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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