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¶ In a study published in the journal Science Advances, a team of MIT researchers said 39% of all the freshwater withdrawn from rivers, lakes, and reservoirs in the US is earmarked for cooling at power plants that use fossil fuels or nuclear power.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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