Archive for the 'nuclear power' Category

February 20 Energy News

February 20, 2018

Science and Technology:

¶ The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Australia’s premier research organization, announced a new form of graphene it says can filter polluted water and make it drinkable in one step. It is a combination of graphene film and nanometer-size channels that allow water to pass but block pollutants. [CleanTechnica]

From Sydney Harbor to drinkable in one step (Credit: CSIRO)

¶ Researchers at the University of Warwick in the UK say they have developed a device that can be inserted directly into a lithium-ion cell that will give instantaneous information about internal temperatures. The information from the cell can help chargers maintain the highest charging rates without danger of overheating. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Scientists at the University of Sheffield in the UK released a study that suggests using granulated basaltic rocks from volcanic eruptions could provide several positive benefits for agriculture and the climate. The benefits include improving soil fertility, cutting amounts of pesticides needed, and increasing carbon sequestration. [CleanTechnica]

Spreading basaltic rock

World:

¶ A new report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis shows that major power systems can be able to cope well with increasing shares of intermittent renewables. The study says that increased generation of renewable resources does not make the grid less reliable or compromise the security of supply. [Business News Americas]

¶ The energy taxes that are currently in place in the world’s top economies are not extensive enough to aid in the mitigation of anthropogenic climate change to a large degree, a study said. The study from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development looked at energy taxes in 42 different OECD and G20 economies. [CleanTechnica]

Pollution from a coal-burning power plant

¶ The southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu is, yet again, making headlines for its advances in clean energy. Since the Indian government began holding auctions for energy companies to bid for the lowest price per unit of wind energy, Tamil Nadu has risen to the world’s top fifteen markets in renewable energy production. [progrss]

¶ German grid regulator BNetzA has kicked off the first 200-MW combined wind and solar tender in the country. The auction, with a 3 April deadline, has a maximum price of €0.0884/kWh (10.9¢/kWh). BNetzA defined 98 administrative districts where bids will incur an additional charge. This is to reduce the need for reinforcing the distribution grid. [reNews]

Wind and solar together (Credit: Solarpraxis)

¶ There are 5.2 million properties in England at risk of flooding due to changes in the country’s climate, the UK’s Environment Agency warned. The agency launched its Flood Action Campaign after warning that intense bouts of flooding are set to become more frequent across England after changes to the country’s climate. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Spanish infrastructure group Acciona SA said it has signed an agreement to supply renewable power to the main facilities in Chile of local water and wastewater company Aguas Chanar. Through Acciona Energia, the company will deliver enough power to cover more than 70% of Aguas Chanar’s needs in the Atacama region. [Renewables Now]

Wind turbines (Photo: Acciona SA)

US:

¶ Solar manufacturer SunPower, based in California, reported tepid results in its Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2017 results last week. Revenues were down 35% year-over-year and First Quarter and Full Year 2018 revenues well below expectations. SunPower is still in the early days of looking to make the best of the solar tariff ruling. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Michigan generates 2.7% of US electricity, ranking 11th among states. But only 0.1% of its electricity comes directly from the sun, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, and Michigan’s 107 MW of PV capacity in 2017 ranks it 31st in the US. But SEIA expects the Michigan market to grow by 668 MW in the next five years. [pv magazine USA]

Lapeer Solar Park in Michigan (DTE Energy)

¶ The Ohio Power Siting Board has approved construction of two large solar facilities. Hillcrest Solar I is authorised to build the 125-MW Hillcrest Solar Farm in Brown County. Invenergy Solar Development North America’s subsidiary Hardin Solar Energy has approval for the 150-MW Hardin Solar Centre in Hardin County on. [Power Technology]

¶ Michigan utility Consumers Energy will phase out electric generation from coal by 2040 to reduce greenhouse gases, its president and CEO told the Associated Press. The utility plans to generate 40% of its power from renewable sources such as wind and solar, alongside natural gas, hydropower, and improved efficiency. [Jefferson City News Tribune]

BC Cobb Plant, which was closed in 2016
(Joel Bissell | Muskegon Chronicle via AP, File)

¶ The Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition announced the launch of a new statewide effort aimed at encouraging Illinois to embrace renewable energy and carbon-free power. ICJC members said their policy goals include cutting carbon pollution from the Illinois power sector by 2030 and moving the state to 100% renewable energy by 2050. [CBS Chicago]

¶ The New Jersey legislature will try to advance a controversial nuclear subsidy bill again this week, the fourth version of the measure drafted this year, at least. Designed primarily to prop up Public Service Enterprise Group’s nuclear plants, the legislation has gone through drastic revisions to win backing. So far, it has not worked. [NJ Spotlight]

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If it’s not Sustainable, its Condition is Terminal.

February 20, 2018

2090 regular daily posts, linking 25,744 articles

§ The most recent reported status of US nuclear power plants can be found at the US Nuclear Power Report, a distressingly dull account of NRC news, posted on non-holiday weekdays and Saturdays. As of February 20, out of 99 US-licensed reactors, 11 were at reduced output and 6 not operating.

§ Video: Energy Week: 2/8/18 – New Hampshire rejected the Northern Pass. An ordinary man gave his village cheap and reliable power. Tesla and South Australia will have 50,000 homes on the world’s biggest virtual power plant. The President of France told the US, “No Paris Agreement, no trade agreement.” Elon Musk sent a Tesla to Mars. And there is more.

February 19 Energy News

February 19, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Meet the new ‘renewable superpowers'” • A world powered by renewable energy will prize a very different set of resources than we do today. Which countries hold the key to unlocking wind and solar energy, and how will this shake up the world order? University of Swansea’s Andrew Barron discusses some of the issues. [eco-business.com]

Child looking at wind turbines (Image: Ben Paulos, CC BY 2.0)

¶ “La Plata Electric Association grapples with era of change” • Texas utility LPEA is locked into a contract for the next 30 years with its electricity provider, Tri-State. Tri-State generates most of its electricity by burning coal and only promises to increase prices. Expensive and dirty power is not what most LPEA members want. [The Durango Herald]

¶ “Why Electrification of Everything Can Combat GHG Emissions” • About 80% of the world’s GHG emissions relate to fossil fuels. Aggressive electrification of the ways we drive, power up our personal energy devices, and regulate the temperatures in our homes can make the difference we need to decarbonize our world. [CleanTechnica]

Rooftop solar systems

¶ “Tell the EPA: The economic cost of repealing the Clean Power Plan is just too high” • Repealing the CPP would deny Americans the opportunity to create 560,000 jobs and add $52 billion in economic value. That is in addition to the more than 3 million clean energy jobs in the US already, a nonpartisan environmental business group’s report says. [Kansas City Star]

¶ “Pushing the Limit: How demand flexibility can grow the market for renewable energy” • As coal’s share of US electricity generation continues its steady decline, there is still a question about what will end up supplying energy. Driven by technology and innovative business models, wind and solar give natural gas strong competition. [RenewEconomy]

Transmission infrastructure (istock image)

Science and Technology:

¶ A new thermoelectric device developed at MIT draws power from the daily cycle of temperature swings. In trials, the device reacted to a 10° C temperature difference, such as would happen between night and day, generating 350 millivolts of potential and 1.3 milliwatts of power. This can power communications systems and sensors. [Digital Journal]

World:

¶ Thailand has emerged as South-East Asia’s leading developer of renewable electricity, with providers obliged to guarantee minimum levels of supply. The country’s biggest wind power generator, Wind Energy Holdings, plans to invest in other power sources to back up its capacity, including solar, biomass, and hydro, its CEO told Reuters. [Star2.com]

Solar array (Photo: Filepic)

¶ Japan is falling behind other leading countries in renewable energy use, while its promotion of coal-fired plants risks hindering the competitiveness of domestic firms in a global market increasingly concerned about carbon emissions. Those were conclusions of a report to the Foreign Minister released by an expert panel. [The Japan Times]

¶ The government of the Netherlands plans to turn an offshore seaweed farm in the North Sea into a huge solar power farm that aims to supply energy to the Dutch mainland. They plan to finish the project in a span of three years. A pilot project costing €1.2 million ($2.48 million) will test environmental impacts and equipment performance. [GineersNow]

Solar array (Source: Lawyer Issue)

¶ Canada’s minister of Natural Resources, Jim Carr, announced a call for proposals for the Clean Energy for Rural and Remote Communities Program. The program will provide approximately $220 million in funding for initiatives to reduce reliance on diesel fuel in rural and remote communities, most of which are Indigenous. [EP Magazine]

¶ The Lakeland project in far north Queensland, Australia’s first large-scale solar and big battery storage installation, has been officially connected to the grid. The 10.8-MW solar facility, combined with a 1.4-MW/5.3-MWh battery storage facility is located near the very edge of the grid and could be a model for similar projects. [RenewEconomy]

Lakeland project (Screen shot)

¶ For over a decade an energy revolution has been underway in Japan, spurred on by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and the nuclear disaster that followed at Fukushima. Since then, microgrids have sprung up by the dozens around the country, in a number of different guises to help Japan meet its energy needs and build resilience. [Power Technology]

US:

¶ President Donald Trump’s 2019 budget request would slash funding for farm bill conservation programs by about $13 billion over 10 years, on top of cuts already sustained in the 2014 farm bill. In a study, we found that it is highly uncertain whether the benefits these programs have produced can maintained with such cuts. [The Conversation]

Black-necked stilts

¶ A planned community solar project could allow for Omaha Public Power District customers to power homes and businesses mostly with renewable energy. The district expects more than 50% of its retail electricity sales to be from renewable resources by 2020. Most of the energy would be generated by solar panels and wind turbines. [Lincoln Journal Star]

¶ While the rest of the world is warming, one part of the US is getting colder. The Corn Belt has seen summer temperatures drop 1°C (1.8°F) while rainfall increased by 35%. According to research published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, this time it is agricultural production, not greenhouse gases, that is to blame. [IFLScience]

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February 18 Energy News

February 18, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “With the US pursuing fossil fuels, alternative, renewable forms of energy could be an even bigger boon to China” • While President Donald Trump’s administration has moved to cut the US government’s clean energy budgets by up to 70%, China has been steadily moving in the opposite direction by exploring alternatives. [Jefferson Public Radio]

Goldwind wind farm (Photo: Pzavislak, Wikimedia Commons)

World:

¶ Australia currently mines the majority of the world’s lithium and also mines all of the minerals needed to make batteries on its home soil, but a report by Future Smart Strategies warns that a failure to look beyond this natural advantage, to opportunities that lie further down the supply chain, could cost the nation dearly. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Rojava, a Syrian enclave famed for its olives, has been bombed and water-starved for years, as jihadists and armies fought. Now Kurdish-led ecological committees and like-minded activists worldwide are working to plant tens of thousands of trees and are working with local farmers to build co-operative ecological structures. [New Statesman]

First tree in a Syrian planting effort

¶  Mobile phone tower company edotco Bangladesh has begun using renewable energy in remote areas, its officials said. The company has already installed around 672 mobile network sites that use renewable energy through its 8000 towers. The use of renewable energy cuts their carbon footprint up to 20%, they said. [Prothom Alo English]

¶ An evaluation by Asian Development Bank for Pakistan showed that about 10 GW of generation capacity will be commissioned before 2019. The report warns that diminishing natural gas reserves and sluggish hydropower development will result in increased reliance on coal and oil, exacerbating climate change in Pakistan. [The News on Sunday]

Dependence on fossil fuels

¶ The founders of a major clean energy fund have shrugged off Donald Trump’s shift away from renewable power, saying the global industry is too advanced for him to halt. The technical director of Glennmont Partners said the renewable energy sector has cut loose from state-backed subsidies and is attracting private investment. [Daily Mail]

¶ The Indian wind and solar energy sectors have been upgraded to a stable outlook by rating agencies. The environment for the two sectors is considered favorable, as bids are being driven by Central Government agencies, and power purchase agreements are becoming favourable to developers in terms of curtailment and termination issues. [EnergyInfraPost]

Indian wind farm

¶ With the continued power outages across the country, poor Malawians could find hope in solar power, which is both reliable and affordable, the director of the Fortuner Group of Companies said. He told Nyasa Times that solar panels in poor villages and neighbourhoods could be the solution for Malawians without access to electricity. [Nyasa Times]

¶ So far, Japan’s geothermal power does little more than provide the water for the country’s countless “onsen” hot springs. But the nation sits atop a treasure trove of renewable geothermal energy that can provide much more than bath water. And the Japanese government is getting serious about pursuit of geothermal power generation. [Nikkei Asian Review]

Open-air hot spring resort (Photo: © Reuters)

US:

¶ Orange & Rockland Utilities, a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, New York state’s largest utility company, filed a proposal with the state’s Public Utilities Commission to test whether adding Tesla Powerpack grid storage batteries “can provide a range of services with costs and benefits shared by multiple stakeholders.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ After Massachusetts chose a $950 million project headed by Maine utility Central Maine Power as its backup option to bring Canadian power to their state, Maine Gov Paul LePage’s energy czar said his boss would “push this right through” the rest of the permitting process that is handled by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. [Maine Public]

Power lines (Photo: Colin Perkel | The Canadian Press via AP)

¶ Pacific Power is to install “smart meters” in about 15,000 homes in Oregon’s Santiam region. The upgrades are part of a statewide effort to replace 590,000 meters by fall 2019. Pacific Power sources said the new meters will afford electricity consumers more current and detailed monitoring of their usage, right down to the hour. [Statesman Journal]

¶ With state officials eyeing $56 billion of wind farm projects off the American coastline, developers are worried the turbines will need to be stamped with a big “Made in the USA.” Most are made in Europe, but the states in the Northeast that are jumping into wind power are betting they can create their own wind turbine industry. [WatertownDailyTimes.com]

Block Island Wind Farm (Bloomberg photo)

¶ EPA chief Scott Pruitt staged a quiet visit to Massachusetts, along Federal Energy Regulatory Commission member Neal Chaterjee. The two toured the Northfield Mountain Generating Station pumped storage facility in Northfield. The visit was one day before FERC finalized new rules to benefit energy storage facilities. [MassLive.com]

¶ In Ohio, Lake County Commissioner Jerry Cirino told a crowd of 300 residents he is expecting bad news about the future of the Perry Nuclear Power Plant in the next several weeks. Two of the state’s uncompetitive nuclear plants are currently under strategic review, as the owner, FirstEnergy, determines a course for their futures. [fox8.com]

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February 17 Energy News

February 17, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Clean energy – not natural gas – drove decarbonization in 2017” • Last year, for the first time, power sector emissions were reduced more by energy conservation and renewable energy than switching from coal to natural gas. This happened despite all Trump administration and fossil fuels industry attempts to limit clean energy. [Environmental Defense Fund]

US wind farm

Book Review:

¶ Peter Carter and Elizabeth Woodworth’s, “Unprecedented Crime: Climate Science Denial and Game Changers for Survival” is a fascinating exposé of the climate crisis. It looks at the climate crisis comprehensively from a legal perspective, with a focus on the perpetrators of the climate emergency that confronts us all. [Center for Research on Globalization]

Science and Technology:

¶ Researchers hope to discover how solar and plant life interact and find effective ways for solar arrays and agricultural lands to co-exist. One special aim of a new partnership between Enel Green Power North American and the US DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory is to develop pollinator-friendly practices. [pv magazine USA]

Poppy (Pixabay image)

¶ Critics of renewable energy, lobbyists for fossil fuels, and those promoting nuclear power, often use solar and wind fluctuations as their major argument to hold on to the old system. A study by the Lappeenranta University of Technology, in Finnland, and the Energy Watch Group, based in Berlin, refutes this argument once and for all. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ Powershop Australia signed a huge deal for the output of a 200-MW solar farm and two big wind farms, after being “stunned” by the low prices offered in market proposals. Exact figures were not disclosed, but Powershop’s CEO said, “If you said two and a half years ago that this is where solar will be, we would not have believed it.” [CleanTechnica]

Windpower in Australia

¶ Australia’s first large-scale solar farm co-located with a wind farm was formally opened this month. The 10-MW Gullen Range solar farm south of Crookwell in NSW is the first large-scale solar farm on Australia’s main grid to be co-located with a major wind farm. It shares facilities with the 165-MW Gullen Range wind farm. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The renewables division of Italian energy company Enel SpA announced that it commissioned the 103-MW Horizonte PV power plant in the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia. Plant construction started last September, after Enel won the project together with two other large PV plants in a public tender, held in August 2015. [Renewables Now]

Solar farm in Brazil (Otávio Nogueira, CC-BY-SA 2.0 Generic)

¶ According to project developer Statoil, the world’s first floating wind farm, Hywind Scotland, has been generating electricity at a level that surpasses expectations through its first three full months of production. Where bottom-fixed offshore wind farms operate at 45% to 60% of rated capacity, Hywind Scotland has averaged 65%. [CleanTechnica]

¶ EDF pledged to step up its renewable energy efforts as its sliding nuclear business sees revenues fall. The French energy giant’s annual results for 2017 show a 16% drop in earnings before interest and tax. Earnings in the UK fell by around a third as the company received lower prices than it expected for its nuclear power output. [Energy Live News]

Cooling towers (Shutterstock image)

¶ The Australian Capital Territory is expected to commission enough wind and solar farms by 2020 to reach the equivalent of 100% renewable energy for its electricity supply. Now it is turning attention to eliminating gas. A major development will start with 350 homes with efficient electric heating, cooling, and cooking. [CleanTechnica]

US:

¶ As US president Donald Trump throws his support behind “beautiful clean coal,” the state of Arizona, a Republican Party stronghold, is poised to take the lead on energy storage. A proposed clean energy overhaul would impose an 80% clean energy target by 2050, including 3 GW of energy storage to be installed by 2030. [CleanTechnica]

Nestle Purina’s solar farm in Arizona

¶ Despite the current Presidential regime’s attempts to defend the coal industry, the US is home to a utility breaking world records for renewable energy development. With 47 GW of renewable capacity already built, NextEra plans to double its rate of install in the next few years, aiming for a total of 10.1 to 16.5 GW for the 2017-2020 period. [CleanTechnica]

¶ During a Board of Light & Power trustee meeting, the Grand Haven, Michigan, utility’s staff recommended that the coal-fired JB Sims power plant be closed June 1, 2020. The staff also recommended to the board that the municipal utility transition to a more “economical, sustainable and diversified” selection of energy sources. [Grand Haven Tribune]

Grand Haven Light (Photo: Daveth121864, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Massachusetts regulators said that Central Maine Power’s New England Clean Energy Connect will bring power from Canada to the Bay State if Eversource does not resolve its Northern Pass permitting problems in New Hampshire by March 27. The 1,200-MW New England Clean Energy Connect would run through 145 miles of western Maine. [MassLive.com]

¶ FirstEnergy Corp announced that its Allegheny Energy Supply subsidiary notified the regional transmission organization, PJM Interconnection, of its plan to deactivate the coal-fired Pleasants Power Station in West Virginia. The 1,300-MW plant will be sold or closed on January 1, 2019, subject to a PJM review for impacts on reliability. [Parkersburg News]

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February 16 Energy News

February 16, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “The Trump Budget Is Full of Giveaways to Coal and Oil Companies” • The Trump administration’s proposed budget for funding the federal government in 2019 has extensive cuts to health care, schools, scientific research, and nutrition assistance, but it would benefit clear winners in the fossil fuel industry. [Center For American Progress]

Coal at a Pacificorp power plant (Photo: George Frey | Getty)

¶ “Heartland Institute’s pro-coal lobbying isn’t working in Missouri” • The Heartland Institute, a free market think tank known for its efforts to promote climate science denial, is lobbying to keep one of the country’s oldest coal-fired power plants alive. But it doesn’t seem to be working. Not even the owner wants to keep the plant open. [ThinkProgress]

World:

¶ Eviation Aircraft is now aiming to bring its 9-seat electric aircraft to market by 2021 after it closed a battery supply agreement with South Korea’s Kokam, the company’s CEO has revealed. The Israel-based firm went with Kokam because it could expect  a relatively high degree of flexibility and access to customization. [CleanTechnica]

Eviation Aircraft prototype

¶ The EU is to provide a record amount of funding to build a renewable power link between Spain and France. The submarine cable, costing €578 million, will run for 230 miles across the Bay of Biscay, easing a transmission bottleneck. Carrying renewable energy between the two countries, it hopes to double current power capacity to 5,000 MW. [Olive Press]

¶ Blasting the Spanish Government for its lack of renewables action, the Balearic Government has today issued an ambitious Climate Change Law designed to kick-start a renewable energy transition on the four islands of Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera. It aims to cover 100% of energy demand with renewables by 2050. [pv magazine International]

Solar PV array (G-Ener Soluciones)

¶ The northern New South Wales city of Lismore has formally opened the country’s largest floating solar installation, and flagged plans to increase its size five-fold or more and to add battery storage. The 100-kW floating solar farm is a key part of the local council’s plan to source 100% of its electricity needs from renewable energy by 2023. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Tasmanian Labor Party pledged to take the state to “120% renewables,” aiming to lock in lower electricity prices and secure the island’s status as a clean power exporter. Labor leader Rebecca White said if her party wins in the March 3 election, it will “restore” and capitalise on Tasmania’s renewable energy advantage. [RenewEconomy]

Tasmanian Wind Farm

¶ Egypt has officially awarded electricity generation licences to four wind farms with a combined capacity of 1,420 MW, the Daily News Egypt reports. One of the wind farms receiving a 20-year power generating license is the Gulf of Suez project, to be located in the municipality of Ras Ghareb, in Cairo’s Red Sea Governorate. [Renewables Now]

US:

¶ Southern California Edison, which serves customers in the greater Los Angeles area, has just announced it is cooperating with BMW to offer a $10,000 rebate to customers who purchase a BMW i3 electric car between now and April 30. To qualify, customers must prove they are an SCE customer and the car must be purchased, not leased. [CleanTechnica]

BMW i3 electric car

¶ The top US intelligence official warned Congress about the threat of “abrupt” climate change, despite Trump administration efforts to drive climate out of national security discussions. The Director of National Intelligence submitted written testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee identifying climate change as a significant concern. [Vox]

¶ Federal regulators are allowing Anbaric Development Partners to move ahead with a shared transmission system for offshore wind off the coast of Massachusetts. The US company plans to solicit customers and sell transmission rights to the 2-GW to 2.4-GW Massachusetts Ocean Grid. Three developers already hold leases off the coast. [reNews]

Offshore wind substation (Credit: Statkraft)

¶ A subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, announced that during the previous four months, five new community solar gardens have been brought online in southeastern Minnesota. The solar-gardens are part of a larger Minnesota community solar-gardens portfolio totaling 66 MW including projects in development. [Markets Insider]

¶ US regulators have removed all market barriers to electric storage, so operators can dispatch power from multiple storage systems, including batteries. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has completed a ruling that allows energy storage companies to directly compete against power plants in wholesale power markets. [Digital Journal]

Offshore wind installation

¶ Maryland, an early adopter for solar electricity, opened a energy-storage tax credit program. The program is now taking applications for $750,000 in tax credits to support energy storage systems for existing renewable energy systems, with $225,000 reserved for residential solar customers and $525,000 reserved for commercial taxpayers. [pv magazine USA]

¶ Florida-based power behemoth NextEra Energy is floating a $15.9 billion proposal to buy Santee Cooper to South Carolina lawmakers. The state-owned utility went on the auction block after it and Cayce-based SCANA abandoned a decade-long, $9 billion effort to build two new nuclear reactors in Fairfield County. [The State]

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February 15 Energy News

February 15, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Stalling Clean Energy – American Silence in the Green Revolution” • “You’re all going to be a part of this exciting new future,” Donald Trump told us. As China reconfirmed its $367 billion investment in renewable energy, the US has been content to promote the 1,200 coal mining jobs it’s scrapped back together. [Intelligencer Post]

Panda Solar Power Plant in Shanxi province, China
(Photo: Roman Pilipey | EPA | REX | Shutterstock)

Science and Technology:

¶ Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory published preliminary analyses from a three-year study using survey data from 1,705 randomly selected individuals within five miles of modern wind turbines, reflecting distance and attitudes. The findings highlight a generally positive attitude, regardless of how closely they live to a wind turbine. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ The government of Germany is currently mulling the idea of making public transportation system use in heavily polluted cities free as a means of reducing emissions and thus improving air quality, Reuters has reported. Several cities in Germany are persistently home to levels of air pollution that exceed legal limits in the European Union. [CleanTechnica]

Interior of a German bus

¶ InfraCo Asia Development Private Limited, a developer of infrastructure is Southeast Asia, and Sunseap International have reportedly entered a deal to build a 168 MWp solar power project in the Ninh Thuan province of Vietnam. The power generated will help fill the demand for electricity of nearly 200,000 homes in the country. [AlgosOnline]

¶ Petroleum Development Oman and GlassPoint Solar this week inaugurated and officially opened the 1-GW Miraah solar plant. It is located atop the Amal oilfield in the south of Oman. The first four of 36 blocks have been completed, and they are currently delivering 100 MWt of steam, which is used to extract heavy oil from the oilfield. [CleanTechnica]

Miraah solar power

¶ Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy has been awarded exclusivity by Danish energy group Ørsted for supply and service of wind turbines for the Hornsea Project Two offshore wind power project, which is being developed in British waters. SGRE will install its SG 8.0-167 DD turbines with total capacity of 1,386 MW. [PennEnergy]

¶ Renewables firm Equis Energy has achieved financial close on the 127-MW Tailem Bend Solar Project in South Australia, which has a reserved area to hold a battery storage installation of up to 100 MWh in the future. Construction of the $200 million (US) project is due to start in February 2018, with completion due in early 2019. [PV-Tech]

Solar power plant (Credit: Equis Energy)

¶ Australians are in love with batteries and the bond of storage is only expected to grow stronger over coming years. A report from the Climate Council finds the market for household batteries tripled in 2017, with more than 20,000 installations. The year before, there were just 6,750 households that put in battery systems. [Echonetdaily]

¶ NUI Galway has officially launched the SEAFUEL project. It aims to use hydrogen as a renewable resource across the Atlantic area to power the local transport fleet of cars and support the shift towards a low-carbon economy. The project will be piloted in the Canary Islands, Madeira in Portugal and the Aran Islands, off western Ireland. [Irish Tech News]

Offshore wind power

US:

¶ The Rocky Mountain Institute released a report on the demand flexibility equation, modeled on the grid in Texas, America’s version of an islanded energy market. The results indicate that the investment in demand flexibility would more than pay for itself in reduced curtailment, flattened peaks, and power plants never built. [Greentech Media]

¶ The board of county commissioners of Summit County, Colorado, unanimously approved a resolution committing the county to shift away from fossil fuels and to transition to 100% clean, renewable electricity by 2035. According to the Sierra Club, 58 cities and towns have committed to 100% renewable energy. [North American Windpower]

Colorado

¶ In a case of strange political bedfellows, a conservative lawmaker from San Juan County and the leader of a Santa Fe environmental group not known for compromising came together to back a bill aimed at easing the economic woes of New Mexico communities hit by the closing of large coal-burning power plants. [Los Alamos Monitor]

¶ Coal once dominated Michigan. But in 2016, coal-fired plants provided just 36% of the state’s electricity, down from about 50% two years before. Since 2010, Michigan utilities have retired 26 coal generators at 15 power plants. At least 17 generators at six plants are set to retire there by 2025, and no new coal-burning plants are being built. [Bridge Michigan]

The 1,429-MW St Clair coal-fired power plant,
built in 1953 (Bridge photo by Jim Malewitz)

¶ A Kansas-based solar company officially announced it is going to build its second 75-MW solar farm in Orangeburg County. Tradewind Energy said that it will build an $89 million solar production facility on about 1,000 acres south of the town of Bowman. The solar farm will generate enough power for 15,000 homes. [TheTandD.com]

¶ While US clean energy installations lagged in 2017, they did increase the amount of renewably generated electricity to its highest level ever, at 18% of the overall energy mix. Rachel Luo, senior analyst for US utilities and market reform at BNEF, said 18% brings clean energy “within striking distance” of nuclear’s 20% generation contribution. [Greentech Media]

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February 14 Energy News

February 14, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Why Cooperatives and Municipal-owned Electric Systems Should Embrace Distributed Change” • Many big businesses are embracing change. And member-owned cooperatives, as well as many municipal-owned electric systems, stand to benefit by leveraging the trend toward distributed generation, instead of resisting or denying it. [Electric Light & Power]

Rooftop solar installation

World:

¶ Three Canadian solar manufacturers, Silfab Solar, Heliene, and Canadian Solar, filed a lawsuit with the US Court of International Trade in New York against Donald Trump’s imposition of 30% tariffs on all imported solar cells and modules. They have cited “immediate, severe, and irreversible injuries” for the Canadian solar industry. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Following on the successful electrification of three earlier bus routes in the region of London in partnership with China’s BYD, London’s Route 153 has now gone all-electric following the deployment of eleven new BYD ADL Enviro200EV single-decker buses (10.8 meters each), according to an email sent to CleanTechnica. [CleanTechnica]

BYD electric bus in London

¶ The Canarian island of El Hierro has met its electricity needs with 100% renewable energy for 18 consecutive days, Spain’s grid operator Red Electrica de Espana announced. Between January 25 and February 12 the island has used 100% renewable energy thanks to the Gorona del Viento pumped hydro energy storage plant. [Renewables Now]

¶ Tesla, fresh from the success of its newly opened big battery in South Australia, has joined 18 other groups competing for the right to build another big battery. This time, the battery will be in the Northern Territory. The big battery in the Darwin-Katherine network will have a nominal capacity of between 25 MW and 45 MW. [CleanTechnica]

Solar project at Darwin Airport

¶ Innogy is laying the groundwork to start onshore construction at its 860-MW Triton Knoll wind farm off Lincolnshire this summer. Site preparation along the project’s onshore cable route includes removal of hedgerows, trees and vegetation, and this will happen before the spring to reduce the impact on breeding birds. [reNews]

¶ Indian Coal-based power plants are feeling the heat of spikes in thermal grade coal prices and railway freight costs. Prices of thermal grade coal have moved up by 15% to 18% this year. Also, the levy of evacuation charge of ₹50 per tonne may increase the cost of generation for coal-based power plants by up to ₹0.15 per unit (0.23¢/kWh). [EnergyInfraPost]

Thermal plant under stress

US:

¶ The US Chamber of Commerce is proposing that the federal government raise the gasoline tax by 25¢ per gallon, in 5¢ increments over 5 years. In theory, the tax hike would go to pay for rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure, the thousands of roads, bridges, and tunnels that are so substandard they are increasingly unsafe. [CleanTechnica]

¶ MidAmerican Energy announced that it had completed two wind farms in Iowa and that both projects are now generating electricity. Together, the 170-MW Beaver Creek wind farm and the 168-MW Prairie wind farm are expected to generate enough electricity to meet the power needs of more than 140,000 Iowa homes. [CleanTechnica]

Beaver Creek Wind Farm (Credit: Mortenson Construction)

¶ The tourism hotspot of Catalina Island, off the California coast, will soon be home to its first all-electric bus fleet. This follows the recent closing of a deal between the Catalina Island Company and BYD, which will see 3 BYD C6 electric buses deployed as tourist shuttles, according to an email sent to CleanTechnica. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Tenaska, an independent US power producer, signed a long-term power purchase agreement with Associated Electric Cooperative Inc that will result in competitive renewable energy prices for co-op members. The PPA has a capacity of about 236 MW of renewable power from a wind project in northwest Missouri. [Energy Manager Today]

Wind farm

¶ A pro-renewable energy coalition received the green light to gather signatures in pursuit of a November ballot measure that would mandate Michigan energy companies get at least 30% of their power from wind, solar, or other renewable sources by 2030. Officials with the state’s two biggest utilities are already pushing back. [Detroit Free Press]

¶ Vineyard Wind completed the first step of a multi-phase approval process for a proposed 800-MW offshore wind farm to be connected to the grid with a subsea transmission system. Massachusetts regulators issued a preliminary certificate outlining potential impacts and issues and can move ahead with a draft environmental impact report. [reNews]

Offshore wind turbine (reNews image)

¶ Clean energy groups are among those speaking out in opposition to President Donald Trump’s proposed fiscal year 2019 budget, which includes cuts to programs at the DOE and EPA. For the DOE, the budget requests $2.5 billion specifically for “energy and related programs,” which is $1.9 billion below that of FY 2017. [North American Windpower]

¶ Two nonprofits filed a petition to reverse a Georgia Public Service Commission decision to allow the continued expansion of Georgia’s Vogtle nuclear power. The nonprofits claim the commission violated its own rules and state law by allowing Georgia Power to continue its $25 billion nuclear expansion project at Plant Vogtle. [Courthouse News Service]

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February 13 Energy News

February 13, 2018

Science and Technology:

¶ Researchers in Australia and the US have discovered a new class of materials called metal-organic frameworks, which have the largest internal surface area of any known substance. They can capture, store, and release chemical compounds. One potential use is removing the dissolved minerals in sea water to make it drinkable. [CleanTechnica]

“Not a drop to drink”

¶ Sea level rise is happening at rate that is rising is increasing every year, according to a study released Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. A professor of aerospace engineering sciences from the University of Colorado-Boulder led researchers, who used satellite data dating to 1993 to observe ocean levels. [CNN]

World:

¶ Following a Memorandum of Understanding signed in December with the Taiwan International Ports Corporation, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy has signed another MoU in Taiwan with the express purpose of helping to develop the Taichung Harbor for offshore wind activities. Other facilities are planned. [CleanTechnica]

Port of Taichung Harbor

¶ In 2017, 20% of all new cars in Norway were EVs. The country’s ambition is that only electric cars will be sold from the year 2025. A survey reveals that almost half of Norwegians expect their next new car to be electric. But is the electric grid ready for this? One expert says it probably is, but it might be best not to charge on Thursday nights. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Siemens Gamesa, the world’s second-largest manufacturer of wind turbines, announced this week that it is expanding its solar business, after successfully securing an order to provide a turnkey EPC solution for 160 MW of solar in India. Like some other technology-specific renewable energy companies, it is diversifying. [CleanTechnica]

Siemens Gamesa solar array (Siemens Gamesa image)

¶ Additions of 52.6 GW in 2017 took the total capacity of global installed wind turbines to 539 GW by the end of December, according to figures published by the World Wind Energy Association. The statistics reveal that last year’s installations were the third annual largest ever, after the record years of 2015 and 2014. [Power Engineering International]

¶ Marine Renewables Canada is a national association for wave, tidal and river current energy. It represents technology and project developers, utilities, researchers, and the energy and marine supply chain. It has made a strategic decision to grow its focus by officially including offshore wind energy in its mandate. [North American Windpower]

Offshore wind turbine

¶ Fuel loading at the world’s first Westinghouse-designed AP1000 nuclear reactor on China’s east coast has been delayed due to “safety concerns.” It is the latest in a long line of setbacks for the project, the China Daily reported. The third-generation reactor, located in Zhejiang province, was originally expected to make its debut in 2014. [CNBC]

US:

¶ On the outskirts of Denver, not far from Denver International Airport, a grand experiment is underway. Panasonic has partnered with a consortium of local partners to transform a 400-acre patch of greenfield land into a smart district. One goal of the project is that the smart district be built as a carbon-neutral microgrid. [Power Technology]

Solar canopies in a Denver car park (Panasonic image)

¶ The Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census shows that Vermont lost 232 full-time solar jobs between November 2016 and November 2017. Vermont’s solar sector was the most affected by the changes to net metering, and the organization says that the federal tariff on most imported solar panels will make matters worse. [pv magazine USA]

¶ First Solar and Arizona Public Service are collaborating on a 50-MW battery storage project linked to a 65-MW PV plant in Arizona. The project will be built by First Solar, while APS will buy the power generated and stored under a 15-year agreement. The project is expected to be operational in 2021, the partners said. [reNews]

Installing a solar system (First Solar image)

¶ Florida Power & Light has integrated a 4-MW battery storage system with its Citrus solar energy center. The battery system will increase the PV plant’s overall output. The Citrus center in DeSoto County has been operational since 2016, and FPL said the DC-coupled battery storage facility should increase output by 500,000 kWh a year. [reNews]

¶ EDP Renewables is to supply Nestle with 50 MW of wind power from the Meadow Lake 6 project in Indiana. The 15-year agreement will provide electricity to cover 80% of the energy needs of five Nestle facilities in Pennsylvania. EDPR will expand Meadow Lake 6 to 200 MW from the existing 150 MW as a result of the deal. [reNews]

Meadow Lake wind farm Indiana (Chris Light)

¶ A group of Massachusetts lawmakers unveiled a bill that aims to increase the state’s use of renewable energy. The bill released by the Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change sets a goal of making the state 100% reliant on renewable energy by 2050, expanding renewable generation and electric transportation. [New Haven Register]

¶ With 85% of votes cast, it appeared Boulder’s quest to control its energy future was ending. But in overnight counting, the tally reversed. Measure 2L passed with 51.7% of the vote, keeping Boulder on course to be the first city to municipalize its electric company in years, and the only one ever to do it with clean, local power. [CleanTechnica]

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February 12 Energy News

February 12, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “The New Age of Renewable Energy” • Renewable energy is moving from niche to mainstream markets. One of the clearest signs yet: the Middle East is embracing it. Renewable energy is undergoing a revolution. It is surging in scale and plummeting in price, and in the process it is reshaping global energy markets. [The Cairo Review of Global Affairs]

Solar park in Dubai (Ashraf Alamra | Reuters)

¶ “Fight Climate Change, While Earning Up To 7.5% Annually?” • Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates that the solar energy market through 2040 will be worth about $2.8 trillion. Governments and institutions are supporting small systems and large, but Wunder Capital supports a middle market they have failed to see. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “How a Tasmanian community is taking the power back” • A proposed project would see $150,000 worth of solar panels and battery storage installed across six residential aged-care units in Nubeena, Tasmania. The reason is pretty straight forward: to deliver more reliable electricity in a way that will benefit the whole community. [One Step Off The Grid]

Nubeena, Tasmania

World:

¶ After successfully completing bidding to source 500 MW solar power last year, Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Limited has floated another tender to procure 500 MW from grid-connected solar PV power projects through competitive bidding. There is also a greenshoe option for the purchase of an additional 500 MW of solar power. [EnergyInfraPost]

¶ Five major pumped hydro energy storage projects and another big battery have received government support in South Australia as the state moves to advance its position as a global renewable energy leader. The projects, mainly in the state’s Mid North, would provide more than 1 GW of generating capacity to the South Australian grid. [PACE Today]

Australian windpower (Photo: Tony Lewis | InDaily)

¶ South Australian energy storage company 1414 Degrees spent almost a decade developing its Thermal Energy Storage System technology to store electricity as thermal energy by heating and melting containers full of silicon at a cost estimated to be up to 10 times cheaper than lithium batteries. It is now building a plant near Adelaide. [Climate Control News]

¶ Greenpeace’s Unearthed website reported on a confidential Cabinet Office report that suggests the medium term prospects for fracking in the UK could be far less bullish than previously admitted. The report suggests that the government expects just 17 shale gas and oil sites to be up and running by the end of the decade. [www.businessgreen.com]

Pumping jacks

¶ With massive amounts of electricity needed to run the computers that create bitcoins, large virtual currency mining companies have established a base in Iceland, which blessed with abundant renewable energy. Iceland is expected to use more energy mining bitcoins and other virtual currencies this year than it uses to power its homes. [Independent.ie]

¶ AGL will spend about A$900 million ($705 million) to buy wind farms to replace some of the power lost when it closes the Liddell coal-fired power plant. The company is to announce an expression of interest to replace the 8,000 GWh hours of power from its plant every year. It is also bringing more renewable energy on board. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

Liddell Power Station (Photo: Janie Barrett)

¶ South Australia’s first green hydrogen plant, one of the biggest of its kind worldwide, will be built near Port Lincoln. The plant will use solar and wind energy from Eyre Peninsula to create hydrogen to be used for fuel for electricity. Proponents say the industry could eventually surpass the value of Australia’s multi-billion-dollar gas exports. [InDaily]

¶ State-run South Korean energy firm Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power has today signed a memorandum of understanding with local renewable energy company Hwaseong Solar Energy to develop a 100-MW floating solar PV plant near the western coastline of the country. It would be nation’s largest floating solar farm. [pv magazine International]

South Korean floating solar PV plants (Image: Ciel & Terre)

¶ More grid-aches plagued Australia’s National Electricity Market over the weekend – none of them anything to do with renewables – as extreme weather flattened power lines in Queensland, faults in the poles and wires caused blackouts in Victoria, and ageing Latrobe Valley coal power generators proved once again that they are unreliable. [RenewEconomy]

US:

¶ Solar power prices have been dropping faster than people expected, even faster than experts expected, and even faster than bullish experts expected. A leading expert at Bloomberg New Energy Finance said that their expectations have dropped to about 37¢/watt. At this price, the cost of electricity from new solar PVs can be disruptive. [CleanTechnica]

Alaskan outhouse (Nick Bonzey, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ As expected, half of the power output from the proposed Burrillville, Rhode Island, fossil-fuel power plant was excluded from the recent power-purchase auction held by the operator of the New England power grid, ISO New England. The exclusion from the bidding was ultimately because of construction and permit delays. [ecoRI news]

¶ Spirits and wine producer Brown-Forman signed a 15-year deal with energy developer Infinity Renewables for 30 MW of power from a wind project that is now under construction in Kansas. The firm expects the power from the 474-MW Solomon Forks wind farm will provide for more than 90% of its US electricity needs. [www.businessgreen.com]

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February 11 Energy News

February 11, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Climate Change Threatens Neighborhoods of the Port of Providence” • In Providence, Rhode Island, rising seas, flood waters, and storm surge have potential to unleash buried and stored toxins along the working waterfront. Concerns about climate change have been met with reassurances that ignore the most important issues. [ecoRI news]

Providence skyline (Kenneth C Zirkel, Wikimedia Commons)

Science and Technology:

¶ Cape Town is in the unenviable situation of being the first major city in the modern era to face the threat of running out of drinking water. But there will soon be others. A 2014 survey of the world’s 500 largest cities estimates that one in four are in a situation of “water stress.” Here is a list of 11 cities likely to run out of water. [BBC]

World:

¶ The DBS bank will stop financing ‘dirty-coal’ or low-grade coal projects by the end of this year, though it will continue to support ventures in emerging markets that uses higher-quality coal, a top bank official said. The Singapore bank, which is rated among the largest in Asia, will also focus on funding renewable energy projects. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Cooling towers

¶ The CEO of Saudi Arabian utility developer ACWA Power said it expects to submit tenders for projects this year worth $4.5 billion in Saudi Arabia and will also target projects in Morocco and the United Arab Emirates. The company is looking to sell a 30% stake to investors and list in Riyadh, banking sources have told Reuters. [ArabianBusiness.com]

¶ Indian State-run power giant NTPC may borrow about ₹16,000 crore ($2.5 billion) next financial year for adding 6,900 MW of fresh electricity generation capacity by March 2019. NTPC is ramping up the share of renewables, especially solar, in its energy mix. Currently, renewables account for roughly 2% of its total energy portfolio. [Moneycontrol.com]

NTPC power plant

¶ Aker Solutions ASA, a Norwegian oil services company, invested in floating wind power technology company Principle Power. Their alliance expands Aker Solutions’ position in offshore oil and gas field engineering into the fast-growing market for windpower in sites where water had been too deep for development. [The Maritime Executive]

¶ Construction started on the 453-MW Adani Mine wind farm, which is due to be completed in 2019. The wind turbine project will produce 1.5 million MWh of renewable energy annually – enough to provide power for 260,000 homes. The Queensland Labour government is committed to a 50 % renewable energy target by 2030. [The Urban Developer]

Wind farm in Australia

¶ President Hassan Rouhani ordered Iran’s military forces to divest themselves of assets related to oil, gas, and energy. This could mean a direct confrontation between ‘liberal’ forces under Rouhani and the ultra-conservative Ayatollah Khamenei forces, of which the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is the most battle hardened. [Oilprice.com]

¶ Westinghouse will extend nuclear fuel deliveries to seven of Ukraine’s fifteen nuclear power units to 2021–2025, in line with a contract signed between this firm and Ukraine’s state-owned nuclear power company Energoatom. Deliveries to Ukraine under the new deal are to begin immediately after the current contract expires in 2020. [OilPrice.com]

Crimea

US:

¶ President Donald Trump said in the State of the Union address that the administration has “ended the war on beautiful, clean coal,” but in Texas, that seems to be a losing battle. Texas said goodbye to 455 coal-mining jobs last year, and the new year began with the shut down of yet another coal-fired Texas power plant. [Jacksonville Daily Progress]

¶ When a tariff was applied to most imported solar panels, most installers worried about the future of their industry. Growth in the solar industry, which was robust before the tariff, may see decline, but for small-scale installers and homeowners, the impacts of the tariff may not be as dire as predicted. Connecticut provides examples. [theday.com]

The Mountain Ash Solar Farm (Sean D Elliot | The Day)

¶ Dandelion is trying to expand the market for geothermal heating by lowering the price, and it just got a big boost from the federal government. Congress voted to extend a 30% federal tax credit for geothermal heat pump installations. With the state incentives included, a $26,000 system in New York would be more competitive. [InsideClimate News]

¶ With the addition of a large wind power contract in January 2017, Columbia, Missouri, surpassed its 2017 year-end target for renewable energy use, according to a recently released draft of the city’s 2018 Renewable Energy Report. Last year, about 15.7% of the city’s electricity came from renewable sources, surpassing the 2018 goal. [Columbia Daily Tribune]

Ronnie Tennill inspecting a Jenbacher J320 engine at the City
of Columbia Biogas Energy Plant. (Don Shrubshell | Tribune)

¶ Utilities in Massachusetts have been given more time to decide whether to continue with the Northern Pass transmission project after New Hampshire regulators rejected it last week. The Boston Globe reports that Massachusetts officials have extended a deadline for the state’s three big electric utilities to decide on their course of action. [Press Herald]

¶ A strong market, improving technology and expiring federal incentives have brought a renewable energy boom to McLean County, Illinois. After nearly a decade of dormancy, wind development has returned to the county in force in 2018, and a solar market is emerging as well. But that burst of activity might be short-lived. [Bloomington Pantagraph]

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February 10 Energy News

February 10, 2018

Science and Technology:

¶ A research team at the University of Maryland has developed a wood-based material that can compete with steel in the strength category. The secret is compressing the wood after removing the lignin (the tough part that “glues” wood cells together). The remaining material is packed in so closely that it forms strong hydrogen bonds. [CleanTechnica]

Researchers Liangbing Hu and Teng Li (University of Maryland)

¶ Ionic Materials is focused on making a polymer it says will replace the liquid electrolyte in lithium-ion batteries. Ionic raised $65 million in investment, which it will use to create a polymer production facility at its headquarters in Woburn, Massachusetts. Rather than making batteries itself, it will sell the polymer to battery manufacturers. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ Thailand’s largest solar energy company, Superblock Pcl, plans to invest 56 billion baht ($1.76 billion) to install 700 MW of wind farms in Vietnam, the company’s Chairman Jormsup Lochaya told Reuters. The first phase of the investment will consist of three near-shore wind farms with a combined capacity of 330 MW in southern Vietnam. [DealStreetAsia]

Wind energy (Pixabay image)

¶ The Solar Energy Corporation of India floated a tender for the allocation of 2 GW of solar PV capacity. Prospective project developers are free to chose the location for the development of the projects. The maximum tariff allowed for bids is ₹2.93/kWh (¢4.6/kWh). The lowest current solar power tariff in India is ₹2.44/kWh (3.8¢/kWh). [CleanTechnica]

¶ Ørsted received environmental approval from the Taiwanese authorities for four offshore wind farms totalling 2.4 GW off the Asian island’s Changhua coast. With Environmental Protection Administration approval, the Danish company has secured exclusivity over the development of the four sites between 35 km and 60 km from shore. [reNews]

Ørsted offshore turbine (Ørsted image)

¶ According to Allied Market Research, the Global Renewable Energy Market was valued at $ 1,405,646 million in 2016, and is projected to reach at $2,152,903 million by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 4.9% from 2017 to 2025. The report indicates that in recent years, the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix is on a continuous rise. [Broadway World]

¶ India-headquartered solar EPC company Sterling and Wilson is to build a 54.3-MW solar PV plant in Zambia under the International Finance Corporation’s Scaling Solar program. The project will be the first utility-scale solar farm in Zambia, and the first under the Scaling Solar program to be built exclusively for grid connection. [pv magazine India]

Zambia’s Kafue District (Image: Dz217 | Wikipedia)

¶ New electricity cables across the Channel to France and Belgium will be a key part of keeping Britain’s lights on during winter in the early 2020s, after their owners won backup power subsidies in a government auction this week. Three new interconnectors are currently being built to Europe, almost doubling existing capacity. [The Guardian]

¶ At the Intercontinental Hotel in Zambian capital Lusaka, the GET FiT Zambian program today hosted its official launch. The program is to implement a renewables feed in tariff strategy, REFiT, in Zambia. REFiT provides an allocation of 200 MW to small and medium renewable energy projects up to a maximum size of 20 MW. [pv magazine International]

More Zambian landscape (Image: Harvey Barrison | Flickr)

US:

¶ The budget bill passed by Congress and signed by President Trump in the early hours of February 9 extends a host of tax credits for energy technologies, including provisions to help the Vogtle nuclear expansion in Georgia as well as US carbon-capture projects. The legislation also provides support for renewable energy. [POWER magazine]

¶ The makeup of the future electric generation mix will depend largely on the price of natural gas, according to new findings from the Energy Information Administration. The mix of fuels used to generate electricity changes in response to differences in the relative costs of electricity-generating technologies, including the cost of fuel. [Solar Industry]

Please click on the image to enlarge it.

¶ Dartmouth College is engaging consultants at the investment bank Goldman Sachs to explore ways in which a private firm might finance, and even build, a new power plant to help meet the school’s renewable energy goals. Dartmouth College is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. [Valley News]

¶ Hawaiian Electric Cos said it will ask state regulators for approval to issue requests for proposals for development and construction of new renewable energy projects across its service territory. The utility seeks to procure 220 MW of renewable generation on Oahu, 60 MW on Maui, and 20 MW on the Big Island. [Pacific Business News (Honolulu)]

Renewable energy in Hawaii (YangPhoto)

¶ Overall US energy consumption decreased slightly to 97.4 quadrillion BTU in 2016, a 0.3% decline from 2015. Compared to 2015, energy consumption increased in 2016 for renewables (+7.3%), natural gas (+3.8%), nuclear (+1.0%), and petroleum (+1.2%). Consumption from coal continued to decline, dropping by 8.5%. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ The latest software release from Sunverge Energy makes it easier for electric utilities to use real-time data to better enable more comprehensive demand management while offering and co-optimizing both consumer and grid services. The additional features and enhancements to the company’s Virtual Power Plant platform. [AltEnergyMag]

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February 9 Energy News

February 9, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Economic collapse: The real message of the fall of Troy” • The fall and sack of the city of Troy at the hands of an avenging Greek army is one that has been told for some 3,000 years, but within that story are some clues to a much wider collapse of multiple civilizations. The events of that time have lessons for our own 21st Century. [BBC]

Fall of Troy (BBC | Wild Mercury)

¶ “Could plant-based plastics help tackle waste pollution?” • One company trying to eliminate plastics pollution is Biome Bioplastics. It developed a fully compostable and recyclable plastic using natural materials such as potato starch, corn starch, and cellulose, the main constituent of plant cell walls, instead of materials from oil. [BBC]

Science and Technology:

¶ Damless hydropower plants divert a section of the running body of water into a pipe that runs through a turbine. People at the Belgian company Turbulent believe that micro-hydropower plants could be important in the future of electric generation. Last year they built a 15-kW system that could be a model for distributed power generation [AZoCleantech]

Running river (Image: InnaVar | shutterstock)

¶ Last August, a team led by Mark Jacobson published a roadmap to a world powered by 100% renewable energy. That report got some pushback from a number of scientists who questioned its assumptions. Now, Jacobson and his colleagues have published a new report they believe thoroughly addresses the skeptics’ concerns. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ France added a record of almost 2.8 GW of new renewables capacity to the mainland grid in 2017, according to a report. It said 2,763 MW of new capacity was installed last year, with wind and solar representing 65% and 32% respectively. Total installed capacity of 48,685 MW takes France 94% of the way its 2018 target. [reNews]

French countryside

¶ China filed complaints with the World Trade Organization this week, seeking talks on compensation with the United States for the recent tariffs that President Donald Trump signed off on for imported solar cells and modules and washing machines. China claims the tariffs are inconsistent with two international trade agreements. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Latest quarterly data confirms continued strong performance for UK renewables sector. The renewables sector continued to perform strongly during the third quarter of last year, according to new official data, which shows that increased capacity and availability helped push its share of the electricity mix to 30%. [www.businessgreen.com]

UK onshore windpower (Credit: SSE)

¶ Wind overtook nuclear to become the UK’s second biggest power generator in January. Independent energy market monitoring specialists, EnAppSys, released data showing high wind generation has recently propelled wind energy to second from the top in the UK’s energy pecking order, after gas-fired power. [Power Engineering International]

¶ Renewables developers are celebrating after South Africa’s Minister of Public Enterprises unexpectedly signed off on power-purchase agreements, ending years of uncertainty for winners in the country’s renewable energy procurement program. The uncertainty had been made worse recently by financial troubles of state-owned utility Eskom. [Greentech Media]

Wind turbines in South Africa

¶ Germany’s coalition government partners have concluded an agreement that may set a final deadline for coal-fired power production in Germany, a report in Clean Energy Wire say. A commission will decide the timeline for phasing out coal, under a coalition deal agreed between the social democrats and Angela Merkel’s conservatives. [Energy Collective]

US:

¶ A Finnish company, Taaleri Energia, acquired its first US wind project, the 277-MW Truscott-Gilliland East Wind Project in Knox County, Texas. This represents approximately $350 million of investment in the North American renewable power sector. The project is planned to reach commercial operations by the end of 2019. [Windpower Engineering]

Wind turbines above the fog

¶ AT&T announced that it is buying a large amount of wind power from two wind farms with a combined capacity of 520 MW. The projects, in Texas and Oklahoma, will be operated by subsidiaries of Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources. The electricity they will generate is roughly the amount needed for a quarter-million homes. [Dallas News]

¶ The American Wind Energy Association and the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition submitted comments to the Ohio Power Siting Board to oppose changes to a wind farm setback waiver process proposed by State Rep Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, saying they would be detrimental to the state’s wind industry. [North American Windpower]

Storm at a windfarm

¶ ISO New England, the non-profit organization that operates the region’s six-state power grid, announced that it had secured 34,828 MW of capacity to meet peak demand in the 2021-2022 season. The target was 33,725, leaving a 1,103-MW surplus. The forward capacity auction produced the lowest clearing price in five years. [MassLive.com]

¶ Scott Pruitt, the head of the EPA, who has previously denied that carbon dioxide is a key driver of climate change, suggested that global warming may be beneficial to humans. It is another departure from mainstream climate science, and his suggestion that warming temperatures could benefit civilization caused consternation among scientists. [Grist]

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February 8 Energy News

February 8, 2018

World:

¶ Yingli Green Energy (also known as Yingli Solar) announced that it had secured an agreement from Latin American-focused independent power producer Jenner Renewables to provide Engineering, Procurement, and Construction services for 12 ground-mounted PV plants in Chile. On completion, their total capacity will be 146 MW. [CleanTechnica]

Solar array

¶ Edinburgh start-up Gravitricity secured a £650,000 grant from Innovate UK to help with plans for energy storage projects at the sites of disused mines in Scotland. The technology would use weights of up to 2000 tonnes suspended in mine shafts by cables attached to winches. Energy is stored by raising the weights and released by lowering them. [reNews]

¶ Navigant Research has published new figures that show a total of 3.3 GW of new offshore wind energy capacity was installed worldwide in 2017, bringing the cumulative capacity up to almost 17 GW. There is an additional 7.9 GW in the pipeline. The figures appeared in the report, Offshore Wind Market and Project Assessment 2017. [CleanTechnica]

Ship at an offshore windfarm

¶ According to Mercom India Research, a record 9.5 GW of Indian solar power capacity was likely added in 2017, taking the total solar power capacity operational in India to over 20 GW. The figures do not match those of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, and Mercom attributes the figures to its “India Solar Project tracker.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ A community of Queensland farmers hopes a wind farm being built, the Coopers Gap project, will drought-proof their futures. Ten years in the making, it is set to be the southern hemisphere’s largest. A total of 123 turbines will be built across a dozen farm properties, and the landowners will benefit from leasing arrangements. [ABC Online]

Gullen Range wind farm (Photo: Gavin Coote | ABC Central West)

¶ Australia’s multi-billion dollar tourism industry is under increasing threat from climate change, a study warned. Some of the nation’s top natural wonders are in danger as temperatures and sea levels rise. The Climate Council report said carbon emissions are harming Australia’s beaches, national parks, and the Great Barrier Reef. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ AC Energy Holdings, Inc expects the investments for its solar power venture in Vietnam to reach around $300 million as the Ayala-led company ramps up spending for power generation projects this year. AC Energy had said the target capacity in Vietnam could increase by 300 MW, as it expects a cost of about $1 per watt. [InterAksyon]

An AC Energy solar farm

US:

¶ The National Solar Job Census 2017, published this week by The Solar Foundation found that the US solar industry employed 250,271 people in 2017. This is a 3.8% decline on 2016 figures, or around 9,800 fewer jobs. It was the first year that jobs have decreased since the Solar Foundation began publishing its census in 2010. [CleanTechnica]

¶ One of the most important reservoirs in the southwestern US will likely collect less than half its normal amount of spring runoff this year because of a warm, dry winter across much of the region, forecasters said. Lake Powell, which straddles Utah and Arizona, is expected to get 47% of its average inflow because of scant snow. [KDWN]

Drought in the American West

¶ For the fourth year in a row, new US electricity capacity from renewable sources surpassed those from natural gas. They accounted for nearly half of all new capacity additions, according to recent figures published by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Out of 24,614 MW of new capacity, 12,270 MW was renewable. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Moving toward renewable power, American Electric Power is planning to add 8.36 GW of new renewable capacity by 2030. Of this, 5,295 MW is wind power, including the 2 GW Wind Catcher project planned for Oklahoma, which will feature 800 GE 2.5-MW turbines. AEP also aims to develop 3,065 MW of new solar capacity. [reNews]

Farm with wind turbines (Pixabay image)

¶ Cash-strapped NRG Energy is selling its stakes in power generation and renewable divisions nationwide to raise $2.7 billion, the New Jersey utility company reported. Global Infrastructure Partners will buy NRG’s ownership in NRG Yield and its renewables platform for $1.375 billion in cash, according to reports. [Electric Light & Power]

¶ Data center company Switch will help create a 1-GW solar energy project in Nevada. It will be the largest solar array in the US, the company said. The huge project underscores both Switch’s commitment to 100% clean energy. It also showcases how the data center industry has taken a leadership role in sustainable energy. [Data Center Frontier]

Solar array supporting a data center (Photo: Rich Miller)

¶ Sierra Club San Diego launched a partnership with a local solar installer in what they say is a declaration of “war” against San Diego Gas & Electric’s use of non-renewable energy sources. For each Sierra Club member or supporter who signs up for an energy project, Sullivan Solar Power will donate $500 to the local chapter. [CBS 8 San Diego]

¶ NextEra Energy, parent of Florida Power and Light and owner of several US nuclear power stations, launched a lawsuit against the Nuclear Energy Institute, the nuclear industry’s trade group, claiming extortion. Among other things, NextEra accused the NEI of trying to instill a false panic about the reliability of renewable energy sources. [OilPrice.com]

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February 7 Energy News

February 7, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Why a Big Utility Is Embracing Wind and Solar” • Imagine that first-class airline seats sell for less than the cramped seats in economy. So you fly first class to New York, where you discover that every dish in the best French restaurant is cheaper than the burger and fries down the street. Something rather like that is happening with electricity. [New York Times]

Spring Canyon Wind Farm outside Peetz, Colorado 
(Credit: Ryan David Brown | The New York Times)

¶ “Healing with solar in Puerto Rico” • More than four months after Hurricane Maria tore across Puerto Rico, over 450,000 people are still without power. For critical facilities like hospitals, the lack of electricity has meant cutting services and relying on generators until power is restored. Solar power has an important role in healing. [One Step Off The Grid]

World:

¶ Last month, Brazil announced its intention to begin the process of becoming a full Member of the International Renewable Energy Agency, and this month the Agency has welcomed the country’s intentions, saying Brazil’s decision “reflects the country’s strong commitment to multilateralism and sustainable energy.” [CleanTechnica]

Rooftop solar system in Brazil

¶ ACWA Power announced that it had been awarded the rights to develop the 300-MW Skaka IPP PV solar project. The project is to be built in the Al Jouf region of Saudi Arabia and cover a site with an area of over 6 square kilometres. ACWA Power was awarded the project at a record-low tariff of 8.782 halala per kWh, or around 2.34¢/kWh. [CleanTechnica]

¶ European wind power enjoyed a record year in 2017, as more offshore capacity was installed than ever before. Europe’s wind power generation had a bumper 12 months last year, after 3,148 MW was installed at sea and connected to the grid, twice the total for 2016 and 4% higher than 2015, the year with the previous record high. [publics.bg]

Wind turbine in the mountains

¶ Tilt Renewables will build a 300-MW pumped-hydro plant at a quarry near Adelaide, South Australia. The site was picked because of its existing reservoir and road infrastructure, the company’s CEO said. The company also announced plans for a $90 million solar farm and 21-MW battery near Snowtown in the state’s mid-north. [Yahoo7 News]

¶ Underlying operating profit at Vattenfall’s wind power division more than doubled to Skr2.1 billion ($260 million) in 2017, from Skr0.9 billion in 2016. The Swedish company’s annual results reveal net sales from the segment also increased to Skr9.4 billion ($1.18 billion), from Skr6.7 billion. Much of the growth was from wind assets. [reNews]

Pen y Cymoedd wind farm in Wales (Vattenfall image)

¶ One of China’s biggest makers of solar panels, Longi Solar Technology Ltd, said it will invest $309 million to expand manufacturing in India in a move to guard against a rising threat of import controls in the US and other markets. New US tariffs are to be applied against solar panels from most producing countries, but not India’s. [PennEnergy]

¶ As debate rages in Queensland over Adani’s controversial coal mine, the state is seeing a quiet start of construction of Australia’s largest wind farm. Due to be completed in 2019, the 453-MW wind project will produce 1.5 million MWh annually, as the state government moves towards a 50% renewable energy target by 2030. [Bendigo Advertiser]

Site of wind farm to be built in Queensland

¶ The Tokyo District Court ordered TEPCO, the operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to pay ¥1.1 billion ($10.1 million) to 321 plaintiffs who claimed they had suffered psychological damage from losing their livelihoods in the Kodaka district of the city of Minamisoma. They had sought ¥11 billion. [The Japan Times]

¶ Far North Queensland is set to get another wind farm, after a 100-MW project got the green light from the state government for construction on the Cape York Peninsula. The project will include up to 30 wind turbines as well as electrical infrastructure. It will generate enough power to supply more than 50,000 homes. [RenewEconomy]

Collgar Wind Farm in Western Australia (Windlab image)

US:

¶ The Narragansett Bay Commission, operator of two wastewater treatment plants in Rhode Island, decided to turn the byproducts of wastewater treatment into energy, according to Jamie Samons, public affairs manager of the Bay Commission. Within the next month, a biogas generation facility will begin to convert waste into power. [The Brown Daily Herald]

¶ SpaceX’s big new rocket has blasted off on its first test flight, carrying a red Tesla sports car which it released into orbit. The Falcon Heavy rocket rose from the same Florida launch pad used by NASA to send men to the moon. Falcon Heavy cut costs by returning the three main-stage boosters back to Earth to be reused. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

Two booster rockets returning to Earth for reuse (Photo: SpaceX)

¶ Rhode Island Gov Gina Raimondo wants to ramp up the amount of renewable energy flowing to electric customers. Raimondo set a state target of 400 MW of new wind, solar, biomass, and small-scale hydropower by the end of summer. Rhode Island has promised to meet the carbon-reduction goals of the Paris Accord. [ecoRI news]

¶ Standard Solar, Inc announced it will finance a 9.8-MW solar project to provide power to the City of Gallup, one of the largest municipally-owned utilities in New Mexico. The single-axis tracker array is expected to generate more than 20 million kWh of power annually providing nearly 10% of the city’s energy use. [pv magazine USA]

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February 6 Energy News

February 6, 2018

World:

¶ Cape Town officials pushed back their projections for the day the South African city’s taps are expected to run dry from April 16 to May 11, citing a decline in agricultural water use. The farming sector, which uses the same supply system the city draws its water from, has already used its allotment, so there will be a drop over the coming weeks. [CNN]

Cape Town residents queue for water (AP Photo/Bram Janssen)

¶ In a push to become one of China’s top auto makers, Nissan will pump 60 billion yuan ($9.5 billion) into its operations there over the next 5 years, company execs have revealed. The plan will reportedly focus on plug-in electric vehicles with the intention being to boost local sales volume to 2.6 million vehicles a year by 2022. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Official statistics report that grid-connected PV capacity in Chile reached 1.82 GW by the end of 2017, but the completion of two large-scale projects totaling 215 MW in early January raised Chile’s total installed power to around 2.04 GW. There are 281 MW of solar PV power plants currently under construction in Chile. [pv magazine International]

Javiera PV plant in northern Chile (Image: NEXTracker)

¶ Speaking to parliament, the French foreign affairs minister made his country’s stand on the US decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement quite clear: “One of our main demands is that any country who signs a trade agreement with EU should implement the Paris Agreement on the ground. No Paris Agreement, no trade agreement.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ The renewables arm of General Electric Co announced that it signed a deal to supply turbines for a 360-MW portion of Engie SA’s Umburanas wind project in Brazil. Under the terms of the contract, GE Renewable Energy will deliver 144 units of its 2.5-116 turbines for the project, which is in the northeastern part of the country. [Renewables Now]

Wind farm

¶ Google announced plans to build a data center in Belgium that will have an on-site solar farm for energy generation. Google expects the data center to come online in mid-2019. The solar farm’s construction began in March of 2017, and it is already in operation. Its 10,665 solar panels can generate 2.9 GWh of energy per year. [Decentralized Energy]

¶ Installed offshore wind capacity in Europe grew 25% last year to 15.8 GW, an increase of 3.1 GW on 2016, according to figures released by WindEurope. The UK installed 1.7 GW, and Germany installed 1.3 GW. There are now more than 4000 offshore wind turbines operating in waters of 11 countries in Europe, the wind industry body added. [reNews]

Offshore windpower (reNews image)

¶ Vietnam is accelerating the construction of solar power plants to make up for an anticipated power shortfall due to the recent cancellation of several nuclear power projects. A conglomerate, Thien Tan Group, plans to build five large solar power plants in the southern province of Ninh Thuan at a cost of $2 billion by 2020. [VnExpress International]

¶ Innogy, owner and developer of the planned £2 billion ($2.8 billion) Triton Knoll wind farm off the coast of eastern England, is looking for partners to get it off the ground. The 860-MW  project has drawn interest from a number of infrastructure and pension funds. Though fewer offshore projects are being built, investor interest is growing. [ETEnergyworld.com]

European offshore windpower (Getty Images)

US:

¶ Wind power is forecast to surpass hydroelectricity for the first time as the nation’s top source of renewable electricity sometime in the next year, the Energy Information Administration said. The sector is expected to produce 6.4% of utility-scale electricity in 2018, and 6.9% in 2019, propelled by a construction boom of new turbines. [TCT]

¶ New York State has seen 1,000% growth in solar power since 2011, Governor Cuomo announced. Between December 2011 and December 2017, the growth was possible because of more than $2.8 billion in private investment into the state’s clean energy economy. According to Cuomo, the growth also fueled 12,000 jobs across New York. [WGRZ-TV]

Rooftop PV construction (Lucas Braun, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ GM appears to have adopted a new market strategy, which would be to split itself into two components. One would manufacture electric and autonomous cars in China for world markets, and the other would continue to double down on huge fossil-fueled trucks and SUVs for the domestic market, with new offerings to arrive in 2019. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A bipartisan group of New Hampshire lawmakers wants Gov Chris Sununu to support another big power line in the state, now that the future of the Northern Pass project is in doubt. They support National Grid’s Granite State Power Link, a competitor to Northern Pass that is still in the early stages of development. [New Hampshire Public Radio]

New Hampshire power line (NHPR photo)

¶ A number of Fortune 500 companies are driving the demand for renewable energy, and they are calling for a major upgrade to the country’s energy transmission lines. A report by the Wind Energy Foundation details renewable energy commitments by large corporations willing to purchase 60 GW of renewable energy by 2025. [KGWN]

¶ Squaw Valley is teaming up with Liberty Utilities and Tesla, with a plan for the ski resort to go off the grid and use 100% renewable energy. The Olympic Valley Microgrid Project would use state-of-the-art battery storage technology to create a new way to store surplus energy and deliver that stored energy to the utility’s grid. [KTVN]

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February 5 Energy News

February 5, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Why climate deniers target women” • Harassment is no stranger to the reporters, researchers and policymakers who work on climate change, but it is particularly severe for the women in those fields. Research into public understanding of climate change reveals an important link between sexism and climate denial. [eco-business.com]

2017 Women’s March (Image: Ted Eytan, CC BY 2.0)

¶ “How To Keep The Power On For A Booming Population” • Since 2000, Washington, DC’s population has surged, but its power grid has not. The city added renewable capacity instead of generators. It upgraded aged structures. It kept the lights on and costs down for the city’s poorest residents. Here is an interview telling how it was done. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶ We have heatwaves more often and researchers are responding with practical climate strategies. Potential techniques for climate engineering include planting crop varieties bred to be lighter in color, use of more reflective mulch, leaving lighter stubble on cropped land, and use of no-till practices that have soil absorb less heat. [North Queensland Register]

Lighter colored land

World:

¶ South Australia’s project to install solar power and batteries on 50,000 homes started with a call for proposals for innovation in renewables and storage. Tesla’s submission was a virtual power plant with 250 MW of solar PVs and 650 MWh of battery storage. The new project will be the largest virtual power plant in the world. [Interesting Engineering]

¶ A fast growing market for solar products is driving an energy revolution in Ethiopia. But with high taxes, high interest rates, and a lack of foreign exchange, the state approved market sector is struggling to sell products. The black market, on the other hand, is thriving and operates with sales an order of magnitude greater. [CleanTechnica]

Ethiopian market

¶ GE is teaming up with Arenko Group to build grid-scale energy storage projects in the UK. Arenko has invested in a 41-MW battery energy storage system supplied by GE in the Midlands. The project will be operational later this year. The aim is to provide flexibility and a more balanced energy system, the partners said. [reNews]

¶ The Cuba Sustainable Energy Forum 2018 was held on January 30 and 31. It provided a platform for the Cuban authorities to present the country’s sustainable energy and foreign investment opportunities, and for the EU to showcase renewable energy technologies, lessons learnt, and financing instruments available to Cuba. [Modern Diplomacy]

Cuban renewable energy

¶ Thailand’s biggest wind power generator, Wind Energy Holdings, plans to invest into other sources of electricity including solar, hydro, and biomass, its CEO told Reuters. Thailand has emerged as Southeast Asia’s leading developer of renewable electricity, with providers obliged to guarantee minimum levels of supply. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ Four famous Sikh shrines in Delhi will go green by employing solar energy to meet their daily power needs from April. They will be provided with 3,125 rooftop solar panels having a total of 1 MW capacity. The expectation is that they will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 30,000 tons over a period of 20 years. [Millennium Post]

Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, Delhi

¶ Last summer, the Belgian government revealed that seventy new cracks had been discovered in the boiler of the country’s Tihange 2 nuclear reactor. Though its people are alarmed, Germany is powerless to do anything about nuclear plants just across its borders, which pose the same safety risks to German citizens as domestic plants would. [Forbes]

US:

¶ Lake Tahoe’s iconic Squaw Valley ski resort and its sister resort Alpine Meadows plan to go 100% renewable by the end of this year and get a cleaner, more reliable and resilient grid, all at no added cost. Only weeks have passed since another major ski resort operator, Vail Resorts of Colorado, announced a goal of zero net emissions by 2030. [GreenBiz]

Squaw Valley

¶ As the coal industry continues to decline, many former fossil fuel workers across the US are training for new careers in renewable energy. In Casper, Wyoming, Goldwind Americas runs Goldwind Works as a wind energy technician training program that teaches former fossil fuel workers to operate and maintain wind technology. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Controlled Thermal Resources, an energy company from Australia, wants to develop 1,000 MW of electricity in the Mojave Desert over the next decade. And for a state that’s aiming to get half its electricity from renewable sources, that’s no small number. The geothermal potential of the area has been known for a long time. [WBUR]

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February 4 Energy News

February 4, 2018

Worth Reading:

¶ “This farmer gave 600 homes cheap electricity that the power company couldn’t” • At first, he was mocked by his family and neighbors for being “crazy,” but now, even the national electric company wants to buy his DIY hydro-power operation. It all began with a dream to give his remote Indonesian village a better life. [Channel NewsAsia]

The village of Andungbiru

Science and Technology:

¶ A report from the World Resources Institute and the Nature Conservancy says governments around the world have made commitments to reviving nearly 400 million acres of wilderness . As countries push to regrow forests, startups are dreaming up new and faster ways to plant trees. For some innovators that means using drones. [CleanTechnica]

¶ It appears that polar bears are being pushed to extinction faster than had been thought. An increasing number of polar bears cannot catch enough prey to feed them, researchers reported in the journal Science. The animals need to travel farther to get their food and require 1.6 times more energy than was estimated in the 1990s. [Deutsche Welle]

Polar bear

¶ A study led by researchers of the University of Texas at Austin addressed how the impacts of La Niña may change from the first winter to the second for double-dip La Niñas like this one. They found evidence that the North Pacific atmospheric circulation anomalies and US drought strengthen in the second winter of a double-dip La Niña. [Sierra Sun Times]

¶ Earth-sheltered homes are built with soil or substrate to provide insulation and various climate control properties. They can offer significant advantages over conventional approaches for reducing heating and cooling needs, and they have little indoor temperature variation. They are also resistant to high winds and storms. [CleanTechnica]

Earth-sheltered home (Derek Harper, Creative Commons)

World:

¶ A scheme to support small-scale solar energy generation in Irish homes will be rolled out this summer, a government minister announced. Grants will given be for roof-mounted solar PV panels. They will support “self consumption” of electricity in domestic properties, meaning that energy generated will not be fed into the national grid. [Irish Times]

¶ South Australia’s state premier Jay Weatherill announced a plan to create a network of 50,000 home solar systems backed by Tesla Powerwall batteries, ahead of a state election in March. The 5-kW solar PV panel installations and 13.5-kWh Tesla Powerwall 2 batteries are to be installed at no charge to the households that participate. [The Nation]

Jay Weatherill touring the Hornsdale battery system

¶ As the federal government of Nigeria moves to confront the endemic power crisis, there are strong indications that the decentralised mini-grid approach, will be widely adopted. It could get the 43% of Nigerians without access to electricity out of darkness as efforts intensify on a power sector reform agenda through 2018. [Leadership Newspapers]

¶ Indian companies and authorities are coming under pressure to step up efforts to fight climate change amid rapidly rising concerns about the implications of carbon emissions for the economy, following the revelation that India is one of the three worst offending countries when it comes to environmental performance. [The National]

Polluted cities (Altaf Qadri | AP)

¶ Lethal levels of radiation have been observed inside Japan’s damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant, possibly much higher levels than you might expect. According to TEPCO, radiation measured at eight Sieverts per hour have been discovered within the Fukushima nuclear power plant, which was destroyed in March  of 2011. [Sputnik International]

US:

¶ After New Hampshire’s Northern Pass was unanimously rejected by the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee, a Vermont-based electrical transmission project says it is ready to help Massachusetts meet its clean energy needs. The TDI-New England’s Clean Power Link, through Lake Champlain and Vermont, is fully permitted. [Caledonian Record]

Lake Champlain (Tony Webster, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Climate activists rallied in Annapolis to support legislation requiring the state of Maryland to use 100% renewable energy by 2035. The event was attended by state legislators and grassroots activists alike. They called for an end to the use of fossil fuels and a switch to “green energy” sources to combat climate change. [The Western Journal]

¶ Over the last 15 years, Seattle has had more extreme rain, according to a newly published study by Seattle Public Utilities officials. They say the weather is a climate-change preview. One SPU meteorologist said, “For years, people have been saying, ‘I think the rain is getting worse around here,’ and now the data shows that.” [Seattle Times]

Heavy rain in Seattle (Steve Ringman | The Seattle Times)

¶ Gov Andrew M. Cuomo announced that New York state will invest $24 million into power transmission projects headed by the New York Power Authority. The money will go toward a pair of transmission improvement projects at NYPA’s St Lawrence-Franklin D Roosevelt Power Project, which is powered by a dam in Massena. [WatertownDailyTimes.com]

¶ The White House plans to withdraw its controversial nominee to head the Council on Environmental Quality, Kathleen Hartnett White, according to two administration officials. One of them said that Hartnett White’s nomination had failed to gather momentum as some Senate Republicans raised questions about her expertise. [messenger-inquirer]

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February 3 Energy News

February 3, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “The end of energy scarcity” • Suddenly, the internet has brought the end of information scarcity. Similarly, the switch to renewable energy will, I believe, bring us to the quick and final end of energy scarcity. Once fully implemented over the next decade or two, or three, it will spell the end of energy scarcity. [Alaska Highway News]

Solar arrays in Hudson’s Hope, northeastern British Columbia

World:

¶ Numbers for Australia’s renewable energy installations in 2017 were outstanding, and PV installations produced what were called “eye watering charts.” The latest tally from PV market analysts SunWiz has revealed a record smashing total so far of 1.25 GW of solar PV installed across the year, eclipsing the former record set in 2012. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Delivery drones are proving their worth in the developing world. To have a drone infrastructure work in real life, electricity supply must be stable, and wireless communication must be very reliable. But that is becoming the norm many places on Earth earlier classified as off-grid. Drones can often deliver vital goods very efficiently. [CleanTechnica]

Vertical take-off and landing drone (Pexels image)

¶ The Indian Budget includes a ₹1,40,000 crore (sic, $21 billion) scheme to solarize agricultural pumps and encourage use of barren land for solar plants, according to the power and renewable energy minister. The scheme envisions setting up 10,000 MW of solar plants on barren lands and distributing 1.75 million solar pumps. [Economic Times]

¶ A major coal power station in Yorkshire will close at the end of September after it failed to secure a government subsidy to provide backup power next winter. Losing out on a capacity market contract sounded the death knell for Eggborough coal-burning plant, which supplies 1.96-GW, enough power for about 2 million homes. [The Guardian]

A major coal plant

¶ Indian Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said his country should strive for 50% of its power generation capacity from renewable sources by 2030 on the back of technological advancements in solar and wind energy. He also said the country is set to exceed the target of 175 GW in renewable energy and touch 200 GW by 2022. [The Hindu]

¶ Lynne Brown, South African Public Enterprises Minister has announced her approval of Eskom’s application to purchase increased amounts of renewable energy from Independent Power Producers. Minister Brown says South Africans ought to feel proud about progress made in adding renewable energy to the energy mix. [BizNis Africa]

Wind turbines

¶ Cuba is feeling the effects of both reduced deliveries of oil from Venezuela and climate change, with rising seas and more severe storms. Havana just hosted its first Renewable Energy Business Forum, attracting companies from 16 countries. Cuba’s goal is to increase its output of renewable energy from just over 4% today to 24% by 2030. [CGTN America]

US:

¶ A New York-based energy project built on blockchain, a distributed ledger or database, is currently attempting to create peer-to-peer marketplaces for distributed energy. As the global energy market is still trapped in a previous era and needs an urgent and thorough redesign, the Brooklyn Microgrid could be a game changer. [CleanTechnica]

Solar system in Brooklyn

¶ In Washington state, a version of Gov Jay Inslee’s carbon-tax proposal took a key step forward as lawmakers approved the legislation in a vote of the state Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee. It passed out of committee on a 6-to-4 vote. The bill must go through other committees before it reaches the full legislature. [Seattle Times]

¶ Thompson Elementary School in Highland Park, Michigan, has been vacant for 20 years. It is a shell of a building, reflecting the economic troubles of the city overall. But now, there is a plan for it. The proposed Parker Village project will convert the school into a community center surrounded by energy efficient, net-zero homes. [Michigan Radio]

Parker Village community center (Rendering: Parker Village HP)

¶ Reduced state incentives and new US trade tariffs are likely to speed the decline of small and medium-sized solar power installations, trade group Renewable Energy Vermont said. The number of new net-metered PV panels declined by 50% last year, REV reported, citing data from the Vermont Public Utilities Commission. [BurlingtonFreePress.com]

¶ Exxon Mobil Corp has reported that it expects global oil demand to drop sharply by 2040 if regulations aimed at limiting the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on climate are fully implemented. Under this scenario, Exxon projected world oil consumption will drop 0.4% annually to 2040 to 25% below current levels. [The Star Online]

Exxon Desert Tanker (Image: azrainman, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ One of the oldest nuclear power plants in the country will be shutting down more than a year ahead of schedule. Exelon, the country’s largest nuclear utility, said that it would shut down the Oyster Creek power station in New Jersey in October of 2018, more than a year ahead of schedule. The plant is licensed to run until 2029. [Washington Examiner]

¶ In a report to Connecticut legislators, the state’s energy officials recommended that the Millstone nuclear power station be allowed to offer further evidence of financial distress. The plant’s owners hope that a new procurement process could enhance its profitability. Millstone is the state’s biggest source of zero-carbon electricity. [Hartford Business]

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February 2 Energy News

February 2, 2018

¶ Agroforestry, an agricultural system that combines trees with crops and livestock on the same plot of land, could play an important role in mitigating climate change because it sequesters more atmospheric carbon in plant parts and soil than farming with conventional methods, according to researchers at Penn State. [Science Daily]

Alley cropping walnut and soybeans in Missouri (USDA photo)

World:

¶ Danish developer Ørsted has fully commissioned its 573-MW Race Bank offshore wind farm in the UK North Sea. They hit the commissioning landmark in January following a 200-hour testing period and the project is now generating at full capacity. The work of installing the project’s 91 Siemens Gamesa 6.3-MW turbines began last May. [reNews]

¶ Chile will phase out coal power generation, president Michelle Bachelet declared. A working group will develop a plan to replace existing coal capacity. The fuel generated 35% of the South American country’s electricity in 2015. As of December 2017, the UK and Canada had signed up 24 other countries to end use of coal. [The Wire]

Replacing coal (Credit: Miguel MS | Flickr)

¶ Battery storage won 97.5 MW of T-1 capacity market contracts for delivery next winter from UK transmission system operator National Grid. Winning projects include VLC Energy’s facilities in Cleator in Cumbria and Glassenbury in Kent, which won 2.1-MW and 8.5-MW contracts respectively. One other contract winner will use compressed air storage. [reNews]

¶ Global heavy lift provider ALE has announced the successful completion of a project to deliver and install seven transformers, weighing approximately 225 tonnes each, for the NordLink Project in Tonstad, Norway. ALE described the mountainous route, for which it used 26-axle conventional trailers, as technically challenging. [KHL Group]

Transporting a 255 ton transformer

¶ The Australian government’s proposed National Energy Guarantee would fail in almost all of its stated goals, and would only benefit the owners of coal-fired power generators, a stinging report prepared for the Australian Conservation Foundation has found. It would even fail on its core goal of boosting power system reliability. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Renewables are on a pretty hot run in Australia. Over 800 MW of utility-scale renewables have been confirmed in the past six weeks. That includes wind farms of 135-MW in New South Wales, a 225-MW in Victoria, and solar farms of 200-MW in Victoria and 250-MW in New South Wales. And these are just the larger installations. [RenewEconomy]

Renewable power

¶ Early results of the feasibility study of the undersea power grid linking Morocco and Portugal appear promising. The inter-continental electricity link could be operational by 2020, at a total cost of €700 million. With a capacity of 1000 MW, it will help create a regional energy hub and increase regional energy independence. [The North Africa Post]

US:

¶ With 2,200 stores, Home Depot is one of the largest retailers in America. By July of this year, 800 of those stores will have high-profile displays advertising Tesla products in them. Staffed by Tesla employees, the products they are to feature include Tesla’s solar panels, rooftop solar systems, and the Powerwall storage batteries. [CleanTechnica]

Tesla Powerwall

¶ New Hampshire’s Site Evaluation Committee voted 7-0 to reject an application for the Northern Pass project, which would have provided clean energy to Massachusetts but was seen as an eyesore by critics who feared it would tarnish scenic views and damage New Hampshire’s tourism industry. The rejection was not expected. [Yahoo News Canada]

¶ The Trump administration has made an unexpected announcement with potentially dramatic consequences for the California desert. It said it will reconsider an Obama-era conservation plan that blocks energy development across millions of acres and encourages solar and wind farms only in more limited areas. [The Desert Sun]

Joshua tree (Gooniesgrl4evr, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The Argonne National Labs and the sustainable energy NGO Energy Vision released two case studies assessing the results of pioneering projects that were among the first to make renewable compressed natural gas vehicle fuel. They made the fuel by using anaerobic digesters and capturing the biogas from decomposing organic waste. [MENAFN.COM]

¶ A number of companies are trying to bring small nuclear reactors to market. In January, the NRC ruled that the design of the NuScale reactor, which relies on air circulation for cooling, is sufficiently safe that it does not need the expensive emergency pumps and backup electrical systems required of conventional reactors. [Los Angeles Times]

Reactor prototype (Keith Schneider | Los Angeles Times)

¶ Building on its earlier announcements about a new hydrogen fuel cell powered Class 8 semi truck, and having 8,000 pre-orders, Nikola Motor Company unveiled plans to develop a $1 billion manufacturing facility near Phoenix, Arizona. Once completed, it will be one of the world’s largest plants making semi trucks. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Two more US nuclear power plants are facing early retirement, joining a string of generators whose fate was determined by market conditions, political pressure, or financial stresses hitting the sector. They are the Duane Arnold nuclear plant in Iowa, and the Davis-Besse nuclear plant in Ohio. Several others may be poised to join them. [POWER magazine]

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February 1 Energy News

February 1, 2018

World:

¶ Lewis Wind Power is preparing to take part in the remote islands segment of Contracts for Difference auctions due to be held in spring 2019. The company, a joint venture of EDF and Wood, opened an office in Stornoway to spearhead community liaison for the 160-MW Uisenis and 180-MW Stornoway projects in Scottish waters. [reNews]

Canna Island in the Hebrides (Credit: Mi9)

¶ Recently, the Spanish government issued a “royal decree” that would allow it to overrule any decision to shutter a coal-burning power plant, on the pretext that they are needed to ensure the country has an adequate supply of electricity. The country’s energy regulator, however, has ruled that it will be unnecessary to keep all of them open. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Japanese company Eco Marine Power is moving ahead with plans to equip ocean-going cargo ships with rigid sails embedded with solar panels. Called Energy sails, they will allow the ships to take advantage of both wind and solar power at sea and while in port to provide emissions-free loading and unloading energy capability. [CleanTechnica]

Eco Marine Power system

¶ German conglomerate Siemens AG said its quarterly profit dropped at its core industrial division as a global switch to renewable energy ate into its gas-and-oil business. The industrial division, which makes traditional power-generation equipment such as gas turbines, recorded a 14% drop in profit in the three months to December 31. [Fox Business]

¶ Ireland is expected to hold its maiden renewable electricity auction in 2019, according to Denis Naughten, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment. Ireland is estimated to have reached a renewables share in electricity of 31%-33% in 2017. The auction will help as it works towards a 2020 goal of 40%. [Renewables Now]

The Galway wind farm (Image: SSE)

¶ The number of people employed in Scotland’s offshore wind sector increased by 300% to 2000 in 2016, according to data from the UK government. In 2016, the latest year for which figures are available, the Scottish onshore sector supported 8000 jobs. But the number of people employed in solar power in Scotland fell from 2000 to 500. [reNews]

¶ Children at two New South Wales schools started the school year in modular classrooms powered by renewable energy. The classrooms, powered entirely by solar energy, were developed by New South Wales company Hivve Technology Pty Ltd with $368,115 in funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. [pv magazine Australia]

Hivve modular classroom (Image: Hivve Technology)

¶ Korean President Moon Jae-in promised to speed up the country’s use and development of clean, renewable energy, partly to support local manufacturers of solar panels recently hit by US safeguard measures. The fresh pledge came during his visit to a production facility of a local solar panel maker, Hanwha Q Cells. [Yonhap News]

US:

¶ A market report released by the American Wind Energy Association confirmed that Oklahoma has become the nation’s Number 2 wind power state. The data in the association’s report said Oklahoma had 7,495 MW of installed wind power capacity at the end of 2017, putting the state behind only Texas, which boasts 22,637 MW of capacity. [NewsOK.com]

Oklahoma wind turbines (Photo: USGS, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The Conservation Law Foundation filed a lawsuit in Maine’s Superior Court in response to Gov Paul LePage’s recent executive order imposing a moratorium on new wind project permits, as well as creating what CLF calls a “secretive commission” to make recommendations on wind power development. [North American Windpower]

¶ Vigor, based in Portland, Oregon, will build a wave energy converter for Ocean Energy Group, of Cobh, Ireland, and its subsidiary, Ocean Energy USA. With a 31′ draft, the OE Buoy will be deployed at the US Navy’s Wave Energy Test Site on the windward coast of the Hawaiian Island of Oahu in the fall of 2018. [WorkBoat]

OE Buoy wave converter (Vigor photo)

¶ New Jersey Gov Phil Murphy signed an executive order that will direct state agencies to implement the 2010 Off-Shore Wind Economic Development Act to meet a goal of 3,500 MW of off-shore wind energy by 2030. The executive order will make New Jersey the national leader for off-shore wind commitments. [Environment America]

¶ EDF Renewable Energy announced the 200-MW Red Pine Wind Project in Minnesota is fully operational and delivering electricity. Red Pine has 100 Vestas wind turbines, and its 200-MW capacity is sufficient to meet the consumption of 92,000 average Minnesota homes, according to the Energy Information Administration. [Power Engineering Magazine]

Wind farm

¶ The Trump administration is reportedly seeking a 72% cut to the budget of Department of Energy programs related to energy efficiency and renewable energy. It will ask for $575.5 million, down from $2.04 billion in the fiscal year. Last year, Trump sought $636.1 million in spending for the office, a figure Congress rejected. [The Hill]

¶ With pressure mounting, the South Carolina House voted Wednesday to temporarily halt $37 million in monthly payments to SCANA, threatening a proposed takeover by Dominion Energy. State representatives overwhelmingly supported a bill that relieves customers from paying for two useless nuclear reactors at VC Summer station. [Charleston Post Courier]

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January 31 Energy News

January 31, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Peak Post-Truth Has Arrived – President Trump Says Ice Caps Are ‘At A Record Level'” • Peak truth has probably arrived, or nearly so. Many cultural observers will note that almost any topic discussed nowadays seems to quickly devolve into an us/them, in/out sort of dynamic where the truth doesn’t actually matter much. [CleanTechnica]

Reign of Terror, a product of mob mentality

World:

¶ King Coal’s reign in India is about to come crashing down. Coal supplied 80% of India’s total power mix in 2016-2017, but new wind and solar is now 20% cheaper than the average wholesale power price of existing coal-fired generation, and 65% of India’s coal power generation is being sold at higher rates than new renewable energy. [Forbes]

¶ Renewable technologies, covering wind, solar and biomass, beat coal generation for the first time in the EU, according to the latest figures for 2017. This is the conclusion of a new report compiled by the think tanks Sandbag and Agora Energiewende, which analysed data from the EU’s official statistics agency EUROSTAT. [Climate Action Programme]

Wind turbines at the ocean’s edge

¶ Companies in Scandinavia are pushing the development of electric construction equipment and medium-duty trucks forward. In Norway, two companies are working on electric earth moving equipment and in Sweden, Volvo Trucks has announced it will begin selling electric medium-duty delivery trucks in 2019. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Like most small island developing states, the countries of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States spend a large part of their earnings on imported fossil fuels to meet energy needs, though they also boast high levels of solar radiation, good wind regimes. The area’s potential for geothermal is particularly impressive. [LSE Latin America and Caribbean]

St Lucia (Photo: Frank Kehren, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

¶ Enel’s new advanced energy services unit Enel X has been awarded contracts for 217 MW of demand response resources in Ireland’s capacity market auction. The recent tender, launched by the Republic and Northern Ireland transmission system operators Eirgrid and Soni, was the country’s first foray into capacity auctions. [reNews]

¶ Swiss outfit ABB has successfully tested the 500-MW HVDC Maritime Link enabling the exchange of electricity between Newfoundland and the North American grid in Nova Scotia. The project includes two 230-kV AC substations in Newfoundland, one 345-kV AC substation in Nova Scotia and two cable transition stations. [reNews]

Bay of Fundy (Photo: Province of Nova Scotia)

¶ The EU now gets over 30% of its electricity from renewable sources, up from 12% in 2000. At the current rate of growth, the European bloc can increase the proportion of renewables in its electricity mix to 50% by 2030, according to a report by Sandbag and Agora Energiewende. Much of the growth was in Germany and the UK. [Quartz]

¶ The Heinrich Böll Foundation conducted a poll on energy in France, and the trend it showed is very clear: 83% of French people think France should prioritize investments in renewable energy. Only 12% of the interviewees prefer that investments go towards the modernization and life extension of nuclear power plants. [Energy Collective]

Seine Musicale in Paris (Photo: Inhabitat)

US:

¶ According to GTM Research, the 30% solar tariff that President Trump has agreed to impose on imported solar modules and cells will cause the US solar industry to constrict by 11% over the next 5 years, causing nearly a quarter million customers not to install solar. The tariff will hit the utility-scale solar sector the hardest. [CleanTechnica]Preview (opens in a new window)

¶ About half of the military’s infrastructure has been affected by climate-related risks, according to a Pentagon report obtained by a nonpartisan climate think tank. The report surveyed over 3,500 US bases worldwide. It found that about 50% of  them reported effects from events like storm surge flooding, wildfire, drought and wind. [Science Magazine]

US Naval Air Station in Italy (Michael Lavender, US Navy | Flickr)

¶ A member of the Arizona Corporation Commission, Andrew Tobin, has proposed a clean energy overhaul that would make the state a clean energy leader. The Energy Modernization Plan aims to produce one of the cleanest energy mixes in the nation, while lowering prices for consumers and improving grid reliability. [Greentech Media]

¶ An agreement has been signed between the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority and Salt River Project to double the capacity of the Kayenta Solar Farm. Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye said the agreement is a step toward making the tribe energy self-sufficient and establishing the Navajo Nation as an energy producer. [Navajo-Hopi Observer]

Kayenta Solar Farm (Courtesy of Salt River Project)

¶ With the continued help of the production tax credit, US windpower developers installed 7,017 MW of new wind capacity in 2017, bringing the country’s total to 89,077 MW, the American Wind Energy Association reported. The new windpower capacity installed in 2017 reportedly represented $11 billion in private investment. [Platts]

¶ Plant owners and consumer attorneys struck a bargain in the long-running dispute over who pays for the failure of the San Onofre nuclear plant. The agreement would save consumers $775 million through February 2022. The deal requires California Public Utilities Commission approval. It would end a federal lawsuit. [The San Diego Union-Tribune]

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January 30 Energy News

January 30, 2018

Science and Technology:

¶ A study funded by the National Science Foundation and published in the journal Nature Geoscience offers new insights the problem of high nitrogen levels present in agricultural runoff. Multiple wetlands, or “wetland complexes” in a watershed, are extremely effective at reducing nitrate levels in rivers and streams. [Water Online]

Wetland

World:

¶ EnergyTrend’s latest report said that both China and Europe will help push the global solar market along steady growth patterns in 2018, continuing a record-breaking year of solar installations in 2017. We do not have figures for total solar in 2017 yet, but EnergyTrend expects it will reach over 100 GW for the first time. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Danish offshore wind company Ørsted has begun construction on the 1.2 GW Hornsea Project One offshore wind farm. When it is completed, will be the largest offshore wind farm in the world. The wind farm, 120 km off the coast of Yorkshire, will generate enough electricity to provide for the equivalent of 1 million UK homes. [CleanTechnica]

Hornsea Project One

¶ Tiny household batteries are supporting the power grid’s coal-fired power plants during heat waves in Victoria. New software from Canberra-based company Reposit automatically connects batteries to the grid in times of need. The company pays its customers A$1/kWh when prices are high, well above the 11.3¢/kWh minimum retail price. [The Age]

¶ Fotowatio Renewable Ventures, based in Madrid, reported major developments from renewable energy markets in Mexico and Chile. It was awarded rights to a 540-MW hybrid solar-wind project in Chile. It also that it reached financial closure for its first solar power project in Mexico, the 342-MW (DC) Potosí Solar Farm. [CleanTechnica]

Fotowatio project in Uruguay

¶ Residents of Denmark’s Bornholm Island are participating in a smart energy project that uses Internet of Things technology to create a flexible power grid. The Baltic island, which already gets 56% of its energy from renewable sources, is a model for how to develop a smart grid on a small scale, thanks to the EcoGrid project. [TechTarget]

¶ Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt Ltd announced that all its factories in the Indian states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh will start using solar power as the primary source of energy for its manufacturing operations. The company signed agreements with Vibrant Energy to buy 2.7 crore units (27 million kWh) of solar power. [The Siasat Daily]

Solar system on water

¶ Nine years before the 2011 meltdown crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, TEPCO turned down a request from the government’s nuclear watchdog for it to conduct a simulation of powerful tsunami that could hit the plant, a court document showed. In declining the offer, TEPCO lost an opportunity to prepare for the disaster. [The Japan Times]

US:

¶ New York State has cooked up an elaborate offshore wind energy master plan, according to a story in Newsday. If all goes well, New Yorkers are looking at hundreds of turbines with a capacity of 2,400 MW, and a $6 billion industry employing 5,000 people. Currently, New York has only one offshore wind farm in the works. [CleanTechnica]

Deepwater Wind (Screenshot via NYSERDA)

¶ New Jersey Gov Phil Murphy officially announced that New Jersey is rejoining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative program, the landmark, bipartisan effort to reduce carbon pollution from electric power plants in the Northeast region. Former Gov Christie pulled New Jersey out of the program nearly seven years ago. [Environment America]

¶ There is a major wind power building spree coming on ahead of the loss of federal development incentives in 2020. Mammoth wind farms are expected to dot America’s central plains. While it may sound like a golden age of onshore windpower, it could just be a temporary growth spurt that will be followed by a severe slowdown. [American Journal of Transportation]

Installing turbines in Oklahoma

¶ Offshore wind developers say Trump administration support for offshore wind has been strong during its first year in office, but states are providing the biggest push for new development, especially Massachusetts, Maryland, and New York. More than 4,000 GW of offshore wind power potential exist off US coastlines. [Bloomberg BNA]

¶ One of Alabama’s largest solar energy facilities, built in partnership with Alabama Power, is now up and running in Chambers County. The 72-MW Alabama Solar A project sits on 1,400 acres, just south of the city of Lafayette. Most of the plant’s energy is going to serve Wal-Mart through a long-term contract. [Yellowhammer News]

Alabama Solar A (Photo: Phil Free | Alabama NewsCenter)

¶ T-Mobile announced that it has finalized a contract for 160 MW from Infinity Renewables’ Solomon Forks Wind Project in Kansas, with power generation slated to begin in early 2019. At the same time, T-Mobile announced that it will move to 100% renewable electricity by 2021, and that it has joined RE100. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ Days after Massachusetts selected Northern Pass transmission project to help it meet renewable energy goals, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy has announced she will review the process that led to its selection. The project still needs other approvals, one of which is needed from the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee. [Utility Dive]

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January 29 Energy News

January 29, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Renewable Energy Is Much Faster To Install & More Scalable Than Nuclear Power” • Myth: We need to build more nuclear power if we want to cut electricity emissions quickly and turn off coal and natural gas power plants. Short answer: Renewables can grow fast because they can be installed practically everywhere rapidly and simultaneously. [CleanTechnica]

Wind farm (Photo: Tomasz Bazylinski | Unsplash)

¶ “Natural gas killed coal – now renewables and batteries are taking over” • Over the past decade, coal has been increasingly replaced by cheaper, cleaner energy sources. US coal power production has dropped by 44%. It has been replaced by natural gas, which is up 45%. But in the same time, renewables are up 260%. [The Guardian]

Science and Technology:

¶ Tiny airborne particles can have a stronger influence on powerful storms than scientists previously predicted, a study published in the journal Science found. Scientists have known that aerosols may play an important role in shaping weather and climate, but the study shows that the smallest of particles have an outsized effect. [Daily News & Analysis]

Powerful storm

¶ Last year, 2017, was the hottest on record for the world’s oceans, according to a report published by a peer-reviewed journal. In the course of investigation, researchers noted that in 2017, a large amount of heat was deposited in the Atlantic Ocean. They calculated that the rise in heat gave way to a nearly 2 mm rise in sea levels. [teleSUR tv]

World:

¶ Residents of a housing society in Mumbai have managed to cut their electricity bill by 83% by switching to solar energy. The Twin Star Co-operative Housing Society, with 56 flats, has installed a 20 kW rooftop solar system. Residents say this reduces the electricity bill from ₹31,000 ($487) to around ₹5,000 ($78.65). [Hindustan Times]

Twin Star Co-op solar array (Photo: Satish Bate | HT)

¶ More than 10,000 homes in Australia’s second most populous state were stuck without power as a surge in demand amid scorching heat overloaded the grid. The latest blackouts were caused by grid failures, rather than supply shortages, which had sparked a national debate over renewable energy versus coal-fired generation. [The Indian Express]

¶ The Indo-Asian News Service reported that electric vehicles powered with renewable energy can help save close to ₹40,000 ($630) in fuel cost annually, four times earlier estimates. The report, “Help Delhi Breathe,” by finance research firm Equitorials called for 100% electric vehicles by 2030 to be powered by renewable energy. [SteelGuru]

Reva NXG electric car (RevaNorge, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The renewable energy sector in India is heading toward consolidation. Sumant Sinha, chairman and CEO of ReNew Power, said, “With tariffs dipping and some uncertainty coming in on the policy front, project developers with a relatively lower appetite for growth or risk, are exiting the business at fair valuation of their assets.” [Economic Times]

¶ In an effort to reduce energy waste, Petroleum Development Oman invited bids for solutions to convert gases that are now being flared into power. Flaring is done at a number of stages of development and production of hydrocarbons, mostly to dispose wasteful gases that are either unusable or uneconomical to recover. [ZAWYA]

Oman petroleum development (Photo: Fahad Shadeed | Reuters)

¶ SolarReserve, a developer of large-scale solar power projects and solar thermal technology, opened two offices in South Australia. Its Australian headquarters will be in Adelaide, and a field office supporting the Aurora Solar Energy Project will be in Port Augusta. SolarReserve identified Australia as a priority market for the global organisation. [PACE Today]

US:

¶ According to the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, 48% of the air pollution in the Wasatch Front region comes from vehicles. In response, Rep Patrice Arent filed HB101, a bill that would require emissions testing on diesel vehicles in Utah. Diesel exhaust, though it is not a huge portion of emissions, is still significant. [Universe.byu.edu]

Air inversion at Salt Lake Valley (Photo: Steve Griffin | AP)

¶ North Carolina Gov Roy Cooper’s office announced that Dominion Power and Duke Energy, partners in the state’s newly approved pipeline, will spend $58 million on environmental initiatives such as expanding renewable energy. Funds can also be used to give access to the pipeline to businesses in communities along the pipeline’s path. [WWAY NewsChannel 3]

¶ The President has made it clear in numerous ways that the issue of climate change is not a priority for his administration. States and local governments have taken the issue up, however. The city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia have both stepped up with new climate initiatives to bring residents into a renewable energy age. [The Signal]

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January 28 Energy News

January 28, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “The Energiewende paradox” • The German adoption of renewable energy has truly been revolutionary in many ways. In the 1980s, the government and power companies did not believe renewable power production would surpass 4% even in the long run. Today, it has a 38% share. But Germany is not likely to reach its target for 2020. [Livemint]

German rooftop (Getty Images)

¶ “Coal country at crossroads: Future shaky despite promises from Trump” • As ageing coal-fired power plants are shut, coal’s share of the nation’s power mix has plummeted from nearly half in 2008 to roughly a third today. Roughly 20 of 380 have closed or are in the process of shutting since Trump took office, and the future is gloomy. [Longview News-Journal]

¶ “Why decommissioning South Africa’s Koeberg nuclear plant won’t be easy” • South Africa is likely to decommission the Koeberg plant in the same way other countries have done theirs, by effectively leaving the waste on site indefinitely in temporary storage facilities. But decommissioning cannot be ignored for much longer. [Mail & Guardian]

Koeberg nuclear plant (Paul Scott/Wikimedia Commons)

Science and Technology:

¶ William Ruckelshaus, who was appointed first head of the EPA by former President Richard Nixon, commented on climate denial, warning that it would be a disaster for the US. “It’s a threat to the country,” he told HuffPost. “If you don’t step up and take care of real problems, and don’t do anything about it, lives will be sacrificed.” [Independent Journal Review]

World:

¶ Danish ministry of industry, business, and financial affairs presented a plan, called The Blue Denmark, that covers 36 different initiatives to strengthen maritime development in the country. One of them is about modernizing the ferries that connect the many small populated islands to the mainland. Their primary power will be electric. [CleanTechnica]

The ferry Assens Baagø (Image: Carsten Lundager)

¶ Norway’s Scatec Solar said it plans to build solar plants in Southeast Asia. The firm said it is negotiating its first 50-MW project in Vietnam, which has a goal for more than 4 GW of new solar capacity. Scatec is also awaiting approval for a 50-MW farm in Bangladesh and has proposal a 70-MW project for Myanmar. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ Morocco’s plans to boost renewable energy development were discussed at a meeting chaired by King Mohammed VI. Morocco intends to enhance its renewable energy potential “in order to reach the expected goal of increasing renewable production capacity to 42% by 2020,” a statement from the royal office said. [The North Africa Post]

King Mohammed VI in a meeting in Casablanca

¶ Regional Australia is already feeling the impact of climate change, with intensifying heatwaves, storms, and bushfires. Local councils are stepping up to address the problem. The Cities Power Partnership, Australia’s fastest growing local government climate network, this week welcomed 35 new councils, bringing it to 70 councils. [The Advocate]

¶ The Philippine Department of Energy has endorsed 29 power projects with over 1,500 MW of total capacity. Of the 29 projects, there are 15 renewable energy plants, 10 diesel-fired plants, and three power barges, data from the DOE showed. Only of them is a coal-fired plant, though that represented 1,000 MW of the new capacity. [Philippine Star]

Coal-fired power plant

US:

¶ Obsidian Renewables has optioned 7,000 acres of high desert territory along transmission corridors in Oregon. In the next five years, the company hopes to install a series of arrays with a total capacity of 600 MW, backed up by 400 MW of battery storage, to replace ageing coal plants. The new tariff and state policy may limit growth. [OregonLive.com]

¶ North Carolina state regulators gave the go-ahead for a $5 billion natural gas pipeline to be built in eight of the state’s counties. Development of the 600-mile pipeline, which will carry gas from fracking wells in West Virginia into Virginia and North Carolina is being led by Virginia-based Dominion Energy. It is opposed by environmentalists. [ClickLancashire]

Near the North Carolina pipeline route (Photo: Steve Helber | AP)

¶ Central Maine Power is forging ahead with plans to build a major transmission line in western Maine to bring wind and hydro power from Canada into New England’s electricity grid. This is despite losing its bid for a big renewable energy contract from Massachusetts, which was instead provisionally awarded to the Northern Pass project. [Bangor Daily News]

¶ Almost 200 employees at the Siemens manufacturing plant in Fort Madison, Iowa, lost their jobs over the last two days in a round of layoffs. A spokesperson said about 330 employees will remain working at the facility. The facility manufactures wind turbine blades. It has a history of fluctuations in the size of its work force. [Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier]

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January 27 Energy News

January 27, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “MSNBC & CNBC Miss The Key Points Of Trump Solar Tariffs Story” • The solar tariffs are not being applied because China or Chinese companies have done anything wrong. They are not a response to illegal dumping or Chinese subsidies on solar panels (that old case was resolved). And they will cost America many more jobs than they protect. [CleanTechnica]

Solar panel installation (Shutterstock)

World:

¶ PwC, formerly Pricewaterhouse Coopers and one of the world’s most recognizable businesses, has announced this week that not only has it cut its overall carbon footprint by nearly a third since 2007, but that it will now commit to reducing its total carbon by 40%, and it is committed to procuring 100% renewable electricity. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Austria is now planning to sue the European Commission over its approval of a nuclear energy expansion project in Hungary, government officials said. The announcement follows from the decision made by the European Commission last year to grant permission to the government of Hungary to expand the Paks nuclear facility. [CleanTechnica]

Paks nuclear facility

¶ Royal Dutch Shell has spent over $400 million on a range of acquisitions in recent weeks, from solar power to electric car charging points, cranking up its drive to expand beyond its oil and gas business and reduce its carbon footprint. Shell has been investing in EV charging stations, solar power projects and renewable grids. [Reuters]

¶ With falling costs of creating electricity from solar power and wind, electricity from renewables will soon be “consistently cheaper” than electricity from fossil fuels, the head of the International Renewable Energy Agency said. That is particularly good news for poor communities without access to modern energy. [Christian Science Monitor]

Burkina Faso (Ludovic Marin | Reuters)

¶ Albatros, a 112-MW offshore windfarm, is being developed 90 km north of Borkum island in the exclusive economic zone of the German North Sea. It is an expansion of the nearby Hohe See windfarm. The Albatros windfarm will have 16 Siemens turbines, each of 7 MW, having a hub height of 105 meters and rotor diameter of 154 meters. [Power Technology]

¶ The Kazakh Deputy Minister of Energy announced a series of auctions for large-scale renewable energy power projects to be launched this year, with the first bidding round to be held in May. Overall, the government intends to allocate around 1 GW of renewable energy power generation capacity through the tenders. [pv magazine International]

Kazakhstan (Image: Kuanysh Raimbekov | Flickr)

¶ Ceylon Electricity Board, the largest electricity provider in Sri Lanka, has issued a tender for 90 MW of solar power. The tender is for 90 PV power projects with a capacity of 1 MW each, all of which must be developed on a Build, Own & Operate basis. They will be connected to 18 different grid substations in different regions. [pv magazine International]

US:

¶ Commercial Development Company Inc announced that it has purchased the closed Brayton Point power station in Somerset, Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center recently identified Brayton Point as a potential site for the development of an industrial wind port to support the new wind energy for the state. [Windpower Engineering]

Brayton Point Power Station in Somerset, Massachusetts
(Wikimaster97commons, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ A white paper from Environment New York said the rapid growth of less expensive wind and solar energy and the falling costs of energy storage led to a six-fold increase in energy storage capacity (not including pumped hydropower) over the past decade. Concerns about variable power sources are fading away. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ The Public Utility Commission of Texas plans to write the state’s first rule book for utilities that want to use batteries to store power for the grid, a move that could potentially trigger changes to how electricity is produced, delivered and regulated in the state. The merchant power industry is working to see its own goals are met. [Government Technology]

Transmission system (Shutterstock image)

¶ Enel Green Power North America, Inc signed a power purchase agreement with Wynn Las Vegas. The resort will buy the energy produced by EGPNA’s new 27-MW Wynn Solar Facility at Stillwater, Nevada. The solar project is under construction already, and it is expected to start production during the first half of 2018. [WebWire]

¶ Hulu is in the process of migrating its data centers to a 100% renewable energy facility in Las Vegas operated by multi-tenant data center provider Switch. The video-on-demand company says the move will eliminate 265,000 tons of carbon emissions while powering millions of stable and secure streams each week. [Energy Manager Today]

Switch data center (Switch image)

¶ As part of its commitments under compromise legislation with the North Carolina solar industry, Duke has filed with North Carolina regulators to create both a community solar program and a “green tariff” option for the military, universities and other large power users to procure electricity from renewable energy installations. [pv magazine USA]

¶ Three Democratic senators in New Jersey’s legislature have drafted new legislation to support the state’s struggling nuclear plants financially. Public Service Enterprise Group has been pushing for subsidies of about $350 million annually over 10 years. The new legislation also calls for new efficiency standards and solar rules. [Utility Dive]

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January 26 Energy News

January 26, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Renewable Energy Doesn’t Get More In Subsidies Than Fossil & Nuclear Energy Have Gotten, & Continue To Get” • Fossil fuels have received government subsidies for 100 or so years. They reportedly get about $5 trillion each year, globally. Renewable energy also receives subsidies, but nothing compared to what fossil fuels get. [CleanTechnica]

Wind farm Avangrid

¶ “We want 41 million conversations about climate change” • At Budweiser, we pride ourselves in a close relationship with our consumers. Our research shows that they want to act on climate change but feel powerless to do anything. We sell 41 million bottles of Budweiser every day, and each one is an opportunity for discussion. [The Climate Group]

¶ “An Overlooked Solution for Competitive and Local Renewable Power” • A 40-year-old federal law has a new life in promoting a competitive US clean energy market because of falling costs for wind and solar. But despite its lofty potential, the policy remains trapped between regulatory obstacles and utility resistance. [CleanTechnica]

Local renewable power’s effects on the market

World:

¶ Dongshi Kingpower Science and Technology Ltd and Hydro-Québec announced that they had signed a license agreement for patents related to solid-state lithium batteries. The agreement allows Kingpower to use solid-state battery technology, which Hydro-Québec developed, to produce batteries for the Chinese automotive market. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Two wells have been drilled for a geothermal project on the Caribbean island of Montserrat. A third well that was stalled by mud is now moving forward. The geothermal plants will provide baseload power with solar PVs to form a core part of Montserrat’s Energy Policy. The policy aims at a target of 100% renewable power by 2020. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

Montserrat geothermal plant (Photo: Bastien Poux)

¶ Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is next in line to lead South Africa, told reporters at the World Economic Forum in Davos that his country currently cannot afford to build new nuclear power reactors. Ramaphosa’s approach differs markedly from that of President Jacob Zuma, wanted to build up to eight reactors. [TechCentral]

¶ The world’s biggest lithium-ion battery has absorbed excess electricity on the South Australian grid, and resold it on the power market for around $810,000. Tesla‘s Powerpack Project only came on stream in December, but on two occasions it has already stepped up to save the grid and helped its owners turn a quick profit. [Greener Ideal]

Hornsdale battery

US:

¶ The Northern Pass Transmission Line project that will bring up to 1.09 GW of hydropower from Quebec, Canada, to New England, has been selected as the sole winner of a huge Massachusetts clean-energy solicitation. The Northern Pass project envisages the construction of a 192-mile (309-km) power distribution network. [Renewables Now]

¶ A group of 409 clean energy business leaders organized by independent environmental advocacy group E2 has penned a letter to US President Donald Trump opposing his recent decision to impose a 30% tariff on all imported solar cells and modules, warning that the move has the potential to eliminate almost 90,000 American jobs. [CleanTechnica]

Row of solar houses (Shutterstock image)

¶ Lawmakers are trying again to close a loophole in Hawaii’s “100 percent renewable energy by 2045” policy that allows the state to meet that goal even if half of the electricity being consumed comes from oil-burning power plants. Gov David Ige asked lawmakers in 2016 to reconsider a tabled bill to amend the first-of-its-kind law. [Honolulu Civil Beat]

¶ Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey will soon be powered by a 23.5-MW solar development to be built by KDC Solar, making it the world’s first solar-powered theme park. The project will include solar carports over certain parking lots and 40 acres of ground-mounted solar panels. It is expected to be finished in 2019. [Power Engineering Magazine]

Six Flags Great Adventure

¶ Renewable energy jobs outnumber coal and natural gas jobs in 30 states, according to a new report from the Environmental Defense Fund. Clean-energy jobs number about 777,000 positions, with California and Texas employing the most, says the 31-page report. In comparison, coal and gas jobs number about 558,000. [Kallanish Energy]

¶ E.ON announced its Texas Waves energy storage projects, co-located at the existing E.ON Pyron and Inadale wind farms in West Texas, have started operations. Texas Waves consists of two 9.9-MW short-duration energy storage projects using lithium-ion battery technology. They are at wind farms near Roscoe, Texas. [Windpower Engineering]

E.ON batteries

¶ Enel Green Power North America signed a power purchase agreement with Wynn Las Vegas for energy produced from the new 27-MW Wynn Solar Facility under construction in Stillwater, Nevada. The 160-acre facility is expected to cost $40 million to develop, and will be finished in the first half of 2018. [Power Engineering Magazine]

¶ A lawsuit challenging subsidies for New York’s nuclear plants will head to trial after the state’s Supreme Court rejected motions to dismiss it. The measure deals a setback for Exelon Corp, whose subsidiaries own the RE Ginna and Nine Mile Point nuclear plants in upstate New York. Entergy Corp is also a defendant. [POWER magazine]

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January 25 Energy News

January 25, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “A truly great home is a net-zero home” • Building responsibly is a big passion of mine. A home should not just protect us and keep our families safe. It should also impact our environment positively. It should be made with products that withstand the elements so they don’t wind up in the landfill. It should use its own energy and water. [National Post]

Net-zero home (Effect Home Builders image)

¶ “Natural Gas And The New Deathprint For Energy” • Tuesday afternoon saw a horribly fatal accident in Oklahoma when natural gas exploded at an oil and gas well outside of Quinton, killing five workers. If wind or solar killed that many people, it would be front page news. If nuclear did, it there would be mobs with pitchforks. [Forbes]

Science and Technology:

¶ About 11.5 billion sandwiches a year are eaten in the UK, according to the British Sandwich Association. Researchers at the University of Manchester calculated the carbon footprint of 40 different types of sandwiches, both pre-packaged and home-made. They found the sandwiches equivalent to the annual use of 8.6 million cars. [The Independent]

Sandwiches (Getty Images)

World:

¶ French President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to shut all of his country’s coal-fired power plants by 2021. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, he said, “We’ve also decided to make France a model in the fight against climate change.” Mr Macron’s speech stressed the economic benefits of innovation. [SteelGuru]

¶ Over $90 billion in investments have now been pledged for the development of electric vehicles and associated battery tech by the world’s top auto manufacturers, according to Reuters analysis. This includes $52 billion by automakers in Germany, $21 billion by those in China, and at least $19 billion by automakers in the US. [CleanTechnica]

Volkswagen ID concept car

¶ Building solar and wind farms requires land, and there are many companies looking for areas without much economic value to build them in. People living in poor rural areas are vulnerable to land grabbing. Inhabitat reports that people in one Mexican town may have found a way to protect themselves from predatory energy companies. [Green Matters]

¶ China wasted less wind power last year with both curtailment volume and rate dropping, official data indicated. China’s wind power curtailment volume fell by 7.8 billion kWh in 2017 compared with that in 2016, while its curtailment rate dropped 5.2% year on year, according to the country’s National Energy Administration. [Xinhua]

Chinese wind turbines (Photo: 大漠1208, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The EU is to provide €578 million ($717 million) to build a power link between Spain and France to carry excess Spanish renewable energy and ease one of Europe’s worst network bottlenecks, an EU source said. A 370-km (230-mile) Franco-Spanish subsea power cable will be built across the Bay of Biscay, west of the Pyrenees. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ The CEO of PPC Renewables and the mayor of the Greek island of Santorini, announced a partnership to build a waste management and energy production facility that will use a geothermal field on the island. This is done in cooperation with the Municipality of Santorini and the Ministry of the Aegean and Island Policy. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

Santorini (Photo: Maggie Meng | flickr, creative commons)

¶ E.ON aims to offset a looming drop in profit from its German nuclear plants, which are being phased out by 2022, by increasing earnings from networks, renewables and retail, one of its board members said. Germany is getting out of nuclear power after Japan’s Fukushima disaster and E.ON’s plants are scheduled to close. [Reuters]

¶ A boom in wind farms is fuelling a jobs surge in the Australian renewable energy industry with 17% employment growth in the sector in December. There are now 79 wind farms operating in the country and at least another six due to be built this year. The rapid growth is helping Australia hit its Renewable Energy Target. The Sydney Morning Herald]

Manufacturing wind turbine towers (Photo: Jessica Shapiro)

US:

¶ Fluence Energy Storage is developing the world’s largest battery energy storage facility as part of a $2 billion repowering project in Long Beach, California. The battery will combine with efficient combined-cycle gas capacity to replace ageing natural gas peaking plants, meeting local reliability needs within the California’s environmental goals. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The recently announced 30% solar tariff could be offset and overwhelmed by new plans announced this week by the Rocky Mountain Institute and 35 solar energy industry leaders. They committed to developing an ultra-low-cost solar product to reduce costs to the point that fully installed costs would only reach $0.50 per watt. [CleanTechnica]

Solar panels in the desert

¶ Maine Gov Paul LePage imposed a moratorium on new wind energy permits in his state and established a commission that will meet behind closed doors to study the economic impacts of wind turbines on the state’s tourism industry. It will be exempt from Maine’s Freedom of Access laws and will not have to meet in public. [Lewiston Sun Journal]

¶ Wind power is forecast to surpass hydroelectricity for the first time as the nation’s top source of renewable electricity sometime in the next year, the Energy Information Administration said. The sector is expected to produce 6.4% of utility-scale electricity in 2018, and 6.9% in 2019, propelled by a national construction boom. [HuffPost]

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January 24 Energy News

January 24, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “How The US Government Is Underestimating The Global Growth Of Renewable Energy” • Dan Cohan, a professor at Rice University who uses numbers provided by the US DOE’s Energy Information Administration, came to question some of them. On examination, he found the numbers on renewable energy were often wildly inaccurate. [Houston Public Media]

Wind power (Photo: Gabriel C Pérez | KUT)

¶ “Hacking Nuclear Systems Is the Ultimate Cyber Threat. Are We Prepared?” • In a drill, a hacker hijacked a simulated power plant and used its industrial controls against themselves to flood the cooling system. It took officials from three different Swedish nuclear plants a couple of hours to disconnect the industrial computer. [Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting]

World:

¶ UK electrical engineering company Smith Brothers switched on the grid connection for two wind farms in Scotland totalling 23.55 MW. The projects are the 14.35-MW Tullymurdoch facility, with 7 turbines, and the 9.2-MW Welton of Creuchies wind farm, with 4 turbines. They are located adjacent to one another at a site in Perth and Kinross. [reNews]

Two Smith Bros wind farms (Credit: Smith Bros)

¶ Renewables are becoming the energy source of choice for corporate electricity users, with electricity generation owned by companies increasing more than twelvefold in Europe in 2016, a report says. The report tracks progress made by companies committed to 100% renewable power as part of the RE100 initiative. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ Five new backers have joined Kyocera Corp, Kyudenko Corp, and Mizuho Bank to support the development of a solar plant of up to 480-MW on the island of Ukujima in Japan. About $1.8 billion in investment is planned for the project, with a goal of starting construction before the end of March 2019, according to the companies. [reNews]

Solar farm (Kyocera image)

¶ Since 2014, Engie has operated a strategic shift by reducing future exploration in fossil fuels and investing massively in green energies and energy efficiency services. Under the guidance of the present chief executive, Isabelle Kocher, this has accelerated. Low-carbon activities now represent more than 90% of earnings. [Power Engineering International]

¶ The first of three Haliade 150-6MW turbines by GE Renewable Energy has been erected at the site of a pilot offshore wind farm in China, with the others to be installed in the days to come, according to GE. The turbines will be part of a 73-MW offshore demonstration project owned by Fuqing Haixia Electricity Generation Co. [Renewables Now]

GE Haliade 150-6MW nacelle (GE image)

¶ According to analysis of corporate clean energy procurement by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, corporations around the world signed a record volume of Power Purchase Agreements in 2017, amounting to 5.4 GW of clean energy by 43 companies across 10 different countries, which is an impressive 25% increase over 2016. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Regional Council has given the go ahead for construction of a new 120-MW Fraser Coast solar farm at Munna Creek in Queensland. The Fraser Coast Chronicle reports that the $200 million project could create about 300 jobs during construction. It should have the potential to power around 30,000 Queensland homes. [Energy Matters]

Solar farm in Australia’s Sunshine State

US:

¶ Greenskies Renewable Energy LLC is completing rooftop solar arrays on eleven public schools in New Haven, Connecticut.  The solar arrays will enable the City of New Haven to lower its annual electric costs with clean, renewable energy. The installations of solar arrays will more than double the city’s solar capacity to 2.8 MW. [Markets Insider]

¶ Ocean Thermal Energy Corp, based in Pennsylvania, designs and develops deep-water hydrothermal clean energy systems that generate renewable power through Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion. OTE announced that it has completed the first draft of the master plan for a renewables-powered EcoVillage in the US Virgin Islands. [Renewables Now]

Jack Bay, St Croix (Photo: Grisha Levit, CC BY-SA 2.0)

¶ Budweiser said it has switched all its US brewing to renewable electricity and is adding a clean energy logo to its labels as part of a global shift to green power by its parent Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s biggest brewer. A “100 percent renewable electricity” symbol will be added to US bottles and cans, Budweiser said, [Reuters]

¶ Platte River Power Authority’s announcement that it would buy 150 MW of electric capacity from a new wind farm will mean that the power wholesaler and its member cities such as Loveland will be getting 48% of their electricity from renewable sources. The project should start selling electricity from the wind farm by the end of 2020. [Loveland Reporter-Herald]

Wind farm outside Glenrock, Wyoming

¶ Massachusetts Gov Charlie Baker called for improvements in education, transportation and housing in his state of the state address. In the half-hour speech, Baker said Massachusetts must not rest on its laurels. Among other things, he said the state is working to increase its reliance on renewable energy and improve transportation. [The Recorder]

¶ Duke Energy Renewables announced that it has ordered 24 IdentiFlight units for its Top of the World wind project in Wyoming as part of its avian protection program. The system uses artificial intelligence with high-precision optical technology to detect eagles and prevent their colliding with rotating wind turbine blades. [Windpower Engineering]

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January 23 Energy News

January 23, 2018

World:

¶ Vestas Wind Systems announced that it has secured its first wind turbine order in Kazakhstan, for the 52-MW Astana wind project. The order is from CAPEC Green Energy, a leading renewable energy developer in the country. Vestas will provide turbine installation and commissioning. Delivery is expected in the third quarter of this year. [CleanTechnica]

Vestas turbines (Vestas image)

¶ The world’s oldest insurance market, Lloyd’s of London, is the latest member of the European insurance industry to divest from coal. The Unfriend Coal campaign said that as of November 2017, leading insurance companies had pulled $20 billion out of investments in coal, and a growing number refuse to underwrite new coal projects. [OilPrice.com]

¶ China’s National Energy Administration published its official solar statistics for 2017, revealing that the country had installed a total of 52.83 GW worth of new solar capacity in 2017. This represents a 54% increase from the 34.2 GW of new solar PV capacity China installed in 2016, a figure that had been thought enormous. [CleanTechnica]

Floating solar plant in China (Sungrow image)

¶ The World Bank is planning a “Scaling Solar and Storage” program as an extension on its aim to foster solar energy development. The bank had been focused on large-scale solar tendering, predominantly in Africa. The new program would work on utility-scale tenders that pair solar PV with battery storage. [Power Engineering International]

¶ The number of public charging points for plug-in electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles in China grew by around 51% during 2017, according to Miao Wei, the country’s Industry and Information Technology Minister. That said, however, public charging infrastructure development is still lagging behind demand. [CleanTechnica]

Charging station (Image by Epattloamer, some rights reserved)

¶ One of the largest solar power parks globally will have solar trackers supplied by NEXTracker. In a press release, NEXTracker announced that it will supply trackers for 325 MW of solar power projects in the Benban solar power park in Egypt. The trackers will be supplied to Sterling & Wilson, a global EPC company. [CleanTechnica]

¶ In Hungary, the Prime Minister’s Office and other parties are discussing a scheme aimed at supporting the country’s farmers in installing medium-size solar power facilities. The scheme envisages deployment 600 of solar power facilities, each with a capacity of 0.5 MW. It will have a budget of 8 billion HUF ($31.7 million). [pv magazine International]

Hungarian solar plant (Photo: CivertanS, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator announced that the 2020 renewable energy target has effectively been met, three years ahead of schedule. The earlier 42,000 GWh target had been cut to 33,000 GWh by the Abbott government under the pretext that it would cause prices to rise and the lights to go out, a prediction that proved absurd. [RenewEconomy]

US:

¶ President Donald Trump has announced steep tariffs on imported washing machines and solar panels, giving a boost to Whirlpool Corp and dealing a setback to the renewable energy industry in the first of several potential trade restrictions. The tariff on solar panels is intended to protect two foreign-owned manufacturers. [The Guardian]

Installing solar panels

¶ Puerto Rico Gov Ricardo Rosselló announced that he will privatize the island’s crippled, broke, and decrepit electric energy authority, which he said has become a heavy burden to residents and has been hampering economic recovery. The bankrupt company has outdated, inefficient, and polluting generating and transmission systems. [NBCNews.com]

¶ California dairies and agricultural companies have new opportunities to address methane emissions under a program encouraging the development of dairy biogas in the state. Four utilities recently announced they will start accepting proposals for pilot projects that successfully capture and process biogas from dairy cows. [Energy Manager Today]

Dairy cows (Credit: Henrik Hjortshøj)

¶ Tech companies, led by such giants as Apple and Facebook, are snapping up more clean energy than ever, setting a record in 2017, worldwide. The Trump administration’s rollback of US environmental policies may actually have emboldened some companies to buy more clean power to fight climate change in the absence of federal policy. [BloombergQuint]

¶ The San Diego County Water Authority and the City of San Diego, are assessing the potential to develop the 500-MW San Vicente Energy Storage Facility to increase the availability of renewable energy for the region. They hired Black & Veatch to help evaluate proposals, select the service team, and negotiate agreements. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

San Vicente Reservoir

¶ Bipartisan proposals introduced in Virginia’s House and Senate would undo a Dominion rate freeze and return some funds to ratepayers, the result of a lower corporate tax rate. Dominion supports the bill and was consulted in its drafting, according to The Washington Post. Bills would drop 6% immediately, if the proposal passes. [Utility Dive]

¶ The Millstone Power Station in Waterford, Connecticut, won a victory as it moves to secure long-term contracts to sell electric power to Connecticut’s utilities. State utility regulators said in a draft report that they would move forward with a controversial procurement process that could benefit in the 2,200-MW nuclear plant. [Hartford Business]

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January 22 Energy News

January 22, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “The challenges driving microgrids into the mainstream” • Five years ago, in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the potential of microgrids became quite clear when widespread disruption caused power outages in several states. Buildings with their own microgrid systems stood out like beacons against a backdrop of blackouts. [Power Engineering International]

Hurricane Katrina

World:

¶ International Wind Power Company signed a contract with King Abdullah Economic City to build Saudi Arabia’s first commercial wind farm. Under the terms of the contract, IWPC will lease 10.2 hectares (25.2 acres) of land in the KAEC Industrial Valley to build wind turbines that will generate sustainable electricity. [MEConstructionNews.com]

¶ Now that oil prices have begun to rise again, Norway’s oil and gas development and output will as well, with output perhaps eclipsing the earlier high of 2004 within five years, according to a report from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate. Norwegian oil and gas investment is expected to begin climbing in 2018, after 4 years of decreases. [CleanTechnica]

Gudvangen

¶ InfraCo Africa, part of the multi-lateral Private Infrastructure Development Group, has signed a joint development agreement worth $3.1 million to develop the Khoumagueli Solar PV project in the Republic of Guinea. Khoumagueli is expected to be Guinea’s first grid-connected solar power plant. It will have a capacity of 40 MW. [African Review]

¶ Abdul Latif Jameel Energy plans to use its renewable energy experience to develop carbon neutral desalination plants, as it pursues contracts in both sectors in markets including Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The firm is considering using solar and wind power to power desalination, which is typically highly energy-intensive. [The National]

Desalination plant (Photo: Mona Al Marzooqi | The National)

¶ Cuba aims to become one of the more than 100 countries that will meet their energy demands with renewable sources like wind, water or sunlight by 2050. Cuba plans to meet 24% of its energy needs from different renewable sources by 2030. Currently, two large wind projects are under construction with Chinese help. [ecns]

¶ Siemens Gamesa 7-MW turbines have started delivering power from the second and final phase of Ørsted’s 659-MW Walney 3 offshore wind farm in the Irish Sea. Ørsted said three of the 47 Siemens Gamesa machines had already been installed at the Walney East phase of the project off the coast of Cumbria in England. [reNews]

Walney 3 (Credit: Ørsted)

¶ UK-based billionaire Sanjeev Gupta is looking to purchase equipment in the old Holden factory in South Australia and to use the plant to create an electric vehicle production line in what would be a remarkable transformation of Australia’s car industry and economy. Gupta has the backing of the South Australian government. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy has secured contracts totalling 326 MW from multiple developers for 26 projects in India. The deals are for supplying, erecting, and commissioning of 135 G114-2.0MW machines and 28 G97-2.0MW turbines. The projects range from 2 MW to 60 MW and are scheduled to be commissioned in March. [reNews]

Gamesa turbines (Image: Siemens Gamesa)

¶ TEPCO has started clearing rubble at the Number 1 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Workers will remove nuclear fuel from its storage pool as they continue work on the decommission process. The company is vacuuming finer debris scattered over the spent fuel storage pool in the upper part of the building. [NHK WORLD]

¶ A massive wind farm project that will power up to 46,000 homes in Tasmania is due to start generating electricity by mid 2019. The A$280 million ($224.4 million) Granville Harbour Wind Farm finally commenced construction this week. On completion, it will boast 31 turbines and have a capacity of 112 MW. [The Advocate]

Premier Will Hodgman and Granville Farm owner Royce
Smith at the groundbreaking (Photo: Lachlan Bennett)

US:

¶ A report says New England could see rolling power blackouts within years without more stable fuel supplies. ISO-New England is an independent nonprofit that manages the six-state power grid. The group studied how fuel supply and demand might play out in those states in the hypothetical winter of 2024 to 2025. [New England Public Radio]

¶ There is a term for what’s going on right now in the Sierra Nevada and the mountains that feed the Colorado River. It is called a “snow drought,” and Nevada climate scientists warn that periods of below-average snowpack have become increasingly common, and more frequent snow droughts are likely as global temperatures rise. [Las Vegas Review-Journal]

Washoe Lake (Benjamin Hatchet, Desert Research Institute)

¶ The San Diego County Planning Commission voted 6-1 last week to recommend that the County’s Board of Supervisors approve the County’s revised Climate Action Plan, with some modifications. The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to consider the revised Climate Action Plan and the Planning Commission’s recommendation Feb 14. [CBS 8 San Diego]

¶ Both New England and California have cut greenhouse gas emissions since launching market-based cap and trade programs. But analysts say the programs are not the primary drivers of emissions reductions. If that is true, does cap and trade work? The numbers are not all in and the experts still disagree on the programs’ effectiveness. [Utility Dive]

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January 21 Energy News

January 21, 2018

 

Science and Technology:

¶ A team of researchers led by a University of Arizona associate professor of dendrochronology examined lines of hundreds of tree rings to reconstruct the last 290 years of climate history. They found increases in extreme summer weather events in the last 50 years, which related to increased changes in the jet stream from climate change. [Arizona Daily Star]

Pine on Mount Olympus (Photo: Greg King)

¶ Global warming is real, and it is happening now. Within hours of the announcement by scientists in the US that 2017 was either the third warmest or second warmest year ever recorded over the Earth’s land and oceans, there came a further revelation: In regards to oceans in particular, 2017 was simply the warmest year on record. [bdnews24.com]

World:

¶ Saudi Arabia aims to save 40 GWh this year from efficiency, as part of the country’s economic diversity and environmental sustainability objectives, according to the head of the its newly established National Energy Services Company. The energy efficiency body is seeking collaboration with foreign partners to achieve the target. [The National]

Saudi electric generating plant (Photo: Fahad Shadeed | Reuters)

¶ The revised projections for energy up to 2035 from the UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy are generally very optimistic. BEIS expects low-carbon sources of electricity to supply 68% of UK power generation by 2020, 70% by 2025, 76% by 2030 and 86% by 2035. That of course includes nuclear. [environmentalresearchweb]

¶ The governor of Sokoto State, Nigeria, inaugurated an 80-kw solar mini grid electricity project that will provide uninterrupted power supply to Kurdula community of Gudu LGA. He said more than 500 households, with 4000 inhabitants, benefit. The event was attended by ambassadors to Nigeria from Germany and the EU. [Politics Nigeria]

Inauguration ceremony

¶ TEPCO, the operator of destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plant, published fresh images from inside a damaged reactor, the AFP news agency reported. Images captured by a special camera installed on a robotic probe, showed broken metal parts, debris and rubble, including fragments that may contain melted nuclear fuel. [Sputnik International]

¶ In India, as part of the Southern Railway’s initiative to save on electricity costs by producing 4 MW of solar power, rooftop solar plants will be installed at 11 stations in the Thiruvananthapuram and Palakkad railway divisions. The solar installations are expected to produce electric power at half the price the system currently pays. [The New Indian Express]

Angadipuram rail station (Dhruvaraj S, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ Omaha-area economic development officials are looking to get a piece of Apple’s $30 billion-plus expansion plan announced last week. Apple will build data centers, and it also plans to build a new corporate campus. Apple will power its new facilities with renewable energy, and Nebraska has a lot of wind power to offer. [Omaha World-Herald]

¶ The California Public Utilities Commission approved 15 utility pilot programs to accelerate the change to electric mobility, generally supporting needs of disadvantaged communities. Historically, they been shut out of affordable high-quality transportation, and air pollution levels have been dangerous. The oil lobby is not happy. [CleanTechnica]

Nodding donkey

¶ Product announcements this week from Nissan’s Infiniti luxury brand and Volkswagen’s Porsche division tap into a larger story from last year. While global automakers are watching what Tesla is up to, an announcement in July by near-luxury brand Volvo seems to have had just as much impact on new vehicle product planning. [OilPrice.com]

¶ As SCE&G tried to complete the increasingly costly Summer nuclear project, it learned that a major piece of equipment it needed would be shipped to China instead. Westinghouse promised it would provide a replacement. But Westinghouse went broke, and the Summer nuclear plant was cancelled, Now, SCE&G wants its money back. [The State]

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