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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