving ahead with more use of renewables to power their operations amid growing international awareness of global warming. In parts of Japan, renewable power developers would supply much more than the grid can accept. [Japan Today]

Experimental turbine being towed in Japan (Kyodo image)

¶ India and Cuba have agreed to enhance cooperation in biotechnology, renewable energy, and medicine as President Ram Nath Kovind held wide-ranging talks with his Cuban counterpart Miguel Diaz-Canel to further cement their strong bilateral ties. Kovind arrived on the last leg of a tour including Greece and Suriname. [ETEnergyworld.com]

US:

¶ A freight train from Alberta derailed in northwest Iowa, leaking crude oil into the flooded fields flanking the tracks and raising concerns about the possible contamination of residential water supplies downstream, according to officials. No information was immediately available on how much oil each of the tankers was carrying. [CBC.ca]

Derailed cars (Sioux County Sheriff’s Office via Associated Press)

¶ Between 2016 and 2017 the amount of solar power produced in Minnesota jumped from almost nothing to 1.2% of the state’s electricity, the Minnesota Department of Commerce said. Now, with falling costs and environmental concerns, several cities, including Minneapolis, are setting bold goals for 100% renewable power. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

¶ After months of furious rhetoric from lawmakers, time for action is running out as legislators return to Columbia for a special, two-day session. They plan to finalize the state’s 2018-19 budget and pass bills aimed at protecting SC residents who pay higher power bills because of the VC Summer nuclear plant fiasco. But success is not guaranteed. [The State]

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June 23 Energy News

June 23, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Cleveland can lead in switch to clean energy” • On June 22, 1969, an oil slick in the Cuyahoga River caught fire, one of several such fires in the river’s history. Historically, the river was fed by pollution from Cleveland’s industry. The Cleveland of 2018 looks dramatically different – it’s a healthier city ecologically, and it’s working to diversify economically. [cleveland.com]

The Farrell, a crane and drilling barge, getting soil samples
for a pilot wind farm (John Funk, The Plain Dealer, File, 2015)

¶ “Indonesia poised to benefit as China’s Belt and Road turns green” • The Belt and Road Initiative, was unveiled by President Xi Jinping of China in September 2013 to reawaken and extend the old Silk Road for enhanced international trade, development, and cooperation. It is exected account for 30% of global gross domestic product. [Jakarta Post]

World:

¶ Global annual wind power capacity additions are now expected to average over 67 GW between 2018 and 2027 according to an updated forecast from MAKE Consulting, which had to upgrade its own forecasts made just last quarter. The organization projects that windpower will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 8%. [CleanTechnica]

Lake Turkana Wind Farm in Kenya

¶ Major players in the offshore wind market are eyeing India’s first 1-GW offshore wind farm, according to a list of interested parties released by the National Institute of Wind Energy. The list covers 35 companies that responded to an April call for expressions of interest to develop a project off the coast of the state of Gujarat. Three of them are Indian. [reNews]

¶ Turkey’s Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources is accepting applications for a 1,200-MW offshore wind plant, which will be the biggest in the world and Turkey’s first. The ceiling price for one MWh has been set as $8 and applicants will compete for the lowest bid in a reverse auction. Applications are due no later than October 23. [Daily Sabah]

Offshore wind farm

¶ Taiwan awarded Ørsted and a Northland Power-led consortium a total of 1664 MW of offshore wind capacity it is latest auction. Ørsted won 920 MW, taking its total Changhua pipeline to 1.82 GW. The Danish developer made successful bids of $84.06/MWh (€72.23). The Northland Power consortium won 744 MW with a bid of $73.40/MWh. [reNews]

¶ The first vessel powered by renewables and hydrogen, “Energy Observer”, moored at Flisvos Marina in Athens as part of its world tour to raise awareness on energy transition. Since it left France last June, Energy Observer has traveled more than 7,000 nautical miles, without emitting any greenhouse gases or fine particles. [Xinhua]

Energy Observer (Marios Lolos | Xinhua)

¶ The start of power generation by two AP1000 reactors under construction in China moved a step closer with first criticality being achieved at Sanmen 1 and the loading of fuel beginning at Haiyang 1. Both units are expected to begin operations by the end of this year. If they do so, they will be the first operating AP1000 reactors. [World Nuclear News]

US:

¶ Cobb EMC, an electric cooperative utility based in Georgia, announced an expansion of its solar energy portfolio through a 30-year power purchase agreement with Green Power EMC. This, along with other recent solar initiatives, increased the cooperative’s solar portfolio by 360% since 2016. Cobb EMC can now supply power at below 3¢/kWh. [Patch.com]

Solar array (Cobb EMC image)

¶ Former Senators Trent Lott of Mississippi and John Breaux of Louisiana, longtime lobbyists for big oil, formed a new political action committee. It is dedicated to the passage of a carbon tax. The plan would impose a carbon tax starting at $40, “rising gradually” at an as-yet-unspecified rate, with all the revenue returned as per-capita dividends. [Vox]

¶ This summer, Team Sunergy’s 2018 crew is taking Appalachian State University’s Cruiser Class solar car ROSE to race in two international competitions. The crew includes 15 team members, four faculty advisors, and a university photographer. They are setting off to Nebraska for the Formula Sun Grand Prix , held July 6–12. [Appalachian State University]

ROSE (Racing on Solar Energy)

¶ The IRS is extending incentives for solar power and other clean energy sources by as long as four years. Developers can claim a 30% tax credit for solar projects as long as they prove they’ve started construction by the end of 2019, an IRS notice said. That means breaking ground or investing at least 5% of the total expected costs of the installation. [Bloomberg]

¶ Two reports provide new details about Xcel Energy’s Colorado Energy Plan. The plan’s low bid prices for new renewable energy projects in the state include $35/MWh for solar with battery backup. The analysis of the impacts of the plan indicate boosts in employment and tax revenue for both Colorado and Pueblo County. [Clean Cooperative]

Colorado wind turbines (Jeffrey Beall, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The California Public Utilities Commission approved a 12-year solar rebate program for low-income homeowners living in disadvantaged communities, extending California’s Single-Family Affordable Solar Homes program. A law passed in 2013 required the CPUC to seek ways to enable solar power in disadvantaged areas. [Solar Power World]

¶ A California renewable energy company is working to create the first wind farm in Knox County, Illinois. Orion Renewable Energy Group plans to bring the farm to the land north of Galesburg but south of the Henry County line. The project would include a maximum of 150 wind towers generating up to 300 MW of power. [Galesburg Register-Mail]

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June 22 Energy News

June 22, 2018

Science and Technology:

¶ The results from the first experimental agrophotovoltaic program by the Fraunhofer Institute For Solar Energy Systems near Lake Constance in Germany found combining agriculture and farming increased the output of the land by 60% over what it would be if the same land was devoted 100% to farming or 100% to solar panels. [CleanTechnica]

Agrophotovoltaic system (©Fraunhofer ISE)

World:

¶ Mainstream Renewable Power has installed first of 50 turbines at the 170-MW Sarco wind farm in northern Chile. The Aela Energia-owned project, developed and built by Mainstream, features 3.4-MW Senvion turbines. The components were brought 160 km from the Port of Las Losas to the project site in Chile’s Atacama region. [reNews]

¶ Hybrit, which plans to make steel without using any fossil fuels, has broken ground in Sweden for its first pilot plant. Its CEO said that if the new process were applied to all of Sweden’s steel-making industry, the nation’s carbon emissions could be reduced by 10%. Hybrit is a consortium of Vattenfall, steel maker SSAB, iron ore producer LKAB. [CleanTechnica]

Making steel

¶ The world’s first sea-going car and passenger ferry fuelled by renewable energy is to be developed in Scotland. The vessel’s fuel will be produced from renewable electricity marking a paradigm shift towards entirely emissions-free marine transport. The supported development is expected to cost around €12.6 million. [Scottish Construction Now]

¶ BYD and its local partner Alexander Dennis Ltd have won London’s first order for fully-electric double-decker buses. The deal will see 37 BYD ADL Enviro400EV buses serving London’s transit passengers in the spring of 2019. London currently has five electric double-decker buses. It still has more than 6,800 double-decker buses to replace. [CleanTechnica]

London electric double-decker bus

¶ Backbenchers in Australia’s Coalition government are speaking in favor of its energy plan after complaints from former prime minister Tony Abbott. An unlikely alliance could kill the policy; Greens MP and Australia Capital Territory Climate Change Minister Shane Rattenbury joined Mr Abbott in dismissing the plan. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

¶ NEC Energy Solutions announced that they have completed and commissioned the largest energy storage system in Europe for EnspireME. The 48-MW energy storage system, located in Germany, has over 50 MWh of storage capacity and will generate revenue from the primary reserve market by providing reactive power for grid stabilization. [Business Wire]

Energy storage system in Jardelund, Germany

¶ As in other Latin American countries, China has become a strong investor in Argentina. But the environmental impact and economic benefits of this are subjects of discussion among local stakeholders. Energy is a key interest. One Argentine NGO’s study focuses on China’s financing of hydroelectric, nuclear, and hydrocarbon projects. [eco-business.com]

¶ The organizing committee for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic games aims to power them with renewable energy. All electricity will be derived from renewable energy sources. The committee also plans to use rental and lease services so that 99% of the goods procured for the Tokyo games will be reused or recycled. [The Japan Times]

Solar panels (Getty Images)

US:

¶ Hawaii has the country’s most aggressive Renewable Portfolio Standard, a plan to double renewable energy penetration by 2021, and multiple counties committed to a 100% renewable public transportation system. And Maui College just announced that it will become the first school in the country to be powered by 100% solar energy. [pv magazine USA]

¶ The Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center of Stony Brook University will play a key role in a nationwide research and development consortium for the offshore wind industry. Support will come from a public-private partnership of state governments, the offshore wind industry, utilities, and research laboratories. [Windpower Engineering]

Offshore wind farm

¶ Texas has some innovative microgrid projects as developers leverage its many opportunities. Electrical Midstream is a case in point. It is among 12 microgrid developers chosen to participate in the Microgrid Financing Connection program, which was launched at the Microgrid 2018 conference to match projects with financing. [Microgrid Knowledge]

¶ US oil and gas operations release far more methane into the atmosphere than the federal government estimates, causing much more harm to the environment and undermining the case for cleaner-burning natural gas as a bridge fuel to a carbon-free future, according to a study published in the prestigious journal Science. [Houston Chronicle]

Searching for a gas leak (Photo: Andrea Morales, STR | NYT)

¶ New York Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled an energy storage roadmap to guide the state to a 1.5-GW target by 2025. The plan offers guidance on how storage can provide value to consumers, meet grid demands, and accelerate deployment. It also highlighted ways to deal with permitting and siting issues and to cut indirect costs. [reNews]

¶ Connecticut Gov Dannel P Malloy signed two bills related to climate change and renewable energy. The Democratic state executive said he signed the bills because climate change “poses a threat” to the state’s residents. One bill contains provisions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and looks ahead to sea level rise. [Electric Light & Power]

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June 21 Energy News

June 21, 2018

World:

¶ Global law firm Hogan Lovells published a report showing the challenges posed by producing and accessing renewable energy in Africa, and how these can be overcome to achieve potential and scale. The analysis also highlights the potential for renewable energy production to revolutionize access to energy throughout the continent. [ESI Africa]

Renewable power in Africa

¶ Exhibitors at the Solar Canada conference in Calgary say the decision by Ontario premier-designate Doug Ford to axe Ontario’s cap-and-trade system and the Green Ontario Fund consumer rebate program means they may do less solar energy-related business in Ontario. They expect more investment to flow to Alberta and the US. [The Record]

¶ India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has clipped the wings of state energy bodies by abolishing the requirement that renewable energy projects receive state approval. Three solar projects that have been slowed down, with a total 7,750 MW of grid-connected PV capacity, are among those that will now move ahead more quickly. [pv magazine India]

Indian solar plant (Epagemakerwiki, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The French government approved six long-delayed offshore wind projects but sharply cut their subsidies. The six projects to French and foreign utilities had contracts to sell electricity at feed-in tariffs of around €200/MWh for 20 years guaranteed by the government, but after long delays for approval, that is being reduced to €150/MWh. [Reuters]

¶ South Korea’s energy ministry said it will compensate the state-run nuclear operator for the financial loss incurred by the early closure of an aged reactor. The Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co has decided to shutter Wolsong-1 before the end of its operational life cycle. The company had spent $536.2 million on improvements. [Yonhap News]

Wolsong-1 reactor (Yonhap)

Australia:

¶ A year’s worth of greenhouse gas savings of Australia’s solar panels could be wiped out because of technical problems at a single oil and gas project in Western Australia. Chevron promised its new Gorgon gas plant would capture and store 40% of its emissions through geo-sequestration. But the scheme has not worked yet. [ABC News]

¶ The Australian Capital Territory has warned it will be “very difficult” to sign on to the national energy guarantee in early August if the federal government fails to give any ground in the coming weeks. The ACT climate change minister said he has seen no willingness at the Commonwealth level to make any concessions. [The Guardian]

Factory emissions in New South Wales (Dave Hunt | AAP)

¶ Construction has started on Stockyard Hill Wind Farm project in Victoria. The project is being developed by Goldwind, a Chinese wind turbine manufacturer. The 530-MW wind farm will feature 149 wind turbines and will have enough generating capacity to power more than 340,000 households across Victoria and beyond. [Power Technology]

US:

¶ A California Senate panel has narrowly advanced a contentious proposal to link oversight of California’s power grid with other western states. The committee’s vote keeps alive a plan that has divided environmentalists and sparked passionate debate about the best way to expand renewable energy in the state and its neighbors. [Electric Light & Power]

San Francisco at night

¶ Southwestern Electric Power Co announced that the Louisiana Public Service Commission has approved the proposed Wind Catcher Energy Connection project. The $4.5 billion WCEC is a major wind farm and a dedicated power line that will bring low-cost, clean, reliable energy to AEP customers in Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. [Benzinga]

¶ MidAmerican Energy Co, based in Des Moines, provided its Iowa customers with more than half of their electricity from renewable sources last year. The Iowa Utilities Board verified that MidAmerican Energy served 50.8% of its retail electric load using renewable generation and expects this percentage to grow each year. [North American Windpower]

Iowa wind farm

¶ Puerto Rico’s governor signed a historic bill to privatize the territory’s troubled power company in a move many hope will help minimize power outages that have followed Hurricane Maria and stabilize the production and distribution of energy. The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority faces more than $9 billion in public debt. [Seattle Times]

¶ Chicago, which has committed to power its 900 municipal buildings with 100% renewable electricity by 2025, has joined a seven-city collaboration to request price estimates for renewable electricity. The collaboration, led by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, also includes Los Angeles; Houston; Orlando; Portland, Oregon; and Evanston, Illinois. [pv magazine USA]

Chicago

¶ Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper issued an executive order that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment develop a rule to establish a low-emissions vehicle program for the state which incorporates the requirements of the California LEV program. His order has specific deadlines to be met this year. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The United States imposed an additional 25% tariff on imported Chinese solar cells and modules last week in America’s steadily escalating trade war with one of the world’s most dominant economies and international powers. The newly imposed tariffs will impact $50 billion worth of Chinese products, including solar cells and modules. [CleanTechnica]

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June 20 Energy News

June 20, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “The Lifesaving Benefits of Offshore Wind Power” • As an environmental health and climate researcher, I’m intrigued by how offshore wind power may improve public health. Replacing fossil fuels with wind and solar energy, research shows, can reduce risks of asthma, hospitalizations and heart attacks. In turn, that can save lives. [US News & World Report]

Offshore wind farm (Sean Gallup | Getty Images)

Science and Technology:

¶ A nuclear experiment that borrows elements from existing designs to create a stable fusion reactor could make never-ending energy a reality within decades. A Washington startup, Agni Energym, says its ‘beam-target’ reactor focuses and controls the elements needed to achieve nuclear fusion more efficiently than other designs. [Infosurhoy]

¶ Cost reductions of up to 30% have been realised on elements of the 28-MW Nissum Bredning offshore wind farm demonstration project off the coast of Jutland in Denmark, according to Siemens Gamesa. The project showcases a several different engineering innovations that reduce costs of installation and the efficiency of electricity transmission. [reNews]

Turbine at Nissum Bredning (Siemens Gamesa image)

World:

¶ Finnish technology company Wärtsilä has unveiled a solar and energy storage hybrid system that it says will enable companies to deliver renewable electricity as “baseload” power. The system includes a software and control platform, which optimizes performance as it monitors changes in market conditions and rate structures. [reNews]

¶ Canada’s Magna builds cars for other companies, most notably BMW and Jaguar Land Rover. It builds the new Jaguar I-PACE at its Magna Steyer facility in Austria. It announced it has formed a joint venture with Beijing Electric Vehicle Company, a BAIC subsidiary, to engineer and build two new premium electric cars for the Chinese market. [CleanTechnica]

Zhenjiang car factory

¶ The number of offshore wind farms in operation, under construction, or in development has grown 10% in the last 12 months to 104 GW from 95 GW, RenewableUK data shows. The UK leads the list with 35.2 GW, followed by Germany with 23.4 GW, then Taiwan with 8.3 GW, China with 7.7 GW, and the US at 7.5 GW. [reNews]

¶ New solar power installations halved in the UK last year for the second year in a row, as fallout from government subsidy cuts continues. They declined from 4.1 GW in 2015 to 1.97 GW in 2016, and 0.95 GW last year. Labour said the figures showed the government’s commitment to green energy was “nothing but an empty PR move.” [The Guardian]

Solar installer (Ashley Cooper | Global Warming Images | Alamy)

Australia:

¶ Australia’s coal-fired generation could provide as little as 8% of its power as early as 2050, as it is replaced by cheap renewables and battery storage, along with household energy investments. The latest National Energy Outlook from Bloomberg New Energy sees technology and economics as more important than government policies. [RenewEconomy]

¶ The annual Bloomberg New Energy Finance energy outlook forecasts renewable power investment in Australia will reach more than A$186 billion ($138 billion) by 2050 as the rate of new wind and solar entering the market increases to account for 92% of all generation. BNEF projected further declines in the costs of renewable power. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

Rooftop solar panels in Australia (Photo: Jason South)

¶ Genex Power’s Queensland-based Kidston pumped hydro storage and solar project received more than $500 million from a government infrastructure fund that has previously drawn flak as a facility to prop up coal projects. The project is the first funded by the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility fund since it was overhauled. [The Sidney Morning Herald]

¶ The 2018 Lowy Institute’s annual poll on Australian attitudes found massive support for renewables. Asked if the government should focus on renewables “even if this means we may need to invest more” or traditional energy “even if this means the environment may suffer to some extent,” 84% of respondents chose renewables. [The Sidney Morning Herald]

Liddell power station (Photo: Janie Barrett)

US:

¶ The American Council on Renewable Energy, a national business group made up of companies that finance, develop, manufacture, and use all forms of renewable energy, announced the launch of a new campaign that aims to reach $1 trillion in new US private sector investment in renewable energy and enabling grid technologies by 2030. [Business Wire]

¶ Hydro-Québec and Central Maine Power Company have successfully concluded contract negotiations with the electric distribution companies in Massachusetts for the New England Clean Energy Connect, 100% hydropower project. Now, the agreement will go to the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Hydropower (Courtesy of Hydro-Québec)

¶ Nashville-based solar developer and operator Silicon Ranch Corp will build another 194 MW of solar capacity as part of a partnership with Georgia renewable energy provider Green Power EMC, the two said in separate statements. The capacity will come from four single-axis tracking solar parks in middle and south Georgia. [Renewables Now]

¶ New Hampshire Republican Gov Chris Sununu vetoed two energy-related bills that he says would have cost ratepayers about $110 million over three years. But key members of his party are bristling at the move, calling one bill a vital lifeline for the biomass and timber industry. And they say they have the votes to override a veto. [Concord Monitor]

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June 19 Energy News

June 19, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “US Offshore Wind Upends Plans For Saving Coal & Nuclear Power Plants” • If the latest news out of the US DOE is any indication, the Trump Administration’s newest stratagem for keeping old coal and nuclear power plants in operation – make the taxpayers pay extra to keep uneconomical power plants running – is going nowhere fast. [CleanTechnica]

Sea Installer at work

¶ “Could the U.S. Retire Most of Its Coal-Fired Power Plants by 2040?” • The Energy Information Administration said coal could still generate 22% of US electricity in 2050, but there is a reason why it may be wrong. Utilities and electricity generators are far more eager to get away from coal than market outlooks seem to take into account. [Motley Fool]

World:

¶ China suddenly announced late last month that it would cap its solar additions in 2018 to curtail oversupply. Shortly after that, market research firm EnergyTrend, based in Taiwan, revised its forecast for the country’s solar capacity additions this year, and it lowered its global forecast from 106 GW to between 92 GW and 95 GW. [CleanTechnica]

Solar panels in China (Shutterstock image)

¶ The Solar Trade Association and Solar Power Europe are celebrating big wins for solar under the EU’s revised Renewable Energy Directive, which be in effect in 18 months. Its measures include the recognition of the role and rights of prosumers, local Government, and community energy. It also would reduce red tape. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ The world’s six largest multilateral development banks committed $35.2 billion to climate financing for developing economies in 2017, a seven-year high and up 28% on 2016. Of the $35.2 billion, $27.9 billion is focused on projects that aim to slow down the pace of global warming, with the rest for climate adaptation projects. [CleanTechnica]

Please click on the image to enlarge it

¶ A majority of state-owned banks and financial institutions in India continued to fund coal projects in 2017, according to a report prepared by the Delhi-based Centre for Financial Accountability. It found that coal received ₹60,767 crore ($9.35 billion) in lending whereas renewable energy received ₹22,913 crore ($3.50 billion) [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ Israeli renewable energy company Ellomay Capital Ltd has awarded the engineering, procurement and construction contract for its 300-MW DC Talasol PV project in Spain to METKA EGN Ltd. Ellomay’s chief executive said the Talasol project is expected to be one of Europe’s largest PV projects and one of its first to work without subsidies. [Renewables Now]

Spanish solar park (Som Energia Cooperativa, CC-BY-SA)

¶ The technology group Wärtsilä is leading the way to the power industry’s transformation towards a future that utilises 100% renewable energy. Wärtsilä is making a call to action since the technologies required to achieve this vision are already available. In a changing energy sector, Wärtsilä is harnessing its extensive capabilities to lead that change. [SteelGuru]

¶ Britain is throwing away its opportunity to rule the global wave and tidal energy sector due to lack of government support, a series of leading developers have told the Guardian. The nation is currently seen as a world leader in capturing renewable energy from the oceans but some companies are already heading for new shores. [The Guardian]

Tidal turbine (Photo: Jeff J Mitchell | Getty Images)

¶ Bloomberg NEF published its annual analysis of the future of the global electricity system. For the first time, it highlights the impacts of falling battery costs. BNEF predicts that lithium-ion battery prices, already down by nearly 80%, will continue to tumble as electric vehicle manufacturing builds up through the 2020s. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

US:

¶ Pennsylvania conservation officials released a plan to confront climate change on public land as flooding, wildfires and warmer bodies of water threaten wildlife, landscapes and recreation. The state will identify the most resilient microclimates, then try to physically connect them by acquiring the land or developing easements. [StateImpact Pennsylvania]

Pennsylvania wetland (Nicholas, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Electricity and natural gas distributor National Grid released “Northeast 80×50 Pathway,” outlining various measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050. The program includes in-depth modelling and analysis addressing the three most carbon-intensive sectors in the Northeast: power generation, heating, and transportation. [Power Technology]

¶ A large energy storage system is being added to Texas’ largest solar power plant. Vistra Energy showed plans for the energy storage project to investors. The facility will have a 10-MW/42-MWh lithium-ion battery. The solar power plant has a peak output of “nearly 200 MW,” even though its interconnection application is only 180 MW. [pv magazine USA]

Salt River project

¶ An energy storage company in Wilton, Connecticut, is working to reduce energy costs through use of its batteries, which are about the size of an egg carton. Cadenza Innovation was founded in 2012 and is headed by Swedish-born chemist Dr Christina Lampe-Önnerud. The technology will be rolled out in New York in the next year. [WTNH.com]

¶ The final tab for South Carolina’s failed nuclear power project could increase by $421 million after a state audit found the two utilities behind it owe sales tax on the materials they bought for the unfinished plant. The bill, obtained by The Post and Courier, includes $11 million of interest on a $410 million claim for back taxes. [Charleston Post Courier]

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June 18 Energy News

June 18, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Global warming cooks up ‘a different world’ over 3 decades” • We were warned. On June 23, 1988, a sultry day in Washington, Dr James Hansen told Congress that global warming was not approaching – it had already arrived. Thirty years later, it’s clear that Hansen and other doomsayers were right. And the change has been sweeping. [The Denver Post]

James Hansen (Marshall Ritzel, The Associated Press)

Science and Technology:

¶ In a world first, Siemens is opening a £1.5-million pilot project in Oxfordshire employing ammonia as a form of energy storage. The proof-of-concept facility will turn electricity, water, and air into ammonia without releasing carbon emissions. The ammonia can be stored and burned for electricity, sold as a fuel, or used for industrial purposes. [businessgreen.com]

¶ Tesla’s cobalt usage will soon be a thing of the past if Elon Musk has his way. And it makes sense. Cobalt prices are soaring. There is an ethical dilemma with cobalt’s primary sourcing, as much of its mining is tainted with corruption and human rights violations, including child labor. And Panasonic announced it is developing cobalt-free batteries. [CleanTechnica]

Cobalt (Photo: cobalt123 on Foter.com, CC BY-SA)

World:

¶ Through Gigawatt Global Cooperative UA, the US has signed an agreement with Economic Community of West African States, aiming to develop $1 billion renewable energy projects in Africa. Under the terms of the agreement, Gigawatt Global will install 800 MW of solar and wind farms in Burkina Faso, Senegal, Mali, Nigeria, and Gambia. [African review]

¶ A number of Japanese companies are expressing interest in the EnergySail, a system that combines solar and wind energy to provide power for ships. Plans are underway to begin production for commercial release of the Aquarius Eco Ship Project, as the solar power system, batteries, and computer system are all now ready. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]

Aquarius Eco Ship (Image: Eco Marine Power)

¶ Electricity Exchange, an Irish company providing smart grid technology and virtual power plant services, announced that it will double its workforce. The Company, in which Bord na Móna took a 50% share in 2016, operated a virtual power plant from its 24-hour operations center in Limerick. Now it is entering the global market to sell its products. [Limerick Post]

Australia:

¶ Tasmania has some of the best wind resources in the world and there is a line of companies looking to harness the energy. This month Hydro Tasmania announced more details for its plan to introduce pumped hydro in order to become the “battery of the nation.” But Tasmania’s power potential hangs on improving interconnection with the mainland. [ABC News]

Woolnorth wind farm (Photo: David Murphy)

¶ The latest version of Australia’s National Energy Guarantee has raised concerns that it could put a de-facto cap on efforts by state governments, retailers, and even corporate buyers to go beyond the the federal government’s weak targets. Those interested in renewable energy have complained about at least two potential big problems. [RenewEconomy]

¶ The 2018 Off Target report, published by the Climate Action Network Europe, said Ireland is the second-worst performing EU member state in tackling climate change, both in terms of its national action and its support for greater ambition. CAN is very critical of Ireland and warns that it “faces annual non-compliance costs of around €500 million.” [Irish Times]

Irish wind farm (Photo: Dara Mac Donaill | The Irish Times)

¶ Eastern Australia is home to the world’s largest battery. It is increasingly integrating renewable energy into one of the world’s longest interconnected energy systems. And in the past six months, about 180 MW of new demand response resources have entered the ancillary services markets. The effects on obsolete technology are disruptive. [RenewEconomy]

¶ The 228-MW Lal Lal wind farm in Victoria has attracted the corporate investors it needs to go ahead with construction. Lal Lal, which is being built by Vestas and Zenviron, is expected to be fully operational in late 2019, at which point it is expected to generate over 650 GWh per annum, enough energy to power over 92,000 households. [RenewEconomy]

Kangaroos and wind turbines (Vestas Wind Systems AS)

US:

¶ Innogy is to build a 440-MW portfolio of solar PV projects in partnership with local player Birdseye Renewable Energy. A total of 13 developments are included in the deal, which is part of what the German utility calls its “renewables expansion strategy.” The projects are in the North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Mississippi. [reNews]

¶ President Donald Trump ordered a rescue of the nation’s struggling coal and nuclear power industries, but that does not mean utilities are reconsidering the shutdown of unprofitable plants. Many said Trump has not altered their plans to retire old units despite the prospect of his trying to force grid operators to buy power from old plants. [Bloomberg]

Cross Generating Station (Photo: Luke Sharrett | Bloomberg)

¶ The 15th annual American Renewable Energy Day Summit is underway this week in Aspen. The 2018 summit has 176 speakers taking part in more than 80 panel discussions, keynote addresses and networking events. Founder Chip Comins is known for saying, “Climate change doesn’t give us a break, so we’re not going to give it one, either.” [Aspen Times]

¶ Ward County, North Dakota, is on the radar of wind energy companies seeking new areas for expansion. The Ward County Planning Office has had contacts with three companies interested in potential projects, including one that is considering reviving a portion of the large Hartland project that had been proposed 10 years ago. [Minot Daily News]

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June 17 Energy News

June 17, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Full Fledged 5 Alarm Climate Emergency In Antarctica” • Abusing the Earth is finally having the effects scientists have been warning us about for decades. But as the Earth burns, our leaders have fiddled, frittering away nearly every chance to rein in the destruction before it is too late. Now the point of no return may be upon us. [CleanTechnica]

Crack in the ice (Photo: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)

Science and Technology:

¶ Climate change could be accelerating a rise in sea levels more than previously thought, researchers have found. A study by an international team of polar scientists has discovered that the process of warmer ocean water destabilising ice shelves from below is also cracking them apart from above, increasing the chance they’ll break off. [thejournal.ie]

World:

¶ Having come through the crisis a decade ago, Iceland is now enjoying an economic revival, with technology, renewable energy and tourism replacing the unsustainable boom in banking. Visitor numbers have quadrupled and output per head is among the strongest in Europe. The employment rate is the highest in the world. [The Guardian]

Reykjavik, a technology incubator (Photo: Alamy)

¶ China fired back in a spiraling trade dispute with President Donald Trump by raising import duties on a $34 billion list of American goods including soybeans, electric cars, and whiskey. The Chinese government said it was responding in “equal scale” to Trump’s tariff hike in a conflict over Beijing’s trade surplus and technology policy. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ The Indian city of Chennai has the potential to harness solar energy enough to reduce the demand by at least 20% says a report by Greenpeace India and Gujarat Energy Research and Management Institute. The report found that the total rooftop potential of the city was 1,380 MW and that at least 46% can come from residential areas. [Deccan Chronicle]

Chennai vendor (Photo: PlaneMad, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ RES has broken ground on a 10-MW battery storage project in Germany. It is building the facility, with funding from the EU and supported by the state of Schleswig-Holstein, for German utility VBB. The project will provide grid stabilisation and back-up power to the Bordesholm area in the event of a network failure or disruption. [Energy Live News]

¶ The US split from other Group of 20 member countries over the future of the coal industry and the 2015 Paris climate accord. At a press conference at the close of the G-20 meeting of energy ministers in Bariloche, Argentina, Germany’s director of energy policy Thorsten Herdan said G-20 member countries “have to get out of coal.” [The Japan News]

Ash ponds at a West Virginia coal plant (AP file photo)

¶ China’s Silk Road Fund Co is investing in the world’s largest solar thermal plant, which is under development in Dubai, an executive said. The project is being built by Riyadh-based Acwa Power International and Shanghai Electric Group Co Ltd. Its planned capacity is 700 MW, and it is expected to cost $3.9 billion to build. [The National]

¶ The No 2 reactor at Taiwan’s Second Nuclear Power Plant in northern Taiwan was brought to operate at full capacity, the Taiwan Power Co said. It was the first time in more than two years that the reactor has operated at full capacity. It went offline in May 2016 following a glitch in its electrical system during major maintenance work. [Taiwan News]

Kuosheng Nuclear Power Plant (Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ Research by two Harvard University scientists concluded that the Trump administration’s environmental policies could result in an additional 80,000 deaths per decade. The research, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, examined the health impacts of the EPA’s policies on toxic chemicals and air pollutants. [The Hill]

¶ For a split-second after the demolition plunger went down, the cooling towers at St Johns River Power Park stood as if they would remain for 30 more years as Jacksonville landmarks. Then the burst of 1,500 pounds of dynamite ripped through them, and they collapsed into dust. From the crowd, a child’s voice called out: “Do it again.” [The Florida Times-Union]

Cooling towers being blasted (Bob Self | Florida Times Union)

¶ Entergy New Orleans may not have directly paid actors to support its controversial proposal to build a $210 million gas-fired power plant in the city. But it did pay contractors thousands of dollars to recruit and educate supporters on the value of its proposal, with the goal of mimicking, as one consultant put it, an “organic” effort. [The Advocate]

¶ New York Governor Andrew M Cuomo announced that the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority received a $18.5 million DOE grant to lead a national research and development consortium for the offshore wind industry. The consortium will be supported by a public-private partnership and will include other states. [STL.News]

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June 16 Energy News

June 16, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “100% renewable energy, no net metering caps and more in Massachusetts Senate bill” • A bill passed last night in the Massachusetts Senate removes the state’s caps on net metering, sets a 100% renewable energy mandate, boosts the state’s energy storage procurement target to 2 GW and more. But can it pass the House? [pv magazine USA]

Massachusetts State House
(Marco Almbauer, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Despite Tariffs, Solar Energy Is Cheaper Than Ever” • The cost of solar power continues to fall to new lows in the US, even as tariffs are imposed in favor of keeping the coal and natural gas industries afloat. One expert pointed out that it is cheaper to build a new PV plant than just to operate an existing coal or natural gas plant. [The Weather Channel]

Science and Technology:

¶ A special issue of the journal Nature is dedicated to Antarctica. In it, scientists said that if the Paris Accord fails to reverse emission trends, we will see “economic losses from the flooding of coastal cities exceeding $1 trillion per year” within decades. There is enough ice at risk in the Antarctic to raise sea levels more than 100 feet. [ThinkProgress]

Iceberg the size of Delaware (Mario Tama | Getty Images)

World:

¶ In India, excessive demand, mismanaged water resources, erratic weather patterns, and climate change have led to a water shortage that is only getting worse. According to a report by NITI Aayog, India is facing its worst water crisis and about two lakh (200,000) people die every year due to inadequate access to potable water. [India Times]

¶ Milan is getting set for a progressive ban on diesel cars, which is due to start as early as January 2019. The bold move came as a surprise when Milan’s mayor Giuseppe Sala announced it a few days ago at the annual Energy Festival in Rome. Diesel emissions became a focus for government action because of the VW diesel scandal. [CleanTechnica]

Milan

¶ Japan’s SoftBank is planning to invest between $60 billion to $100 billion in a solar power project in India, a Japanese report said. The report by broadcaster NHK comes after SoftBank announced in March it would partner Saudi Arabia on a multi-billion dollar solar project that the company’s founder called the largest in the world. [Daily Times]

¶ The Overseas Private Investment Corporation will extend $225 million (€194.2 million) to back the construction of a 252-MW wind park in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The funds will be allocated to Mytrah Vayu Sabarmati Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of Indian renewable power producer Mytrah Energy Ltd, OPIC announced. [Renewables Now]

Indian wind park (Image: Regien Paassen | Shutterstock.com)

¶ Jiangsu Seraphim Solar System Co, Ltd announced that it won the supply agreement for a monumental 246-MW Ukraine solar project, developed by Ukraine’s largest energy group, DTEK. This installation will be Ukraine’s largest renewable energy power plant to date. Seraphim is the sole module supplier for the project. [pv magazine International]

¶ In its drive to become a 100% renewable energy driven city, the French city of Strasbourg is betting on geothermal energy for heating and power generation. Through Electricité de Strasbourg and its geothermal subsidiary ES Geothermie, there is a lot happening on research and development. But concrete projects are also under way. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

Quai Saint-Nicolas (Valentin R | Flickr, creative commons)

¶ Unit 1 of the Wolsong nuclear power plant will be retired prior to the expiration of its operating licence in 2022, Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power announced. The company also said it has cancelled plans for four new nuclear reactors. The move is in line with the South Korean government’s policy to phase out the use of nuclear energy. [World Nuclear News]

US:

¶ Massachusetts moved closer to embracing an economy-wide price on carbon, as the Senate approved an energy bill with a “market-based compliance mechanism.” One of New England’s largest utilities backed the move, saying a carbon price is needed for the region to have a chance of meeting its greenhouse gas emission targets. [CommonWealth magazine]

Electric vehicle charging

¶ The Boring Company announced a project with the Chicago Transit Authority to develop a set of tunnels connecting Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and downtown Chicago. The new route, the Chicago Express Loop, would get passengers from O’Hare to downtown in just 12 minutes for around $20–25. That’s half the price of a cab. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Though renewable energy has been a Democrat point in the past, more Republicans in Wisconsin say they’re getting excited about it. Over the weekend, Republican State Sen Patrick Testin told people attending the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair that he is looking at solar and wind installation companies as job creators. [Wisconsin Public Radio News]

Wind turbines in Fond du Lac County (Dave, CC-BY-NC-ND)

¶ The Hawai‘i Public Utilities Commission met with the Hawaiian Electric Companies and Hawaiʻi Energy, at the request of Gov David Ige, to develop a series of rapid response actions to address the loss of renewable generation from the Puna Geothermal Venture power plant. The loss was due to the ongoing lava flow on Hawaiʻi Island. [Big Island Now]

¶ AT&T, the Dallas telecommunications giant, is buying 820 MW of electricity generated by wind power from NextEra Energy Resources, a Florida utility. The power will come from four NextEra-owned wind farms that are under construction in Texas and Oklahoma. Three of them are expected to be operational in December. [Laredo Morning Times]

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June 15 Energy News

June 15, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “NRDC, 19 Other Groups Challenge EU’s Mistaken Climate Decision” • EU policymakers agreed on a new Renewable Energy Directive that failed to fix Europe’s broken bioenergy policies. The decision to continue to label the indiscriminate burning of wood as “carbon neutral” undercuts the EU’s climate targets. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

Clearcut forest (MO Stevens, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Nuclear Power Won’t Survive Without A Government Handout” • Once upon a time, if you were an American who didn’t like nuclear energy, you had to stage sit-ins and marches and chain yourself to various inanimate objects in hopes of closing the nation’s nuclear power plants. Today, all you have to do is sit back and wait. [FiveThirtyEight]

Science and Technology:

¶ The world’s system for allocating fish stocks is being outpaced by the movement of fish species in response to climate change, according to a study undertaken by an international team of marine ecologists, fisheries and social scientists, and lawyers. The study found that 70 or more countries will see changed fishery stocks by 2100. [Science Daily]

Fishing boats (Credit: Gabriel Reygondeau)

World:

¶ Australian renewable energy developer Windlab announced that it was awarded environmental approval by the Tanzanian Government to construct the country’s first wind farm. The 300-MW Miombo Hewani Wind Farm, and the transmission line project to bring its power to the grid, are set to be built in the center of the country. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Danish offshore wind energy developer Ørsted has officially opened the 573-MW Race Bank Offshore Wind Farm, which will provide over half a million UK homes with clean electricity. The ceremony took place in Grimsby, home to Ørsted’s East Coast Hub, the UK’s largest offshore wind Operations and Maintenance base. [CleanTechnica]

Race Bank Offshore Wind Farm

¶ Volkswagen’s diesel emission scandal is still ongoing with German prosecutors fining the automaker €1 billion (£882 million, $1.16 billion) for cheating. The one-billion-euro fine is one of the highest fines ever imposed by German authorities against a company, according to Reuters. However, things aren’t slowing down for VW. [Yahoo News UK]

¶ Indonesia has inaugurated its first three solar-plus-storage mini-grids, thus enabling three remote villages to enjoy uninterrupted, off-grid access to electricity for the entire day. The hybrid mini-grids are made up of solar PV and lithium-ion battery storage set up by Akuo Energy, a French renewable power developer. [pv magazine International]

Indonesian islands (Image: Jon Hanson | Wikimedia

¶ At an upcoming meeting of the G20 countries, one of the topics on the agenda will be increasing natural gas production investments by as much as $1.6 trillion by 2030. A report by Oil Change International finds doing so will use up the entire remaining carbon budget limits needed to meet the climate goals of the Paris climate accords. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Norwegian energy company Equinor, together with partners, is looking to supply power from renewable land sources to three gas platforms currently powered by gas turbines. The scheme will seek to utilise and expand existing land infrastructure to power the sites by renewable energy sources such as offshore wind and solar. [Offshore Technology]

Gudrun gas platform (Credit: Equinor)

US:

¶ Connecticut selected a city fuel cell company and a major offshore wind farm developer to help bring more than 250 MW of clean electricity to the state’s consumers. Gov Dannel P Malloy and other officials announced that FuelCell Energy of Danbury and Deepwater Wind were selected from among the 27 bidding companies. [Danbury News Times]

¶ The DOE announced $140 million in funding for the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy, an experiment in rural Utah aimed to develop ways to extract geothermal energy at less-than-ideal locations. If it proves successful, this resource could become a major power source throughout the nation. [Salt Lake Tribune]

Geothermal rig in Utah (Rick Allis | Utah Geological Survey)

¶ Sonnen partnered with California’s SunPower to offering SunPower® Equinox™ home solar energy systems and sonnen’s intelligent energy storage to residential customers across the US. Customers of SunPower’s participating installers benefit from the ability to provide themselves with inexpensive and reliable power. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ Developers of a $2 billion transmission project aimed at getting renewable power from New Mexico and Arizona to large markets in the Southwest are aiming to clear one more regulatory hurdle. Over the next five days, consultants and concerned ranchers will testify before the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission in Santa Fe. [Kdminer]

Transmission lines (Adobe stock photo)

¶ EDF Renewables and Alliant Energy’s Iowa energy company signed contracts by which EDF Renewables will develop and construct up to 200 MW of the Golden Plains Wind Project. The project is located in Winnebago and Kossuth counties in the north central portion of Iowa. It is expected to be completed by early 2020. [PennEnergy]

¶ Massachusetts utilities have signed an agreement to bring hydropower from Quebec through Maine via a new 145-mile transmission corridor. The agreement is a necessary step for the New England Clean Energy Connect transmission project, which will bring power from Hydro-Quebec to markets in the Bay State. [Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel]

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June 14 Energy News

June 14, 2018

Science and Technology:

¶ Sea levels will rise and all coastal countries could be seriously threatened by flooding if nothing is done to stop the massive melt of sea ice in Antarctica, according to nine award-winning scientists who have studied the continent for many years. In the journal Nature, they outline two scenarios, one promising, one bleak, for what could happen by 2070. [CNN]

Penguin selfie

¶ Antarctica is shedding ice at an accelerating rate, according to a report in the journal Nature. Satellites monitoring the state of the White Continent indicate some 200 billion tonnes a year are now being lost to the ocean as a result of melting. This is pushing up global sea levels by 0.6 mm annually, three times as fast as it was in 2012. [BBC]

World:

¶ Scotland’s Climate Change Secretary announced that the country had met its statutory annual greenhouse gas emissions target for the third year in a row in 2016, and this resulted in emissions being down 49% on a 1990 baseline. Of European countries, only Sweden, with a drop of 51%, reduced emissions faster than Scotland. [CleanTechnica]

Wind farm in Scotland

¶ Swytch, blockchain-based clean energy incentive, and the Energy2market, a German company aggregating energy trading in Europe, announced a blockchain renewable energy trial that could power over 500,000 homes. The pilot program, which is in Germany, includes approximately 3.5 GW of solar, wind, hydro, and biogas energy capacity. [SmartCitiesWorld]

¶ Tata Power, India’s largest integrated power company, said that a subsidiary has won a 150-MW Solar PV project in Maharashtra. Tata Power Renewable Energy, Ltd, received the Letter of Award to develop the project. It will sign a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement with the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co, Ltd. [Indiainfoline]

Transmission lines

¶ Tata Power Renewable Energy, a subsidiary of Indian utility Tata Power, said that it signed a power purchase agreement with the US-based conglomerate GE. The Indian renewables company will provide solar installations for six manufacturing and services sites across the country. They will generate over 1,000 MWh per year. [Energy Digital]

¶ A milestone was reached towards the UK becoming a low carbon economy as a new wind farm capable of powering over 500,000 homes opened off the East Coast. The Humber is playing an increasingly significant role with four other huge projects in the pipeline, which will set records as the world’s largest as they come on line. [Yorkshire Post]

Turbine at the new Race Bank wind farm

¶ Swiss group ABB said the 500-MW Maritime Link connection between Newfoundland and Nova Scotia is finished. The high-voltage direct current link will transmit renewable energy from Newfoundland and Labrador to the North American grid, linking to it in Nova Scotia. It will enable Nova Scotia to integrate more renewable power. [Renewables Now]

¶ Lightsource BP, based in the UK, plans offer residential customers in Australia an option to go solar at no upfront cost. Lightsource will supply, install, operate, and maintain a solar PV array, a battery, and a smart metering system. The customers will buy renewable power at a fixed price under terms of a power purchase agreement. [Renewables Now]

Rooftop solar array (Image: Ralf Gosch | Shutterstock.com)

¶ Samsung, the Korean electronics behemoth, announced plans to transition its existing facilities, offices, and factories across US, Europe, and China to 100% renewable energy sources within two years. It plans to install 42,000 square metres of PV panels at its Digital City site in Korea, along with other solar arrays and geothermal plants. [CNET]

¶ The president of TEPCO said the utility is considering the future of the Fukushima No 2 nuclear plant. Fukushima No 2 is about 12 kilometers south of the Fukushima No 1 plant, which was crippled by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. He said the company is leaning toward scrapping all four nuclear reactors at the plant. [The Japan Times]

Fukushima No 2 nuclear plant (KYODO image)

US:

¶ Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest energy provider, said it will stop using coal to generate electricity by 2040. The utility company has said it will increase its use of renewable resources, especially solar, and begin closing its remaining five coal-fired units in 2023. The plan is being filed with the Michigan Public Service Commission. [The Detroit News]

¶ State regulators are seeking more information on the 12-MW Aqua Ventus floating offshore wind demonstration project, led by the University of Maine, before deciding on a power purchase agreement. The Maine Public Utilities Commission will make requests for additional information in the coming weeks, the University of Maine said. [reNews]

VolturnUS prototype (Photo: UMaine)

¶ E.ON entered into a long-term power purchase agreement for 50 MW from its West of the Pecos solar project with a unit of SK E&S Co, Ltd, based in South Korea. West of the Pecos is a 100-MW PV solar project, located in Reeves County, Texas, about 75 miles southwest of Midland-Odessa. It is expected to come online in 2020. [Electric Light & Power]

¶ The US added more solar electric capacity than any other type in the first quarter of 2018. A report from the nonprofit Solar Energy Industries Association said the US solar market added 2.5 GW of new capacity in the first quarter, up 13% from the first quarter of 2017. That accounts for 55% of all new US electric capacity for the quarter. [Business Insider]

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June 13 Energy News

June 13, 2018

Science and Technology:

¶ The Mammal Society and Natural England study said almost one in five British mammals was at risk of extinction. Factors such as climate change, loss of habitat, use of pesticides and disease are to blame, the report said. The hedgehog and water vole have seen their populations decline by almost 70% over the past 20 years. [BBC]

Endangered red squirrel (PA)

¶ Clariant Catalysts and Hydrogenious Technologies formed an alliance to provide reliable, scalable and safe hydrogen supplies for a wide variety of applications. They will use Hydrogenious Technologies’ innovative means of storing H2 by chemically binding the molecules to Liquid Organic H2 Carriers, from which it can later be released. [gasworld]

World:

¶ The oil markets shrugged off the historic meeting in Singapore between President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Both sides hailed the summit as a breakthrough, with a pledge towards denuclearization, but as expected, there was a lack of even the most basic details on how they might get there. Oil was flat at the start of Tuesday. [OilPrice.com]

Singapore (chensiyuan, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Chinese battery heavyweight CATL looks to invest up to €1 billion into a new battery factory in Germany, according to a report from Bloomberg. The move would put one of the largest plug-in vehicle battery manufacturers right in the backyard of Germany’s luxury automotive makers, including BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen, and Porsche. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Germany’s KfW IPEX-Bank said it structured non-recourse financing for the 101.4-MW Pomona wind project, which power producer Genneia is developing in Argentina. The deal supports German exports, as German wind turbine maker Nordex won the contract to supply and install 26 units of its N131/3900 turbine for the project. [Renewables Now]

Nordex 2.4-MW turbines (Source: Nordex SE)

¶ The Swiss company ABB will install a 30-MW battery system in South Australia. It is expected to improve the reliability of power supplies and help balance the network on a daily basis. But in the event of a grid outage, it will support a microgrid powered by the 90-MW Wattle Point wind farm and distributed rooftop solar PV. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ The World Bank is providing an additional $125 million for Morocco’s innovative solar technology. The increased financing, including $25 million from the Clean Technology Fund, will support the development and construction of the Noor-Midelt I and II plants. The plants will have a total capacity of 600 MW to 800 MW. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Concentrating solar power plant

¶ In the last two months, India has seen 2.5 GW of wind tenders completed at record low tariffs at or slightly below $37/MWh, and the Indian Energy Minister increased India’s renewable goal from 175 GW to 227 GW by 2022. Meanwhile, the largest import coal plant in India, the relatively new 4.6-GW Mundra facility, sits idle, unable to compete. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Italian energy giant Eni is to build, develop and operate the 50-MW Badamsha wind farm in north-west Kazakhstan, its first large-scale investment in wind power.  Eni said construction of the plant, which is located at Aktobe Oblast, will start in the coming months. The plant is expected to be in commercial operation by the end of 2019. [reNews]

Wind turbines (Pixabay image)

US:

¶ Bailing out nuclear and coal-fired power plants will not help toughen the US power grid against cyber attacks as the Trump administration claims, according to cyber experts. Hackers have a wide array of options for hitting high-profile targets such as electric infrastructure and nuclear facilities. The ability to store fuel is not relevant. [Reuters]

¶ The Department of Defense has a goal to produce or procure at least 25% of its energy from renewable sources by Fiscal Year 2025. Renewable sources provided 12.6% of its energy in 2016. To go further, while managing their solid waste, individual branches have partnered with industry to build or study waste-to-energy projects. [waste360]

The Pentagon (US Air Force via Getty Images)

¶ Two new reports, published in the span of a few days, have shed light on the state of the US solar industry in 2018. They reveal that billions were lost in cancelled projects due to the Trump administrations imposition of its solar tariffs. But they expect flat growth that, according to GTM Research, is “actually pretty good news.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ A report by the American Jobs Project indicates that offshore wind projects could lift Maine’s flagging manufacturing sector. It contends that wholehearted commitment could boost the state with thousands of new, long-term jobs, millions in financial windfall and helping Maine meet its clean energy goals while paying off handsomely. [Electric Light & Power]

Pilot offshore project in Maine

¶ Federal Energy Regulatory Commission members criticized President Trump’s order to prevent the closing of financially struggling coal and nuclear plants. Republican FERC Chairman Kevin McIntyre dismissed claims that the reliability of the grid is at immediate risk because of planned coal and nuclear plant closures. [Washington Examiner]

¶ As Fort Calhoun’s reputation as the home of nuclear power in eastern Nebraska comes to an end, a deal has been struck that could make the area a home for Nebraska solar power. Omaha Public Power District has worked with city officials to create plans for a 35-acre, 5-MW, community solar facility just east of the city limits. [Blair Enterprise Publishing]

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June 12 Energy News

June 12, 2018

Science and Technology:

¶ International scientists have discovered that most of the oldest and largest African baobab trees have died over the past 12 years. They suspect the demise may be linked to climate change, although they have no direct evidence of this. The tree can grow to an enormous size, and may live hundreds if not thousands of years. [BBC]

Baobab trees (Getty Images)

¶ In a study published in the journal Science Advances, a team of MIT researchers said 39% of all the freshwater withdrawn from rivers, lakes, and reservoirs in the US is earmarked for cooling at power plants that use fossil fuels or nuclear power. They devised a way to recapture some of that water vapor with a process they say is cost effective. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Finland’s VTT Research Centre of Technology found that new wind power technology enables higher towers, longer blades and reasonable efficiency in low wind conditions. These traits will allow turbines to be located more freely in the future, for example in forested areas. Wind provides over 10% of Europe’s electric power. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Wind turbines

World:

¶ Market research firm IHS Markit published new figures showing the global solar market will increase by around 11% in 2018 despite China’s solar policy reductions. China’s cuts make large amounts of PVs available elsewhere, and Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts that prices for PVs will drop by around 35% this year. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Engineering consulting firm WSP has been awarded a contract to work on the 500-MW Greenlink interconnector between Wales and Ireland. The €400 million ($471 million) privately financed interconnector is being developed by a subsidiary of Element Power, Greenlink Interconnector Ltd. Construction is to start in 2020. [Renewables Now]

Wind turbines in Ireland (Harry Pears, CC-BY-SA 2.0 Generic)

¶ Global science-based company Royal DSM signed a purchase agreement with Dutch energy firm Eneco to operate on 100% renewable energy in the Netherlands. Under the terms of the agreement, Eneco will supply DSM with electricity generated by Dutch wind parks Krammer and Bouwdokken for the years 2018 through 2025. [Power Technology]

¶ Tilt Renewables Ltd has brought online its 54-MW Salt Creek wind park in Western Victoria, Australia, and started exporting power to the grid. The Salt Creek wind farm is powered by 15 turbines supplied by Vestas Wind Systems A/S. After further testing and commissioning, the wind farm is expected to reach full production in July. [Renewables Now]

Vestas turbines

¶ The City of London Corporation has pledged to source 100% of its electricity from renewable sources starting this October. The organisation, which is the governing body of the financial and commercial district Square Mile, plans to invest in both onsite and offsite renewable energy as well as buying green power currently on the market. [Energy Live News]

US:

¶ The American Jobs Project issued a report that focuses on energy transformation in Maine. It shows how a combination of interest from cooperative industry associations in the state, a growing network of composites manufacturers, and offshore energy potential because of strong winds could expand the state’s energy economy. [CleanTechnica]

Offshore wind turbine (Phil Hollman, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Nevada Power, a utility owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, has signed a deal to build more than 1 GW of new large-scale solar in the US, with power purchase agreements starting as low as $21.55/MWh, a record low in the US. More than half of the PV systems will be co-located with battery storage, priced in separately. [RenewEconomy]

¶ German utility EnBW formed a joint venture with US outfit Trident Winds to develop up to 1 GW of floating offshore wind power off the coast of California. The joint venture’s first job is to get a site lease from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. It hopes to secure a grid connection made available by the Morro Bay power plant’s shutdown. [reNews]

Offshore wind turbines (reNews image)

¶ Minneapolis’ Metropolitan Council, which operates the transit systems and wastewater treatment in the Twin Cities region, and Xcel Energy are working to get the Council’s use of renewable energy for its wastewater and transit systems to 100% by 2040. The agreement includes efforts to get more electric buses onto Minnesota roads. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ Despite pronouncements from the White House, the preferred utility power mix is no longer a portfolio based largely on coal and nuclear energy. Both those resources have seen their market share undercut by cheaper natural gas in recent years, pushing many of the oldest and least efficient plants offline. And natural gas may decline also. [Utility Dive]

Solar power plant

¶ Crocker Wind Farm LLC, a subsidiary of Geronimo Energy, has been given the green light to build a wind farm in Clark County, South Dakota with a capacity of up to 400 MW. The wind project will have up to 120 turbines and a 5.2-mile transmission line. The wind farm is expected to start operations by the fourth quarter of 2019. [Renewables Now]

¶ Sixteen senators and 63 representatives delivered a letter to Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities Chair Angela O’Connor to show support for expanding access to solar energy while raising concerns about a utility-backed proposal to cap the amount of credits that community solar customers receive on their bills. [Solar Power World]

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June 11 Energy News

June 11, 2018

Science and Technology:

¶ A team of researchers at UC Berkeley developed a potential solution to water shortages; a box that can harvest water out of desert air, without any need for power other than sunlight. The key to the device is not a pump or solar panel-operated tap, but rather the materials contained in the box, what the chemists call a metal-organic framework. [Alphr]

Berkeley water collector in the lab

¶ A beetle that has killed millions of acres of pines in southern forests is munching its way north, and research suggests its tree-killing could get worse. Once unknown north of Delaware, the southern pine beetles have been expanding their range as the climate warms. They have been caught as far north as New England. [Fort Wayne Journal Gazette]

World:

¶ Several years ago, India set what seemed like a lofty target of 175 GW of wind and solar energy by March 2022. Few believed that was a practical target, but then India plowed forward and happily impressed the world. This week that goal was increased to 227 GW! India has installed more than 70 GW already, and additions are coming faster. [CleanTechnica]

Solar farm (Image: Siemens Gamesa)

¶ The Maharashtra government is considering using the Swiss challenge method to finalize a bidder to set up floating solar plants across various reservoirs and water bodies in the state. Under the system, any person with suitable credentials can submit a development proposal to the government for a public project. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ The Tokyo metropolitan government plans to introduce “solar roads” that collect energy from the sun via solar panels installed beneath the surface of the roads. The effort aims to promote Tokyo as an eco-friendly city, both domestically and abroad, ahead of the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics. Trial installations will begin next year. [The Independent]

Solar parking lot in Tokyo (Photo: Japan News-Yomiuri)

¶ The Asian Development Bank will help Pakistan build 2,330 MW of solar capacity in Punjab and 5,204 MW of micro-hydro generating capacity from hundreds of power plants in off-grid areas of Khyber Pakthunkhwa. The projects are to be built by 2026 under the bank’s “Access to Clean Energy Investment Programme.” [Pakistan Observer]

¶ Even in places where pastoral tribesmen still tend livestock, they may chat over smart phones and use money-transfer apps to pay their debts. To charge the phones without grid access, Africans spend more than $17 billion each year on such fuels as kerosene to power generators. Azuri Technologies Ltd is helping with solar panels and AI. [Bloomberg]

Azuri home solar system delivery (Photo: Azuri Technologies)

¶ Dailyexcelsior reported that a third-generation European Pressurised Reactor reactor in China carried out its first nuclear chain reaction. It is a first for the much-delayed European technology, and Xavier Ursat, head of new nuclear projects for EDF, tweeted the news. EDF has a 30% holding in the reactor that was being tested. [SteelGuru]

¶ Lekela, which has utility-scale projects across Africa, succeeded in reaching financial close on two additional wind power projects in South Africa. The Kangnas and Perdekraal East wind power projects together will add 250 MW of electric power to South Africa’s grid. The projects are expected to be fully operational in under 28 months. [African Review]

Wind project (Image: Markus Distelrath | Pixabay)

US:

¶ One of the Hawaii Civil Defense Agency’s biggest fears about Volcano Kilauea has been realized. Puna Geothermal Venture, Hawaii’s first and only geothermal plant, was flooded by lava, destroying two of its building and shutting down the plant. PGV contributed nearly 30% of the electricity for the Island of Hawaii, according to the DOE. [Inverse]

¶ A new survey of Southeast cities found that about half expect to install or buy more renewable energy. West Palm Beach and Atlanta are among the leaders. Only about 20% of the cities have set emissions-reduction goals so far, but more are taking a closer look at their emissions and plan to make greater use of renewable energy. [InsideClimate News]

Jacksonville, Florida (Credit: A Davey | CC-BY-ND-NC-2.0)

¶ A utility serving Oregon, Idaho, and Washington issued a request for proposals for up to 50 MW in renewable power generation capacity, including geothermal energy. Avista Utilities provides energy services and electricity to 375,000 customers and natural gas to 336,000 customers in parts of Washington, Idaho, and Oregon. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

¶ Battery technology is speeding up change in the US electricity sector and could help power a rally in certain renewable energy and utility stocks, Barron’s reported. After a decade of steep cost declines, wind and solar installations, often paired with battery storage, are increasingly displacing older coal and gas-fired power plants. [ETEnergyworld.com]

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June 10 Energy News

June 10, 2018

Opinion:

¶ The G7 summit, summed up in one photo” • Hundreds, or even thousands, of photos taken at the G7 summit, a two-day gathering of leaders from member states to discuss everything from climate change to international trade policy. But one in particular stood out after it was published and raced around the internet. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

G7 Leaders (Adam Scotti | Prime Minister’s Office via Reuters)

¶ “‘Baseload Is Poison’ And 5 Other Lessons From Germany’s Energy Transition” • Germany has achieved some moments in its Energiewende when renewables met 100% of demand without the aid of baseload power or batteries. Germany was able to do that, a government energy official pointed out, because of its system’s flexibility. [Forbes]

¶ “Is the Trans Mountain Pipeline (and Other Fossil Fuel Investments) a Future Stranded Asset?” • Some major economies rely heavily on fossil fuel production and exports. But renewable energy technologies, energy efficiency improvements, and climate emission policies are certain to substantially reduce the global demand for fossil fuels. [DeSmog]

Dakota Access Oil Pipeline (Tony Webster, Creative Commons)

Science and Technology:

¶ One of the more interesting revelations to come out of the 2018 Tesla Shareholder Meeting was updated information about Tesla’s current battery costs and projected reductions over the next 2 years. Elon Musk said “We think at the cell level probably we can do better than $100/kWh maybe later this year…” The ongoing cost drop is good news. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Heavy rainfall from storms has increased in the US since the 1950s and will only get worse in the coming years, thanks to global warming, scientists say. The EPA noted that heavy rainfall events increased by 70% in the Pacific Northwest, where the increases are worst, but increases are also seen in the Midwest and Upper Plains. [The Weather Channel]

Washington State (Scott Terrell | Skagit Valley Herald via AP)

¶ Cobalt prices are soaring and ethical questions about artisanal mining continue. Panasonic announced it is developing cobalt-free EV batteries. Panasonic, the world’s largest lithium-ion battery manufacturer for cars and Tesla’s exclusive battery cell supplier for the Model 3 sedan, produces the cells at the joint Gigafactory 1 in Nevada. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ Pope Francis told senior oil company executives that the world must convert to renewable alternatives to prevent humanity being destroyed by climate change. Speaking to the high-profile group at the end of a two-day conference at the Vatican, the pontiff warned: “Civilisation requires energy but energy use must not destroy civilisation.” [The Independent]

Pope Francis (AFP image)

¶ This week, dozens of activists descended on the capital of Kenya in what campaigners described as the “first anti-coal demonstration in Nairobi.” The coalition of advocacy groups is protesting the building of a coal-fired energy plant on the island of Lamu, a major tourist attraction, and a UNESCO heritage site, and coal mining in eastern Kenya. [Quartz]

¶ A $300 million project has been approved by the Zimbabwe Investment Authority for Victoria Falls to produce electricity. The power plant will be able to supply the country’s national grid and sell excess power to such other countries as Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique. The plant is expected to produce 125 MW of electricity. [Devdiscourse]

Victoria Falls (Pixabay image)

¶ The growing adoption of EVs is expected to cost Germany’s key auto industry about 75,000 jobs by 2030, a study shows, with parts suppliers set to suffer the most. Germany’s car industry currently employs about 840,000 people, with 210,000 of them working on powertrain production, the sub-sector set to be the worst hit. [OilPrice.com]

US:

¶ The municipal electric utility for Garden City, Kansas, now has over 30% of its power from renewable energy resources. The city is getting power Buckeye Wind Energy Center in Ellis County. Garden City is a member of the Kansas Municipal Energy Agency, which has a contract with Invenergy, owner of the Buckeye Center. [The Topeka Capital-Journal]

Buckeye Wind Farm (Hays Daily News photo)

¶ As West Virginians continue to see their utility bills rise, the regional electric grid serving the state is among those warning that attempts by the Trump administration to keep coal and nuclear power plants from closing will lead to higher electricity prices. Coal produced 94% of West Virginia’s net electricity generation in 2016. [Charleston Gazette-Mail]

¶ A Trump administration plan that would spend billions of dollars to subsidize aging coal-fired and nuclear power plants may not be much of a boon for Wyoming coal, according to one of the state’s leading economists. And the cost of the subsidy, which could be from $3 billion to $30 billion, would fall on the consumers. [Casper Star-Tribune Online]

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June 9 Energy News

June 9, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Photos don’t lie. Plan needed for sea-level rise” • Florida Senator Bill Nelson addressed the US Senate: “During 2017, the average high-tide flooding was the highest ever recorded. And in 2018, NOAA predicts that high-tide flooding will be 60% more frequent across US coastlines than it was in 2000, primarily because of sea-level rise.” [Sun Sentinel]

Sunny day flooding in Miami

World:

¶ Vestas received a 306-MW wind turbine order in Mexico from EnerAB, a joint venture of The AES Corp and Grupo BAL. The order is for the Mesa la Paz wind park, located in the state of Tamaulipas. The order includes the supply and installation of 85 V136-3.45 MW turbines, delivered in 3.6 MW power-optimized mode. [North American Windpower]

¶ The government of Québec is blocking all new requests for hydroelectric power from cryptocurrency mining operations. They say they are doing it so Hydro-Québec can keep supplying power to everyone else in the province. The emergency move followed a warning from Hydro-Québec in January over the “unprecedented demand.” [Stockhouse]

La Grande-1 dam (Photo: P199, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Energy2market GmbH, a leader in European aggregated energy trading, and Swytch, a blockchain-based clean energy incentive, announced a pilot program including roughly 3.5 GW of renewable energy capacity in Germany. Swytch is testing data flow, blockchain, dashboard, estimators, and other key parts of the platform. [Bankless Times]

¶ Solar developer Gigawatt Global Cooperatief UA, with financial backing from the US government, has signed a deal with the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States to build $1 billion of renewable energy projects in the region. The Agency for International Development may have retained its ability to act despite President Trump. [Bloomberg]

Solar array (Photo: Xaume Olleros | Bloomberg)

¶ European renewable energy targets for 2030 are facing a key decision. The EU energy ministers are meeting ahead of a final meeting between council and EU Parliament, and there may be movement toward a possible compromise in positions. The EU Council originally proposed “at least 27%,” but is now tabling two options: 30%-31% or 32%-33%. [Platts]

¶ A forest fire that had raged for three days in the restricted zone around Chernobyl, scene of the world’s worst nuclear accident in 1986, has been put out, and no increase in radiation in the air was detected, authorities said. The fire broke out in a dry grassy area of the exclusion zone, before moving to a forested area 10 km from the power plant. [Yahoo News UK]

Fire near the Chernobyl plant

¶ Bulgaria’s parliament revived plans to build a major nuclear power station on the Danube, fuelling concerns of environmental and corruption risks and Russian efforts to regain influence in the Balkan state. Deputies gave their overwhelming approval to a government request to seek investors to build a 2,000-MW atomic plant at Belene. [Irish Times]

US:

¶ Aspen Electric achieved 100% renewables in 2015, and now the residential rates for Aspen’s customers rank among the lowest in Colorado. This month, upgrades to a wind farm near Kimball, Nebraska, of which Aspen Electric is a major customer, will push the utility’s costs even lower, dropping about 15% annually, or $475,000. [Energy News Network]

Wind farm near Kimball, Nebraska

¶ Massachusetts utilities would need to ramp up renewable energy purchases, the state could dramatically expand its support of offshore wind, and commercial solar endeavors would be freed from existing restrictions, under legislation the Senate plans to take up next week. But the end of formal sessions is coming up on July 31. [Sentinel & Enterprise]

¶ A renewable energy boom in Ohio is all but inevitable, a report that has support from a number of major companies said. The Powering Ohio report says the state can attract investment worth billions of dollars by embracing clean energy and by building on the state’s strengths such as industrial research and automotive manufacturing. [Energy Manager Today]

Ohio

¶ US power company NRG Energy Inc will install 25 MW of solar gardens in Texas to meet about 10% of the national electricity usage of food products distributor Sysco Corporation. The two companies have entered into a 10-year agreement on renewable energy that calls for construction of three solar gardens in the Houston and Dallas areas. [Renewables Now]

¶ The number of cities that pledged to go to 100% renewable energy has doubled since last year, bolstering hopes that similar state and national policies could soon gain traction. Seventy cities and nine counties across the US have adopted ordinances setting targets to overhaul their electricity use, up from 36 cities before June 2017. [HuffPost]

Tennessee Solar facility (Acker | Bloomberg via Getty Images)

¶ Central Arizona Project, which supplies water to a large part of Arizona and is the main buyer of electricity from an Arizona coal plant on the verge of closure, said on it will instead source its electricity largely from a solar power project, ignoring an appeal by the US Interior Department to buy more power from the plant to keep it open. [Reuters]

¶ After strong growth in 2017, wind power now supplies more than 30% of the electricity in four states: Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, and South Dakota. The industry’s latest trends and milestones from 2017 are detailed in the American Wind Energy Association US Wind Industry Annual Market Report 2017 released in May 2018. [Facility Executive Magazine]

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June 8 Energy News

June 8, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Trump’s nuclear bailout could cost consumers up to $17 billion each year” • According to an updated report from the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, Trump’s subsidies for nuclear power plants could increase the overall cost of electricity by up to $17 billion each year. And that does not include subsidies for coal-burning plants. [Inhabitat]

Nuclear power plant’s cooling towers

Science and Technology:

¶ Tropical cyclones, are moving slower around the planet, a study from NOAA scientist James Kossin said. The study, released in the scientific journal Nature, showed a 10% decrease in forward speed globally between 1949 and 2016, though there is some variation among ocean basins. Slow-moving storms leave more rainfall in the areas they visit. [CNN]

World:

¶ Leaders of the G7 group are gathering in Canada for what could be one its most acrimonious summits in years. Some leaders clashed with US President Trump, who has imposed steel and aluminium tariffs that have sparked reprisals from trade partners. But the nations could also clash on the Iran nuclear deal and climate change. [BBC]

Protester with a flare (Reuters image)

¶ A new European renewable energy initiative has Microsoft, Google, and Amazon and other corporate giants in its steering group. RE-Source is an alliance of big brands that are buying and supplying clean power in the corporate market. The European network will help streamline and coordinate how green energy is sourced. [Innovators Magazine]

¶ China’s decision to curtail solar development this year in an effort to prevent oversupply has resulted in significantly revised forecasts for the Chinese and global solar markets. Forecasts on China’s solar installations for the year were revised downward by up to 40%. Expectations now are that solar module prices will fall by 35%. [CleanTechnica]

Chinese solar panels

¶ The Asian Development Bank will support over $1 billion in energy investments in the Pacific in 2018 through 2021. This includes 19 projects helping countries get access to sustainable energy sources, according to the Pacific Energy Update 2018. The report provides an overview of ADB’s energy-focused work in the Pacific. [Modern Diplomacy]

¶ European renewables asset manager WPO is to issue renewable energy production certificates that can be traced by blockchain to its projects. This will provide “secure and irrefutable traceability of the production of energy from renewable sources.” The aim is to make the certificates a standard reference to encourage clean power generation. [reNews]

Wind farm (Pixabay image)

¶ Brazilian utility Cia Energetica de Minas Gerais SA said it has contracted power generation from 1,240 MW of solar and wind capacity through an energy auction. The tender awarded 20-year power purchase agreements starting in January 2022. The power auction was to provide electricity to meet demands for several Brazilian regions. [Renewables Now]

¶ Enel Green Power has launched a series of initiatives in Italy aimed at improving the efficiency and maintenance processes at its wind farms. The Wind Big Data Boost project is collating information from over 4000 of the company’s operational wind turbines, including all of those in Italy and Spain, to help improve predictive maintenance. [reNews]

Wind turbines (Enel Green Power image)

US:

¶ EPA head Scott Pruitt said greenhouse gases such as CO2 are “good for us” and that CO2 does not cause global warming. After the EPA ignored a Freedom of Information Request for information supporting Pruitt’s claim, the agency was taken to court on the issue. Now a federal judge has ruled that Pruitt has to deliver the documents. [ZME Science]

¶ Freightliner Trucks, a division of Daimler Truckers North America, took to the stage recently to take the wraps off of two new fully-electric truck offerings. The Freightliner eCascadia is a heavy-duty truck, while the Freightliner eM2 106 is a medium-duty truck, and the company says they mark the beginning of a new era in trucking. [CleanTechnica]

Freightliner Trucks

¶ At the International Mayors Climate Summit in Boston, Boston mayor Marty Walsh urged other mayors to join in a renewable energy procurement initiative. He plans to issue a request for information aimed at compiling energy demand data from participating cities and asking energy developers for renewable energy prices. [The Salem News]

¶ JinkoSolar, the world’s leading solar PV supplier, announced that it signed a three-year, 1.43-GW solar supply agreement with sPower, the largest private owner and operator of solar assets in the country. sPower has 13 GW of wind and solar projects in its operating and construction pipeline, and has 1.3 GW already in operation. [CleanTechnica]

Robot with a solar panel

¶ The latest war of words over Arizona’s renewable energy ballot measure focuses on the Palo Verde nuclear station. The Arizona Public Service Co said it could be forced to close the 3,037-MW three-unit nuclear plant if voters approve the measure. But a study by energy firm ICF said Palo Verde would remain open regardless. [Power Engineering Magazine]

¶ Former Chattanooga developer Franklin L Haney signed an agreement to hire a Canadian engineering company to do engineering and construction work to finish one reactor at the unfinished Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant in Alabama. He is buying the plant for $111 million, and he is asking for federal guarantees. [Chattanooga Times Free Press]

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June 7 Energy News

June 7, 2018

Science and Technology:

¶ Universities in the US, Germany and elsewhere are testing the concept of “dual use farming,” as some advocates call it, where crops grow below canopies of solar panels. They are finding they grow just fine, and in some cases, better than crops in full sun. In Minnesota, over half of solar farms built in 2016 and 2017 were dual use. [Scientific American]

Dual use farming (Getty Images)

¶ Every area of the globe has warmed since instrument records began in 1880, NASA data shows. The planet isn’t warming equally, however. The fastest temperature increases are taking place at the poles. That Arctic, for example, is warming at more than twice the rate of the rest of the globe, melting glaciers, sea ice, and permafrost. [Axios]

World:

¶ Energy sector investments in big data technologies have exploded. In fact, according to a study by BDO, the industry’s expenditure on this technology in 2017 has increased by ten times compared to the previous year, with the firm attributing much of this growth to the need for improved management of renewables. [Technical Review Middle East]

Wind turbines (Image: Myriams-fotos | Pixabay)

¶ Russian wind power association RAWI is inviting wind turbine manufacturers to work with it to help set up production facilities in the local market. RAWI said prospective partners must have experience of producing turbines with capacities of at least 2.5 MW, provide evidence of successful projects, and be willing to open production facilities in Russia. [reNews]

¶ On World Environment Day, renewable energy companies are ecstatic that South Africa has signed a R58 billion ($4.5 billion) renewable energy deal to replace one for nuclear plants. The cancellation of the nuclear deal was largely due to the work of two activists who won the Goldman Environmental Prize for their efforts. [Independent Online]

Windpower (Ayanda Ndamane | African News Agency | ANA)

¶ Kenya leads Africa for potential geothermal power capacity, a report by Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st century has revealed. According to the report, Kenya has a potential geothermal capacity of about 700 MW, and it occupies the ninth position globally. The US has the most, with a potential capacity of 2,500 MW. [BusinessAMLive]

¶ After a first round of solar auctions, the government of Turkey is keen to know whether energy storage could help lower the cost of energy from the projects. With that in mind, DNV GL will assess the potential impact of storage on Levelized Cost of Energy figures and develop specification requirements for the auctions. [Energy Storage News]

Solar array (Image: DNV GL)

¶ The University of Queensland has taken its commitment to reducing carbon emissions to the next level, in what it claims will be a world first. The university will develop a 64-MW utility scale solar project in the state, which, added to the 50,000 modules it already in place at its campuses, will virtually provide all of its electricity needs. [pv magazine Australia]

¶ The World Bank will provide financing for the construction of a 3-MW solar power plant in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the lender said. The funds will come from a $53.6 million (€24.5 million) funding package intended to support projects related to climate change and promote projects for renewable energy and energy efficiency. [Renewables Now]

In the Marshall Islands (Photo: amanderson2, CC-BY-SA 2.0)

¶ Consumer goods giant Unilever says it will run its Australian manufacturing plants entirely on clean energy within two years, as the country had passed a “tipping point” where going green is no longer a financial disadvantage. The Anglo-Dutch firm had earlier regarded the jump to renewables too risky due to policy uncertainty. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

US:

¶ Xcel Energy Colorado unveiled a power plan that it estimates could save customers $215 million, cut carbon emissions by half, and increase its renewable energy sources to 55% of its electricity portfolio by 2026, according to a filing the utility submitted to the Colorado PUC. The plan is to retire 660 MW of coal-burning power plants. [The Denver Post]

Solar array supplying Xcel (Denver Post file photo)

¶ The tariff on imported solar panels led US renewable energy companies to cancel or freeze investments of over $2.5 billion in large installation projects, along with thousands of jobs, the developers told Reuters. New spending plans for building or expanding US solar factories to take advantage of the tariffs came to 40% of that amount. [Reuters Africa]

¶ Research from the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Overseas Development Institute, Oil Change International, and the International Institute for Sustainable Development found that the US Government spent $26 billion in both 2015 and 2016 on support for fossil fuels. Of this, $15 billion was for production and $1 billion for exploration. [CleanTechnica]

Pollution from fossil fuels

¶ Black Hills Energy has moved to provide more renewable energy to its southern Colorado system over the past year. In 2017 the company got Colorado PUC approval to add up to 60 MW of wind power to serve its customers in the area. Now, it has a power purchase agreement with Colorado Electric, and the project is moving ahead. [La Voz Nueva]

¶ Minnesota cooperative utility Great River Energy aims for 50% of its power to come from renewable sources within the next 12 years. The GRE board approved the initiative and announced the new goal at its annual meeting. A proposed wind farm in south central North Dakota would be an important part of achieving that goal. [Bismarck Tribune]

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June 6 Energy News

June 6, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Carbon Collapse: Fossil fuels to lose ALL their value costing global economy $4 Trillion” • The global economy is looking at a “time bomb” due to a “carbon bubble” from investment in fossil fuels which is likely to burst, wipe off trillions from the global economy and bring devastation to the planet, according to terrifying new research. [Express.co.uk]

Use of fossil fuels (Getty Images)

World:

¶ The African Development Bank, the Green Climate Fund, and the Africa50 investment fund signed a letter of intent on the sidelines of annual meetings late May that will see the three international organizations collaborate on the Desert to Power Program, an initiative aimed at developing solar throughout the Sahel region of Africa. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A consortium led by Mainstream Renewable Power has reached financial close on two wind farms in South Africa totalling 250-MW. Construction of the 140-MW Kangnas project, near Springbok in the Northern Cape, and the 110-MW Perdekraal East facility, north-east of Ceres in the Western Cape, is expected to start this month. [reNews]

South African wind turbine (Mainstream Renewable Power)

¶ The Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has now set its sights on “over achieving” the target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022. The ministry’s projections say that India will have 225 GW of installed renewable energy by 2022. In the past four years, solar power has grown by a factor of nine, and wind by 50%. [Business Line]

¶ The Green for Growth Fund said it would provide €32 million ($37.44 million) financing for Serbia’s first large-scale wind farms, to help the Balkan country diversify its energy mix and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The fund said it would provide €18.35 million for the 158-MW Cibuk windfarm, Serbia’s biggest wind project to date. [Reuters]

Wind farm (Christian Hartmann | Reuters File Photo)

¶ Engie Energia Chile SA signed an agreement to supply renewable power to a facility of local construction company Cementos BSA in Chile. EEC will deliver the equivalent to 35 GWh per year, enough to cover 100% of Cementos BSA’s needs at that plant. The electricity will come from local solar and hydropower plants. [Renewables Now]

¶ Australian electricity retailer Flow Power announced a deal to buy the output of a 50-MW portion of the Kiamal Solar Farm, which is expected to be the largest solar facility in Victoria. The power purchase agreement was signed with Total Eren SA, the French renewable energy company. Oil group Total SA owns a stake in Total Eren. [Renewables Now]

Solar farm (Photo: iamme ubeyou, CC0 1.0 Universal)

¶ Ukrainian authorities reported that a fire had broken out in the exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear plant. According to the authorities, the fire covered 10 hectares of the so-called “red forest,” which the Chernobyl Disaster contaminated heavily. The fire was the result of prolonged drought and high temperatures in the region. [Sputnik International]

¶ EDF Renewables, together with two other owners and about 170 guests, celebrated the inauguration of the Nicolas-Riou Wind Project in Quebec. The project has a capacity of 224.25 MW. It illustrates the importance of collaboration and support of local communities in the development and implementation of renewable energy projects. [Financial Post]

Nicolas-Riou Wind Project (Business Wire)

UK:

¶ The world’s first grid-scale liquid air energy storage plant has been officially launched near Manchester. The 5-MW/15-MWh plant is the first grid-scale demonstration of liquid air energy storage. LAES technology stores air as a liquid, and then converts it back to a gas by letting it boil, driving a turbine to generate electricity. [Power Engineering International]

¶ Microsoft has sunk a data centre in the sea off Orkney to see whether it can boost energy efficiency. The data centre, a white cylinder containing computers, could sit on the sea floor for up to five years. An undersea cable brings the data centre power and takes its data to the shore and the wider internet. But repairs are not possible. [BBC]

New Microsoft data center

¶ Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones called for Tidal Lagoon Power’s proposed 320-MW Swansea Bay project to be offered price supports similar to those of the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant. In a letter to UK energy secretary Greg Clark, Jones said Swansea Bay should be given a 35 year Contract for Difference worth £92.50/MWh in 2012 prices. [reNews]

US:

¶ In Las Vegas, Wynn Resorts began drawing power from its new solar array outside Fallon, about 375 miles away. The 160-acre, 20-MW Wynn Solar Facility went online just in time for triple-digit temperatures, spiking energy prices, and an announcement of a new position in the resort company, a chief sustainability officer. [Las Vegas Review-Journal]

An earlier 1-MW Wynn Resorts solar array (Wynn Resorts)

¶ “Sea level rise” and “climate change” are not phrases Trump appointees typically use to describe anything but hoaxes. But on Monday, the acting head of NOAA, spoke to a crowd of more than 600 scientists, advocates, and policymakers about the agency’s commitment to studying climate change and its effect on the warming oceans. [Mother Jones]

¶ Hawaii has three new laws that seek to make the state carbon neutral by 2045. One of them establishes the carbon neutral goal. Another will make the funds that are derived from carbon offsets available to plant more trees in the islands. And the third requires new building projects to consider sea level rise in engineering decisions. [CleanTechnica]

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June 5 Energy News

June 5, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Carbon ‘bubble’ could cost global economy trillions” • A rapid reduction in demand for fossil fuels could see global economic losses of $1 trillion to $4 trillion by 2035 according to a report. Energy efficiency and low carbon technology could cause the downturn, even if governments fail to take new steps to meet the Paris climate goals. [BBC]

Offshore oil rig (Photo: SPL)

¶ “Bailing Out the Coal Industry Will Hurt Consumers” • Donald Trump’s plan to subsidize money-losing coal and nuclear plants makes no economic sense and runs counter to the free market ideology of his party. It might make some plant operators very happy, but consumers will foot what could be an extraordinarily expensive bill. [New York Times]

World:

¶ Ireland saw a fall in carbon emissions last year “despite strong economic growth.” Analysis from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland reveals carbon dioxide emissions from power production fell by nearly 10%. The power generation fuel mix had seen a 21% reduction in coal and an 18% increase in renewable energy. [Energy Live News]

Harvested peat bog (Amos from Tel Aviv, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The Royal Bank of Scotland announced a new suite of energy financing policies at the end of last month. They are designed to reduce the bank’s exposure to investments in fossil fuels substantially. That includes halting project-specific financing for new coal-fired power stations, coal mines, and oil sands, and Arctic oil projects. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The 396-MW Merkur offshore wind farm in the German North Sea has produced its first power. The first test on the MO40 turbine generated power to the mini-grid, project company Merkur Offshore said. The project will feature 66 GE Haliade 6-MW turbines. Jack-up vessel Seafox 5 has installed more than one-third of the machines. [reNews]

GE wind turbine (SPS image)

¶ In a coordinated move, three administrative agencies of the Chinese government issued a notice imposing caps and reducing feed-in tariffs, while setting rules at the central government level for utility-scale projects. The aim of the “2018 Solar PV Power Generation Notice” is to prevent excessive solar PV generation capacity from being installed. [PV-Tech]

¶ Finance deals were signed for a 51-MW solar farm in Jamaica. The Paradise Park project is majority owned by the French renewable power producer Neoen. France’s development bank Proparco and Dutch development bank FMO will provide the senior debt for the project. The total investment amounts to $64 million. [Power Engineering International]

Neoen solar farm

¶ One result of the Indian government’s focus on growing the country’s renewable energy sector has been a 76% growth in job searches in the solar energy sector since 2014, according to a report. The government has set a target to produce 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022, out of which 100 GW has to come from solar power. [BW Businessworld]

¶ The UK government confirmed it is considering using taxpayer money for building a nuclear power station at Wylfa in North Wales. That decision would mark a significant U-turn in the government’s approach to new nuclear power. In 2010, it was adamant that its taxpayers should never be exposed to nuclear power’s typical costly overruns. [BBC]

Rendering of the Wylfa nuclear plant (Horizon)

Australia:

¶ The latest national emissions audit from The Australia Institute includes an update on key electricity trends in Australia’s electric power market. It notes some interesting developments over the last three months. One of these is that renewables-rich South Australia, which had imported 30% of its electricity in 2000, is now a net exporter. [The Guardian]

¶ The Pilbara region of Western Australia is set to be the home of the country’s largest microgrid, with awards of major contracts focused on renewables. Horizon Power has State Government approval for the next phase of a distributed energy project, which will provide the town of Onslow with renewable energy to meet its electricity needs. [PACE Today]

Pilbara sunset (Calistemon, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The Queensland government approved the country’s largest windfarm, a $1 billion project with almost 200 turbines. The 800-MW Clarke Creek project has received planning approval. Developer Lacour Energy says it will create about 350 jobs for three years of construction and has the capacity to provide 3% of the state’s electricity. [The Guardian]

US:

¶ Data from California’s grid operator shows that in May solar generation in the area managed by the California ISO rose to a new record, providing nearly 17% of in-state generation. With gas falling to only around 15%, this means that solar provided more electricity for Californians than gas, for the first time ever, on a monthly basis. [pv magazine Australia]

California solar array (NRG image)

¶ San Diego Gas & Electric announced it will double its backup battery capacity to support the growth of renewable energy in its service area. The utility plans to build five more lithium-ion battery backup facilities, including one of the biggest in the US, over the next three years. The new plants will add nearly 100 MW of capacity. [Times of San Diego]

¶ Duke Energy Carolinas has reached an agreement that would reduce its 10-year grid modernization plan from $7.8 billion to $2.5 billion. The agreement would also increase renewable and energy storage development. Energy storage initiatives have grown to 300-MW by 2026, according to a Greentech Media report. [Power Engineering Magazine]

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June 4 Energy News

June 4, 2018

World:

¶ Renewable power accounted for 70% of net additions to global power generating capacity in 2017, the largest such increase in modern history, a report from REN21 said. But the heating, cooling and transport sectors, which together account for about four-fifths of global final energy demand, continue to lag far behind the power sector. [EnergyInfraPost]

Dusk at a solar system

¶ In 2017, the world set a new record for renewable-power capacity added to the grid. In fact, the money spent on renewable installations was more than twice the sum spent on nuclear and fossil-fuel power, according to the annual Global Status Report published by renewables policy group REN21. But it was not enough to reduce emissions. [Quartz]

¶ Wind farms produced 24.1% of Spain’s power in the first five months of 2018, more than any other energy source, while nuclear power plants came second with a share of 20.8%. Total of 46.4% of the country’s electricity in the period came from renewable energy sources, according to provisional statistics from the grid operator. [Renewables Now]

Wind park in Abla, Spain (Photo: JJ Merelo, CC-BY-SA 2.0)

¶ Institutional investors managing $26 trillion in assets called on Group of Seven leaders to phase out the use of coal in power generation to help limit climate change. Their call came despite strong opposition from Washington. They wrote that the Paris Agreement plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions were too weak to limit warming. [GMA News]

¶ Dutch contractor Van Oord made its first step into the Asian offshore wind market. It was designated a preferred contractor for a 640-MW offshore wind project in Taiwan. A German company, wpd, will develop the Yunlin offshore wind project. Taiwan’s offshore wind strategy is driven by a desire to phase out nuclear power. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Installing offshore wind turbines

¶ Switzerland launched a strategic plan this week to boost renewable energy sources and gradually replace nuclear energy, which currently accounts for 33% of state energy production. The Swiss Confederation will initiate measures needed to switch to renewables at the ends of the “safe” lives of the nuclear plants it owns. [Canadian Homesteading]

¶ Macquarie Group is teaming up with South Korean company Gyeongbuk Floating Offshore Wind Power to jointly develop a 1-GW floating wind project off the coast of the Asian country. The partners signed a memorandum of understanding to work on a project 50-km off the coast of Pohang and Ulsan in South Korea. No development timeline was given. [reNews]

Offshore wind farm (reNews image)

Australia:

¶ The Labor Party proposes to establish the Australia’s first official renewable energy zone in Tasmania, where more than $2 billion of investment are planned. Federal Labor’s climate change spokesman, and party president, Mark Butler, announced the proposal while campaigning in the seat of Braddon, which will go to the polls in August. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Remote Northern Territory communities from the Tiwi Islands to the South Australian border are set to be connected to solar power as construction begins on the next phase of the $59 million Solar Energy Transformation Program project, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency said. The phase will bring solar power to 17 communities. [EcoGeneration]

Oenpelli, NT (Jason Motbey, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ A Newcastle company’s massive plan for large-scale renewable energy projects in New South Wales reflects the “huge global investor appetite” in the sector, an analyst says. The Newcastle Herald reported that CWP Renewables had secured a $700 million investment from a Swiss equity firm to build wind, solar and battery projects. [Newcastle Herald]

US:

¶ Multiple scientific studies indicate that concern about climate change is having impacts on values of real estate that may be exposed to flooding. This is especially evidenced by beachfront real estate markets. Not surprisingly, property owners who see increased coastal flooding due to slowly rising sea levels are moving to higher ground. [CNN]

Flash flood (Kenneth K Lam | The Baltimore Sun via AP)

¶ California is at the forefront of US states when it comes to reducing carbon emissions. Nearly 40% of the state’s emissions come from its transportation sector. California’s utilities are directly involved in the efforts to cut those emissions. They proposed an initiative on vehicle electrification, and the state’s PUC approved it. [CleanTechnica]

¶ San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer pledged to have the city adopt either community choice or San Diego Gas & Electric’s blueprint to help fulfill the city’s goal of using all green power by 2035. SDG&E’s bid to provide the city of San Diego with 100% renewable energy may be in trouble, as community choice attracts voters. [The San Diego Union-Tribune]

Transmission towers (Photo: staff | San Diego Union-Tribune)

¶ Solar energy is gaining traction in Nebraska as a growing number of cities adopt it and officials look for ways to help the trend. PVs have become so popular that some cities have had to expand their recently built solar farms or build new ones to keep pace with customer demand. A new program is helping cities and villages adopt solar power. [NTV]

¶ The White House’s press service gave a statement in response to media reports about the plan to support uncompetitive coal and nuclear plants. It said, “Impending retirements of fuel-secure power facilities are leading to a rapid depletion of a critical part of our nation’s energy mix, and impacting the resilience of our power grid.” [Renewables Now]

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June 3 Energy News

June 3, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Trump’s Coal Rescue Plan Will Force Taxpayers To Bail Out A Dying Industry” • The Trump administration is considering a plan to order utilities to buy power from coal-burning plants. It is a plant that would force you to buy more expensive, dirtier electricity that is more likely to cause you health problems and perhaps even premature death. [CleanTechnica]

Trump’s vision of a great America

¶ “The Californization of America” • Democrats across the country are winning primaries by promoting policies like universal health insurance and guaranteed income, ideas once laughed off as things that work only on the “Left Coast.” At the same time, national politicians from both sides are finally putting front and center such issues as immigration, clean energy, and suburban sprawl. [New York Times]

¶ “Is Trans Mountain worth the risk?” • Environmental impact concerns lie at the heart of opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, which is aims to take tar sand oil to the sea. It has driven a political divide between British Columbia and Alberta, and Ottawa. Now two civil court actions are aimed at halting it. [Yukon News]

Oil spill cleanup (Huffington Post image)

¶ “What happens to our trash and recycling in Winona? We followed a cereal box through the process” • I followed a cereal box and its liner through the trash and recycling processes. They went through a journey involving companies in three states, loud machinery, and in the case of the box, a potential trade war with China. [Winona Daily News]

Science and Technology:

¶ Vertical farms avoid much of the emissions of agriculture, despite their reliance on artificial light and climate-controlled. Indeed, vertical farms evangelist Dickson Despommier says these kinds of farms could significantly reduce the amount of land devoted to farming and thereby make a serious dent in our climate change problem. [IEEE Spectrum]

Vertical farm (Photo: Harry Goldstein)

¶ Separately from any energy source needed, carbon dioxide is a product of a chemical reaction in the production of aluminum. It amounts to 20% of the emissions. Alcoa created a new process that produces oxygen, rather than carbon dioxide, in the final reaction step, enabling the world’s first process for truly carbon-free aluminum production. [Motley Fool]

World:

¶ The Vodafone Group has become the 135th global brand to make the 100% renewable energy pledge. The company set the date of its goal at 2025. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) reported last month that the amount of green power sourced by big business last year was enough to meet the energy needs of France. [Innovators Magazine]

Wind turbine (Photo: Casey Horner, Unsplash)

¶ IRENA’s new report, Renewable Energy Auctions: Cases from Sub-Saharan Africa, analyses the design details and prices from three renewable energy auctions in Sub-Saharan Africa. It shows that South African auctions have driven the cost of solar PV and wind power down to less than the average cost of power supply from the national utilities. [Utilities-ME.com]

¶ As renewables projects are increasingly built Queensland, they use large parcels of agricultural land. Clean energy may offer billions in investment and thousands of jobs for Queensland. But it also faces on-the-ground challenges, including turf wars with intensive farming that threaten to hamper the energy sector’s transition. [The Guardian]

Queensland farm (Shiftchange, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ In January, China donated over 32,000 solar power generating systems to Nepal to build domestic capacity and to provide electricity to communities that had been without power since the 2015 earthquake. Now, making further inroads, China has set up a generating system for the government itself, including the office of the prime minister. [Derby Journal]

¶ Guatemala has an irrigation system, unique in Central America, that works with solar panels, an official source reported. The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Food announced the installation of the 1,000 panels in the municipality of Cabañas. It was financed by the International Development Fund at cost of $534,759. [Devdiscourse]

Irrigation (Pixabay image)

US:

¶ NOAA issues a hurricane season forecast each spring, and its forecast for the 2018 season specifies a 75% chance that this year’s storm activity will be at normal or above-normal levels. There’s a 70% likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms . Of these, five to nine could become hurricanes, with one to four turning into major hurricanes. [NBCNews.com]

¶ Alabama’s farmers are learning how to go green and save their green. Officials say using solar power on farms is catching on and a new program could make it easier for farmers to do that. They are helping farmers who want to qualify for a USDA program that would pay for a quarter of the cost to set up a renewable energy system. [rocketcitynow.com]

Solar power on the farm

¶ In Massachusetts, eight Democrats are running for the 1st Franklin District post being vacated by 25-year incumbent Rep Stephen Kulik. They agreed virtually all of the time on a range of environmental and energy questions in a two-hour session that was sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Franklin County and Climate Action Now. [Amherst Bulletin]

¶ After Florida Power & Light asked nuclear regulators to keep its aging reactors on the shore of Biscayne Bay running another 20 years, environmentalists and residents jumped on a new issue. An underground saltwater plume from the plant’s cooling water canals already has threaten wells, and with rising seas, the threats will get worse. [Miami Herald]

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June 2 Energy News

June 2, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Breaking Down the Opposition to DOE’s Emergency Coal and Nuclear Bailout Plan” • It is hard to overstate how negative the reactions have been to news that the Trump Administration is directing the US DOE to find ways to force Americans to buy power from uncompetitive coal and nuclear plants in the name of national security. [Greentech Media]

Closed coal power plant

¶ “The US EPA’s science advisers push back against Scott Pruitt’s attempts to dilute environmental regulation” • In the larger interest of the nation, the EPA’s Science Advisory Board has decided to fight back against Pruitt’s vision of a reduced agency. The board voted to review some of the controversial rules his EPA proposed. [Financial Express]

¶ “A Year After Trump’s Paris Pullout, US Companies Are Driving a Renewables Boom” • When President Trump announced on June 1 last year that the US would exit the Paris climate deal, many of America’s largest corporations said they would honor the agreement anyway, vowing to pursue clean energy and cut emissions on their own. [New York Times]

California Walmart roof (Reed Saxon | Associated Press)

Science and Technology:

¶ A team in the department of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Delaware have discovered a previously unknown property in bismuth that they say could be a tool in the fight against global warming. Through a catalytic process, bismuth can be used to convert atmospheric CO2 directly into liquid fuels and industrial chemicals. [Seeker]

World:

¶ CleanTechnica’s Kyle Field caught up with BYD’s Jack Symington to talk about what the current deployment of BYD trucks looks like around the world. BYD is moving into new facilities across the globe as it builds out use cases and platforms for company fleets. BYD is developing a wide-ranging set of offerings. [CleanTechnica]

BYD Electric waste collection truck

¶ The French Environment & Energy Management Agency will allocate €100 million next year to support the nation’s hydrogen industry. The French government believes hydrogen can become a pillar of its energy transition because it can be used to store renewable energy, according to the Minister of Ecological and Solidary Transition. [pv magazine International]

¶ South Africa’s Department of Energy will launch a new bid window of its Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme later this year, said Minister Jeff Radebe. He told a stakeholder engagement session in Midrand that bid window 5 could bring up to R50 billion ($3.94 billion) of investment to the country. [Devdiscourse]

Wind turbines (Credit: Twitter)

¶ The Vatican will host executives of the top oil companies for a conference next week on climate change and the transition away from fossil fuels, a Vatican source said. Pope Francis, who wrote a major document on protection of the environment from global warming in 2015, is expected to address the group on the last day of the conference. [Reuters Africa]

US:

¶ The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission directed three utility companies in the state to include the social cost of coal in their future planning. These include the costs of effects on human health and environmental damage. The social cost of coal will be $42 per metric ton by 2020 and will rise to $60 per metric ton by 2040. [CleanTechnica]

Coal-burning power plant

¶ Only a day after MidAmerican Energy announced it would become the first investor-owned utility to be 100% renewable energy by 2020 with a 591-MW wind farm, it had more news. MidAmerican subsidiary NV Energy will procure power from 1001 MW of new solar projects and 100 MW/400 MWh of battery storage. [pv magazine USA]

¶ Rocky Mountain Power is seeking cost-competitive bids for solar, wind and geothermal energy projects in Utah to connect to the PacifiCorp system. The company is seeking proposals for 308,000 MWh of power generation, which implies about 40 MW of geothermal capacity or about 100 to 126 MW of wind or solar capacity. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

Cove Fort geothermal plant (Ariel Sacerdoti, Ormat)

¶ Florida’s NextEra plans to build 300 MW of solar power in Wisconsin. The first project, the 150-MW Badger Hollow Solar Farm, would be located in southwestern Wisconsin, about 12 miles west of Dodgeville. Wisconsin Public Service will own 100 MW of this plant and Madison Gas and Electric will own the remaining 50 MW. [pv magazine USA]

¶ NV Energy plans to build more than 1 GW of solar and 100 MW of battery storage in Nevada. Three of the solar projects will be located in northern Nevada, and three will be located in the southern areas. The company will file a plan with the state’s Public Utilities Commission, requesting approval for six 25-year power purchase agreements. [Solar Industry]

Nevada Solar One (Photo: s pants, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ US online retailer Amazon.com, Inc, switched on a 1.1-MW rooftop solar system on its fulfillment centre in North Las Vegas, Nevada. Including this one, Amazon has deployed 17 rooftop solar arrays in the US over the past 14 months. It aims to install at least 50 rooftop solar systems worldwide by 2020, in a move to 100% renewable energy. [Renewables Now]

¶ After NRG abandoned a two-reactor expansion of its South Texas Project nuclear plant, Toshiba sought investors to continue the project. Now Toshiba has officially withdrawn its plans for the two reactors, Reuters reported. Toshiba said it had failed to find investors due to sharply lower electric rates and increased global regulation. [Power Engineering Magazine]

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June 1 Energy News

June 1, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “How Trump has weakened America diplomatically and economically” • On June 1, 2017, President Donald Trump staged a Rose Garden event to announce his intent to withdraw the US from the Paris climate agreement. Looking back, it is clear that this heedless act was just  one of a set of actions that have broadly undermined US diplomacy. [CNN]

White House (Photo: Eric Cox, Wikimedia Commons)

World:

¶ Austrian Federal Railways opened what may be the world’s first solar power plant designed specifically to power an electric railway system. A solar PV farm puts its electric output directly to the rail system, powering the trains on the Ostbahn. The pilot project is to test the feasibility of larger use of solar power in rail transportation. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The third longest railway system in the world could be on the verge of an energy storage makeover. Russian Railways sprawls over 85,500 km. A little over half that length is electrified, but with a new R&D project, the little could turn into a lot. The rail system is partnering with Enel Group in a new energy storage project. [CleanTechnica]

Railway system

¶ Two new wind energy projects are set to power South Africa’s Western Cape province following the recent signing of multi-billion-rand renewable energy deals. The 110-MW Perdekraal East Wind Farm, with 48 turbines, has completed all of its needed permits. The 32.5-MW Excelsior Wind Energy Facility will have 13 turbines. [ITWeb]

¶ Australia’s Clean Energy Council launched the Clean Energy Australia Report to provide a comprehensive overview of the country’s clean energy sector and the latest key energy market data. The first report says the Australian clean energy industry is finally “on the verge of a major breakthrough” after setting records in 2017. [CleanTechnica]

Tesla storage in South Australia

¶ Canada is set to become a member of IRENA, the International Renewable Energy Agency. Kim Rudd, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources, made the announcement during last week’s Clean Energy Ministerial in Copenhagen. Canada is the  second largest producer of hydropower in the world. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ In the Netherlands, the onshore wind farm Windpark Spui has achieved financial close. Its output, enough to power over 24,000 households, will be sold to Eneco Group, a Dutch sustainable energy company, under a 16-year power purchase agreement. The wind park will have five Enercon wind turbines, each of 4.2 MW capacity. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Wind farm at Greensburg, Kansas (NREL photo)

¶ Victoria could be still burning brown coal to produce electricity in 30 years, after the state government extended the licences of two key power stations in the Latrobe Valley. Green groups are furious at the deal to keep what they call Australia’s dirtiest power stations at Yallourn and Loy Yang open until 2032 and 2048 respectively. [The Age]

¶ The UK is ready to provide support to Hitachi Ltd’s £20 billion ($27 billion) nuclear project in exchange for a lower guaranteed power price once the two reactors are up and running. The UK decided that amount must be less than the £92.50/MWh it had agreed to pay for power from Hinkley, the undersecretary of state for business and industry said. [Bloomberg]

Wylfa nuclear station (Christopher Furlong | Getty Images)

US:

¶ American telecom giant AT&T has announced this week a new goal to achieve “zero waste” at 100 of its facilities by the end of 2020, as part of its larger environmental commitments and policies. AT&T’s other environmental and energy achievements of this year have included a power purchase agreement for 520 MW of wind power. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Trump administration officials are making plans to order grid operators to buy electricity from struggling coal and nuclear plants in an effort to extend their life. The DOE would exercise federal emergency authority for the unprecedented intervention into US energy markets, according to a memo obtained by Bloomberg News. [Bloomberg]

Polluting power plant (Photo: Luke Sharrett | Bloomberg)

¶ Alliant Energy subsidiary Wisconsin Power and Light Company filed plans with the state’s Public Service Commission to supply its customers with electricity from a 150-MW wind farm in Iowa. The 60-turbine wind farm would be built by Invenergy, with ownership switching to Alliant on completion. The PSC’s decision is expected in early 2019. [reNews]

¶ The New York state electricity Independent System Operator released a report, 2018 Power Trends, that projected the state’s electricity demand to fall by 0.14% a year for the next decade. The ISO predicts most of this decrease will be due to behind-the-meter distributed solar power and continued energy efficiency gains. [pv magazine USA]

Statue of Liberty (National Park Service photo)

¶ The race to lead America’s self-driving car market moved up a gear. Japan’s SoftBank is putting $2.25 billion (€1.92 billion, £1.7 billion) into GM’s autonomous unit Cruise, one of the biggest single investments in self-driving technology. And Waymo, which is owned by Google, is buying up to 62,000 Fiat Chrysler minivans for its autonomous fleet. [BBC]

¶ Nevada’s NV Energy has selected 8minuteenergy, based in California, to develop the 300-MW Eagle Shadow Mountain Solar Farm in Clark County, Nevada. The project will be built on the Moapa River Indian Reservation about 30 miles north of Las Vegas, and will be the largest solar installation to date built on tribal land. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

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