July 28 Energy News

July 28, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “House Republicans Deeply Confused about Why Puerto Rico Might Benefit from Wind and Solar Power” • Republicans on the Natural Resources Committee seemed befuddled as officials from the DOE, led by none other than Rick Perry, repeatedly insisted that renewable energy is an economical way to repower Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. [The Intercept]

Power line work (Getty Images)

¶ “How Russian Attacks On Democracy & The USA Relate To Cleantech” • Russia’s economy is heavily centered around oil & gas, with 30% of the country’s GDP and 50% of the state budget coming from that sector. Overall, the Russian economy is not very strong, and oil oligarchs have many reasons to launder this money into Western societies. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶ “2018 is on pace to be the 4th-hottest year on record” • Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows that 2018 is on pace to be the fourth hottest year on record. Only three other years have been hotter: 2015, 2016 and 2017. Experts say that the obvious trend of rising temperatures is a clear indicator of global warming. [CNN]

2018 temperatures (Please click on the image to enlarge it)

World:

¶ “SunExchange And Powerhive Partner To Bring Solar Power To 175,000 Kenyans” • Sun Exchange, a micro-leasing marketplace for solar systems, and Powerhive, a provider of rural mini-grid systems, partnered to provide solar power to 175,000 Kenyans. They expect to raise $23 million dollars locally to install 150 solar power projects in Kenya. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Stolen! Thieves Exit Warehouse With Cobalt Worth Almost $10 Million” • About 112 tonnes of cobalt was stolen from a secure area in a warehouse in Rotterdam. Cobalt is a key component of lithium-ion batteries, and the battery industry uses more than 40% of the world’s cobalt supply. This has pushed price of cobalt up to about $82,500 per tonne. [CleanTechnica]

Cobaltite (Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Doug Ford’s energy shake-up could wind up costing Ontario” • Promising to reduce electricity bills, the new Ontario government is cancelling 758 renewable energy projects as part of an industry shakeup. The company heading up the White Pines wind project has signalled its intention to seek $100 million in damages, and it is not alone. [Macleans.ca]

¶ “New York PE Firm to Develop Morocco Win Farm” • A New York private equity company, Brookstone Partners, says it is raising cash to develop the first phase of a 900-MW wind farm in a remote part of Morocco, between the Sahara Desert and Atlantic Ocean. It thinks the project has value for a cryptocurrency and data center. [Bloomberg Businessweek Middle East]

Wind farm

¶ “Hot Weather Spells Trouble For Nuclear Power Plants” • In Europe, nuclear power plants have been forced to cut back electricity production because of warmer-than-usual seawater. Plants in Finland, Sweden, and Germany have been affected by a heat wave that has broken records in Scandinavia and the British Isles. [New Hampshire Public Radio]

US:

¶ “US Wind Capacity Surpasses 90 GW As Record Construction Levels Continue” • The US wind energy industry currently has a record amount of wind capacity under construction. It just came out of a second quarter which installed 626 MW of new capacity, pushing the country’s cumulative wind energy capacity total over the 90 GW mark. [CleanTechnica]

Santa Rita wind farm in Texas

¶ “Puget Sound Energy looks elsewhere for power as pollution-test failure idles most of Montana coal plant” • A failure to meet air-pollution standards has largely shut down two of the four units of a Montana coal plant that generates power for Puget Sound Energy. But PSE still has plenty of alternative sources for the electricity it needs. [The Seattle Times]

¶ “Network Of Tesla Powerwall Batteries Saves Green Mountain Power $500,000 During Heat Wave” • Green Mountain Power is using a virtual power plant including 2,000 Tesla Powerwall batteries in homes across Vermont to beat the heat. That system saved GMP $500,000 in just one week this month as temperatures soared into the 90s. [CleanTechnica]

Tesla Powerwall at a home

¶ “AEP Kills Wind Catcher Plan After Texas Rejects Biggest US Wind Farm” • American Electric Power Co is canceling its $4.5 billion Wind Catcher power plant after Texas rejected what would have been the largest-ever US wind farm. Texas regulators rejected the 2-GW project saying it did not offer enough in benefits for ratepayers. [Bloomberg]

¶ “US Wind Installations To Surge Before PTC Phase-Out In 2021” • The US wind energy industry is expected to install more than 30 GW of new capacity over the next three years as developers look to take advantage of the wind energy Production Tax Credit that will begin phasing out in 2021. The PTC will drop 20% each year after 2020. [CleanTechnica]

Block Island wind farm

¶ “As Economics Improve, Solar Shines in Rural America” • Under the Solar Utility Network Deployment Acceleration program run by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association with a cost share arrangement from the DOE, rural electric co-ops are on track to own or buy 1 GW of solar power generation capacity by 2019. [IEEE Spectrum]

¶ “Owner of Iowa’s lone nuclear plant plans to shutter it by 2020” • NextEra Energy, owner of the Duane Arnold Energy Center, says it will retire the nuclear plant in late 2020, five years early. Alliant Energy, the plant’s largest customer, has agreed to pay NextEra $110 million to shorten its agreement so it can switch to wind power to save money. [DesMoinesRegister.com]

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