Archive for the 'nuclear power' Category

May 28 Energy News

May 28, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Large coal plant closures reveal industry vulnerability” • The locals say that the coal industry will survive at a new normal, and economists say Wyoming coal mining will be the last to go down, but the state doesn’t dictate the market; it just provides the material. Across the country, big coal plants are getting too expensive to run. [Casper Star-Tribune Online]

Power plant control room (Alan Rogers | Star-Tribune)

¶ “The eco guide to renewable energy” • Within three years the renewable energy revolution will make such economic sense that many passive electric customers turn into to energy creators, defecting from the grid, using solar, wind power, smart-demand response systems, and electric vehicles. Embrace the jolt, it will be huge. [The Guardian]

Science and Technology:

¶ Faced with rising temperatures and a dearth of American leadership, scientists are investigating geoengineering ,  which would involve deliberate, large-scale interventions to cool the Earth’s climate. It can take many forms. Solar geoengineering is the most risky and controversial. One way to do it is to emulate the effects of volcanoes. [CleanTechnica]

Mount Pinatubo erupting (United States Geological Survey image)

¶ With climate change, increases in average annual temperatures that may seem small create conditions that dramatically elevate the risk and severity of forest fires, particularly in the American West. Long fire seasons, dry conditions, infestations killing vegetation, and lightning combine to produce dangerous conditions for fires. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Because the land is warming and a food supply is emerging earlier, some familiar bird species arrive from migrations too late to find enough food for their chicks. That’s the conclusion of a recent study of changes in spring “green-up” dates across North America and the arrival dates of spring migratory bird species in those areas. [The Columbus Dispatch]

Scarlet tanager (Jim McCormac, for the Dispatch)

World:

¶ Leaders of the G7 group of rich nations have failed to agree a statement on climate change. Six world leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris accord, the world’s first comprehensive deal aimed at reducing greenhouse emissions. However, the US has refused to recommit to the agreement, saying it will make a decision next week. [BBC]

¶ Global leaders have been urging President Trump to stay in the Paris climate accord during high level security and economic meetings in Italy. Pope Francis already made the case with a gift of his papal encyclical on the environment when Trump visited the Vatican earlier. Scientists explain what will happen if the US withdraws. [The Independent]

Bringing about climate change

¶ The United Arab Emirates received its first shipment of fuel to supply its first nuclear power plant that is under construction at Barakah, in Abu Dhabi. The Barakah nuclear power plant has received the requisite licences to transport, handle and store nuclear fuel from the United Arab Emirates’ Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation. [Gulf Digital News]

¶ India’s largest power generating utility, NTPC Ltd, is driving the energy transition from coal to solar. Apart from building its own portfolio of renewables, it is emerging as the key off-taker of solar power projects by private developers whose aggressive bids backed by overseas investments have made solar tariff cheaper than coal-fired generation. [Business Standard]

Solar power in India

US:

¶ The Natural Resources Defense Council says power generation through wind, solar, and geothermal is now up to 280,656 GWh nationwide and still growing quickly. That number is 7 times greater than it was just 10 years ago when the US produced 41,664 GWh of renewable energy. The biggest gains have come in just the last couple of years. [KMSP-TV]

¶ Hawaii Electric Light Company is putting a problem to the state’s Public Utilities Commission. If Hu Honua Bioenergy’s long-delayed biomass power plant went online by the end of 2018, the utility’s customers would see rate increases, according to an analysis of a proposed power purchase agreement it filed with the PUC. [Hawaii Tribune Herald]

The half-completed Hu Honua bioenergy power plant
(Hollyn Johnson | Hawaii Tribune-Herald)

¶ A “low point for the American environment,” a “dark and difficult time,” a period when the US EPA was in “chaos and despair.” Those could be contemporary descriptors, but they portray the Reagan presidency as captured by former Sen. George Mitchell in his book “World on Fire: Saving an Endangered Earth.” [Press Herald]

¶ Two fossil fuel industry groups dropped attempts to intervene in a federal court case over climate change this week after failing to reach an agreement on a unified legal position on climate science, court filings show. A group of teenagers is suing the US government for violating their constitutional rights by causing climate change. [The News International]

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

May 28, 2017

1821 regular daily posts, linking 21,998 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 May 26, out of 99 US-licensed reactors, 7 are at reduced output and 10 not operating.

§ Video: Energy Week: 5/25/17 – Solar plus batteries has set a new record for low price in New Mexico at 4.5¢/kWh; this is lower than the price of the lowest cost from fossil fuels. Lego is powered by electricity from 100% renewable sources. Antarctica is turning green. Not many people like Trump’s budget. And there is more.

May 27 Energy News

May 27, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Soaring growth of solar power demonstrated in one chart” • Auke Hoekstra at the Technical University of Eindhoven, in The Netherlands, looked at successive revisions of predictions by the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook for solar adoption, measured in GW of capacity added per year. It seems they always get it wrong. [Green Car Reports]

IEA WEO predictions versus reality

¶ “Trump’s Paris accord call will be anticlimactic” • Donald Trump’s looming decision about whether to keep the United States in the Paris climate agreement will be, let’s say, anticlimactic. He could pull out, and that would be no surprise. But if he does, the actual impact on the climate and on global efforts to limit warming will be limited. [Reuters]

World:

¶ Woodstock, Ontario, which calls itself the “Dairy Capital of Canada”, and surrounding Oxford County, are taking a lead on sustainability. They’re among the first wave of North American jurisdictions to move aggressively toward a goal of using 100% renewable energy for electricity, transportation and heating. The goal is to get there by 2050. [Citiscope]

Woodstock, Ontario (Balcer | Wikimedia Commons | cc)

¶ World leaders at the G7 Summit engaged in a heated argument over climate change, a major point of dispute between other G7 heads of state and President Donald Trump. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the climate debate was “controversial,” with leaders of all other G7 nations urging Trump to remain in the 2015 agreement. [CNN]

¶ Portuguese renewable energy association Apren has called on Portugal’s government to launch an auction for large-scale solar and wind power projects on the model of the 3-GW auction held recently by the Spanish government. That auction was won with a bid of €43/MWh, which is below the price of power from coal and nuclear. [pv magazine]

PV plant in Portugal (Hugo Cadavez)

¶ May 26 was a beautiful late spring day in the UK. All that sunshine led to breaking a solar power record for the second time this month. Total solar power generation amounted to 8.7 GW or 24.3% of demand for a period of time (midday). The previous solar power record for the UK was 8.48 GW set earlier this month. [CleanTechnica]

¶ At least 75% of UK homes will be powered by renewable energy by 2030, according to a report by Friends of the Earth. Falling renewable energy costs and decreasing costs for electricity storage mean that at least three quarters of homes will be reliably supplied with clean and affordable electricity from renewable sources by then. [Money High Street]

Wind turbines generating renewable electricity

¶ Analysis of electricity price surges during the February heat wave in New South Wales suggests that rooftop solar greatly reduced the market price of wholesale electricity over three days. Rooftop solar PV supplied only about 2% of the state’s total power needs over that time, but its impact was to cut the price of electricity by 60%. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Innergex Renewable Energy has started commercial operations at the 25.3-MW Boulder Creek run-of-river hydro plant in British Columbia. The company owns a 66.7% interest in the facility, with Ledcor Power Group owning the rest. The plant is part of a two-project scheme that also includes the 81.4-MW Upper Lillooet River facility. [reNews]

Innergex power facility (Innergex image)

¶ The Greenough River solar farm in Western Australia, around 50 km south-east of Geraldton, the first large-scale solar farm in the country, plans to quadruple in size from 10 MW to 40 MW. The plans were unveiled in a submission to WA’s Economic Regulation Authority. Two new 15-MW arrays will be built, one on each side of the existing facility. [RenewEconomy]

US:

¶ A vice president with Sempra Energy, one of the nation’s largest utilities, made a stunning admission to a roomful of gas and oil executives this week: there is no technical impediment to California getting all of its energy from renewables – now. All power could come from sources like wind, solar and hydro without reliance on fossil fuels. [KPBS]

Cross-border wind project in Baja California
(Credit: Martin Lemus, Fotografia Lemus)

¶ GE Renewable Energy has been selected to provide wind turbines to a 300-MW wind farm being developed in Texas by Invenergy, North America’s leading independent clean energy provider. GE Renewable Energy will provide 120 of its GE2.5-116.90-meter wind turbines for the Santa Rita wind farm in Reagan County. [CleanTechnica]

¶ President Trump’s 2018 budget proposal perhaps eliminate a decade-old program that sees Texas, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi paid large sums of money from Gulf of Mexico oil and gas extraction. In 2018, for example, about $275 million would be paid out to the states in question that year if Trump’s budget proposal fails to pass. [CleanTechnica]

Oil project in the Gulf of Mexico
(Photo: Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement)

¶ The City of Portland, Oregon, and Multnomah County have locked in a commitment to obtaining 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2035 as the latest #CommitTo100 city to join the pledge. The City of Portland was the first US city to adopt a carbon reduction strategy way back before it was cool in 1993. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The pressure to shift more of the country’s electric supply to renewable sources is not just a rallying cry for environmentalists. Some of the power industry’s biggest customers, like GM and Microsoft, have made a commitment to clean energy. And to help them meet it, utilities are changing their ways. West Virginia is no exception. [NRToday.com]

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May 26 Energy News

May 26, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ In an article in Science, researchers from Princeton University and the Union of Concerned Scientists found that a reliance on “faulty analysis” by US nuclear experts could result in a catastrophic fire that has the potential to force some 8 million people to relocate, and result in a staggering $2 trillion (£1.5 trillion) in damages. [Wired.co.uk]

Possible contamination pattern from a hypothetical fire in a spent-fuel pool at the Peach Bottom nuclear plant. Red and orange areas would require evacuation. (Image: Michael Schoeppner, Princeton University, Program on Science and Global Security)

World:

¶ Pope Francis put climate change on the agenda of his first meeting with President Trump, and the subject is likely to come up again and again in the president’s encounters with other world leaders in the coming days. Mr Trump told his Vatican hosts that he would make a final decision after he returned to the United States. [The New York Times]

¶ At a meeting in Vienna, energy ministers from both OPEC and non-OPEC countries agreed to maintain output curbs, which had been due to expire next month, until March 2018. Nevertheless, the price of oil has fallen by about 5%. Brent crude fell $2.60 to $51.36 a barrel on Thursday, and was trading at $51.47 on Friday morning. [BBC]

Oil worker (Photo: Reuters)

¶ New low solar tariffs in India are being compared with those for coal and gas. Solar tariffs ranged from ₹2.44/kWh (3.8¢/kWh) to ₹2.62/kWh (4.1¢/kWh). By comparison, NTPC Ltd’s 42.7 GW of fossil fuel capacity has an average tariff of ₹3.20/kWh (5.6¢/kWh), about 24% higher than the lowest solar power tariffs. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The City of St Albert took delivery on the first three electric buses BYD has delivered to Canada. They are the first installment of an order for seven electric buses for the city. With the order, 10% of the city’s bus fleet will be electric. This will be fulfilled by the end of the year and shows the city’s commitment to next-generation transit. [CleanTechnica]

BYD electric bus

¶ The transformation of India’s electricity market continues to deliver, as shown this month by the cancellation of 13.7 GW of proposed coal-fired power plants, an admission that 8.6 GW of operating coal is already non-viable, and the parallel move of ever-decreasing solar costs helped along by the country’s record low solar tariffs. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A 40-MW solar farm in the South Anhui province of China is finally online and generating renewable energy. Larger than floating farms in Australia and India, the mass of solar panels is the largest in the world and can produce enough clean energy to power homes in the area. The solar panels have increased efficiency because the water cools them. [Inhabitat]

Floating solar farm (Sungrow image)

¶ Vietnam expects to grant investment licences for three coal-fired power plants worth a combined $7.5 billion, the country’s investment minister said. Although Vietnam wants to boost renewable energy output, it has been mostly reliant on coal-fired and hydro power plants to meet its annual electricity demand growth of around 11%. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ Australia’s leading renewable energy organisation launched a $20 million fund to support development of solar technologies that can provide cheaper and more efficient power. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency has invested more than a $100 million in solar PV projects since 2012, as it bids to build a clean energy future. [Innovators Magazine]

Australia (Credit: Unsplash)

¶ Abu Dhabi will become the home of the world’s largest solar power plant, highlighting the region’s commitment to sustainable building and utilizing renewable energy sources, under the UAE Energy Plan 2050. Costing approximately $8700 million, the 1.17-GW plant will provide enough power for about 200,000 homes. [Construction Global]

¶ Along with project partner Parkwind, MHI Vestas has inaugurated the Nobelwind offshore wind farm, a 165-MW project off the coast of Belgium. The turbines, positioned 47 km off the coast, will provide enough renewable energy to power more than 188,000 Belgian homes, according to the company. [North American Windpower]

Vestas wind turbine

US:

¶ One of the nation’s leading utilities integrating wind energy onto its system reaffirmed on the second day of WINDPOWER 2017 that wind helps sustain grid reliability while saving its consumers money. Addressing over 7,000 attendees, Xcel Energy’s CEO Ben Fowke recommitted the utility’s investment in wind energy. [AltEnergyMag]

¶ Caldwell, New Jersey is pushing introduction of renewable energy resources in the borough. The Mayor and Council have reached one goal in the push by completing a solar panel installation at the Caldwell Wastewater Treatment plant earlier this year, according to an email by Councilman Kris Brown. [New Jersey Hills]

Solar array at the Caldwell Wastewater Treatment Plant

¶ Nevada became somewhat infamous in clean energy news in 2015, when state regulators eliminated retail rate net metering for all solar customers. But lawmakers appear eager to reverse that image, and have advanced a slate of proposals to boost the state’s green profile, including raising the state’s renewable energy mandate. [Utility Dive]

¶ The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority’s board approved construction of rooftop solar systems on several sprawling maintenance centers in Philadelphia. The overall system constitutes a 3.1-MW project the agency says would be the city’s second largest after the Eagles’ solar installation at Lincoln Financial Field. [Philly.com]

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May 25 Energy News

May 25, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Australian solar financing at ‘tipping point'” • A host of factors point to a boom in a recently beleaguered sector. The past 12 months have seen a deluge of debt finance pour into large-scale solar projects, enticed by falling costs and a favorable political environment. Experts claim that solar power can now compete with gas on price. [Global Trade Review]

Australia

Science and Technology:

¶ The Neo-Carbon Energy research project enables production of synthetic fuels straight from the air. The solution is built on carbon dioxide capture, water electrolysis, and subsequent synthesis to methane and liquid fuels. It depends on very low cost renewable electricity based on wind and solar. The process is carbon neutral. [Science Daily]

World:

¶ Sri Lanka’s Cabinet of Ministers has approved plans to build a hybrid renewable energy park including 240 MW of wind and 800 MW of solar at Punarin. The Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority has identified the northern regions of the country as a suitable area of the country to build wind power and solar power plants. [PV-Tech]

Northern Sri Lanka (Flickr | Kosala Bandara)

¶ Quadran, a French renewable energy developer born from the merging of Aerowatt and JMB Énergie, has energized a 12-MW PV power plant in Boulouparis in New Caledonia, a French overseas territory in the southwest Pacific Ocean. Construction of the Hélio Boulouparis solar project began in February of this year. [pv magazine]

¶ German manufacturer RECOM commissioned a 12.5-MW solar power project near Puerto Sandino in Nicaragua. The project is first part of Nicaragua’s pipeline totaling 100 MW, all of which is expected to be built and commissioned by the end of 2018. Puerto Sandino is a coastal town that attracts surfers from all over the world. [Electric Light & Power]

Nicaraguan solar array

¶ Danish wind energy giant DONG Energy announced that it has agreed to divest its upstream Oil and Gas business to London-based chemicals company INEOS for $1.05 billion. DONG Energy made public that it was looking to divest its Oil and Gas business in November. The sale will help the company focus on renewable energy. [CleanTechnica]

¶ By next March, three remote Indonesian villages in Berau Regency of East Kalimantan Province are to be fully served by a 1.2-MW hybrid power plant consisting of solar PV, lithium-ion energy storage and a distribution system. Once built, a village-owned company will own the off-grid system with operational help from the builder. [pv magazine]

Indonesian islands (Jon Hanson | Wikimedia)

¶ The Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2017 report from the International Renewable Energy Agency showed that 9.8 million people work in renewable energy worldwide. Solar PVs provide jobs to 3.1 million people globally. The solar and wind employment sectors have more than doubled over the past four years. [pv magazine]

¶ Oil could converge to about $15 per barrel by the early 2040s when electric vehicles are expected to take a larger share, implying fossil fuels’ much shorter life span as the main fuel for transportation, according to an International Monetary Fund research paper. Renewable technology seems to have reached tipping point due to massive investments. [Gulf Times]

Pumping jack operated by Bashneft

US:

¶ A very wet winter has meant a high level of hydro generation in California. Wind and solar production have increased so that the state has seen records set by non-hydro renewables. As a result, natural gas use for electricity generation is at the lowest level in five years, the Energy Information Administration says. [pv magazine USA]

¶ Duke Energy completed a 17-MW solar power plant at Naval Support Activity Crane near Bloomington, Indiana. Duke Energy will own, operate, and maintain the facility. In exchange for providing a location for the project, NSA Crane will receive electrical infrastructure upgrades, a microgrid feasibility study, and other benefits. [Daily Energy Insider]

Solar farm

¶ Mississippi utility Cooperative Energy and Origis Energy USA announced that they have started construction on a 52-MW PV power plant, which will provide renewable energy to the utility’s 423,000 members across Mississippi. The 218-hectare site near Sumrall will have of 206,892 PV panels. It should be completed in December. [PV-Tech]

¶ Goldwind Americas signed an agreement with RES Americas to acquire the 160-MW Heart of Texas wind farm. The project is located 201 km (125 miles) northwest of Austin, in McCulloch County, Texas. It will feature Goldwind GW 121/2.5MW hardware. Goldwind Capital provided bridge financing to buy the project. [reNews]

Goldwind turbines (Goldwind image)

¶ GE Renewable Energy has announced a commitment to provide Invenergy with 120 GE2.5-116 90-meter turbines for the Santa Rita wind farm in Reagan County, Texas. The 300 MW wind farm, which is expected to be commissioned by the end of the year, will power the equivalent of 102,500 US homes. [North American Windpower]

¶ For the third year in a row, Three Mile Island failed to secure a crucial contract to sell its electricity, increasing the possibility that the plant will soon close. Exelon will decide by September whether to shut the plant down ahead of schedule. Another Exelon nuclear plant, Quad Cities, in Illinois, also failed to secure a contract. [York Daily Record/Sunday News]

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May 24 Energy News

May 24, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Study: Sea level rising 3x as fast since 1990 as figured before. Meanwhile, feds censor climate info.” • A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says sea level is rising three times as fast as it was before 1990. Trillions of dollars are at risk. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is censoring references to climate change. [Daily Kos]

Screen shot (Arctic Climate Impact Assessment)

¶ “Fighting Trump on Climate, California Becomes a Global Force” • As Donald Trump reverses the Obama administration’s policies on climate change, California is emerging as the nation’s de facto negotiator with the world on the environment. California is becoming a model to other states and nations on fighting climate change. [New York Times]

World:

¶ The Port of Esbjerg says Seajacks jack-up Scylla left the port with the last turbine components for the 402-MW Veja Mate offshore wind farm in the German North Sea, which has 67 Siemens 6-MW 154 turbines. Veja Mate delivered its first power two months ahead of schedule, and it is expected to be fully operational before the end of the year. [reNews]

Seajacks Scylla at Port of Esbjerg (Image: Port of Esbjerg)

¶ International poverty organization Oxfam issued a report, More Coal Equals More Poverty, focusing primarily on Australia’s coal-related policies and plans as a leading exporter of coal. It says increasing the number of coal mines will only spread global poverty due to climate change and other impacts of coal mining and burning. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Coca-Cola European Partners announced that it is sourcing 100% of its electricity from renewable sources. The news coincides with the launch of a major renewable project. All electricity generated by a new solar farm will be used for production of Coca-Cola’s famous brands at Europe’s largest soft drinks factory, in Wakefield. [CIWM Journal Online]

Solar array supplying Coca-cola

¶ Total Solar, a 100% owned Total subsidiary dedicated to solar activities, has launched construction of its second solar power plant in Japan. The 25-MW-peak PV power plant in Miyako, in Japan’s Iwate province, is expected to start up in 2018 and will provide clean and reliable electricity to over 8,000 households. [Your Renewable News]

US:

¶ Tucson Electric Power signed a power purchase agreement for a system with 100 MW of PVs and 30-MW, 120-MWh of storage. Exact prices are confidential, but a release pegged the PPA for the solar portion of the project at below $0.03/kWh. Both solar and storage are to be developed by an affiliate of NextEra Energy. [Utility Dive]

Solar plus storage

¶ Donald Trump’s top budget adviser defended the sweeping cuts proposed to social, foreign aid, and environmental programs in the President’s budget, arguing that the White House could no longer ask taxpayers for money to fund programs they believe to be inefficient. The budget will now be taken up by the congress. [CNN]

¶ SunPower broke ground on a 28-MW solar PV system at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The project is expected to create about 150 jobs during construction. It is expected to be the largest behind-the-meter solar power system in the Air Force at which 100% of the energy generated will be consumed onsite.[American Security Today]

Air Force solar power (USAF image)

¶ FPL is the nation’s third-largest electric utility. It boasts a typical household bill 25% below the national average and is closing coal plants to keep its rates going down. In a filing to the Florida Public Service Commission to close its St Johns River Power Park coal plant, the company detailed exactly why coal is not coming back. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Renewable Energy Systems has begun construction on the Redbed Plains Wind Farm in Grady County, Oklahoma. The Redbed Plains wind farm’s 48 Siemens Gamesa turbines will have a capacity of 99.1 MW. When the wind farm is complete, RES will have installed over 1,100 MW of wind energy in Oklahoma. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Redbed Bottom

¶ Two Massachusetts farms are starting projects to turn cow manure into electricity as a way to become self-sustaining and stabilize their finances. The farms are working in partnership with the Hampshire Council of Governments and Pennsylvania-based startup Ag-Grid Energy to build on-site agricultural anaerobic digesters. [The Recorder]

¶ Six Democratic state attorneys general, including New York’s, are asking federal regulators to place new restrictions on crude oil trains that pass through their states. The trains carry crude oil through densely populated areas without any explosiveness or flammability limits. In 2013, a tanker explosion killed 47 people in Quebec. [PennEnergy]

Cars of an oil train

¶ Goldwind Americas, a subsidiary of Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co, signed an agreement with Renewable Energy Systems Americas to acquire the 160-MW Rattlesnake Wind Project in McCulloch County, Texas. Once operational, the project will become Goldwind’s largest US wind project to date. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ The Trump administration is proposing to terminate a project to make mixed oxide fuel for nuclear plants. The DOE said the facility’s $4.8 billion cost, projected in 2007, with a startup date of 2015, had ballooned to $17.2 billion by 2016, with a 2048 startup date. The DOE now estimates the completion cost will be up to $26 billion. [Platts]

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May 23 Energy News

May 23, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Sixteen Trends That Will Buoy U.S. Wind Power Into The 2020s” • Wind power is on track to generate 10% of US electricity by 2020. After that, the impact of the production tax credit will begin to tail off. How will the market respond? These trends will outlive the PTC and keep creating demand for new turbines. [North American Windpower]

Wind power at a farm

¶ “Congress vs. Trump: Are the President’s Anti-Science Budget Priorities Headed for Another Defeat?” • The president is expected to release his full fiscal year 2018 budget this week, without any surprises. It will likely track the earlier “skinny budget” pretty closely, which means it’s going nowhere in Congress. [Union of Concerned Scientists]

¶ “India-China climate hope” • India’s and China’s pledged actions to curb their greenhouse gas emissions are likely to overcompensate by 2030 the impacts of US President Donald Trump’s policies that appear set to flatten America’s emissions, according to European researchers at the Climate Action Tracker. [Calcutta Telegraph]

Wind power, Changling (Photo: 大漠1208, Wikimedia Commons)

World:

¶ A report published by Navigant Research, World Wind Energy Market Update 2017, revealed that Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas again led the way in 2016 for total wind turbine installations, in a year that saw a total of over 54 GW of new wind installed worldwide. Cumulative global wind power capacity now sits at 486.831 GW. [CleanTechnica]

¶ China’s government is planning to change the way it subsidizes renewable energy and introduce a quota to push electricity companies to invest in renewables. Electric generators and retailers will have to buy green electricity certificates. A next stage might require them to increase the share of renewables in their portfolios. [eco-business.com]

Power lines in a Chinese countryside
(Image: State Grid Corporation of China via Chinadialogue)

¶ Global production of the four most important staple crops in the world – maize/corn, wheat, rice, and soybeans – will be reduced by around 23% by the 2050s as a result of worsening anthropogenic climate change, according to new research published in the journal Economics of Disasters and Climate Change. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Tunisia has launched a tender for up to 210 MW of renewable energy, seeking 140 MW of wind power and 70 MW of solar. Wind projects of up to 30 MW will make up 120 MW, while the remaining 20 MW will be projects up to 5 MW. Of the solar capacity, 60 MW will be projects of up to 10 MW, with the rest for plants of up to 1 MW. [reNews]

Wind power (Pixabay image)

¶ Unilever has become the latest high-profile firm to confirm its operations are being run using renewable power, as it affirmed that all its UK sites are sourcing 100% of their power from renewable sources. The company said 15 of its UK sites are purchasing their power from the Lochluichart wind farm in the Scottish Highlands. [www.businessgreen.com]

¶ The Formosa 1 offshore wind farm is being developed off the west coast of Taiwan. The 130-MW wind farm will be Taiwan’s first commercial-scale offshore wind project. Two 4-MW wind turbines installed as a demonstration began operations in April this year. The addition of another 30 turbines should be completed by 2020. [Power Technology]

Project Formosa

US:

¶ Blackouts, natural disasters, and cyber attacks pose high risks that can be addressed by installing microgrids. A report by a team of Michigan Tech University energy policy analysts and engineers says the US military needs 17 GW of solar power to shore up their domestic bases, and economically, it’s good to do this. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, recently signed an executive directing the state’s environmental regulators to create a cap and trade plan for carbon emissions. McAuliffe’s order would add Virginia to the states with cap and trade programs, California and nine states in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in the Northeast. [CleanTechnica]

A need for clean air

¶ Duke Energy has completed a new 17-MW solar power plant at the Naval Support Activity base in Crane, Indiana. The new solar farm is comprised of 76,000 solar panels on 145 acres. Duke Energy will also conduct a microgrid feasibility study to see if such an arrangement could enhance base security in the future. [pv magazine USA]

¶ DTE Energy plans to build an additional 6 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2050 in Michigan, on top of the 1 GW it has built since 2009. The company also plans to invest in grid modernization as part of plans to cut its carbon dioxide emissions 80% by 2050. DTE’s chairman said the utility’s transformation is already underway. [reNews]

Wind turbines above a corn field (Image: Pixabay)

¶ Blattner Energy Inc, a power generation contractor based in Avon, Minnesota, installed about 5 GW of renewable energy in 2016, including 1.4 GW of solar energy and more than 3 GW of wind energy. Additionally, Borea Construction, the company’s Canadian unit, delivered over 700 MW of wind throughout Canada. [North American Windpower]

¶ The fate of Three Mile Island could be decided this week as the iconic nuclear power plant competes for a share of the region’s electric market. For the past two years, TMI failed to sell its electricity at PJM’s capacity auction. The results of the current auction, covering the years 2020 and 2021, are expected on Thursday. [PennLive.com]

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May 22 Energy News

May 22, 2017

World:

¶ Sri Lanka is betting big on its abundant wind and solar electricity resources through competitive bidding for projects, a top government official in the power ministry said. A total of 700 MW of projects include a 100-MW floating solar power project on a reservoir, 60 MW of distributed wind power, 100 MW of wind power. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Wind and solar resources

¶ Transparency Market Research has released a report which shows that global offshore wind turbine market revenue is projected to reach $58.7 billion by 2025, at a compound annual growth rate of 7.7% between 2017 and 2015. In 2016, the revenue was $29.4 billion. The market is currently dominated by Europe. [Energy Digital]

¶ A joint venture between Canadian company Northland Power and Singapore’s Yushan Energy is planning to build two offshore wind farms totaling 1.2GW in the Changhua Sea off Taiwan. The developers aim for the two Hai Long developments to be operating by 2023 and 2024. The start dates are subject to interconnection availability. [reNews]

Offshore wind power (Credit: Pixabay)

¶ A Queensland government-funded scheme to use rooftop solar to cut the electricity costs of low income and rental households is being rolled out in the state’s south-east, with plans to extend the trial throughout the state. The first phase of installations is up to 6 MW of solar PV on up to 4000 rooftops across Queensland. [One Step Off The Grid]

¶ Swiss voters have backed the government’s plan to provide billions of dollars in subsidies for renewable energy, ban new nuclear plants and help bail out struggling utilities in a binding referendum. Provisional final figures showed support at 58.2% under the Swiss system of direct democracy, which gives voters final say on major policy issues. [Newshub]

Power line crossing green mountain slopes in Switzerland (Getty)

¶ Three decades after the Chernobyl disaster, the site of the nuclear plant site is once again set to produce electricity. This time, however, the power is coming from solar panels. Business Insider reported that a small 1.5-MW solar installation could be completed by the end of May, the result of a $1.1 million Ukrainian-German joint venture. [EnviroNews]

US:

¶ Scottish Power won the right to build two offshore wind farms in the US, which it says could eventually power 400,000 homes. The two sites combined are more than double the size of the energy giant’s operations in the UK. One farm, off the coast of Massachusetts, is expected to be complete in 2022 and the other, off North Carolina, in 2025. [BBC]

The fastest growing renewable energy source (Thinkstock image)

¶ With reduced federal action, local officials from throughout Colorado talked with climate experts in Aspen about whether local efforts to curb greenhouse-gas emissions will be enough to save a warming planet. An example of the issues importance is the state’s wildfires, which increased by a factor of ten over the past 50 years. [Vail Daily News]

¶ The EPA recognized the University of California as a leader in renewable energy, UC officials announced. The UC ranked sixth among all participants in the Green Power Partnership for its on-site generation of renewable energy. The EPA commended the University for using more than 112 million kWh of green power annually. [Daily Bruin]

UC Davis (Photo: Tony Webster via Flickr, Creative Commons)

¶ Sempra Energy, the parent company of both San Diego Gas & Electric and SoCalGas, is planning a $600 million, 36-inch natural gas pipeline, to partially replace a 16-inch pipe built in 1949. Due to safety concerns following a 2010 explosion in San Bruno, state regulators have asked the utility test or lower pressure on the old pipeline. [San Diego Reader]

¶ America’s forests are undertaking a slow migration. Scientists writing in the journal Science Advances looked at tree population surveys starting in the 1980s. What they found is that the trees in eastern America are moving north and west. Conifer trees like pines are moving north, and deciduous trees like maples and elms are moving west. [Newsy]

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May 21 Energy News

May 21, 2017

World:

¶ The Upper Afan Valley near Swansea is already home to the biggest windfarm in England and Wales, but in July work will begin there on one of the UK’s largest battery storage schemes. Co-locating the plant with the windfarm reduced needs for power lines, so it was about £5 million cheaper than building it on a standalone site. [The Guardian]

Pen y Cymoedd wind project near Swansea (Photo: Vattenfall)

¶ A report says that the federal government of Canada is now planning the imposition of pollution caps on Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the two provinces that haven’t yet agreed to support a national carbon price. The federal government is now also proposing a levy on fossil fuels that would be increased at an annual rate. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Howrah railway station in Kolkata is set to go green with the installation of 3 MW of rooftop solar panels on platform sheds. A total of fourteen of the platform sheds will have solar panels installed as part of the array. According to estimates, 50% to 60% of the power demand at Howrah station can be met through the solar array. [The Indian Express]

Howrah railway station

¶ The Swiss are voting in a referendum Sunday on a planned overhaul of the country’s energy system by gradually replacing the power from its ageing nuclear reactors with renewable sources. According to the latest poll, 56% of those questioned plan to vote “yes” to the new law, while 37% plan to vote “no.” [www.worldbulletin.net]

US:

¶ As more wind and solar projects take shape in Eastern Oregon, the Umatilla Basin finds itself caught between interests. Amounts of energy coming from renewable sources are increasing, but farmers worry about a mess of transmission lines. A report authorized by the state’s governor has issued, and the state is examining possibilities. [Capital Press]

Morrow County (Photo: E.J. Harris | EO Media Group)

¶ Nearly half of California’s diverse types of native salmon, steelhead and trout are headed toward extinction in 50 years, and three-fourths within a century, unless environmental trends are reversed, a team of scientists warned in a report. The bleak outlook was softened by a note of hope: Scientists say there is time to save the salmon. [Bend Bulletin]

¶ A study by scientists at the NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, predicts the warming of the Gulf of Maine will cause a dramatic contraction of suitably cool habitat for a range of key commercial fish species there. The species negatively affected include cod, haddock, redfish, plaice and pollock. [Press Herald]

Lobster boats in Bar Harbor (JRLibby, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Mercedes-Benz Energy and Vivint Solar will partner in the US to introduce a joint offering to consumers, according to a press release. Customers in the US will be able to purchase solar-plus-storage systems combining Vivint Solar’s solar energy expertise with the new Mercedes-Benz customizable home energy storage systems. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Sugar River Power, a small power producer, has restored a hydro dam in Claremont, New Hampshire. The company bought the dam in January. When the twin turbines of the hydroelectric plan operate at full capacity, they are capable of generating 1.35 MW of power, enough to power 1,300 homes, according to one of the company’s owners. [Valley News]

Sugar River and Mt Ascutney (TrunkJunk, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ EV sales in California during the first quarter of 2017 were up 91% compared to the same quarter a year ago. Industry observers give much of the credit to the Chevy Bolt, the first all-electric car from General Motors that went on sale in the Golden State last December. A total of 2,735 Californians opted for the Bolt in the first quarter of the year. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Authorities at Washington state’s Hanford nuclear waste site are investigating a possible leak. High readings of radiation were found on a robotic device known as a crawler that workers were pulling out of a nuclear waste tank, and radioactive was found material on a worker’s clothing. Last week, a tunnel collapsed at the same site. [CNN]

 

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May 20 Energy News

May 20, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “The Cost of Everything and the Value of Nothing: Falling Costs Are a Game-Changer” • When industry insiders were surveyed what the most compelling reason to invest in clean energy was, 15% said declining prices, and 11% said earnings growth. But the largest group, 20%, cited consumers’ preference for clean energy. [National Geographic]

Wind turbines on a ridge in West Virginia (Photo © Kent Mason)

¶ “Plant Vogtle: Georgia’s nuclear ‘renaissance’ now a financial quagmire” • Southern Company’s CEO has repeatedly said the project to build two more nuclear reactors would be history-making. He may be right, but not in the way he meant. Years behind schedule, billions over budget, it is fast becoming Exhibit A for why not to build a nuclear reactor. [MyAJC]

¶ “Offshore wind won a German power auction without needing any subsidies” • The price of offshore wind power has been dropping so quickly that it threatens to upend the electricity industry around the world. Choosing free zero-pollution power over costly dirty power isn’t a tough choice for utilities or most countries. [ThinkProgress]

Dutch offshore wind farm (Credit: AP | Peter Dejong, File)

Science and Technology:

¶ The Global Seed Vault, which was built under a deep mountain in Arctic Svalbard to secure a million packets of the world’s most precious seeds from all natural and man-made calamities, has been flooded by melting permafrost. The seeds are safe, for the time being, but scientists are alarmed. No one envisioned that this would happen. [International Business Times UK]

¶ In the iceberg filled waters of the Amundsen Sea Embayment, MeBo, a seabed drilling machine, obtained the very first cores to be drilled from just in front of some of the mightiest glaciers on Earth. Its job is to help find out whether deep, warm water is undercutting the Antarctic glaciers, possibly tipping them into an unstoppable retreat. [BBC]

The 120-meter Polarstern research vessel (T. Ronge | AWI)

World:

¶ Climate negotiators from nearly 200 nations gathered in Bonn this week to discuss implementing the Paris Agreement to limit global warming – and they expressed confidence and optimism, despite the threat of an American exodus from agreements. The 10-day session in Bonn this week served as preparation for COP23. [World Politics Review]

¶ Black & Veatch has been appointed by the Hong Kong government to explore the possibility of installing extensive floating solar farms on reservoirs. Development of large floating solar farms on its 17 impounded reservoirs could help Hong Kong reduce water loss and suppress algae growth while generating power. [The Construction Index]

Hong Kong reservoir

¶ The UK Conservative Party has published its policy manifesto in the lead-up to the surprise General Election called back in April. The policy manifesto gives a strong signal that the Conservative Government, if re-elected, will deliver a clean and diverse energy mix, but one without any new onshore wind farms. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Public Utilities Board of Newfoundland and Labrador has approved a net metering program. Net metering customers will now be permitted to install renewable energy systems sized to their electricity load, up to a maximum of 100 kW, six to ten times what an average homeowner uses. The program will have a 5-MW provincial cap. [The Packet]

Rooftop solar system in Nova Scotia (©File Photo)

¶ Commercial development of the globe’s huge reserves of a frozen fossil fuel known as “combustible ice” has moved closer to reality after Japan and China successfully extracted the material from the seafloor. Experts said that large-scale production is many years away, and must be done with care not to release methane. [CTV News]

¶ Star Renewable Energy has been awarded funding to develop the UK’s first water source heat pump or medium temperature district heating to service existing buildings. The 2.5-MW water source heat pump on the Clyde at the Gorbals will be deployed by September 2018 and will be Britain’s largest inner city 80° C heat pump. [Energy Live News]

River Clyde in Glasgow (Image: Thinkstock)

¶ Germany approved 807 MW of capacity at onshore wind parks on Friday, saying the price at which it awarded the projects came below expectations in a sign that competition in the industry will lead to lower prices for consumers. The projects were approved at an average price requiring a subsidy of €0.0571/kWh (6.4¢/kWh) [Financial Tribune]

US:

¶ Avangrid Renewables is seeking a permit amendment for the Montague Wind Power Facility in Oregon to use a turbine with a rotor diameter of 136 meters and generating capacity of 3.6 MW. The most powerful turbines now used in the Northwest produce 2.5 MW. Montague Wind Power will supply power to Apple. [Portland Business Journal]

Avangrid wind farm in Gilliam County (Avangrid Renewables)

¶ President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget request would slash EPA spending by almost a third, according to a copy of the proposal obtained by CNN. The budget blueprint, which the White House plans to submit to Congress next week, would cut the EPA’s total budget by more than 30% and its operational budget by 35% from current levels. [CNN]

¶ Pacific Gas and Electric Co announced the cost to participate in its 100% solar energy program has dropped by 30% for residential customers and by nearly 50% for some business customers. The cost reduction is thanks in part to PG&E’s continued investment in clean energy infrastructure throughout its service area. [Electric Light & Power]

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May 19 Energy News

May 19, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “There’s an Elephant in the Room, and It Smells Like Natural Gas” • All the commentary reiterating the inevitability of coal’s decline and cheering the strength of renewables’ rise was right in facts, but incomplete in message: Coal is closing. Renewables are rising. But we really need to be talking about natural gas. [Union of Concerned Scientists]

Natural gas pipeline

Science and Technology:

¶ In a new perspective on carbon removal published in the journal Science, researchers at Stanford explain the risks of assuming carbon removal technologies can be deployed at a massive scale relatively quickly with low costs and limited side effects. They said the assumption is a gamble with the future of the planet at stake. [Stanford University News]

¶ Researchers in Antarctica have discovered rapidly growing banks of mosses on the ice continent’s northern peninsula, providing striking evidence of climate change in the coldest and most remote parts of the planet. Because of the warming of the last 50 years, they found two species of mosses growing at an accelerated pace. [ScienceAlert]

A green Antarctica – not a good sign (Photo: Matt Amesbury)

World:

¶ One of the world’s most beloved toy makers, the LEGO Group, announced that it had reached its 100% renewable energy goal three years ahead of schedule thanks to the completion and commissioning of the 258-MW Burbo Bank Extension Offshore Wind Farm. LEGO has not stopped, as it still has solar panels going up in China. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Egyptian government has decided to pour in billions for the development of solar and wind power plants across the country. The Egyptian aspiration is to increase the energy dependency of the country on renewable resources by up to 20% 2022, and increase it to 37% by 2035. Currently, Egypt gets 3% from renewables. [Edition Truth]

Renewable energy from wind

¶ Both China and India are outpacing the US and well on their way to meeting the goals established by the Paris Agreement, which calls on several countries to make significant cuts to emissions production. Analysis from Climate Action Tracker shows that policies in both China and India are helping these countries target emissions. [Hydrogen Fuel News]

¶ GE is to supply turbines from its 3-MW range totaling 1.2 GW for wind farms in Spain to be developed by Forestalia Group. Forestalia, through the Sociedad Aragonesa Transeuropea de Energias Renovables, won the right to develop the projects in Spain’s latest renewable electricity auction, which took place on 17 May. [reNews]

GE wind turbine (GE image)

¶ A planned coal-fired 4,000-MW ultra-mega power project plant in India has been scrapped because the government wants to focus on green energy. Gujarati state officials had planned it, but the government decided the state was already sufficiently supplied with energy and focusing on renewables was a better longer term strategy. [malaysiandigest.com]

¶ Labour’s plan to take the National Grid back into public ownership would harm the UK’s switch to green energy, the electric power grid’s chief executive has said. He believes renationalization was “the last thing the industry needs” as it invests to accommodate more wind and solar power on the UK’s power grids. [The Guardian]

Power lines (Photo: Andrew Milligan | PA)

US:

¶ Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa is pushing back against an electric grid reliability study ordered by Energy Secretary Rick Perry, expressing concern that the Department of Energy has predetermined that wind energy is undermining the grid. Grassley questioned the premise of the DOE grid reliability review. [ThinkProgress]

¶ Most wind and hydroelectric power is produced in Northern and Western New York, where the supply of electricity exceeds demand. But two-thirds of all the state’s power is used in the New York City-Long Island region. Transmission lines between the two areas are already overburdened, according to the Power Trends report. [Syracuse.com]

Upstate wind turbines (Gary Walts)

¶ Investment manager Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners has acquired Scout Clean Energy, with a pipeline of wind energy projects totalling 1.6 GW. The projects, which are spread across nine US states, represent more than $1.7 billion in total capital investment. The majority of the projects will qualify for US production tax credits. [reNews]

¶ In a survey of 1,000 US adults, 54% believe “government regulations are necessary to encourage businesses and consumers to rely more on renewable energy sources.” Just 38% say “the private marketplace will ensure that businesses and consumers rely more on renewable energy sources, even without government regulations.” [Environment News Service]

Solar array in California (Photo by Steelmaster Buildings)

¶ Ameren Corp has completed an advanced utility-scale microgrid at Ameren’s Technology Applications Center, adjacent to the University of Illinois campus in Champaign, Illinois. The $5 million facility includes solar, wind, and natural gas generating capacity with battery storage, and can operate at between 4 kV and 34.5 kV. [Electric Light & Power]

¶ Ohio-based FirstEnergy’s plan for a rescue of its two uncompetitive Ohio nuclear plants took a nosedive May 17, as the Ohio House Public Utilities Committee suspended action on the company’s proposal to charge its customers a fee to subsidize the plants. The Environmental Defense Fund has been opposing the bailout plan. [POWER magazine]

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May 18 Energy News

May 18, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “The first GOP member of Congress to say ‘impeachment’ after Trump’s latest scandal is a climate hawk.” • Representative Carlos Curbelo’s district in low-lying South Florida is especially vulnerable to rising seas and climate change. He has bucked his party to become one of the most vocal proponents for climate action in Congress. [Grist]

The Everglades National Park is in Carlos Curbelo’s district.
(National Park Service photo, Wikimedia Commons)

World:

¶ Spain’s government has picked suppliers for 3 GW of renewable power in an auction, according to sources familiar with the process. Spanish wind energy producer Forestalia has obtained 1.2 GW, while Gas Natural has won 600 MW, Endesa’s Enel Green Power 500 MW and Gamesa around 300 MW, the sources said. [Reuters]

¶ On Sunday, Swiss voters will decide the fate of a law proposing billions of dollars in subsidies for renewable energy, a ban on new nuclear plants, and a partial utilities bailout. Polling so far suggests the law will be approved in the binding referendum. A survey this month for state broadcaster SRG showed 56% of voters back the law. [Reuters]

Swisswinds farm, Europe’s highest wind farm at 2500 meters
(Reuters | Denis Balibouse | File Photo)

¶ Construction has begun on the Sun Metals Corporation solar farm in northern Queensland. It is expected to be completed in early 2018. The 125 MW project will see 1.3 million solar panels installed at the Sun Metals zinc refinery. Korean-owned Sun Metals is the first major energy user to source some of its electricity needs from renewables. [pv magazine]

¶ Dong Energy and its partners LEGO Group and PKA were joined by turbine manufacturer MHI Vestas for the inauguration on Wednesday of the 258 MW offshore wind farm, which is the first to use MHI Vestas’ 8-MW turbine, according to Offshore Wind Journal. It is the first time 8-MW turbines have been used anywhere in the world. [Digital Journal]

Installing the world’s largest wind turbine (DONG Energy)

¶ A government of the UK led by Liberal Democrats would restore support for solar PV, the party’s election manifesto stated. It outlines a raft of clean energy pledges that the party has said would contribute towards the country sourcing 60% of its electricity demand from renewables sources, excluding nuclear, by 2030. [Solar Power Portal]

¶ Among thousands of delegates meeting in Bonn to develop the rule book for the Paris deal, the Climate Vulnerable Forum, representing 48 countries, said the deal was crucial to their survival. In a swipe at President Donald Trump’s oft-used phrase, they said that “no country would be great again” without swift action. [BBC]

Guatemalan lake showing effects of climate change (Getty Images)

¶ India said it will develop 10 domestically-built heavy water reactors to increase its nuclear power capacity. The federal cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the plan to build the pressurized heavy water reactors with a combined capacity of 7,000 MW. The country’s current atomic power generation is 6,780 MW. [ARY NEWS]

US:

¶ The Trump administration is weighing huge cuts to the budget of the DOE’s renewable energy and energy efficiency program. It has a proposal to slash it by 70%, from $2,073 million in 2017 to a proposed $636 million for 2018. That’s according to a draft 2018 budget proposal obtained by the news and information company Axios. [Common Dreams]

Desert wind farm (Photo: Steve Boland | flickr | cc)

¶ Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) has signed Executive Directive 11, which moves the state closer to placing limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. ED 11 instructs the Department of Environmental Quality to begin the process of establishing regulations to reduce carbon emissions from power plants. [Utility Dive]

¶ Students, ratepayers, “raging grannies,” developers, politicians, and activists packed a public meeting hall to give state regulators and executives from Portland General Electric an earful, telling them to stay away from natural gas. There was no way their strident message for Oregon’s three public utility commissioners could be misinterpreted. [OregonLive.com]

Demonstrating for clean energy (The Oregonian | Ted Sickinger)

¶ The Guam Power Authority and the US Navy entered into a lease agreement that would dedicate 164 acres of military land for building renewable energy facilities with a 40-MW generating capacity. The land will support the third phase of GPA’s renewable energy initiative, which should yield at least 120 MW of renewable power. [Marianas Variety]

¶ Altus Power America announced that a 10-MW solar energy system in North Hanover Township, New Jersey, has been completed and grid connected. Construction on the ground-mounted Spartan solar project began in September 2016. Spartan is one of the largest solar systems recently developed in New Jersey. [PR Newswire]

Spartan solar project (PRNewsfoto | Altus Power America, Inc.)

¶ A group of four national business groups representing US renewable energy interests submitted materials to the Energy Secretary Rick Perry to inform him of the importance of renewable energy sources and their contribution to electricity reliability. They expressed regret that a review process Perry ordered was not open and transparent. [CleanTechnic]

¶ Campbell Soup Company, in partnership with BNB Renewable Energy Holdings, SunPower Corp, and ORIX USA Corp, broke ground on a 4.4-MW solar power project at the company’s World Headquarters in Camden, NJ. The system will generate more than 5 million kWh hours of electricity per year, starting next fall. [MilTech]

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May 17 Energy News

May 17, 2017

World:

¶ Leclanché SA has launched a modular, lithium-ion electric ferry battery system onto the market. The new system, dubbed the Leclanché Marine Rack System, will be launched with an electric ferry in Denmark later this year. It will travel a route between the island Ærø and the Danish mainland, powered by a 4.3-MWh battery-pack. [CleanTechnica]

Electric ferry

¶ New studies find methane emissions from British Columbia and Alberta are drastically under-reported. According to the David Suzuki Foundation, “Methane is responsible for 25% of already observed changes to Earth’s climate.” The primary component of natural gas, it has “a radiative forcing greater than 30 times that of CO2.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ Scotland’s most senior judge has reversed a decision to halt construction of four giant offshore wind farms in the Forth and Tay, which could power 1.4 million homes and create thousands of jobs. Construction of the £2 billion 450-MW Neart Na Gaoithe scheme in the outer Forth estuary may soon begin, as it is already fully funded. [The Scotsman]

Offshore wind farm (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

¶ The UN refugee agency has switched on a newly built solar power plant to serve 20,000 Syrian refugees in the remote Azraq camp in Jordan’s desert. For two and a half years after the camp’s founding in April 2014, refugees only had solar lanterns. They can now light their shelters, run a fridge and a TV, and charge phones. [U.S. News & World Report]

¶ One of Australia’s first community-funded, council-operated solar farms is up and running. Rainbow Power installed the 99-kW rooftop PV system at the Goonellabah Sports & Aquatic Centre in Lismore, New South Wales. It is one of two such projects coordinated by Farming the Sun and the Lismore City Council. [One Step Off The Grid]

Goonellabah Sports & Aquatic Centre

¶ National Grid said that it needs time to consider its plans to build a 102-mile power line connecting the proposed Moorside nuclear plant in Cumbria to the electricity transmission network. The £10 billion project is supposed to deliver 7% of Britain’s electricity from 2025, but it has suffered a number of serious setbacks. [Morning Star Online]

¶ Major mining companies, including some of the world’s biggest suppliers of fossil fuel, are using more renewable energy as they strive to drive down costs and curb emissions. Glencore, the world’s biggest shipper of seaborne coal, said in its 2017 sustainability report that it gets 19% of its energy from renewable sources. [The Independent]

Moving coal

US:

¶ 8minutenergy Renewables, the largest independent solar power developer in the US, announced it has expanded into the energy storage market with a 1-GW project pipeline. The company has a storage leadership team with decades of experience building large energy storage, renewable energy, and transmission projects. [MilTech]

¶ Tesla and Vermont’s Green Mountain Power are offering GMP customers a Powerwall battery for $15 a month for 10 years, or a one time charge of $1500. The normal price of a 10-kWh Powerwall with built-in inverter is $5,500, plus installation. The batteries will provide backup power to customers and balancing to the grid. [CleanTechnica]

Tesla Powerwall

¶ US Bank, announced in April that it would formally exclude all gas and oil pipelines from its project financing. It stated that it will no longer “provide project financing for the construction of oil or natural gas pipelines.” Its relationships with clients in the oil and gas pipeline industries are subject to its enhanced due diligence processes. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Georgia Power, the Air Force, and other local leaders announced they’re building a new solar farm near Robins Air Force Base. The 139-MW facility will be the largest single solar project ever to be constructed by Georgia Power, according to the company’s Vice President of Renewable Development, Norrie McKenzie. [13WMAZ]

Solar panels in California (Photo: Digital Vision, Getty Images)

¶ Governor Charlie Baker signed energy diversity legislation into law at the Massachusetts State House with Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, legislative leaders, and energy and environment stakeholders. An Act Relative to Energy Diversity garnered bi-partisan support to reduce energy costs and promote clean energy. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ US energy company DTE Energy Co said it will build more natural gas and renewable power plants and shut all of its coal units by 2040, reducing carbon emissions by more than 80% from 2005 levels by 2050. DTE said its efforts to cut carbon emissions will result in a 30% reduction by the early 2020s, 45% by 2030, 75% by 2040. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Moving more Coal

¶ San Jose became the largest city in California to launch “community choice energy,” an alternative electricity provider that could save money and reduce pollution linked to climate change. The City Council unanimously approved the new utility program. It would begin next spring and will be one of eight such programs statewide. [The Mercury News]

¶ The California Independent System Operator said renewable energy is setting more records in the state. Wind generation reached a new record of 4,787 MW at 5:34 pm PDT Friday. Less than 24 hours later, the ISO hit an all-time peak of 67.2% of demand served by renewables at 2:55 pm Saturday, the third such record in three months. [Platts]

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May 16 Energy News

May 16, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Resilience bonds: a secret weapon against catastrophe” • While the inflation-adjusted cost of natural disasters was about $30 billion annually in the 1980s, it’s now more than six times that: an average of $182 billion. Resilience bonds can improve on insurance by evaluating a community’s risks and giving guidance on reducing them. [BBC]

To prepare for catastrophe, not just help
clean up after it. (Credit: Alamy Stock Photo)

¶ “6 Reasons Trump Can’t (Totally) Derail Progress on Climate” If ever there was a symbolic moment when the past met the future, it arrived as the Kentucky Coal Mining Museum announced in April it is converting to solar. To save money. Here are six reasons to take why we will continue to move forward on climate change. [National Geographic]

¶ “US Lags Developing a Key Military Materiel” • James J Greenberger addressed a National Defense Industrial Association conference about the “exciting field of electro-chemical energy storage technologies.” Batteries are critical technology that all four services rely on to maintain their edge against adversaries. [National Defense Magazine]

Shade with flexible PVs (US Army photo, Wikimedia Commons)

World:

¶ UK supermarket chain Tesco has announced a commitment to using 100% renewable electricity by the year 2030. Tesco has been stepping up its sustainability efforts in recent years. Since 2007, more than £700 million ($905 billion) has been invested in energy and refrigeration efficiency, and Tesco’s electricity bill has fallen by £200 million annually. [CNBC]

¶ With oil markets flagging, the world’s two biggest oil exporters, Saudi Arabia and Russia, agreed to extend production cuts for several months, sending the price of crude soaring. Inventories had piled up and crimped the potential for demand. Prices had dipped below $44 a barrel this month, their lowest level in more than a year. [New York Times]

Saudi oil facility (Credit: Saudi Aramco, via Reuters)

¶ Global solar investment is to be higher than coal, gas and nuclear combined in 2017, according to a report from Frost & Sullivan. Global Power Industry Outlook, 2017 examines power market trends, installed capacity, investment, and regional growth across coal-fired, gas-fired, nuclear, hydro, solar PV, wind, and biomass. [Your Renewable News]

¶ Thanks to strong government support, India has moved up to the second spot in the “Renewable energy country attractiveness index” 2017, according to a report released by Ernst & Young. The report released globally stated that China and India have surpassed the US, which has fallen to third place on Trump administration policy. [Livemint]

Indian renewable energy (Photo: Abhijit Bhatlekar | Mint)

¶ Slowing coal use in China and India has put the world’s two most populous countries on track to beat their carbon emission goals under the Paris climate agreement, while the US falls short, according to a new analysis by issued by Climate Action Tracker, a consortium of three international research organizations. [InsideClimate News]

¶ Australia’s large-scale solar industry now appears to be on solid ground, with all of 12 large plants recently awarded grant funding by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency reaching “financial close” this month. Construction has already begun at nine of the 12 Arena-funded plants, and the others three are a done deal. [The Guardian]

Broken Hill solar farm (Photo: Josh Wall | Guardian Australia)

¶ Toshiba, which has made financial guarantees to help complete a troubled South Carolina nuclear power project, is reporting the equivalent of a $8.4 billion net loss for its fiscal year. Toshiba called the figures released Monday as projections rather than results, since they lack the company’s auditors’ approval. [Charleston Post Courier]

¶ Over 1400 oil and gas platforms in the North Sea might eventually be used to fight the problem they helped to create: unsustainable energy generation. Both fossil fuels and renewable companies are working on a system design that could make the platforms part of the energy revolution as hydrogen production and storage facilities. [CleanTechnica]

North sea oil platform (Image: Berardo62, some rights reserved)

US:

¶ A study finds there is still plenty of dirty air around western New York. The study carries a confrontational name: “Our Health at Risk: Why Are Millions of Americans Still Breathing Unhealthy Air?” It comes from the Environment New York Research & Policy Center and is based on the most recent data, from 2015. [WBFO]

¶ Consumers Energy is planning to set up a program to help Michigan businesses become 100% supplied by renewable electricity by investing in clean power projects. The utility has applied to the Michigan Public Service Commission to approve the plan. Businesses would help fund new renewable energy sources as part of the plan. [reNews]

Wind power (Image: Pixabay)

¶ A tentative lease extension will keep the 43-year-old Navajo Generating Station open through the end of 2019, instead of beginning a shutdown as early as this summer, Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye said at a public hearing Monday in Phoenix. The plant is one of the American West’s biggest electric generators – and polluters. [NBCNews.com]

¶ Southern Company subsidiary Southern Power announced that the 102-MW Lamesa Solar Facility has reached commercial operation. The facility is located in Dawson County, Texas. With three large-scale PV projects operating in the state, Southern Power owns one of the largest utility-scale solar portfolios in Texas. [PV-Tech]

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May 15 Energy News

May 15, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Florida Sea Level Rise & Unchecked Coastal Developments” • With climate change and sea level rise, coastal developments make no sense – and yet, day by day, month by month, large coastal luxury buildings shoot sky-high, with almost no sidewalk to spare on one side and sand that will soon be underwater on the other. [CleanTechnica]

St Petersburg (Image: Cynthia Shahan | Cleantechnica.com)

¶ “Are Solar and Wind Really Killing Coal, Nuclear, and Grid Reliability?” • Are wind and solar killing coal and nuclear? Yes, but not by themselves and not for the reasons most people think. Are wind and solar killing grid reliability? No, where the grid’s technology and regulations have been modernized, the grid’s operation has improved. [DeSmog]

Science and Technology:

¶ Final trials of printed PVs on sheets of plastic are underway at the University of Newcastle in New South Wales. Conventional printing technology is used to print electronic ink on clear plastic sheets. The finished product is very lightweight. Printed PVs are expected to be available commercially in about three years. [ABC Online]

Prof Paul Dastoor and printed PVs (ABC News | Kerrin Thomas)

¶ Nearly one-third of all trees in urban forests around the southwest shore of Lake Michigan are of species that are highly vulnerable to climate change, says a new study by the US Forest Service. The health and numbers of at least 85 species evaluated in the study are expected to decline over the next several decades. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

¶ New research finds that global average temperatures may rise 1.5° C over pre-industrial temperatures by as early as 2026, if the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation has in fact now moved into a positive phase, as is now suspected. The new research comes from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science. [CleanTechnica]

Global warming – please click on the image to enlarge it

World:

¶ Toshiba has missed a Tokyo Stock Exchange deadline to file its annual results, but warned it was likely to report a loss of ¥950 billion ($8.4 billion; £6.5 billion). Problems, starting with an accounting scandal, came to a head again in January this year, when it became clear its US nuclear unit, Westinghouse, was in financial trouble. [BBC]

¶ Korean President Moon Jae-in ordered a temporary shutdown of outdated coal-fired plants, aged 30 years or over, as part of an emergency measure to combat fine dust. Under the plans, 10 out of 59 coal-fired plants will stop operating for a month in June. He has also pledged to close nuclear plants and increase renewable generation. [The Korea Herald]

Seoul’s polluted air (Yonhap)

¶ Vietnam’s north-central province of Thanh Hoa will build a new 30-MW solar energy plant, financed by domestic sources with total investment of ₫800 billion ($35 million). The solar plant is a joint venture of two companies, which will provide 30% of the financing. The remainder will come from commercial banks. [VnExpress International]

¶ The new energy strategy of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg aims to increase the share of renewables in its energy mix from around 6% currently to 70% by 2050. About 4.8 GW of new renewable energy power generation capacity is expected to be installed in order to reach this target, and to reduce dependence from power imports. [pv magazine]

Luxembourg has 117 MW of solar power now. (Wolfgang Staudt)

¶ The South African government is still trying to come to terms with a court judgement that has stopped nuclear procurement in its tracks, and other technologies are being affected. No new date has been set for the signing of 37 outstanding power purchase agreements, as the procurement process suffers from the same defects. [Moneyweb.co.za]

¶ Western Australia network operator Horizon Power announced plans to take more remote regional customers off grid, offering stand-alone solar plus battery storage systems and back-up diesel generators as a cheaper and more reliable alternative to poles and wires. Five test systems installed last year were successful. [One Step Off The Grid]

Battery storage (Horizon Power image)

US:

¶ President Trump has reportedly picked a conservative talk show radio host and climate change denier to be the “chief scientist” of the USDA’s research division. The 2008 Farm Bill says the position is to be filled by “distinguished scientists with specialized or significant experience in agricultural research, education, and economics.” [Mashable]

¶ PepsiCo confirmed that its new target for greenhouse gas emission reduction has been verified and approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative as in line with what is necessary to keep global warming below two degrees Celsius. The company will work to reduce GHG emissions across its value chain by at least 20% by 2030. [PotatoPro]

Farming emissions are included in the value chain. (PepsiCo)

¶ A key argument against a proposed Burrillville, Rhode Island, fossil-fuel power plant has derailed a similar natural-gas project in nearby Killingly, Connecticut. Opponents argue that the electricity generated would be redundant. Energy efficiency and renewable energy reduce electric demand, and they say the proposed facility is not needed. [ecoRI news]

¶ A state-of-the-art biodigester facility in Newaygo County, Michigan, is getting a second life from one of the nation’s leading clean energy investors, after closing abruptly two years ago. San Francisco-based Generate Capital has purchased the facility after the former owner, NOVI Energy failed to cover its upfront costs. [MiBiz]

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May 14 Energy News

May 14, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “The UAE is well placed to take the lead in renewable energy storage” • For the UAE and other governments of the region, the emergence of an energy storage market opens up a new set of decisions about how best to generate and distribute low-cost, emissions free electricity while reserving oil and natural gas for export. [The National]

Tafila Wind farm in Jordan (Salah Malkawi | The National)

¶ “Whose Power Plans Are Greener: China or India?” • While China got off to an early lead in renewable energy sources, India is looking to catch up over the next ten years. So which country will be crowned the greenest? In the years ahead China looks set to lead on renewables, but India’s power sector will be greener overall. [The Wire]

¶ “Policy guidance needed for renewables” • The future energy system in Australia is built on an assumption of renewables in the electricity grids, but the pipeline of projects may not last beyond 2020. Uncertainty arises because the federal government does not have a Renewable Energy Target beyond that date. [The Australian Financial Review]

Costs for renewables have fallen in recent years. (Jo Buchanan)

World:

¶ Environment advocates said Philippine coal-fired projects under construction could cause 70,000 deaths per year by 2030. Residents of Ozamiz City protested the impending construction of a 300-MW coal-fired power plant, saying the it will also prevent people from enjoying clean and cheap energy from renewable resources. [Manila Bulletin]

¶ In 2016, Victoria’s United Energy had two distribution transformers blow. That was fewer than had been the case about a decade ago, when there had been difficulties predicting where load issues would occur. One expert puts the change down to 98% of residential and small business customers having smart meters. [The Australian Financial Review]

New technology can increase productivity. (Supplied)

¶ Nearly a century after importing equipment from Britain for setting up its first thermal power station at Husain Sagar in Andhra Pradesh, India launched the process to export “Ujala” – Hindi for light – to the United Kingdom with affordable “Made in India” LED bulbs. Ujala is one of the world’s largest efficiency programs. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ General Electric is planning to install hydroelectric plants that will generate additional 2 GW of electricity in Nigeria by 2030, in view of the nation’s growing power demands. This is part of 29-GW hydropower expansion projects to be executed by the American multinational corporation in four African countries in the next 13 years. [Naija247news]

African hydropower plant

¶ Chhattisgarh is working hard to make itself one of India’s leading states for distributing solar-powered irrigation pumps, officials said. Its government is aiming to install around 11,300 solar powered irrigation pumps in the first of three distribution phases, with the second and third each adding roughly 20,000 more. [Daily Pioneer]

¶ The Lucot Investment Committee, after a number of meetings with the Cameroon Government, will invest $500 million in a solar power project, partnering with Phoenix Green Capital Corp Ltd. Lucot has been investing in the ASEAN region for a number of years and sees opportunities for more investment in Africa. [Proshare Nigeria Limited]

Cameroon (Trees ForTheFuture, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ South Africa’s Energy Minister will try again to build nuclear reactors in the country, after a court ruled the government had failed to allow adequate public consultation for preliminary agreements. This will happen by signing new plans and submitting them to the parliament, rather than by appealing the court’s decision. [ETEnergyworld.com]

US:

¶ Last December, after years of legal wrangling, the Arizona Corporation Commission set a new solar policy phasing out net metering. Now, Tucson Electric Power Co proposed a rate structure for future customers with PVs that would cut credits for excess solar production and mandate time-of-use rates with new monthly charges. [Arizona Daily Star]

Tucson rooftop solar (Ron Medvescek | Arizona Daily Star)

¶ The North Bay pioneered a new type of public energy program in California seven years ago, and now it appears poised to change who buys electricity for homes and businesses across large swaths of the state. The growth is also prompting a face-off between the public programs and California’s three biggest private utilities. [Santa Rosa Press Democrat]

¶ Some New York residents and business owners said they would need to change how they live or operate to compensate for electric and gas delivery rate increases proposed by National Grid. The company would increase gas and electric bills from 7% to 14.9% for upstate customers, partly to pay for nuclear power subsidies. [WatertownDailyTimes.com]

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May 13 Energy News

May 13, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “The Casual Gardener: Adapt your garden for a changing climate” • According to the RHS’s “Gardening in a Changing Climate” report, the lush, green, “quintessentially British” lawn could become a thing of the past. It also warns that pests and diseases not yet established in some areas could become commonplace. [the Irish News]

Needing to adapt to climate change

Science and Technology:

¶ When it comes to making predictions, Stanford economist Tony Seba has a pretty good track record. His latest report predicts two things. First, he says that by 2030, 95% of people won’t own a private car, killing off the auto industry. Second, he predicts electric vehicles will devastate the global oil industry by the same date. [CleanTechnica]

¶ An Australian company, Wave Swell Energy, is developing a new renewable energy system that harvests wave energy. The system, called an “artificial blow-hole,” consists of a giant hollow chamber that sits partially submerged on the seabed, funneling waves in and out of an underwater opening and generating electricity via a turbine. [Daily Mail]

Prototype artificial blow-hole in use

World:

¶ Indian solar power tariffs dropped to a new low of ₹2.44 per unit (3.8¢/kWh) in an auction for the 500-MW Bhadla solar power park in Rajasthan. ACME Solar Holdings won the bid at ₹2.44 per unit for 200 MW, and SoftBank Energy, quoting ₹2.45 per unit, won the remaining 300 MW. Two days ago, the lowest bid was at ₹2.62 per unit. [Scroll.in]

¶ Australia installed another 71 MW of small scale (under 100 kW) rooftop solar in April, extending its record start to the year as households and business respond to high electricity prices and falling costs for solar modules and batteries. According to Sunwiz, installations from the first four months have totaled 301 MW. [CleanTechnica]

Australian solar installations by month

¶ China will suspend approvals for new coal-fired power plants in 29 provinces to reduce overcapacity, the official China Securities Journal reported. The National Energy Administration put as many as 25 provinces on “red alert”, meaning that new projects would create severe overcapacity or environmental risks. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]

¶ Scotland’s Atlantis Resources Ltd signed a strategic partnership agreement with Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co, Ltd, to collaborate on global development of marine energy projects. The move continues Atlantis’ push into Asia. It had announced signing a deal to supply equipment for a 150-MW project in Indonesia in March. [HydroWorld]

Atlantis tidal turbine

US:

¶ Portland General Electric has suspended efforts to permit two new natural gas plants at a site in Boardman, Oregon, about 150 miles east of Portland, saying it is in negotiations to potentially acquire existing resources instead. Environmental groups objected to a plan to replace a coal-fired plant set to close in 2020 with the two plants. [OregonLive.com]

The Palm Beach Post reported that a bill to implement the constitutional amendment designed to expand the use of solar and other renewable energy is ready to go to Governor Rick Scott. The bill, now off to a governor who is ecologically deaf, blind, and unaware, was passed unanimously by both of the Florida legislative chambers. [CleanTechnica]

Rooftop solar in Florida

¶ Missouri General Assembly adjourned without passing House Bill 340, a tax on solar energy users that would have devastated one of the state’s fastest growing industries. HB 340 passed the Missouri House on April 3 but was not taken up in the Senate after thousands of Missourians signed petitions opposing the measure. [The Missouri Times]

¶ Tesla has begun accepting deposits for its new solar roof system, offering an “infinity” warranty for tiles that integrate solar power into roof coverings. The sales have begun and are open to consumers worldwide through the Tesla solar roof website. Installations will begin next month in the US, starting with California. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Tesla solar roof

¶ Southern Co has agreed to take the lead on building two nuclear reactors at its Vogtle power plant in Georgia from the bankrupt Westinghouse Electric Co as soon as next month. Westinghouse’s bankruptcy threw into question the fate of four US nuclear reactors, two at Southern’s Vogtle plant and two more in South Carolina. [Bloomberg]

¶ In 2016, nuclear power accounted for about 20% of US power generation, but that share is expected to fall to just 11% in 2050, according to the US Energy Information Administration’s 2017 Annual Energy Outlook. It says 25% of the nation’s nuclear capacity that is not yet announced to be retired is likely to be taken offline by 2050. [POWER magazine]

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May 12 Energy News

May 12, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Think windfarms are ugly? It’s not only a matter of perception, but policy too” • The Australian landscape is changed by words on paper. The renewable energy target as a mechanism for building zero-carbon technologies has worked brilliantly. It incentivizes mainly windfarms, as they’re the cheapest, most readily deployable technology. [The Guardian]

Capital windfarm (Photo: Bloomberg via Getty Images)

¶ “Coal And Nuke Investors Think Trump Just Saved Their Bacon. They’re Naïve.” • Once again, the Trump administration is being hailed by investors in coal and nuclear power. But a skeptical message may be more appropriate. If you’re an energy investor, be afraid. You may be picking up pennies in front of Trump’s regulatory steamroller. [Forbes]

¶ “Important Year For Microgrids In Remote Countries” • This year could be big for microgrid developments in remote and non-electrified regions and countries. Storage companies and technology behemoths are leading the way on installing and investing in storage microgrids and solar for regional and island countries and communities. [CleanTechnica]

New island microgrid projects, Q4 2016 and Q1 2017

World:

¶ The renewable energy sector in the UK has experienced its best ever quarter with wind, solar, biomass and hydro all registering record levels of energy generation. According to the latest Electric Insights report, which covered January to March, output from coal generation fell by 30% compared to the same quarter in 2016. [Climate Action Programme]

¶ BayWa’s earnings before interest and tax from renewable energy jumped 77.5% in the first three months of 2017 to €21.3 million ($23.16 million), compared with €12.0 million in the period last year. Revenue from clean power also soared to €251.8 million, up 57% on the €160.4 million posted in the first quarter of 2016. [reNews]

Wind turbines in Germany (Eclipse.sx, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The Indonesian government appears to be backtracking on its aggressive 35,000-MW, coal-centric energy development plan. The ambitious 35,000 MW of new electricity generation projects were to be completed by 2019, according to a plan announced by President Joko Widodo in 2014. However, only 15,000 MW will be required by then. [Mongabay.com]

¶ Wärtsilä has launched hybrid and standalone energy storage systems, targeting areas where it sees “high market potential”, including remote microgrids and solar PV integration. The Finnish company, known as a supplier of engines to the maritime industry, will also make standalone energy storage solutions available. [Energy Storage News]

Please click on the image to enlarge it.

US:

¶ President Donald Trump’s efforts to dilute US climate policies put Tillerson in an awkward position at a meeting of Arctic nations in Fairbanks. Tillerson signed an agreement recognizing the Paris climate accord, but he said Trump was not rushing to decide whether to leave or weaken US commitments to the pact. [Financial Express]

¶ Each year the US intelligence community puts together a “Worldwide Threat Assessment” report. This year’s report makes for particularly disquieting reading. While it focuses on the increasing danger that North Korea’s nuclear weapons program poses as well as cyberterrorism threats, one environmental concern stands out: climate change. [Yahoo News]

Wave

¶ The Dakota Access pipeline has already spilled crude oil into the environment and it is not even in operation yet. On April 6, 84 gallons of the liquid crud was dumped into a containment pit in South Dakota. That may be small, but it drives home an essential truth. Of the systems mankind has devised to transport oil, all leak. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Maryland regulators approved plans for the nation’s first large-scale offshore wind projects. The Maryland Public Service Commission awarded renewable energy credits for two projects off Maryland’s Eastern Shore near Ocean City. The PSC says the decision allows US Wind and Skipjack Offshore Energy to build 368 MW of capacity. [PennEnergy]

Offshore Wind in Denmark

¶ Two years after NextEra Energy Resources and Entergy Arkansas received approval for an 81-MW solar project in Stuttgart, Arkansas, the companies have finally broken ground on the project. The Stuttgart Solar Energy Center is not expected to be finished until January 2018. They say time moves slower in the South. [pv magazine USA]

¶ A committee of Maine legislators today voted unanimously against a bill that would have blocked the 12-MW Aqua Ventus floating offshore wind demo. The decision by the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee effectively kills the bill. Republican senator Dana Dow proposed the law to protect local scenic beauty and tourism. [reNews]

Aqua Ventus prototype (UMaine)

¶ Akamai Technologies, one of the largest Cloud-delivery platforms, invested in a wind farm as part of its commitment to source renewable energy for 50% of its global network operations by 2020. Akamai intends to source enough energy from the 80-MW Seymour Hills Wind Farm to offset its Texas data center operations. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ In a sometimes testy hearing that opened the latest biannual review of project costs by the Georgia Public Service Commission, Georgia Power executives said they’re considering all options for the fate of a planned nuclear plant. The project’s completion date and cost are in flux as its main contractor has filed for bankruptcy. [Thegardenisland.com]

 

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May 11 Energy News

May 11, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Indian solar power prices hit record low, undercutting fossil fuels” • Wholesale solar power prices have reached a record low in India. They now undercut prices of fossil fuel-generated power, increasing the likelihood that India will exceed the renewable energy targets it set at the Paris climate accords in December 2015. [The Guardian]

Market in New Delhi selling PVs (Photo: Saurabh Das | AP)

¶ “While Trump Tries to Bring Back Zombie Coal, the UK Goes Coal-Free” • When President Trump told supporters at his 100th day rally in Pennsylvania, “We are putting our coal miners back to work,” he just burrowed deeper into the bed of administration lies on energy. But the truth is, the demand for US coal has collapsed. [Foreign Policy In Focus]

Science and Technology:

¶ SolarGaps motorized blinds, from a Ukrainian startup, is one of those ideas that seems so obvious after you hear about it, because while even ‘dumb’ window blinds can save a significant amount of energy by reducing the cooling load of a room, adding solar cells and a tracking mechanism to them makes a good thing better. [Treehugger]

SolarGaps smart solar blind (© SolarGaps)

World:

¶ The Oman Investment Fund and the Ningxia Zhongke Jiaye New Energy and Technology Management Co have signed an agreement to develop a 1,000-MW solar power plant in Oman. The first development phase will see the installation of 400 MW of capacity, with the full 1,000 MW to be installed during the second phase. [Climate Action Programme]

¶ South Africa’s energy regulator has agreed to investigate power utility Eskom’s refusal to sign power purchase agreements worth billions of rands with independent power producers. The chief executive of the South African Wind Energy Association said in a statement that it had received confirmation of the investigation from NERSA. [Nasdaq]

Eskom transmission lines

¶ Plans for a floating power plant that will harness solar energy in Cayman’s coastal waters are moving forward following the completion of an environmental impact study. Public meetings are expected for the summer, as the company seeks approval for the pioneering project ahead of a 36-month construction process. [Cayman Compass]

¶ A solar and battery storage mini-grid trial by Victorian network operator AusNet Services has succeeded in taking part of a Melbourne suburb completely off grid, demonstrating how utilities can use solar, battery storage and the internet of things to boost energy security and reliability in the future. Eight homes were in the trial. [RenewEconomy]

Eight homes went off the grid.

¶ TEPCO announced it will seek partners for its nuclear business as part of a recovery plan after the Fukushima disaster brought the utility to its knees. The company is trying to place itself on a sounder financial footing after the government estimated that costs related to the Fukushima disaster would be ¥21.5 trillion ($188 billion). [Reuters]

¶ India’s largest power generation company, NTPC Ltd, invited bids for battery energy storage system for an 8-MW solar project at Chidiyatapu in Andaman and Nicobar islands. NTPC has planned capacity addition of about 1,000 MW of renewable resources by 2017 and has already commissioned 310 MW solar PV projects. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Chidiyatapu seascape (Venkatesh Katta, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ President Donald Trump can’t seem to make up his mind about to keep the US in the Paris Climate Agreement or pull out, but there are signs he is getting advice from across the ideological spectrum. A source close to Gore said the president and the Nobel Prize-winning climate activist spoke by phone about the Paris accord. [Yahoo News]

¶ The town of Hanover, New Hampshire voted to establish a goal of transitioning to 100% clean and renewable energy by 2050. The article approved at town meeting sets a community-wide goal of 100% renewable electricity by 2030 and a 2050 goal of transitioning heating and transportation to clean sources of energy. [EcoWatch]

Dartmouth College, in Hanover, New Hampshire

¶ The 37 glaciers remaining at Glacier National Park are vanishing. In the past half century, some of the ice formations in Montana have lost 85% of their size, and the average shrinkage is 39%, a study released by the US Geological Survey and Portland State University says. One scientist said, “The glaciers will be gone in decades.” [CNN]

¶ Republicans’ bid to roll back an Obama-era rule limiting methane emissions from drilling rigs on public lands narrowly lost in the Senate after three GOP senators voted against the repeal in a 49-51 vote. The rule limited the amount of methane that can be vented and burned from oil and gas extraction sites on federal lands. [Huffington Post]

Gas being flared (Andrew Burton | Getty Images)

¶ Furman University’s $1.7 million solar facility is online and supplying the campus with electrical power. According to Furman, the facility is the largest of its kind on a college campus in South Carolina. It has 2,994 solar panels across six acres of land along Poinsett Highway near the campus. Excess power can be sold to Duke Energy. [GSA Business]

¶ The Tennessee Valley Authority, in partnership with the Tennessee Valley Public Power Association, has awarded 10 MW of solar capacity to seven local power companies that applied through TVA’s Distributed Solar Solutions pilot program. The projects will generate enough solar energy to power more than 900 average homes. [Solar Industry]

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May 10 Energy News

May 10, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Buffett Thinks That If You Are Tied to Coal, You Are Screwed” In a nutshell, that’s how the oracle of Omaha perceives the direction that coal is taking. Buffett’s approach is the opposite of that of the Trump administration, which favors reviving US coal industry. He sees a possibility of no coal being burned at all in 20 years. [Wall Street Pit]

Coal smoke

¶ “Australia’s Renewable Energy Target Is Within Grasping Distance” • According to the Clean Energy Regulator, Australia’s 2020 Renewable Energy Target, sourcing 33,000 GWh of large-scale renewable energy by 2020, is potentially within grasping distance if the current pace of investment continues through the rest of 2017. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶ The pace of global warming is likely to quicken as natural processes in the Pacific switch from serving as a brake to an accelerator, placing the planet on course to exceed a landmark level within a decade, a paper says. The Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation, a cycle that lasts 10-30 years, is switching to its “warm” phase. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

Global warming may speed up. (Photo: Leigh Henningham)

¶ A research project, led by the VTT Technical Research Center of Finland, has developed a concept for increasing solar energy production and reducing fuel consumption at traditional power plants by over 33%. It creates a hybrid plant that combines concentrated solar power technology with that of a traditional power plant. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

World:

¶ Navigant Research published its latest Distributed Solar PV Plus Energy Storage Systems report this week. It says the global annual market for the deployment of distributed solar PV plus energy storage is expected to exceed $49 billion and reach 27.4 GW by 2026. The largest growth is expected to be in the Asia Pacific region. [CleanTechnica]

Distributed and remote off-grid solar plus storage growth

¶ Customers visiting thousands of hotels and coffee shops across the UK can now be assured that they are using 100% renewable power. Hospitality giant Whitbread confirmed that all of its UK operations are now sourcing electricity from renewable energy projects. The company owns Costa Coffee, Premier Inn, and Beefeater Grill. [businessgreen.com]

¶ A record €18.2 billion was invested in new offshore wind farms in Europe last year, out of total wind farm investments of €43 billion, according to data released by WindEurope. The report from Wind Europe, Financing and Investment Trends 2016, showed wind farm investments were up 22% in 2016 from €35 billion in 2015. [reNews]

Offshore wind farm (DONG image)

¶ Solar power tariff dropped to a record low of ₹2.62 per unit (4.05¢/kWh) in an auction for Bhadla solar park in Rajasthan. This price is lower than the average rate of power generated by the coal-fuelled power generation utility, NTPC Ltd, at ₹3.20 per unit. The price is considered a major milestone toward powering India. [Deccan Herald]

¶ In Alberta, the County of Grande Prairie and other local municipalities are looking into developing geothermal power. Proponents say makes it economic sense, as a carbon tax makes traditional power more costly. A study identified enough sources to power all of the county’s domestic and commercial needs. [Alberta Daily Herald Tribune]

Steam rising from a geothermal station in Iceland (Wikipedia)

¶ The South African government may appeal a recent High Court judgement that declared a nuclear deal with a Russian company as invalid. South Africa and Russia signed an Intergovernmental Agreement in 2014 for cooperation between Rosatom and Eskom, aiming to build 9,600 MW of nuclear energy capacity. [IMIESA]

US:

¶ Enel Green Power North America has started construction of the 298-MW Thunder Ranch wind farm in Oklahoma. The $435 million project, which is in Garfield, Kay, and Noble counties, will be financed through the Enel Group’s own resources. It is supported by long-term agreements and is expected to be online by the end of the year. [reNews]

Enel wind Farm (Enel image)

¶ With the internal White House debate over whether to remain in the Paris Agreement, a bipartisan group of 20 retired senior military officers and national security experts have signed companion joint letters urging Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis to lead the security implications of climate change. [CleanTechnica]

¶ New restrictions are coming to Southern New England’s lobster fishery in an attempt to save their populations in the area. Numbers of lobsters have dwindled as climate changed has warmed waters. An arm of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission voted to pursue new management measures to try to slow their decline. [The Providence Journal]

Lobster boat in Casco Bay (KPWM Spotter, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Last year, New Mexico’s Kit Carson Electric Cooperative ended its long-term wholesale electricity contract with Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association. Now, Kit Carson and its new electricity supplier, Guzman Renewable Energy Partners, have announced a plan to build 30 MW of solar arrays, starting this month. [High Country News]

¶ A 20-foot hole in the ground at Washington state’s Hanford nuclear waste site appeared when a section of a tunnel caved in. The tunnel, which was covered in 8 feet of soil, was built during the Cold War to hold rail cars loaded with equipment that had been contaminated in the process of plutonium production. There was no evidence of contamination. [CNN]

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May 9 Energy News

May 9, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “US Energy Dept To Trump: Lalalalala We Can’t Hear You, Wind Power Rocks!” • Energy Secretary Rick Perry has been steadily undercutting the Trump Administration’s pro-coal messaging with a flood of press releases, tweets and articles touting clean tech and renewables. It’s almost like he’s laughing and pointing at the White House. [CleanTechnica]

Offshore wind study tweet

World:

¶ Emmanuel Macron, a centrist, pro-EU French presidential candidate, won two thirds of the vote in a run-off against the far right’s Marine Le Pen. He promised to promote international cooperation on climate change in his victory speech. He supports ending the use of coal, a carbon price, and trade sanctions on polluting countries. [Climate Home]

¶ The Netherlands has put the world’s second largest offshore wind farm online, with 150 turbines spinning in action in the North Sea, substantially reducing the country’s carbon footprint and enhancing its energy security. The Gemini wind farm has a capacity of 600 MW and was built at a cost of €2.8 billion ($3 billion). [Deutsche Welle]

Windpark Nordsee Ost

¶ Participants in UN climate talks have expressed reservations about making changes to the Paris climate agreement just to keep the US in the treaty. There have been suggestions that the US might stay in, if it was allowed to lower its carbon targets. But delegates at the talks say countries should raise not cut their commitments. [BBC]

¶ After trying to avoid releasing an air pollution plan prior to elections, the UK’s government has obeyed a court order to issue it. The new plan to cut levels of diesel fumes, nitrogen oxides, and particulates has been greeted with derision by climate advocates, who say it flouts the government’s obligation to protect public health. [CleanTechnica]

Measuring air quality

¶ Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator released a report detailing progress on the 2020 renewable energy target. It says a record high investment in renewables in 2016 was five times that of 2015, and it says, “Of the 98 new power plants accredited in 2016, 86 were solar, reflecting the rapidly declining cost and increased capacity of photovoltaics.” [PS News]

¶ Last August, it turned out to be challenging to install 27 solar panels on the community hall in Clyde River, Nunavut. And then the electrical inspection and approval came belatedly this spring. But the panels and their inverters are now converting sunlight into power. (Clyde River is on Baffin Island, well north if the Arctic Circle. – ghh) [Nunatsiaq News]

Niungvaliruluit, “pointer like a window,” Baffin Island
(Ansgar Walk, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ India’s solar power tariffs are set to fall below ₹3 per unit (4.66¢/kWh) in Rajasthan. State-run Solar Energy Corp of India, which is running the bid process for 750 MW of solar power capacity at two parks, has received price bids for the 250-MW Adani Renewable Energy Park Rajasthan Ltd, with the reserve price set at ₹3.01 a unit. [Livemint]

¶ Modernising small island power systems with renewable energy will supply cheaper, efficient, secure, cleaner power, a newly-released report says. The Philippines can save up to $200 million per year, and build a more reliable energy supply for millions of its residents, by replacing diesel generators with renewable sources. [en.vietnamplus.vn]

Wind turbines

US:

¶ The ongoing argument over the fate of the 2015 Paris climate accord has spilled into unusually public view as top advisers to the President near a decision on withdrawing from the landmark pact, which every nation except Syria and Nicaragua has signed onto. But a Tuesday strategy session was postponed due to a scheduling conflict. [CNN]

¶ The US added more than 11 GW of solar power last year, according to a report released by the Energy Information Administration. This means the US has nearly 50% more solar power than it did a year earlier. And the American Wind Energy Association says the wind industry had its best first quarter since 2009. [The Desert Sun]

Antelopes in Wyoming (Photo: Jay Calderon | The Desert Sun)

¶ More than two hundred institutional investors worth the tidy sum of $15 trillion have just put the Trump Administration on notice that climate change has put their assets at risk. The notice comes in the form of a newly published letter to the G7 group of seven industrialized nations and the G20 group of 20 major economies. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed 11 bipartisan bills that promote the use of solar and other renewable energy options and aim to reduce energy consumption across the commonwealth. One bill allows localities to establish green development zones where businesses can receive special taxing and zoning treatment. [Fauquier Times]

Solar installation near Remington, Virginia

¶ The School for International Training, in Brattleboro, Vermont, received a $100,000 grant from Windham Regional Commission to install a solar energy system. Its benefits will include enhancing the curriculum at the SIT Graduate Institute. The project will be installed in partnership with Dynamic Organics, based in Putney, Vermont. [vtdigger.org]

¶ Construction of two nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle is years behind schedule and billions over budget. The contractor, Westinghouse Electric, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month, and a temporary labor contract is about to expire. But come what may, Georgia Power will make a profit, and the customers will pay. [WJBF-TV]

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May 8 Energy News

May 8, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Trump failure to lead on climate doesn’t faze UN policymakers in Bonn” • Policymakers from nearly 200 countries are gathering in Bonn for talks aimed at fulfilling the Paris Agreement. They are unfazed by Trump’s threat to withdraw from the accord. It seems likely China would step into the leadership gap left by the US. [Mongabay.com]

Arctic melt ponds (Photo courtesy of NOAA)

¶ “Stop insuring climate disaster” • The ‘massive and mighty’ insurance industry needs to play its part in speeding up the global transition to renewable energy, 350.org founder Bill McKibben says. He calls on the sector to stop underwriting fossil fuel projects. By distributing risk, insurers been enabling high-risk activities. [eco-business.com]

¶ “At the Bonn Climate Talks, Developing Countries Will Need to Hold Their Own” • While it is not clear whether a final decision on the US remaining in the Paris Agreement will be announced during the climate talks, what is clear, however, is that US’s decision to slash funding to UN systems will have an adverse impact. [The Wire]

An earlier UN Climate Change Conference
in Bonn (Credit: UN Climate Change | Flickr)

World:

¶ The European Commission approved three schemes to support electricity generation from small-scale onshore wind, solar, and sewage gas installations in France. The schemes will enable France to develop over 17 GW of additional renewable energy over the next decade, including 15 GW of onshore wind power and 2.1 GW of solar. [Power Technology]

¶ Construction of a small, two-turbine wind farm in western Victoria is due to begin soon after Future Energy secured equity and debt financing for the 6.9-MW project. The Maroona wind farm will feature just two Vestas V126 wind turbines, located on two separate properties, generating the equivalent power needs of 4,000 households. [RenewEconomy]

Chepstowe wind farm

¶ South Australia’s Treasurer said that with 53% of the state’s electricity last year coming from solar and wind – reaching a 50% target 8 years ahead of schedule – the focus in the state has to be on making all this clean energy more capable of being controlled with respect to when it is released to the grid. This means more emphasis on storage. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Chinese wind turbine manufacturer Goldwind acquired the 530-MW Stockyard Hill wind farm in Victoria from Origin Energy. Origin has committed to a long-term power purchase agreement for the project’s electricity below AUS$60/MWh (US $44.4/MWh). It will be Australia’s largest wind farm and will feature 149 turbines. [reNews]

Australian wind farm (Image: pexels)

¶ Wales’ largest wind farm, the 76-turbine Pen y Cymoedd Wind Energy Project, is operating, 38 months after construction began. It can meet the annual electricity needs of more than 13% of households in Wales. It can also displace in an average year more than 300,000 tonnes of CO2 from fossil-fueled generation. [Your Renewable News]

¶ A $100 million (US$74 million) solar power station will begin construction at the Queensland coal town of Collinsville within weeks, providing 120 construction jobs and 20 in operation. Developer Ratch Australia Corporation said it had reached a financial decision on the 180,000-panel, 42.5-MW project and would break ground this month. [Courier Mail]

Computer image showing how the Collinsville station will look

¶ About 200 people protested outside the gates of the Kansai Electric Power Co’s Takahama Nuclear Power Plant to voice their opposition to the planned restarting of the plant’s No 4 reactor in mid-May. Anti-nuclear protesters from groups based in Fukui Prefecture and the Kansai region turned up from cities such as Kyoto and Kobe. [The Mainichi]

¶ Some EU countries are using the low carbon transition to justify new subsidies to the coal industry, instead of investing in clean alternatives, say analysts. Six EU member states have introduced support totaling €875 million a year ($960 million) since 2015, according to a report by the Overseas Development Institute. [Climate Home]

Eggborough coal station, UK (Pic: Flickr | John Mabbitt)

US:

¶ The Climate Solutions Caucus, is a place representatives concerned about climate change can meet to exchange ideas about how the federal government should respond to environmental challenges. We might assume that most of those people would be Democrats, but in fact half of the caucus members are Republicans. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Owing to the widespread use of air conditioners, emissions of SO2, NOx, CO2 increase substantially during the summer. As global temperatures increase, many more people are turning on air conditioners, which use a lot of electricity. This requires increasing the electricity production, and that is a leading cause of global warming. [CleanTechnica]

Air conditioner (US Navy photo, Thomas Obungen)

¶ The solar power industry has boomed in Minnesota in the last few years, mainly on dropping costs. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, a industry trade association based in Washington, DC, Minnesota boasts 372.5 MW of solar capacity installed with most of that – 339.8 MW – utility-scale projects coming in 2016. [Winona Daily News]

¶ The California Public Employees’ Retirement System joined more than 150 other international investors in a letter Sunday urging the world’s largest economies to remain committed to the 2015 Paris Agreement. The letter is both a sign that investors consider the pact to be in jeopardy and an example of the shareholder activism. [Sacramento Bee]

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May 7 Energy News

May 7, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Long Island’s energy future may be blowin’ in the wind” • Earlier this year, final agreement was reached between the Long Island Power Authority and Deepwater Wind, which had developed the Block Island offshore wind farm, to provide power to Long Island’s South Fork. It is one more in a series of developments. [Newsday]

Block Island (Photo: AllIslandAerial | Kevin P Coughlin)

¶ “Noah Smith: Climate skeptics always assume risks are overhyped” • Bret Stephens of the New York Times made a splash with a column questioning the scientific consensus on climate change. He didn’t cite any skeptical research papers or alternative theories. His doubt was based purely on distrust of scientific consensus. [WatertownDailyTimes.com]

Science and Technology:

¶ The amount of dissolved oxygen in the water of the world’s oceans, an important marker of overall oceanic biological health/livability, has been declining at a notable rate for more than 2 decades now, according to analysis from the Georgia Institute of Technology, which looked at historic data going back more than 5 decades. [CleanTechnica]

Linear trend of dissolved oxygen at 100 meters (Georgia Tech)

¶ To avert extinction within the next century, astrophysicist Stephen Hawking has called on mankind to search aggressively for a new planet where we can live and thrive. Hawking warned that time is no longer on the side of humans as life on Earth could be decimated by asteroids, climate change, population growth, and epidemics. [Telegiz News]

World:

¶ The UK government is currently considering implementing a “scrappage scheme” to get the oldest, most heavily polluting cars and vans off the country’s roads. It is also giving thought to implementing low-emissions zones in certain parts of the country, where drivers of some vehicles would be required to pay fees to use the roads. [CleanTechnica]

Old vehicles in London (Hideyuki Kamon, some rights reserved)

¶ The standard way of estimating air and climate pollution from Canada’s oil sands operations greatly understate the reality of the situation, according to a study from the Canadian government. The study found that actual air and climate pollution from Alberta’s oil sands operations may be up to 4.5 times higher than officially acknowledged. [CleanTechnica]

¶ SolarReserve is planning a series of solar power plants across Queensland, creating more than 20,000 construction jobs. The company is scouting sites for up to half a dozen solar thermal stations, each of which generate enough electricity for 90,000 homes. Their solar thermal system uses molten salt to store energy to use at night. [Courier Mail]

A SolarReserve project at Crescent Dunes in the US

¶ Sonnen GmbH, a German company developing home energy systems for private households and small businesses, is planning to use Blockchain technology to distribute renewable energy such as solar power in Germany. Earlier, Sonnen revealed a partnership with TenneT to use decentralized residential storage batteries in Germany. [CoinTelegraph]

¶ Battery makers are watching to see if Australia’s most wind power-dependent state can keep the lights on by installing grid-scale batteries this year. If batteries help solve South Australia’s electricity problems by storing surplus renewable electric power, countries like Indonesia, the Philippines, and Chile, may follow suit. [Ten Eyewitness News]

Australian wind farm

¶ Union minister Suresh Prabhu today said India Railways will save ₹41,000 crore ($6.16 billion) in the next 10 years on energy cost because of its thrust on solar power generation and electrification. The railway minister informed that only 42% of railway tracks across India have been electrified so far, but it has a target of 1,000 MW. [ETEnergyworld.com]

US:

¶ The reality coal miners face is that coal jobs have shrunk by 40% since 2011. What is growing is the number of jobs in renewables. Solar power accounts for just under 1.5% [actually, well over 2% – ghh] of electricity in the US, and yet, according to the DOE, there are more than twice as many jobs in solar as in coal. [Tri States Public Radio]

Millvale, Pennsylvania (Reid Frazier | The Allegheny Front)

¶ US representatives are in Bonn, Germany, this week for United Nations climate change meetings. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump’s advisers expect to meet Tuesday to discuss what to do about a global emissions-cutting deal, officials said. Trump is trying to determine whether to withdraw from the Paris agreement. [NWAOnline]

¶ Some communities in Massachusetts are boosting their use of renewable energy, bypassing basic electric service to negotiate contracts with third-party generators. Two of the programs are running, and eight more are under development. Those 10 communities’ plans could result in 17 MW of new wind turbines. [Wicked Local Brewster]

Gloucester, Massachusetts (Fletcher6, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The EPA has fired members of a scientific advisory board. The agency quietly forced out some members of the Board of Scientific Counselors just weeks after leaders told them their tenure would be renewed. The board is tasked with reviewing the work of EPA scientists, providing feedback that shapes future research. [Science Magazine]

¶ Seventeen Republican representatives sent a letter to the president asking that he include money for the DOE’s small modular reactors in his fiscal 2018 budget request to Congress. NuScale Power, an Oregon company, has a design under consideration for certification by the NRC. Review will take over three years. [Tri-City Herald]

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May 6 Energy News

May 6, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Rising Tides Will Create The World’s Next Refugee Crisis” • Experts say climate change poses the greatest security threat and mass displacements will soon be normal. With human-caused climate change, sea levels will rise, storms will grow stronger, floods more violent, and draughts harsher, increasing risk to human beings. [Huffington Post Canada]

Brooklyn, the morning after Hurricane Sandy’s landfall.

¶ “Missing EPA Webpage Could Be Violation of Federal Law” • When EPA’s climate change pages were shuttered for revisions reflecting the administration’s views, users are told they can check out a snapshot of the entire EPA site from the day before Trump took office. But in the archived snapshot, pages relating to climate change are missing. [Seeker]

Science and Technology:

¶ Decades of increasing temperatures in Alaska have lengthened the fire season and dried out vegetation, especially in the forest floor, and created conditions for busier fire season with bigger and more frequent wildfires, according to one study. Other studies say increased lightning strikes will bring more fires and that they will be bigger. [KUAC]

The Fort McMurray fire caused C$3.7 billion in damages.
(Credit: Jonathen Hayward | The Canadian Press)

¶ Every person on Earth got the equivalent of an extra x-ray from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, a new study claims. Researchers have carried out the first global survey of radiation exposure caused by the meltdown of three nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan after a tsunami struck in 2011. [Daily Mail]

World:

¶ Tapping into geothermal energy is nothing new, but Iceland is taking things majorly next level by drilling nearly 3 miles into a live volcano to tap liquid hot magma. The well is likely the hottest hole on the planet, reaching oozing magma that averages 800 °F. The hole was completed in January and energy production is starting. [Inhabitat]

Icelandic volcano

¶ China installed 7.21 GW of new solar capacity in the first quarter of 2017 and generated 21.4 billion kWh of electricity, up 80% over the same period last year. The National Energy Administration says 4.78 GW of utility-scale solar and 2.43 GW of distributed solar PV were added in the quarter. China’s PV capacity is now almost 85 GW. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Last week, the US Commerce Department announced it will charge five Canadian softwood exporters duties ranging from 3.2% to 24.12% to make it a “level playing field.” Canada is considering multiple trade actions US in response. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was considering banning US coal exports in response to the “unfair” tax. [BBC]

Logs in British Columbia (Reuters)

¶ Royal Dutch Shell’s chief financial officer, has reiterated the company’s backing of the Paris climate agreement. The support from Europe’s largest oil and gas group comes on the heels of America’s largest equivalent, ExxonMobil, sending the Trump administration a letter urging the US to support the accord. [Power Engineering International]

¶ ET Energy, the global solar development arm of Chinese PV company ET Solar, announced that is has commissioned 26 MW of PV capacity across the UK, on six sites in England, Wales and Scotland. The solar farms were completed before a March 31 deadline to be eligible for Renewable Obligation Certificate at a rate of 1.2. [pv magazine]

ET solar farm in England (ET image)

US:

¶ US EPA administrator Scott Pruitt said grid reliability is threatened by potential over-reliance on gas-fired electric generation. He said he believes we have a need for power plants to have fuel stockpiles (ie, coal) nearby in the event of supply disruptions. The US has lost 54 GW of coal capacity and added 34 GW of gas capacity since 2012. [Argus Media]

¶ Facebook announced the opening of its Fort Worth, Texas data center. The new billion-dollar data center campus is powered by 100% clean and renewable energy with the inclusion of over 200 MW of wind power that was developed with Citigroup Energy, Alterra Power Corporation and Starwood Energy Group. [Computer Business Review]

Data farm

¶ UPS will begin deploying its first electric hydrogen fuel-cell range-extended delivery trucks this September in Sacramento. The delivery trucks, which are being designed in partnership with the US DOE and others, are intended to meet the same route and range standards as the company’s internal combustion engine vehicles. [CleanTechnica]

¶ With help from elementary school students, who have been studying ecology, state and local officials opened a solar park southwest of Anderson, Indiana. They called the Anderson 1 Solar Park a gateway to the future. The 5-MW system has over 19,500 PV panels on 35 acres and will provide power for about 500 homes. [The Rushville Republican]

Ribbon cutting (John P Cleary | the Herald Bulletin)

¶ A plan to carry out a constitutional amendment designed to expand the use of solar and other renewable-energy devices is ready to go to Florida Governor Rick Scott. The Senate voted 33-0 to accept House changes to the plan. It establishes rules for implementing the amendment, which was approved by 72.6% of voters. [Sun Sentinel]

¶ The Bay Area Rapid Transit board of directors just passed an electrical portfolio policy that requires half of the organization’s power to come from renewables by 2025, and 100% by 2045. That has broad implications for the region around San Francisco, because the electric train system consumes roughly 400,000 MWh annually. [Greentech Media]

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May 5 Energy News

May 5, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ Climate change is melting permafrost soils that have been frozen for thousands of years, and as the soils melt they are releasing ancient viruses and bacteria that, having lain dormant, are springing back to life. The worry is that diseases that have been absent for millennia could reappear, infecting people who have lost resistance to them. [BBC]

Melting Permafrost (Gertrud & Helmut Denzau | naturepl.com)

¶ In the UK, Tokamak Energy says it activated its newest fusion reactor, the ST40, and it has already managed to achieve “first plasma” within its core. The reactor’s developers believe it will be safe and inexpensive to run, once they demonstrate that they can handle plasma successfully, at a temperature of 100,000,000° C. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ Oil prices are down by about 15% since the start of the year, despite OPEC’s agreement in November which cut output by 1.8 million barrels a day. Oil is at its lowest level since November, when producers’ cartel OPEC struck a deal to cut output. Most recently, Brent crude has fallen to $47.49 a barrel, while US crude dropped $44.58 a barrel. [BBC]

Oil rig and sail boat (Reuters image)

¶ India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has announced the launch of second round of wind energy auction for 1,000 MW. Electricity distribution companies of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Delhi, Assam and Odisha will buy wind power from PTC to meet their renewable purchase obligation, which is mandated by law. [Hindu Business Line]

¶ Official data revealed that India fell 5 GW short of hitting its new renewable energy installation target in financial year 2016-17. The MNRE data, compiled by Mercom Capital Group, shows that combined new renewable energy capacity grew 11,320 MW in FY 2016-17, while the national target for that period was set at 16,660 MW. [pv magazine]

Small solar system in India (Photo: Asian Development Bank)

¶ Taxpayers will wear tens of millions of dollars in losses on the botched refurbishment of the Muja AB power station after the Government of Western Australia decided to close the ageing coal-fired plant. The Energy Minister confirmed that the 52-year-old plant would be shut in September of next year. [The West Australian]

¶ Combined, Queensland and New South Wales have 1980 MW of large-scale renewable energy projects under construction or slated to begin construction in 2017, a Clean Energy Council report says. Politics kept Western Australia to only 20 MW, but now it must close 240 MW of aged coal-fired units. Now, it must turn to solar and wind. [RenewEconomy]

Collapsed wall at the Muja CD plant

¶ The United Arab Emirates was forced to delay by a year the start-up of its first nuclear reactor as the company set up to run it has not yet received an operating license. The world’s largest single nuclear project, the Barakah nuclear plant will deliver up to a quarter of the UAE’s electricity when completed around 2020. [Reuters]

US:

¶ The Vermont Public Service Board held a series of meetings on proposed sound standards for wind turbines. The board released its draft version of the new rules in March, and its members held four meetings this week to hear from the public and from wind and sound experts as they get ready to finalize the sound standards. [Vermont Public Radio]

Wind turbines in Sheffield (Toby Talbot | AP File)

¶ The US has no plan yet for how to meet its 2020 climate target and has made no analysis of the impact of recent policy changes, according to an official submission to the UN. The US submission for the Multilateral Assessment, which was published this week, says “jobs, economic growth and energy independence” are its priority. [Carbon Brief]

¶ Competition from cheap natural gas accounts for nearly half the decline in domestic US coal consumption in recent years, Columbia University researchers said. Lower electricity demand electricity and growing use of renewable energy also took a bite out of coal’s market share. Environmental regulations took a smaller share yet. [Lexington Herald Leader]

Loading coal into a truck to be taken to a rail
facility (Bill Estep bestep@herald-leader.com)

¶ Utility-scale solar installations grew at an annualized rate of 72% from 2010 to 2016, according to the Energy Information Administration. Though the first utility-scale solar plants were installed in the mid-1980s, but more than half of all currently operating solar capacity came online over the last two years. [Power Engineering Magazine]

¶ According to the Arizona Republic, Arizona Public Service Commissioner Andy Tobin sent a letter to US Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke asking the federal government to pick up half of maintenance costs of the coal-fired Navajo Generating Station. Tobin hopes the plant would keep running at least five more years. [Utility Dive]

Navajo Generating Station

¶ BYD announced a new electric long-range class 8 refuse truck at the ACT Expo in Long Beach. It is estimated to save operators more than $13,000 per year in fuel and maintenance when compared to a diesel-based refuse truck. The new 10-ton payload trash truck can achieve 76 miles per charge with minimal battery degradation. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Feeling heat from environmentalists, residents, and politicians, supervisors of Contra Costa County, California, took the big step of picking a solar power plant developer that may be able to help consumers on average cut monthly bills up to 55%. On a 4-1 vote, they selected San Rafael-based MCE Clean Energy to develop solar power plants. [Antioch Herald]

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May 4 Energy News

May 4, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “With Renewables Surging, Nuclear And Petroleum Battle Over Subsidies” • If the petroleum industry keeps fighting subsidies for nuclear power, the nuclear industry will go after petroleum-industry tax breaks, the president of the Nuclear Energy Institute said. He said if people compare nuclear subsidies with petroleum tax breaks, nuclear will fare well. [Forbes]

Indian Point nuclear plant

¶ “Carbon Capture And Storage: An Expensive Option For Reducing U.S. CO2 Emissions” • While many technologies can reduce power sector emissions, carbon capture and storage has gained support in Congress. Analysis shows coal with CCS will always need significant subsidies to complete economically with wind and solar. [Forbes]

Science and Technology:

¶ A model presented to the General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union in Vienna, Austria details how changing US Midwestern land use could have led to more rainfall. The model addresses climate change not from greenhouse gases, but from crop cover changes associated with the move from horses to mechanized plows. [Gizmodo]

Midwest agriculture (AP Photo | Seth Perlman)

World:

¶ The global installed capacity of distributed solar PV between 2017 and 2026 is expected to reach 429 GW, while an additional 591 GW of utility-scale solar are also expected to come online during the same period, according to new figures from Navigant Research in its latest Market Data: Global Distributed Solar PV report. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Cornwall now has the second highest number of independent renewable projects of any county in the UK, new figures have revealed. According to SmartestEnergy’s fifth annual Energy Entrepreneurs Report, Cornwall now has 320 renewable energy projects generating enough energy to provide power for 170,000 homes. [Cornwall Live]

Wind turbine

¶ Singaporean solar firm Sunseap is building a 10-MW solar power plant in Cambodia to provide a quarter of the energy needs of the city of Bavet. The Asian Development Bank is funding Sunseap via a $9.2 million debt package. It will be Cambodia’s first sun-powered electricity source to be connected to the national grid. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ Air pollution from internal combustion engine vehicle use is altering the environment notably, even along the remote Manali-Leh Highway in the Himalaya Mountains in India, research from the University of Cincinnati has found. The amount of sulfur, a diesel exhaust pollutant, was at a level among the highest ever reported. [CleanTechnica]

Manali-Leh Highway (Image: Narender9, some rights reserved)

¶ Enel, through its subsidiary Enel Green Power RSA, started commercial operation at its 111-MW Gibson Bay wind farm, in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. The Gibson Bay wind farm can generate around 420 GWh per year, equivalent to the consumption needs of around 131,000 South African households. [Your Renewable News]

¶ Meeting in Tonga, a coalition of countries from the Pacific Islands and Europe announced their intention to ensure that the UN’s International Maritime Organisation delivers on shipping climate goals. Shipping emissions were not covered under the 2015 Paris Agreement, but the IMO was mandated to deliver a package for the sector. [CleanTechnica]

Beach on Vava’u, Tonga (Jansan, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Just 1% of the UK’s public are “strongly opposed” to renewable energy, according to a new Government survey. The poll found a further 4% were simply “opposed” to solar, wind and other such forms of electricity generation, but both groups were massively outnumbered by the 79% who support use of renewable energy. [The Independent]

US:

¶ In response to California’s ongoing tree mortality crisis and increased wildfire threat, Pacific Gas and Electric Co is working with local communities and power generators to dispose of dead tree debris and turn it into renewable energy. PG&E is operating sorting and chipping yards in eight counties hard hit by tree mortality. [Electric Light & Power]

Dead trees for biomass power

¶ Legal issues are now the sticking point in discussions in the Trump administration over whether to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, according to a person close to the talks. The lawyers aren’t sure whether the US would expose itself legally if it remains in the Paris agreement, but decreases its carbon reduction goals. [CNN]

¶ E&E News reports President Trump will select Daniel Simmons, former director of the natural resources task force at the American Legislative Exchange Council, to head the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy. Simmons also worked at one time for the Koch-funded Institute for Energy Research. [Utility Dive]

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May 3 Energy News

May 3, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “How The Small Community Of Moab, Utah, Is Making A Big Difference” • The city of Moab, Utah, with a population of 5,325 and a per capita income of $23,586, has committed to 100% renewable electricity by 2032. You can find out how Moab made the dream of going renewable into reality and how your community can do the same. [CleanTechnica]

“Sunfire,” near Moab, Utah (John Fowler, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Microgrids could whet the big appetite for clean energy in Texas” • With clean microgrids, the power supply is controlled closer to the source of generation. This gives locals an opportunity to trade energy with local neighbors, monetize excess supply, help stabilize the power grid locally and keep it from overheating from oversupply. [GreenBiz]

¶ “Tesla Will Disrupt Not Just The Automotive Industry, But Transportation In General” • Tesla envisions an entire new transportation ecosystem, one that ranges from vehicle autonomy to distributed renewable energy. One Morgan Stanley analyst said, “We see Tesla as disrupting transportation, not just the automotive industry.” [CleanTechnica]

Tesla CEO Elon Musk (Photo: Bret Hartman | TED

World:

¶ An industry report said energy from renewable sources provided the majority of the power over the weekend in Germany. For the first time, most of the country’s coal-fired power plants were offline. Renewable energy sources provided the majority of the power over the weekend, producing over 85% of the electricity on Sunday. [malaysiandigest.com]

¶ Grid operator Tennet and solar battery maker Sonnen GmbH have launched a pilot project that will tap home PV systems to help iron out imbalances on Germany’s power network. TenneT and Sonnen’s e-Services subsidiary aim to sign up 6,000 household PV producers equipped with storage batteries by the end of May. [Tech2]

Sonnen Battery (Image: Sonnen)

¶ Amid on-going industry concerns about the uncertainty of the government’s climate change policies after 2020, a report from the Clean Energy Regulator found Australia recorded its biggest ever year for renewable energy investment in 2016. This puts Australia on track to meet its 2020 Renewable Energy Target. [The Australian Financial Review]

¶ A joint venture created by Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor, PensionDanmark, and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners completed the 44-MW Snetterton biomass plant in the UK county of Norfolk. The £175 million project was finished a month ahead of schedule. BWSC will undertake operation and maintenance under a 15-year agreement. [reNews]

Snetterton bio plant (Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners)

¶ Environmental organisations and South Africa’s renewable energy industry say it does not make sense for the country to invest in nuclear energy. These comments follow last week’s ruling by the Western Cape High Court in favor of anti-nuclear activists, stating government’s nuclear procurement process was not valid. [ITWeb]

¶ The Indonesian Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry is planning to develop wind power plants in 16 locations across the country. The locations of the projects, which are to be developed in cooperation with Denmark, include Surakarta in Central Java and the South Sulawesi towns of Jeneponto and Sidrap, Antara news agency reported. [Jakarta Post]

Vertical axis wind turbines at the Jawa Bali Power Plant
Office in Jakarta. (Antara | Muhammad Adimaja)

¶ Solar PVs could provide 30% of Australia’s electricity needs by 2030, according to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. On May 1, the agency laid out its new Investment Plan outlining its investment priorities for the coming years. It has promised to accelerate solar PV innovation and development. [Climate Action Programme]

¶ NS, a rail company based in the Netherlands, has been working with renewable energies partners involved in sustainable energy, such as wind turbines, to move their rail fleet to use wind power to transport 600,000 passengers daily (1.2 million trips per day). This has reduced the carbon footprint to zero since the project began, two years ago. [Techly]

Wind turbines

US:

¶ Atlanta is joining the growing ranks of US cities that want to get 100% clean energy. Lawmakers in Georgia’s capital city approved a measure to get all of Atlanta’s electricity supplies from renewable sources, including wind and solar power, by 2035. The resolution commits city officials to developing a plan to make that happen. [Mashable]

¶ Wind power accounted for eight per cent of total US electricity generating capacity in 2016, according to the latest figures from the federal government’s Energy Information Administration. Wind turbines have contributed more than a third of the utility-scale power capacity added across the country over the past decade. [www.businessgreen.com]

Federal figures show growth in US wind capacity.

¶ Californians could be getting all of their electricity from renewable energy sources within 30 years under new legislation from Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles). An amended version of SB 100 calls for 60% of the state’s power from renewables like solar and wind by 2030 on its way to 100% clean energy by 2045. [KQED]

¶ Installed US capacity of offshore wind will be about 2.2 GW by 2026, according to a report by Make Consulting. It says robust state-level policies in the Northeast will help support the development of at least one new project a year out to 2026. It also says the US will install about 59 GW of new renewable projects to 2026. [reNews]

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May 2 Energy News

May 2, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “New Mexico’s Largest Electricity Provider Proposes Going 100% Coal-Free” • The Public Service Company of New Mexico has issued a landmark finding. After a routine assessment of future power supply scenarios, the utility made a conclusion that was anything but routine: the best version of its future self was coal-free. [Union of Concerned Scientists]

San Juan generating station

World:

¶ The recent increase in oil prices has helped BP to record a healthy profit for the three months to March. The $1.4 billion (£1.1 billion) profit, on the replacement cost measure, compared with a $485 million loss a year earlier. Oil prices have been about 35% higher in the first three months of 2017 compared with a year earlier. [BBC]

¶ Researchers from West Coast Wave Initiative in partnership with the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions and the University of Victoria, have mapped the waves off British Columbia’s coast at 50-meter resolution using data from the past 12 years. The data could help wave-tech companies who want to test their instruments. [MetroNews Canada]

Sea lions lounging on a wave-measuring buoy
(University of Victoria, contributed)

¶ India added more renewable energy capacity than thermal power capacity in the financial year 2016-17, the Central Electricity Authority of India has reported. The renewable energy capacity added during the period of April 2016 to March 2017 was nearly twice as much as the thermal power capacity added during the same period. [CleanTechnica]

¶ In its new investment plan, Innovating Energy, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency has laid out its new investment priorities for the coming years and has promised to accelerate solar PV innovation and development to the point where it believes solar could provide 30% of Australia’s electricity within the next 20 years. [CleanTechnica]

Rooftop solar in Australia

¶ The Philippine Department of Energy approved four large-scale solar power projects to assess impacts of their integration into the transmission network. These projects include two of 70 MW capacity each, one of 22 MW, and another of 30 MW with battery storage. They will be used to develop a roadmap for large-scale integration. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The UK’s Ministers must act “as urgently as possible” to clarify how the nuclear industry will be regulated after Brexit, the Commons energy committee warned. Investigating the impact of Brexit on energy policy, it urged the UK to delay leaving Europe’s nuclear regulator. Power supplies could be threatened if a new regulator was not ready. [BBC]

First concrete at the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant (AP image)

¶ Australia’s largest integrated energy company, AGL Energy, says Australia’s transition away from a grid dominated by coal to low-carbon generation will largely bypass “baseload” gas. The prediction is based on the now fairly well accepted economic view that gas power is becoming less competitive with large-scale solar and wind. [RenewEconomy]

US:

¶ Advanced Energy Economy, the American Wind Energy Association, and the Solar Energy Industries Association sent a letter to Secretary of Energy Perry welcoming his study of the electric power system. But they stressed that wind and solar did not cause the challenges facing coal and nuclear plants and do threaten reliability. [Windpower Engineering]

Electric grid transmission lines

¶ New York Assembly Democrats grilled Governor Andrew Cuomo’s energy officials for more than four hours about a plan by the Public Service Commission and Exelon to keep three upstate nuclear power plants alive for 12 years. Utility ratepayers, mostly from downstate, will pay for the deal through surcharges on their bills. [WBFO]

¶ Last year, 760 MW of new solar helped power up the energy grid in Utah, putting Rocky Mountain Power in the No 3 spot in the country for the amount of added solar connections in an annual survey of 412 utilities across the country. Rocky Mountain Power was also ranked sixth in the nation in watts per customer with 846 watts. [KSL.com]

The Scatec solar project in Utah
(Photo: Governor’s Office of Energy Development)

¶ Dominion Virginia Power is planning to reduce its carbon emissions by up to 25% by building new renewable projects and closing some coal facilities. It also plans for 3,200 MW of new solar capacity by 2032 and 5,200 MW of new solar by 2042. An oil-fired plant and several coal-fired plants would be closed. [Power Engineering Magazine]

¶ Massachusetts has taken the wraps off plans to solicit up to 800 MW in its first call for offshore wind. A draft request for proposals seeks 400 MW, but up to 800 MW will be considered if the evaluation team determines that a larger-scale proposal is “superior” to other bids or is likely to produce “significantly more” economic net benefits. [reNews]

Offshore wind power (Image: Pixabay)

¶ The US Army’s largest single renewable energy project has begun officially generating clean electricity. Apex Clean Energy developed, managed construction of, and currently operates the hybrid wind and solar complex, which will provide more than 50% of the annual load at US Army Garrison Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ Closing nuclear power plants serving New Jersey could lead to higher electricity prices for consumers, according to Ralph Izzo, chairman, CEO, and president of Public Service Enterprise Group, the company that owns the units. Izzo continued the drumbeat of lobbying for incentives to subsidize the operation of the three reactors. [Newsworks.org]

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May 1 Energy News

May 1, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ Climate change is a notoriously difficult concept to visualize, but a paper from the Geological Society of America makes climate science more accessible by showing the impact that warming has had on glaciers around the world. The paper aims to improve public awareness of our planet’s disappearing glaciers. [ScienceAlert]

Six years’ change – Columbia Glacier in 2009 and 2015
(Image: James Balog | Extreme Ice Survey)

World:

¶ In what is part of a growing trend, Europe is accelerating its shift away from coal and to more renewable alternatives. According to Bloomberg, companies all over Europe are closing or converting existing coal-burning generators. The fast-paced phase out is a practical and economical choice, as the cost of renewable energy continues to drop. [Futurism]

¶ Australia’s government announced that it will restrict energy exports to avert a looming natural gas shortage. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said steps were needed to secure natural gas for domestic manufacturers and households. Previously, the gas had been sent to export facilities for sale around the world. [The National Interest Online]

Flaring natural gas (Credit: Creative Commons)

¶ At a conference titled “Powering Viet Nam” held in Ha Noi, leaders of US multinational conglomerate General Electric as well as global and local energy sector experts shared ideas, case studies and best practices with more than 200 attendees and industry experts, the Dau tu (Investment) newspaper reported. [VietNamNet Bridge]

¶ With electricity prices spiralling and a rush towards green energy, fresh figures show the rate of solar panel installations across Australia led by West Australia is gathering pace. The southern Perth postcode of Baldivis is Australia’s solar capital, with more than two-thirds of houses generating their own power from the sun. [The West Australian]

Solar panels on homes in Baldivis, West Australia
(Picture: Mogens Johansen | The West Australian)

¶ The Community Power Agency has produced a snapshot of community-owned energy projects and found Australians had financed more than 30 wind and solar projects to the tune of almost $24 million in the last six years. Community-owned projects are so popular, they are being funded within hours of being offered in many cases. [NEWS.com.au]

¶ A state-owned Swedish company has become the latest European firm to enter the UK’s lucrative energy market, as Britain’s appeal to continental power suppliers shows no sign of abating after the Brexit vote. Vattenfall is launching its first foray into UK energy supply as it joins a competitive field of European players. [The Guardian]

Vattenfall wind farm (Kapook2981 | Getty Images | iStockphoto)

¶ Construction is set to begin on one of the largest solar projects in Australia’s development pipeline, after the 148-MW Ross River Solar Farm this week achieved financial close. Large wind and solar farms can be planned and built in 2 to 3 years (compared with 10 to 15 years for nuclear) and are ready now to replace fossil and nuclear electricity. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Brazil’s government-run energy agency Empresa de Pesquisa Energética has conducted a study to assess the country’s potential for hybrid solar-wind power installations. EPE’s study was conducted after several developers expressed the desire to see a hybrid wind-solar category included in the national power auctions. [pv magazine]

Hybrid wind-solar power plant (Governo de Pernambuco)

¶ A new Global Wine Index outlines the most at-risk wine regions according to rising temperatures and other climate change factors. Unfortunately, some of the world’s finest grapes are unlikely to survive. A multidisciplinary research team of engineers, seismologists, meteorologists, scientists, and wine lovers created the index. [AlterNet]

US:

¶ A proposal to build an electric transmission line to carry Canadian power through Vermont on its way to southern New England would reopen public debate about the use of the land that began nearly two decades ago. The proposal by National Grid would install the power line alongside an existing transmission line. [The Recorder]

Power lines in Vermont (AP Photo | Wilson Ring)

¶ Negotiators have reached a bipartisan agreement on a spending package to keep the US federal government funded until the end of September, according to congressional aides. It is very different from what the president proposed. The EPA’s budget is at 99% of current levels and also includes increased infrastructure spending. [The Guardian]

¶ For decades, the Block Island Power Company ferried up to a million gallons of diesel fuel a year from the Rhode Island mainland to power Block Island. The fuel is a costly and dirty energy source whose CO2 emissions are second only to burning coal. Now, America’s first offshore wind farm is delivering it electricity. [InsideClimate News]

Tourists on Block Island taking in the view of the wind farm
(Credit: Phil McKenna | InsideClimate News)

¶ Californians who get electricity from one of the state’s community choice aggregators could face higher costs under a plan being proposed by the state’s three investor-owned utilities. The proposal calls for a new approach to apportioning the utilities’ costs for energy contracts among the departing and remaining customers. [RTO Insider]

¶ Over the past decade, battery storage has taken great leaps toward mainstream use, expanding exponentially alongside renewable technologies. In the US, battery storage is now clearly an established market. Battery storage deployments grew to 336 MWh in 2016, doubling the amount deployed in 2015. [POWER magazine]

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April 30 Energy News

April 30, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Yes, I am a climate alarmist. Global warming is a crime against humanity” • Most of us have wondered about the human context of past crimes against humanity: why didn’t more people intervene? How could so many pretend not to know? The principled condemnation of large scale atrocity is, too often, a luxury of hindsight. [The Guardian]

A pair of walruses (Dan Beecham | BBC)

¶ “Take cheap solar power seriously” • Two new nuclear reactors under construction in central South Carolina will cost state residents billions of dollars for years to come, even if they never get finished. But solar power has gotten so cheap that the state’s utilities could massively expand their renewable energy capacity and save money. [Charleston Post Courier]

¶ “Trump eyes a monumental land grab” • Beginning with Theodore Roosevelt, presidents have exercised their authority under the Antiquities Act to establish national monuments on some of America’s most scenic, historic and sensitive public lands. Before Trump, no president ever tried to overturn a predecessor’s decision. [Santa Rosa Press Democrat]

Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument
(Photo: Ken Porter | The Press Democrat)

World:

¶ The Indian Government’s aim is to ensure power at ₹3 per unit (4.67¢/kWh) irrespective of source in the medium term, according to Piyush Goyal, Minister of State with Independent Charge for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy, and Mines, speaking at the 2017 Annual Session of the Confederation of Indian Industry. [EnergyInfraPost]

¶ If geothermal power stations on the seabed become a reality in Iceland, the plan is to sell the power straight to Europe through an undersea cable. It is hoped that this direct sale, bypassing Iceland’s terrestrial electricity grid, would generate the best price possible for the electricity without forcing electric prices up in Iceland. [IcelandReview]

Geothermal platforms could look like oil rigs. (Photo: Wikipedia)

¶ Iranian Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian said the country’s capacity to produce electricity from renewable energy resources would hit 7,500 MW in the next few years. The minister said that three years ago, diesel accounted for about 43% of fuels consumed in the country’s thermal power plants but the figure is down to 14% now. [Tasnim News Agency]

¶ India is one of the last bastions of coal, but construction of new coal-fired power plants is faltering. Around the world, construction of coal-burning plants is falling quickly. From January 2016 to January 2017, pre-construction activity dropped 48%, start of construction fell 62%, ongoing construction fell 19%, a report says. [Hindustan Times]

Workers clean PV panels in Gujarat. (File Photo)

¶ Norway and Australia are racing each other to show they can supply Japan with hydrogen, hoping to fulfill its ambition to become the first nation significantly fueled by the super clean energy source. Australia has planned to derive liquid hydrogen from brown coal, Norway could steal a march by producing the fuel using renewable energy. [The Japan Times]

¶ Nova Scotia Powers is making progress in reducing carbon and increasing renewable energy, with 28% of the electricity used in 2016 coming from renewable resources. Renewable energy generation in Cape Breton County has made a significant contribution to the success, with power coming from both hydro plants and wind turbines. [Cape Breton Post]

Nova Scotia wind farm (Dennis Jarvis, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ India is looking at having an all-electric car fleet by 2030 with an express objective of lowering the fuel import bill and running cost of vehicles. “We are going to introduce electric vehicles in a very big way. … The idea is that by 2030, not a single petrol or diesel car should be sold in the country,” said Piyush Goyal. [ETEnergyworld.com]

US:

¶ Iowa’s largest utility is in the midst of a $3.6 billion investment in wind power with a goal of producing 100% of its energy from renewable sources. MidAmerican Energy plans to build 1,000 more turbines over the next couple of years on top of the more than 2,000 it already has around the state, the Des Moines Register reported. [Omaha World-Herald]

Old MidAmerican plant in Council Bluffs (Mark Davis)

¶ Thousands of people have assembled in Texas on President Donald Trump’s hundredth day in office to demand federal action on climate change. The Texas Department of Public Safety told the Austin American-Statesman that about 3,500 people participated in a rally in Austin alone, part of nationwide marches calling for climate action. [KTXS]

¶ Thousands of people, including members of the union representing EPA employees, marched in downtown Chicago and outside Trump Tower to demand action to prevent climate change and protect the environment. The rain-soaked march coincided with hundreds of similar events, marking Trump’s 100th day in office. [news9.com KWTV]

Climate demonstration (AP photo, | Nam Y Huh)

¶ Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders says climate marches taking place around the country are part of a fight for the future of the planet. The former candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination addressed an adoring crowd of about 3,000 people who turned out for a rally at the Vermont Statehouse in Montpelier. [WCBI]

¶ The University of Iowa has been burning a grass, Miscanthus, in its power plant to reduce its reliance on coal. Burning an acre of Miscanthus, which looks a bit like sugar cane, can offset 4 tons of coal in the power plant. And a field of Miscanthus can grow for a decade or more without replanting, weeding, or spraying. [Omaha World-Herald]

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April 29 Energy News

April 29, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Hydropower boom in China and along Asia’s rivers outpaces regional electricity demand” • For the past two decades, China has been in an unprecedented dam-building boom, developing over 300 GW of hydropower. But is it too much? Probably, at least in the short to medium term. Installed hydropower far outstrips demand. [thethirdpole.net]

Xiaowan (Photo by International Rivers)

¶ “How A Professional Climate Change Denier Discovered The Lies And Decided To Fight For Science” • It might seem like an impossible transition, but Jerry Taylor, who used to be staff director for the energy and environment task force at the American Legislative Exchange Council and vice president of the Cato Institute, made it. [UPROXX]

¶ “Why nuclear power has no future in California or U.S.” • To those who have watched the nuclear industry collapse, the Westinghouse bankruptcy represents the final chapter in the 20th century’s deluded affair with nuclear power. It can only be read as decisive proof: There is no economic future in nuclear power. [The San Diego Union-Tribune]

Vogtle Nuclear Power Plant (AP Photo/File)

Science and Technology:

¶ New climate-change findings mean the Pacific Ocean off California may rise higher, and storms and high tides hit harder, than previously thought. The state’s Ocean Protection Council revised upward its predictions for how much water off California will rise as the climate warms. The forecast helps agencies plan for climate change. [KSWO]

World:

¶ Nova Scotian energy company Emera began laying a cable that will connect Newfoundland with Nova Scotia. The ship Nexans Skagerrak is installing 170 km of cable on the ocean floor across the Cabot Strait. Emera says deployment of the first cable started off Cape Ray on April 26 and the vessel should have it completed by May 8. [VOCM]

Nexans Skagerrak (Photo: Emera NL)

¶ The UK installed 111 MW of PV capacity in the first quarter of 2017, according to provisional statistics from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. This is a 92.9% drop from the 1543 MW installed in the first quarter of 2016, when the Renewable Obligation scheme for large-scale renewable energy projects was closed. [pv magazine]

¶ Canadian renewable energy developer Northland Power Inc has officially wrapped up construction on a 600-MW offshore wind farm about 85 km off the coast of the Netherlands. With the official end of construction, Northland reports crews finished the sprawling wind energy park ahead-of-schedule and under-budget. [CanadianManufacturing.com]

Gemini Windpark (Gemini Windpark image)

¶ The Indian Central Electricity Authority’s ban on construction of new thermal power plants has prompted the state of Andhra Pradesh to drop the AP-Genco’s 4,000-MW facility in Polaki village of Srikakulam district. There has also been a rethink on the proposed coal-based plant of the East Coast Energy Private Limited at Bhavanapadu. [The Hindu]

¶ Within just about two years of its conception, much of the 1,000-MW Kurnool Ultra Mega-Solar Park at Orvakal in Kurnool district is already generating 900 MW of the clean energy. It is the world’s largest solar power plant at any single location. The plant has a staggering 40,00,000 solar panels spread over 5,812 acres of parched landscape. [The Hindu]

Indian solar park (©AP Photo | Ajit Solanki)

¶ The Finnish utility Fortum is partnering with Russian state-owned company Rusnano to develop about 500 MW of wind power in the country, supported by capacity payments. The utility will provide up to 15 billion rubles (€240 million, $263 million) in equity to the joint venture, in which both partners will hold equal stakes. [reNews]

US:

¶ For the second time in a week, activists will take to the streets of Washington, DC, and hundreds of other locations worldwide. This time, the issue at hand will be global warming, and the backdrop in the nation’s capital on Saturday could not be more appropriate. The weather forecast for Washington calls for potentially record-shattering heat. [Mashable]

White House protest (Image: Paul J Richards | AFP | Getty Images)

¶ The website of the US EPA, EPA.gov, is getting a makeover to reflect the views of President Donald Trump and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. The agency said in a statement, “As EPA renews its commitment to human health and clean air, land and water, our website needs to reflect the views of the leadership of the agency.” [The Indian Express]

¶ A 500-MW energy storage facility with “5-8 hours” storage duration could be built in San Diego, with a local water authority seeking detailed proposals for such a project to support the grid and help integrate renewable energy. The facility would support the electric grid’s stability in a region struck consistently with drought. [Energy Storage News]

Canary Islands pumped hydro project (Image: Gorona del Viento)

¶ Green Mountain Power, Vermont’s largest electric utility, is asking the state to approve a 5% rate increase that would go into effect on January 1. The requested rate increase is slightly less than the increase in costs the utility has experienced, according to a company representative, as GMP’s costs have actually increased by 6%. [Valley News]

¶ A new report published by Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy has concluded that no amount of regulatory rollbacks and policy decisions made by Donald Trump’s administration will be able to succeed in bringing back coal jobs. Even if natural gas and renewable energy prices start to rise, coal has no real hope. [CleanTechnica]

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April 28 Energy News

April 28, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Big, young power plants are closing. Is it a new trend?” • Many of the US coal plants retired in recent years were geezers by industry standards. They trended old and small, and ran a fraction of the time. But in a vexing sign for the industry, those in the next round of retirements are decidedly younger. In fact, they are just middle-aged. [E&E News]

San Juan Generating Station could close in 2022, three
decades earlier than anticipated. (Doc Searls, Wikipedia)

¶ “How much storage and back-up do high renewable grids need?” • It’s a question at the heart of electricity planning and the subject of many of the myths peddled by vested interests in the fossil fuel lobby and reported by the gullible media. The answer is: not nearly as much as the naysayers would have you think. [RenewEconomy]

World:

¶ The Australian Photovoltaic Institute, with data from the Clean Energy Regulator, says the country has a new solar energy record. There are now 6 GW of solar power across the country, enough to meet the electricity needs of 1.3 million households. Solar power now makes up 11% of Australia’s installed capacity. [Energy Matters]

Australian rooftop solar (public domain image)

¶ South Australia set a new record for wind output on Tuesday, April 25, reaching 1,540 MW. The previous record of 1,400 MW was set just two weeks earlier. At its peak, the wind output equated to 96.6% of its registered capacity. Under new rules imposed since last September’s blackout, two gas-fired generators were kept on line. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Australian government is being told that “green fuel” exports, powered by wind and solar, could reach $40 billion a year in the next few decades, a market equivalent in size to the export coal industry, and essential if Australia is to maintain its pivotal position as a major fuel supplier in a decarbonized world. [RenewEconomy]

Please click on the image to enlarge it.

¶ The 1,805 MW of solar PV capacity on the rooftops of Queensland homes and business now amount to be the biggest power station by capacity in the state, overtaking the 1,780 MW of the Gladstone coal-fired power station. Homeowners and business owners in Queensland added 25 MW of rooftop solar capacity in March. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Electricity generated by offshore wind in Germany increased almost 37% in the first quarter of 2017 compared with the same period last year, according to new figures. Some 4,800 GWh of electricity was generated from offshore wind in the first three months of the year, up from 3,500 GWh in the first quarter of 2016. [reNews]

Riffgat offshore wind farm in Germany (EWE image)

¶ According to the International Energy Agency, oil discoveries declined to 2.4 billion barrels in 2016, compared to the previous average over the last 15 years of 9 billion barrels a year. The IEA reported that because of low oil prices, the number of projects receiving final investment decision has fallen to the lowest levels seen since the 1940s. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Geothermal’s contribution to New Zealand’s total renewable energy generation increased from 11.5% in 2007 to 21% in 2015. Over the same period, its value rose from $1.3 billion to $2.9 billion (US$ 2.0 billion). The value of wind jumped from $238 million (2% of total renewable energy generation) in 2007 to $884 million (6%) in 2015. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

Te Mihi geothermal plant, New Zealand (source: Contact Energy)

US:

¶ Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) introduced legislation to build a 100% renewable energy economy by 2050. It was called “the most ambitious piece of climate legislation Congress has ever seen” by 350.org. Others caution that it is not enough to deal with climate change. [Common Dreams]

¶ New England Hydropower Company has commissioned the first Archimedes screw generation facility in the country. The turbine, installed in Meriden, Connecticut, late last year, is expected to generate 920,000 kWh of electricity annually for the city, saving it $20,000 a year in power costs and property taxes over 20 years. [Meriden Record-Journal]

Archimedes screw turbine (Dave Zajac, Record-Journal)

¶ More than 1,000 US companies are calling on the Congress and administration to strengthen the EPA’s ENERGY STAR program, instead of following through on its proposed elimination, as per Trump’s recent budget proposals. The companies signed a joint letter, organized by the Alliance to Save Energy, to congressional leaders. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Lindahl wind farm, Enel Green Power’s first project in the state of North Dakota, has started generating energy. Lindahl has an installed capacity of 150 MW and can generate approximately 625 GWh annually, enough for over 50,000 US households, while avoiding the emission of about 450,000 tonnes of CO2 each year. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Lindahl wind farm

¶ Pacific Gas and Electric Company announced a call for proposals for renewable developers to build new projects for a clean-energy program available to PG&E customers. Those who participe will pay the developers for the new energy directly, and receive a bill credit from PG&E on their monthly energy statement. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ The owners of the new nuclear reactors being built in Georgia and South Carolina said the half-finished reactors might not be completed without changes to a proposed $800 million loan to Westinghouse, which is bankrupt. The utilities are evaluating how to complete them, or alternatively, whether they should be abandoned. [Reuters]

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