December 8 Energy News

December 8, 2018


¶ “Monumental Disaster at the Department of the Interior” • This is a tough time to be a scientist in the federal government. The Trump administration is clamping down on science, denying dangerous climate change, and hollowing out the workforces of the agencies charged with protecting American health, safety, and natural resources. [Union of Concerned Scientists]

Scenic area no longer protected

¶ “Renewables, Energy Storage, and Managing the Utility Grid of the Future” • A decade ago, people began saying that one day electricity would be too cheap to meter. That day may come soon. Utilities can use “non-wires alternatives,” to manage energy demand without building new generating facilities and stringing new utility lines. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶ “Envision Energy Says EV Battery Cell Costs Will Fall Below $50/kWh by 2025” • At the Stanford Global Energy Forum Lei Zhang, founder and CEO of Shanghai-based Envision Energy, made an extraordinary pronouncement. He said the cost of manufacturing EV battery cells would fall below $100/kWh, a disruptive price, by 2020. [CleanTechnica]

Battery cells (Image via Morgan Stanley)

¶ “MIT ‘Sun in a Box’ Uses White-Hot Silicon for Energy Storage” • Engineers at MIT have developed a grid-scale energy storage concept known as the “sun in a box,” which they claim would be half the cost of pumped hydro storage. Light from white-hot silicon is captured by highly efficient multi-junction solar cells to generate power. [The Engineer]

¶ “Simple Steps to Climate-Proof Farms Have Big Potential Upside for Tropical Farmers” • Climate-smart agriculture boosts yields, mitigates extreme weather impact and reduces emissions of greenhouse gases. A study by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture shows profitable opportunities for farmers and the environment. [Science Daily]

Drought and salinity-resistant rice at a research site in Vietnam
(Georgina Smith | International Center for Tropical Agriculture)

¶ “Wello Launch Penguin WEC2 for H2020 CEFOW Array” • Finnish wave energy developer Wello Oy launched their newest Penguin wave energy converter model in Estonia, as part of the Clean Energy From Ocean Waves project. Penguin WEC2 will be towed to Orkney for testing at the European Marine Energy Centre. [Renewable Energy Magazine]


¶ “ENGIE Signs Deal to Develop Net-Zero City in Northern Australia” • French multinational electric utility ENGIE signed a 50-year strategic alliance with the city of Greater Springfield in Queensland, Australia, it announced. This will help transition the city to being a zero net energy city by 2038. Greater Springfield bills itself as Australia’s newest city. [CleanTechnica]

Greater Springfield

¶ “Solar Overtakes Fossil Fuels for the First Time” • Data indicate that renewable energy production is growing faster than fossil fuels, and multiple studies predict that this trend will continue to grow. Renewable energy investments grew to $297 billion in 2016, while only $143 billion was spent on fossil fuels and nuclear power. [Digital Journal]

¶ “World’s Largest Distributed Energy Management System to Be Deployed in Western Australia” • Horizon Power, a public utility that supplies electricity in remote regions of Western Australia, contracted with California-based PXiSE Energy for a software solution to manage grid operations and distributed energy resources. [pv magazine Australia]

PVs in Western Australia (Image: Horizon Power)


¶ “EPA Rolls Back Coal Rule Despite Climate Change Warnings” • The Trump administration will reverse an Obama-era coal emissions rule as part of its effort to loosen restrictions on the coal industry, just days after a US government report warned that aggressive action is needed to curb greenhouse gases and ease the impact of global warming. [CNN]

¶ “Tesla Gigafactory Pays Big Dividends for Nevada” • The deal Tesla made with Nevada in 2014 to build the Gigafactory required the company to meet certain performance guarantees. A report from the Nevada Office of Economic Development is out and it gives Tesla high marks for exceeding almost every aspect of the agreement. [CleanTechnica]


¶ “US Energy Storage Project Pipeline Doubles to Nearly 33 Gigawatts in 2018” • The US energy storage project pipeline has doubled in 2018, reaching an impressive 32.9 GW, according to the latest US Energy Storage Monitor published by Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables and the Energy Storage Association. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Colorado Co-op Seeks Exit from Coal-Heavy Tri-State to Pursue Renewables” • The Delta Montrose Electric Association asked the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to adjudicate a fair exit price to end its generation contracts with the Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association, which provides power largely from fossil fuels. [Utility Dive]

Colorado power plant

¶ “As Coal Declines, Solar Offers Possible Path for Reclaiming Old Mining Sites” • As US coal use keeps declining, there is growing acceptance that more mine closures are inevitable and that the system meant to help clean up and repurpose the sites is underfunded. Renewable energy provides a ray of hope for reclaiming the sites. [Energy News Network]

¶ “Competitive Procurement for Renewable Energy Yields 3,900 MW in Solar RFPs for the Carolinas” • Duke Energy sought 680 MW of solar capacity for the Carolinas through a Competitive Procurement for Renewable Energy. A total of 78 projects responded with bids, and they represented more than 3,900 MW of renewable energy. [Solar Power World]

Have a thoroughly worthwhile day.

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