June 18 Energy News

June 18, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Global warming cooks up ‘a different world’ over 3 decades” • We were warned. On June 23, 1988, a sultry day in Washington, Dr James Hansen told Congress that global warming was not approaching – it had already arrived. Thirty years later, it’s clear that Hansen and other doomsayers were right. And the change has been sweeping. [The Denver Post]

James Hansen (Marshall Ritzel, The Associated Press)

Science and Technology:

¶ In a world first, Siemens is opening a £1.5-million pilot project in Oxfordshire employing ammonia as a form of energy storage. The proof-of-concept facility will turn electricity, water, and air into ammonia without releasing carbon emissions. The ammonia can be stored and burned for electricity, sold as a fuel, or used for industrial purposes. [businessgreen.com]

¶ Tesla’s cobalt usage will soon be a thing of the past if Elon Musk has his way. And it makes sense. Cobalt prices are soaring. There is an ethical dilemma with cobalt’s primary sourcing, as much of its mining is tainted with corruption and human rights violations, including child labor. And Panasonic announced it is developing cobalt-free batteries. [CleanTechnica]

Cobalt (Photo: cobalt123 on Foter.com, CC BY-SA)

World:

¶ Through Gigawatt Global Cooperative UA, the US has signed an agreement with Economic Community of West African States, aiming to develop $1 billion renewable energy projects in Africa. Under the terms of the agreement, Gigawatt Global will install 800 MW of solar and wind farms in Burkina Faso, Senegal, Mali, Nigeria, and Gambia. [African review]

¶ A number of Japanese companies are expressing interest in the EnergySail, a system that combines solar and wind energy to provide power for ships. Plans are underway to begin production for commercial release of the Aquarius Eco Ship Project, as the solar power system, batteries, and computer system are all now ready. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]

Aquarius Eco Ship (Image: Eco Marine Power)

¶ Electricity Exchange, an Irish company providing smart grid technology and virtual power plant services, announced that it will double its workforce. The Company, in which Bord na Móna took a 50% share in 2016, operated a virtual power plant from its 24-hour operations center in Limerick. Now it is entering the global market to sell its products. [Limerick Post]

Australia:

¶ Tasmania has some of the best wind resources in the world and there is a line of companies looking to harness the energy. This month Hydro Tasmania announced more details for its plan to introduce pumped hydro in order to become the “battery of the nation.” But Tasmania’s power potential hangs on improving interconnection with the mainland. [ABC News]

Woolnorth wind farm (Photo: David Murphy)

¶ The latest version of Australia’s National Energy Guarantee has raised concerns that it could put a de-facto cap on efforts by state governments, retailers, and even corporate buyers to go beyond the the federal government’s weak targets. Those interested in renewable energy have complained about at least two potential big problems. [RenewEconomy]

¶ The 2018 Off Target report, published by the Climate Action Network Europe, said Ireland is the second-worst performing EU member state in tackling climate change, both in terms of its national action and its support for greater ambition. CAN is very critical of Ireland and warns that it “faces annual non-compliance costs of around €500 million.” [Irish Times]

Irish wind farm (Photo: Dara Mac Donaill | The Irish Times)

¶ Eastern Australia is home to the world’s largest battery. It is increasingly integrating renewable energy into one of the world’s longest interconnected energy systems. And in the past six months, about 180 MW of new demand response resources have entered the ancillary services markets. The effects on obsolete technology are disruptive. [RenewEconomy]

¶ The 228-MW Lal Lal wind farm in Victoria has attracted the corporate investors it needs to go ahead with construction. Lal Lal, which is being built by Vestas and Zenviron, is expected to be fully operational in late 2019, at which point it is expected to generate over 650 GWh per annum, enough energy to power over 92,000 households. [RenewEconomy]

Kangaroos and wind turbines (Vestas Wind Systems AS)

US:

¶ Innogy is to build a 440-MW portfolio of solar PV projects in partnership with local player Birdseye Renewable Energy. A total of 13 developments are included in the deal, which is part of what the German utility calls its “renewables expansion strategy.” The projects are in the North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Mississippi. [reNews]

¶ President Donald Trump ordered a rescue of the nation’s struggling coal and nuclear power industries, but that does not mean utilities are reconsidering the shutdown of unprofitable plants. Many said Trump has not altered their plans to retire old units despite the prospect of his trying to force grid operators to buy power from old plants. [Bloomberg]

Cross Generating Station (Photo: Luke Sharrett | Bloomberg)

¶ The 15th annual American Renewable Energy Day Summit is underway this week in Aspen. The 2018 summit has 176 speakers taking part in more than 80 panel discussions, keynote addresses and networking events. Founder Chip Comins is known for saying, “Climate change doesn’t give us a break, so we’re not going to give it one, either.” [Aspen Times]

¶ Ward County, North Dakota, is on the radar of wind energy companies seeking new areas for expansion. The Ward County Planning Office has had contacts with three companies interested in potential projects, including one that is considering reviving a portion of the large Hartland project that had been proposed 10 years ago. [Minot Daily News]

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