Archive for February, 2020

February 29 Energy News

February 29, 2020

Opinion:

¶ “The History of China’s Green Energy Revolution” • China accounts for 30% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, but Chinese authorities are investing heavily in green energy. The country has become a world leader in solar and wind power. This rapid expansion was made possible by the approach taken by authorities. [The Maritime Executive]

Offshore wind power in Rudong, China (Mario Korsnes)

¶ “Namaste Nukes? Trump’s Toxic Sales Pitch For The Stalled Westinghouse Nuclear Project In India” • Despite the hype that Trump’s recent visit generated, including an upgrade of US-India relations to a ‘Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership’ and so on, there is very little that India stands to gain by buying nuclear power plants. [The Citizen]

Science and Technology:

¶ “Research Identifies Climate Change Fingerprints And Emitters’ Liability” • We have methods to quantify how much of an extreme weather event can be attributed to human-caused climate change and how to allocate costs of losses, based on work by an international team of scientists and economists. Emitters can be held responsible. [Phys.Org]

Red sky (Credit: CC0 Public Domain)

World:

¶ “Eni Unveils 55-GW Clean Power Goal For 2050” • Italian oil and gas company Eni plans to have 55 GW of installed renewable energy capacity by 2050. In the short term, the company aims to have 3 GW of clean power installed by 2023 and 5 GW by 2025. The capacity drive to 2025 will represent investments of €2.6 billion, Eni said. [reNEWS]

¶ “This Tiny Electric Car Looks Like A Washing Machine And Costs Just $6,600” • French automaker Citroën has unveiled the Ami, a tiny electric car that’s designed from the outset to be as cheap as possible. The car isn’t very fast and it looks a bit like a washing machine, but it only costs €6,000, or the equivalent of about $6,600. [CNN]

Citroën Ami (©Maison Vignaux | Continental Productions)

¶ “Power Minister Inaugurates Eleven Renewable Energy Management Centers” • India’s power minister, RK Singh launched eleven Renewable Energy Management Centers to accelerate renewable energy integration. They are equipped with renewable energy forecasting and scheduling tools based on AI to support grid operations. [pv magazine India]

Australia:

¶ “Collinsville: The Queensland Town On The Frontline Of The Coal Wars” • The only physical trace of Shine Energy is a small post office box shared by more than a dozen online businesses. It is listed as worth $1,000 and has no physical office. But it has political support for its goal of building a $2 billion coal-fired power plant in Collinsville. [The Guardian]

Collinsville (Photo: Ben Smee | The Guardian)

¶ “Queensland Energy Minister Tells Angus Taylor He’s ‘Deeply Concerned’ About Collinsville Coal Plans” • Queensland’s energy minister sent a letter to his federal counterpart, saying he was not aware of any study that showed additional coal generation was needed in Queensland, and that he was worried about its impact on other power stations. [The Guardian]

¶ “It Might Sound Insane, But Australia Could Soon Export Sunshine To Asia, Via A Cable” • The proposed Sun Cable project envisions a 10-GW solar farm, along with about 22 GWh of battery storage, in the Northern Territory. Power generated will supply Darwin and be exported to Singapore via a 3,800 km (2,360 mi) cable slung across the seafloor. [Inverse]

Cable laying ship (Nsandel, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ “Tesla Model 3 – Only American Car In Consumer Reports’ 2020 Top Picks” • The Tesla Model 3 is the only electric car, as well as the only domestic US model, that made it into the “10 Top Picks of 2020: Best Cars of the Year” list published by the Consumer Reports magazine. All other brands are either Japanese or Korean. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Elon Musk’s Brother Wants To Transform Farming” • Elon Musk’s younger brother, Kimbal Musk, started Square Roots, an indoor urban farming company based in Brooklyn, in 2016. Square Roots’ mission is to bring fresh, local food to cities around the world by empowering younger generations to participate in urban farming. [CNN]

Basil growing at Square Roots farm (Square Roots image)

¶ “Solar Energy Kicks Carbon Capture Butt In Wild Renewable Energy Rampage” • The 128-MW Wild Springs solar farm is to be built about 20 miles east of Rapid City, South Dakota. To this point, the state has only had 1.8 MW of solar power installed. The Wild Springs project results from rural electric cooperatives in promoting renewable energy. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Municipal Aggregation Savings ‘Shattering Expectations’ In Massachusetts” • The growing number of Massachusetts cities and towns that have negotiated community-wide rates for green energy have saved millions of dollars while also shrinking carbon footprints, according to a report released by the Green Energy Consumers Alliance. [Energy News Network]

Glouchester, Massachusetts (Robert Laliberte via Flickr)

¶ “Gillette Stadium Scores A Touchdown With 50 New Enel X EV Chargers” • In Boston, Gillette Stadium is diving into EV charging with the installation of 50 new JuiceBox Pro 32 amp units mounted on 25 JuicePedestals. The new stations will provide EV charging services to patrons of the stadium as they arrive to watch events. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Environmental Groups File Lawsuit Seeking Review Of $700M Superior Power Plant” • In Wisconsin, environmentalists sued for a review of Public Service Commission approval of a 625-MW gas-fired power plant. They say the PSC failed to examine environmental impacts or assess potential alternatives adequately. [Wisconsin Public Radio News]

Have an auspiciously groovy day.

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February 28 Energy News

February 28, 2020

World:

¶ “China May Send Ducks To Battle Pakistan’s Locust Swarms” • China could deploy 100,000 ducks to neighboring Pakistan to help tackle swarms of crop-eating locusts, reports say. Pakistan declared an emergency saying locust numbers were the worst in more than two decades. An agricultural expert says ducks can be more effective than pesticides. [BBC]

Ducks (Getty Images)

¶ “Energy Policy Shake-Up Flagged As Government Looks To Dump Solar, Wind Investment” • Research programs into wind and solar could be dumped by Australia’s Federal Government in favor of such emerging technologies as hydrogen, lithium, and reducing or storing greenhouse emissions from major industries, the Energy Minister says. [ABC News]

¶ “Western Australia’s Water Company’s Big Plans To Roll Out Solar” • Owned by the government, Western Australia’s Water Corporation pledged $30 million worth of developments in solar energy, which are expected to roll out over the next three years. Water Corporation plans to install solar power across fifty of its sites and buildings. [Energy Matters]

Perth, Western Australia

¶ “Shell Consortium Eyes 10-GW Offshore Wind-Hydrogen Giant” • Shell, Gasunie, and Groningen Seaports have launched the NortH2 project. NortH2 will entail the construction of a purpose-built offshore wind farm of up to 10 GW. It will supply electricity for industrial-scale production of green hydrogen in the Netherlands. [reNEWS]

UK:

¶ “Next Stop, Hydrogen-Powered Trains” • The UK’s rail system is 42% powered by electricity. One line running to London from Hampshire runs entirely on solar power. However, 58% of UK track is not yet electrified, and on them, diesel engines still keep trains running. One test system may show how to replace diesel, as it is powered by hydrogen. [BBC]

Emissions free Hydroflex train (University of Birmingham)

¶ “Climate Activists Just Blocked Plans To Expand Heathrow, One Of The World’s Biggest Airports” • The British government’s contentious plans to build a third runway at London’s Heathrow Airport have been blocked by an appeals court on environmental grounds, in a landmark victory for climate campaigners. The airport said it would appeal the verdict. [CNN]

¶ “Drax Hails Quality Of Scottish Renewable Energy Assets As It Moves To End Coal-Fired Generation” • Energy giant Drax has highlighted a strong performance by the assets it acquired in Scotland through a £700 million deal with ScottishPower as it announced plans to stop coal-fired generation at its flagship plant in Yorkshire. [HeraldScotland]

Cruachan pumped storage facility on Loch Awe (Drax image)

¶ “BP Withdraws From Three Fossil Fuel Industry Trade Groups” • BP says it has reviewed its climate policies over the past six months. According to The Guardian, BP has now severed ties with three oil industry lobbying groups, as it has a basic philosophical difference with them when it comes to their climate-related policies and activities. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Westminster Sets Out EU Energy Agreement Terms” • In a new paper titled “UK’s Approach to negotiations on Future Relationship with the EU,” the UK Government suggests an agreement on energy could cover energy trading over the interconnectors between the UK and the EU, carbon pricing, and climate change. [reNEWS]

Houses of Parliament (Image: Parliamentwiki)

US:

¶ “Tesla Now Has 1,800 Employees In New York, Panasonic Quits Gigafactory 2 In Buffalo” • Tesla informed the Empire State Development Corporation that it has met the requirement to hire 1,450 workers by the end of April. But Panasonic is quitting the solar cell making business in North America and will not join Tesla in use of the New York Gigafactory. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Fleet Serving The “Happiest Place On Earth” Goes Electric With 42 Buses From BYD” • BYD continues to make inroads in the US bus market. It delivered the first two of a total of 42 buses to Anaheim Resort Transportation. ART is tasked with moving 9 million annual passengers around the greater Disneyland area in central Anaheim, California. [CleanTechnica]

ART electric bus from BYD (BYD courtesy image)

¶ “Yes, Electric Trucks Make Sense For Regional Haul” • The North American Council for Freight Efficiency and Rocky Mountain Institute have been working with the trucking industry since 2009, guiding fleets as they adopt cleaner technologies. NACFE has found that electric trucks are well suited to the needs of regional trucking operations. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Geothermal Energy Contract Set To Boost Glendale’s Renewable Portfolio By 11%” • In Glendale, California, City Council members voted to enter into a 25-year contract with Open Mountain Energy that will eventually provide the city with 15.5 MW of geothermal energy annually. The price is expected to be about $67.50 to $70.25/MWh. [Los Angeles Times]

Geothermal energy project in Nevada (Courtesy of GWP)

¶ “Non-Hydro Renewables Provided 11.6% Of US Electricity In 2019” • Renewable energy generated 18.2% of the US electricity in 2019, a SUN DAY Campaign analysis shows. The non-hydro portion of that was 11.6%. With current growth trends continuing, renewable energy sources could overtake nuclear power in 2020 and coal in 2021. [Renewables Now]

¶ “Dominion Energy: SEC Charges South Carolina Companies, Executives in Failed Nuclear Project Case” • Two South Carolina companies and two former top executives face civil fraud charges in relation to a failed expansion project to build nuclear reactors at the Virgil C Summer nuclear power plant, the Securities and Exchange Commission said. [marketscreener.com]

Have a memorably magnificent day.

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February 27 Energy News

February 27, 2020

Opinion:

¶ “Water, Peace, And Security – Under Threat” • We write about carbon dioxide emissions quite a bit on CleanTechnica, but there is something that bears repetition. It is that renewable energy typically uses much less water than other electricity sources. The overuse of water, including for power plants, critically threatens our children. [CleanTechnica]

Water stress (Pacific Institute via Twitter)

¶ “The US Government Insurance Scheme For Nuclear Power Plant Accidents No Longer Makes Sense” • The pro-nuclear Japan Center for Economic Research put the long-term costs of the Fukushima accident at about $750 billion. Contrast that with the maximum of $13 billion that could be available under the Price-Anderson Act. [Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists]

World:

¶ “Renewable Energy Procurement Comes To China” • China is both the leader in the supply of renewable energy equipment globally and number one in total installed renewables capacity. A forecast by the China Electricity Council says China likely had a total installed capacity of 200 GW of solar and 210 GW of wind by the end of 2019. [pv magazine International]

30-MW solar plant in Qinghai province (Sungrow image)

¶ “Renewable Energy To Employ 42 Million People by 2050, 26 Million in Asia” • The number of people employed in renewable energy could reach 42 million globally by 2050, up from about 12 million in 2017. This is according to the report, “Assessing the Impact of the Energy Transition,” published by the International Renewable Energy Agency. [Saurenergy]

¶ “Australia’s Electricity Market Must Be 100% Renewables By 2035 To Achieve Net Zero By 2050: Study” • Australia can achieve a transition to net zero emissions by 2050 with known technologies, but the deployment of low emissions options will need to be accelerated significantly, according to new analysis by ClimateWorks Australia. [The Guardian]

Wind farm (Calla Wahlquist | The Guardian)

¶ “JPMorgan Chase To Reach 100% Renewable Energy For Global Operations” • JPMorgan Chase expects to reach its goal of 100% renewable energy sourcing for global power needs across its buildings, branches, and data centers by the end of this year. The global financial services firm set the 100% renewable energy goal for 2020 in 2017. [Environment + Energy Leader]

¶ “GE Scoops 300-MW Prize In India” • GE Renewable Energy received an order from the EDF-Sitac joint venture to supply and install 112 turbines at the 300-MW Sitac Kabini wind farm in Gujarat, India. The project will feature 2.7-MW units with with 132-meter rotors. Most of the design work was done at GE’s technology center in Bangalore. [reNEWS]

GE wind turbine (GE image)

¶ “Drax Power Plant To Stop Burning Coal, With Loss Of 230 Jobs” • The Drax power plant in Yorkshire will end all use of coal next year after almost five decades as one of western Europe’s most polluting power plants. Drax Group will stop burning coal the plant in March 2021, four years ahead of the government’s ban on coal-fired electricity. [The Guardian]

US:

¶ “Trump Regulators Deal A Blow To Leading Coal Companies” • The Federal Trade Commission’s decision, supported by two Republican Trump appointees, dealt a blow to the turnaround efforts of Peabody Energy and Arch Coal from bankruptcy. The FTC found that a joint venture would “eliminate competition” in the Powder River Basin. [CNN]

Mine in Wyoming (Carol M Highsmith, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Literally Cooking Up New EV Battery That’s More Sustainable With Longer Range” • The DOE has been looking to develop a more environmentally friendly EV battery since at least 1995. For reasons of economy and national defense, the DOE wants batteries made from local materials. Graphite is not mined in the US, but KISK has a battery based on corn. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Long Beach Transit Adds 14 More BYD Electric Buses” • In Southern California, Long Beach Transit is adding 14 more electric buses to its fleet, according to news of a deal with BYD. BYD is based in Shenzhen, China, but buses will be manufactured at its Lancaster, California factory, which produces a range of electric trucks and buses. [CleanTechnica]

BYD K9 electric bus (Credit: Kyle Field | CleanTechnica)

¶ “Wind Surpassed Hydro As Top Renewable Electricity Generation Source In US” • In 2019, US annual wind generation exceeded hydroelectric generation for the first time, according to data in the Energy Information Administration’s “Electric Power Monthly.” Wind is now the top renewable source of electricity generation in the country. [Renewables Now]

¶ “As New Mexico Swaps Coal For Renewables, San Juan County Struggles To Chart A New Future” • In the Four Corners region of New Mexico, coal has fueled not only homes but also much of its economy for almost 50 years. Now, the San Juan Generating Station is closing, and the community and its people will have to learn to live without it. [New Mexico Political Report]

San Juan Generating Station in New Mexico
(Don J Usner | Searchlight New Mexico)

¶ “Moss Landing Battery Storage Project Approved” • The PG&E-backed Elkhorn Battery Storage Facility in Moss Landing, California, was unanimously approved by the Monterey County Planning Commission. It is the second element of what would be one of the largest energy storage projects in the world. The total capacity will be 1,930 MWh. [Monterey Herald]

¶ “In Massachusetts, Students Step Up To Pressure Schools On Renewable Energy” • Student groups on college and university campuses across Massachusetts are attempting to convince their schools to commit to using only renewable energy. They are joining in the fight for a new bill that would transition the state to 100% renewable energy. [Energy News Network]

Have a thrillingly uncomplicated day.

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February 26 Energy News

February 26, 2020

Science and Technology:

¶ “Scientists Warn Climate Change Is Destroying California Kelp Forests” • Kelp forests off the West Coast are being reduced at an alarming rate by marine heat waves linked to climate change, according to seven top marine scientists. They have written an open letter about the problem and had it published in Science magazine. [Public News Service]

Kelp (Bennilover | Flickr)

¶ “As California Forests Heat Up, Birds Are Flocking To Higher Ground” • Brett Furnas, senior environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, has studied climate change responses of migratory songbirds for over a decade. He reported a disturbing trend. Some species are leaving California’s low-lying forests altogether. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Fume Events: The Toxic Gases That May Be Harming Aircrew And Passengers” • An incident in January, when a pilot became unresponsive at the controls of a plane coming in to land at Heathrow, is just the latest in a string of potentially dangerous “fume events” going back decades. Airlines want to keep the problem out of the public’s view. [BBC]

Landing at Heathrow (Getty Images)

¶ “How Cutting Your Food Waste Can Help The Climate” • All food generates greenhouse gases to reach our plates, but then nearly a third of it is thrown away or wasted. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that if food waste was a country, it would be the third highest emitter of greenhouse gases after the US and China. [BBC]

World:

¶ “London’s Route 94 Gets An Upgrade With 29 New Electric Double-Decker Buses From BYD” • An arterial bus route in West London is going fully electric. London United, a subsidiary of transit operator RATP Dev, took delivery of 29 fully electric BYD double-decker buses. They were built by BYD partner Alexander Dennis Limited. [CleanTechnica]

London United BYD double-decker bus (Courtesy BYD)

¶ “Volkswagen Is Planning Some Spicy Electric Cars Based On The MEB Chassis” • Volkswagen took its ID R race car to the Pikes Peak hill climb last year, where it set the all time elapsed time record. Now, reports say an internal proposal would see an all-wheel drive MEB-based coupe or roadster produced by VW go on sale by 2025. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Taiwan To Boost Renewable Energy To 20% By 2025” • The Taiwanese voted in a 2018 referendum to abolish a deadline of 2025 to denuclearize, but Taiwan’s plan for renewable energy remains, and the island nation is still marching toward a greener future. By 2025, Taiwan will generate 20% of its electricity from renewable energy sources. [Taiwan News]

Offshore wind turbines (AP photo)

¶ “Equinor Says Thanks But No Thanks To Deep Water Drilling Plan In Australia” • It’s happening. The economics that underpin the fossil fuel industry are crumbling. Just in the last 48 hours, a natural gas pipeline in upstate New York was cancelled, a huge tar sands project in Alberta ended, and now, Equinor cancelled its offshore oil drilling in Australia. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Pacifico Turns Sod On 111-MW Japanese Solar” • Pacifico Energy has begun construction of a 111-MW PV plant on the site of a golf course in Wakayama prefecture. Sharp Energy Solutions is the project’s engineering, procurement and construction contractor. Commercial operations are expected to begin in the spring of 2022. [reNEWS]

Pacifico Energy solar site (Pacifico Energy image)

¶ “Going Green: China Continues Massive Investment In Renewable Energy” • Chinese state-owned power company, China Three Gorges Corporation, announced it is developing more than two dozen of new green energy projects, requiring the total investment of $8.2 billion. The projects will have a total capacity of 3.92 GW. [Infosurhoy]

US:

¶ “American Museum Of Natural History Parts Ways With Billionaire Climate-Change Denier Rebekah Mercer” • Rebekah Mercer, the chair of the Mercer Family Foundation, which routinely backs organizations that engage in climate change denial, is no longer on the board of the American Museum of Natural History in New York. [Artforum]

Hall of Ocean Life, American Museum of Natural History

¶ “A Georgia Town Gets Half Of Its Electricity From President Jimmy Carter’s Solar Farm” • President Jimmy Carter has long been passionate about clean energy, having grown up on a farm without electricity. He has had a solar array built on his farm in Plains, Georgia. The array’s 3,852 solar panels provide the town with over half of its electricity. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “GM To US: No 250 Mile, $23,000 Electric Car For You!” • General Motors introduced the Chevy Menlo, a battery electric SUV-type vehicle with 250 miles of range and a starting price below $23,000. It’s great news for people living in China, but if you live in North America or Europe? Fuhgedabowdit. No Chevy Menlo for you! [CleanTechnica]

Chevy Menlo (GM image)

¶ “Oregon Republicans Walk Out Again Over Environmental Bill” • Nearly a dozen Republicans in Oregon’s Democratically-controlled state Senate walked out during a floor vote on an environmental bill, the latest skirmish in a long-running inter-party fight that’s roiled the statehouse. The walkout leaves the Senate one vote short of a quorum. [CNN]

¶ “Tesla’s Battery Costs Have Been Dropping – Fast” • A report from consulting firm Cairn Energy Research Advisors (via CNBC) offers some details of Tesla’s rapidly declining battery costs. Cairn estimates that the company’s pack-level costs reached $158.27 per kWh in 2019, a decline of over $100 compared to 4 years ago. [CleanTechnica]

Have a gloriously gorgeous day.

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February 25 Energy News

February 25, 2020

Opinion:

¶ “The Power Of The PPA: Should Airports Switch To Direct Power Purchases?” • Allowing a company to buy energy directly from the producer, power purchase agreements (PPAs) are becoming more and more popular. A few airports, including Sydney, JFK, and Bristol, have taken the plunge already; is there scope for more to follow? [Airport Technology]

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (ASA image)

¶ “Trump’s $1.5 Billion Uranium Stockpile: A Solution In Search Of A Problem” • The Trump administration has asked Congress for $1.5 billion over the next 10 years to establish a uranium stockpile. But it seems that the only beneficiaries would be miners in a pro-Trump state and a few foreign owned mining companies. [Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists]

World:

¶ “Africa Grapples With Clean Energy Conundrum” • Africa is both the least electrified continent and the most vulnerable to climate change. There is a large amount of investment going into renewable sources, much of it from overseas. But the continent also has untapped reserves of oil and natural gas, which African countries aim to exploit. [BBC]

Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam (Getty Images)

¶ “This Oil Sands Project In Canada Has Been In The Works For A Decade. Now The Company Behind It Is Backing Out” • Teck Resources, a Canadian mining company,  announced it will drop plans for its controversial Frontier oil sands project in Alberta. The project sparked a lengthy, heated debate about the economy and the environment. [CNN]

¶ “Senegal Opens West Africa’s First Big Wind Farm In Push For Renewables” • Senegal inaugurated the first large-scale wind farm in West Africa, a facility that will supply nearly a sixth of the country’s power when it reaches full capacity later this year. The 158-MW wind farm was built by Lekela, a British renewable power company. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Wind farm

¶ “Woodmac: Energy Storage To Accelerate Global Energy Transition In 2020s” • Global storage deployments are set to grow from about 4 GW in 2019 to more than 15 GW in 2024, according to Wood Mackenzie. Costs have fallen, incentives and clean energy targets are growing, and providers are starting to see the potential of energy storage. [EnerCom Inc]

¶ “Pivot Power To Rollout 100 MW Of UK Battery Storage” • Pivot Power, part of EDF Renewables, has placed an order with Wartsila to deliver 100 MW of energy storage in the UK. The first two projects, which are 50 MW apiece, are being developed in Cowley in Oxford and Kemsley in Kent. Both are expected to be fully operational this year. [reNEWS]

Battery storage (Image: Pivot Power)

Australia:

¶ “Western Power To Add Another 100 Stand-Alone Solar And Battery Systems” • Western Australia’s state-owned network unveiled plans to roll out another 100 solar and battery-based stand-alone power systems in sparsely populated regional areas of the state, in part two of a new approach to fringe-of-grid power supply. [One Step Off The Grid]

¶ “Those Horrific Wildfires In Australia Destroyed A Fifth Of The Continent’s Forests” • The bushfires in Australia were “globally unprecedented,” as they destroyed over a fifth of the country’s forests. The fires follow a years-long drought linked to climate change, researchers said. Australia’s annual average forest loss to wild fires is well below 2%. [ScienceAlert]

Bushfire smoke (Sardaka, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Queensland Not On Track On Renewable Target, Advocacy Group Says” • Enormous potential, easily distracted, must try harder. A “report card” for the Queensland Labor government’s progress on its renewable energy target of 50% by 2030 has given the state a dismal mark of C-, and says it is “not on track” to meet the goal set in 2016. [RenewEconomy]

US:

¶ “Oil And Gas Companies ‘ Invest’ Money On Members Of Congress With Anti-Environment Voting Records, Study Says” • Oil and gas companies give more in campaign contributions to members of Congress with voting records that are against the environment, according to a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. [CNN]

Gas Flare after Deepwater Horizon fire (PO3 Patrick Kelle, USCG)

¶ “Report: Community Choice Energy” • Inspired by the individuals who put solar on their roofs, cities, counties, and states want the option to take charge and more widely share the financial and economic benefits of the clean energy transition. It’s why an increasing number of states have allowed community choice energy. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Autonomous Electric Trucks Could Upend Freight Yards” • Outrider, a Colorado startup, wants to change the way freight distribution yards work. CEO Andrew Smith told TechCrunch that distribution yards are ideal environments for autonomous technology because they are well defined areas, even though they are complex and seem chaotic. [CleanTechnica]

Outrider yard truck (Outrider image)

¶ “Solar And Wind Power Are Pushing Down Electricity Prices In New England” • Renewable energy is beginning to have an impact where it counts, in the cost of electricity, as companies that generate it pledge to sell power to the New England grid at prices that keep falling and will be down more than 70% over four years to 2023. [Press Herald]

¶ “Michigan Utility DTE Has Been Ordered To Seek Out More Renewables” • Michigan’s two big investor-owned utilities, Consumers Energy and DTE Energy, have both committed to meeting state-mandated clean energy targets and retiring coal plants by 2040. But according to state regulators, DTE’s plan doesn’t pass muster. [Greentech Media]

Have an awesomely inspiring day.

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February 24 Energy News

February 24, 2020

Opinion:

¶ “Is Gothenburg Europe’s Greenest City?” • In the mid-1980s, Sweden’s minister of the environment, Birgitta Dahl, toured Gothenburg and declared the decaying and dirty blue-collar city “a courtyard to hell.” Properly chastened, political and business leaders vowed to transform the gritty 17th-Century city into a beacon of urban sustainability. And they did. [BBC]

Canal in central Gothenburg

¶ “Speaking The Truth About Power: The Coalition Is Hurting Reliability, Affordability And Competition” • While the Australia renewables sector faces an investment drought, the government is deterring billions in renewable energy investment because of its climate denialism. The result is more expensive and less reliable power. [Crikey]

¶ “Five Strategies That Achieve Climate Both Mitigation And Adaptation Simultaneously” • Climate actions have often fallen into one of two strategies: mitigation efforts to address emissions of greenhouse gases, and adaptation efforts to withstand impacts of climate change. There are strategies, however, that fall into both. Here are a few. [CleanTechnica]

Shenzhen’s electric buses (Kyle Field, CleanTechnica)

Science and Technology:

¶ “Radical Hydrogen-Boron Reactor Leapfrogs Current Nuclear Fusion Tech” • HB11 Energy, a spin-out company from the University of New South Wales, claims to have developed a completely new form of fusion. “We are sidestepping all of the scientific challenges that have held fusion energy back for more than half a century,” its director said. [Daily Times]

¶ “Super Duper Supercapacitors Could Accelerate Electric Car Revolution” • Scientists at University College London and the Chinese Academy of Sciences say they developed a graphene-based supercapacitor that can safely charge at high speed, hold a record amount of energy, and store it for a long time. Their paper appeared in Nature Energy. [CleanTechnica]

Supercapacitor (University College London image)

World:

¶ “Solar Power Just Miles From The Arctic Circle? In Icy Nordic Climes, It’s Become The Norm” • For years after northern Finland’s largest printing plant blanketed its facility’s eight roofs with solar panels, the curious beat a path to the extraordinary spectacle. Today, Kaleva Media’s rooftop PV park is no longer a curiosity. [InsideClimate News]

¶ “How Scotland’s Parks Could Heat Homes With Low-Carbon Energy” • Scotland’s parks could provide low-carbon energy to heat 15% of the country’s homes, according to new research. A study of 3,500 green spaces suggested urban parks could be used to generate significant amounts of energy by capturing the heat in the ground. [BBC News]

Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Park (Getty Images)

¶ “RWE Team Puts Floating Wind To The Test” • RWE Renewables and Saitec Offshore Technologies joined forces to test affordable ways to install and operate floating offshore wind farms. The companies set up a pilot project called DemoSATH that will start testing a floating platform for wind turbines off the Basque Coast in 2021. [reNEWS]

Australia:

¶ “Booming Australian Gas Exports Countering Efforts To Cut Emissions In Australia And Globally” • Australia’s booming gas sector is becoming a drag on efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Reductions in emissions from electricity, agriculture, and transport were offset by emissions associated with exports of gas, especially to Japan. [ABC News]

Gas flare (Reuters image)

¶ “Software Billionaires Pledge $12 Million In Solar For Natural Disaster Relief” • Australian areas hit by fires are relying on diesel generators to get by. Some are going without power. Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes and his wife Annie committed up to $12 million for solar and battery systems for disconnected communities. [Energy Matters]

¶ “Plans For Cairns Hi-Tech Energy Facility Underway” • Design and construction of the $6 million Microgrid and Isolated Systems Test facility in Cairns has commenced. The R&D hub will be undertaken by Cairns-based Osborne Construction Solutions and Babinda Electrics. It is first large-scale facility of its kind in Queensland. [Energy Magazine]

Cairns (Shutterstock image)

¶ “Wide Bay’s Energy Infrastructure Boom” • The Queensland Government has granted development approval for one of the largest grid-connected wind farms in the southern hemisphere, Forest Wind. The Wide Bay-Burnett region project is proposed to be comprised of up to 226 turbines, with a capacity of as much as 1,200 MW. [Energy Magazine]

US:

¶ “State Fund, Engie To Build Solar, Storage And EV Charging Stations In California” • The State Compensation Insurance Fund and Engie North America have announced an agreement to build solar PV panels, energy storage systems, and EV charging stations across seven different State Fund locations throughout the state of California. [Saurenergy]

Solar canopy

¶ “Morgan Stanley Says 47 GW Of US Coal Capacity Could Be Uneconomic By 2024” • Investment bank Morgan Stanley published a report claiming that nearly 50 GW of US coal-fired power capacity will be unable to compete against renewables by 2024. It advises utilities to replace coal plants with cheaper renewable projects. [RenewEconomy]

¶ “US DOE Provides Funds For Clean Coal Research As Coal-Fired Plants Retire At Near-Record Pace” • The US DOE has committed $64 million in federal funding for the cost-shared research and development of smaller, more efficient, and cleaner coal-fired power plants, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company. [Power Technology]

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February 23 Energy News

February 23, 2020

Opinion:

¶ “USA Braces For Tsunami Of Microgrids As Defense Dept Wades In – CleanTechnica Interview” • The US Department of Defense has been exploring new microgrid technology for at least ten years or so, and it is finally tired of pussyfooting around. Last week it decided on a step that could bring microgrids to scores of DoD facilities. [CleanTechnica]

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association model (NRECA)

¶ “This Is A Huge Strike Against NextEra’s Bid To Purchase Santee Cooper” • Santee Cooper is in debt from a failed nuclear project. NextEra offered to purchase it, but only if it could bypass the South Carolina Public Service Commission on some projects, retaining a right to charge customers for projects abandoned due to changes in federal law. [Charleston Post Courier]

Science and Technology:

¶ “A Fertilizer Will Soon Power Ocean-Going Ships” • Zero-carbon ammonia can be used to power ships and make the transport sector greener, a policy briefing by the British Royal Society shows. The research considers opportunities and challenges associated with the manufacture and future use of the product, today mainly known as a fertilizer. [Forbes]

Viking Energy (Eidesvik Offshore image)

¶ “NASA Images Show Antarctica’s Eagle Island Almost Ice-Free” • A NASA photo show that Eagle Island, just off Antarctica, was nearly covered in snow on February 4th. In a second photo taken on the 13th, you can see that most of the snow has melted. And Elon Musk tells us why a small change in temperature is critically important. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “A Climate-Sensitive Bird Hints At Global Warming’s Lasting Impact” • The migration patterns of the black-throated blue warbler have been slowly but steadily changing over the past 50 years, according to a study in the journal The Auk: Ornithological Advances. The bird’s spring migration has occurred around one day earlier per decade. [NBCNews.com]

Black-throated blue warbler (Kyle Horton)

World:

¶ “Queensland Approves Massive 1,200-MW Wind Farm In State Pine Forest” • The Queensland government gave development approval for a massive wind project of up to 1,200 MW that will be located in state pine forest in the Wide Bay-Burnett region. The $2 billion project put forward by Forest Wind will comprise up to 226 turbines. [RenewEconomy]

¶ “Promotion Of Renewable Energy Sources For Electricity Production In Greece” • According to the commitment Greece gave in the National Energy and Climate Plan, renewable energy sources should cover 35% of total energy consumption by 2030, up from 18% today. This will include more than 60% of electricity consumption. [Tornos News International Edition]

Windmills in Greece (Mstyslav Chernov, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Revealed: Quarter Of All Tweets About Climate Crisis Produced By Bots” • The social media conversation over the climate crisis is being reshaped by an army of automated Twitter bots, with a new analysis finding that a quarter of all tweets about climate on an average day are produced by bots, the Guardian can reveal. [The Guardian]

¶ “Sales Of Coal And Wet Logs To Be Phased Out In England” • Plans to phase out the sale of coal and wet wood for domestic burning and encourage the use of cleaner fuels in the home have been confirmed by the UK government. Wood burning stoves and coal fires are the single largest source of the pollutant known as “PM2.5.” [Somerset County Gazette]

Burning coal

US:

¶ “University of Georgia Getting 13 More Electric Buses, Bringing Fleet To 33” • The University of Georgia is to add more electric buses on its campus and to host the largest fleet of electric buses out of all the US universities. UGA has twenty electric buses already. “We don’t ever plan on buying another diesel bus,” the transportation director said. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Family Farms Try To Raise A New Cash Cow: Solar Power” • The Kominek family farm in northern Colorado has had yields decline over recent years, and the farm began losing money. In Boulder County, land-use codes made it hard to use the land for anything but farming. So the Komineks found a compromise: a solar array with plants growing beneath. [WIRED]

Solar array (Dennis Schroeder | NREL)

¶ “Energy Fuels Utah’s Economy, Study Says” • Renewable electricity production in Utah has jumped 500% since 2008. The Kem C Gardner Policy Institute released a study showing that Utah’s energy industry supports 76,425 jobs, contributes $9.4 billion in gross domestic product and has $4.3 billion in earnings flowing into the state economy. [Deseret News]

¶ “Helena City Commission Considers Goal Of “100% Clean Electricity” By 2030″ • In Montana, the Helena City Commission will consider a resolution setting a goal of switching to 100% renewable electricity by 2030. The proposed resolution calls for leaders to act “swiftly and decisively” to address impacts from climate change. [KRTV Great Falls News]

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February 22 Energy News

February 22, 2020

Science and Technology:

¶ “Climate Change May Doom 1 In 3 Species Of Plants And Animals In The Next 50 Years” • Using data from surveys that studied 538 animals, insects and plants from 581 sites across the globe, researchers  from the University of Arizona found that approximately one in three plant, insect, and animal species could face extinction by 2070. [CNN]

Campbell Island Teal (Stomac, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Offshore Wind: An Opportunity For Cost-Competitive Decarbonization Of China’s Energy Economy” • Investments in China’s offshore wind have been limited until recently largely by perceptions of cost. Analysis indicates that the potential wind resource is 5.4 times larger than the current coastal demand, and it can be cost-competitive. [Science Advances]

¶ “To Combat Climate Change, Human Activities More Important Than Natural Feedbacks” • Scientists at the University of Rochester studied methane emissions from a period in Earth’s history partly analogous to the warming of Earth today. Their research, published in Science, suggests human caused emissions are of greatest concern. [University of Rochester]

Drillling ice cores (Vasilii Petrenko | University of Rochester)

World:

¶ “Blue Nova Launches The MegaBoy 1-MWh Storage Product” • In South Africa, as the power utility, Eskom, struggles to meet demand, outages have ranged from two to four hours per day. This has encouraged battery makers to come to market. Blue Nova Energy looks to be ramping up nicely and has just launched the MegaBoy storage system. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Solar Power Projects Delayed By Coronavirus In China May Get Relief” • In a big relief to renewable energy projects, India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy will give extra time for commissioning power projects that face delays due to squeezing of supply lines from China which is facing deadly spread of coronavirus. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Solar Power (Thomas Lloyd Group, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Bavaria’s Renewable Capacity Growing As Nuclear Plant Shutdown Boosts Power Imports” • Power generation with solar panels and bioenergy plants reached a new record level in Bavaria, its economy ministry said. Final 2018 data showed that solar power production grew by 4.5% that year to reach nearly 12 TWh. [Clean Energy Wire]

¶ “France’s Oldest Nuclear Plant Fessenheim Turns Off One Reactor” • France pulled the plug on one of the nuclear reactors at the country’s oldest plant. It is a small first step in reducing nuclear’s place in its energy mix. The plant at Fessenheim  entered into service in 1978. Its second reactor is scheduled to close in June. [Euronews]

Fessenheim nuclear plant (Florival fr, Wikimedia Commons)

Australia:

¶ “Labor’s Chris Bowen: Renewables Make Much More Sense Than ‘Nuclear Fantasy’” • Australian Federal Labor frontbencher Chris Bowen criticised the Morrison government for even considering nuclear power as an option in the future energy mix, calling it a “fantasy and a furphy.” He said, “The economics of nuclear power don’t stack up.” [The New Daily]

¶ “Tesla’s Helping Australian Bushfire Victims” • Tesla is helping Australian bushfire victims, along with 5B, a solar provider in Sydney, and Mike Cannon-Brooks, the founder of Atlassian. The goal is to install solar panels and batteries in towns that have lost power completely due to the devastating bushfires of 2019 to 2020. [CleanTechnica]

Wildfires on the coast of Australia (NASA image)

¶ “Queensland Supercomputer To Test Seamless Integration Of Renewables On And Off The Grid” • A world-class R&D hub planned for Cairns will be home to a supercomputer that will simulate and model intricate networks. It is to enable renewable energy and energy storage to form a greater part of microgrids for remote communities. [pv magazine Australia]

US:

¶ “Climate Change Is Drying Up The Colorado River, Putting Millions At Risk Of ‘Severe Water Shortages'” • The Colorado River – which provides water to more than 40 million people from Denver to Los Angeles – has seen its flow dwindle by 20% compared to the last century, and scientists have found that climate change is mainly to blame. [CNN]

Glen Canyon Dam (Bill Weir)

¶ “From 75% Coal To 50% Renewables? Voters May Decide” • When advocacy group Renew Missouri pushed for the state’s first renewable energy standard over a decade ago, it bypassed the GOP-dominated legislature and took the issue straight to voters. Now it is behind a ballot initiative to get 50% of Missouri’s power from renewable resources by 2040. [E&E News]

¶ “Cuomo Announces Efforts To Speed Up Green Energy Projects” • New York Gov Andrew M. Cuomo announced he is advancing a budget amendment to ramp up the permitting and construction of green projects, as part of the state’s commitment to obtain 70% of energy from renewable sources by the end of the decade. [Albany Times Union]

Wind turbines (Russell Lovrin, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Potentially $50M Solar Farm Could Power Ann Arbor Municipal Operations On 100% Renewable Energy” • A proposed Michigan solar farm is moving ahead for approval. The 24-MW solar installation could power the equivalent of five thousand households. The proposed site of the solar farm is primarily at Ann Arbor’s old landfill. [Michigan Radio]

¶ “American Electric Power ‘Feeds The Beast’ Of Earnings Growth With More Renewable Capital Projects” • American Electric Power expects to hit its target of 5% to 7% earnings growth through 2024, in large part by making capital investments in new renewable projects, CEO and President Nick Akins said in a recent earnings call. [Utility Dive]

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February 21 Energy News

February 21, 2020

Opinion:

¶ “Renewable Energy Could Power The World By 2050” • By mid-century, virtually all the world’s demand for electricity could be met by renewable energy. This is the consensus of 47 peer-reviewed research papers from 13 independent groups with a total of 91 authors that have been brought together by Stanford University in California. [Eco-Business]

Wind plant in Pakistan (Asian Development Bank, CC BY-SA 3.0)

¶ “FERC Excludes Clean Energy From NY’s Capacity Market” • A decision applying buyer-side mitigation to state-supported resources that participate in New York’s wholesale capacity market is the latest attempt by a hyper-politicized Trump FERC to try and pose barriers to deployment of clean energy resources by the states. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

¶ “The Government’s Sudden Passion For Climate Technology Is Newfound And Insincere” • Sensing it must be seen to do something, the Australian government remains committed to doing nothing substantive. Now, it is arguing for investing in technology. The argument is insincere. It is just a way to defer action and continue doing nothing. [The Guardian]

Coal-burning power plant (Lukas Schulze | Getty Images)

Science and Technology:

¶ “Seasonal Pumped Hydropower Storage Could Solve The Renewable Energy Storage Challenge” • Seasonal pumped hydropower storage, an established technology, could be an affordable and sustainable solution to store energy and water on an annual scale, according to IIASA research published in the journal Nature Communications. [SciTechDaily]

World:

¶ “Audi And Umicore Collaborate On EV Battery Recycling” • EV battery recycling has been a topic of discussion for years, but it took some time for the supply of old EV batteries to grow to the point that recycling them is commercially viable. That point has come. Audi and Umicore are working together to recycle nickel and cobalt from EV batteries. [CleanTechnica]

Audi e-tron display (Jesper Berggreen, CleanTechnica)

¶ “Rio Tinto Says Solar Farm Plan To Power New Mine First Step Towards Decarbonisation” • Mining giant Rio Tinto unveiled plans for a solar farm to feed its new $2.6 billion Koodaideri iron ore mine in Western Australia’s Pilbara region. Rio Tinto says the plan to power a mine with solar energy is just the first step in a push to decarbonize. [ABC News]

¶ “Canadian Solar Turns Sod On Japan Duo” • Canadian Solar has started construction of two PV projects in Japan totalling nearly 27 MW of generating capacity. Both are expected to begin commercial operation by mid-2021. One is a 13.6-MW project in the Ibaraki prefecture. The other is a 13-MW solar project in the Fukuoka prefecture. [reNEWS]

Solar array (Canadian Solar image)

¶ “Westinghouse Set To Sign Pact With NPCIL For Nuclear Reactors During Trump Visit” • US energy firm Westinghouse is expected to sign a new agreement with state-run Nuclear Power Corporation of India for the supply of six nuclear reactors during President Donald Trump’s visit next week. Officials are aiming to kickstart a long-running project. [Reuters]

¶ “SA’s Newest Solar Power Station Is Now Online And Powering 40 000 Homes – See How It Came To Life” • Scatec Solar has just brought enough renewable energy to power about 40,000 homes online in South Africa, as the new 86-MW Sirius solar park is in commercial operation. It will be followed by two more solar plants. [Business Insider South Africa]

Sirius solar park (Scatec Solar image)

US:

¶ “EDF Renewables Upgrades US HQ With Clean Microgrid” • EDF Renewables North America has installed a clean energy microgrid at its US headquarters in San Diego. The system has a 209-kW solar carport, 182-kW solar rooftop, 280-kW battery storage system and 43  EV charging stations. The microgrid reduces energy costs. [Energy Live News]

¶ “American Farmers Are Turning To Wind Energy” • Farmers have seen prices for commodities like corn, soybeans, milk, and meat down since 2013 due to technology and globalization. Extreme weather from climate change made things worse. The trade war with China has hit them hard. But a new crop may save them. It is windpower. [CleanTechnica]

Base of a wind tower (Zach Shahan, CleanTechnica)

¶ “Deal Emerges To Bring First Offshore Wind Farms To California” • The Department of Defense has been blocking wind farms off the coast of California, saying they would interfere with operations. Now, a tentative compromise is being floated by Rep Salud Carbajal (D-Calif) with backing from the military and federal and state agencies. [E&E News]

¶ “New Prefab Homes Never Need To Be Connected To The Grid” • Dvele, a prefabricated home manufacturer based in Southern California, announced that from now on, every home it makes will produce its own electricity using solar PVs and have a built-in battery storage system, eliminating the need to connect to the electrical grid. [CleanTechnica]

Dvele prefabricated home (Dvele image)

¶ “Indiana Michigan Power Facility With 60,000 Solar Panels Coming To St Joseph County” • Indiana Michigan Power got approval for a solar farm in St Joseph County from the Indiana Utility Regulatory committee. The site’s 60,000 solar panels will provide annual electricity needs for 2,700 houses. The facility should be finished this year. [WSBT-TV]

¶ “Geronimo inks US Power Play For 128-MW Wild Springs” • Geronimo Energy signed a power purchase agreement with Basin Electric Power Cooperative for the 128-MW Wild Springs solar project. Wild Springs is in Pennington County, South Dakota, about 20 miles east of Rapid City. It is due to begin operating in 2022. [reNEWS]

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February 20 Energy News

February 20, 2020

Science and Technology:

¶ “Climate Change Could Kill All Of Earth’s Coral Reefs By 2100, Scientists Warn” • Climate change could destroy almost all of Earth’s coral reef habitats by 2100, University of Hawaii Manoa reported. And about 70-90% of all coral reefs are expected to disappear in the next 20 years due to warming oceans, acidic water, and pollution. [CNN]

Coral reef (Emily Irving-Swift | AFP | Getty Images)

¶ “BloombergNEF: Lithium-Ion Battery Cell Densities Have Almost Tripled Since 2010” • Colin McKerracher of BNEF took to the stage at the BloombergNEF Summit and made a case for electric vehicles reaching the “end of the beginning.” Electric vehicles are moving into the mainstream with higher battery cell densities. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Oil And Gas Production Is Contributing Even More To Global Warming Than Was Thought, Study Finds” • study finds that methane emissions from fossil fuels are between 25% and 40% larger than past research had estimated, revealing that oil and gas production is contributing far more to warming the planet than previously thought. [CNN]

Gas flaring at a fracking facility (David McNew | Getty Images)

World:

¶ “The Wet’suwet’en Conflict Disrupting Canada’s Rail System” • Rail lines across Canada have been paralyzed for almost two weeks after being blockaded by protesters. The blockades were put in place in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en First Nation hereditary chiefs who oppose a natural gas pipeline in their traditional territory in British Columbia. [BBC]

¶ “Bushfire Royal Commission To Look At Mitigation But Not Climate Change” • Prime Minister Scott Morrison released letters patent establishing a national inquiry into bushfires. It is to examine powers of Australia’s government to call out the militarynational standards for hazard reduction, and disaster mitigation, but not climate change. [The Guardian]

PM Scott Morrison examining destruction (James Ross | EPA)

¶ “Renewable Hydrogen ‘Gigastack’ Monster Rises From UK Seas” • Word is out that Phase 2 of the so-named “Gigastack” industrial-scale green H₂ project is barreling full steam ahead. Danish wind giant Ørsted is collaborating in the project along with three other heavy hitters: ITM Power, Phillips 66 Limited, and Element Energy. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Renewable Energy Yet To Fill Nuclear Void” • A government drive to phase out nuclear power in Korea is based on the idea that solar, wind, and LNG power plants will be able to fill the energy void which will result from the lowering of the country’s reliance on nuclear power. But experts warn that the growth of renewables is too slow. [Korea Times]

Offshore wind farm (Courtesy of Korea South-East Power)

¶ “Spanish Govt Plans To Back PPAs For Energy-Intensive Industry” • The Spanish government prepared two draft laws to help energy-intensive industrial consumers ease some of the burden of high costs of electricity through access to state aid, at the same time supporting renewables development through power purchase agreements. [Renewables Now]

¶ “Coal-Fired Power Is Losing ‘Unfair Fight’ In India To Renewables” • If there was one major theme at this week’s annual industry gathering, Coaltrans India, held in the resort state of Goa, it was that the domestic coal sector is under siege, and probably faces limited growth and eventual disbandment in the future. The issue is economics. [Reuters UK]

Coal-fired power plant (Amit Dave | Reuters File Photo)

¶ “France’s ENGIE Inks Renewable PPA In Spain” • French utility ENGIE has signed a power purchase agreement to provide renewable energy to industrial customers in Spain. It will supply more than 400 GWh of electricity annually to FORTIA, a company that manages the supply of energy for large industrial corporations. [Energy Live News]

US:

¶ “Changes In Attitudes At Higher Latitudes: Utah Reconsiders Its Response To A Hotter Planet” • Utah is a certified red state where the full conservative mantra as preached by Faux News is de rigeur. So why is Utah beginning to talk openly about the risks associated with an overheated planet? It’s the money, stupid, same as it always is. [CleanTechnica]

Alta ski area in Utah (Image credit: Alta.com)

¶ “2022 Contract Will Bring Renewable Energy To Waco City Buildings, Operations” • City of Waco facilities will move to renewable electricity sources in 2022, thanks to a contract with MP2 Energy Texas approved last week. MP2 Energy will provide electricity from wind and solar plants at 3.226¢/kWh, about 14.6% less than its current rate. [Waco Tribune-Herald]

¶ “Climate Crisis Is Coming For The Tidal Basin In DC” • The Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC overlooks the Tidal Basin, a man-made body of water surrounded by cherry trees. Visitors who stroll along the water’s edge, gazing up at the stately monument, are forced off parts of the path by water. The land is sinking, but the seas are rising, too. [EcoWatch]

Tidal Basin (Andrew Bossi | Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Bloomberg, Apparent Climate Champion, Defends Fossil Fuel In His First Debate” • Billionaire Michael Bloomberg spoke in his first debate as a 2020 presidential candidate. The former New York City mayor defended fossil fuels and pitched what’s widely considered the lowest baseline for any federal response to global warming. [HuffPost]

¶ “Los Angeles To Explore Agreement With Navajo Nation For Renewable Energy” • The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to explore entering into an agreement with the Navajo Nation to place solar and renewable energy production on tribal lands. The power would be paid for and sent to the city of Los Angeles. [MyNewsLA.com]

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February 19 Energy News

February 19, 2020

Opinion:

¶ “EIA Releases 2050 Projections For Energy And Makes It Clear That It Hasn’t Been Paying Attention” • The US DOE’s Energy Information Administration released its Annual Energy Outlook 2020 report. Unlike Lazard’s annual present to objective observers, the EIA’s reports typically are head-scratchers, and this one is no different. [CleanTechnica]

EIA projections (EIA image)

Science and Technology:

¶ “New Renewable Device To Generate Electricity From Moisture In The Air” • A team at the University of Massachusetts Amherst developed a device that uses a natural protein to create electricity from moisture in the air. The findings, published in the journal Nature, could have significant implications for the future of renewable energy. [The Weather Channel]

¶ “Good News And Bad News As Carbon Dioxide Emissions Grow More Slowly Than Models Predict” • Zeke Hausfather of The Breakthrough Institute and Glen Peters of the CICERO Center for International Climate Research argued in a Nature commentary, that a heavily emphasized, extreme scenario in climate research has diverged from the real-world. [Forbes]

Coal-burning power plant (In Pictures via Getty Images)

World:

¶ “105 Cities Have Made The Global CDP 2019 ‘A’ List For Climate Action” • Cities around the world are standing up to lead in the fight on climate change, according to CDP. While reporting cities that scored an “A” in the 2019 rankings are clustered in Europe and North America, every populated continent has cities that are taking action. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Renewable Energy Developers Ready To Quit Australia Over Idiotic Government Policies” • A lack of clear renewable energy policies from the Australian government and difficulty getting approval to connect new projects to the nation’s grid have many renewable energy developers ready to pull the plug on further investments in Australia. [CleanTechnica]

Solar farm (Credit: Downer Group)

¶ “Portugal’s Oil Company Galp Targets Growth In Rewewables” • Portuguese oil company Galp Energia said it would kick off its green business by installing renewable energy capacity of 10 GW in the decade ahead, enough to power millions of homes. Galp sees itself as well-placed to “build a competitive renewable business” from its Iberian location. [Reuters]

¶ “Tesla Shanghai Model 3 May Go Cobalt-Free Using CATL’s LFP Cells – Diving Deeper” • Tesla is in talks with battery producer CATL to supply lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) cells for the Shanghai-made Tesla Model 3, Reuters reported. LFP cells are relatively cheap, simple to package, and require no scarce minerals (cobalt and nickel). [CleanTechnica]

Tesla battery cell production (Tesla image)

¶ “India’s 1.2-GW Solar Tender Oversubscribed By 2.3 GW” • Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) has received a total of 3.5 GW in bids from major firms for the country’s 1.2-GW solar power tender launched under the Interstate Transmission Connectivity Tranche VIII. The solar PV power projects will be on a build-own-operate basis. [Smart Energy]

¶ “AWS Commits To Major Renewable Energy Investment In Gunnedah Solar Farm” • Amazon Web Services announced it has committed to purchasing 60 MW of power from the Gunnedah Solar Farm in New South Wales, the first such investment for the company outside of the US and Europe. The project is due to be operational next year. [Which-50]

Solar array (iStock image)

¶ “Fessenheim Shutdown Won’t Impact French Power Supply For Now – Grid Operator” • The shutdown of two reactors at France’s 1,800-MW Fessenheim nuclear plant this year will not impact French electricity supply in the near term but strains could emerge after 2022, grid operator RTE said. France is decreasing its reliance on nuclear power. [Reuters]

US:

¶ “Tesla Model 3 Holds Value Better Than Every Other Car In USA – By Far” • The Tesla Model 3, which had the highest number of preorders of any car ever produced, has proven to be the vehicle that has the least value depreciation. iSeeCars found that the Tesla Model 3 depreciates at just 5.5% after a year, as opposed to the 20.1% US average. [CleanTechnica]

Tesla Model 3 (Zach Shahan | CleanTechnica)

¶ “Senators Consider Requiring Utilities To Buy More Local Renewables” • A proposal discussed by the Vermont Senate Finance Committee, S 267, would require utilities to buy 100% renewable electricity by 2030. And 20% of that would have to come from smaller, in-state sources – double the amount currently required by law.  [vtdigger.org]

¶ “Vassar College to buy renewable energy” • In Poughkeepsie, New York, Vassar College has announced an agreement with its energy provider to purchase electricity generated solely by renewable sources. The new contract with the energy supplier, EDF Energy, is effective in July 2021. Vassar’s goal us to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. [Mid-Hudson News]

Vassar Collage (Photo: Vassar Collage)

¶ “Solar Access Act Spurs New Renewable Energy Projects Statewide” • Arkansas Gov Asa Hutchinson put his signature on what is now known as the Solar Access Act in July, 2019. The new law has already spurred further adoption of renewable and advanced energy in the state. Over a dozen new solar projects have come online already. [talkbusiness.net]

¶ “Brookfield Flips On Renewable Energy At Six Northern Virginia Offices” • Brookfield Properties has added 100% clean, renewable power to six of its office buildings in Northern Virginia, with the new energy source going into effect this month. All six properties will now run on 100% hydropower produced by dams in Virginia. [Commercial Observer]

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February 18 Energy News

February 18, 2020

Opinion:

¶ “Can Rationing Carbon Help Fight Climate Change?” • Carbon allowances for individuals have been tested experimentally from Finland to Australia, and some have proved popular. Politicians may shy away from talking about carbon allowances, but the dozens of smartphone apps available to track and reduce your carbon footprint show the idea’s popularity. [BBC]

Reducing emissions (Jack Guez | AFP via Getty Images)

Science and Technology:

¶ “Scottish researchers say climate change will ‘100%’ lead to more rainfall” • More water in the atmosphere is “an entirely inevitable consequence of climate change,” according to Dr Michael Byrne, lecturer in climate science at the University of St Andrews and research fellow at the University of Oxford. And this will lead to more floods. [HeraldScotland]

World:

¶ “German Court Orders Halt To Tesla Giga Berlin Tree Clearing Pending Review” • A ruling by the higher administrative court of the states of Berlin and Brandenburg prohibits Tesla from cutting down any more trees on the site where it intends to build its first European factory until a final determination is made on the matter. [CleanTechnica]

Forest (Chanan Bos | CleanTechnica)

¶ “Fossil Fuel Companies Dominate ‘Top Tax Dodgers’ List” • Given the links between government and fossil fuels, it should be no surprise that fossil fuel companies dominate the list of the top 40 tax dodgers in Australia. ExxonMobil Australia, racked up a total income of $42.3 billion over the past five years but paid no income tax in this country. [The Big Smoke Australia]

¶ “Fraunhofer Opens Grid Study Of Offshore Giants” • A research project in Germany seeks to improve the integration of offshore wind farms into the grid. The Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy Systems project, Mobil-Grid-CoP, is aimed to develop and commission a mobile grid simulator. The project will run for three years. [reNEWS]

Offshore wind farm (Image: EnBW)

¶ “DEWA Emphasises That The Clean And Renewable Energy Sector Provides Key Opportunities For Women In The UAE” • Speaking during the Global Women’s Forum in Dubai, DEWA CEO Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer said that Dubai Electricity & Water Authority employs 1,933 women, including 646 female engineers and technicians. [MEP MiddleEast]

¶ “Arab World’s First Nuclear Reactor Cleared For Startup” • The United Arab Emirates took a final step toward switching on the Arab world’s first commercial nuclear power plant, even as the country prospers by producing and selling fossil fuels. The plant can now start loading fuel and ramp up to commercial operation within several months. [msnNOW]

Moon above a reactor dome (© Bloomberg)

UK:

¶ “Shell Signs PPA With Largest Storage Battery In Europe” • Shell signed a power purchase agreement with the developers of what is being called “the largest battery in Europe.” The 100-MW / 100-MWh Minety power storage project, which is located in Wiltshire (arguably no longer part of Europe), is expected to be complete by the end of this year. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “West Midlands Canals To Help Heat Hospitals In Renewable Energy Drive” • The canals of the West Midlands may seem an unlikely source of warmth, but they could soon be used to heat hospitals and tower blocks under a plan to harness Britain’s hidden heating sources. The government promised to spend over £20 million on such schemes. [The Guardian]

Birmingham (Photo: tupungato | Getty Images | iStockphoto)

¶ “200-Year-Old Weir To Create Renewable Energy For Generations To Come” • After almost four years of detailed work, a group of volunteers in Congleton, a town in Cheshire, unveiled plans for a new community-funded hydro-electricity scheme. The system’s 75-kW Archimedes screw will create enough power for around 60 homes. [So Cheshire]

¶ “ScottishPower Launches 100% Green Energy Tariff” • All new ScottishPower domestic fixed price tariffs are being supplied by 100% green electricity. All electricity for the new tariffs will come from the company’s UK wind farms and energy generated by these facilities will only be sold to ScottishPower’s domestic and commercial customers. [Energy Live News]

Wind farm (Image: Shutterstock)

US:

¶ “Jeff Bezos Commits $10 Billion To Fight Climate Change” • Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced a new fund, called the Bezos Earth Fund, to back scientists, activists and organizations working to mitigate the impact of climate change. Bezos will commit $10 billion “to start,” he said. The initiative will begin giving out grants this summer. [CNN]

¶ “Louisville 160th City To Pass 100% Renewable-Energy Resolution” • In Kentucky, the Louisville Metro Council voted to commit to 100% renewable energy use for city’s operations within the next two decades. The city will work to shift public transit and other operations to run on clean energy, such as electricity and solar power. [Public News Service]

Louisville (Adobe Stock image)

¶ “Good News: USA Had Largest CO₂ Reduction In The World In 2019” • There is a bit of good news to share that might have slipped under your nose. The USA had the largest CO₂ reduction in the world in 2019 on a country basis. (The entire EU, in total, did slightly better.) This news comes from data gathered by the International Energy Agency. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Virginia Senate Advances Bill Expanding Access To Renewable Energy” • A bill that would allow state residents, nonprofits, and schools to more easily seek and secure alternative energy sources such as rooftop solar passed the Virginia Senate by a vote of 22-18. Senate Bill 710 cleared the hurdle on crossover day, the last chance for passage. [WWBT NBC12 News]

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February 17 Energy News

February 17, 2020

Opinion:

¶ “Tesla Semis Are Cheaper Than Rail Enough Of The Time To Reshape Ground Freight” • Later this year, the first Tesla Semis will be rolling out of a gigafactory. This article deals with the question: “What dynamics will shift in the rail vs. road shipping equation?” The Tesla Semi isn’t a “rail killer.” But it will change the dynamics of ground freight. [CleanTechnica]

Elon Musk unveiling Tesla Semi (Tesla image)

¶ “One Of My Favorite Political Commenters Bombs On 21st Century Energy” • In a video segment and column, “Bernie Sanders’ magical thinking on climate,” Fareed Zakaria of CNN communicates several falsehoods and misleading claims. His talking points definitely stem from energy industry propaganda sources, not good science. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Australia’s Bushfires Show Drastic Effects Of Climate Change” • Scientists say climate change is transforming Australia’s environment, making it hotter and drier, and exposing it to longer, more intense fire seasons. Bushfires are a part of life in Australia and they’re often deadly. But the scale of these fires is unprecedented. [CBS News]

Bushfires approaching a home (David Gray | Getty Images)

Science and Technology:

¶ “Scientists Are Deeply Concerned These Five Cascading Crises Threaten Future Generations” • A report from Future Earth includes a survey of 222 leading scientists who identified five global risks: failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation; extreme weather events; major biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse; food crises; and water crises. [ScienceAlert]

World:

¶ “French Ski Resort Uses Helicopters To Deliver Snow For Bare Slopes” • A French ski resort used helicopters to deliver snow after mild weather dried out its slopes, threatening to close it. The Luchon-Superbagnères resort in the Pyrenees had around 50 tonnes of snow dropped on slopes for beginners and children. The snow was taken from higher mountains. [BBC]

Ski resort in France (Getty Images)

¶ “GivePower Solar Desalinization Plant Brings Clean Water To Desperate People” • Non-profit GivePower was spun off from SolarCity in 2016. Its mission is to bring solar power to areas of the world without access to electricity, but seeing a great need for water, it developed a desalinization plant that could fit in a shipping container. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Vestas debuts EnVentus in Sweden” • Vestas has secured a 39-MW order for its new turbine EnVentus from Stena Renewables for the Riskebo wind project in Sweden. Riskebo, located in the Hedemora municipality, will be the first wind farm in the country to use the EnVentus V162-5.6MW. Commissioning is planned for the fourth quarter of next year. [reNEWS]

EnVentus turbine (Vestas image)

¶ “Coronavirus ‘To Hit Chinese Wind Rush'” • Production delays, as a result of the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19), could cause a 10% to 50% decrease in wind turbine installations in China in 2020, according to Wood Mackenzie. The COVID-19 outbreak has put much of China’s wind turbine component production at a “standstill” in recent weeks. [reNEWS]

¶ “More Wind Energy Needed To Meet EU Green Deal” • Europe is not building enough wind energy to deliver the European Commission’s Green Deal, according to trade body WindEurope. Last year, installations were up 27% compared with 2018, but the rate of installations needs to double to reach the goals set out in the Green Deal, it said. [reNEWS]

Giles Dickson, CEO of WindEurope (WindEurope image)

¶ “UK’s Renewable Adoption Rate Has Driven World’s Fastest Decarbonization” • The UK’s move towards renewable energy has helped drive the world’s fastest rate of decarbonization, an independent analysis by academics from Imperial College London shows. Power sector’s emissions, 161 million tonnes in 2010, fell to 54 million in 2019. [Energy Live News]

¶ “Small Is Beautiful As Solar Farms Look For Ways Around Grid Chaos” • At a crisis meeting last week, the Australian Energy Market Operator warned developers of large-scale wind and solar projects Victoria and New South Wales about delays of up to seven years because of transmission congestion. Developers are looking into smaller projects. [RenewEconomy]

Solar array (Supplied: Kinelli Pty Ltd)

¶ “Cape Town Moves To Set Up Own Electricity Supply” • South Africian President Cyril Ramaphosa announced during his Sona address that municipalities in good financial standing will be allowed to procure their own power from independent power producers. Now, Cape Town wants to set up its own IPP office to secure renewable energy.  [Daily Maverick]

US:

¶ “NextEra’s Bid For Santee Cooper Includes ‘Land Mine’ In Charging For Incomplete Projects” • Florida-based NextEra Energy, the main suitor for state-owned power provider Santee Cooper, wants to bypass South Carolina’s utility regulators to charge customers $2.3 billion on new power plants even if those projects are canceled. [Charleston Post Courier]

Site of the VC Summer nuclear expansion (Photo: High Flyer)

¶ “Wind, Solar Generating Capacity Rising” • The share of US grid electricity generated by natural gas will be relatively steady from 2019 through 2021, at 37% in 2019, 38% in 2020, and then falling back to 37% in 2021, according to the Energy Information Administration. Meanwhile, the share generated by renewables will rise from 17% to 21%. [Kallanish Energy]

¶ “NY Green Bank Hits Record $117.5 Million Of Clean Energy Deals In Q4” • In the fourth quarter of 2019, the NY Green Bank registered $117.5 million (€108.4 million) of investments in clean energy. In terms of financing commitments the quarter was its strongest yet. NY Green Bank supports investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency. [Renewables Now]

Have a vastly beautiful day.

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February 16 Energy News

February 16, 2020

Opinion:

¶ “Christiana Figueres On The Climate Emergency: ‘This Is The Decade And We Are The Generation’” • Christiana Figueres is a founder of the Global Optimism group and was head of the UN climate change convention when the Paris agreement was achieved in 2015. In an interview, she talks about her new book, The Future We Choose. [The Guardian]

Christiana Figueres (Photo: ©Jimena Mateo)

¶ “How Solar Works On Cloudy And Rainy Days May Surprise You” • “Renewables are the dole bludgers of the energy system; they only turn up to work when they want to,” said Australia’s ex-federal resources minister Matt Canavan recently. I decided to crunch numbers about solar production on rainy days. The result was a pleasant surprise. [Daily Examiner]

¶ “Santee Cooper’s Fate Could Be Up To Legislative Supporters” • The first-blush reading of the eight-month winnowing of bids to purchase or manage Santee Cooper is that there’s no slam-dunk case for either. Santee Cooper is a 33% owner of the VC Summer nuclear plant, which had to abandon construction of two reactors recently. [Charleston Post Courier]

Virgil C Summer Nuclear Generating Station (Wikipedia)

World:

¶ “Hyundai Gets Serious On Electric Cars – Still Does Not Understand Demand” • When Hyundai added the fully battery electric version of its Ioniq, because there appeared to be some demand for it, the management, was astonished at the result. Demand for the BEV was higher in many markets than the demand for the plug-in hybrid. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Warm Winter Helps Enefit Green Set New Renewable Energy Production Record” • Eesti Energia’s renewable energy company Enefit Green produced 165 GWh of electricity in January, setting a new record with the help of unusually warm weather. Most of the production came from the company’s wind farms in Estonia and Lithuania. [ERR News]

Paldiski Wind Farm (Source: Eesti Energia)

¶ “Dozens Protest Cumbrian Coal Mine” • Around fifty people gathered outside County Hall to protest a planned deep coal mine near Whitehaven, Cumbria. A number of environmental activism groups, including Extinction Rebellion Cumbria, took part in the demonstration. The coal is intended for the European steel-making market. [The Westmorland Gazette]

¶ “France President Macron Vows ‘Fight Of The Century’ Against Climate Change” • France’s leader called the battle against climate change and environmental destruction “the fight of the century” after visiting a melting glacier in the French Alps. But Macron faces vociferous opposition on multiple fronts over climate change. [WIZM News]

Chamonix-Mont-Blanc (Photo: David Azia | AP, File)

¶ “Morocco’s MASEN Announces Tender For Construction Of 400 MW Solar Power Plants” • The Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy called for tenders seeking Independent Power Producers to build several solar power plants. The Noor Midelt solar project is to use PVs, concentrated solar, and energy storage. [Utilities Middle East]

¶ “BayWa ‘Powers Through’ 27-MW Solar Floater Build” • BayWa Renewable Energy is building its largest floating photovoltaic farm, a 27-MW project in the Netherlands. Once complete in about two months’ time, the 27.4-MW Bomhofsplas floating solar plant will be the world’s largest renewable energy installation of its kind outside of China. [reNEWS]

Floating solar array (BayWa image)

¶ “Drilling For Geothermal Project To Proceed On The Azores, Portugal” • Local news reports in Iceland say the Iceland Geothermal Drilling Company has secured a drilling contract valued at around €18.6 million for EDA on the Azores Islands. The company is tasked to drill nine wells for extension of current geothermal operations. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

US:

¶ “The Boring Company Completes First Tunnel For Las Vegas Loop Project” • The Boring Company has completed the first of two tunnels it is building for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. The tunnel’s electric trains will take about a minute to cover a route that would take a car on surface streets about 15 times that. [CleanTechnica]

Boring tunnel (Credit: The Boring Company)

¶ “Instead Of Releasing This Greenhouse Gas, Beer Brewers Are Selling It To Pot Growers” • The state of Colorado and three small businesses are trying a novel approach to reduce carbon emissions that sounds like something out of the fever dreams of Willie Nelson: using carbon dioxide produced from beer brewing to help marijuana plants grow. [Times Record]

¶ “Sea Levels Around The US Aren’t Just Rising, They’re Accelerating Year On Year” • The worst case scenario for sea level rise in the US is more than just a dim possibility. It’s getting more likely. An annual “report card” for the US coastline shows sea levels are speeding up in most places measured. The acceleration is fueled by climate change. [ScienceAlert]

Flooding (Shannon Honey | EyeEm | Getty Images)

¶ “West Virginia Senate Passes Solar Bill With Nods To Coal” • The West Virginia Senate passed a bill encouraging use of solar energy by power companies. The state commerce department pushed for the bill, saying big companies want to know that they can use renewable energy before relocating to a state. But the bill gives a nod to coal.  [Jackson County Newspapers]

¶ “Michigan State Green-Lights Installation Of Solar Array” • Michigan State University officials approved a solar array as part of an effort to boost environmental sustainability. The MSU Board of Trustees gave the go-ahead to install a 20-MW solar array on roughly 100 acres south of the East Lansing school’s main campus. [The Detroit News]

Have a copiously fruitful day.

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February 15 Energy News

February 15, 2020

Opinion:

¶ “How To Sell Climate Action To Your Rural Conservative Neighbors” • “What is the most important thing we can do to contribute to climate action? Open our mouths and talk about it!” Cognitive scientist John Cook told that me as I researched the subject. “This is the key to building the social momentum that is the foundation of political action.” [Gen]

Wind turbines in North Dakota (Ken Cedeno | Getty Images)

¶ “A Third Of Fossil Fuel Assets May Soon Be Stranded” • Fossil fuel companies hold vast oil, gas and coal riches that they frequently tout to the investing universe to help elevate their market values. Few, if any, have ever told investors that a large chunk of these assets could be doomed to forever remain buried in the ground. [OilPrice.com]

Science and Technology:

¶ “Why The Vegan Diet Is Not Always Green” •  Having a vegan smoothie to start your day may be packed with nutrients and will do wonders for your health. But it may be doing far less good for the planet. Anyone looking to adopt a vegan or vegetarian diet for environmental reasons may also want to consider the heavy price that comes with some vegan food. [BBC]

Avocado

¶ “Wildfire Smoke May Cause Life-Long Harm” • Smoke from wildfires may have long-term health effects, US research on juvenile monkeys shows. Analysis shows their immune systems were lower than normal, twelve years after they were naturally exposed to wildfire smoke. There are indications that the animals passed on the defect to their offspring. [BBC]

World:

¶ “No More Money For Polish Coal” • Polish power producers Enea SA and Energa SA have revealed that they will suspend financing for Ostrołęka C, the last coal power plant to be built in northeastern Poland. They said they had decided to suspend financing for the project largely due to difficulty of obtaining external financing. [pv magazine international]

Bełchatów Power Station (Image: Fotopolska.eu, Wikipedia)

¶ “Coastal Erosion: The Homes Lost To The Sea” (Video) • As sea level rise, a senior figure in the UK Environment Agency says he wants the country to start “difficult conversations” about which areas should be protected and which should not. Science editor David Shukman has been investigating the dilemma of where to save and where to retreat. [BBC]

¶ “A plague of locusts has descended on East Africa. Climate change may be to blame” • A plague of locusts is spreading across East Africa, threatening the food supply of tens of millions of people. Desert locusts thrive following periods of heavy rainfall that trigger blooms of vegetation. There has been a series of cyclones in the last two years. [National Geographic]

Desert locust swarm (Magnus Ullman, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Power Bills To Fall In Next Two Years As Political Stoush Over Coal Continues” • Australia’s national grid is getting so much solar power that some areas are now experiencing daytime periods of negative prices for power. On the question of a new coal-burning power plant, one business expert said “It would be daft in every sense of the word.” [ABC News]

¶ “Australia Weather: How Much Rain Did It Take To Put Out NSW Fires?” • Since July there have been fires – sometimes hundreds at once – burning across New South Wales. Things finally changed though when rain arrived in NSW last weekend. It was a massive dump of water – more than 400 mm (15.7 in) in some places. [BBC]

Relief from fire (NSW Rural Fire Service)

¶ “Climate Skeptic Asset Managers Face Pressure To Reveal Donations” • Principles for Responsible Investment, a United Nations-backed framework, is now considering requiring asset managers to disclose information about their own executives. This would include their outside roles and donations to groups that seek to influence government policy. [Yahoo Finance]

US:

¶ “Portland General Electric And Avangrid Renewables Announce Major Solar Facility In Oregon” • Portland General Electric and Avangrid Renewables have announced an agreement to purchase power from a new 162-MW solar generation facility – the largest in the state – to be developed and built in eastern Oregon.  [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Copper Crossing Solar Farm in Arizona (Avangrid)

¶ “Pacific Power: ‘Green’ Energy Move Will Trim 2021 Rate Hike” • West Coast utility Pacific Power asked Oregon energy regulators for a 2021 rate hike, expected to raise the average homeowner’s bill by 1.6%, or $4.03 monthly. But it said a recent major shift toward renewable energy sources trimmed the potential rate increase considerably. [KTVZ]

¶ “US Doubled Renewables Capacity Since 2010: Factbook” • Power-generating capacity from renewable energy – including solar, wind and utility-scale hydropower – has doubled in the US since 2010, while generation has jumped 77% in that time, a report from BloombergNEF and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy shows. [Smart Cities Dive]

Wind farm (Credit: Dominion Energy)

¶ “Rural Renewable Energy Alliance Partners To Bring Solar Energy To Disabled Vets” • The Rural Renewable Energy Alliance partnered with Minnesota Power and Tri-County Community Action Partnership to bring community solar to ten low-income, disabled veterans. They installed a community solar array in Little Falls. [Brainerd Dispatch]

¶ “US Nuclear Regulators: Fuel Loading At Vogtle Unit 3 Could Begin In November” • Georgia Power announced this week that workers had completed the final concrete placement inside Vogtle Unit 3’s containment vessel, which houses the reactor. Work also is proceeding on Unit 4 as part of the overall $25 billion project. [Power Engineering Magazine]

Have a distinctly excellent day.

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February 14 Energy News

February 14, 2020

Science and Technology:

¶ “Airbus MAVERIC Design Study Project Is 20% More Efficient Than Today’s Airplanes” • At the Singapore air show, Airbus took the wraps off a super secret design project. That project, started in 2017, could lead to exotic new commercial aircraft which are up to 20% more efficient than the single aisle planes used by most commercial airlines today. [CleanTechnica]

Airbus MAVERIC design (Airbus image)

¶ “A Small Change In Airplane Altitude Could Reduce Climate Impact Of Contrails By 59%” • Getting planes to fly just 2,000 feet (610 metres) lower could cut the climate impact of their contrails by a whopping 59%. While most contrails vanish in minutes, some can stick around for up to 18 hours, mixing with other contrails and cirrus clouds. [ScienceAlert]

World:

¶ “Antarctic Island Hits Record Temperature Of 20.75°C” • Antarctica has exceeded 20°C for the first time, after researchers logged a temperature of 20.75°C (69.35°F) on an island off the coast of the continent. Brazilian scientist Carlos Schaefer told AFP they had “never seen a temperature this high in Antarctica.” It is the second record high in just days. [BBC]

Adélie penguins (Getty Images)

¶ “Sri Lanka Needs 10,000 MW Of Renewable Energy To Meet 2030 Target: Official” • The Government will need to implement forward-looking policies to keep up with an estimated 6% increase in annual energy demand, with a staggering 10,000 MW of renewable energy to meet its target of 80% renewables by 2030, a top official warned. [ft.lk]

¶ “Love Skiing? Enjoy It While It Lasts” • A report from the International Olympic Committee examines the impact of climate change on future winter games. It forecasts that an increase of 1°C (1.8°F) would push the snowline up by 150 meters. “The ski season may start up to a month later and finish up to three months earlier,” the committee said. [CNN]

Skiing in Germany (Christof Stache | AFP | Getty Images)

¶ “Hydrogen Association Formed In Asia-Pacific” • Several Asia-based renewable energy industry executives have set up the Asia-Pacific Hydrogen Association. The Singapore-based association aims to coordinate international policy, research, communications, and analysis and will provide services to support members’ development needs. [reNEWS]

¶ “Telco Orange Dials In Iberdrola Power Play In Spain” • Telco Orange has entered into a long-term power purchase agreement with Iberdrola for 200 GWh of electricity from the 328-MW Ceclavin solar plant in Spain. Electricity from the PV project, due online later this year, will power 9000 sales offices and buildings Orange operates in the country. [reNEWS]

Solar plant under construction (Iberdrola image)

¶ “Renewables Account For Almost Half Of Turkey’s Installed Power” • Turkey’s renewable energy capacity has registered a remarkable surge over the last decade. Turkey’s installed power capacity was calculated at a total of 91,267 MW by the end of last year, while only around a decade ago, the country possessed only 15,500 MW in renewable capacity. [Daily Sabah]

¶ “South Africa To Procure More Renewable Energy To Ease Power Shortages” • South Africa will soon procure additional renewable energy to ease electricity shortages, ramping up generation capacity outside struggling state utility Eskom, President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a state of the nation address on Thursday. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Renewable energy

US:

¶ “Calculating The True Cost Of A Society Based On Automobiles” • Researchers at the Harvard Kennedy School set out to find out just how much money the state of Massachusetts and its citizens spend each year to maintain a transportation system based on private car ownership. The answer, they said, is a staggering $64.1 billion. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “As Groundwater Depletes, Arid American West Is Moving East” • Even under modest climate warming scenarios, the continental United States faces a significant loss of groundwater – about 119 million cubic meters, or roughly enough to fill Lake Powell four times or one quarter of Lake Erie, a first-of-its-kind study has shown. [EurekAlert]

Horseshoe Bend, Colorado River (Credit: Daniel Stolte)

¶ “Oregon Bill To Give Covanta Incinerator Renewable Energy Credits Put On Hold” • A bill to provide millions of dollars in renewable energy credits to a garbage incinerator, has moved to the House Rules Committee, where negotiations may continue. State law requires 50% of electricity come from renewable sources by 2040. [Statesman Journal]

¶ “Bill To Penalize Utilities For Renewable Energy Returns To Wyoming Legislature, Quickly Fails” • Wyoming lawmakers proposed a bill to penalized utility companies for using renewable energy sources to supply electricity to ratepayers. It would have required utilities to fuel all electricity from coal, oil, or gas. It failed. [Casper Star-Tribune Online]

Solar arrays (Michael Quine | Las Vegas Review-Journal)

¶ “Industry Leader: Wyoming Uranium Industry On ‘Its Death Bed’” • A potential addition to President Donald Trump’s budget for the purchase of domestic uranium might not be enough to save Wyoming’s uranium mining operations, an industry leader said. John Cash of Ur-Energy said, “The uranium industry is on its death bed.” [Cowboy State Daily]

¶ “Meredith Town Warrant Takes Up Climate Change” • New Hampshire town warrants do not usually address global issues, but an exception will play out on March 11. In the town of Meredith, Warrant Article 16 asks voters to “take action on climate pollution.” It is advisory only, urging lawmakers to take action. [The Laconia Daily Sun]

Have an altogether superb day.

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February 13 Energy News

February 13, 2020

Science and Technology:

¶ “Study Shows Air Pollution Can Cross State Lines, And With Deadly Consequences” • A study shows that air pollution can contribute to serious health issues hundreds of miles away. The study, published in the journal Nature, found that around half of the pollution-related early deaths in the US occur outside the borders of the state where the toxic air originated. [CNN]

Smog (Drew Angerer | Getty Images)

World:

¶ “Myanmar To Increase Renewable Energy Sources” • Myanmar is trying to increase the content of renewable energy sources by tapping all available energy sources to generate electricity, said Union Minister for Electricity and Energy Win Khaing. The country is blessed with solar energy, wind power and other renewable energy sources. [The Star Online]

¶ “Djibouti Secures First Renewables Project: 60-MW Wind Farm” • Africa Finance Corporation, Climate Fund Managers, FMO, the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank, and Great Horn Investment Holdings have announced an investment for the construction and operation of a 60-MW wind farm near Lake Assal in Djibouti. [ESI Africa]

Wind farm (Stock image)

¶ “PH Could Attract $20-B Renewable Energy Investment” • The Philippines could attract US$20 billion of renewable energy investment over the next decade through the use of auctions under the DOE’s  proposed Green Energy Tariff Program, according to a new report. The report is expected to increase competition in the energy sector. [Manila Bulletin]

¶ “Yukon Aims To Sell Renewable Power To Skagway Cruise Ships” • Yukon Energy rolled out a 10-year plan for renewable electricity in the territory. One of its goals is to sell excess renewable energy to green up cruise ships in Alaska ports. The utility plans to expand its southern infrastructure in order to store a projected surplus of summer power. [KHNS Radio]

Disney cruise ship (Emily Files)

¶ “New $1 Billion Mine Looks To Solar, Wind, Batteries For 80% Of Power Needs” • Australian mining company Oz Minerals plans to power its proposed $1 billion West Musgrave copper nickel mine with up to 80% renewables. A study shows the deposit has the potential to produce 28,000 tonnes of copper and 22,000 tonnes of nickel a year for 26 years. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Deutsche Telekom Taps Vattenfall For Solar”” • A Deutsche Telekom subsidiary has signed a 10-year supply contract with Vattenfall for electricity from its new solar park in Germany. Vattenfall and Power & Air Solutions have signed a corporate power purchase agreement for clean electricity generated by the 60-MW PV plantin west Pomerania. [reNEWS]

Vattenfall renewable plant (Vattenfall image)

¶ “Baltic States Will Not Buy Energy From Belarus NPP” • Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are joining forces to oppose energy imports from a Belarusian nuclear power plant Lithuania has declared a national security threat. The governments of the three Baltic nations have announced that they will sign a declaration of intent to oppose electricity purchases. [Emerging Europe]

 

US:

¶ “The Exxon Plant Near My House Caught Fire” •The Exxon plant here in Baton Rouge has caught fire. Even though officials say there wasn’t an explosion, several witnesses reported hearing one. I also heard what seemed like an explosion, and I live just about 5 miles away. They also say the fire is out and no one was hurt. [CleanTechnica]

Exxon plant burning (Image: KDH via Twitter)

¶ “University Of Utah’s Electricity Fueled By Renewable Energy” • The University of Utah agreed to an energy deal to allow the school to get more than half of its electricity through renewables. The university finalized the purchase of geothermal energy with Cyrq Energy for 53.7% if its electricity supply. [Daily Herald]

¶ “Dueling Opinions On Clean Energy Jobs Act” • Illinois lawmakers could enact new legislation this spring that would put the state on a path to using 100% renewable energy by 2050, but just what the Clean Energy Jobs Act would mean for the state’s ratepayers remains unclear. Both the Senate and the House have their own bills. [Alton Daily News]

Have an abundantly rewarding day.

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February 12 Energy News

February 12, 2020

Opinion:

¶ “Is This The Start Of An Aviation Revolution?” • Electric flight has been around since the 1970s, but it’s been limited to light-weight experimental planes. But as the threat posed by the climate crisis deepens, there has been renewed interest in developing electric passenger aircraft as a way of reducing emissions and airline operating costs. [BBC]

Aircraft converted to electric (Photo: Diane Selkirk)

¶ “Environmentalism And The Electric Car” • I know people who are concerned about the anti-environmental actions of the Trump administration (undermining protection of waterways, giving industry carte blanche to pollute more). Several of those same individuals just bought new gas cars in the last year. That’s the problem! [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶ “Lithium-Sulfur Batteries Could Be Cheaper And More Energy Dense” • Transportation is a major generator of greenhouse gases, so many more EVs are needed. Lithium-sulfur batteries eventually could help speed up EV production and adoption. They could expand EV ranges while costing less because sulfur is so abundant. [CleanTechnica]

Researcher (Credit: Monash University)

¶ “Global Carbon Emissions ‘Flatline’ In 2019” • Global carbon dioxide emissions plateaued in 2019, defying expectations of a rise, according to International Energy Agency data. After two years of growth, global CO₂ emissions were unchanged at 33 GT in 2019, even as the world economy expanded by 2.9%, IEA found. [reNEWS]

World:

¶ “Australia Fires: 113 Animal Species ‘Need Emergency Help'” • Australia has identified 113 animal species which will need “urgent help” after their numbers and habitats were devastated by recent bushfires. There appeared to be no extinctions, the government said, but almost all species on the list had lost at least 30% of their habitats due to fires. [BBC]

Koala with mittens (Reuters)

¶ “Nikola Motors Locks In Ulm, Germany As The Production Site For The Nikola TRE” • Nikola Motors partnered with IVECO on a manufacturing hub for its first production vehicle in the city of Ulm, Germany. The facility will produce battery electric and fuel cell electric versions of the company’s heavy duty truck, the Nikola TRE, for the EU market. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Solar Power Surges In Vietnam, Dimming Prospects For New Coal Plants” • As China and the US wrestle over which country will dominate the world, Vietnam is the beneficiary. Low wages in Vietnam have led to a surge in manufacturing there. That means more electricity is needed. And there is great interest in providing solar power. [CleanTechnica]

Solar plant (Zach Shahan | CleanTechnica.com)

¶ “In A World-First, India’s Dozen Major Ports Now Run Fully On Renewable Energy” • The dozen state-owned major ports in the country have switched to renewable energy to meet their entire power requirements. This makes India the first nation in the world to have all government-owned ports running on solar and wind energy. [The Hindu BusinessLine]

¶ “2020 Starts With A Bang For Italy’s EV Market – January Sales Up 587%!” • January sales are out for the Italian car market, and electric cars are up by nearly 600%(!) over the same month last year. There were 1943 fully electric vehicles) were sold in the country, an epic surge over last year’s 283 units during the same period. Surprised? [CleanTechnica]

Peugeot e 208

¶ “Gas ‘Critical’ For Renewable Energy Future, Chief Scientist Says” • Australia’s Chief Scientist Alan Finkel is backing Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s gas-filled vision for an energy market transition to lower emissions and arguing Australia should not invest in nuclear power, but focus instead on emerging hydrogen technology. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

¶ “WPD Inks Finnish Wind PPA” • WPD is to supply electricity to pulp and paper company UPM Kymmene with up to 192 MW from the Karhunnevankangas wind farm in the municipality of Pyhajoki in western Finland, under a long-term power purchase agreement. It will feature 32 turbines, each with an individual capacity of about 6 MW. [reNEWS]

Wind farm (WPD image)

US:

¶ “Electric Vehicles Can Help California Hit 2030 Emissions Reduction Target” • Energy Innovation, a nonpartisan energy and climate policy firm, recently released research showing the state of California may not meet its 2030 climate emissions reduction target. In order to remedy this situation, the organization recommended six policies. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Tennessee Valley Authority Grows Solar Portfolio By 44%” • In its latest quarterly financial call, the Tennessee Valley Authority announced the addition of 484 MW of new contracted solar capacity since December, an increase of 44%. Five new projects resulted from TVA’s 2019 request for proposals for renewable energy projects. [Transmission & Distribution World]

Solar farm (Getty Images)

¶ “Southern Reaches Wildhorse Mountain Summit” • Southern Power started commercial operations at the 100-MW Wildhorse Mountain wind farm in Oklahoma. Wildhorse Mountain has 29 Vestas turbines. Electricity and associated renewable energy credits will go to Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation under a 20-year PPA. [reNEWS]

¶ “Mayflower Wind To Deliver $58/MWh Power” • Output from the 804-MW Mayflower Wind offshore wind farm off the US east coast will be sold to Massachusetts utilities for $58/MWh (€53/MWh), according to documents filed on the power purchase agreement. The regular wholesale market prices are projected to be $84/MWh. [reNEWS]

Have an excitingly happy day.

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February 11 Energy News

February 11, 2020

Science and Technology:

¶ “Some Antarctic Penguin Colonies Have Declined By More Than 75% Over 50 Years” • Penguin colonies in some parts of the Antarctic have declined by more than 75% over the past half century, largely as a result of climate change, researchers say. The colonies of chinstrap penguins were last surveyed almost 50 years ago. [CNN]

Chinstrap Penguins (Abbie Trayler | Greenpeace UK)

¶ “Arctic Permafrost Thawing Will Double Previous Carbon Emissions Estimates” • A study by the Colorado University Boulder shows that the abrupt thawing of the Arctic permafrost will double previous estimates of potential carbon emissions. In fact, it is already changing the landscape and ecology of the circumpolar north. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ “New Zealand To Test Wisk eVTOL Flying Taxi” • Wisk is no flash in the pan operation. It is a partnership created last year between eVTOL start up Kitty Hawk and Boeing. Kitty Hawk itself was once a subsidiary of Boeing. The first fruit of that collaboration is an electric VTOL aircraft known as Cora. Trials are soon to start in New Zealand. [CleanTechnica]

Cora (Image courtesy of Wisk)

¶ “Tata Power-DDL Tenders For 150 MW Non-Solar Renewable Power” • Tata Power-Delhi Distribution Limited, a joint venture of Tata Power and India’s National Capital Territory, issued a tender inviting bids for 150 MW of non-solar renewable power on a short term basis to meet its renewable purchase obligation for the fiscal year. [Saurenergy]

¶ “What’s Happening With The Renewable Heat Initiative?” • With the UK government committed to making the country carbon neutral by 2050, schemes such as the Renewable Heat Incentive are coming under the spotlight. The scheme launched in April 2014 but it will be closing its doors to new applications in March 2021. [Energy Saving Trust]

Homes in the UK (Getty Images)

¶ “Scots Communities Reap £20 Million Clean Power Benefits” • Over one year, Scottish communities got £20 million in benefits from renewable energy businesses, the Scottish government said. The benefits, are the voluntary arrangements offered by businesses to communities located near onshore renewables developments. [reNEWS]

¶ “GE Renewable Energy To Support The Clean Energy Growth In The Philippines” • GE Renewable Energy booked a contract with Angat Hydropower Corporation to rehabilitate the 218-MW Angat hydropower plant located in the Philippines. This 53-year-old Angat hydropower facility also supplies water for Metro Manila and for irrigation. [REVE]

Angat hydropower plant

¶ “All Unilever Operations Now Run On 100% Renewable Electricity” • British-Dutch manufacturing giant Unilever made the switch to 100% renewable grid electricity for its entire value chain. It will now turn its attention to sourcing the entirety of its energy needs from renewable sources. It has a goal of carbon-neutrality by 2030. [CSO Magazine]

¶ “Red Rock Lights 1-GW Rocket At Inch Cape” • Red Rock Power has applied to boost capacity at its Inch Cape offshore wind farm off east Scotland to up to 1 GW from 700 MW. The capacity increase can be achieved without raising turbine numbers thanks to “technological advances,” the Chinese-owned company told Scottish authorities. [reNEWS]

Offshore wind farm (Image: Nicholas Doherty | Unsplash)

US:

¶ “Competitive Power Ventures Building 150-MW Maple Hill Solar Farm” • Privately held energy infrastructure investment and management firm Competitive Power Ventures, known for building numerous gas-fired power plants in the US, announced its latest renewable project will be a 150-MW solar farm built in Pennsylvania. [Power Engineering Magazine]

¶ “NY State Officials Are Pleasantly Surprised By Tesla’s Buffalo Factory” • Assemblyman Sean Ryan, of the New York State Assembly, says that he is “pleasantly surprised” at progress at Tesla’s factory in Buffalo. After touring it, he said, “The factory is built out. It has complete lines running … [It is] what we’ve been hoping for.”  [CleanTechnica]

Making roof tiles (Tesla image)

¶ “Department of Energy Invests $74 Million In Building and Construction Technologies And Innovations” • The DOE announced $74 million for 63 selected projects to research, develop, and test efficient and flexible building technologies, systems, and construction practices to improve the energy performance of buildings and the grid. [Energy.gov]

¶ “Evergy To Add 660 MW Of Wind Energy To Portfolio” • Evergy, Inc, based in Kansas and Missouri, announced it will expand its wind energy portfolio by 660 MW, and reduce carbon output by 80% below 2005 levels by 2050. Electricity from four new wind sites will be used to attract and retain large commercial and industrial customers. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Wind turbine (Courtesy of NREL)

¶ “Construction Completed At $300 Million, 205-MW Bright Stalk Wind Energy Farm” • Energy EPC firm Mortenson completed construction on a $300 million wind farm in Illinois. The 205-MW Bright Stalk Wind Farm project northeast of Bloomington-Normal in McLean County. EDP Renewables is the project developer. [Power Engineering Magazine]

¶ “Trump Budget Proposes $150 Million For Creation Of Uranium Reserve” • President Donald Trump’s 2021 budget proposed $150 million for the creation of a US uranium reserve, as the administration seeks to help struggling producers of the fuel for nuclear reactors. The budget proposal does not outline where the reserve would be built. [Yahoo Finance]

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February 10 Energy News

February 10, 2020

Opinion:

¶ “Correcting Anti-Renewable Energy Propaganda” • In 1989, pro-nuclear lobbyists claimed that wind power couldn’t even provide 1% of Germany’s electricity. With passing years, as the amount of renewable power on the grid increased, the limits given for renewables were raised. Bad data is also used to say renewable energy costs too much. [CleanTechnica]

Walking through a solar array

Science and Technology:

¶ “January 2020 Warmest On Record: EU Climate Service” • Last month was the warmest January on record globally, while in Europe temperatures were a balmy three degrees Celsius above the average January from 1981 to 2010. New temperature highs have become commonplace, mainly due to the impact of climate change, scientists say. [eNCA]

¶ “Scientists Demonstrate Rain As An Effective Source Of Renewable Energy” • Researchers have developed a raindrop electricity generator that uses a field-effect transistor-style structure to instantly produce a surprisingly high voltage from water drops. It can produce 140 V from just one drop of rain, enough to power 140 small LED bulbs. [Designboom]

Rain on a river

World:

¶ “Sydney Rains: Record Rainfall Brings Flooding But Puts Out Mega-Blaze” • Sydney has been hit by its heaviest rain in 30 years, bringing widespread flooding but also putting out two massive bushfires in New South Wales. Australia’s weather agency said 391.6 mm (15.4 inches) of rain had fallen in the past four days in Sydney. [BBC]

¶ “Bosnia’s Elektroprivreda BiH To Start Building 48-MW Podvelezje Wind Farm Soon” • Bosnian state-controlled power producer Elektroprivreda BiH said it will soon start erecting the 15 wind turbines of the future 48-MW Podvelezje wind farm near the town of Mostar. A 110/30 kV transformer station and network facilities are already in place. [Renewables Now]

Wind turbine (Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy SA)

¶ “New South African Lithium-Ion Cell Mega-Factory, Plans For 32 GWh/Year By 2028” • The Megamillion Energy Company has outlined plans for a South African battery factory. After setting up a pilot plant this year, the company plans to increase cell production gradually to about 32 GWh per annum by 2028. It will use local production resources. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Innogy seeks PPAs through DNV GL platform” • Innogy is making 770 MW of its renewable energy portfolio available for sale to corporate buyers on DNV GL’s Instatrust digital platform. The projects are onshore wind and solar facilities located across seven countries. The projects are in advanced development stages or already under construction. [reNEWS]

Wind farm (Innogy image)

¶ “Malaysia Not Ready For Nuclear Energy: Mahathir” • Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Malaysia will not build nuclear power plants until there is a safe way to dispose of the radioactive waste that would be generated. He pointed out that Malaysia did not have adequate knowledge in that field. He spoke of solar PVs for clean energy. [The Sun Daily]

¶ “Cheap Solar And Wind Send Power Prices To Three-Year Low, As Coal Output Falls” • Australia’s record renewables growth in 2019 has helped to deliver a dramatic decline in wholesale electricity prices in the year’s final quarter – despite and possibly even because of a marked fall in output from the nation’s coal-fired generator fleet. [RenewEconomy]

Landscape with wind turbines

¶ “Total, Adani Group Sign 2-GW Partnership To Boost India’s Solar Sector” • Total is expanding its partnership with Adani Group, India’s largest privately-owned energy and infrastructure conglomerate, to grow Indian solar power generation. The Indian government is pushing to reach a renewable capacity of 225 GW by 2022. [Power Engineering International]

US:

¶ “Race To Carbon-Free Generation Is On” • New Mexico’s utilities are drawing up the most comprehensive plans in decades to completely overhaul the state’s electric grid to reach 100% carbon-free generation by 2045. That’s the ultimate goal outlined in the state’s new Energy Transition Act, which took effect last June. [Albuquerque Journal]

Solar farm (Courtesy of Kit Carson Electric Cooperative)

¶ “Tri-State Will Replace Coal Plants With A Gigawatt Of New Wind And Solar” • Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association will close its coal plants in Colorado and New Mexico and build renewable projects. Tri-State announced 304 MW of new wind projects and 715 MW of new solar projects in Colorado and New Mexico. [Energy and Policy Institute]

¶ “Democratic Party Quietly Launches National Climate Platform Planning Effort In NH” • Leaders of the Democratic Party voted unanimously to form a climate change council last summer, after criticism for declining to hold a climate-focused presidential debate. The council met in New Hampshire just ahead of the primary. [New Hampshire Public Radio]

Have an amazingly adventageous day.

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February 9 Energy News

February 9, 2020

Opinion:

¶ “Is Trump’s USDA Ready To Address Climate Change? There Are Hopeful Signs” • After three years of sidelining climate change research and thinning its roster of scientists, the US Department of Agriculture announced a five-year scientific plan to help American farmers cope with the worsening effects of the climate crisis. [InsideClimate News]

Cattle feedlot in Oklahoma (Credit: Alice Welch | USDA)

¶ “Could This Be The Decade Of Green Hydrogen?” • Of the alternatives to fossil fuels, renewable energy is already making steady progress in electricity generation capacity, while another source of energy – hydrogen – is also gaining momentum and is being touted as a key fuel in the energy transition. However, not all hydrogen is created equal. [OilPrice.com]

Science and Technology:

¶ “How Shrubs Can Help Solve Climate Change” • In South Africa, there used to be a thicket the size of Cyprus that could suck up the equivalent of three times the US’s annual carbon emissions. Spekboom is a shrub that grows in semi-desert. Not only useful as a carbon sink, it has the ability to alter local soil and weather conditions, so other plants grow. [BBC]
Please Note: Numbers in this article seem to be confused about US emissions. They are not 5,783 million tonnes, as the article states, but 5,783 billion tonnes. Instead of drawing down three times US emissions, the thicket would appear to draw down 0.3% of it. The news is still very good – and the numbers are easier to believe. GHH

Planting to restore spekboom (UN Environment Programme)

¶ “Old Town High School Students Help UNH Scientists Research Climate Change In Maine” • Students in a course at Old Town High School are collecting data to help climate researchers at University of New Hampshire’s Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space study changes in regions where winters have historically been harsh. [Bangor Daily News]

World:

¶ “India Makes Clean Energy Strides, With Renewables Set To Generate Wider Share Of Power” • Renewables will soon generate over a fifth of India’s electricity, its Power Minister said. Behind the trend are steps the country has taken to encourage investing in renewables. With a population of 1.31 billion, a lot of development is needed. [EnergyInfraPost]

Hydropower dam

¶ “Minister Says Queensland Doesn’t Need A New Coal-Fired Power Station” • Queensland does not need a new coal-fired power station, state Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch says. She pushed back against a federal government announcement that it had set aside $4 million to investigate a new coal-fired power plant. [Brisbane Times]

¶ “Fossil Fuel Giants Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan Slowly Going Green” • Long beholden to fossil fuels for all of their energy, the two most populous countries in Central Asia finally seem to be tapping into their abundant renewable resources. But along with renewables, Uzbekistan has plans to add nuclear power as an alternative energy source. [Radio Free Europe]

Kazakh power plant (Mountins13, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ “Trump Administration Is Not Trying To Save The Coal Industry, New Energy Secretary Says” • Coal will probably continue to decline as a fuel for US power plants, the secretary of energy said, but it might supply the rare earth elements needed for batteries. The US coal industry has declined faster under Trump than under Obama. [Forbes]

¶ “The 2020 Chevy Bolt – GM Changes The Game, Again” • In 2016, the Chevy Bolt became the first affordable long range EV, beating the Tesla Model 3 to market. Now, it is updated. You can buy a Bolt for around $26,000. It undersells all other affordable EVs you can buy in America, and it also has a longer range than any of them. [CleanTechnica]

Chevy Bolt

¶ “NC Judge Approves Duke Energy’s Coal Ash Agreement” • A North Carolina judge approved a settlement over Duke Energy cleaning up coal ash dumps. The company will excavate almost all of the coal ash at its current and former coal plants and rebury it in lined landfills to keep toxic chemicals out of water supplies. The plan could cost $9 billion. [Kallanish Energy]

¶ “Coal Plants Are Closing Across The West. Here Are The Companies Sticking With Coal” • January began with two coal-fired generators shutting down for good. More early closures were announced. There are just 20 coal plants in the continental West whose owners haven’t committed to retiring them fully by specific dates, studies show. [Frederick News Post]

PV array (Marcus Yam | Los Angeles Times)

¶ “Experts Weigh In On Reality Of Renewable Energy In WV” • West Virginia Commerce Secretary Ed Gaunch recently told a House committee that the lack of renewable energy sources in the Mountain State is a deterrent to some companies wanting to consider moving here. But experts in renewable energy say the difficulty is policy, not resources. [WV News]

¶ “Top Climate Scientist Makes Faith Case For Action” • Dr Katharine Hayhoe, director of Texas Tech University’s Climate Science Center, delivered the keynote address a forum on faith and business in Alabama. As an evangelical Christian, she argues that Christians and other people of faith have a moral obligation to reduce harmful impacts of climate change. [al.com]

Have an unprecedentedly successful day.

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February 8 Energy News

February 8, 2020

Science and Technology:

¶ “Why Clouds Are Key To New Climate Change Projections” • An apparently settled conclusion on climate sensitivity has been thrown into doubt by a series of studies from the world’s top climate modeling groups. They suggest that the ability of clouds to keep us cool could be drastically reduced as the world warms, speeding global heating. [PBS NewsHour]

Weather in Singapore (Woo Yiming | Reuters)

World:

¶ “65 Degree Weather in Antarctica Appears to Have Broken Heat Record” • The temperature in northern Antarctica hit nearly 65°F (18.3°C), a likely heat record on the continent best known for snow, ice and penguins. The reading was taken at Esperanza Base, in an area that has warmed almost 5.4°F (3°C) over the past half century. [KTLA]

¶ “Stopping Venice Choking On Its Own Pollution” • Hundreds of diesel-powered commuter boats and water buses spew out tons of CO₂ as they zigzag through the city’s canals. Zipping to and from the Italian mainland, they ferry the 25 million tourists that visit annually, as well as food, hotel laundry and goods. Hydrogen power may offer a solution. [BBC News]

Venice (Getty Images)

¶ “Fossil Fuel Vehicles Plummet 40% In Sweden As EVs Triple To Over 30% Market Share” • In Sweden, January saw sales of fossil fuel passenger vehicles fall by almost 40% year on year, with diesels more than halved, as plug-in vehicle market share rose to over 30%. Sweden’s auto industry organization expects that 30% to be maintained for 2020. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Now Is The Right Time To Invest In Renewables – Report” • According to Andrew van Zyl, the director of Consultancy firm SRK, given the positive movements in some commodity prices, there is no better time to consider investing part of miners’ windfall gains in creating their own renewable energy generating capacity. [Mining.com]

Solar power supporting mining (Teck Resources)

¶ “ACT’s Power Bills Set To Fall As Renewables Make Their Mark” • Households in Australia’s capital could soon be paying more then $100 less a year for their electricity thanks to the growth in renewable energy. The ACT Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission sees a  6.75% fall in average retail electricity prices in 2020-21. [The RiotACT]

US:

¶ “3,000 US Audi e-tron Buyers Can Drive On Sunshine For Free” • The first 3,000 Audi e-tron buyers in the US after February 3 are getting free 10-year subscriptions to solar power for their electric driving, according to a press release from Audi. The German automaker has partnered with Arcadia to provide the clean energy bonus. [CleanTechnica]

Audi e-tron (Image courtesy of Audi)

¶ “Justice Department Notifies Four Automakers It Has Dropped Antitrust Investigation” • The Justice Department notified four major automakers that it has closed an antitrust investigation involving the companies, launched after they rejected the Trump administration’s relaxed air pollution and mileage regulations, a department official told CNN. [CNN]

¶ “Mad Money’s Jim Cramer Is Done With Fossil Fuels” • Jim Cramer, a stock analyst and money manager known for yelling about one stock or another on his show Mad Money, was asked about investing in Chevron or Exxon Mobil. This gave him the opportunity to speak out against buying into these oil companies or any other fossil fuel stocks. [Forbes]
(Thanks to Tad Montgomery for bringing this to my attention.)

Jim Cramer (Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

¶ “Tesla Model Y Performance: 315 Mile Range, 121 MPGe (Most Efficient SUV)” • The Tesla Model Y Performance has received its official range and efficiency rating from the EPA. Its range is 315 miles on a full charge, and it is officially the most efficient crossover SUV in the US based on the agency’s fuel economy formula for MPGe. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “CSU Pueblo Will Be First Solar-Powered University” • CSU Pueblo President Timothy Mottet said the university’s solar project is  a one-of-kind project, marking the first university in the state to reach “net zero electric” efficiency, which means the solar panels will produce enough electricity to meet the school’s electricity needs. [Ag Journal]

CSU Pueblo visitor center
(Carol M. Highsmith, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Majority Of US Adults Believe Climate Change Is Most Important Issue Today” • As the effects of climate change become more evident, over half of US adults (56%) say climate change is the most important issue we face today, a poll says. But 4 in 10 have not made any changes in their behavior to reduce their contribution to climate change. [Science Daily]

¶ “Idaho Nuclear Lab Needs 2035 Deadline Extended For Research” • A 1995 agreement requires all nuclear waste from the Idaho National Laboratory to be out the state by 2035. The lab’s director lawmakers on a House Committee that a supplemental agreement will be needed, because the lab is developing new types of reactors. [News Radio 1310 KLIX]

Have a transcendentally nifty day.

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February 7 Energy News

February 7, 2020

Opinion:

¶ “When It Comes To Climate Hypocrisy, Canada’s Leaders Have Reached A New Low” • Canada has made pledges about “net-zero emissions by 2050.” The government would seem to believe the climate crisis is real and dangerous. But it is about to approve a shale oil mine that could use up about a third of the Earth’s carbon budget. [The Guardian]

Greta Thunberg and Justin Trudeau (Andrej Ivanov | Reuters)

¶ “How To Tell If A Republican Is Serious About Climate Action (Or Not)” • How do conservatives who care about climate change tell which Republican politicians are actually serious about the issue? To answer this and other such questions, Grist turned to three Republicans who’ve been beating the climate action drum for years. [Grist]

Science and Technology:

¶ “Bumblebees’ Decline Points To Mass Extinction – Study” • Bumblebees are in drastic decline across Europe and North America owing to hotter and more frequent temperature extremes, scientists say. Data collected for a 115-year period on 66 bumblebee species show how bumblebee populations have changed over the years. [The Guardian]

Bumblebee (Natalia Fedosenko | Tass)

World:

¶ “Winter In Germany: Fossil Vehicle Sales Slide 15% As EV Market Share Increases From 2.5% To 6.5%” • Europe’s largest auto market, Germany, saw January fossil fuel vehicle sales drop by over 15% year-on-year, with gasoline vehicles alone down over 17%. Meanwhile, EVs increased their market share to 6.5% from 2.5%. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Australia Fires: Heavy Rain Extinguishes Third Of Blazes In NSW” • Torrential rain across the east coast of Australia has extinguished a third of the fires in the region and could put more out, officials say. A wide band of rain sweeping New South Wales has put out 20 of about 60 fires in the state in the past day. Now authorities warn of flash flooding. [BBC]

Sydney rainfall (Getty Images)

¶ “Indonesia To Replace Fossil Fuel Plants With Renewable Plants” • With an aim to achieve its target of 23% renewable energy share in the energy mix by 2025, Indonesia reportedly plans to replace its old fossil fuel plants with renewable energy. The country has renewable energy potential of over 400 GW but is dominated by fossil fuels. [Saurenergy]

¶ “Vattenfall Installing First Floating Solar Power Farm” • The first floating solar farm to be installed by Vattenfall going up in Gendringen, Netherlands at the site of operations for a gravel and sand extraction company. The 1.2-MW floating solar system is expected to generate about half of Netterden Equipment’s yearly electricity needs. [CleanTechnica]

Floating solar array (Vattenfall screenshot)

¶ “Power Ledger Wins Contract With Italian Energy Utility” • Australian peer-to-peer energy trading pioneer Power Ledger has won a lucrative contract with Alperia SpA, one of Italy’s largest renewable electricity utilities. Power Ledger’s technology, a potentially significant Australian digital export, is useful to enable virtual power plants. [pv magazine International]

¶ “Rentel Seeks Power Off-Taker” • The operator of the Rentel offshore wind farm off Belgium has opened a competition call for companies to buy electricity generated by the 309-MW project under a long-term power purchase agreement. According to the call documents, the PPA would start on 1 October this year and run until the end of June 2036. [reNEWS]

Rentel offshore wind farm (Image: Otary)

¶ “Finland To Become EU’s Only Uranium Producer” • The Finnish government gave the green light for state-owned Terrafame to extract and refine uranium, paving the way for the country to become the EU’s only uranium producer. Terrafame plans to produce uranium at a mine that has been producing nickel and other metals for years. [Infosurhoy]

¶ “Sub-Saharan Africa Spent Record $2.8 Billion On RE Projects In 2018: BNEF” • The region of sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa) spent a record $2.8 billion on renewable energy projects in 2018 and added about $600 million more than the previous year in renewables, according to a recent report by BloombergNEF. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Solar array

US:

¶ “King County (Washington) To Get 120 Electric Buses” • King County Metro, which serves Seattle and the rest of King County, Washington, recently agreed to purchase 40 sixty-foot Xcelsior CHARGE articulated electric buses from New Flyer. And looking ahead, it intends to order another 80 of the battery-electric buses next year. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “AEP, Toyota To Buy Power From 110-MW Wind Park In West Virginia” • US power company Clearway Energy Group agreed to sell the output of its 110-MW Black Rock wind project in West Virginia to AEP Energy and Toyota Motor North America. The Black Rock wind park will be installed in West Virginia’s Grant and Mineral counties. [Renewables Now]

Farm with wind turbines (USDA image)

¶ “Metro Council Passes Resolution Calling For Louisville’s Transition To Renewable Energy By 2040” • In Kentucky, the Louisville Metro Council passed a resolution pushing for the city to be fully powered by clean energy in no more than 20 years. Through a series of steps, Louisville would transition to 100% clean energy community wide by 2040. [WDRB]

¶ “Saint-Gobain Turns To Illinois Wind” • Glass maker Saint-Gobain North America is to buy 120 MW of electricity from the 250-MW Blooming Grove wind farm in Illinois, under a 12-year virtual power purchase agreement with Invenergy. This will result in a 41% reduction in Saint-Gobain’s carbon footprint in the country. [reNEWS]

Have an especially cheery day.

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February 6 Energy News

February 6, 2020

Science and Technology:

¶ “Arctic Sinkholes Open In A Flash After Permafrost Melt” • Arctic permafrost can thaw so quickly that it triggers landslides, drowns forests, and opens gaping sinkholes. This rapid melt can dramatically reshape the Arctic landscape in just a few months, a study shows. Previous climate models overlooked a particularly vulnerable type of soil. [Livescience.com]

Lake formed at a sinkhole (Image: © David Olefeldt)

¶ “Scientists Warn Multiple Overlapping Crises Could Trigger ‘Global Systemic Collapse'” • Overlapping environmental crises could tip the planet into “global systemic collapse,” more than 200 top scientists warned in a 50-page report. Climate change and issues related to it each poses a monumental challenge to humanity in the 21st century. [ScienceAlert]

World:

¶ “Malmö, Sweden Goes Electric With An Order For 60 Fully Electric Buses From Volvo” • Volvo is making a significant dent in transit emissions in its home country of Sweden. The company announced that it has received an order for 60 fully electric articulated buses from the transit operator in Malmö, Sweden. Each bus can carry 150 people. [CleanTechnica]

Volvo articulated bus (Photo: Volvo via Green Car Congress)

¶ “Fossil Vehicle Sales In France Crash By 25% As EVs Quadruple To 11% Market Share” • France, the world’s 8th largest auto market, just hit 11% EV market share in January, quadrupling in a year-on-year growth. Meanwhile, diesel and gasoline vehicle sales crashed by about 25%. Almost half of all Renault Zoe units sold were EVs. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Europe Adds ‘Record 3.6 GW Of Offshore Wind'” • A record 3.6 GW of offshore windpower was built in Europe last year, with 10 new wind farms in five countries, WindEurope said. European offshore capacity is now 22 GW. The UK and Germany account for three-quarters of that; nearly all the rest belongs to Denmark, the Netherlands, and Belgium. [reNEWS]

Floating offshore wind turbine (Credit: WindEurope)

¶ “Thousands Of Blood-Sucking Ticks Found On Bodies Of Canadian Moose” • In nearby New Hampshire and Maine, over a three-year period, scientists found an alarming 70% of calves didn’t make it through their first winter due in large part to tick infestation. Now, ticks are a growing problem for the Canadian moose population also. [CBC.ca]

¶ “CO₂ Emissions Fell By 12%, As Wind And Solar Took The Lead In Europe” • The report “The European Power Sector in 2019” was recently published by climate think-tanks Sandbag and Agora Energiewende. It says that wind and solar provided 18% (569 TWh) of EU electricity in 2019, while coal fell to just 15% (469 TWh). [Saurenergy]

Power generation in Europe by wind, solar, and coal

¶ “Fukushima Wastewater Release: Diplomats Briefed” • The government of Japan briefed foreign embassy officials on an increasingly preferred method of disposal of treated radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant into the ocean. Attendees reportedly included 28 diplomats representing 23 countries. [OOSKA News]

¶ “Greenland Rising: The Future of Greenland’s Waterfront” • While much of the world is planning for flooding and inundation from changes in sea level, Greenland is facing a much different future. Greenland’s melting ice has translated into rising sea levels along most world coastlines, but for Greenland itself, the effect has been a rising land. [State of the Planet]

Nuuk, Greenland’s capital (Photo: Margie Turrin)

US:

¶ “Exxon’s Market Value Has Crumbled By $184 Billion” • ExxonMobil, the world’s most valuable public company in 2014, looks like it is in steady decline. A stunning $184 billion, 41% of its value, has been wiped off Exxon’s market valuation since its 2014 peak. It just posted dreadful results that suggest a turnaround is unlikely any time soon. [CNN]

¶ “Twitter Data Shows Major Cities Are Flooding More Than Previously Thought” • A study published in the journal Nature Communications used Twitter to measure tidal flooding impacts of  along the East and Gulf coasts. It suggests flooding happens more frequently in some areas than current flood monitoring technologies can detect. [CNN]

Florida shore (Matt Gannon | CNN)

¶ “Trump Withholding $823 Million For Clean Energy, Democrats Say” • The Trump administration is withholding funding for a clean energy program it unsuccessfully tried to cut, according to Democrats on the House Science Committee. This raises the specter of political interference. The unspent funds now amount to $823 million. [Yahoo News]

¶ “Southern Minnesota Power Generator Commits To Being 80% Carbon-Free By 2030” • Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency plans to replace coal, its main source of electricity generation, with renewable power. With co-owner Xcel, it will close the coal-fired Sherco 3 power station. SMMPA will be 80% carbon-free by 2030. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

Sherco 3 (Glen Stubbe | Star Tribune)

¶ “Voters Seek Leadership On Climate Change At Forum With 2020 Candidates” • Voters heard new specifics and a sense of urgency around climate change from several Democratic candidates at a youth-focused forum in Concord. Eleven presidential candidates out their plans to tackle global warming at the event. [New Hampshire Public Radio]

¶ “John Glenn Columbus International To Rely Entirely On Renewable Energy” • John Glenn Columbus International Airport announced it will get 100% of the energy it and Bolton Field use from renewables, joining other leading US airports in their sustainability efforts. It forecasts saving $13 million in energy costs. [International Airport Review]

Have a majestically lovely day.

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February 5 Energy News

February 5, 2020

Opinion:

¶ “From Billie Eilish To Maroon 5, Green Touring Is Becoming The New Normal” • Green touring has been around for decades, with musicians including Neil Young and Bonnie Raitt among the movement’s pioneers. But as effects of climate change continue to intensify, the music industry is now making this approach mainstream. [CNN]

Billie Eilish greening her act (Scott Dudelson | Getty Images)

¶ “Trump’s New Trade Deal Is Disastrous For The Planet” • A number of leading members of Congress and virtually every major environmental group have one thing made clear, Trump’s United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement opts for ignoring the health of the planet. Despite these warnings, Trump signed his pro-polluter trade deal last week. [CNN]

World:

¶ “Vestas Lauds ‘Busiest Year To Date'” • Vestas order intake hit a record of almost 18 GW in 2019, which the company described as its “busiest year to date.” The company’s turbine order intake increased year-on-year by 3,663 MW to 17,877 MW in 2019 and the value of the service order backlog increased by €3.5 billion to €17.8 billion. [reNEWS]

Vestas nacelle (Vestas image)

¶ “Airport Runways Underwater: Rising Seas Threaten 80 Airports” • Using sea level rise data from Climate Central and airport locations from OpenFlights, we found that 80 airports could be underwater with one meter of sea level rise, which researchers at the UN’s expert climate panel predict is likely to occur by 2100 if emissions aren’t reduced. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “City Of Adelaide Inks Deal To Go 100% Renewable From July 2020” • The City of Adelaide will power all of its operations and council-owned facilities with 100% renewable energy via a power purchase deal with Flow Power that start in July. Flow Power will supply it from a mix of locally generated wind and solar power, the city announced. [One Step Off The Grid]

Adelaide, South Australia

¶ “China Leads In Renewable Energy Sector” • Since China’s renewable energy law took effect in January 2006, its renewable energy sector has grown from modest beginnings to become the world’s largest. In 2018, 26.7% of the electricity generated in China was from renewables, increasing 10.6 percentage points from the level in 2005. [China.org.cn]

¶ “Wind Power Grows 12% In Americas” • Over 13 GW of new wind capacity was installed in the Americas region in 2019, an increase of 12% on the previous year, according to research by the Global Wind Energy Council. It said 13,427 MW was installed last year in the Americas, including the Caribbean, bringing the total to more than 148 GW. [reNEWS]

Wind turbines (Enel image)

¶ “Thanks To Renewable Energy: Electric Bulbs Will Finally Glow In 1200 Government Schools” • Students in far flung areas across Kashmir division have a reason to smile as more than 1200 government schools will be provided round the clock electricity from the clean renewable energy sources. Previously, only 36% of the schools had power. [The Kashmir Monitor]

¶ “Queensland Requests $1 Billion In Renewable Energy Funding” • In a letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Deputy Premier of Queensland Jackie Trad called for more renewable investment and Federal government backing to help create and support more jobs in more industries. Gas is not out of the picture, however. [pv magazine Australia]

Daydream Solar Farm (Image: Edify Energy)

¶ “Saugeen Ojibway Nation Has Saved Lake Huron From A Nuclear Waste Dump” • In a major victory for Canada’s First Nations, the Saugeen Ojibway Nation overwhelmingly voted down the proposed deep geological repository for storage of low-level and intermediate-level radioactive nuclear waste next to Lake Huron. [CounterPunch]

US:

¶ “Largest US Offshore Wind Farm Hinges On Fossil Fuel Giant” • Some Virginia Democrats, who had previously been adversarial to Dominion Energy, are easing that position a bit, as they see the company work on the Mid-Atlantic’s first offshore wind farm. Dominion proposes to build hundreds of turbines off the coast of Virginia. [E&E News]

Depiction of turbine installation (Dominion Energy via YouTube)

¶ “Tar Sands Pipeline ‘Line 3’ Faces Ongoing Opposition Despite PUC Rubber Stamp” • Minnesota activists opposed to Line 3 committed to continued opposition to the controversial tar sands pipeline despite a ruling from the Public Utilities Commission approving the certificate of need for the project. Line 3 would cross 211 bodies of water. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Something In The Air” • In the Texas Panhandle, which produces a fifth of the US beef supply, communities are being choked by fecal dust from nearby feedlots. Complaints reveal problems potentially far graver than the smell. The state’s regulatory agency isn’t doing anything about it, and it’s about to get a whole lot worse. [The Texas Observer]

Site of a proposed giant feedlot (George Steinmetz)

¶ “Solar Innovations Abound At The San Diego Show” • New solar energy innovations are being unveiled at Intersolar 2020 in San Diego. Among them are a concrete solar shingle and under-the-panel battery storage. One forward-looking company is now buying up broken solar panels in expectation of mining the components for recycling. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Arlington County To Use Renewable Energy From A Solar Farm” • The sun is shining brightly on Arlington County. The Virginia region approved a partnership with Dominion Energy to purchase power from a solar farm in Pennsylvania County. This project aligns with Arlington County’s mission to be 100% reliant on renewable energy by 2025. [WUSA9.com]

Have an outrageously relaxing day.

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February 4 Energy News

February 4, 2020

Opinion:

¶ “Bad news for coal: India lands world’s largest, super cheap solar and storage tender” • India clocked a major renewable energy milestone – and drove another nail into coal’s coffin – when it wrapped up what is described as the world’s largest “firmed renewables” auction. Time-of-use pricing was an important specification. [RenewEconomy]

Solar park in India

Science and Technology:

¶ “Scientists Find Another Threat To Greenland’s Glaciers Lurking Beneath The Ice” • Warmer air is not the only threat to Greenland’s ice sheet. A study published in the journal Nature Geoscience found that the ice is being attacked from below: Warm ocean water moving underneath the vast glaciers is causing them to melt even more quickly. [CNN]

World:

¶ “Coronavirus And Oil: Why Crude Has Been Hit Hard” • The world’s biggest oil producers could be about to reduce output as they grapple with the fallout of the coronavirus. As China has responded to the medical emergency, travel restrictions are in place factories, offices and shops remain shut. The result is a 20% reduction in demand for oil. [BBC]

Oil terminal (Getty Images)

¶ “A Climate Activist Swam Under The Antarctic Ice Sheet To Prove How Quickly Glaciers Are Melting” • Fifty-year-old Lewis Pugh says he was terrified when he plunged into the water of East Antarctica in nothing but swim briefs, a swim cap and goggles. He was even more terrified when he swam below the Antarctic ice sheet, through melting tunnels. [CNN]

¶ “Teck Inks New 118-MW Renewable PPA With AES In Chile” • Teck Resources Limited, based in Canada, has signed a long-term power purchase agreement with AES Corp to supply 118 MW of renewable energy to a copper project in Chile. The contract will cover more than 50% of the project’s total operating power needs for twenty years. [Renewables Now]

Wind farm in Chile (Photo: Diego Correa)

¶ “Greta Thunberg Nominated For Nobel Peace Prize” • Two members of the Swedish Parliament nominated 17-year-old Greta Thunberg for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. Thunberg started just three years ago with lone climate protests on Fridays at the Swedish Parliament. Since then, she has emerged as a world leader. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Costa Rica Is At Nearly 100% Renewable Energy For Electricity” • In 2019, 99.62% of Costa Rica’s electricity came from renewables, according to REVE. In addition to hydro, 10.29% was derived from wind turbines, 10.23% from geothermal energy, and 0.84% from solar. The country is committed to being 100% carbon neutral this year. [CleanTechnica]

Geothermal power plant in Costa Rica (Credit: Grupo ICE)

¶ “Sweden Takes Another Step Toward Freedom From Fossil Fuels” • Sweden now has a commission in place to decide on the year by which a full phaseout of fuel burning cars seems best. The commission must submit plans for the policy proposal by February 1, 2021. Transportation accounts for about a third of Sweden’s greenhouse gases. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Chennai Metro Tenders For Renewable Power Purchase From Group Captive Projects” • The Chennai Metro Rail Limited seeks to procure 90 GWh/year of solar or solar-wind hybrid power, or 72 GWh/year of wind power through tariff based competitive bidding. The tariff ceiling is fixed at ₹3.50/kWh (4.9¢/kWh) for 25 years. [pv magazine India]

Delhi Metro station (varunshiv, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Petrol And Diesel Car Sales Ban Brought Forward To 2035” • A ban on selling new petrol, diesel or hybrid cars in the UK will be brought forward from 2040 to 2035 at the latest, under new government plans. The change comes after experts said 2040 would be too late if the UK wants to achieve its target of emitting virtually zero carbon by 2050. [BBC News]

¶ “Australians Back Climate Change Action While Science Divides Along Party Lines” • A clear majority of Australians have backed the case for action on climate change in a survey that shows 68% believe the trend poses a “serious threat” to their way of life. But the findings also reveal a deepening partisan divide on climate science. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

Dust storm (Nick Moir)

¶ “High-Level Radiation At Fukushima No 2 Reactor” • Japan’s nuclear regulators say high-level radiation was detected in the No 2 reactor building of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. A robot on the floor directly above the reactor detected 683 millisieverts per hour, so the site is inaccessible to humans nine years after the accident. [NHK World]

US:

¶ “In Massachusetts, Activists Say Net-Zero Not Enough Without 100% Renewables” • Gov Charlie Baker and the state Senate are receiving widespread praise for their commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, but some activists say the state needs to be more ambitious for a meaningful impact on climate change. [Energy News Network]

Massachusetts Statehouse in Boston

¶ “BYD Adding 2 MW Solar System From Apparent At Lancaster Factory” • Construction of a 2-MW solar power system with 2 MWh of battery storage has begun at the BYD electric truck and bus manufacturing facility in Lancaster, California. Once it is operational, the system is expected to save the company over $100,000 a year in utility bills. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “How ConEd And National Grid Are Experimenting With Energy Storage In New York” • New York has adopted an aggressive energy storage target to have at 3 GW by 2030. By the end of 2022, the state’s six investor-owned utilities are each to procure 10 MW of storage, except for Consolidated Edison, which must adopt at least 300 MW. [Utility Dive]

Have an unmistakably ducky day.

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February 3 Energy News

February 3, 2020

Opinion:

¶ “If There’s A Silver Lining In The Clouds Of Choking Smoke It’s That This May Be A Tipping Point” • As a climate scientist on sabbatical in Australia, I’ve had plenty of conversations about the climate crisis lately. Although the Murdoch media make it seem as if there’s plenty of debate, the reality is that most Australians I talk to get it. [The Guardian]

Fire nearing Canberra (Photo: Barcroft Media | Xinhua)

¶ “Leave ‘Em Laughing Instead Of Crying: Climate Humor Can Break Down Barriers And Find Common Ground” • Largely gloomy approaches and interpretations typically stifle audiences rather than inspiring them to take action. Instead, we could potentially take more effective ways to communicate about climate change. [Red, Green, and Blue]

¶ “Fighting Climate Change Is The Cheapest Option We Have Left, Modeling Shows” • You would think that ensuring the survival of the human race is something you can’t put a price on, but one of the reasons that governments aren’t always keen to take action on climate change is the economic cost. And saving humanity turns out to save money. [ScienceAlert]

Desert (Jared Verdi | Unsplash)

World:

¶ “Brazil Clears Debentures Issuance For 151 MW Of Renewables” • The Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy has allowed four renewable energy projects with a combined capacity of 151 MW to issue infrastructure debentures. With the permits, the projects, of which one is PV and three wind, now have priority status. [Renewables Now]

¶ “Electric Deliveries Are Spreading Across Africa, Botswana Startup MyFoodness Adopts Electric Scooters On Its Routes” • Chinese manufacturers have been selling tens of millions of electric scooters in China. Now they are selling them in Africa. Electric scooters for deliveries make perfect sense in a small city like Botswana’s capital Gaborone. [CleanTechnica]

Electric scooter (Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai)

¶ “Storage Added To Honduras Solar Hybrid Plant” • Wärtsilä is to add energy storage to a power plant on the Honduran island of Roatan. The existing 28-MW plant has four Wärtsilä propane-fired engines and solar PV. Wärtsilä will now install storage with a software package that will eliminate the need for mechanical spinning reserve. [Power Engineering International]

¶ “Marubeni Hits Financial Close On Japan Offshore First” • A Marubeni-led consortium has reached financial close on two offshore wind farms totalling 140 MW in Japanese waters. Construction of the projects, located off Akita and Noshiro ports in the Akita Prefecture, will will begin shortly, and commercial operations are to begin this year. [reNEWS]

Offshore wind farm (GWEC image)

¶ “Forum Draws Attention To Threat Of Nuclear Terrorism” • Speaking on behalf of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the seventh annual Cybertech Global Conference in Tel Aviv, Israel’s Minister of Energy Yuval Steinitz stressed the need for governments to use artificial intelligence to proactively prevent nuclear terrorism. [Daily Nation]

¶ “Lightsource BP Flush For Spanish PV Cluster” • Lightsource BP signed a senior debt facility with NatWest Markets to fund a 250-MW cluster of solar farms in Spain and secured a seven-year power purchase agreement for the all the electricity generated. The cluster is to be operational by January 2021 and deliver about 500 GWh per year. [reNEWS]

Solar array (Lightsource BP image)

Australia:

¶ “Scientists Call On MPs To Urgently Reduce Australia’s Emissions Amid Bushfire Crisis” • After a catastrophic summer of fires, a group of more than 200 scientists is urging returning parliamentarians to act decisively to reduce Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions, and work diplomatically to achieve coordinated global climate action. [The Guardian]

¶ “‘News Corp Is A Climate Criminal Of The Highest Order’: Protestors Lie In Holt Street To Demand Advertiser Boycott” • Three to four hundred people lay in the street outside News Corp’s Sydney offices on Friday afternoon, urging advertisers to boycott what organiser Brad Pedersen called “a climate criminal of the highest order.” [MuMbrella]

Protesting News Corp (Photo: Robert Coluccio)

¶ “South Australia Paves The Path To 100% Renewables” • South Australia set its sights on reaching its target of 100% renewables in the next 10 years, with aims to provide generated power to New South Wales. This will offset the shutdown of coal plants. The Australian Energy Regulator gave the approval for the gameplan. [Energy Matters]

US:

¶ “Power To The People: Bernie Calls For Federal Takeover Of Electricity Production” • Sanders has laid out a $16 trillion climate change plan that would transition US electricity generation away from fossil fuels to renewable resources like wind, solar and hydropower by 2030. That’s far faster than any other Democratic candidate’s target. [Politico]

Bernie

¶ “Super Bowl Ads Announce Hummer Electric Truck And The “Quiet Revolution”” • General Motors will start selling a battery-powered Hummer pickup truck in May 2020. To whet the appetite of the truck-driving public, the new Hummer is the topic of a 30-second television ad running during the Super Bowl. You can see it here. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “AEP Renewables Signs PPA For Kansas Wind Project” • AEP Renewables, a subsidiary of American Electric Power, signed a long-term power purchase agreement with Evergy Inc for the output of the new Flat Ridge 3 wind project, near Kingman, Kansas. The project, with 62 wind turbines totaling 128 MW of capacity, is to be online this year. [Energy Global]

Have a thumpin’ good day.

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February 2 Energy News

February 2, 2020

Opinion:

¶ “It’s Time For Solar And Wind To Fight Back In Fossil’s War On Renewables” • Fossil-fuel companies are doing all they can to thwart the development of renewable energy, one renewables developer said this week, but renewables now have the clout to fight back. It’s a pitched battle because both industries are forcing new megawatts into a shrinking market. [Forbes]

Wind turbines near an aging pumpjack (Getty Images)

¶ “Scott Morrison Is Stuck In A Time Warp – More Gas Is Not The Answer” • Australia’s prime minister, advised by fossil fuel industry experts, claims, “there is no credible energy transition plan, for an economy like Australia in particular, that does not involve the greater use of gas as an important transition fuel.” He is demonstrably wrong. [The Guardian]

World:

¶ “Okanagan Company Braves High Winds With High Hopes Of Renewable Energy In Nunavut” • Spearheaded by the Arctic Research Foundation, the project titled Naurvik, Inuktut for “growing place,” consists of two sea cans outfitted to grow vegetables that proponents hope will help ease Arctic food costs. They are powered by the wind. [KelownaNow]

Sea can and wind turbine (Contributed photo)

¶ “Up For sale: Eskom’s Pebble Bed Modular Reactor” • Eskom, South Africa’s public utility, was developing a nuclear Pebble Bed Modular Reactor some years back, but work was eventually halted. While various options were explored to commercialize its PBMR in the past, Eskom now intends to dispose of the company and is looking for a buyer. [ESI Africa]

India:

¶ “India Bets On Barren Land, Rail Tracks To Raise Solar Power Capacity” • India aims to boost solar power generation by encouraging the installation of panels along rail tracks and on barren land, the finance minister said on Saturday as the country looks to cut its carbon footprint and accelerate clean energy production. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Indian solar thermal power (Bkwcreator, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Energy Storage Industry Sees New Opportunities In Sitharaman’s Budget 2020” • Analyzing Sitharaman’s second Union Budget, the energy storage industry found that it has numerous opportunities. It will not only provide a further boost to the economy but also help in further boosting the renewable energy sector as a whole. [Saurenergy]

¶ “Union Budget: Old, Polluting Coal Power Stations To Be Closed” • India’s Union government announced that all coal-fired power plants not meeting prescribed carbon emission standards will be shut down. About 80 Indian coal-fired power plants, all below 100 MW of capacity, are likely to be affected by the government decision. [Yahoo India News]

Coal-burning plant (Ashish.prajapati90, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ “Super Bowl LIV Will Feature Recyclable And Compostable Products” • If you buy a Bud Light at this year’s game, it will be served in a recyclable aluminum cup made by Ball. Aluminum can be recycled many times. In fact, three quarters of all the aluminum ever produced in the US is still being used, according to a report by Ad Week. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “$64 Million Makes It Official: Renewable Hydrogen In, Natural Gas Out (Eventually)” • As it puts research dollars into hydrogen and fuel cell technology, the DOE’s latest effort is all about using wind and solar energy to bring the cost of renewable hydrogen down. The DOE is spending $64 million for funding projects related to the H2@Scale initiative. [CleanTechnica]

Hydrogen facility (US DOE image)

¶ “Lake Tahoe Airport Now Runs On Renewable Energy” • The mayor of South Lake Tahoe told 2 News that the city’s goal is 100% renewable energy by 2032 as conservationism has gained momentum. The city has added solar panels to the Lake Tahoe Airport. They will supply 95% of current demand, and efficiency will reduce demand. [KTVN]

¶ “Allegiant Stadium To Be Powered By Renewable Sources” • After NV Energy saw 10 companies make moves to leave in 2018, the Nevada utility started to offer long-term deals with reduced energy prices. Allegiant Stadium had been given authority to leave NV Energy, but instead will use its renewable resources to power its facility. [Las Vegas Review-Journal]

Allegiant Stadium (KM Cannon | Las Vegas Review-Journal)

¶ “Documents Show Scientists’ Revolt At Trump’s ‘Crazy’ Hurricane Claims” • A flurry of emails from NOAA’s top officials and scientists shows their consternation and alarm after President Trump falsely claimed Hurricane Dorian could hit Alabama. The emails were released in response to Freedom of Information Act requests. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

¶ “Paradise Lost: Unit 3 Coal Operations Cease Today” • The last of the three coal-fired units at Kentucky’s Paradise Fossil Plant is history. TVA workers at Unit 3 burned the last of the coal today at the steam plant that opened over 50 years ago. Units 1 and 2 were replaced with natural gas units in 2017, largely due to economical and environmental reasons. [SurfKY News]

Have a rewardingly effective day.

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February 1 Energy News

February 1, 2020

Opinion:

¶ “The Death Knell For Nuclear And The End Of Cameco” • Nuclear energy is in a state of terminal decline because of concerns over its safety and the inexorable rise of renewable energy. Not only are renewables safer than nuclear energy, but costs have fallen sharply over the last three years, and many sources are now far cheaper. [The Motley Fool Canada]

Rotten apple (Getty Images)

Science and Technology:

¶ “How To Plant A Trillion Trees And Get Real Climate Results” • Climate scientists have shown that reducing emissions will not be enough to stay below the 1.5°C threshold for global warming. We need to get active about drawing down CO₂ in addition to our already-planned emissions cuts. If we plant trees, they have to be planted correctly. [Ecosystem Marketplace]

¶ “We May Avoid The Very Worst Climate Scenario. But The Next-Worst Is Still Pretty Awful” • Commentary published in the journal Nature argues that a total warming of around 3°C (5.4°F) is now where the world is likely headed. That’s appreciably better than 4°C to 5°C (7.2°F to 9°F), which is regarded as a worst case scenario, but it is still severe. [Anchorage Daily News]

Melting Greenland (Keith Virgo | AP)

World:

¶ “Australia Fires: Residents Told To Seek Shelter In Canberra Region” • A bushfire near the Australian Capital Territory grew to more than 35,000 hectares (135 square miles) on Saturday, as officials closed a major motorway. Residents in some areas near the capital, Canberra, were warned that it was “too late to leave” and they should try to seek shelter. [BBC]

¶ “Capstone Captures 132 MW Alberta Solar Share” • Capstone Infrastructure Corporation has acquired a 51% interest in the 132-MW Claresholm solar farm in Alberta, Canada, from Perimeter Solar for an undisclosed price. Construction of Claresholm, which will be located in Willow Creek, will start in the spring of this year. [reNEWS]

Solar array (APPA | Unsplash)

¶ “Ocean Viewed As The Best Place To Dump Water From Fukushima Plant” • A government panel wound up three years of discussions by effectively suggesting that releasing more than 1 million tons of water contaminated with radioactive substances at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant represented the most feasible option. [Asahi Shimbun]

India:

¶ “Budget Allocates ₹22,000 Crore To Power And Renewable Sector For FY 21; Consumers To Get Choice Of Supplier” • India’s Finance minister allocated ₹22,000 crore ($3.3 billion) for the power and renewable sector and urged states to implement smart meters within three years, so consumers could choose suppliers and the rate. ETEnergyworld.com]

Renewable energy

¶ “Greenko, ReNew Win World’s Largest Renewable-Cum-Storage Based Firm Supply Tender For 1.2 GW” • Greenko and ReNew Power won a reverse auction to supply 1200 MW of clean power after Solar Energy Corporation of India concluded the world’s largest renewable-cum-energy storage power purchase tender. [Economic Times]

¶ “SECI Issues NIT for 5000 MW Power From Renewable and Thermal Sources” • The Solar Energy Corporation of India has issued a Notice Inviting Tender for the procurement of 5000 MW power on Round-The-Clock based, from renewable energy projects, complemented with occasional use of high-cost thermal power to address intermittency. [Saurenergy]

Sun setting on coal

¶ “India To Have 450 GW Renewable Energy By 2030” • India has taken on an ambitious target of having 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030, President Ram Nath Kovind said. It will also provide 17 lakh (1.7 million) solar pumps to farmers to capitalize on this clean resource. India’s current goal is to have 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022. [Economic Times]

US:

¶ “Republican Strategists Praise Carbon Pricing As A Way To Win Votes” • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called for conservative solutions to address climate consequences. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) talked of a possible existential crisis for the party. Republicans are starting to talk about carbon pricing. [CleanTechnica]

Sunset over Newport Bridge (Carolyn Fortuna | CleanTechnica)

¶ “Donald Trump’s EPA, Ruled By The Swamp, Is Letting Companies Dump Sewage Into Our Rivers” • The EPA under Donald Trump is now allowing cities to dump raw sewage into rivers. A New York Times article says the Trump administration has decided to reverse almost 95 environmental rules because it considers them too costly. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “ACEEE: Honolulu, NYC Lead Clean Energy Resilience Plans” • Honolulu and New York City are the two top-scoring US cities for incorporating energy efficiency and renewable power policies into resilience plans, according to a study from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. They were ranked as “exemplary.” [Smart Cities Dive]

Honolulu (Roxanne Ready | Flickr)

¶ “PRC Approves 140 MW Of Wind Power For PNM” • New Mexico’s Public Regulation Commission approved PNM’s 2020 Renewable Energy Plan. It includes the 140-MW La Joya Wind Farm to be built in Torrance County by the end of the year, allowing PNM to meet a legal requirement to provide 20% of its electricity from renewable energy in 2020. [KRWG]

¶ “Expect Increasing Climate Threats In NC, Scientists Warn” • A North Carolina research group is putting the final touches on a state climate report that details an array of major changes it expects through the end of the century, including the dynamics of rising seas, wetter storms, and more frequent flooding, a preview shows. [Richmond County Daily Journal]

Have an extraordinarily gratifying day.

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