Archive for December, 2019

December 31 Energy News

December 31, 2019

Opinion:

¶ “With Coal Under Fire, 2020 Could Be A Big Year For Wind Power In Japan” • One day, resource-deprived Japan may no longer have to import its energy, nor rely on nuclear power or coal, thanks to a renewable source with vast potential: offshore wind power. A law allowing offshore turbines to operate for up to 30 years may bring that day closer. [The Japan Times]

Formosa 1 Offshore Wind Project in Taiwan (JERA Co)

¶ “How Energy Storage Could Revolutionize Industries In The Next 10 Years” • Over the last ten years, a surge in lithium-ion battery production drove down prices to the point that for the first time in history electric vehicles became commercially viable from the standpoint of both cost and performance. Next comes utility-scale storage. [CNBC]

World:

¶ “Australian Wildfires Force Thousands To Flee To The Beach” • Thousands of people had to take refuge from wildfires on a beach in southeast Australia, as fires swept through the town. About 4,000 residents and visitors were forced to evacuate Mallacoota, Victoria, authorities said. Roads were cut off, and there was no way in or out of the town. [CNN]

Mallacoota, pitch dark at 10:00 AM (Jason Selmes)

¶ “Tesla Says Shanghai Gigafactory Already Producing 1,000 Model 3s Per Week” • Tesla China’s general manager said that 1,000 Model 3s are already being produced each week, with 280 units per day having been demonstrated. This production level comes less than 12 months since Tesla broke ground on the Shanghai Gigafactory site. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Atomic Waste Dump In Marshall Islands To Be Investigated” • Radioactive debris from dozens of US cold war atomic bomb tests in the Marshall Islands is stored in a concrete dome now threatened by rising sea levels. The defense bill just approved by President Trump requires an investigation by the US DOE of the dome’s condition.  [BBC]

Nuclear bomb test in the Marshall Islands, 1946 (Getty Images)

¶ “India Cold Wave: Delhi Reels From Coldest Day In More Than A Century” • India’s capital Delhi has recorded its chilliest day since 1901, when record tracking began. On 30 December, the maximum day temperature dropped to 9.4°C (49°F) and levels of pollution peaked in thick fog. The previous record, 9.8°C (49.6°F) was on 2 January 2013. [BBC]

¶ “Moscow Brings In Artificial Snow For New Year In Mild Winter” • In Moscow, authorities have dumped artificial snow in the city center for New Year festivities, as this is now the Russian capital’s warmest December since 1886. The mild Russian winter is seen as more evidence of global warming, though seeing snow delivered by truck amused residents. [BBC]

Artificial snow in Moscow (Getty Images)

¶ “India Has Installed 84 GW Of Renewable Energy Capacity So Far: MNRE” • India’s renewable energy capacity crossed 84-GW mark by the end of November this year, fresh data released by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy showed. To that date, slightly over 6 GW of renewable capacity had been installed in the country. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ “Endesa Asks To Close Coal-Fired Plants In Spain To Make Way For Renewables” • Endesa SA petitioned Spanish authorities to allow it to close two coal-fired power plants because they are no longer competitive. Analysis indicates that converting to biomass is not economically or environmentally acceptable. The plants are to be replaced by renewables. [Renewables Now]

Wind farm in Spain (Endesa image)

¶ “Railway Land To Be Given For 500 MW Solar Power Plants To Meet Its Traction Needs” • The railways will offer its vacant land to install 500-MW of solar capacity to meet its energy needs, its board chairman said. This is in addition to installations of 500 MW of PVs and about 200 MW of windpower already being developed. [Economic Times]

US:

¶ “US DOE FAST Competition For Pumped Storage Picks Four Winners” • At a hydropower convention in April, the DOE announced a competition to reduce cost and time for building pumped storage. About 30 competitors put forward proposals and pitched them in October. Now, the DOE has announced the four winners. [CleanTechnica]

Water power reservoir (DOE via Shutterstock)

¶ “Clean Energy Goals, DER Strategies, EV Growth To Shape 2020 Utilities Industry Outlook: Deloitte” • Electric utilities will seize the opportunity to expand their role in leading the clean energy transition while improving the customer experience in 2020, Deloitte forecasts in its 2020 Power and Utilities Industry Outlook. [Daily Energy Insider]

¶ “New Mexico Congresspeople To Improve Electrical Transmission, Amid Push For Renewable Energy” • New Mexico congresspeople introduced federal bills to improve transmission infrastructure, with hopes it can enable renewable energy. Sen Martin Heinrich (D) and Rep Deb Haaland (D) introduced a pair of companion bills. [Carlsbad Current-Argus]

Raising a transmission tower (Xcel Energy image)

¶ “Despite More Renewable Energy, Oregon’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Continue To Rise” • In 2020, Oregon’s electricity providers will be required to produce a record 20% of their energy from such renewable sources as solar and wind. Fossil fuels are being replaced by renewables. But total emissions in the state are still on the rise. [Jefferson Public Radio]

¶ “Is There More Trouble Ahead For Plant Vogtle Expansion? In Georgia, experts Testify That Serious Challenges Remain” • Expert witnesses made clear to the PSC that it will be extremely challenging for the two Toshiba-Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear reactors to be completed by the scheduled dates, and costs may increase again. [Clean Energy News]

Have an astoundingly uncomplicated day.

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December 30 Energy News

December 30, 2019

Opinion:

¶ “The Lost Decade: How We Awoke To Climate Change Only To Squander Every Chance To Act” • We may see 2009 to 2019 as the “lost decade,” a time when the world awoke to the reality of climate change only to squander every chance to take action. Now, many scientists fear the targets we need to hit to avoid catastrophe are slipping out of reach. [HuffPost]

Venice flooding (Filippo Monteforte | AFP via Getty Images)

¶ “Green New Deals For The World Are Green Good Deals” • World leaders at the UN Madrid climate talks failed to agree on a path forward. The core of the problem is the belief by some leaders that solving global warming will be expensive and drain the economies of their countries. However, new research indicates that this belief is incorrect. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “What’s Behind Big Oil’s Promises Of Emissions Cuts? Lots Of Wiggle Room” • Like never before, energy companies are publicly acknowledging the threat posed by climate change and the need for society to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But at the same time, oil and gas production in the US and globally continues to soar. [InsideClimate News]

Oil Exploration Rig (Omar Torres | AFP | Getty Images)

¶ “Pumped Hydro Social License, Pt 1: Wind Energy Experience Says Don’t Expect You Have Full Approval” • The US has 40 pumped storage sites, providing 95% of all energy storage in the country, and 50 more are planned. But they are not always accepted by the local people, and they often have to fight for local approval. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶ “The Option For Low-Speed Airborne Transportation” • A large, helium-filled 21st-century airship with many potential applications, including renewably powered west-to-east freight transportation, is being developed by Lockheed Martin. Other developers are looking into modern hot-air craft for similar purposes. [The Maritime Executive]
(Westbound travel uses more energy because of winds.)

Lockheed Martin airship (Lockheed Martin image)

¶ “Decarbonization At Center Stage In Mining As Renewables-Plus-Storage Become Cost Competitive” • Because many mines are in remote locations, powering them is expensive and usually based on diesel oil. Declining costs for wind, solar, and energy storage have increasingly made clean energy an economically attractive option. [Greentech Media]

World:

¶ “Australia Fires: Fires Worsen As Every Australian State Hits 40°C” • Scores of fires are burning out of control across Australia amid a heatwave that has seen temperatures exceed 40°C (104°F) in every state. In one popular holiday region, about 30,000 people were urged to flee, but then evacuations became too risky as fires neared major roads. [BBC]

Remains of a car (Getty Images)

¶ “Honda CEO Peers Into The Future, Sees Nothing But Piston Power From Here To Eternity” • Takahiro Hachigo, CEO of Honda Motor Company, shared his take on the future of cars in a year-end interview with Automotive News Europe. He said he believes hybrid vehicles will play a critical role, but he does not believe customers want EVs. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “First Ming Yang 10-MW Giant Produced” • Chinese company Ming Yang Smart Energy finished its first nacelle for a 10-MW offshore wind turbine. The MySE8-10MW series anti-typhoon machine was produced at the company’s Mingyang Yangjiang Smart Manufacturing Center in Yangjiang, China. Production is set to begin in 2020. [reNEWS]

Ming Yang 10-MW nacelle (Ming Yang Smart Energy)

¶ “Solar Set For Boom After A Gloomy 2019” • Indian solar installations in 2020 are set to exceed 10 GW after a year hit by political uncertainties, module price increases associated with safeguard duty, and a lower number of awarded tenders. But the outlook for battery energy storage installations for solar projects remains bleak. [pv magazine India]

¶ “Swedish Nuclear Power Reactor Shuts Down For Good” • The nuclear power reactor of Ringhals has been officially shut down. And next year, another of the four reactors will be shut down as well, according to The Local Sweden. The decision to close the reactors was based purely on business, declining profitability, and increased costs. [PoliticalLore.com]

In the Ringhals plant

US:

¶ “Energy Stocks Are The Biggest Losers Of 2019 – And The Decade” • Although America is now the world’s largest producer of both crude oil and natural gas, energy stocks have been losers. Big ones. For the decade, the energy sector is up a paltry 34%, according to Refinitiv. By comparison, tech stocks have soared and are up nearly 400%. [CNN]

¶ “Heavy-Duty Hydrogen: Fuel Cell Trains And Trucks Power Up For The 2020s” • The first hydrogen rail project in the US will be in California, where the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority plans to operate a FLIRT H2 train from Swiss supplier Stadler, starting in 2024. Hydrogen is also going into use as a fuel for large trucks. [Forbes]

Hydrogen-powered Nikola truck (Nikola And Anheuser-Busch)

¶ “Democratic Candidates And Their Clean Energy Plans” • Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have made detailed and courageous proposals to return the US to the Paris Agreement and to redirect federal expenditures toward the enormous task of mitigating the climate crisis before it’s too late. Here are some of the positions of other major candidates. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Minnesota Firms Grow An Industry Focused On Renewable Energy, Conservation And Software Analytics” • Donald Trump may have taken aim efficiency and renewable energy, but they are economic and environmental winners. Small businesses in those fields and with related software are Minnesota’s economic growth leaders. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

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December 29 Energy News

December 29, 2019

Opinion:

¶ “With A Million Species At Risk, What Do We Save?” • A decade-long project to save one of the world’s most endangered birds has finally found success, as two chicks hatched. But with an estimated million species at risk worldwide and nothing like the money and resources to save them all, how do conservationists choose the few they can save? [BBC]

Spoon-billed sandpiper chick (WWT image)

¶ “The Future Of Energy Is Being Shaped In Asia” • A Frenchman is credited with being the first to discover the photovoltaic effect that produces electricity from sunlight. The first solar panel was built in the US. But when Abu Dhabi decided to build the world’s largest individual solar power project, they looked east for help, to China and Japan. [The European Sting]

¶ “UAE’s Nuclear Program Could Lead To Nuclear Arms Race, Disaster, Expert Says” • The nuclear program of the United Arab Emirates could lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, and its lack of crucial safety features could lead to a nuclear disaster, one expert told the British Telegraph. The plant is to begin operating in 2020. [The Times of Israel]

UAE nuclear reactor (Arun Girija | WAM via AP)

Science and Technology:

¶ “How Air Pollution Messes With Your Mind” • The air we breathe could be changing our behaviour in ways we are only just starting to understand. Emerging studies show that air pollution is linked to impaired judgement, mental health problems, poorer performance in school and most worryingly perhaps, increased levels of crime. [BBC]

World:

¶ “Thousands Sign Petition To Halt ‘traumatic’ Show” • Over a quarter of a million people have signed a petition calling for Sydney’s New Year’s Eve fireworks to be cancelled and the money spent on fighting fires that threaten the city. The display should also be cancelled as it people are dealing with “enough smoke in the air.” [BCC]

Sydney’s New Year fireworks in 2018 (Getty Images)

¶ “There’s A Texas-Size Area Of Hot Sea Water Off The Coast Of New Zealand” • Satellite imagery shows a massive area of ocean water at well-above-average temperatures in the South Pacific Ocean east of New Zealand. Driven by climate change, the water in the area is about 5°C (9°F) “warmer than average for the latitude and time of year.” [CNN]

¶ “BMW i4 Will Likely Have 330+ Miles Of EPA Range” • BMW has begun releasing details about the i4 sedan it intends to bring to market in 2021. According to CNET Road Show, its dual motors will be able to push it to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4 seconds. More impressively, it will come with a projected range of 600 km (373 miles). [CleanTechnica]

BMW iVision concept (Image courtesy of BMW)

¶ “Volkswagen Increases 2023 & 2025 EV Production Targets” • Volkswagen Group announced increased targets for its electric vehicle production and sales. Previously, it said its intention was to produce and sell 1 million fully electric vehicles in 2025. The target year for that is now 2023, while the 2025 target has increased to 1½ million. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Keppel Bay Tower To Be Fully Powered By Renewable Energy From 2020” • On January 1, Keppel Bay Tower will become the first commercial building in Singapore to be fully powered by renewable energy, Keppel Corporation has announced. Keppel’s property arm Keppel Land is the owner and operator of Keppel Bay Tower. [The Business Times]

Keppel Bay Tower (Keppel Corporation image)

¶ “REN21: Renewables In Cities Can Ignite Global Change” • Cities are responsible for 75% of emissions globally, yet according to the Renewables in Cities 2019 Global Status Report from REN21 they can resolve most of those emissions problems by switching to renewables. Doing so will bring a number of other benefits along the way. [Sustainability Times]

¶ “Danish Farmers Divided Over Plan To Flood Their Lands To Cut Emissions” • Peat may seem like a fringe issue in the battle against climate change, but according to a recent study by Aarhus University, flooding cultivated former peatlands could reduce Denmark’s emissions by 1.4 million tonnes of CO₂ per year. That is roughly what Copenhagen emits. [The Guardian]

Lille Vildmose bog in Jutland (Photo: Mona Frederiksen)

¶ “The Clean Energy Finance Corporation: Lazarus With A Triple Bypass” • Over the past two weeks, government agency reports have given a series of ringing endorsements to renewable energy and underscored its integral role in Australia’s future wellbeing. The Australian Energy Market Operator and the Department of Environment were two sources. [Michael West News]

US:

¶ “Atlis Shows Us How To Make A More Conventional Electric Truck” • Atlis Motors, based in Mesa, Arizona, is building electric trucks conventinally. Instead of building a unibody truck, the company started with a frame that includes the battery and drivetrain. Attached to this is everything else needed to carry nearly any body on the top. [CleanTechnica]

Atlis modular frame (Image by Atlis Motor Vehicles)

¶ “Training Sparks Economy With Linemen, Manufacturing Jobs” • Workforce development and training kicked into a higher gear in 2019 across Arkansas in recent months, and those efforts are beginning to pay dividends as we reach the end of the year. Some are getting work as utility linemen. Others in solar and wind energy development. [Arkansas Democrat-Gazette]

¶ “Turning Skiers Into Climate Voters With The Advocacy Potential Of The NRA” • With rising temperatures threatening to limit the skiing season and even put resorts out of existence, major ski companies are turning to their customers for help in the fight against climate change. Their goal is to turn millions of snow-lovers into climate voters. [InsideClimate News]

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December 28 Energy News

December 28, 2019

Opinion:

¶ “From Global Warming To Plastic Pollution, This Was The Decade When People Learned The Planet Was Facing A Climate Emergency” • This was the decade when science demonstrated climate change was happening beyond any reasonable doubt. Record high temperatures, droughts, floods, and storms were all plainly visible to anyone who looks. [iNews]

Spanish farmland (Miguel Riopa | AFP | Getty)

¶ “2019 Was A Pivotal Year For Energy” • In the years ahead, 2019 could go down in the history books as a pivotal year in the energy transition. It has been  a year that saw grid parity tipping points. The hype around US shale finally burst. Climate change became increasingly top-of-mind for the energy sector. And the capital markets started shifting. [OilPrice.com]

¶ “Renewable Energy Producers Will Be Hurt Most By Strengthening CFE” • Mexico’s Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) has developed plans to curb private participation in the Mexican electricity market as part of an effort by the government of President López Obrador to consolidate power generation in state hands. [Mexico News Daily]

Transmission lines and towers

Science and Technology:

¶ “Submarine To Explore Why Antarctic Glacier Is Melting So Quickly” • An international team of scientists at the Thwaites glacier in Antarctica is preparing to drill through more than half a kilometer of ice into the dark waters beneath. They plan to lower down a torpedo-shaped robotic submarine to explore with hopes to find out why it is melting so fast. [The Guardian]

World:

¶ “Industry Analysts Expect EV Sales To Soar In UK & EU Beginning In 2020” • Auto analysts in Europe and the UK think the prices of EVs will continue to fall in much the same way they did for microwaves and cell phones. According to a report by The Guardian, 2020 is poised to be the Year Of The Electric Car, at least in Europe. [CleanTechnica]

MINI Cooper EV (Image courtesy of MINI)

¶ “Survey of UK investors shows serious interest in renewable energy in 2020” • Renewable energy is the top investment sector for investors in the United Kingdom, a GraniteShares survey revealed. Almost a third of respondents believe that renewables are the best sector to put their money into in 2020, reflecting a surge in optimism. [Solar Builder]

¶ “Turkey Jumps Into The EV Market” • Turkey jumps into the EV market by unveiling its first “fully” domestically made electric vehicle, with goals of producing up to 175,000 EVs a year. This will cost around $3.7 billion over the next 13 years. It is refreshing to see another country getting more serious about electric vehicles. [CleanTechnica]

Turkish President Erdogan with TOGG EV (via Twitter)

¶ “Australia Suffers Worst Of China’s Coal Curbs After Earlier Boom” • Australia is bearing the brunt of China’s year-end coal import restrictions, ceding market share to other exporters including Russia and Mongolia. Shipments had soared earlier in 2019, when Chinese imports from Australia climbed to record levels. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]

¶ “Australia Bushfires Taking Toll On Public Health” • Australia’s “terrible” air quality is taking a toll on public health. Hospitals are crowded with patients suffering heart and lung damage, said an expert. “The air quality over Sydney and Canberra, the capital of Australia, has been appalling,” a scientist at the Climate Science Centre of Australia said. [Anadolu Agency]

Fighting a bushfire

¶ “German Nuclear Exit Continues As Planned With Next Reactor To Close Dec 31” • Germany’s planned phasing out of nuclear power will continue with the closure of the 1.5-GW Philippsburg 2. Federal environment minister, Svenja Schulze, said in a statement that the consensus in Germany behind the nuclear phase-out was “rock solid.” [S&P Global]

¶ “Denmark Moves Ahead With Renewable Projects” • Ørsted and its partners have funding of $5.2 million from the Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Programme for a hydrogen project, they said. A 2-MW electrolysis terminal with hydrogen storage will be powered by Ørsted’s 3.6-MW offshore wind farm at Avedøre. [Energy Reporters]

Ørsted offshore wind farm (Image via YouTube)

US:

¶ “Coal Miners Celebrate After Passage Of American Miners Act Of 2019” • Coal miners celebrated after a last minute passage of a government spending bill. The bill avoids another government shutdown, but more important for the miners and their families, it includes a long-awaited plan to save their pension and health care funds. [WDVM 25]

¶ “NW Energy Shareholder Files Suit Claiming Utility Excluded Climate Proposal From 2020 Proxy” • A NorthWestern Energy shareholder is suing the company for omitting his proposal from its 2020 proxy materials. He said the utility is moving toward a “fossil-fuel-intensive train wreck” that shareholders have an interest in reversing. [Missoula Current]

Transmission system (The Nature Conservancy | Kili Yuyan)

¶ “Leftover Holiday Food Converted To Renewable Energy” • Over the holiday season there’s an increase in the amount of waste produced, with a large percentage of that waste being food. In New York, the Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority says their Food 2 Energy program allows residents to recycle scraps of unwanted food. [WUTR/WFXV]

¶ “Glendale Water & Power To Purchase Solar And Battery Energy Storage” • The Glendale City Council passed a resolution to enter into a 25-year Power Sales Agreement with the Southern California Public Power Authority for 25 MW of solar power and 12.5-MW/50-MWh of battery storage at the Eland 1 Solar and Storage Center. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

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December 27 Energy News

December 27, 2019

Opinion:

¶ “Frugal Innovation Offers An Opportunity To Democratize Electricity” • One of the islands of Vanuatu is testing ‘Power Blox,’ grid-tied modular power cubes that deliver renewable energy. They can be expanded as needed by the community, without damaging the environment. The more blocks you add, the stronger the grid becomes. [UNDP]

Working with Power Blox (Photo: UNDP Vanuatu)

¶ “Darren Springer & Rebecca Towne: Renewable Energy Standard Is Driving Emissions Reductions” • Vermont’s renewable energy standard is beginning to make meaningful changes in the challenging areas of heating and transportation, which are the greatest source of Vermont carbon emissions and need our focused effort. [vtdigger.org]

Science and Technology:

¶ “Floating Solar On Pumped Hydro, Part 1: Evaporation Management Is A Bonus” • There are several pros and cons to putting floating solar on pumped hydro reservoirs: evaporation control, panel efficiency, reuse of transmission connections, volatile water levels, shadowed reservoirs, water movement, and relative cost. [CleanTechnica]

Pumped storage hydro reservoir in Michigan

¶ “Renewable Natural Gas Creating Opportunity to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions” • Organically derived renewable natural gas has the potential to significantly reduce GHG emissions in the world’s most carbon-dependent industries. RNG from biological waste can be easily deployed by utilities and for transportation. [Investing News Network]

¶ “California, Climate Change And The Trauma Of The Last Decade” • The wildfires were more destructive. The drought was the longest on record. In 2015, the Sierra snowpack reached its lowest level in 500 years, but the storms, when they finally came, unleashed more water than our dams could contain. California is experiencing climate change. [Los Angeles Times]

Woolsey fire, 2018 (Wally Skalij | Los Angeles Times)

¶ “Counting The Cost 2019: A Year Of Climate Breakdown” • Christian Aid published the report, Counting the Cost 2019. It identifies fifteen of the most destructive droughts, floods, fires, typhoons and cyclones of 2019, each of which caused damage of over $1 billion. Seven of the events cost more than $10 billion each. [Reliefweb]

World:

¶ “EGPE Switches On 50 MW Of Wind In Galicia” • Spanish utility Endesa SA announced that its renewables unit Enel Green Power Espana has connected to the grid 50 MW of wind farms in Spain’s Lugo province. The company invested €61 million ($67.6 million) in the 21 turbines installed. The wind farms are expected to produce 185 GWh per year. [Renewables Now]

Endesa’s Enel Green Power Espana wind parks

¶ “At Over ₹844 Million, DISCOM Dues To Power Generators In October Up 54% YOY” • Outstanding dues owed to power generators by distribution companies (DISCOMs) at the end of October 2019 stood at ₹844.45 billion ($11.83 billion), up by ₹297.76 billion ($4.17 billion) or 54% from the same period last year. [Mercom India]

¶ “Progress In Estonian-Latvian Joint Project For Renewable Energy” • The Estonian government made a decision to review issue of a construction permit to create a wind turbine park in the Gulf of Riga. This would allow Estonia and Latvia to implement a joint renewable energy project, according to an Eesti Energia representative. [bnn-news.com]

Wind turbines (SIPA | Scanpix)

¶ “Taiwan Sees Increasing Renewable Energy Generation, Say MOEA” • Taiwan recorded renewable energy generation of 13 GWh during January-October 2019, increasing 22.4% on year and taking up 5.6% of total electricity output, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs. In the first nine months of 2019, 1.340 GW of PVs were approved. [Digitimes]

¶ “Australian Miners Hit By Lowest Thermal Coal Price In More Than A Decade” • Australian coal exporters have experienced the biggest annual drop in thermal coal prices in more than a decade over the course of 2019. This raises doubts about the industry’s projections that demand will grow. The spot price of thermal coal is down more than a third. [The Guardian]

Price of coal (Darren England | AAP)

¶ “Removal Of Spent Nuclear Fuel At Fukushima Daiichi Delayed Up To Five Years” • The Japanese government decided to delay the removal of spent fuel from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant’s No 1 and No 2 reactors by up to five years, casting doubt on whether it can stick to its schedule to dismantle the crippled complex. [The Japan Times]

US:

¶ “Renewables Account For 100% Of Oct 2019 Capacity Additions In US” • The US put into service 722 MW of new power capacity in October, 2019, and all of it was renewable, the latest monthly report by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission shows. For January through October, slightly less than 50% of new capacity has been natural gas. [Renewables Now]

Wind turbines in Texas (Xcel Energy)

¶ “Despite SUV Craze, Tesla Model 3 Dominates US Luxury Vehicle Market” • Of the the top-selling luxury vehicle in the US in the first half of 2019, only two were sedans. The Tesla Model 3, however, beat the others in the field by a huge margin. The only other sedan on the top 10 list was the Mercedes C-Class, and rest were all SUVs. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Tri-State Tells Colorado Regulators They Lack Jurisdiction In Contract Dispute With Electric Co-ops” • Two Colorado utilities filed complaints with state regulators in November, saying Tri-State won’t name the amount of money it would take to get out of their contracts. Now Tri-State is telling the regulators they have no authority in the case. [The Denver Post]

Have a magically inspiring day.

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December 26 Energy News

December 26, 2019

Opinion:

¶ “Statistic Of The Decade: The Massive Deforestation Of The Amazon” • The Royal Statistical Society’s International Statistic of the Decade is meant to capture the zeitgeist of this decade. On December 23, the winner was announced: There were 8.4 million soccer fields of land deforested in the Amazon basin over the past decade. [Down To Earth Magazine]

Amazon rain forest

¶ “As Fracking Companies Face Bankruptcy, US Regulators Enable Firms to Duck Cleanup Costs” • In over their heads with debt, US shale oil and gas firms are now moving from a boom in fracking to a boom in bankruptcies. This trend could put the US taxpayers on the hook for paying to shut them down properly and clean up the drilling sites. [EcoWatch]

¶ “Oil Sector May Be Entering Final Decade Of Growth” • The decade coming to a close will be remembered for a shale drilling revolution that transformed the United States into the world’s biggest oil producer. But the oncoming 2020s may well go down in history as the decade when the world’s demand for crude oil peaked for good. [Houston Chronicle]

Oil pump jack (Jonah M Kessel | STF | NYT)

Science and Technology:

¶ “The Fracking Industry’s Methane Problem Is A Climate Problem” • While CO₂ gets a bad rap when it comes to climate change, about 40% of global warming actually can be attributed to the powerful greenhouse gas methane, according to the 2013 IPCC report. A new report links increasing amounts of methane in the atmosphere with fracking. [NationofChange]

¶ “The Last Battery Breakthrough Story Of 2019” • The latest battery breakthrough announcement comes from researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne. A research team developed a solid polymer-based electrolyte that can heal itself if it is damaged. It can also be recycled without the use of harsh chemicals or high temperatures. [CleanTechnica]

University of Illinois polymer battery (JACS image)

World:

¶ “NTPC to invest ₹50,000 crore to add 10 GW solar energy capacity by 2022” • India’s state-owned power giant NTPC is planning to add 10 GW of solar energy generation capacity by 2022. This entails an investment of around ₹50,000 crore ($7.5 billion), which is to be funded mainly by green bonds, a source has said. [Business Today]

¶ “Record High Temperatures Cast Gloom Over Festive Season In Moscow” • Russia’s capital saw record high temperatures in December, and snow is not predicted until the end of the month. Moscow hit 6.2°C (43.2°) on Dec 24, the warmest temperature recorded for that date. Lack of snow put streets under a gloomy pall, despite holiday decorations. [CNN]

Moscow (Alexander Zemlianichenko | AP)

¶ “Fuel Supply By Coal India To Power Sector Drops 9% To 291 MT In April-November” • The supply of coal by state-owned Coal India to the power sector registered a decline of 8.9% to 291.4 million tonnes in April through November. A government official recently blamed the extended monsoon for the loss of coal output for some months. [Times Now]

¶ “Typhoon Phanfone: Philippines Counts Cost Of Deadly Storm” • Typhoon Phanfone has killed at least 10 people in the Philippines, leaving a trail of devastation through the center of the country. The storm, also known as Ursula, carried gusts of close to 190km/h (118 mph) and made landfall several times across various islands, officials say. [BCC]

Ormoc, Leyte province (AFP photo)

¶ “Fukushima Water Plan Sparks Fears Over Safety” • Concerns have been expressed in China and South Korea over a Japanese proposal to dump massive amounts of radioactive water from the tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean. Experts have called for greater transparency on the plan from the Japanese government. [ecns]

¶ “India Set To Cross 100-GW Renewable Energy Capacity Mark In 2020” • India is all set to cross the 100-GW renewable energy capacity mark in 2020 and can make rapid strides towards the ambitious 175-GW clean energy target. To achieve this by 2022, the government must keep a close eye on key issues and deal with those well in time. [Financial Express]

Renewable energy

US:

¶ “NorthWestern Says It’s Running Short On Power; Climate Activists Say We’re Running Out Of Time” • At a cramped meeting before the Montana Public Service Commission, a crowd of climate activists radiated suspicion as an energy planner for NorthWestern Energy presented a plan that would increase use of gas. [The Bozeman Daily Chronicle]

¶ “After A Rough Year, Farmers And Congress Are Talking About Climate Solutions” • The Midwest floods of 2019 revealed another benefit of sustainable agriculture: fields farmed with conservation practices recovered faster from flooding. Farmers saw the difference, and now they are taking their new knowledge to congress. [InsideClimate News]

No-till field with cover crops on the left, conventional
farming on the right (Rob Myers | University of Missouri)

¶ “Fairfax Solar Plan Could Spur Change To Virginia Law Meant To Shield Dominion Energy From Competitors” • Fairfax County is moving to buy energy from contractors who would install solar panels on over 100 county buildings. It is part of a growing effort to undo Dominion Energy’s protections against competition. [Washington Post]

¶ “Colorado Springs Utilities Joining Energy Pact That Will Save Millions, Increase Renewables” • Colorado Springs Utilities this spring will join a power provider pact that is expected to save millions of dollars annually, help reduce customers’ bills, and increase use of renewable energy. The pact will reduce the curtailment of renewables. [Colorado Springs Gazette]

Have a certifiably merry day.

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December 25 Energy News

December 25, 2019

Science and Technology:

¶ “Scientists Struggle To Save Vital Seagrasses From Coastal Pollution” • Seagrasses grow along coastlines nearly everywhere around the world, and they can store twice as much carbon in a given area as temperate and tropical forests. But the over 70 species of seagrasses in coastal habitats are among the most poorly protected. [The Weather Channel]

Lobster (Tay Evans | MA Division of Marine Fisheries via AP)

¶ “Want To Fight Climate Change? Plant Mango Trees” • Love mangoes? If you do, you have reason to celebrate. A study by scientists of the Indian Council for Agriculture Research found that mango orchards in the country have sequestrated 2.85 lakh tonnes (285,000 metric tons, 314,000 tons) of carbon from the atmosphere. [The New Indian Express]

World:

¶ “With Most Electricity From Renewables, South Australia Has Lowest Utility Cost” • The latest monthly report on emissions from the Australia Institute shows that over the past two months, South Australia got 65% of its electricity from wind and solar, more than any other state. Customer utility bills will average $65 lower this year than in other states. [CleanTechnica]

Wind turbines (Zach Shahan | CleanTechnica)

¶ “Australian Councils Are Piling On The Climate Emergency Bandwagon” • At least eight councils across Australia declared climate emergencies in December. The declarations vary, but most acknowledge the major threat posed to communities and the urgent action required by all levels of government with commitments to local action. [Solar Quotes]

¶ “CCP Seeks Ban On Use Of Wheat Straw As Fuel” • The Competition Commission of Pakistan has recommended that provincial governments ban burning wheat straw in fields and for fuel. Wheat straw is the main raw material in the production of pulp and paper and constitutes approximately 85% of the total cost of low-quality paper. [The Express Tribune]

Wheat (Reuters image)

¶ “In Indonesia’s Provinces, Ditching Coal For Renewables Would Cut Carbon And Costs: Study” • In Indonesia, a major producer and consumer of coal, politicians often argue that continued reliance on the highly polluting fossil fuel remains an economic necessity. A recent analysis of four Indonesian provinces refutes this view. [Mongabay.com]

¶ “Law Enforcement Boosts Renewable Energy Utilization In China” • Effective enforcement of China’s renewable energy law facilitated rapid development of the sector, a report says. The power generated by renewable energy amounted to nearly 1.87 trillion kWh in 2018, accounting for 26.7% of China’s total power output in the year. [ecns]

Wind farm in Xinjiang (Photo: Xinhua)

¶ “Hokkaido Electric Miscalculated Radioactive Materials for 31 Yrs” • Hokkaido Electric Power Co erroneously calculated the amounts of radioactive substances contained in the gas released from a facility at its Tomari nuclear power plant for 31 years. The actual amounts of such substances were about two times larger than reported. [Nippon.com]

US:

¶ “Washington State Ferries, Second-Largest Ferry Network, Switching From Diesel To Batteries” • Washington State Ferries is the second-largest ferry system in the world. Now, it is switching that system from diesel to batteries. Three Jumbo Mark II ferries, which together use 5 million gallons of fuel per year, will be upgraded first. [CleanTechnica]

Puget sound ferries (Grace from Seattle, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Ohio Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Nuclear Bailout Law Referendum Case” • The Ohio Supreme Court has voted 4-0 to hear the case filed by Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts. OACB wanted to overturn the law that subsidizes Ohio’s two nuclear power plants and two coal fired plants, but says its petition circulators were followed and blocked. [WHSO]

¶ “Rivian Raises $1.3 Billion In Latest Funding Round” • Rivian has not even begun building pre-production versions of its RiT electric truck and R1S electric SUV, but it raised almost $3 billion in 2019, capped by its most recent funding round, which added $1.3 billion. This latest round was led by T Rowe Price, a major investor in Tesla. [CleanTechnica]

Rivian electric truck (Photo courtesy of Rivian)

¶ “Another Oil Major Bails On Marcellus Shale” • Beginning in 2019, signs of weakness in parts of the shale oil business began to take shape in the massive retrenchment of the service industry that powered shale growth. This trend became even more clear when Chevron said it would write down and put on the auction block its Marcellus shale assets. [OilPrice.com]

¶ “New Regulations Announced For Peak-Use Power Plants” • Governor Andrew Cuomo announced new regulations to reduce emissions in peak-use power plants Monday in a press release. The new regulations will lower the threshold for NOx emissions. Peak-use power plants have until 2023 to 2025 to find cleaner energy sources. [NEWS10 ABC]

Albany at peak-use time

¶ “Judge: DTE Energy’s Long-Term Plan Is Flawed” • DTE Energy missed the mark on proposed long-term energy plan, an administrative law judge ruled. A number of groups intervened in the case, pointing to what they call DTE’s use of bad data and flawed modeling to produce results that understate the benefits of renewable energy. [Michigan Radio]

¶ “ACUA, Pleasantville To Build One Of State’s First Community Solar Projects” • The Atlantic County Utilities Authority and the Pleasantville Housing Authority plan to build one of New Jersey’s first community solar projects on a landfill in Egg Harbor Twp. The 2-MW project got its approval through a Board of Public Utilities pilot program. [Press of Atlantic City]

Have an ordinary, good old-fashioned, perfect day.

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December 24 Energy News

December 24, 2019

Opinion:

¶ “Our Pathetically Slow Shift To Clean Energy, In Five Charts” • Even with dropping costs, the swift growth in renewables hasn’t added up to major changes in the massive global energy system or reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions. Clean technologies have mostly met rising energy demands, but not so far cut into fossil-fuel infrastructure. [MIT Technology Review]

Wind turbines (Thomas Reaubourg Jr | Unsplash)

¶ “Fact-Check: Five Things Trump Got Wrong About Wind Turbines” • President Donald Trump kicked off his holiday week with a speech to young conservatives. He touted his knowledge of wind power, saying “I know windmills very much. I’ve studied it better than anybody I know.” Then he made a series of claims that were false or misleading. [CNN]

¶ “How Is Australia Tackling Climate Change?” • Scientists around the world are looking aghast at the politics of climate change in Australia. It’s one of the most vulnerable countries on the planet to rising temperatures, yet there is still denial among the country’s leaders about the impacts of rising CO₂ levels on events like the current wildfires. [BBC]

Bushfire in the backyard (Getty Images)

World:

¶ “In Asia Pacific The Climate Crisis Is Happening Now, Not In The Future” • Asia and the Pacific are already feeling the harsh reality of the climate crisis. The toxic smog, flooding, landslides, cyclones, bushfires, droughts, and deadly heatwaves of 2019 were not anomalies. Scientists say weather events are more extreme because of climate change. [CNN]

¶ “Australia fires: The Thousands Of Volunteers Fighting The Flames” • “We’re doing it because it’s a passion” said Daniel Knox. “It’s a brotherhood.” He is one of thousands of Australians who’ve dropped their ordinary lives to battle the nation’s raging fire crisis. He said, “When that photo was taken of me, I had done a 15-hour shift out there.”  [BBC]

Daniel Knox in controlled burn (Daniel Knox | Andrew O’dwyer)

¶ “Ørsted Divests “Loss-Making” LNG Business” • Danish renewable energy giant Ørsted announced that it has signed an agreement with leading global natural resources company Glencore to divest itself of its liquefied natural gas business, describing it as “loss-making” and projecting that it will “remain so for years to come.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Latest European Onshore Wind Auctions Prove Technologies’ Importance” • Recent energy auctions show the increasing importance of onshore windpower in the EU.  WindEurope, the European trade association for wind energy, has highlighted several recent onshore wind energy auctions which all delivered competitive prices. [CleanTechnica]

Wind turbine (RES image)

¶ “Reactor Anti-Terror Upgrades To Boost LNG, Coal Demand In 2020” • Analysts expect four of Japan’s nine operating reactors to close temporarily next year while utilities make the changes required by stricter anti-terrorism rules adopted after the 2011 Fukushima disaster. To cover the capacity loss they will have to buy more coal and natural gas. [The Japan News]

US:

¶ “Who’s Gonna Win The Race For Floating Offshore Wind Turbines, Maine Or California?” • California is used to grabbing the clean tech spotlight with its massive onshore wind farms, but it looks like Maine could nail down bragging rights to the first US floating offshore wind farm. This is despite the fact that  Maine already has 75% renewable electricity. [CleanTechnica]

Floating offshore wind turbine (Maine Aqua Ventus image)

¶ “New Mexico State Senators Seek To Tax EVs And Renewable Energy” • With the 2020 New Mexico legislative session coming up, legislators are pre-filing bills for consideration. Two of these bills seek to tax electric vehicles and renewable energy. The details are worth a look, however. One exempts up to 500 kWh per day of personal generation. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “States Vowed to Uphold America’s Climate Pledge. Are They Succeeding?” • With actions already taken by 25 states, 534 cities, counties, tribes, businesses, and organizations, emissions could fall 25% below 2005 levels by 2030. That’s just under the Obama administration’s original Paris commitment, though five years later than the 2025 deadline. [InsideClimate News]

Herald Square, New York (Gary Hershorn | Getty Images)

¶ “Enel Unleashes 450-MW Texas Giant” • Enel Green Power North America has started operations at its 450-MW High Lonesome wind farm in Texas. The $720 million project is expected to generate about 1,900 GW-hours of electricity a year. With a 12-year power purchase agreement that was signed, the project, will be expanded to 500 MW. [reNEWS]

¶ “Renewables Are A Bright Spot In Texas’ Tumultuous Energy Market” • A survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas estimates about 8,100 Texas oil-and-gas-sector jobs might soon disappear in another oil downturn. But it’s not all bad news, especially for the renewable energy market. Texas produces 20% of all US wind power. [Texas Standard]

Texas wind farm (Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon | KUT)

¶ “2019 Was A Big Year for Renewable Energy In New York” • When Governor Cuomo signed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act into law in July, it made New York State a national leader in the broader fight against climate change. No state has a more aggressive emissions reduction target. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

¶ “Appeals Court Orders Further Review For Minnesota Power Natural Gas Plant” • Minnesota regulators need to take another look at the environmental effect of a natural gas plant Minnesota Power wants to build in Wisconsin, the state Court of Appeals ruled Monday. The ruling is a setback for the $700 million project. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

Have an outstandingly triumphant day.

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December 23 Energy News

December 23, 2019

Opinion:

¶ “Why Energy Retailers Could Benefit From Giving Power To The People” • When it comes to accelerating the take up of renewable energy, the idea of a two-sided market, in which consumers are rewarded for buying and selling energy in real-time, could be the solution the world’s energy markets have been looking for. [Forbes]

Getting to the other side (Jacek Dylag)

Science and Technology:

¶ “Lockheed Martin Tests Innovative Flow Battery Technology” • Lockheed Martin announced that it is partnering with TC Energy to develop energy storage systems based on Lockheed Martin flow battery technology. They say the ingredients are not toxic or expensive but have sufficient energy storage capability to be commercially viable. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ “Aquila Adds 43 MW Of Finnish Wind” • Aquila European Renewables Income Fund is to acquire a construction-ready wind farm in Finland in a €36.7 million deal. The Korkeakangas onshore wind farm construction project is expected to have a capacity of over 43 MW. It is scheduled to be fully operational in December 2021. [reNEWS]

Wind farm (Science in HD | Unsplash)

¶ “Audi Announces €12 Billion For EV Development, BMW €400 Million For 2021 iNEXT Production” • Audi, part of now EV-aggressive Volkswagen Group, has set aside about €12 billion to put into e-mobility between 2020 and 2024. By contrast, BMW, is to invest around €400 million in its Dingolfing plant for production of the BMW iNEXT. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Iberdrola To Put $500 Million Into Australian Wind Energy And Solar Farm” • Iberdrola predicts renewables will take “much more relevant position” in Australia in coming years and hopes to develop further projects. Iberdrola’s head of renewables said that in the new year the company would also probably increase its target for renewable energy greatly. [REVE]

Iberdrola wind turbine

¶ “Rajasthan Unveils Solar, Wind And Hybrid Energy Policy” • Rajasthan’s Chief Minister launched the two energy policies for his state, one for solar energy and the other for wind and hybrid energy. This gives a major boost to India’s efforts towards reaching its target of 175 GW of renewable capacity by 2022, in which states have a crucial role to play. [Elets]

¶ “ADB To Roll Out $1 Billion For Clean Energy Investments In The Pacific Region” • The Asian Development Bank is planning to roll out nearly $1 billion of energy investments across the region during the 2019-2021 period. The bank seeks to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy. It also aims to maximize access to energy for all. [Mercom India]

Not much, but it’s home

¶ “Saudi Arabia’s Al Rushaid And France’s Optimum Agree To Build Solar Plant Systems” • Saudi Arabia’s Al Rushaid Group signed a joint venture agreement with France’s Optimum Tracker to build components and systems of solar plants in the kingdom. The venture will receive an initial investment of 200 million Saudi riyals ($53 million). [The National]

¶ “Renewable Energy Will Power 100% Of This Beverage Giant’s Operations” • Australian beverage giant Lion has committed to power all of its operations with renewable energy by 2025. The announcement is the latest in the unveiling of Lion’s eco-friendly strategy after saying in November it would be the first Australian carbon-neutral brewer in 2020. [The Rising]

Quincy Lion

¶ “Australian PM Scott Morrison Backs Coal Industry Amid Wildfire Crisis Climate Change Row” • Embattled Australian prime minister Scott Morrison insisted his government would not “walk away” from the coal industry, just as authorities warned the wildfires crisis could rage for months. About 200 fires were burning in four states. [Evening Standard]

¶ “Government Proposes Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant Water Release Into Sea Or Air” • The Japanese ministry of economy and industry has proposed gradually releasing or allowing to evaporate massive amounts of treated but still radioactive water at the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The idea was proposed to a body of experts. [Japan Today]

Liquid processing systems at Fukushima Daiichi (AP file)

US:

¶ “US Military Precariously Unprepared For Climate Threats, War College And Retired Brass Warn” • The US Department of Defense, with a presidential administration that rejects science and ignores climate risks, has been slow to respond to them. That is raising concerns from both military think tanks and Congress’s watchdog agency. [InsideClimate News]

¶ “Elizabeth Warren Shifts On Nuclear Power – No Longer Totally Against It, Apparently” • “We’ve got to stop putting more carbon into the air,” Warren said in the primary debate. “We got to get the carbon out of the air and out of the water. And that means that we need to keep some of our nuclear in place,” she said. “I will not build more nuclear.” [NewBostonPost]

Nuclear power plant (Dukovany | Wikipedia)

¶ “Renewables Embraced By Standing Rock, Other Tribes” • With publicity from the Dakota Access pipeline protest still fresh in people’s minds, Indigenized Energy and other nonprofits worked together to build and launch a solar farm on Standing Rock. In doing so, they became the latest American Indian tribe moving into green energy. [Albuquerque Journal]

¶ “US Navy Orders Two Portable Backup Battery Systems From Northern Reliability” • The US military operates all over the world, often in places where no electrical grid is available to power its equipment. This situation makes small, portable microgrids, using a combination of solar panels and battery storage, the ideal solution. [CleanTechnica]

Have a mystifyingly magnificent day.

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December 22 Energy News

December 22, 2019

Opinion:

¶ “How The White House Killed Clean Energy Tax Credits” • The decision to leave tax credits for solar energy and electric vehicles out of the $1.37 trillion spending deal came from the White House just as negotiations were nearly over, according to sources close to the issue. And Democrats are being accused of letting it happen. [GreenTech Media] (Thanks to Tad Montgomery.)

White House at night (Photo: Ted, Wikimedia Commons)

Science and Technology:

¶ “Climate Change Contributing To Increase In Extreme Weather Events, Says Expert Report” • Extreme weather events such as heatwaves, droughts and heavy rainfall are increasingly likely because of human-caused climate change, according to a report by climate experts that was released at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union. [physicsworld.com]

¶ “Amazon Forest Regrows Much Slower Than Previously Thought” • Regrowth of Amazonian forests after deforestation could be much slower than previously thought, a study shows. The findings made significant impacts on global climate change predictions due to the ability of secondary forests to ingest carbon from the atmosphere. [Nature World News]

Amazon tributary (Pixabay image)

World:

¶ “Lilium Jet Accomplishes 3-Minute Test Flight” • The Munich-based aviation startup Lilium Jet released a video of its successful 3-minute test flight. Lilium says it will next test the aircraft at higher speeds, with this test phase reaching 100 km/h (62 mph). Lilium’s second testing phase will focus on completing a full transition to wing-borne flight. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Nord Stream 2: Germany And Russia Decry US Sanctions” • Germany and Russia have reacted angrily to sanctions approved by US President Donald Trump on a gas pipeline between the two countries. The sanctions target firms building Nord Stream 2, an undersea pipeline that will allow Russia to increase gas exports to Germany. [BBC]

Nord Stream 2 pipeline (Reuters)

¶ “The Global Price Tag For 100% Renewable Energy: $73 Trillion” • A global effort to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050 would cost nations $73 trillion upfront. But the expense will pay for itself in under seven years, and create 28.6 million more full-time jobs, according to a new report from researchers at Stanford University. [Yale Environment 360]

¶ “A Floating Nuclear Power Plant Has Started To Produce Electricity In A Remote Region Of Russia” • Russia’s state-owned nuclear company Rosatom announced that the Akademik Lomonosov started to produce electricity in the “isolated Chaun-Bilibino network” in the port of Pevek, Chukotka, which is in the Far East area of Russia. [EnerCom Inc]

Akademik Lomonosov (Alexander Ryumin | TASS | Getty Images)

¶ “AP High Court Orders Discoms To Clear Arrears Of ₹1450 Crore Of Renewable Power Producers” • The Andhra Pradesh high court directed state-run power distribution companies to pay ₹1,450 crore ($218 million) to solar and wind electricity producers towards arrears to be paid to them for the power they have supplied. [Hindustan Times]

US:

¶ “Half Of Queen Liliuokalani Campus’ Load Taken On By Renewable Energy” • Over 55% of the Queen Liliuokalani Campus’ load is powered by renewable energy, Hawaii Pacific Solar announced. The local solar company recently designed and installed two PV systems, one on a roof top and one as a parking lot canopy. [Pacific Business News (Honolulu)]

Solar canopy (Hawaii Pacific Solar image)

¶ “Virginia Wind Energy Firm Proposes To Erect 30 Turbines In Western Washington County” • A wind energy firm based in Virginia is proposing to erect 30 turbines in western Washington County, spread out around land owned by the state of Maine, in Township 18. They plan to install Vestas turbines with capacities of 4.2 MW. [Bangor Daily News]

¶ “SSAB Americas To Start Making Fossil Fuel-Free Steel” • SSAB Americas aims to start making steel by 2022 at a mill in Montpelier, Iowa, with a process powered entirely by renewable energy. The company, a subsidiary of SSAB in Sweden, operates mini-mills with electric arc furnaces that turn recycled scrap metal into new steel. [nwitimes.com]

SSAB steel mill (Courtesy image)

¶ “Powering Up Wilmington With ‘Smart’ Meters” • Starting in January, Duke Energy Progress will install 170,000 “smart” electric meters in the Wilmington area of North Carolina. This will include parts of Brunswick and Pender counties. The work will go on through the year. Customers will be able to monitor their energy use with aps. [StarNewsOnline.com]

¶ “Roughly 1.7 GW Of US Nuclear Power Capacity Set To Retire In 2020” • Indian Point Unit 2, in New York state, and Duane Arnold Unit 1, in Iowa,  are to retire in 2020, with little potential for postponement, according to S&P Global Platts Analytics. Their combined capacity is about 1.7 GW. They are being replaced with wind and gas. [S&P Global]

Have a fantastically auspicious day.

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December 21 Energy News

December 21, 2019

Opinion:

¶ “A Year Of Resistance: How Youth Protests Shaped The Discussion On Climate Change” • Fridays for Future now estimates that more than 9.6 million strikers in 261 countries have participated in climate strikes. And Greta Thunberg herself has met with hundreds of communities and numerous heads of state. But she was not the first to strike. [Phys.org]

Climate strike (Shutterstock image)

¶ “100% WWS Part 1: Jacobson’s New Study Displaces 99.7% Fossil Energy With Massive Savings” • Mark Z Jacobson and team of scientist at Stanford have just released a new study covering 143 countries representing 99.7% of fossil fuel CO₂ emissions. It’s an update and maintains the mix of technologies. Like the earlier studies, it omits nuclear and CCS. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶ “Scientists Created A New Sponge That Could Clean Up Oil Spills” • The secret to cleaning up water contaminated by oil may lie in the cheap, common polyurethane foam used in mattresses, enhanced with a special coating. In a study published in Nature Sustainability, Scientists found the material consistently captured almost all of the oil in under three hours. [Grist]

Oil cleanup (Lakruwan Wanniarachchi | AFP | Getty Images)

¶ “Renewable Hydrogen Will Drink The Fossil Fuel Milkshake” • Hydrogen is a zero-emission fuel but is usually manufactured by using fossil fuels. Hydrogen gas can be pried loose from water by electrolysis, but that has always been impractical because it takes too much energy. But now, wind and solar are here in force, and renewable hydrogen comes with them. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ “Australia Fires: A Visual Guide To The Bushfires And Extreme Heat” • Australia is grappling with massive bushfires fueled by record-breaking temperatures and months of severe drought. Fires in New South Wales have already burned at least 2.7 million hectares (7.4 million acres – Vermont is 6.16 million) this season, destroying over 700 houses. Here is a visual guide. [BBC]

Australian bushfires (Getty Images)

¶ “Rolls-Royce Electric Airplane Unveiled And Ready To Race” • Rolls-Royce wants to build the world’s fastest electric aircraft and has now begun integrating its electrical propulsion platform into it. The plan is for the e-plane to reach over 300 mph (480+ km/h) by late spring 2020. The airplane, the ACCEL, was unveiled at the Gloucestershire Airport. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Id Mjahdi Is Africa’s First Fully Solar-Powered Village” • A small village in Morocco, Id Mjahdi, is the first village in Africa to become completely solar powered. Cleanergy, a Moroccan solar company, chose to redo the village because it literally needed everything. People typically used a candle one hour each night and walked miles for water. [CleanTechnica]

Id Mjahdi (Image via Twitter)

¶ “Netherlands Supreme Court Orders Government To Cut Carbon Emissions 25%” • On December 20, 2019, the Supreme Court of the Netherlands became the first to order a national government to cut greenhouse gas emissions in order to address the ongoing threat of climate change. We note that much of the Netherlands is below sea level. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “US Investor Partners On Greek Wind Quartet” • Enora and Quantum Energy Partners affiliate 547 Energy International European Holdings are developing four wind farms totaling 135 MW in the Greek region of Macedonia. The partners secured four 20-year power purchase agreements with the country’s Regulatory Authority for Energy. [reNEWS]

Wind farm (Master Wen | Unsplash)

US:

¶ “Christianity Today Calls On Evangelicals To Dump Trump” • The editor in chief of Christianity Today, a magazine that caters to the evangelical community, called for the removal of Donald Trump from office. Why is CleanTechnica reporting on this? Because of the Trump administration’s mulish refusal to deal with environmental issues. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “After Nearly A Decade Of Anxiety Over Pensions, Coal Miners See Light At The End Of The Tunnel” • Union coal miners and retirees breathed a collective sigh of relief after the US Senate passed a spending bill that includes support for miners’ pensions. The pensions had been at risk because of the coal industry’s downturn. [89.3 WFPL News Louisville]

Coal Miners Statue in Kentucky (J654567, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “New York’s Solar Capacity Surpasses 2-GW Mark” • The New York Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced that 2 GW of solar capacity has been installed across the state. This means NY is now able to power 244,000 homes using solar energy. As many as 12,000 solar jobs may have been created since 2011. [Smart Energy]

¶ “Con Edison Climate Study Details Projected Impacts To Energy Systems Through The 21st Century” • Extreme heat, coastal storm surge, inland flooding, and more violent storms are the most significant climate-driven impacts to Con Edison’s energy delivery systems and its customers through the 21st century, a report from the utility says. [EIN News]

Have a happily compatible day.

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December 20 Energy News

December 20, 2019

Opinion:

¶ “This Century Is An Era Of Climate Retreat, Both Managed And Unmanaged” • Fifteen years after Hurricane Katrina, the population of New Orleans is down 100,000, an unmanaged retreat. An alternative is managed retreat. Communities are looking at ways to deal with the consequences of climate change. Moving the whole town is just one. [CleanTechnica]

New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina (USGS image)

Science and Technology:

¶ “Seven Challenges For Global Energy Transformation – Rocky Mountain Institute Report” • Rocky Mountain Institute has published its report Seven Challenges for Energy Transformation 2019. RMI states it succinctly: The world is badly off track. Change needs to come more rapidly than national governments can deliver it. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Biofuel Down, Not Out: The Rise Of The Zeolites” • Biofuels can be used to make replacements for fossil fuels. Historically, the process needed a lot of enegy. Scientists at the University of Manchester came up with a new zeolite catalyst that has a yield topping 99%, while requiring much less energy than conventional catalysts. [CleanTechnica]

Illustration of catalyst (Jill Hemman | ORNL)

World:

¶ “The Huge Economic Cost Of Australia’s Bushfires” • Australia is facing a massive bill from fires that have burned an area bigger than Belgium. Insurance companies have received claims worth A$240 million (£126 million, $165 million) since October, and they expect the number will grow significantly. Bad air is driving medical bills that could go to hundreds of millions. [BBC]

¶ “Did Ethiopia Plant Four Billion Trees This Year?” • Ethiopia undertook a major national reforestation program this year, with the ambitious target of planting four billion trees. We may not know the actual numbers, there’s no doubt there has been a major effort on the part of the Ethiopian government to tackle very serious deforestation problems. [BBC]

Newly planted seedlings (Girmay Gebru, BBC)

¶ “Growth In India’s Renewable Energy Sector Has Slumped To A Five-Year Low” • In India, renewable energy generation grew at a rate of 5.7% in the seven months to October 2019. This is a sharp fall from 28.5% in the same period of last year and 25% in 2018-19, according to data provided by the country’s Central Electricity Authority. [Economic Times]

¶ “Greencoat UK Wind Snaps Up Scottish Duo” • Greencoat UK Wind is buying the Windy Rig and Twentyshilling subsidy-free wind farms in Scotland from Statkraft UK for £104 million. Construction of the 37.8-MW Twentyshilling and 43.2-MW Windy Rig, both located in Dumfries and Galloway, is due to start imminently. [reNEWS]

Wind farm (Statkraft image)

¶ “World’s Largest Offshore Wind Turbine Begins Generating Power” • The world’s largest offshore wind turbine is beginning to generate power. The GE Renewable Energy 12-MW Haliade-X prototype installed at the Port of Maasvlakte-Rotterdam in the Netherlands is starting to generate and sell power to local utility Eneco. [RenewEconomy]

¶ “Fossil Fuels Fall To Record Low Proportion Of UK Energy Mix” • The proportion of the UK’s power generation mix made up by fossil fuels has fallen to a record low. Government figures showed the UK relied on renewables for 38.9% of its electricity in the third quarter of this year, as gas-fired power made up 38.8% and coal provided 1%. [The Guardian]

Wind turbines in Scotland (Murdo MacLeod | The Guardian)

¶ “German Energy Sector Emissions Dive 16% This Year” • CO₂ emissions from Germany’s energy industry fell 16% in 2019 as the country has reduced use of coal, energy lobby BDEW said. Energy sector emissions dropped to 260 million tonnes, marking a 44% fall from 1990 levels. Under a new law, they must be lower than 280 million tonnes by 2020. [Montel]

¶ “Wind and Solar Farms Are Putting European Nuclear Out of Work” • Two nuclear reactors that have served homes and factories in Sweden and Germany for many decades will produce their last electricity by the end of this month. Their closing is another sign of how the surge in renewable energy has upended traditional energy economics. [Bloomberg]

Ringhals-2 (Bjorn Larsson Rosvall | AFP via Getty Images)

¶ “Fukushima Daiichi No 1 Reactor To Be Covered” • TEPCO, the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, says it will install a giant cover over one of the reactors that underwent a nuclear meltdown, as part of its dismantling process. TEPCO says it aims to reduce the risk of radioactive dust spreading during the debris removal process. [NHK WORLD]

US:

¶ “FERC Order Could Boost Coal Over Renewables, Raising Costs For Consumers” • Rules approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission are designed to counteract state subsidies that support the growth of renewable energy and use of nuclear power. The change would require higher minimum bids for subsidized power plants. [InsideClimate News]

Coal train (Benjamin Lowy | Getty Images)

¶ “El Paso Electric Plans To Add First Ever Utility-Scale Battery Storage” • El Paso Electric plans to add battery storage to its energy portfolio. The move is a step to make its power portfolio cleaner and more sustainable by installing battery storage, expanding solar energy, and building a state-of-the-art natural gas generating unit. [KRWG]

¶ “Twenty Utah Communities Commit To 100% Renewable Energy By 2030” • Twenty Utah communities have committed to 100% renewable energy by 2030. Utah municipalities and counties that commit by year’s end and are serviced by Rocky Mountain Power will have support for a net-100% renewable energy portfolio by 2030. [Solar Power World]

Have an effortlessly stimulating day.

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December 19 Energy News

December 19, 2019

Science and Technology:

¶ “IBM Develops New Battery Technology That Can Be Made From Seawater” • IBM’s research arm detailed its work on a new battery design that doesn’t require any heavy metals to build and could potentially be more efficient than today’s lithium-ion technology. One of the new battery’s advantages is that it is free of cobalt and nickel. [SiliconANGLE News]

IBM battery research (IBM image)

World:

¶ “Renewables In The Kingdom Of Bhutan: Supporting The Pursuit Of Happiness” • The Kingdom of Bhutan is known for its Gross National Product, measuring the happiness of its people. Central to the issue of happiness is provision for sustainable and equitable development. A new assessment report has been released by IRENA. [Modern Diplomacy]

¶ “Electricity North West Goes 100% Renewable As It Moves Towards Carbon Neutral Ambitions” • Electricity North West is to lead by example by switching the electricity powering its sites to renewables. Depots and offices owned by ENW are now being powered by renewable electricity generated from Walney Wind Farm off the coast of Cumbria. [Current News]

Electricity North West workers (ENW image)

¶ “World Refugee Crisis: Renewables Can Provide Low-Cost Reliable Power Supply To Refugee Settlements” • On-site renewable energy solutions can cost-effectively supply refugee communities with low-cost reliable electricity, according to the findings of a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ “GE Secures 150-MW Cypress Deal In Brazil” • GE Renewable Energy has secured an order for its Cypress onshore turbines totaling about 150-MW from Rio Energy in Brazil. The order is for 30 machines operating in the 4.8-MW to 5.1-MW range to extend the Serra da Babilonia wind farm, which is located in the state of Bahia. [reNEWS]

GE Cypress wind turbine (GE image)

¶ “Vestas Goes Intertidal In Vietnam” • Vestas has developed a customised solution for the 50-MW Dong Hai 1 intertidal wind project in Vietnam. Vestas will deliver the solution to local EPC construction contractor Bac Phuong JSC at the project site, which is covered in water at high tide and has some of the turbines uncovered at low tide. [reNEWS]

¶ “How Switzerland Is Dismantling Its First Nuclear Power Station” • Switzerland is switching off its first nuclear power station on Friday. However, pressing the “off” button is just the beginning of an estimated 15-year decommissioning process. The plan is that in 15 years, all traces of the nuclear power station at Mühleberg will have disappeared. [swissinfo.ch]

Mühleberg nuclear plant (sda-ats)

Australia:

¶ “Australia Heatwave: All-Time Temperature Record Broken Again” • Australia saw its hottest day ever on Tuesday, with average highs of 40.9°C (105.6°F) across the country. That record fell on Wednesday, when the average highs were 41.9°C (107.4°F). With increased fears of fires, a state of emergency has been declared in New South Wales. [BBC]

¶ “Renewable Energy Investments Could Absorb The Closure Of Yallourn Power Station In Three Years According To Modelling” • Immediate investments in renewable energy and storage could absorb closing the Yallourn coal-burning power plant 10 years ahead of schedule, according to modelling released by energy analyst RepuTex. [Latrobe Valley Express]

Yallourn Power Station (Latrobe Valley Express file photograph)

¶ “Queensland Backs 1.2-GW Wind Farm” • The government of the Australian state of Queensland is throwing its support behind a 1200-MW onshore wind farm, the largest in the country. The developer, Forest Wind Holdings, confirmed construction of the wind farm could commence as early as the fourth quarter of 2020, subject to approvals. [reNEWS]

US:

¶ “First US Long-Duration Liquid Air Storage Project Planned In Vermont” • Highview Power Storage and Encore Renewable Energy are planning to build the country’s first liquid air energy storage system in northern Vermont, in a bid to address transmission issues in the region. The proposed project will be at least 50 MW. [Utility Dive]

Liquid air energy storage (Credit: Highview Power)

¶ “Bob Murray Paid For Science Denial Instead Of His Coal Workers’ Wages As Company Went Bankrupt” • While his company spiraled into bankruptcy, Robert Murray spent tens of millions from the company coffers to pay himself, his successor, and several anti-science and anti-environment lobby groups, according to new court filings. [Electrek]

¶ “Maine Floater Inks Power Supply Deal” • Aqua Ventus 1, a floating wind farm of up to 12 MW off the coast of Maine, has signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with Central Maine Power Company. The wind farm will use a floating concrete hull developed by the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center. [reNEWS]

Offshore wind turbine (MHI Vestas image)

¶ “Missoulians To PSC: NorthWestern’s Power Plan Leads State On A Path To Ruin” • NorthWestern Energy, the monopoly utility in Montana, wants to continue burning coal. Dozens of people lined up in Missoula to accuse the utility of contributing to planetary decline. Most described its plan as antiquated and out of touch with reality. [Missoula Current]

¶ “California Solar Plant Secures Financing” • Solar Frontier Americas has closed on the tax equity commitment and debt financing for its 210-MW Mustang Two PV project in California. SFA is the US-based renewable energy business of Idemitsu Kosan, a Japanese energy company. The solar farm is slated to start commercial operation in 2020. [reNEWS]

Have a clearly superior day.

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December 18 Energy News

December 18, 2019

Science and Technology:

¶ “Chance Of ‘Once In A Lifetime Heavy Snowfall’ Has Increased Five Times Thanks To Climate Change, According To Japanese Scientists” • A study from the Tohoku University and the Meteorological Research Institute says that ‘once in a lifetime’ snowfalls will be five times more likely to hit Japan if climate change continues at current rates. [Daily Mail]

Snow in the Mountains (Getty Images)

¶ “Earth’s Hottest Decade On Record Capped By Years Of Extreme Storms And Deadly Wildfires” • Deadly heat waves, wildfires, and pervasive flooding in 2019 punctuated a decade of climate extremes that may show global warming kicking into overdrive. Scientists say 2019 was Earth’s second-warmest year on record. [InsideClimate News]

¶ “Public Housing Buildings In Sweden To Benefit From Renewable Energy Hydrogen Storage System” • Six public housing buildings in the town of Vårgårda have a microgrid with solar panels, batteries, heat pumps, hydrogen production and storage, and hydrogen fuel cells. Hydrogen enables renewable power through the whole year. [Hydrogen Fuel News]

Housing in the far North

World:

¶ “2019 Had Three Of The Warmest Months On Record. The Rest Weren’t Far Behind” • In 2019, warmer-than-usual weather dominated forecasts around the globe. June, July and September ended up breaking or tying high temperature records, and the others were in the top five warmest for that month. The global records began in 1880. [CNN]

¶ “Ebusco Adds 60 Buses To The Largest Electric Bus Fleet In Europe” • Ebusco delivered 60 of its 12-meter Ebusco 2.2 electric buses to transit operator Qbuzz in the Netherlands. The new buses were brought into the service area in grand fashion, as a parade of the titans traveled the 250 kilometers into Groningen for the official delivery. [CleanTechnica]

Delivery of Ebusco electric buses (Ebusco image)

¶ “Australia Heatwave: Nation Endures Hottest Day On Record” • Australia has experienced its hottest day on record with the national average for high temperature reaching 40.9°C (105.6°F). The Bureau of Meteorology said heat on 17 December exceeded the previous record of 40.3°C set on 7 January 2013. Some places had high temperatures of 45°C. [BBC]

¶ “SSE Renewables To Buy Offaly Wind Farm” • SSE Renewables is to acquire a wind farm in County Offaly, further expanding its onshore wind pipeline. The Yellow River project in Rhode is set to enter construction in late 2020, and will have 29 turbines and an installed capacity in excess of 100 MW. The project is to be completed in 2022. [Irish Times]

Wind farm

¶ “Investment In Renewable Energy Dips Globally As Prices Fall” • Global investments in renewable energy fell to $241.6 billion last year, down from $312.2 billion in 2015, the UN Environment Program said. But investors got more bang for their buck: Renewable energy capacity grew by 138.5 GW, up 8% from the 127.5 GW of 2018. [Stock Daily Dish]

¶ “Solar Powered Mines Now Commercially Viable Without Need For Subsidies” • Zenith energy has deployed a 26.6-MW solar-diesel hybrid system at a remote Western Australia mine site. The company believes it will be one of the first such systems showing the technology is commercially viable without the need for government subsidy. [RenewEconomy]

Zenith Energy solar site (Photo supplied)

¶ “Insurance Companies Are Refusing To Back Coal Projects Over Environmental Concerns” • Coal is said to be the most polluting fuel for CO₂. It should be unsurprising that the past few years have seen a rise in insurance firms refusing to provide the industry coverage. In the US and Australia, four big companies have done so since March. [The New Economy]

¶ “Good News For Climate Change: India Gets Out Of Coal” • India has been aggressively pivoting away from coal-fired power plants and towards electricity generated by solar, wind, and hydroelectric power. This means that the amount of carbon dioxide the country emits into the atmosphere should come down dramatically. [National Observer]

Jharia Coal mine (TripodStories – AB | CC BY-SA 4.0)

US:

¶ “US Lawmakers Stiff Solar, Wind Gets Modest Victory In Tax Deal” • After months of lobbying, the clean energy industry secured minimal tax credit extensions in the $1.37 trillion end-of-year deal. It included $250 million for programs to aid advanced nuclear reactors, but solar power and electric vehicles were left out of the deal. [Greentech Media]

¶ “A Natural Gas Blowout In Ohio Released More Methane Than Many Countries Do In An Entire Year” • In February 2018, a blowout at a natural gas well in rural Ohio forced nearby residents to evacuate, but did not get much national attention. New analysis of satellite data shows that the leak was far worse than previously thought. [CNN]

Natural gas blowout (Ohio State Highway Patrol)

¶ “Maryland Gov Hogan Backs New Energy Plan; Promises 100% Clean Energy By 2040” • Maryland Gov Larry Hogan outlined his plans on clean energy for the 2020 legislative session. Under his proposal, the state would no longer grant renewable energy incentives for burning trash to generate electricity. That includes black liquor from paper making. [WTOP]

¶ “KIUC Tests Grid With Solely Renewable Generation” • For several hours per day over 11 days, electricity on Kauai was generated completely by renewable sources. The cooperative’s renewable portfolio consists of a combination of distributed and utility-scale solar, a biomass plant, and several relatively small hydro generation facilities. [Pacific Business News]

Have a delightfully fine day.

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December 17 Energy News

December 17, 2019

Opinion:

¶ “Are Legacy Automakers Screwed?” • Are legacy automakers’ EVs screwed? Sean Mitchell from “All Things EV” asks a question that many EV followers ask often, and then tries to answer it. After driving a Porsche Taycan Turbo, he is concerned because legacy automakers have yet to create an electric vehicle that is truly competitive with a Tesla. [CleanTechnica]

Tesla Model 3 (Mariordo, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “ExxonMobil Won A Case Brought By The State Of New York. Does That Mean It Is Off The Hook?” • In the ruling, the judge says: “Nothing in this opinion is intended to absolve ExxonMobil from responsibility for contributing to climate change in the production of its fossil fuel products. But … this is a securities fraud case, not a climate change case.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Should Nuclear Energy Be Part Of Climate Solutions?” • The latest UN Emissions Gap Report says global carbon emissions must fall at a rate of 7.6% each year from 2020 to 2030 to keep global warming below 1.5°C from pre-industrial temperatures. Some US politicians want to support the nuclear industry. But is that wise? [The Globe Post]

Windmill and nuclear plant (Trougnouf, Wikimedia Commons)

Science and Technology:

¶ “Latest Report Claims Emissions From Lithium-Ion Battery Production Much Lower Than Two Years Ago” • In 2017, the Swedish Environmental Research Institute published data that showed large CO₂ emissions from making lithium-ion batteries. Newer data shows very large reductions in emissions, as battery makers have switched to cleaner energy. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Greenland Ice Melt Matches Worst IPCC Predictions” • New findings by an international team of researchers show the melting of Greenland’s ice sheet over the past 26 years are close to the most pessimistic predictions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The research appears in the journal Nature. [KJZZ]

Disko Bay, Greenland (Ian Joughin | University of Washington)

¶ “Carbon Capture On The Ropes At San Juan Coal Power Plant – Or Not” • The Los Alamos National Laboratory evaluated a carbon capture system proposed for San Juan coal-burning plant. It said the system would work, but showed it would reduce the plant’s rated capacity by 34% and would cost customers more than closing the plant. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ “World Demand For Coal Falls Despite Growth In Asia” • Global demand for coal has fallen this year for the first time in two years as Europe and the US turn their backs on coal-fired power plants in favor of cheap gas and renewable energy, an International Energy Agency report found. The future of coal now rests largely in China. [The Guardian]

Coal power plant (Greg Baker | AFP via Getty Images)

¶ “London Has Spent Billions, But No One Can Escape Climate Change” • The stark reality of climate change is that even the cities that seem best defended against rising sea levels face the potential of catastrophic flooding. “Even if we reduce our emissions to negative now, we will see at least a meter of sea level rise,” the oceanographer Ivan Haigh told CNN. [CNN]

¶ “Top Tech Firms Sued Over DR Congo Cobalt Mining Deaths” • Apple, Google, Tesla and Microsoft are among firms named in a lawsuit seeking damages over deaths and injuries of child miners in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where 60% of the world’s supply of cobalt is produced. Cobalt is an important material for lithium-ion batteries. [BBC]

Artisanal mining in DR Congo (AFP | Getty Images)

¶ “Madhya Pradesh to set up 2000 MW solar power parks” • To increase the state’s production of renewable energy, the Kamal Nath government will set up a 2,000 MW Solar Power Park in two regions of Madhya Pradesh, minister for renewable energy Harsh Yadav said. The solar park will go into an area that is not suitable for agriculture. [ELE Times]

¶ “West Sumatra’s First Geothermal Plant Kicks Off At 85 MW” • Supreme Energy, a renewable energy company based in Jakarta, commenced operation of its 85-MW Muara Laboh geothermal power plant in West Sumatra. It is the first electric generator of its kind in the province, official data says. The plant could power 340,000 homes. [Jakarta Post]

Muara Laboh geothermal plant (Engie | Engie)

US:

¶ “Oregon Nears Launch Of A Solid Community Solar Program” • Adopted by the legislature in 2016, it’s been a long wait for Oregon’s community solar program to launch. Technically, it hasn’t yet, but the program rules are final enough to show that this program scores well on the four principles for community renewable energy. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Southern Cities’ Renewable Energy Push Could Be Stifled As Utility Locks Them Into Longer Contracts” • Some cities in the South could see plans to switch to renewables fall back decades. The TVA is pressuring them to lock in long-term contracts that critics say could leave the region relying on fossil fuels for years to come. [InsideClimate News]

Nashville (Credit: Derrick Brutel | CC-BY-SA-2.0)

¶ “Goldman Sachs Is First Big US Bank To Rule Out Loans For Arctic Drilling” • Goldman Sachs is the first big US bank to say it won’t finance new oil projects in the Arctic. The bank pledged not to finance projects that “significantly convert or degrade a natural habitat,” including drilling in the Arctic and new thermal coal mining and power plant development. [CNN]

¶ “Rapid Redesign Exercise Helping New Port Richey Prepare For Climate Change” • The Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council recently put together a rapid redesign exercise detailing steps New Port Richey can take in future development projects to make it more resilient in the event of sea-level rise, storm surge, and inland flooding. [Bay News 9]

Have a profoundly fun day.

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December 16 Energy News

December 16, 2019

Opinion:

¶ “Why Madrid Climate Summit Fell Short Of Global Expectations” • COP25 climate negotiations, the longest in 25 such gatherings, ended with major polluters resisting calls to ramp up efforts to keep global warming at bay. Here is a look at the main issues resolved, and the sticking points for future negotiations. [Christian Science Monitor]

Greta Thunberg (Andrea Comas | AP)

Science and Technology:

¶ “Converting Coal Plants To Biomass Could Fuel Climate Crisis, Scientists Warn” • Plans to shift Europe’s coal plants, including the giant Drax complex, to burn wood pellets instead of coal could accelerate rather than combat climate crisis and lay waste to forests equal to half the size of Germany’s Black Forest per year, according to campaigners. [The Guardian]

¶ “The AppScooter Is The Tesla of Scooters” • We are all familiar with electric cars, but many of us tend to overlook the scooter category of EVs. This may be because there has been no example that shines like a beacon of hope the way Tesla does. Until now, that is, and the scooter we are talking about today is the Etergo AppScooter. [CleanTechnica]

Etergo AppScooters (Etergo image)

World:

¶ “Bringing Renewable Power To Solomon Islands” • The Government of Solomon Islands and the International Finance Corporation announced a financing agreement for the Tina River Hydropower Project. Solomon Islands, now reliant on imported diesel oil, will get most of its electricity from renewable energy, reducing power costs and emissions. [Scoop.co.nz]

¶ “‘Cleaner And Cheaper’: Sunny Spain Is Banking On Renewable Energy” • Although the outcome of COP25 may not shine, its host, Spain, welcomed the opportunity to spotlight its fast-tracked shift to renewable energy sources. Spain currently has 28.5 GW of renewables and an additional 62.9 GW that has got permits but is not yet operational. [News24]

Wind turbines (Iago Casabiell González, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “The Top Renewable Energy Countries Revealed” • Recently, Smart Energy International reported the energy consumption of 21 nations to observe which are the most driven by renewable energy, and which aren’t. This included analyzing their total consumption of solar, hydropower, wind and bioenergy. Here are some results. [Energy Matters]

¶ “IDB Invest Loans $5 Million For 6.4-MW PV Project In Honduras” • IDB Invest, the private sector arm of the Inter-American Development Bank, granted a $5 million (€4.5 million) loan for a rooftop solar system in Honduras. With a capacity of up to 6.4 MW, the PV array is expected to meet 25% of the energy needs of its site, an industrial park. [Renewables Now]

Industrial park in Honduras (Grupo Kattan)

¶ “UK Moorside Nuclear Mission Unsure After Toshiba Writedown” • The future of Britain’s new Moorside nuclear plant is in doubt after Toshiba Corp, its co-developer with France‘s Engie, said it planned to pull out. Toshiba had earlier delayed reporting its earnings, after posting a $6.3 billion hit to its US nuclear unit, Westinghouse. [Wellston Journal]

Australia:

¶ “Australia Bushfires: ‘Mega Blaze’ Destroys Homes Ahead Of Heatwave” • Australian authorities issued fresh warnings about a “mega blaze” after it spread beyond containment lines and razed 20 houses near Sydney. The fire, burning over about 400,000 hectares, has moved further into the Blue Mountains – a popular tourist area west of the city. [BBC]

Bushfire near Sydney (Nina Lipscombe)

¶ “Queensland University Powers Up Tesla Batteries On Way To 100% Renewables” • The University of Queensland has flicked the switch on its own Tesla energy storage system as part of the university’s aim to become 100% renewably powered by onsite generation. The $2 million system will provide 2,000 kWh of energy storage. [One Step Off The Grid]

¶ “Yallourn Could Be Replaced With Renewables And Batteries By 2023, Says Report” • Victoria’s electricity network could safely accommodate the early closure of EnergyAustralia’s ageing Yallourn Power Station with renewable energy and battery storage, even with just the minimum three years’ notice, a study has found. [RenewEconomy]

Yallourn Power Station

US:

¶ “Georgia Power Inaction On Renewables May Lead To Loss Of Large Industrial Customer” • Last April, Georgia Power filed a complaint with the Georgia Public Service Commission to block a competing utility from providing Nestlé Purina with renewable electricity at a lower price than its own. The case is now being considered. [Energy and Policy Institute]

¶ “All The Good (Under-the-Radar) News About Renewable Energy” • The National Renewable Energy Laboratory came out with three reports last week that should give stakeholders in fossil fuel the willies. Big solar arrays and wind farms make big headlines, but these reports deal with behind-the-scenes research that carries more weight. [CleanTechnica]

Block Island wind farm (NREL image)

¶ “Summit County, Park City Have Partners In Renewable Energy Plan” • Summit County and Park City are two Utah communities saying they want to participate in the Community Renewable Energy Program with Rocky Mountain Power. The program allows communities to choose to get their electricity from 100% renewable sources by 2030. [KPCW]

¶ “Westinghouse Files For Bankruptcy Protection, Ten Years After Acquisition By Toshiba” • US nuclear energy company Westinghouse Electric has filed for bankruptcy protection, as the subsidiary of Japanese conglomerate Toshiba cites more than $6 billion in cost overruns in the construction of four nuclear power reactors in the US. [Stock Daily Dish]

Have an unreservedly joyous day.

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December 15 Energy News

December 15, 2019

Opinion:

¶ “UN COP25 Summit Ends With Anger With Global Warming’s ‘Window Of Escape’ Getting Harder” • Major economies have resisted calls for bolder commitments as a UN summit in Madrid limped towards a delayed conclusion, dimming any hopes that nation governments would act in time to mitigate the impacts of climate change. [ABC News]

Activists at COP25 (Bernat Armangue | AP)

¶ “Tokyo’s Soft Power Takes Hit In Madrid Over Coal” • Japanese Prime Minister Abe wanted to address the COP25 summit, but his request was rejected. With most of Japan’s nuclear reactors still closed since the Fukushima disaster, utilities have increased coal-burning capacity. What’s worse, Japan has been aggressively hawking coal around the globe. [MENAFN.com]

¶ “Activists Dump Manure At Madrid Climate Summit Venue” • Extinction Rebellion activists delivered a pile of “finest horse manure” as a present to delegates from 200 nations gathered in Madrid for COP 25 climate conference. The delegates have so far been unable to finalize the rulebook for the 2015 Paris climate accord. [Times of Oman]

Horse manure at COP25 (O del Pozo | AFP | Getty Images)

Science and Technology:

¶ “COP25 Got You Down? ‘Impossible’ Solar Cells To The Rescue!” • The ultra-efficient III-V solar cells, which have reached a record efficiency of 29.1%, are currently available only for space applications because they are too expensive for Earth-bound use. NREL researchers found a new way to make them at relatively low cost. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Four New Energy Storage Technologies To Power The EV Revolution” • The true cost of EV ownership is already close to that of comparable cars with internal combustion engines. The sticking point is the cost of the battery. With that in mind, let’s take a look at four emerging battery technologies that the DOE is eyeballing. [CleanTechnica]

Old technology electric truck (Wikimedia Commons)

World:

¶ “Why Australia’s PM Is Facing Climate Anger Amid Bushfires” • Fires have covered Australia’s populated areas in smoke, and the Bureau of Meteorology says climate change has exacerbated the conditions for dangerous fires in Australia. Many people say they are frustrated with government rhetoric on the climate crisis and its failure to act effectively. [BBC]

¶ “Australia Heatwave: Next Week Could See Hottest Day On Record” • Australia could experience its hottest day on record next week as a severe heatwave in the country’s west is set to make its way east, forecasters say. Temperatures are likely to exceed 40°C (104°F) in many areas from Wednesday, the Bureau of Meteorology says. [BBC]

Bushfire outside the Perth Stadium (AFP)

¶ “Solar Power In NS Is Cheaper And More Widespread Than Ever” • Renewable energy experts are looking for ways to move away from burning coal in Nova Scotia. Along with wind power and hydro electricity, solar energy is one of the useful ways that industries and homeowners can consider to start to be more eco-friendly. [HalifaxToday.ca]

¶ “After Decades In Darkness, This Entire Thai Village Is Now Powered By Solar Energy” • In 2018, solar panels were installed on the last of the 400 homes in Wong Wan, under a community-led initiative that finally solved a problem that authorities had not been able to fix in decades. The success led to a UN Public Service Award. [CNA]

Training on the use of solar panels (Photo: Jack Board)

¶ “‘If The Climate Stays Like This, We Won’t Make It’ Say Those On The Frontline Of Africa’s Drought” • Torrents of water once thundered over the precipice at Victoria Falls, on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia, shrouding the area in mist. But a multi-year drought has slowed large sections of the imposing falls to little more than a weak stream. [CNN]

US:

¶ “70% of Americans Support Solar Mandate on New Homes” • CITE Research recently conducted a survey for Vivint Solar and found 70% of Americans said they would support a nationwide mandate requiring that solar panels be installed on all newly built homes. The survey was conducted online, and 2,000 US adults age 25 and up participated. [CleanTechnica]

Installing solar panels (Vivint Solar)

¶ “How Coal Country Becomes Solar Country” • In Colorado’s North Fork Valley, solar energy, along with a strong organic-farm economy and recreation dollars, is helping to fill the economic hole left by the dying coal industry, which sustained the area for more than 120 years. Two of Delta County’s three mines have already closed. [The Atlantic]

¶ “Natural Gas Surpasses Coal In Carbon Emissions” • Recent estimates produced by the Global Carbon Project, an academic consortium, detailed an unexpected story regarding carbon dioxide emissions in the US. Carbon emissions from coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, are on a steady decline, and carbon emissions from natural gas now surpass them. [Salon]

Have a superbly tranquil day.

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December 14 Energy News

December 14, 2019

Science and Technology:

¶ “Can Kitchen Gardens Combat Climate Change?” • Growing fruit and veg in the garden is already seen as environmentally friendly, but it could also be a weapon in the fight against climate change. That has been the experience of a community in Bangladesh, whose rice crop was ruined when seasonal rains came early. [BBC]

Woman in her garden (Faarm Project image)

¶ “How The Energy Industry Contributes To Water Pollution” • There is a unique connection between the use of water and the production of energy. The multidimensional dynamic of energy and water resources is increasingly a cause of concern, as their accessibility becomes limited over time. Here is a look at that relationship. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

World:

¶ “Richer Nations Accused Of Stalling Progress On Climate Crisis” • Poor countries have accused a handful of richer nations, especially Brazil, China, and India, of holding up progress on tackling the climate crisis at UN talks in Madrid, as demonstrators and activists vented their frustration in the final hours of two weeks of negotiations. [The Guardian]

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaking (ZIPI | EPA)

¶ “West Africa’s First Large-Scale Wind Farm Starts Generating Power” • A project described as West Africa’s first wind farm has started transmitting power to Senegal’s national electricity grid. While the 158.7-MW facility has started to export power, work on construction is still ongoing and due to finish next year. The wind farm is to have 46 Vestas wind turbines. [CNBC]

¶ “New Era: Fully Electric Mercedes-Benz eSprinter Goes Into Production” • Mercedes-Benz’s Dusseldorf plant has been manufacturing the popular Sprinter light vans (non-electric versions) since 1962. Now, the plant has celebrated the start of production of the fully electric eSprinter and ushered in a new era in Dusseldorf. [CleanTechnica]

eSprinter assembly line (Daimler image)

¶ “EU Leaders Include Nuclear Energy In Green Transition” • EU leaders agreed that nuclear energy will be part of its solution to making its economy carbon neutral by 2050, allowing them to win the support of two coal-dependent countries, the Czech Republic and Hungary. Poland, which also depends on coal, did not support the plan. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ “Renewables Top 90% Of Kenyan Power With New 50-MW Solar Plant” • Kenya brought a new 50-MW solar plant online. It said this means renewable energy, led by hydroelectricity, now makes up more than 90% of the country’s power mix. Kenya’s government is investing in the electricity grid to keep up with demand and reduce blackouts. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Solar array over water

¶ “More Renewable Energy In Supply Chain Can Drastically Reduce Emissions” • A billion metric tons of emissions savings can be unlocked if key suppliers to 125 of the world’s biggest corporate purchasers increase their proportion of renewable electricity by 20 percentage points, according to research by the nonprofit CPD. [Material Handling & Logistics]

 ¶ “Atlas Places Order For 122 MW Of Chilean Sun” • Atlas Renewable Energy has ordered 122 MW of photovoltaic modules for a project it has under development in Chile. The order is with Chint Solar in China, which will supply the bifacial panels by 2020. Chint Solar’s bifacial PV modules generate over 400 watts per panel. [reNEWS]

Solar array in Chile (Atlas Renewable Energy image)

¶ “Azure Power Secures 2,000-MW Solar Power Project” • Solar power producer Azure Power announced that it has received a letter of award for a 2-GW solar power project with Solar Energy Corporation of India to supply power for 25 years at a tariff of ₹2.92/ kWh (4.1¢/kWh). The project can be developed anywhere in India. [ETEnergyworld.com]

US:

¶ “Six Flags Discovery Kingdom To Be 80% Powered By Solar Carport” • Borrego Solar Systems and sPower worked with the Six Flags Discovery Kingdom this year to manifest the first theme park on the West Coast powered by solar energy. In this case, a 7.5-MW solar carport will account for 80% of the park’s energy usage. [CleanTechnica]

Solar carport at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

¶ “Pittsburgh Reducing Carbon Footprint Through Renewable Energy Sources” • Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto signed an agreement maintaining membership in Western Pennsylvania Energy Consortium, which purchases electricity in bulk and positions the city to meet a goal of transitioning away from fossil fuel energy within 10 years. [TribLIVE]

¶ “US Has Only One Offshore Wind Energy Farm, But A $70 Billion Market Is On The Way” • Today, from Maine to Virginia, states are poised to join a renewable-energy revolution that will provide abundant clean electricity, create tens of thousands of jobs, revitalize port cities, and spur economic growth in dozens of coastal communities. [CNBC]

Block Island wind farm (Ørsted image)

¶ “Massachusetts AG Healey Stokes Grassroots Effort For Clean Energy Market Rules In ISO-NE” • Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey launched an online effort to educate ratepayers about the region’s grid operator, ISO-New England. Included in the effort is a petition for market rules that promote clean energy. [Utility Dive]

¶ “NRC Moves Review Of NuScale’s Smaller Nuclear Reactor To Final Phases” • NuScale Power announced that the NRC has completed the fourth review phase for design certification of its small modular nuclear reactor. The review now goes in phases 5 and 6, which could be complete by late 2020, and then entered into rulemaking. [Power Engineering Magazine]

Have an extraordinarily refreshing day.

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December 13 Energy News

December 13, 2019

COP25:

¶ “Crunch Time At Climate Talks Amid Discord On Carbon Markets” • Officials from almost 200 countries are poring over revised drafts, preparing for a last push at an annual UN summit to finalize rules for the Paris climate accord amid signs that resolving the issue of international carbon markets may be postponed for another year. [RiverBender.com]

Greenpeace activists at COP25 (Paul White | AP photo)

¶ “COP25 Hears Of Sharp Rise In Climate Court Cases Against Governments, Corporations” • Climate litigation against governments, corporations and fossil fuel companies continued to increase across the world during 2019 with more than 1,000 cases in train, according to litigants who at COP25 outlined a range of high profile cases being pursued. [Irish Times]

¶ “Youth Climate Activists Storm COP25 Stage” • Young activists took over and occupied the main stage at the COP25 climate conference in Madrid, Spain. They demanded world leaders commit to far more ambitious action to address the ecological emergency. “World leaders have left us no choice,” said 14-year-old Alexandria Villaseñor of New York. [EcoWatch]

Young activists (Pablo Blazquez Dominguez | Getty Images)

World:

¶ “Rumor: Tesla Gigafactory 4 Slated To Produce 500,000 Cars A Year And Employ 10,000” • Though it has not been confirmed by Tesla, the German newspaper Bild reports that when fully completed, the new Tesla factory in Germany will be capable of building up to half a million vehicles a year and employ as many as 10,000 workers. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Siemens Gamesa Confirms Debut Deal For Onshore Titan” • Siemens Gamesa confirmed an order for 35 of its 5.8-155 machines for the 231MW Skaftasen wind farm from developer Arise AB and investor Foresight Group. The machines have flexible power rating up to 6.6 MW. Installation will take place in the second quarter of 2021. [reNEWS]

Siemens Gamesa wind turbine (Siemens Gamesa image)

¶ “47.86 GW Of Renewable Energy Capacity Installed In Last Six Years” • A total of 47.86 GW of renewable energy capacity has been installed in India during the six years from March, 2014 to October, 2019. The Government has a target of installing 175 GW of renewable  capacity by the year 2022, including 100 GW from solar, and 60 GW from wind. [pv magazine India]

¶ “New Report Envisages 10-Fold Increase In Global Wind Power By 2050” • An International Renewable Energy Agency report says deep electrification, accelerated deployment of renewables, and greater energy efficiency, can together achieve over 90% of the energy-related CO₂ emissions reductions needed by 2050 to meet Paris climate targets. [UN Environment]

Block Island wind farm (Ionna 22, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “GE Renewable Energy To Supply Turbines For Sweden’s Latest Cypress-Equipped Wind Farm” • GE Renewable Energy announced that it was selected by Holmen as the wind turbine supplier of 26 turbines for the 143-MW Blåbergsliden wind farm, Sweden. The project is GE’s second Cypress-equipped wind farm in Sweden. [POWER Magazine]

¶ “Rather Than Fight The Power, This German Town Went Fully Renewable” • The German town of Wolfhagen is particularly demonstrative of what can be achieved when municipalities adopt innovative approaches to the ownership and governance of energy infrastructure. Significant lessons can be drawn from Wolfhagen’s hybrid ownership model. [Inverse]

Wolfhagen (Shutterstock image)

¶ “Tokyo 2020 Showpiece Event Being Billed As ‘Recovery Olympics’, But For Many In Fukushima Life Remains A Struggle” • With the Fukushima nuclear disaster nearly nine years past, Tokyo organizers and Japan’s government are calling upcoming Olympic games the “Recovery Olympics.” But many Fukushima evacuees still cannot go home. [Firstpost]

US:

¶ “Moorhead Homeowners Can Go With 100% Renewable Energy In 2020” • Minnesota utility Moorhead Public Service will give customers a 100% renewable energy option next year. The utility reports that 63% of its power is already renewable, but by paying 0.5¢/kWh extra, customers will get 100% of their electricity from renewable sources. [INFORUM]

Wind turbine

¶ “US Solar Energy Industry In A Slump? Not So Fast!” • The 2019 third-quarter report from the Solar Energy Industries Association shows a strong year-over-year growth rate of 45% for the quarter. That’s not the most significant thing about it, though. The real action is in some of the 15 states reporting their best quarter ever. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Natural Gas Plant Replacing Los Angeles Coal Power To Be 100% Hydrogen By 2045: LADWP” • Los Angeles’ municipal utility is planning to convert a Utah power operation from coal to natural gas, and then to 100% hydrogen by 2045. The gas-fired generation is replacing a 1,800-MW coal plant, which will cease operations in 2025. [Utility Dive]

Coal-burning power plant (Phil Konstantin | Wikipedia)

¶ “EDF Renewables North America And Array Technologies Announce New Partnership Deal” • Array Technologies, makers of single-axis solar tracking, and EDF Renewables North America announced a new partnership between the two companies for the purchase of single-axis solar tracking equipment for nearly 2 GW of PVs over the next several years. [Business Wire]

¶ “Mortenson Chosen To Add 750 MW To Wyoming’s Wind Energy Portfolio” • Rocky Mountain Power chose Minnesota-based developer Mortenson, to build the TB Flats I & II Wind Energy Project and the Ekola Flats Wind Energy Project in Medicine Bow, Wyoming. The two projects will have a combined capacity of 750 MW. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Have a gloriously gorgeous day.

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December 12 Energy News

December 12, 2019

Science and Technology:

¶ “Methane Pulse Detected From South Sudan Wetlands” • Scientists think they can now explain at least part of the recent growth in methane levels in the atmosphere. Studies point to a big jump in emissions coming from just the wetlands of South Sudan. Microbes in saturated soil produce methane, and soils in the area are saturated. [BBC]

Fishing in the Sudd wetland (Karen Conniff, Wikimedia)

World:

¶ “Latest EDGAR Report Finds Concern Over Rising Global Carbon Emissions” • The European Commissions’ Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research released the 2018 statistics on global carbon emissions. They are alarming. They have increased enough that reaching targets laid out for 2030 will be exceedingly difficult. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Time Person Of The Year: Climate Crisis Activist Greta Thunberg” • Time magazine has chosen Greta Thunberg, the Swedish climate activist, as person of the year. Thunberg, 16, is the youngest person ever chosen. “Thunberg has become the biggest voice on the biggest issue facing the planet,” Time editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal wrote. [CNN]

Time Person of the Year

¶ “India Assures Global Investors Of Payment Security In Green Deals” • A payment security mechanism has been put in place to protect green energy investments, a official in India’s new and renewable energy ministry told investors. The investors are concerned about the Andhra Pradesh government’s decision to have a relook at contracts. [Livemint]

¶ “Cape Town Seeks Urgent Permission To Buy Renewable Energy” • The City of Cape Town is pressing ahead on demands that municipalities be allowed to buy renewable energy from independent power producers in accordance with the new generation capacity regulations in the Electricity Generation Act. South Africa is in an energy crisis. [ITWeb]

Cape Town

¶ “Leaders ‘Criminally Negligent’ If They Ignore Climate Science, Says Al Gore” • Former US Vice President Al Gore told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, “It is criminally negligent for the generation of leaders in power today to stick their heads in the sand and ignore what the scientists are telling us in ever more dire terms.” [Reuters]

¶ “Almost Two-Thirds Of Australia’s Coal-Fired Generation Will Be Out By 2040, AEMO Says” • Old Australian coal-fired power plants could be shuttered earlier than expected if competition from renewable generators and carbon budgets render them uneconomic, according to a new assessment by the Australian Energy Market Operator. [The Guardian]

Solar array (Mick Tsikas | AAP)

¶ “100% Renewables Means 95% Less Water Consumption For Conventional Power Generation” • According to a new study by Finland’s LUT University, solar PV consumes between 2% and 15% of the water that coal and nuclear power plants use to produce the same amount of electricity; for wind, this percentage ranges from 0.1% to 14%. [pv magazine Australia]

¶ “UK Wind Generates New Record” • Wind power in the UK set a new generation record on 10 December of almost 17 GW, just 48 hours after setting the previous record, according to National Grid data. National Grid said that wind powered electric power generation hit has high as 16,873 MW between 7:30 pm and 8:00 pm on that day. [reNEWS]

Wind turbines in Scotland (reNEWS image)

US:

¶ “Chevron Takes A $10 Billion Hit From Cheap Oil And Gas Prices” • America’s abundance of crude oil and natural gas is forcing Chevron to reduce the value of its energy portfolio. Chevron, the nation’s number two oil company, plans to take a $10 billion to $11 billion charge to reflect a gloomier outlook for oil and gas prices. [CNN]

¶ “Renewable Developers Raise Eyebrows Over GMP Green Energy Trading App” • An effort by Vermont’s largest electric utility to make it easier for business customers to buy green power is meeting resistance from some renewable energy proponents. This is because the app allows trades from already established renewable energy systems. [vtdigger.org]

Green Mountain Power solar array (Glenn Russell | VTDigger)

¶ “JFK Airport Gets NYC’s Largest Solar Energy Project” • The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced New York City’s largest solar energy project, with 7.5 MW of PVs and 13 MW of storage capacity. The installation at John F. Kennedy International Airport, was awarded to SunPower and Goldman Sachs Renewable Power Group. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Dominion Energy, Vanguard Renewables Partner On Dairy Renewable Natural Gas” • Dominion Energy and Vanguard Renewables announced a nationwide strategic partnership of over $200 million to convert methane from US dairy farms to produce renewable natural gas to heat homes, power businesses, and fuel vehicles. [Biomass Magazine]

Vanguard Renewables facility (Business Wire image)

¶ “Baker Hughes Joins Growing List Of Companies Getting Power From Renewables” • Houston oil field services company Baker Hughes has joined a growing list of companies such as AT&T, Ikea, Google, and Amazon that get their power from renewable energy sources. Executives signed a 10 year renewable energy agreement with EDF. [Houston Chronicle]

¶ “With New Agreement, Fairfax County Schools, Buildings To Expand Solar Power Infrastructure” • Solar systems will be coming to dozens of public schools and facilities in Fairfax County, Virginia, with a large-scale renewable energy initiative. The county unveiled multiple power purchase agreements with solar service providers. [Reston Now]

Have a fantabulously copacetic day.

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December 11 Energy News

December 11, 2019

COP25:

¶ “Major emitters accused of blocking progress at UN talks” • Delegates from developing countries have reacted angrily to what they see as attempts to block progress at the COP25 meeting in Madrid. One negotiator told the BBC that the talks had failed to find agreement on a range of issues because of the blocking actions of some large emitters. [BBC News]

Climate protesters (Getty Images)

¶ “Innovative Hydropower Project Unveiled At COP25” • A major new energy innovation project to show how smart hydropower technologies can deliver a low-carbon, reliable, and resilient power system has been launched. The €18 million initiative was announced by the European Commission and a consortium of 19 partners at COP25. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ “Canada Applauded For Zero Carbon Commitment At COP25” • Climate advocates are applauding an international pledge by Canada to introduce legislation for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson made the pledge in a speech at the opening of high-level negotiations at COP25 in Madrid. [National Observer]

Environment Minister Wilkinson at COP25 (National Observer)

World:

¶ “Philippine Study Shows Evidence Of ‘Criminal Intent’ By Oil Majors, Says CIEL” • Evidence from a four-year investigation led the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines to find that 47 oil majors could be found legally and morally liable for human rights violations arising from anthropogenic climate change. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Thick Bushfire Smoke Blankets Sydney, Causing Air Pollution To Rise 11 Times Above ‘Hazardous’ Levels” • Smoke from bushfires covered Sydney, creating unhealthy air quality conditions measuring up to 11 times the “hazardous” level. The New South Wales director of environmental health called the haze “unprecedented,” Reuters reported. [CNN]

Sydney Opera House (Rick Rycroft | AP)

¶ “The Rule Of Climate Law – Denmark Shows How It’s Done” • Binding climate legislation is now agreed upon in the Danish parliament. An astounding 167 seats out of a total of 179 agree that any sitting government in the country is now obliged to work actively towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 70% in 2030. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Denmark Unveils 10-GW Energy Islands Initiative” • The Danish government is seeking possible locations for one or more energy islands that could support at least 10 GW of offshore wind. Energy islands could be either actual islands or artificial platforms. They will act as hubs for electricity generation from surrounding offshore wind farms. [reNEWS]

Offshore wind farm (Ørsted image)

¶ “UAE Developer Seals 700-MW Egypt Green Build” • UAE-based AMEA Power is to build a 500-MW wind farm and 200-MW solar plant in Egypt after securing power purchase agreements with the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company for the projects. The solar farm and wind farm are due to be online in 2021 and 2023 respectively. [reNEWS]

¶ “‘World’s First’ Fully-Electric Commercial Flight Takes Off” • An all-electric powered seaplane has taken flight for a test flight in Vancouver. It was the first flight of what the operators say is the aviation industry’s “first all-electric commercial fleet.” The six-passenger Harbour Air aircraft is fitted with a magniX electric motor system. [BBC]

Takeoff (Harbour Air And magniX)

¶ “The Arctic Saw Near-Record Heat Again In 2019. It’s An Ominous Sign For The Future Of The Planet” • In 2019, average air temperatures in the Arctic were 1.9°C (3.42 °F) above normal, the second-hottest recorded since 1900, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s annual Arctic Report Card. [CNN]

US:

¶ “Green Mountain Power Introduces Plan That Allows Homeowners To Sell Solar Power Direct To Businesses” • Green Mountain Power is creating a platform that will allow residential customers with rooftop solar systems to sell the electricity they generate directly to businesses for the first time in America. The program is currently limited in scope. [CleanTechnica]

Rooftop PVs in Vermont (PenelopeIsMe, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Court Clears ExxonMobil Of Misleading Investors About Cost Of Climate Change” • A New York judge ruled that ExxonMobil did not mislead investors about how it accounted for the cost of climate change regulations. A spokesman for the New York attorney general’s office told CNN the state is reviewing Judge Ostrager’s decision. [CNN]

¶ “93-MWh Tesla Megapack Coming To Alaska To Save Customers Cash ” • A new 46.5-MW, 93-MWh Tesla Megapack system installed in Alaska by the Homer Electric Association, Inc, will be used to offset electricity that otherwise would have come from a peaker plant. The new battery pack will be installed at the Soldotna Power Plant. [CleanTechnica]

Homer City Hall (michaelh2001, Wikipedia, public domain)

¶ “UArizona, TEP Renewable Energy Project Proposal Approved” • The Arizona Corporation Commission approved a renewable energy project of the University of Arizona and Tucson Electric Power. UArizona will be the largest research university in the country to have a plan in place to offset the entirety of it’s greenhouse gases. [KVOA Tucson News]

¶ “Georgia Power Lowers 2 Million Pound Shield Building Roof On Plant Vogtle Nuclear Reactor” • Georgia Power completed a pair of safety milestones related to the $25 billion Plant Vogtle nuclear expansion project. The company released a video of the 2 million pound roof of the Vogtle Unit 3 shield building being set into place. [Atlanta Business Chronicle]

Have a radically nice day.

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December 10 Energy News

December 10, 2019

COP25:

¶ “Without Trump’s Help, America’s Other Leaders Go It Alone In The Fight Against Climate Change” • President Trump may have the US government stepping away from the climate crisis, but a large group of US cities, states, universities, and businesses that are still committed to holding global warming below 2°C. And they are represented at COP25. [CNN]

Nancy Pelosi at COP25 (Andrea Comas | AP)

¶ “Investors Urge Governments To Step Up Climate Ambition” • Institutional investors managing more than $37 trillion in assets urged governments to step up efforts to tackle the global climate crisis in a statement issued at COP25. They want governments to phase out coal, to stop subsidies for fossil fuels, and to tax carbon emissions. [The Maritime Executive]

¶ “Put Children At Heart Of Tackling Crisis, Says UN” • Children and young people must be at the center of dealing with the climate crisis, the UN and campaigners said, as climate talks in Madrid enter their second week with little concrete progress. A number of young people are at the conference to put pressure on negotiators. [The Guardian]

Greta Thunberg and other young activists (Andrea Comas | AP)

Science and Technology:

¶ “Newly Identified Jet-Stream Pattern Could Imperil Global Food Supplies” • During the summer of 2018, highly amplified jet stream patterns remained stuck in place for unusually long periods of time, producing disastrous weather patterns. The patterns are believed to be twenty times more likely because of climate change. [Scientific American]

¶ “Flora To Fuel: Could Wind-Powered Algae Make Bioreactors Competitive?” • The BioEconomy project has a bioreactor using LED technology to grow microalgae. The  cultivation system allows integration with local renewable energy grids. Wind turbines can power photo-bioreactors that grow algae, which can then be used to make biofuels. [Power Technology]

Microalgae (Photo: NEON ja, colored by Richard Bartz)

World:

¶ “NSW Energy Minister To Renewables Opponents: ‘Enjoy Your Kodak Moment’” • New South Wales energy minister Matt Kean believes missing the economic opportunities of embracing renewable energy would be “negligent.” He told those with vested interests in the fossil fuel sector to get ready to “enjoy their Kodak moment.” [RenewEconomy]

¶ “Oil Producers And Companies In Carbon-Intensive Industries ‘Will Lose Half Their Value Within Ten Years'” • The UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment warns that carbon-intensive firms could lose 43% of their market value with the “inevitable policy response” to the climate emergency. Very progressive companies could see gains of 33%. [iNews]

Thermal generating plant (Photo: Volker Hartmann | Getty)

¶ “Renewables ‘To Become France’s Main Energy Source By 2027’” • Renewable energy is forecast to become France’s dominant energy source by 2027, according to an analysis by GlobalData. This would see it take the lead from nuclear power, which is currently the country’s most important electricity generating technology. [Energy Live News]

¶ “UK Hits Renewable Energy Record As Wind Shatters 16-GW Threshold” • The UK hit an all-time renewable energy record as wind generation broke the 16-GW threshold Sunday. According to National Grid, onshore and offshore wind generated up to 43.7% share of electricity, more than double the 20.5% that was produced by nuclear plants. [Energy Live News]

Wind turbines (Shutterstock image)

¶ “Thousands Were Paid To Use Extra Renewable Electricity On Windy Weekend” • Thousands of households were paid to use extra renewable electricity over the weekend as windfarms generated unprecedented levels of clean power. Homes using a new type of smart energy tariff were urged to plug in their electric vehicles overnight. [The Guardian]

¶ “EDF Clean Power Tops 2 GW In France” • EDF Renouvelables reached the 2-GW mark for wind and solar capacity in France, following a record year for onshore wind for the company in the country. The company said in 2019 it had commissioned almost 200 MW of onshore wind capacity and had a similar volume under construction in France. [reNEWS]

Commissioning a windfarm (EDF image)

US:

¶ “Lawmakers Want Massachusetts To Be Powered With 100% Renewable Energy By 2045” • So far more than 150 state and local lawmakers have signed on in support of a plan to power Massachusetts using 100% renewable energy by 2045. The bill would place a huge emphasis on wind and solar energy, along with reducing consumption. [WWLP.com]

¶ “Renewable Energy Installations In Michigan Up By 57% In 2018” • The annual report from the Michigan Public Service Commission shows continued growth of distributed energy in the state, with a 57% growth of installations for 2018. The year saw 1,952 renewable energy installations with a combined capacity of 13,910 kW. [Daily Energy Insider]

Rooftop solar system (Shutterstock image)

¶ “Sunrise Columbia Accelerates Climate Justice Movement With Their #NobodyWins Video Campaign” • Colaborating with 17 other universities, the Sunrise Movement at Columbia made a video campaign called #NobodyWins. It aims to present a unified message calling attention to the university fossil fuel divestment movement. [CU Columbia Spectator]

¶ “Knoxville Coal Mine Company Deciding To Idle Its Mines” • Around 100 coal miners are worried about whether they’ll still have jobs after the holidays, after a Tennessee coal company decided to idle its mines. Many of those workers had lost jobs when Blackjewel went bankrupt, but were eventually hired by Kopper Glo in Knoxville. [WATE 6 On Your Side]

Have a pleasantly entertaining day.

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December 9 Energy News

December 9, 2019

COP25:

¶ “Climate Change: UN Negotiators ‘playing Politics’ Amid Global Crisis” • UN negotiators meeting in Madrid have been accused of “playing politics” while the climate crisis grows. The talks are bogged down in technical details. Ministers are due to arrive in the Spanish capital this week to try to secure an ambitious outcome. [BBC]

Climate march (Getty Images)

¶ “Cities Are No Longer Waiting Around For Nations, Milan’s Mayor Says” • Because a small number of nations are blocking progress in implementing the Paris Agreement, and cities already feel their impact of climate change, they are ready to take the lead in fighting global warming, Milan’s mayor Giuseppe Sala told EURACTIV in an interview. [EURACTIV]

¶ “Thousands Join Greta Thunberg At Climate Change Rally In Madrid” • Swedish campaigner Greta Thunberg is getting tired of all the attention she gets, and wants the media to focus on other activists as she prepares for two more events in Madrid. She said she is just a small part of a very big movement and she wants others to get attention. [EL PAÍS in English]

Indigenous Chilean activists (Ricardo Rubio | Europa Press)

¶ “COP25 Envoys Weigh Climate Loss And Damage Mechanism” • Two of the worst storms ever recorded hit developing nations this year, supercharged by the climate emergency’s rising global temperatures. Now there’s an international push to link the billions of dollars in devastation to climate change and compel rich, industrial nations to pay. [Bloomberg]

Science and Technology:

¶ “Renewable Electricity In The Mix” • When a river flows into the sea, the fresh and salt waters mix, releasing energy. If you add up the energy released at every river mouth around the globe, it is equal to the amount 2000 nuclear reactors produce. A new dialysis membrane for harvesting the energy costs only about 3% of earlier membranes. [Advanced Science News]

Mixing waters

World:

¶ “Industry, Climate Groups Issue EU Green Deal Plea” • The European Round Table for Industry, comprising the bosses of 55 of the block’s leading industrial companies, and the Coalition for Higher Ambition, a group of business, investor, trade unions, and NGO representatives, are both pushing the EU to do more to tackle the climate emergency. [reNEWS]

¶ “India Can Generate 18,000 MW Of Renewable Energy Using Biomass: Power Minister R K Singh” • India can generate around 18,000 MW of renewable energy using biomass and an additional 7,000 to 8,000 MW from bagasse cogeneration in sugar mills, according to the country’s power and renewable energy minister, R K Singh. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Biogas system

¶ “Power Prices Predicted To Fall As Much As 20% Over Next Three Years Thanks Mostly To Renewables” • The Australian Energy Market Commission forecasts that power prices will come down in all but two Australian states and territories over the next three years. The prices in Queensland are expected to fall by 20%. [NEWS.com.au]

¶ “Oil giant BP increases stake in solar developer Lightsource” • British oil and gas supermajor BP announced it will increase its stake in solar developer Lightsource in an effort to help speed up the company’s growth and its ambitions to develop 10 GW of renewable energy assets by the end of 2023. Lightsource has been renamed Lightsource BP. [RenewEconomy]

Floating solar array (Lightsoure BP image)

¶ “China Sets Up State-Owned National Oil, Gas Pipe Company In Drive To ‘Boost Competition’” • China has announced that a national oil and gas pipeline company has been established, the official Xinhua News Agency said. The move is to give investors fair access to infrastructure mainly controlled by China’s three national oil companies. [South China Morning Post]

¶ “Polluting Firms ‘Will Be Hit By Climate Policies'” • Carbon-intensive firms are likely to lose 43% of their value due to policies designed to combat climate change, according to a report commissioned by the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment. Meanwhile the most progressive companies will see an uplift of 33% in their value. [BBC News]

Burning fossil fuels (Getty Images)

US:

¶ “Oak Ridge National Lab Is Deep Into Second-Use Battery Control System Development” • A lithium-ion battery used to power an automobile degrades over time, to the point when it can no longer charge or discharge rapidly enough for use in a car. But when that point comes, batteries typically have 60 to 70% of their useful life remaining. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Alliance For Clean Energy New York Pushes For Carbon Fee On Thermal Generating Stations” • New York State has an energy standard calling for 70% of its electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030. But the Alliance for Clean Energy New York says the state is unlikely to meet that goal without a fee on carbon emissions. [CleanTechnica]

Solar array (Image: Alliance for Clean Energy)

¶ “Climate Activists Block Train Taking Coal To A New England Power Plant, Climate Organizer Confirms” • Climate activists blocked a train in Hooksett, New Hampshire, Sunday that was carrying a shipment of coal. They were trying to shut down the last major coal-fired power plant in New England, an organizer said. [NewsCenterMaine.com WCSH-WLBZ]

¶ “Kansas City Is First Major City In America To Offer Free Public Transportation. Is That A Good Thing?” • The city council of Kansas City voted 13-0 to make all city bus routes free. The city’s light rail is already free to use. This makes Kansas City the first major American city to make its public transportation free to use for all. [CleanTechnica]

Have a beautifully amusing day.

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December 8 Energy News

December 8, 2019

Opinion:

¶ “Love Your Home” • Energy giant and offshore wind leader Ørsted is on a mission. In January, the company launched a children’s book, Is This My Home? It is urging parents to talk about the environmentally-friendly things they do every day like recycling, riding bikes, choosing public transport, or having a more plant-based diet. [The Maritime Executive]

Is This My Home?

¶ “Michael Lewis: ‘Don’t Bet Against The US. It Has An Incredible Capacity For Self-Reinvention’ ” • In his most recent book, The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy, Michael Lewis applies his insider’s eye to unsung heroes of government administration, in light of the reckless dismantling of the US civil service under President Trump. [The Guardian]

Science and Technology:

¶ “Urban Farms Are Off The Hook – And Off The Shelf (CleanTechnica Interview)” • Hydroponic startup Farmshelf has some ambitious plans for the urban agriculture revolution. If all goes according to plan, Farmshelf could make urban farms as ubiquitous – and as easy to operate – as the refrigerator in your kitchen. [CleanTechnica]

Farmshelf hydroponic farm (Photo by Tina Casey)

¶ “World’s Oceans Are Losing Oxygen At An Unprecedented And Dangerous Rate As Temperatures Rise, Study Finds” • A report from the International Union for Conservation of Nature found that oxygen levels in the ocean have declined by about 2% since the 1950s, and the volume of completely oxygen-depleted water has quadrupled since the 1960s. [CBS News]

¶ “Soil: The Secret Weapon in the Fight Against Climate Change” • Battered by effects of climate change, agriculture is also an important – in fact a necessary – partner in fighting it. The science is clear: We cannot stay beneath the most dangerous climate thresholds without sequestering a significant amount of carbon in our soils. [EcoWatch]

Sprouts

World:

¶ “Keolis Nederland BV Selects BYD To Supply Largest Electric Bus Order In Europe” • The Netherlands is getting another massive wave of new electric buses, as Keolis Nederland BV ordered 259 of them from BYD. It is the largest single order for electric buses in Europe so far, and it shows how comfortable transit operators are with them. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Greta Thunberg Criticizes World Leaders’ Climate Actions As They Meet At COP25 To Discuss The Crisis” • Greta Thunberg criticized world leaders gathered at the COP25 conference for failing to act effectively on the climate crisis. She told activists at the talks. “The climate crisis is still being ignored by those in power, and we cannot go on like this.” [CNN]

Greta Thunberg (Pierre-Philippe Marcou | AFP | Getty Images)

¶ “Authorities Look To Control Household Rooftop Solar Power Systems To Stabilise The Grid” • The body that runs Western Australia’s main electricity market wants the ability to remotely dump excess solar power from households, cutting the bill rebates people receive. It says this is to safeguard the grid from surging levels of renewable energy. [ABC News]

¶ “Seychelles: The Island Nation With A Novel Way To Tackle Climate Change” • In the first deal of its kind, the East African nation swapped 5% of its national debt for a cash injection to fight the effects of climate change on the ocean. In return, it promised to protect 30% of its national waters, which is an area twice the size of the UK – by the end of next year. [BBC]

Seychelles coastguard

¶ “Massive Polish Coal Mine Sparks International Dispute” • The Turow lignite coal mine in Poland is causing trouble for the environment and local communities, even those nearby in Germany and Czech Republic. Plans to further expand the huge open pit mine have caused alarm among residents who fear things might get even worse. [Herald-Whig]

¶ “The Fastest Growing Energy Sectors Of 2019” • According to the International Energy Agency, there has been relatively high growth for carbon-based energy sources over the past three years, but renewables spending continues to exceed fossil fuel-based power. India is emerging as the world’s fastest growing energy market. [OilPrice.com]

Rooftop solar system

¶ “Banks Gave $745 Billion To Groups Planning New Coal Power Plants” • Financial institutions have channeled $745 billion over the past three years into companies planning new coal-fired power plants, according to a report by environmental groups. The groups are urging global banks to stop financing the coal sector. [The Daily Star]
Coal piles and worker in China (File photo | Reuters)

US:

¶ “California Ends New Fracking Pending Results Of Scientific Study” • Despite plenty of petrodollars sloshing around California’s capitol in Sacramento, Governor Gavin Newsom halted approvals of new hydraulic fracturing in the state until the projects can be reviewed by an independent panel of scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. [CleanTechnica]

Fracking well in Texas

¶ “Molokai, Lanai Renewable Energy Bids Solicited” • Hawaii’s Public Utilities Commission approved a plan from Maui Electric Co to issue a request for proposals for wind and solar power paired with energy storage for the islands of Molokai and Lanai. Renewable sources are to provide 78% of Molokai’s power and 55% to 61% of Lanai’s by 2023. [Maui News]

¶ “New England Grid Operator: Region Has Enough Power For Winter Despite Station Closing” • ISO New England says this will be the first winter without the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Massachusetts. But officials say the reactor’s retirement coincided with some solar and wind projects and several dual-energy power plants coming online. [CBS Boston]

Have an exhilaratingly easy day.

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December 7 Energy News

December 7, 2019

COP25:

¶ “COP25: Evidence Of Climate Change Not Being Met With Urgency From Wealthy Nations” • The latest evidence reinforces the need for scaled-up climate action, but wealthy countries attending the UN climate talks in Madrid, including the world largest carbon emitters, have been accused of lagging behind in embracing urgent climate action. [Irish Times]

Protesters demanding urgent action at Madrid’s city
hall (Photo: Oscar Del Pozo | AFP via Getty Images)

¶ “COP 25: Renewable Energy Ambition In NDCs Must Double By 2030” • Countries are being urged to raise renewable energy ambition significantly and adopt targets to transform the global energy system in the next Nationally Determined Contributions round, according to a report to be released by the International Renewable Energy Agency. [REVE]

¶ “Oceans Finally Take Center Stage At COP25” • Oceans are a foundation for human life. The recently published Special Report on the Ocean and Crysophere in a Changing Climate, from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) reveals the extent of the crisis facing humanity as the ocean and its systems begin to collapse. [The Japan Times]

Please click on the image to enlarge it.

Science and Technology:

¶ “Indian Ocean Dipole: What Is It And Why Is It Linked To Floods And Bushfires?” • Flooding in East Africa and drought in Australia are both related to what is called the “Indian Ocean Dipole.” It is a phenomenon similar to El Niño, in which ocean temperatures are extreme. Models show that increased levels of CO₂ can make it more frequent. [CNN]

¶ “Permafrost Hits A Grim Threshold” • According to research based upon field observations conducted from 2003 to 2017, a large-scale carbon emission shift has occurred in the Arctic. The region had been a carbon sink, but the “entire Arctic” now emits more carbon than it absorbs. This can only be described as worse than bad news. [CounterPunch]

Collapsing permafrost (Boris Radosavljevic – CC BY 2.0)

World:

¶ “German SPD Wants To Renegotiate Climate Package” • The new leaders of Germany’s Social Democratic Party have called for a renegotiation of the country’s climate package. “The climate change package of the grand coalition is not enough,” SPD co-leader Norbert Walter-Borjans. He also challenged its fairness and effectiveness. [reNEWS]

¶ “Spain Will Hit 68% Renewable Power In 2030, But Needs More Flexibility – BNEF” • Spain will be able to meet 68% of its electricity demand with renewable energy by 2030 and 88% in 2050, according to a report co-authored by Bloomberg New Energy Finance and Spanish renewables and infrastructure group Acciona SA. [Renewables Now]

El Andevalo wind farm (Iberdrola image)

¶ “BMW Group Joins ‘Getting to Zero Coalition,’ First Carmaker To Do So” • BMW Group joined the “Getting to Zero Coalition” ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid. By 2023, BMW Group will be offering 25 electrified models. Its factories in Europe have been powered by 100% green electricity since 2017. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Danish Renewables Auction Too Successful At Driving Down Public Cost Of Clean Energy” • The average price premium to be paid over wholesale electricity rates to the successful bidders has fallen 30% in a year, prompting Danish energy authorities to muse they may be allocating too much public money to support such projects. [pv magazine International]

Denmark (Image: SteenJepsen | Pixabay)

¶ “Australia Bushfires North Of Sydney ‘Too Big To Put Out'” • A “mega blaze” raging across a 60 km (37 mile) front north of the Australian city of Sydney cannot currently be put out, fire officials have warned. The severity of the blazes so early in the fire season has caused alarm, and prompted calls for greater action to tackle climate change. [BBC]

US:

¶ “County Endorses Renewable Power Push” • A resolution to power Grand County, Utah, with 100% renewable energy by 2030 passed unanimously at Tuesday’s Grand County Council meeting despite concerns over the potential cost to customers. The council agreed to the resolution with the caveat that an opt-out clause is included. [The Times-Independent]

Moab, county seat of Grand County (Wikipedia)

¶ “Trump’s Tariffs Cost Americans 62,000 Solar Jobs” • Trump’s tariffs have harmed Americans by raising prices, cutting jobs, and losing the US billions in investment opportunities. From 2017–2021, the Solar Energy Industries Association expects 62,000 fewer jobs in the solar industry, which is more than the entire US coal mining industry. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “FPL’s Turkey Point First US Nuclear Plant To Get License Out To 80 Years” • When the NRC authorized a subsequent license renewal for two units of the Turkey Point Nuclear Generating facility in Florida, it marked the first time a reactor’s lifespan has been extended from 60 to 80 years. It is an example of the NRC failing to do its job, opponents said. [Utility Dive]

Turkey Point (FPL image)

¶ “A 2.9-MW Solar Project For 10 Schools In Richmond” • A 2.9-MW solar project by Standard Solar is supporting Richmond Public Schools. Solar arrays were installed at ten elementary and high schools throughout the Richmond, Virginia, and Dominion Energy service area. The project should be completed by the end of this year. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Former Radioactive Site Collapses Into Detroit River, Raising Drinking Water Safety Concerns” • A site on the Detroit River that was used to produce radioactive materials during World War II collapsed last week. While officials in the United States say the water is free of radioactivity, the city of Windsor on the Canadian side is raising concerns. [CNN]

Have an entirely delightful day.

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December 6 Energy News

December 6, 2019

Opinion:

¶ “We Need To Protect The Environment Like We Protect Our Economies” • In nature, everything is connected. This is equally true of a healthy environment and a healthy economy. We cannot hope to sustain life without taking care of nature. And we need healthy economies to lift people out of poverty and achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. [CNN]

Ice off Greenland (Lucas Jackson | Reuters)

World:

¶ “New Zealand’s Glaciers Are Turning Red – And It’s Because Of Australia’s Bushfires” • One of the most startling consequences of the bushfires that are still raging across Australia, is that they have turned some of New Zealand’s famed glaciers red and pink. Westerly winds blow the smoke from the still-burning Australian fires to New Zealand. [CNN]

¶ “As He Scaled World’s 14 Highest Peaks, Nepalese Climber Shocked By Climate Change Effects” • Nepalese climber Nirmal “Nims” Purja smashed the record for taking the shortest time to climb all 14 of the world’s 8,000-meter-high mountains. But his expeditions made him acutely aware of the environmental changes the world is undergoing. [CNN]

Queue of climbers to reach the top of Mount Everest
(click to enlarge – ©Nimsdai | Project Possible | Getty Images)

¶ “Plug-In Vehicles Are 59% of Vehicle Sales in Norway in October” • When it comes to electric vehicle adoption, Norway is king of the hill. Nearly 2 out of every 3 passenger vehicles sold in Norway come with a plug. In October, the plug-in vehicle share was 59%, which is a bit higher than the 56% plug-in vehicle hold for January to October. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “UK Army To March On Solar Power” • Public Power Solutions, a subsidiary of Swindon Borough Council, has submitted a planning application to Cotswold District Council on behalf of the Secretary of State for Defence to build a solar farm at the Duke of Gloucester Barracks in Gloucestershire. It will be the first project in a pilot program. [reNEWS]

Duke of Gloucester Barracks (Public Power Solutions image)

¶ “Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, And Karnataka Could Declare ‘ No New Coal’ Policy” • Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka could follow in the footsteps of Gujarat and Chhattisgarh to declare a ‘no new coal’ policy, new analysis says. The Indian states will not need any new coal power plants in the future, as renewable and flexible energy is cost-effective. [The Weekend Leader]

¶ “Alberta Wind Farm Starts Spinning” • Capital Power’s 202-MW first phase of the Whitla wind project in southern Alberta has started operations. The company said it will proceed with the 97-MW second phase of Whitla, with construction slated to start in 2021, and it is also on track to complete its 150-MW Cardinal Point wind farm early next year. [reNEWS]

Wind turbines (Pexels image)

¶ “At 50, Europe’s Oldest Nuclear Plant Not Ready To Retire” •  Europe’s oldest functioning nuclear reactor, at Switzerland’s Beznau plant, will turn 50 next week. Commercial operation began on December 9, 1969. Its lifespan is deemed dangerously long by environmentalists who are demanding that it be shut down immediately. [ETEnergyworld.com]

US:

¶ “Transmission Line Foes Press For Full Environmental Review” • Opponents of a $1 billion Central Maine Power transmission project, proposed to bring Canadian hydropower to the New England grid, urged the Army Corps of Engineers to complete a full environmental impact review. CMP says that would delay a final decision by a year. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Hydro dam

¶ “EPA Watchdog Says White House Budget Office Blocked Part Of Its Investigation Into Controversial Trucks Rule” • The EPA inspector general report concluded that the EPA, and possibly the budget office, bypassed key steps when it rushed through Pruitt’s proposal to lighten regulations on some heavy-duty trucks using older, less-efficient engines. [CNN]

¶ “Vineyard Wins Connecticut Offshore Wind Tender With 804-MW Bid” • Connecticut announced it selected Vineyard Wind LLC’s 804-MW Park City Wind Project as the winner in a major solicitation for offshore wind projects. It had “a price lower than any other publicly announced offshore wind project in North America.” [Renewables Now]

Offshore wind farm (Beverley Goodwin, CC 2.0 generic)

¶ “Honolulu Makes History With Comprehensive Plastic Bill” • A comprehensive plastic phase-out bill, was approved 7–2 at the Honolulu City Council (the governing body for the island of Oahu). Activists have been working for nearly a decade. What they got is the strongest plastic phase-out bill in the country, and likely in the world. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “San Mateo County Will Have Completely Green Power By 2025, Local Agency Says” • The 200-MW Wright Solar Facility in Los Banos is the largest solar project of its kind in California. It will come online by the end of 2019, as a local agency’s latest move to supply enough green power for all of San Mateo County within the next five years. [Peninsula Press]

Wright Solar Facility (Photo: Peninsula Clean Energy)

¶ “Studies In Chattanooga And Roanoke Could Help Slash Energy Usage In Homes & Buildings” • In the US, 124 million buildings consume 40% of all the energy used and 75% of all electricity, a study published in Science Daily says. Efforts are underway in both Chattanooga and Roanoke to reduce buildings’ energy needs up to 30% by 2030. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Geronimo Starts Up 200-MW South Dakota Wind” • National Grid subsidiary Geronimo Energy has started commercial operations at its 200-MW Crocker wind farm in South Dakota. The Clark County-located facility has virtual power purchase agreements in place with Walmart and Cargill for its output. It uses GE 2.7-116 turbines. [reNEWS]

Have a wonderfully composed day.

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December 5 Energy News

December 5, 2019

Science and Technology:

¶ “Even 50-Year-Old Climate Models Correctly Predicted Global Warming” • Climate change doubters like to claim that computer simulations conducted decades ago didn’t accurately predict current warming. Now, the most sweeping evaluation of these older models – some half a century old – shows most of them were indeed accurate. [Science Magazine]

Hot day in Paris (Samuel Boivin | NurPhoto Via Getty Images)

¶ “Scientists Show How To Make Airplane Emissions Less Harmful” • MIT scientists are putting wind beneath policy makers’ wings, suggesting ways to modify airplane emissions, which worsen air quality and contribute to thousands of deaths annually. The researchers suggest nitrogen oxides may be more important to control than carbon. [CNN]

World:

¶ “Scottish Power Plans To Build Solar Panels Beside Wind Farms” • Scottish Power plans to get more renewable electricity from its onshore wind farms by covering the ground beside the turbines with PV panels and batteries. It applied for permission to build its first solar power projects at existing wind farms in Cornwall, Lancashire, and Coldham. [The Guardian]

Wind farm (Danny Lawson | PA)

¶ “Business Case Brings Us Closer To Realizing Renewable Energy Potential” • Tasmania may be on the verge of becoming the renewable energy battery of Australia. The Project Marinus business case confirms that a 1,500-MW Bass Strait transmission link is technically feasible and commercially viable, unlocking the island’s resources. [Mirage News]

¶ “Country’s Largest Mini-Grid Unveiled In Magway” • Mandalay Yoma Energy has launched Myanmar’s biggest solar mini-grid for rural areas in Magway Region. With the mini-grid, up to 400 households in Magway’s Lel Ma village now have access to electricity. Myanmar’s electrification rate is one of the lowest in the world at around 50%. [Myanmar Times]

Mandalay Yoma Energy solar system (Photo: Supplied)

¶ “BP To Supply Renewable Energy To Amazon’s Europe Data Centers” • BP said it will supply renewable energy to Amazon’s European data centers to drive its cloud platform. BP will begin supplying Amazon Web Services with renewable energy from more than 170 MW of new wind and solar projects in Sweden and Spain starting in 2021. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ “Pernod Ricard Achieves 100% Renewables Target In Australia” • Two major solar projects and an agreement with an energy wholesaler has allowed Pernod Ricard Winemakers to become Australia’s first major wine company to source all its electricity from renewables. The company’s solar installation has a capacity of 2,800 MW. [The Lead South Australia]

Installation of a bat box at Pernod Ricard Winemakers

¶ “Radiation Hotspots ‘Found Near Fukushima Olympic Site'” • The Japanese government is keen to use the Olympics to showcase Fukushima’s recovery from the 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster. But Greenpeace has said it detected radiation hotspots near the starting point of the upcoming Olympic torch relay in Fukushima. [The Guardian]

¶ “Wind Tops 37 GW In India” • Wind power capacity in India has reached over 37 GW, according to the latest government figures. The data from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, which covers installations up to the end of October, showed 37,090 MW had been installed across the country. Over 9.2 GW had been installed in Tamil Nadu. [reNEWS]

Wind turbines (Vestas Image)

US:

¶ “New York City Says Yes To More Cargo Bikes, Fewer Delivery Trucks” • To combat congestion, New York City has started a program allowing up to 100 pedal-electric delivery bikes to park in loading zones typically reserved for commercial vehicles, according to The New York Times. And smaller delivery bikes will be permitted to use bike lanes. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “40 Years Of Atmospheric River Storms Left Staggering Price Tag In Western US, Study Finds” • Flooding from ‘atmospheric rivers’ caused about $43 billion in damage in western states in the last 40 years, a study from the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography found. Climate change is making the flooding worse. [The Weather Channel]

Flood in Guerneville, California (Justin Sullivan | Getty Images)

¶ “Almost Every American Supports The Extension Of Clean Energy Tax Incentives” • A study was conducted by Global Strategy Group and found that Americans overwhelmingly support extending tax incentives for clean energy and would change their vote based on the issue. 89% of voters support the extension. [Smart Energy]

¶ “NV Energy Wins Approval For 1.19 GW Of Solar, 590 MW Of Energy Storage In Nevada” • Nevada utility NV Energy said it has approval from the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada for 1.19 GW of new solar projects and 590 MW of energy storage in Nevada. The projects will help NV Energy double its renewable energy capacity. [Renewables Now]

Solar PV plant (Gilles Paire | Shutterstock)

¶ “Study Makes Case For Oregon Offshore Wind Power” • In a study, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimated the levelized cost of energy from a 600-MW commercial project off Coos Bay would come in at a relatively inexpensive $63/MWh. That’s less than a third of the $197 cost of power from a 24-MW project that died in 2016. [Portland Business Journal]

¶ “Environmental Groups Ask EPA To Require Renewable Energy In Plastic Manufacturing” • Attorneys representing a coalition of 364 advocacy organizations filed a legal petition with the EPA calling for new regulations on the US plastic industry. The group says plastic manufacturing is polluting the air and worsening climate change. [KQED]

Have an utterly ducky day.

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December 4 Energy News

December 4, 2019

Opinion:

¶ “From Bird-Friendly Coffee To Chocolate Safe For The Rainforest, These Holiday Gifts Give Back” • In 2019, Impact Your World highlighted many of those who make a difference, from fighting to stop rainforest loss and bird extinction to setting up safe spaces for sex-trafficking victims. Here are low-impact ways to help while giving gifts. [CNN]

Old World Oriole (iReport)

Science and Technology:

¶ “The Journal of Epidemiology: Linking Air Pollution Nanoparticles And Incident of Brain Tumors” • Previous studies have shown the minuscule but widespread bits of air pollution do get into the brain, even affecting fetal development. A study in the Journal of Epidemiology has determined air pollution can cause worse brain tumors and brain cancer. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Battery Prices Falling Sharply, Says Report” • Battery prices are falling sharply and will continue to fall, according to a study by Bloomberg NEF. The paper showed prices declining sharply between 2010 and 2019. In 2010, battery prices were above $1,100/kWh, but they decreased to $156/kWh in 2019. This is a decline of 87%. [Down To Earth Magazine]

Batteries (Getty Images)

World:

¶ “Greta Thunberg Arrives In Lisbon For COP25 After Sailing Across Atlantic” • Greta Thunberg arrived in Lisbon after nearly three weeks at sea, before giving a press conference at the port alongside youth activists and crew members. Around 25,000 people from 200 countries are expected to attend the COP25 climate change conference in Madrid. [CNN]

¶ “German Grid Debuts New DC Wires” • Transmission system operators in Germany are using 525-kV DC cables as part of grid upgrades to facilitate increasing levels of energy, mainly from renewable sources. They supersede plastic-insulated 320-kV high voltage cables of the type now used to connect offshore wind farms. [reNEWS]

High voltage cable (Amprion image)

¶ “Swansea Lagoon Launches £1 Million Last-Ditch Funding Pitch” • Swansea Bay lagoon developer Tidal Power is trying to raise more than £1 million to start enabling works at its 320-MW project in Wales before consent expires next year. The outfit, based in Gloucester, has launched a £1.2 million share issue due to run until 20 March. [reNEWS]

¶ “Far Offshore Wind ‘Needs Legal Framework’” • Building offshore wind far from shore could circumvent barriers to coastal development but will need new legal frameworks for these sites, advises a new report from specialist renewable energy law firm Chatham Partners. The high seas regions sit outside the control of a single nation. [reNEWS]

Offshore wind farm (Alpha Ventus image)

¶ “Industries Can Cut Power Costs By 60% Using Renewable Energy: WWF” • In addition to cutting carbon emissions, Indian Commercial and industrial consumers can cut their electricity bills in a range between 30% and 60% by replacing grid power supply with renewable energy, according to a report from World Wildlife Fund-India. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ “Nokia Tasked With Major Digital Transformation Of Finland Transmission Grid” • Telecoms major Nokia has been tasked with upgrading Finland’s transmission grid to allow greater use of renewables. Fingrid selected Nokia to build an IP/MPLS network that will support the “digital transformation” of the electricity grid in Finland. [Current News]

Transmission towers (Getty Images)

¶ “Saskatchewan’s Plan For Small Nuclear Reactors Sees Local Fallout” • Environmental advocates are railing against plans announced by the Saskatchewan, Ontario, and New Brunswick governments to explore development of small modular nuclear reactors. They said solar and wind are cheaper and are readily available for use now. [meadowlakeNOW]

US:

¶ “Lucid Motors Begins Construction Of Arizona Factory” • Three years ago Lucid Motors announced a deal with the state of Arizona to build a factory in Casa Grande. After several delays, construction has finally begun at what was billed as a “ground building” ceremony attended by Arizona governor Doug Ducey and a host of other dignitaries. [CleanTechnica]

Lucid Motors Air

¶ “Shell Books EDF Delivery In California” • EDF Renewables is to deliver electricity to Shell Energy North America from the 132-MW Maverick 7 solar farm, which will form part of the Palen Solar site in California. Under the terms of the 15-year power purchase agreement, electricity is expected to start flowing by the end of 2021. [reNEWS]

¶ “Council Goal Of 100% Renewable Energy May Be Attainable” • The goal is to transition the operations of the City of Greensboro to 100% renewable energy by 2040, but according to a resolution passed by the City Council on Tuesday, Dec 3, the city could make a huge step toward reaching that goal before the end of the year. [The Rhino TImes]

Renewable energy (AdobeStock image)

¶ “New Energy Secretary: Trump Has Directed Agency To Find ‘ Different Ways To Utilize Coal'” • Acting Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette said he has received a directive from President Trump to boost the struggling coal industry. “What the president has directed us to do is to look for different ways to utilize coal,” Brouillette said in an interview. [The Hill]

¶ “Activists Denounce ‘Zombie’ Bellefonte Nuclear Plant As Regulators Consider License Transfer For New Owner To Finish Facility” • A year after the TVA tried to terminate the sale of its Bellefonte Nuclear Plant because the buyer could not get a nuclear license, the NRC is moving ahead again to consider a license transfer. [Chattanooga Times Free Press]

Have a memorably lovely day.

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December 3 Energy News

December 3, 2019

World:

¶ “Ireland unveils plan for 70% renewable energy by 2030” • Ireland has published the details of its long-awaited Renewable Electricity Support Scheme, finally unveiling details around how the country will look to increase its share of renewable energy capacity to 70% by 2030. It is the first RESS auction to receive Government approval. [RenewEconomy]

Wind farm in Ireland

¶ “Russia Switches On Gas Mega-Pipeline To China As Putin Touts Closer Ties” • Russia started putting natural gas through an enormous pipeline to China worth billions of dollars, affirming increasingly close economic and political ties between the two countries. The “Power of Siberia” pipeline is more than 8,100 km (5,000 miles) long. [CNN]

¶ “Senator Demands Renewable Energy Strategy” • In Pakistan, the Leader of the House in Senate, Syed Shibli Faraz, stressed a dire need for a comprehensive strategy to promote renewable energy while keeping in view the country’s requirements. He was of the view that Pakistan’s needs could be covered by using the latest technology. [The Express Tribune]

Renewable energy (AFP image)

¶ “Lightsource BP To Construct First Brick Factory Powered By Solar” • Lightsource BP confirmed it is to begin construction of a 4.9-MW solar installation for leading brick manufacturer, Ibstock Brick, at its Leicestershire headquarters. The development will be the first brick factory in the UK to be part-powered by a solar farm. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ “Iberdrola To Replace Last Spanish Coal Plants With Subsidy-Free Wind And Solar” • Spanish electric utility Iberdrola says it will replace its last two Spanish coal-fired power plants with 550 MW of subsidy-free wind and solar. This new capacity brings Iberdrola’s scheduled new clean energy capacity up to 2,500 MW in 2022. It plans 10,000 MW by 2030. [RenewEconomy]

Candal wind farm in Spain (Iberdrola image)

¶ “Indonesia Must Stop Its Coal Plant Building Spree By 2020 To Meet Climate Goals” • Indonesia is one of the few countries still actively planning and building new coal plants, putting it on a trajectory to miss its climate goals to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. [The News Lens International]

¶ “Anglian Water Heads Towards Net Zero With Renewable Energy Deal” • NextEnergy Capital is to build solar projects at Anglian Water sites to help the firm decarbonize its energy use. Under an agreement, NextEnergy Capital will develop, operate, and own over 35 MW of solar assets on the sites, selling the power directly to Anglian Water. [Energy Live News]

Solar construction (Shutterstock image)

¶ “Duncan says SaskPower just investigating whether nuclear is right for Saskatchewan” • One day after Premier Scott Moe signed a memorandum of understanding on small modular nuclear reactors, Dustin Duncan, Saskatchewan’s minister responsible for SaskPower, said nuclear power is a possibility, but not for years. [News Talk 650 CKOM]

¶ “Invenergy Forges 500 MW Of Colombian Ties” • US company Invenergy has formed a strategic partnership with Empresas Publicas de Medellin in Colombia to build and operate wind and solar farms in the South American country totaling almost 500 MW. The companies said the 500 WM of new renewable projects would be built by 2025. [reNEWS]

Wind farm (Invenergy image)

US:

¶ “Amazon Delivers 329-MW Clean Power Hat-Trick” • Amazon announced three solar PV projects in the US and Spain totaling 329 MW to help it reach clean power targets of 80% by 2024 and 100% by 2040. Two plants, in Illinois and North Virginia, have capacities of 100 MW and 80 MW, respectively. Spain will have a 149-MW solar project. [reNEWS]

Jeff Bezos making Amazon’s climate pledge (Amazon image)

¶ “Maine Wants To Store, Not Waste, Excess Renewable Energy” • The transmission lines connecting Maine’s far-flung renewable generators to the regional electric grid sometimes are too weak to carry all their power, and the generators sometimes have to be curtailed. One power-to-gas substation could save the state 75,000 MWh per year. [Governing]

¶ “Construction Begins On Arkansas’ Largest Solar Energy Project” • A NextEra Energy Resources subsidiary and Entergy Arkansas announced that they had started construction of Arkansas’ largest solar energy project. The 850-acre, 100-MW Chicot Solar Energy Center, will have approximately 350,000 solar panels. [Environment + Energy Leader]

Solar panels (Pixabay image)

¶ “Carbon Intensity Of Power Sector Down In 2019” • Engineers from Carnegie Mellon University’s Scott Institute for Energy Innovation compiled carbon emissions for the US electric power sector for the second quarter of 2019. The carbon intensity of the sector, measured in pounds of CO₂ emissions per MWh, dropped by 9% from Q2 of 2018. [engineering.cmu.edu]

¶ “Ralph Lauren To Power Its Operations By 100% Renewables By 2025” • Ralph Lauren Corp pledged to power all of its offices, distribution centers, and stores with 100% renewable energy by 2025. The company will expand its portfolio of renewables with virtual power purchase agreements, onsite solar energy assets, and other means. [Smart Energy]

Have a truly great day.

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December 2 Energy News

December 2, 2019

Opinion:

¶ “How To Travel Without Destroying The Planet” • A 2018 report by journal Nature Climate Change found that tourism accounts for about 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and that shopping and food are “significant” contributors. But many people are changing their habits. Awareness of climate change has driven an 8% increase in rail journeys. [CNN]

Eat local dishes (Courtesy Perry Aragon)

Science and Technology:

¶ “Biofuels Could Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions By 96%” • A report published by the National Academy of Sciences offers a cost-effective way to make biofuels that can be substituted for fossil fuels directly with few if any changes to the engines. They could reduce emissions up to 96% and cost a fraction of the fossil fuels they replace. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ “Climate Change: COP25 Talks Open As ‘Point Of No Return’ In Sight” • Political leaders and climate diplomats are meeting in Madrid for two weeks of talks amid a growing sense of crisis. Speaking ahead of the meeting, UN Secretary General António Guterres said, “the point of no return is no longer over the horizon.” [BBC via Albanian Daily News]

Spanish minister Teresa Ribera, COP President Carolina
Schmidt, and UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa (COP25 image)

¶ “Dublin Approves Debut Renewables Auction” • The Irish government approved the first capacity auction to be held under the country’s new Renewable Electricity Support Scheme. The round, which will open early next year subject to EU state aid approval, will deliver up to 3000 GWh of capacity, all of which is to come online by end-2022. [reNEWS]

¶ “Climate Crisis Forcing 20 Million People A Year From Their Homes, Oxfam Says” • Climate-fueled disasters have forced about 20 million people per year to leave their homes in the past decade, according to a new report from Oxfam. This makes the climate the biggest driver of internal displacement for the ten year period. [CNN]

Flooding in Cuba after Irma (Yamil Lage | AFP | Getty Images)

¶ “Portugal’s EPAL Turns To Renewables To Achieve Emission Neutrality” • Portugal’s capital water supply company EPAL announced plans to achieve emission neutrality by 2025. It is looking to produce its own energy from hydro, wind, and solar PV sources, and also take advantage of the storage in its existing water reservoirs. [Renewables Now]

¶ “Construction Starts On Pilot Green Hydrogen Plant In South Australia” • Australian Gas Networks, which operates natural gas transmission and distribution networks, announced beginning construction of a pilot facility that will produce green hydrogen and blend some of it into the local gas distribution network in South Australia. [Renewables Now]

Hydrogen facility (Image: ARENA)

¶ “New Scheme To Help Community Groups Generate Electricity” • In a major upheaval of the Irish energy sector, the Government has outlined how community groups can get into power generation under the first renewable electricity support scheme. While expanding solar and wind power, the scheme is includes “citizen energy” options. [Irish Times]

¶ “Huge Surge In Number Of Companies Targeting 100% Renewables By 2030” • The Climate Group has received more than double the number of corporate signatories first expected to its RE100 scheme. The target dates for 100% renewables now stand on average at 2028, according to its latest progress and annual insights report. [edie.net]

Solar array

¶ “Premiers Ford, Moe And Higgs Sign Deal On Development Of Small Nuclear Reactors” • The premiers of Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, and Ontario announced a deal to use small nuclear reactors to reduce carbon emissions. Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said small reactors would be a “meaningful action” to address climate change. [Newstalk 1010]

¶ “Fukushima Melted Fuel Removal Begins 2021, End State Unknown” • Nearly nine years after the Fukushima Disaster, it is still largely uncertain how the plant will be decommissioned. In a revised road map, the toughest challenge is to remove the 800 tons of nuclear fuel that had melted and fallen to the bottoms of their primary containment vessels. [WIZM NEWS]

Fukushima Daiichi (Tomohiro Ohsumi | Pool Photo via AP, File)

US:

¶ “Solar Expected To Disrupt Texas Fossil-Fuel Apple Cart” • Texas produces far more wind-generated electricity than any other state. But when it comes to solar energy, Texas lags behind several other states. That is about to change, as Texas is expected to double its solar electricity output next year and then again the year after that. [Houston Chronicle]

¶ “Missouri Teachers Are Schooling Students On Climate Change Even Though It’s Not Required” • The visible impacts of climate change becoming a classroom topic. Teachers in Missouri are using real-world issues and collaboration to help their students understand the science of climate change and the effect it could have on local communities. [KCUR]

Little kids learning about solar power (Bigstock Images)

¶ “Colorado Rethinks Dam Safety As Climate Change Heightens Risk For State’s 27 ‘Unsatisfactory’ Structures” • A climate-driven shift toward extreme storms has compelled Colorado officials to rethink the safety of hundreds of dams across the state that hold water and mine waste. Included are 27 high-hazard dams already listed as deficient. [The Denver Post]

¶ “NJ Pushes For Clean Energy But Rate Agency Worried About Utility Bills” • Gov Phil Murphy is pressing ahead with a plan to change the way New Jersey gets its electric power, but this has New Jersey’s top consumer watchdog concerned for several reasons. For one, the plan relies on nuclear power even after the plant licenses expire. [New Jersey 101.5 FM Radio]

Have a marvelously invigorating day.

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December 1 Energy News

December 1, 2019

Opinion:

¶ “In The Fight Against Climate Change, No One Can Stand On The Sidelines” • Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund: We can avoid this bleak future, and we know what we have to do – reduce emissions, offset what cannot be reduced, and adapt to new climate realities. No individual or institution can stand on the sidelines. [CNN]

Pollution (Kevin Frayer, Getty Images)

¶ “The Five Corrupt Pillars Of Climate Change Denial” • The fossil fuel industry has spent the past 30 years sowing doubt about the reality of climate change where none exists. The latest estimate is that the world’s five largest publicly-owned oil and gas companies spend about $200 million a year on lobbying to undermine binding climate policy. [EconoTimes]

Science and Technology:

¶ “NZ Scientists To Probe Climate Threat Frozen Underground” • Scientists estimate the icy reserves of permafrost now keep about twice as much carbon as is contained in the atmosphere. Probing Antarctica’s frozen ground will give scientists from New Zealand more insight into a potentially massive sleeper source of emissions. [New Zealand Herald]

Dry valley in Antarctica (Photo: Jamie Morton)

World:

¶ “Masdar In 400-MW Armenia Solar Power Project” • Masdar, one of the world’s leading renewable energy companies, has entered into a formal agreement with the Armenian National Interests Fund to develop solar power projects with a total capacity of 400 MW in Armenia, an investment of between $300 million and $320 million. [Khaleej Times]

¶ “Germany Is Closing All Its Nuclear Power Plants. Now It Must Find A Place To Bury The Deadly Waste For 1 Million Years” • Where do you safely bury more than 28,000 cubic meters of deadly radioactive waste for the next million years? This is the “wicked problem” facing Germany as it closes all of its nuclear power plants in the coming years. [CNN]

Cooling tower demolition (RWE Image)

¶ “Global Call For Biogas To Address Climate Change” • Major companies in the biogas industry are calling on the world’s governments to act urgently to unlock the sector’s potential to cut global greenhouse gases emissions by at least 12% within the next 10 years, contributing towards meeting Paris Agreement targets. [Power Engineering International]

¶ “Sweden Turning Into Europe’s Wind Power Hot Spot” • The Markbygden wind farm is huge, but more than that is happening in Sweden. Several other big projects are underway, including OX2 AB and Arise AB. The wind power output in the Nordic region’s largest economy is expected to double in the next three years. [Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette]

Worker preparing a wind turbine tower for installation

¶ “Wind Power Capacity To Double Over The Next Decade” • Installed wind power capacity will reach about 1,100 GW globally by 2028, up from 562 GW at the end of 2018, according to the industry forecast report from Fitch Solutions. The growth is to be fueled mainly by China, as it seeks to invest in renewable sources. [The National]

¶ “Climate Protesters Storm German Coal Mines” • Several major coal mines in eastern Germany were hit by protests as activists criticized the German government’s climate change plans and urged an immediate coal phase-out. Authorities said more than 1,000 people took part in the protests at mines in Brandenburg and Saxony. [Deutsche Welle]

Protest at mine (H Schmidt | DPA | Picture Alliance)

¶ “South Korea Pumps Money Into Overseas Coal Plants That Would Be Banned At Home” • A Greenpeace report identifies South Korea as the third-biggest public investor in overseas coal-fired power plant projects among the G-20 group of major economies. The money is going into projects that would be illegal in South Korea. [The Wire]

US:

¶ “Xcel Sees Financial Payoff In Push For Wind-Power Development” • Xcel Energy filed a document with Minnesota’s Public Utilities Commission asking it to approve bringing more than $100 million of wind-energy projects into the calculations of regulated electricity rates. And the news is that the new power will be cheaper. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

Wind turbines (Xcel Energy | Star Tribune)

¶ “Pelosi To Lead Group Of Democratic Lawmakers To UN Climate Change Conference” • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will lead a group of Democratic lawmakers to a United Nations conference on climate change less than a month after the Trump administration began formally withdrawing the US from the Paris climate accord. [CNN]

¶ “Tesla Model 3 Is #3 Best Selling Vehicle In California Through September” • The California New Car Dealers Association recently released its California Auto Outlook report. It shows that the Tesla Model 3 was only about 300 units short of being the second best selling vehicle in California for the period of January to September 2019. [CleanTechnica]

Have a faultlessly idyllic day.

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