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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