July 21 Energy News

July 21, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Energy Costs Are a Higher Burden on the Rural Poor” • Low-income families in rural areas pay greater portions of what they earn to energy costs than other families. Lower disposable income has a crippling effect on local economies. Often, the burden on households and communities could be mitigated with energy-efficiency. [U.S. News & World Report]

Rural America (UIG via Getty Images)

¶ “To Improve Energy Security Of Military Bases, Use Less Civilian Power – Not More” • The Trump Administration is reportedly considering a bailout of civilian coal and nuclear power plants to make the electricity supply to military bases more reliable. But a more effective approach would be competitive procurement. [American Action Forum]

¶ “What does the end of feed in tariffs in the UK mean for small-scale renewables?” • The UK’s feed in tariff scheme for small-scale renewables will officially close on 31 March 2019, according to the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy. The closure was announced in 2015, but its real implications are still unknown. [Power Technology]

UK rooftop solar systems (Photo: Christine Westerback)

¶ “Republican Candidate Calls 18-Year-Old Climate Activist ‘Naive’. Her Response Is Perfect” • A Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate called an 18-year-old naive when she questioned him on climate science. He believes that the Earth is warming because it is moving closer to the sun every year and because a larger population gives off more body heat. [ScienceAlert]

Science and Technology:

¶ Researchers made an enormous leap recently by moving one step closer to stable fusion nuclear energy. They discovered a way to stabilize plasma in fusion reactors to prevent temperatures and densities from oscillating. The process they discovered runs in simulations. If it runs in fusion reactors as expected, it may help bring them to reality. [Interesting Engineering]

Plasma fusion reactor

World:

¶ The UK’s drive to get more electric vehicles on the road took a step forward with the passing of new legislation, Automated and Electric Vehicles Act, which gives the government the power to force petrol stations and motorway services to install EV chargers to ensure charging infrastructure keeps pace with changing market demands. [Power Engineering International]

¶ Lewis Wind partners EDF and Wood are exploring the potential for installation of next-generation hardware at the consented Stornoway wind farm in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland. The joint venture has filed early-stage planning documents with Edinburgh government officials for 24 turbines of up to 187 metres and nine of up to 155 metres. [reNews]

EDF wind farm on the Scottish mainland (reNews image)

¶ Total global energy investment fell by 2% in 2017, totalling $1.8 billion according to the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Investment 2018 report. It showed that $750 billion was spent on the electricity sector, compared to only $715 billion on oil & gas supply, while investment in renewables and energy efficiency fell by 3%. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The largest solar power plant ever proposed in the UK will be reviewed by the secretary of state within the next six months. Cleve Hill solar farm will be sited on 1,000 acres on the north coast of Kent and, if built, provide up to 350 MW of generating capacity. The plant will include battery storage so energy can be supplied when it is needed most. [Yahoo News UK]

Sunset at a solar plant

US:

¶ US bird conservation group the National Audubon Society gave conditional backing to Fred Olsen Renewables and LEEDCo’s 21-MW Icebreaker offshore wind farm on Lake Erie. The organisation said at a public hearing held by the Ohio Power Siting Board that it supports the project, provided threats are minimised to birds and other wildlife. [reNews]

¶ The parent company of Arizona’s largest electric utility filed suit in a bid to block voters from deciding if they want to impose new renewable energy mandates on power companies. Attorneys hired by Arizonans for Affordable Energy, funded by Pinnacle West Capital Corp, claim a series of legal flaws with the petitions to put the issue on the ballot. [The Daily Courier]

Wind farm

¶ The largest solar system in New York City was installed this week in Staten Island, according to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. The 3.1-MW solar array will provide energy for Fordham University and Fordham Preparatory School in the Bronx. The project will generate nearly four million kWh of electricity each year. [Daily Energy Insider]

¶ SCP and Coldwell Solar hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony at one of the two solar power plants newly built in Petaluma, the first of their kind for Sonoma and Mendocino counties’ nonprofit electricity provider. The 2 MW they generate together can power up to 600 SCP customers using their 100% renewable EverGreen electric power service. [Petaluma Argus Courier]

Ribbon cutting attendees (Crissy Pascual | Argus Courier staff)

¶ A new independent assessment by The Brattle Group of US President Donald Trump’s plan to bail out the country’s coal and nuclear plants has concluded that the cost of such a bailout could balloon to $70 billion over two years. Coal use is falling with low natural gas prices, and natural gas use is falling with increased reliance on renewable energy. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A federal appeals court in San Francisco rejected the Trump administration’s request to block the trial of a lawsuit by 21 young people who accuse the government of endangering their futures, and the planet, by failing to act against global warming. The administration is asking the US Supreme Court to intervene in this case and another that is similar. [WRAL.com]

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