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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