July 20 Energy News

July 20, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Rosatom as a Tactic in Russia’s Foreign Policy” • Russia has continued to supply record amounts of coal, oil, and gas to global markets, but it has also identified nuclear power generation as a new energy export option. Russian leadership has embarked on active nuclear power diplomacy globally, with Rosatom as its centerpiece. [International Policy Digest]

Rosatom icebreaker (Rosatom image)

¶ “Life after coal: the South Australian city leading the way” • In 2016, the region around Port Augusta was on the brink, hit by the closure and near collapse of coal and steel plants. Now it is on the cusp of a wave of construction that investors and community leaders say should place the region at the vanguard of green innovation. [The Guardian]

¶ “New York Utilities: We Believe Blockchain Is ‘Transformative’” • Avangrid, Con Edison, National Grid, the Indigo Advisory Group, and the New York Power Authority describe the many attractive use cases for blockchain technology. What they say is that the new technology could potentially be transformative for the energy industry. [Greentech Media]

Blockchain in New York (Shutterstock image)

Science and Technology:

¶ Adding to evidence attributing observed atmospheric changes to manmade influences, climate scientists used decades of satellite data to identify a human “fingerprint” on the troposphere, the lowest region of the atmosphere. In this space, say the authors, human-caused warming has significantly affected the seasonal cycle of the temperature. [EurekAlert]

World:

¶ Albania’s state-run power utility KESH says it is planning to build the country’s first floating solar PV plant on the northern Drin River cascade, where it generates about two-thirds of the country’s domestic electricity from three hydropower plants built in the 1970s and 1980s. The floating system will have a capacity of 12.9 MW. [Tirana Times]

Floating solar array (Photo: Tirana Times)

¶ A recent report says that in 2017 India invested more money in its renewable energy sector than fossil fuels. The findings were revealed in the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Investment 2018 report. India spent almost $20 billion on clean energy and more than doubled its spending on solar PV projects compared to 2016. [Energy Digital]

¶ German wind industry groups have urged policymakers to raise Germany’s 2030 offshore target to 20 GW from 15 GW currently and introduce a 30-GW goal for 2035. The groups, which include AGOW, BWE, the Offshore Wind Foundation, VDMA Power Systems, and WAB, called for an end to what they call an “energy policy standstill.” [reNews]

Offshore wind power (reNews image)

¶ Germany’s hard coal imports may fall for the third year in a row this year and by 12% from 2017 levels, importers group VDKi forecast, citing competition from renewable energy. The group forecasts imports of 45 million tonnes in 2018. Total imports of 51.2 million tonnes in 2017 were already down 10.2% from a year earlier. [Reuters]

¶ The first electricity from a £2.6 billion wind farm in the Moray Firth has been exported to the National Grid from one of the first installed of the its 84 turbines. It was erected by specialist ship Pacific Orca. Once completed, the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Ltd project will be capable of providing enough electricity for up to 450,000 homes. [BBC News]

Pacific Orca at work (Beatrice Offshore Windfarm image)

US:

¶ Massachusetts is nationally recognized as a leading state in renewable energy, but the Environment Massachusetts Research & Policy Center said the Commonwealth could be doing more. The Boston-based advocacy group released a report, “Renewables on the Rise 2018,” and discussed it at press conference at City Hall in Springfield. [Reminder Publications]

¶ A US judge dismissed a lawsuit by New York City seeking to hold major oil companies liable for climate change caused by carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels. In dismissing the city’s claims, US District Judge John Keenan in Manhattan said climate change must be addressed through federal regulation and foreign policy. [Reuters]

Lower Manhattan (Eyone, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Advancing its clean energy goals, Madison Gas and Electric filed a rate case settlement agreement that seeks to lower electric rates and increase natural gas rates in 2019 and 2020 with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin. The proposal would decrease overall electric rates by 1.94% in 2019, with no change proposed for 2020. [North American Windpower]

¶ According to a new report, North Carolina ranks third for solar energy growth and second in the nation for installed PV capacity. This is largely thanks to policies encouraging investment into solar infrastructure in the state’s rural communities, which have helped the state consistently rank top ten in the nation over the last decade. [Chapelboro.com]

Solar array

¶ A report from the EPA’s Office of the Inspector General strongly criticizes the local, state and federal government’s response to the Flint water crisis in 2015 and 2016. The EPA issued an emergency order seven months after it had the “authority and sufficient information” to do so, according to a press release issued by the OIG. [CNN]

¶ EDF Renewables North America said it has struck a long-term power purchase agreement for its 70-MW Desert Harvest II solar project in California. Desert Harvest II is expected to go online in 2020, generating enough power to meet the annual demand of 35,000 homes. The project comes with a 35-MW, 4-hour energy storage system. [Renewables Now]

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