Archive for the 'renewable power' Category

November 22 Energy News

November 22, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “The Queensland election’s renewables versus coal debate isn’t about jobs. It’s a culture war” • The choice between wind turbines and steam turbines might seem to be purely one of technology. But since environmentalists support renewable energy, the demands of the culture war require that conservatives must oppose it. [The Guardian]

Installing a solar system (Photo: Solar Savers)

Science and Technology:

¶ The chances of a hurricane flooding parts of Texas, like Harvey did, have soared sixfold in just 25 years because of global warming and will likely triple once again before the end of the century, a study says. What was once an extremely rare event, 20 inches of rain over a large area of Texas, could soon be almost common. [The Japan News]

World:

¶ A report from CDP has found that 87% of companies identify deforestation as a financial risk and 32% are already experiencing impacts from those risks, but only 13% of companies are making any effort to mitigate the risks of deforestation, a decision which could end up costing billions. The report is based on responses from 272 companies. [CleanTechnica]

Deforestation for palm oil (Photo: Bay Ismoyo | AFP | Getty Images)

¶ Mercedes-Benz Van plans for all of its commercial van model lines to have electric versions, a press release said. Deliveries of the eVito will begin in late 2018, deliveries of the eSprinter begin in 2019, with others to follow. The eVito will apparently start at €39,990 ($47,000) in Germany, not including VAT, and the range will be 150 km (90 miles). [CleanTechnica]

¶ The number of renewable energy industry jobs in Queensland has almost doubled in four months, a report said. Green Energy Markets’ Renewable Energy Index showed there were 7194 renewable energy construction jobs in the state in October, up from 3634 at the end of June. The report was paid for by GetUp. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

Solar system in Australia

¶ Transitioning quickly to wind, rather than gas, would be more cost-effective and decarbonise Europe’s energy sector more quickly, a report finds. The fall in the cost of renewables has gone far beyond all expectations, tipping the economics in favor of decarbonization, but it requires good policy, according to experts from Artelys. [Offshore Wind Journal]

¶ The municipal-owned energy company in the German city of Wuppertal launched a blockchain-based trading platform to allow customers to buy certified local wind and other renewably generated electricity. The company sees big potential for the blockchain platform, Tal.Mark, to sell electricity from projects over 20 years old. [Windpower Monthly]

Renewable energy selling direct to customers

¶ Bloomberg New Energy Finance released a report forecasting thats the global energy storage market will “double six times” from now to 2030, from less than 5 GWh last year, to more than 300 GWh and 125 GW of capacity by the end of the next decade. An estimated $103 billion will be invested in energy storage over that period. [Greentech Media]

¶ Three solar farms capable of generating enough power over 100,000 homes are planned for South Australia. Tilt Renewables proposes to build a 45-MW and a 70-MW solar farm next to a wind farm at Snowtown. Spanish renewable energy developer FRV proposes a 100-MW farm paired with 50-MW battery near Mintaro. [The Advertiser]

Rendering of a Tilt Renewables project (Tilt Renewables image)

¶ The solar energy sector has accounted for the largest capacity addition to the Indian electricity grid so far this year. It has contributed over 7,100 MW, around 39% of capacity additions, according to data from Mercom Capital Group. For comparison, solar energy capacity additions stood at only around 4,313 MW in all of 2016. [Quartz]

¶ Preliminary results from Mexico’s latest energy auction have broken the record for solar costs. According to Electrek, Italian developer Enel pitched two solar lots at $17.70/MWh, or just 1.77¢/kWh, the lowest bid achieved anywhere in the world so far. The Mexican government said the average price in the auction was $20.57/MWh. [Greentech Media]

Utility-scale solar system in Mexico

¶ The UK’s Public Accounts Committee, which scrutinizes government expenditures, has slammed the government over its handling of the Hinkley Point C contract. It identified a catalog of errors that it said could see consumers footing the bill for what stands to be the UK’s first new nuclear power station in more than two decades. [Clean Energy News]

US:

¶ BYD delivered to the City of Palo Alto and GreenWaste, its waste management firm, their first all-electric automated side-loader garbage/refuse truck, a report said. The truck uses its battery pack for both propulsion and operation of its hydraulic system. It has a range of 76 miles per full charge and a charge time of two to three hours. [CleanTechnica]

BYD electric garbage truck

¶ TechCrunch reports that Uber has struck a deal with Volvo to purchase 24,000 self-driving XC90 SUVs beginning in 2019. The SUVs will be equipped with autonomous driving systems developed by Uber and integrated into the XC90s at the Volvo factory. The contract, which runs from 2019 through 2021, is valued at $1.4 billion. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Solar development has contributed significantly to the University of California system’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2025, and UC Davis has played a major role in this progress. However, more challenges still lie ahead to achieve a balance between environmental and economic sustainability. Skeptics still question the costs. [The Aggie]

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

November 22, 2017

1999 regular daily posts, linking 24,589 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 November 22, out of 99 US-licensed reactors, 3 are at reduced output and 6 not operating.

§ Video: Energy Week: 11/16/17 – COP23 is underway in Bonn, and most Americans are represented by state and local governments, but the official US delegation is promoting fossil fuels. Donald Trump, Scott Pruitt, and Rick Perry are being sued over climate change. Pope Francis blasted short-sighted climate activity. Pollution kills more people than wars. And there is more.

November 21 Energy News

November 21, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “At least 40% of the world’s power will come from renewable sources by 2040” • With falling costs of solar and wind power, the International Energy Agency predicts that renewable energy will provide approximately 40% of global power generation by 2040. Renewables worldwide are set to grow faster than any other source. [Business Insider UK]

Abengoa solar plant (Photo: Reuters | Marcelo del Pozo)

¶ “The International Energy Agency Is Steering The World To Climate Disaster” • Governments and investors routinely use the WEO as a guide to make decisions. Power plants, pipelines, and other infrastructure get built based on the IEA’s projections of future demand. But the IEA spends its resources promoting fossil fuels. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶ MIT and Lamborghini have partnered to develop an electric car. The Terzo Millenio is powered using supercapacitors instead of traditional batteries, allowing it to charge faster and hold more power. The vehicle can induce its own health check, and if any damage is detected the car can fill in cracks with nanotubes. [Energy Digital]

Lamborghini Terzo Millenio

World:

¶ Every hour, Chinese workers install an array of solar panels at least the size of a soccer field. Already home to the world’s largest solar plant and floating solar installation, over half of the world’s current construction on solar power installations is taking place in China. Meanwhile others, including the US, are increasingly falling behind. [HuffPost]

¶ In a move to diversify, Chemicals giant Ineos is making a move into deep water oil and gas exploration in the North Sea, buying a majority stake in two exploration licenses in areas far to the north of Shetland. It recently bought the motorcycle wear brand Belstaff, and it also bought Swiss football club Lausanne-Sport earlier this month. [BBC News]

Oil rigs in Cromarty Firth (Getty Images)

¶ A university in New South Wales has installed what it says is Australia’s largest rooftop solar power system. Charles Sturt University switched on a 6,000-panel system at its Wagga Wagga campus. It cost A$3.2 million ($2.4 million), and produces 1.77 MW of power, enough to provide for approximately 400 typical Australian households. [ABC Online]

¶ The Azores’ government inaugurated a 3.5-MW geothermal plant in the Terceira island, news agency Lusa reported. The Pico Alto plant should help the Portuguese island region source about 10% of its electricity needs from geothermal in 2018. Production from renewable sources will increase from 22% in 2016 to almost 40% next year. [Renewables Now]

Geothermal plant (Photo: gamene, CC BY SA 2.0)

¶ Footage gathered by a robot shows a large hole at the bottom of Fukushima Daiichi’s Unit 3 reactor, with objects “like icicles” around the control rod mechanism. These were confirmed to be uranium. Up until now, no one knew the state of the nuclear material, but the images give more confidence about a clean-up. [International Business Times UK]

¶ Last week BMW announced that it has an audacious plan to make sure all the energy used for its manufacturing needs will come from renewable sources. BMW will have to resort to unusual sources to meet its CO2 emissions reductions goals for its plants. They include use of manure and landfill gas, along with solar power. [BMWBLOG]

BMW plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina

US:

¶ Whitefish Energy is stopping its work to restore Puerto Rico’s electricity grid because it is owed more than $83 million by the island’s power authority, the company says. The Whitefish CEO told CNN that repeated requests for agreed payments were not met. The company’s contract had already been cancelled and is under investigation. [MyHighPlains]

One way to help the people of Puerto Rico is to
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¶ Nebraska officials voted to allow the Keystone XL pipeline to cross the state, a key step toward the completion of the Keystone Pipeline network. The state’s Public Service Commission voted 3-2 in favor of the expansion pipeline, days after the existing Keystone Pipeline spilled 210,000 gallons of oil in South Dakota. [Houston Chronicle]

Pipeline construction (Houston Chronicle photo)

¶ Middlebury College will significantly reduce its carbon footprint thanks to an innovative partnership with Goodrich Family Farm in Salisbury, Vermont, Vanguard Renewables of Wellesley, Massachusetts, and Vermont Gas. A facility at Goodrich Family Farm will combine cow manure and food waste to produce Renewable Natural Gas. [vtdigger.org]

¶ As the world’s single largest consumer of petroleum the US Department of Defense is expected to double-down on deploying military microgrids to sustain its operations. The annual microgrid implementation spending is expected to reach $1.4 billion in 2026, according to a new deep-dive by Navigant Research. [CleanTechnica]

US military field microgrid

¶ Electricity generator Luminant is cutting about 600 jobs as it closes three coal-fired power plants and a mine in Texas. Luminant plans to make the layoffs in January. The company had already announced the power plant closings earlier, due to competition from cheap natural gas and renewable generation. [CanadianManufacturing.com]

¶ Ford has just unveiled the country’s newest plug-in hybrid targeted for the police force and government fleets. Technically speaking, the new Ford will have a modest 7.6-kWh lithium-ion battery pack for up to 21 miles of range on electric mode. The car is a modified Ford Fusion Energi, which has the same specifications. [CleanTechnica]

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November 20 Energy News

November 20, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Sea Levels Are Already Rising. What’s Next?” • President Trump has dismissed climate change as a hoax. But scientists project that, within the next 100 years, rising sea levels caused by climate change will submerge much of southeast Florida, including Mar-a-Lago. Jeff Goodell’s a new book is The Water Will Come. [National Geographic]

Houston after Hurricane Harvey (Photo: Joe Raedle | Getty)

World:

¶ Chinese EV battery manufacturer Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd is now planning a $2 billion IPO to be completed by the end of June 2018. The funds are to be used to accelerate the company’s expansion plans. The company will reportedly be building two new EV battery manufacturing plants. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Australia’s chief scientist contradicted the government’s claims that Labor’s 50% ­renewables target by 2030 is “a road to ruin.” Dr Alan Finkel is issuing a major report that shows the plan for more renewable energy sources will not lead to major blackouts despite the government’s claims that the “huge renewable target” is irresponsible and “crazy.” [PerthNow]

The Liddell Power Station in the Hunter Valley (Photo:
Jane Dempster | The AustralianPicture: News Corp Australia)

¶ The Turnbull government’s plan to keep the old Liddell power station running for five extra years would cost about $1.4 billion more than replacing it with clean energy, and spew millions of tonnes of damaging carbon pollution, a new analysis shows. The findings have implications for the retirement of other coal-fired power stations. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

¶ In order to prevent mass-scale evaporation of water, the state government of Maharashtra has given a nod to a proposal that involves setting up floating solar panels on the reservoir at Ujjani Dam. The solar panels will be set up on a water surface of 4,640 acres, to generate 1,000 MW of electricity, making it one of the largest projects of its type. [EnergyInfraPost]

Ujjani Dam

¶ China, the world’s biggest carbon emitter, is poised to install a record amount of solar-power capacity this year, prompting researchers to boost forecasts as much as 80%. About 54 GW of solar power will be put in place this year, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said, raising a forecast of more than 30 GW that BNEF made in July. [Bloomberg]

¶ French developer EDF Energy Renewables has exported first power from its 41.5-MW Blyth demo project off the coast of Northumberland. The project began exporting electricity to the grid from its five MHI Vestas 8.3-MW turbines on 21 October, the company said. The project should be fully operational in the coming weeks. [reNews]

Offshore wind (EDF Energy Renewables image)

¶ Intel has become the latest multinational to cut its carbon footprint after striking a deal to power its manufacturing campus in County Kildare with renewable energy. The plant relied on 100% local renewable energy sources for a year, making it the State’s largest, voluntary, private purchaser of environmentally sustainable energy. [Independent.ie]

¶ The Longyuan Mulilo De Aar Wind Power Project has been successfully commissioned, connecting an estimated 85,000 local residents to clean the power. Situated in the Northern Cape Province, South Africa, the plant has a generating capacity of 100 MW. The wind farm was developed by China Longyuan Power Group Corporation. [ESI Africa]

Longyuan Mulilo De Aar Wind Power Project

¶ South African utility Eskom should cut down on its coal power network and should not embark on any new nuclear, gas, or coal building programs if it wants to save itself from financial ruin, a new study has found. Also, an Eskom report seen by media shows Eskom’s poor governance has left it teetering on the edge of insolvency. [Cape Business News]

US:

¶ Dozens of Catholic leaders wrote a letter to President Donald Trump calling for the United States to resume its leadership role in addressing climate change. They asked the president to honor US commitments to the Green Climate Fund and to participate meaningfully in the framework convention deliberations. [Crux: Covering all things Catholic]

Warming seas, melting ice (NASA photo, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ One of the fathers of climate science is calling for a wave of lawsuits against governments and fossil fuel companies that are delaying action on what he describes as the growing, mortal threat of global warming. Former NASA scientist James Hansen says the litigate-to-mitigate campaign is needed alongside political mobilization. [The Guardian]

¶ Groups including the Idaho Rural Water Association conducted “Safeguarding Idaho’s Economy in a Changing Climate,” a two-day conference at Boise State University. The discussion on climate change has pivoted, moving from how to prevent it to how to live with it, including looking at the costs of the new normal. [Idaho Business Review]

Boise River

¶ An Ohio University communication studies professor has a standing offer for students in his environmental communication courses: “Anybody that can bring into class information … that denies the truth of anthropogenic warming can have as much class time as they want to teach the class.” No one has taken him up on the offer yet. [The Post]

¶ The owners of South Carolina’s unfinished nuclear power plant have a $2 billion decision to make, and just six weeks to make it. The question is whether two partially built reactors in Fairfield County are done for good, or if it’s worthwhile to maintain them in case the project’s prospects improve. The parties are not near agreement. [Charleston Post Courier]

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November 19 Energy News

November 19, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “The energy transition – A threat or an opportunity?” • South Africa’s long-awaited Integrated Resource Plan is to be released for public comment next week. But two facts are undisputable from the IRP 2016 update: A least cost scenario cannot include nuclear, and 27.5 GW of coal-fired power stations must be decommissioned by 2040. [Fin24]

Power plant near Capetown (Photo: Simisa, Wikimedia Commons)

Science and Technology:

¶ A cost-effective catalyst has been developed to recycle two of the main causes behind climate change – carbon dioxide and methane. In a study, published in the journal Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, scientists have described how they created an advanced nickel-based catalyst to create synthesis gas for fuel or chemical feedstock. [The Indian Express]

World:

¶ The Volkswagen board has just approved a plan to invest $40 billion by 2022 to develop electric cars, autonomous cars, and other mobility solutions. The new investments VW is planning will strengthen the company’s 10 factories in Germany. The company appears to be responding to pressures created by Elon Musk and the government of China. [Gas2]

VW e-Golf at a show (Photo: Mariordo, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Daimler AG will be investing some ¥5 billion (~$755 million) as part of its push to manufacture plug-in electric vehicles and associated battery packs in China with its joint-venture partner there, BAIC Motor Corp. The investments are part of the company’s already announced €10 billion ($11.8 billion) global green car initiative. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer BYD will be opening its first assembly facility in Canada next year in Ontario. This is in anticipation of surging demand for electric trucks in the country, the company has revealed. BYD chose to move into Canada because it has a friendlier environment for EVs than the US currently has. [CleanTechnica]

BYD bus being tested in New York City
(Photo: Marc A. Hermann | MTA New York City Transit)

¶ A UK-backed solar power project in Peru has officially been opened. Located at an altitude of more than 4,000 meters, it provides renewable electricity to one of the nation’s most remote regions of Ocoruro, Arequipa. The off-grid system has allowed the common areas of the community and 14 families to tap into solar power. [Energy Live News]

¶ Qantas today announced it will operate the world’s first bio-fuel flight between the US and Australia. The Los Angeles to Melbourne flight will take place early next year, in collaboration with World Fuel Services and Altair Fuels, and will see Qantas’ new Dreamliner being powered by carinata, a non-food type of mustard seed used in industry. [RusTourismNews]

Qantas airplane

¶ China and Ukraine have agreed to step up their cooperation in renewable energy, according to the Ukrainian government. The agreement was reached during the plenary meeting of the Chinese-Ukrainian Subcommittee on Trade and Economic Cooperation in Beijing, the Ukrainian government press service said in a statement. [Xinhua]

¶ The Hydrogen Council coalition launched its first quantified study of the role of hydrogen, developed with support from McKinsey and Company. It shows that hydrogen could generate $2.5 trillion worth of business, creating more than 30 million jobs by 2050, and it could account for almost 20% of final energy consumed by then. [The Peninsula Qatar]

Toyota Mirai, hydrogen powered vehicle, being refueled

¶ French nuclear group Areva announced the discovery that it delivered defective fuel rods for nuclear reactors. It said there was no safety risk, but Swiss media reported that a Swiss nuclear plant was closed due to problems with the rods. The company said fuel rods that were loaded in reactors can operate without any safety impairment. [ETEnergyworld.com]

US:

¶ A study showed that Wisconsin ranked 9th in carbon dioxide releases due to farming practices. Converting unused land to produce crops for ethanol production releases a lot of carbon dioxide from the soil. The authors said most of the state’s new farm land had previously been pastures or forests, with some wetlands. [Wisconsin State Farmer]

Corn field and ethanol plant (Photo: Associated Press)

¶ The proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which would carry natural gas from West Virginia to North Carolina, has received approval from the US Forest Service. The pipeline would go through 21 miles of National Forest Service land. Environmental groups criticized the approval, and some plan to challenge it. [West Virginia Public Broadcasting]

¶ Empire District Electric Company has filed with Missouri state regulators a plan to move forward into wind-generated energy with the development of an additional 800 MW of wind energy by the end of 2020. According to a spokesperson for the electric utility, the project would save customers an average of $10 per month. [Cedar County Republican]

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November 18 Energy News

November 18, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “If we act on climate change now, the economic prize will be immense” • Climate negotiators are meeting in Bonn. Beyond the intricacies of the climate negotiations, here is one key thing to remember: about $1 trillion is already being invested in climate solutions, ranging from renewables and energy efficiency to public transport. [The Guardian]

Installing panels (Photo: Mike Kemp | Corbis via Getty Images)

COP23:

¶ China, through statements made in official speeches, active participation in the Bonn talks, and various side events the country organized to exchange ideas and practices, has reasserted itself a responsible player in global battle against climate change at COP23 to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. [ecns]

¶ Delegates to COP23 say they are pleased that the rulebook for the Paris climate agreement is finally coming together. But these technical discussions took place against the backdrop of a larger battle about coal, oil and gas. This means that next year, at the conference in Katowice, Poland, there will be a major showdown on the future of fossil fuels. [BBC News]

Coat of arms of Katowice 

Science and Technology:

¶ Fisker filed patent applications on a solid state battery design. The automotive company says that its battery would deliver up to 2.5 times more energy density than current lithium-ion batteries, and cost ⅓ as much to manufacture. It could have a range of more than 500 miles per charge, and recharging would take less than one minute. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ The government of Croatia is drafting a strategy to reduce energy imports, which supply 40% of its power. Croatia could develop 3,200 MW of solar power by 2030, the International Renewable Energy Agency says, but it needs a supportive legal framework. Croatia has 4,500 MW of capacity, mostly from coal and hydroelectricity. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Solar power plant

¶ Investors are now better able to gauge the climate risks likely to impact their investments thanks to a new risk management tool developed by Deutsche Asset Management and Four Twenty Seven and published for COP23, which maps more than a million physical corporate locations alongside climate models to assess their climate risk. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Credit Union Place, in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, is now partially powered by the sun. The municipal civic center has 1,404 new solar panels and lithium-ion storage battery backup. The system is expected to cut CUP’s $380,000 annual electricity bill by about $100,000. It is the first phase of a three-phase project. [The Guardian]

Credit Union Place (Photo: Higher Design Inc)

¶ Siemens is to release 2% of its global workforce, mainly in Germany, as its power and gas division continues to suffer from the onslaught of clean energy expansion. “The market is burning to the ground,” Siemens board member Janina Kugel, who is in charge of group human resources, told journalists in a call. [Power Engineering International]

¶ Norway’s government has been told its state-run fund should drop its investments in oil and gas stocks, worth £28 billion ($37 billion). Norges Bank, the fund’s manager, said the step would make the country “less vulnerable to a permanent drop in oil and gas prices.” Its advice was not based on a price forecast or the sector’s sustainability. [BBC News]

Offshore oil rig (Photo: Norsk olje og gass, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ Virginia would regulate carbon emissions from power plants and become the first Southern state to do so, with a carbon cap-and-trade program under a proposal that won preliminary approval from state regulators. It is the most recent state taking steps to address climate change as the federal administration rolls back its climate actions. [WSET]

¶ Walmart says that it intends to be among the first companies to pilot Tesla’s new all-electric Semi heavy-duty truck. The retail company will pilot the Tesla Semi across both US and Canada, it told CNBC. Walmart currently operates approximately 6,000 of its own trucks to transfer stock from distribution centers to its stores. [TechCrunch]

Tesla Truck

¶ A major New England transmission line planned by Eversource Energy and Hydro-Quebec has won a Presidential Permit from the US DOE. The federal permit marks a significant milestone for the $1.6 billion, 192-mile Northern Pass, first proposed in 2010. The line would carry electricity from Canada to the New England power grid. [MassLive.com]

¶ By as early as mid-December, construction crews will invade a 420-acre field in Millington, Tennessee, and proceed to fill it with 580,000 sun-tracking PV panels, creating by far the largest solar-energy project in the state. As impressive as the 53-MW project might seem, Tennessee will still be trailing other states in solar power. [The Commercial Appeal]

Solar system in Tennessee

¶ By the year 2020, Xcel Energy’s power grid will use 35% renewable sources, and less than a quarter of energy will come from coal, the utility’s CEO told Minnesota Public Radio News. It will have slashed carbon emissions by nearly half, and customers won’t see much of a change in their bills, unless it is a lower bill. [Minnesota Public Radio News]

¶ According to Boston Business Journal, a lawsuit filed in federal court in Boston alleges that GE’s decisions dating back to the 1960s led to the failure of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, causing an estimated $250 billion in damage. The suit was filed against GE on behalf of people affected by the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011. [Boston magazine]

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November 17 Energy News

November 17, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “What the UN Climate Summit is teaching us about environmental action” • This year’s UN Climate Summit is almost over. Clear leaders have emerged, and the US is not one of them. Syria has agreed to sign the Paris agreement on climate change. The US is alone in refusing to make a voluntary climate change commitment. [GlobalComment.com]

Glacier (Photo: derwiki | Pixabay)

COP23:

¶ World leaders took center stage at the COP23 climate change conference in Bonn this week to promise dramatic new actions aimed at reducing global climate emissions. They also used the occasion to castigate the United States and Donald Trump for being entirely out of step with the rest of the world community on this issue. [CleanTechnica]

¶ India has announced some good news for COP23. Just a few years ago, India relied almost exclusively on coal to fuel its rapid development, opening new coal-burning power plants and increasing coal mining and imports. But it has cancelled plans for 14 GW of coal power and increasing its use of renewable energy. [Millennium Post]

Small solar system

¶ The Canadian Environment and Climate Change Minister helped bring more than 25 new governments on board for a Canadian and British push to power past coal at COP23. Those in the new alliance include major European industrial nations, such as France and Italy. Others range from New Zealand to the US state of Oregon. [National Observer]

¶ COP23 has built on innovative solutions that were introduced in COP21. This included changing our understanding of carbon’s function, says an Indian environmentalist. When we disrupt the Earth’s self-regulating climate systems, we receive climate chaos and climate uncertainty, not something we can predict and change. [Deutsche Welle]

Flooding in Assam (Getty Images | AFP | B Boro)

World:

¶ Instead of traditional 25-year deals, Indian power distributors are negotiating ten-year agreements with coal power providers. The distributors believe the development of renewables and storage makes long term agreements redundant because solar and wind have become the country’s least expensive power resources. [Power Engineering International]

¶ In separate announcements, Microsoft Corp and Daimler indicated that hydrogen fuel cells could provide significantly better energy solutions for data centers than existing electrical grid and backup power technology. Fuel cells can be used to add such services as grid security at data centers, but they can also power vehicles. [Network World]

Daimler hydrogen fuel cell system

¶ The city of Saskatoon and the Saskatoon Tribal Council in Saskatchewan announced the development of the new Saskatoon Weir Hydropower Station. The estimated cost is about C$65 million ($51 million). The new power station will have a capacity of 6.1 MW and is being built at the weir on South Saskatchewan River. [HydroWorld]

¶ Levels of pollution in the UK’s air are still way above the targets set by the EU. According to a new report from the National Audit Office, 85% of UK “air quality zones” still exceed legal pollution limits eight years after they were supposed to meet them. The Government estimates that it will not meet some of the pollution targets until 2026. [The Independent]

Measuring air pollution in central London (Getty)

¶ So much of the decommissioning funds for the Japan Atomic Power Co’s reactors have been diverted that it now lacks enough cash to scrap its old units or even resume operations of existing ones. The company is banking on a decision by the Nuclear Regulation Authority, but even that might not be sufficient to save it financially. [Asahi Shimbun]

US:

¶ The Shell GameChanger™ program has agreed to provide financial support for demonstration of closed-loop geothermal power generation at a currently inactive well in the Coso California geothermal field, GreenFire Energy Inc announced. GreenFire Energy Inc’s innovative ECO2G™ uses directional drilling technologies. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

Coso well, California (Photo: GreenFire Energy)

¶ Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveiled the highly anticipated Tesla Semi Truck in Hawthorne, California. This truck promises to transform not just the trucks that move goods around the world but the entire shipping industry. It has a number of safety improvements, but it will probably also cost less to operate than internal combustion semi trucks. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Elon Musk unexpectedly disappeared from stage during the Tesla Semi Truck unveiling, and then to everyone’s surprise, a Tesla Roadster 2.0 appeared. The base model will be the fastest production car ever made when it comes to market in 2020. Musk said, “The point of all this is just to give a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars.” [CleanTechnica]

Tesla Roadster 2.0

¶ US solar developer Cypress Creek Renewables cut the ribbon on a 9-MW solar installation in Maryland. The Baker Point solar array uses 34,074 solar modules and is expected to produce enough power to meet annual needs of over 2,000 homes. It was inspired by Maryland’s legislation support for pollinator-friendly solar sites. [Renewables Now]

¶ TransCanada announced that it has shut down the Keystone pipeline in South Dakota because it discovered 210,000 gallons of oil has spilled from the pipeline. The state of Nebraska will decide next week if it will allow a stretch of the Keystone pipeline to be built through the state. Waterways or wildlife areas appear not to have been impacted. [Anadolu Agency]

How can you help the people of Puerto Rico? One way
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Sunnyside Solar’s crowdfunding website].

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November 16 Energy News

November 16, 2017

COP23:

¶ The World Resources Institute announced at COP23 that $2.1 billion in private investment funds have been committed to efforts to restore degraded lands in the Caribbean and Latin America. The WRI’s Initiative 20×20 has already put 10 million hectares (about 25 million acres) of land under restoration thanks to 19 private investors. [Mongabay.com]

Deforestation (Photo by Rhett Butler)

¶ At least 15 countries have joined an international alliance to phase out coal from power generation before 2030, delegates at UN climate talks in Bonn said on Thursday. The alliance aims to have 50 members by the next UN climate summit in 2018 to be held in Poland’s Katowice, which is one of the most polluted cities in Europe. [Reuters]

¶ Denmark wants its entire electricity supply to be coal free by 2030, energy and climate minister Lars Christian Lilleholt has confirmed. The goal was announced as Denmark joined a coalition of 15 countries at the UN’s annual COP23 climate conference in Bonn. Denmark currently has three coal-driven power stations. [The Local Denmark]

Danish power plants (Thomas Borberg | Polfoto | Ritzau)

¶ French president Emmanuel Macron says that Europe will cover any shortfall in funding for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The scientific organisation has been facing uncertainty since President Donald Trump outlined plans earlier this year to cut US funding. The UK government also pledged to double their IPCC contribution. [BBC]

World:

¶ The Airbus Vahana project is ready for flight testing, just as Boeing, Uber, and others jumping into the electric plane game and electric airplanes and other vertical take-off and landing aircraft taking off. The Airbus Vahana project says it will not need a runway, will be self-piloted, and can automatically detect and avoid obstacles and other aircraft. [CleanTechnica]

Rendering of Airbus Vahana

¶ German wind project developer PNE Wind AG wants to evolve into a “Clean Energy Solution Provider”, expanding the range of services it offers, entering new markets, and adding a full range of green technologies to its portfolio. Wind, solar PVs, energy storage and power-to-gas are all key components of the new strategy. [Renewables Now]

¶ Levels of carbon pollution from Britain’s electricity generation have almost halved in just a few years, making the country’s power system one of the world’s cleanest, according to a report. Emissions associated with each unit of electricity produced fell 47% between 2012 and 2016 as coal was replaced by more gas and renewables. [Epping Forest Guardian]

Ferrybridge power station in West Yorkshire

¶ Giant wind turbines set to be built as part of an extension to the current Thanet Offshore Wind Farm off the coast of Kent will be the biggest in the world, some 250 meters tall. Swedish energy company Vattenfall revealed plans earlier in the year to expand their existing site, which lies around 7.5 miles off Foreness Point in Margate. [Kent Live]

¶ Strong demand is set to give a huge boost to renewable energy growth in sub-Saharan Africa over the next five years, driving cumulative capacity up more than 70%, a senior international energy official said. Millions of people will get access to electric power for the first time, as the continent turns to solar, wind and hydropower projects. [Business Day]

African wind farm (Yash Polychem image)

US:

¶ Google installed methane detection systems in some of its Street View cars and began testing in Boston, Indianapolis, and New York City. A GPS unit records the route driven and uploads information to a Google server. The Street View cars driving around Boston found an average of one methane leak for every mile driven. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Rattlesnake Creek Wind Project is now being built northeast of Sioux City, Nebraska. Enel Green Power will spend $430 million to build the 320-MW wind farm. It will distribute $80 million in property tax and landowners payments over the first 20 years of its existence,  according to officials at Enel Green Power North America Inc. [Sioux City Journal]

Rendering of the Rattlesnake Wind Project

¶ Microsoft has announced that it intends to cut its carbon emissions by 75% by 2030 against a 2013 baseline, making continued progress with its carbon neutrality and renewable energy commitments while also making future investments in energy efficiency. Microsoft has recently agreements to buy power from wind farms. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Puerto Rico just met the halfway mark to restoring power, and the lights went out. Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló had just tweeted that power was back to 50% of utility customers when the outage hit San Juan. Fifty-six days after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico is still experiencing the longest blackout in US history. [Grist]

Repairs in Puerto Rico (Getty Images)

How can one help the people of Puerto Rico? One way
is to donate at [
Sunnyside Solar’s crowdfunding website].

¶ Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Acting Chairman Neil Chatterjee has said he is “sympathetic” to a rule that would prop up struggling US coal and nuclear power plants. He apparently has an interim plan to keep financially troubled plants operating while his agency considers a market-changing cost proposal from the DOE. [POWER magazine]

¶ Federal officials have restarted an eastern Idaho nuclear fuel testing facility amid efforts to boost the nation’s nuclear power generating capacity. The US DOE said the facility at the Idaho National Laboratory about 50 miles west of Idaho Falls began operating Tuesday for the first time since it went on standby status in 1994. [Jackson Hole News&Guide]

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November 15 Energy News

November 15, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “After the storms, it’s microgrid season in the Caribbean” • The destructive winds of Hurricanes Irma and Maria exposed the vulnerabilities of the islands. They also showed how renewable energy sources, such as solar panels backed  up by batteries and microgrid technology, can bring resilience to islands where they have been installed. [GreenBiz]

Solar farm powering the microgrid on St Eustatius (Stuco image)

¶ “3 ways Dynegy is trying to make Illinoisans bail out its aging coal fleet” • Dynegy, a Texas-based energy giant, is pulling out all the stops in Illinois to keep uneconomic and dirty coal plants running. After a nearly successful attempt to get subsidies from the state legislature last year, it is still trying to maintain profits. [Environmental Defense Fund]

¶ “Low-Priced Renewables Driving Change At US Utility Companies” • Renewables are finally getting the attention they deserve from US utility companies. The utility giants are still committed to preserving their monopoly status and locking out any upstart competitors, but they are trying to do it with renewable power sources. [CleanTechnica]

Asbury coal-fired plant in Missouri (via District Energy)

World:

¶ The joint venture led by Danish wind company, Vestas, and Japanese engineering company, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd has created the most powerful turbine in the world. MHI Vestas’ new wind turbine generator has a 9.5-MW capacity. The nacelle is 20 meters long and 8 meters wide, and it weighs a total of 390 tonnes. [Energy Digital]

¶ In 1992, 1,700 independent scientists signed the “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity.” The letter warned that if environmental damage was not stopped, our future was at risk. Over 16,000 scientists from 184 countries published a second warning. It says things are alarmingly worse and we must act quickly. [CNN]

Sunny day flooding in Miami Beach, caused by rising seas

¶ BMW AG’s plan to switch exclusively to green electricity uses some rather unusual power sources, including a South African biomass plant that runs on cow dung and chicken droppings. The arrangement is part of the carmaker’s bid to shift all its external power purchases to renewables by 2020, up from 63% last year. [Bloomberg]

¶ Wind power will be the EU’s leading source of electricity soon after 2030, boosted by strong growth both onshore and offshore wind plants, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency. The “World Energy Outlook 2017” report also said that solar PVs will be the largest source of clean power globally by 2040. [reNews]

Offshore wind farm (Pixabay image)

¶ Over 450,000 Rwandan households are expected to get power in the next five years following the launch of Rwanda Renewable Energy Fund project. Financing for the $50 million project was done by the World Bank. The fund is intended to increase off-grid solar energy access for those who do not have power, mostly in rural areas. [News Ghana]

¶ As Australia’s federal Coalition continues to fudge and delay on a national energy and climate policy, the state Labor government in Victoria has pressed “go” on what will be the largest renewable energy tender held in Australia – 650 MW of mostly wind and solar. The tender will require completion of the solar and wind farms by 2020. [RenewEconomy]

Wind farm in Victoria

¶ Zurich has become the latest insurance giant to cut ties with coal-intensive businesses, bringing the amount insurers have pulled from these companies to about $20 billion (£15.2 billion) in just two years. Zurich is pulling investments and stopping offering insurance to companies that depend on coal for more than half of their turnover. [Telegraph.co.uk]

US:

¶ Maine is seeing neat technology developed for capturing energy at sea, from both wind and water. The University of Maine has been testing floating platform technology for wind turbines. And Ocean Renewable Power Company, based in Portland, developed their TideGen device, which was tested in the Bay of Fundy. [The Coastal Journal]

TideGen device (Ocean Renewable Power Company image)

¶ International energy markets are set for “major upheaval” as the US cements its status as the world’s largest oil and gas producer and China becomes the biggest oil consumer, the International Energy Agency says in its annual energy forecast. It expects 80% of the increase in global oil supply to 2025 to be in the US, driven by shale oil production. [BBC]

¶ Enel Green Power North America has started commercial operations at the 300-MW Rock Creek wind farm in Missouri, almost two months ahead of schedule. Electricity from Rock Creek  will be sold to Kansas City Power & Light and the Greater Missouri Operations Company under two separate power purchase agreements. [reNews]

Rock Creek wind farm (Enel Green Power image)

¶ With help from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, UPS plans to convert many of its diesel-powered delivery vans into battery electric trucks beginning as soon as next spring. UPS currently has more than 2,200 trucks plying the streets of New York City. It expects 1,500 of them be electric by 2022. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The largest solar farm in Missouri was dedicated in a ceremony at its 72-acre site in Nixa. It has 33,280 solar panels and a capacity of 7.92 MW AC, to provide over 15 million kWh per year. Nixa Solar Farm has a 25-year power purchase agreement with its owner, Gardner Capital, covering 100% of the power it generates. [Christian County Headliner News]

How can I help the people of Puerto Rico? One way is
to donate at [Sunnyside Solar’s crowdfunding website].

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November 14 Energy News

November 14, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Repair or Renovate? Puerto Rico Faces Stark Power Grid Options” • It has been 68 days since Hurricane Irma took down much of Puerto Rico’s aging power grid and 54 days since Maria took the rest, leaving nearly all 3.4 million residents without electricity. Experts say the island is in desperate need of a power grid makeover. [Scientific American]

Destroyed power lines (Credit: Hector Retamal | Getty Images)

Joseph Mangum, of Sunnyside Solar, is on the ground in
Puerto Rico, helping people. How to help him help them?
One way is at [
Sunnyside Solar’s crowdfunding website].

¶ “Even IEA says coal boom is dead, hails the solar age” • Here is bad news for the coal industry, its advocates, and acolytes: Even the highly conservative International Energy Agency is calling the end of the coal boom and hailing the age of solar. Its annual World Energy Outlook buries myths about coal, renewables and climate targets. [RenewEconomy]

COP23:

¶ The Rocky Mountain Institute published a report at COP23 that provides cities worldwide with “22 ready-to-implement, no-regrets solutions that have proven success” to help move them toward climate-neutrality and provide results within a year. The solutions in The Carbon-Free City Handbook have been proven in use. [CleanTechnica]

New York Smog

¶ At their sole function at COP23, US delegates promoted “clean” fossil fuels as a solution to reduce emissions. The Governor of California Jerry Brown ridiculed the attempt to promote fossil fuels, and dozens of activists chanted “Keep it in the ground” over the speech of executive director of the United States Energy Association. [Deutsche Welle]

¶ Protesters interrupted an event sponsored by the U.S. climate delegation at the UN climate summit in Bonn, Germany on Monday with a repackaged version of the song “God Bless the USA” before staging a mass walkout. Then the room was empty, aside from the press, panelists, and White House guests in the front row. [Common Dreams]

Attendees at the US pro-coal speech (Twitter image)

World:

¶ Iberdrola said it decided to phase out its coal generation capacity completely and accordingly asked for permission to decommission two plants totaling 874 MW in Spain. About 170 employees at the plants will either be relocated to other facilities or engaged in the decommissioning process, which will cost €35 million ($40.8 million). [Renewables Now]

¶ Alberta is putting aside $40 million to help workers losing their jobs as the province transitions away from coal mines and coal-fired power plants over the next decade. The Labour Minister said the money will top up benefits to 75% of a worker’s previous earnings during the time they collect employment insurance. [CanadianManufacturing.com]

Coal-fired power plant (Photo: Paul Jerry | Wikimedia)

¶ French utility EDF, which is about 80% state-owned, has an abundance of problems. It has about €31 billion ($36 billion) in net debt and €21 billion of pension obligations. It faces a €50 billion bill to upgrade France’s aging nuclear fleet, plus massive future decommissioning costs. It also faces tepid demand and increasing competition. [Bloomberg]

¶ In Australia, 64,000 jobs depend on the health of the Great Barrier Reef, contributing $6.4 billion to the Australian economy. But the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s second World Heritage Outlook report confirmed the Reef is at a “very high level of threat” from climate change and says that its condition is deteriorating. [Gizmodo]

Great Barrier Reef

US:

¶ A year after Donald Trump was elected president on a promise to revive the ailing US coal industry, the sector’s long-term prospects for growth and hiring remain as bleak as ever. US utilities are shutting coal-fired power plants at a rapid pace, as they continue shifting to cheap natural gas, along with wind and solar power. [Business Insider]

¶ Rebuilding Puerto Rico’s grid is going slowly. As an example, AES sent six giant containers of lithium-ion batteries for 6 MW of flexible power. But it does not know how the batteries will be used because the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority cannot say. “It’s just, they’re busy,” AES’s CTO said. “They’re recovering from a disaster.” [E&E News]

Palo Seco oil-fired power plant (@Jenniffer2012 | Twitter)

¶ Legislation calling for an increase in New Mexico’s renewable portfolio standard was unsuccessful during the 2017 session, but advocates told the lawmakers they will continue to press for a higher percentage. The initiative would place New Mexico on a similar trajectory to California and New York, both of which are planning for 50% by 2030. [New Jersey Herald]

¶ Two years ago, Gov Jerry Brown signed a law ordering California utilities to get 50% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030. It looks like they may hit that goal a decade ahead of schedule. An annual report by California regulators found the state’s three big utilities are on track to reach 50% by 2020. [San Francisco Chronicle]

Wind turbines (Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez | The Chronicle)

¶ US President Donald Trump is wrapping up a 12-day tour of Asia, which he said created $300 billion in sales to companies in the region and several major energy deals. Energy agreements made up roughly half the total value of deals in China. But analysts have doubts over whether any of the multi-billion dollar projects will be realised. [BBC]

¶ Dominion Energy Virginia has notified the NRC it intends to relicense the North Anna Power Station in Louisa County for an additional 20 years. The official license renewal application will be filed in 2020. Dominion had previously announced it will file for a license extension at the Surry Power Station as well. [Power Engineering Magazine]

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November 13 Energy News

November 13, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Are villages embracing the Fourth Industrial Revolution faster than cities?” • Villages in rural India, Bangladesh and Africa may be racing ahead of cities when it comes to embracing the Fourth Industrial Revolution and cutting-edge technology for their energy needs, Global Himalayan Expedition’s Energy Access Leader says. [eco-business.com]

House in the Himalayas running on solar power
(Image: Global Himalaya Expedition)

Science and Technology:

¶ Global emissions of CO2 in 2017 are projected to rise for the first time in four years, dashing hopes that a peak might soon be reached. The main cause of the expected growth is greater use of coal in China as its economy expanded. Researchers are unsure of whether the rise in emissions is a one-off or the start of a new period of CO2 build-up. [BBC News]

World:

¶ Elgin Energy is seeking permission for a major 100-acre solar PV farm in the Irish town of Kilkenny, adding to its solar power play. The application is just the latest in a slew of proposals by developers for solar farms on sites right across the country over the past year, following a significant fall in the cost of solar PV technology. [Independent.ie]

Solar array with sheep

¶ Electric buses have been selling like hotcakes in China. The EV-loving city Shenzhen is taking it one step further. In Shenzhen, electric buses will make up all public bus transportation by the end of this year. The city already has 14,000 electric buses on the streets, with only has a few hundred diesel-powered buses left to replace. [CleanTechnica]

¶ According to Agora Energiewende, shutting down twenty lignite-burning power plants in Germany would not lead to electricity shortages in the country, even during the coldest parts of the winter; it would only mean a reduction in the amount of electricity is exported. It would also get the country halfway to its carbon reduction goals. [CleanTechnica]

Coal-burning power plant

¶ Namibia has the potential to light up Southern Africa, given its strategic location and ambitious plan for private investments in the power generation sector, according to the Finance Minister. The majority of the upcoming electricity generation projects are expected to be developed through private sector investments. [solarpaces.org]

¶ Nexif Energy, based in Singapore, has achieved financial close for the first stage of its 212-MW Lincoln Gap wind farm in South Australia. The developer announced that the project would also include a 10-MW battery storage system to be sited near Port Augusta. The 126-MW first phase envisages the installation of 36 turbines. [Renewables Now]

Lincoln Gap wind farm site (Source: lincolngapwindfarm.com.au)

¶ Climate change talks in Germany are headed for a collision course on coal this week, and Canada is right in the middle of it. Canada’s Environment Minister and her British counterpart want the conversation to focus on getting rid of coal as a power source. But their anti-coal initiative is in direct contrast with the US position. [Huffington Post Canada]

¶ In a notice published in South Africa’s Government Gazette, independent generators of up to 1 MW of electricity have been exempted from the legal obligation to be licensed. This means that owners of embedded renewable generation facilities will not have the administrative and financial burdens of obtaining a generating license. [Citizen]

Installing solar panels

¶ China will launch a pilot program to trade distributed electric power generation starting on February 1, 2018, the National Energy Administration announced. The move will promote renewable power consumption in the country. Distributed power plants are typically small and medium-sized power stations sited close to consumers. [Reuters]

¶ Australian renewable energy developer CWP Renewables has proposed building a 250-MW solar tower and storage project in Queensland, saying it could be a cost effective alternative to either a new coal generator or even battery storage proposed by wind and solar projects. It is one of several solar thermal projects proposed for the state. [RenewEconomy]

Crescent Dunes solar thermal project in Nevada

¶ Workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have installed a device to remove nuclear fuel from a meltdown-hit reactor nearly seven years after the crisis was sparked by a tsunami, a spokesman said. The plant’s operator, TEPCO, said a crane on the roof of the No 3 reactor will extract a total of 566 rods from its fuel pool. [Japan Today]

US:

¶ An effort by Vermont utility regulators to settle the long-standing and contentious issue of how much noise neighbors of industrial wind projects should be subject to ended up satisfying no one. Both proponents of wind power and those who say the noise poses a health risk to people who live near turbines were upset with the result. [Westport News]

Wind farm (Photo: Tim Roske | AP)

¶ TDI New England wants to lay a high-voltage transmission cable under Lake Champlain. It has pledged $20 million for low-income energy retrofits in Western Massachusetts if its New England Clean Power Link wins a major contract in the Bay State. The retrofits would include things other programs do not pay for, a spokesperson said. [MassLive.com]

¶ When it comes to renewable energy, Hawaii stands out, with 15% of the state’s power coming from solar and wind. Now, the state may also be pioneering ocean waves for renewable energy. NewsHour Weekend’s Megan Thompson visited a naval base in Hawaii, where researchers are testing a new frontier of wave power technology. [PBS NewsHour]

Joseph Mangum, of Sunnyside Solar, is on the ground in
Puerto Rico, helping people. How to help him help them?
One way is at [
Sunnyside Solar’s crowdfunding website].

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November 12 Energy News

November 12, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Letter from Bonn: Pollution Killing More Indians Than Wars, Govt Must Understand Urgency of Now” • India loses more people to pollution than it would possibly to a war. Yet, successive governments resort to ad hoc measures, lacking implementation of a long term strategy to ensure clean air to people and address their right to life. [News18]

Schoolboy with his face covered by a handkerchief

¶ “COP 23: Bill McKibben says the drive for 100% renewables is too slow. Time to accelerate!” • It may be possible for the world to reach 100% renewable energy by 2050, or sooner. But Bill McKibben said preventing absolute catastrophe requires action on emissions far faster than what market conditions alone would produce. [Red, Green, and Blue]

¶ “Hurricane Maria has made Puerto Rico the land of opportunity for solar power” • Seven weeks after hurricane Maria, the traffic lights are still down in San Juan. The bankrupt Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority has 1.4 million customers, but it cannot supply power to most of them. Now it has serious competition. [Quartz]

In Utuado, after fifty days of cleanup (Raquel Pérez Puig | Quartz)

Joseph Mangum, of Sunnyside Solar, is on the ground in
Puerto Rico, helping people. How to help him help them?
One way is at [
Sunnyside Solar’s crowdfunding website].

¶ “Stop rewarding failure: Protect consumers, not profits” • More than a decade ago, our nation decided to pursue more nuclear power generation. But what we did not support was providing corporate welfare, putting all the project’s risks on the backs of electric customers, instead of on the people who decided to take the risk of investment. [The Augusta Chronicle]

World:

¶ An oil pipeline exploded in Bahrain, causing a massive fire near a market and a hospital. The General Director of Civil Defence said that 21 vehicles and 78 personnel were deployed to control the fire in an oil pipeline near Buri village. He also said the explosion was the result of an act of terrorism, and linked the act to Iran. [Іnsіdеr Cаr Nеws]

Fire after the pipeline explosion in Bahrain

¶ With solar panels tacked to their sledges and a biofuel made from wood chips to keep them warm, a British father and son duo will attempt to reach the South Pole relying solely on green energy. Seasoned explorer Robert Swan and his 23-year-old son Barney will begin their eight week, 600-mile expedition on November 15. [Yahoo News UK]

¶ Pope Francis blasted “shortsighted human activity” for global warming and rising sea levels and urged leaders at climate talks in Germany to take a global outlook as they negotiate ways to curb heat-trapping emissions. Francis met with a delegation of Pacific leaders and told them he shares their concerns about rising sea levels. [CTV News]

Pope Francis listening to Baron Waqa, President of
Nauru (L’Osservatore Romano | Pool Photo via AP)

¶ Queensland’s Labor government is in ongoing talks with American energy firm Boston Global to build a battery factory in Townsville, amid a $151 million election pledge to kickstart plans for a new solar plant. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk promised the multi-million dollar cash injection into the state’s renewable energy sector. [Yahoo7 News]

¶ Environmental activists protested at a German coal-fired power plant, just as Italy announced when it would its use of coal. Protesters projected images of Pacific islanders threatened by climate change onto the cooling tower of the lignite-fuelled power station in Neurath, in western Germany, along with the words “coal destroys our future.” [New Delhi Times]

Greenpeace coal protest

US:

¶ A group of US states, cities, businesses, and universities said they are still committed to curbing global warming even as the Trump administration is walking away from the Paris climate accord. They said, however, that they will not be able to achieve the necessary cut in greenhouse gas emissions without some efforts at the federal level. [Newser]

¶ Stories of Kauai are turning heads at the United Nations Climate Conference. The island’s strides in clean energy, along with the progress in the rest of the state, are catching attention. Sen Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, is part of a five-person legislative delegation representing the American people at the UN Climate Conference. [Thegardenisland.com]

Kauai (Photo: Christopher Michel, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Empire District Electric Co, based in Joplin, Missouri, plans to develop an additional 800 MW of wind power and to generate that power as close to its Missouri service area as possible, it announced. That $1.5 billion investment could change the face of a rural area north of Joplin, where Empire is looking at its options. [Joplin Globe]

¶ Wind power and other renewable energy sources are playing an important role in keeping the campus of the University of Illinois sustainable. The University is purchasing wind power from Rail Splitter Wind Farm LLC under a contract that goes until October 2026. The university has a goal to eliminate 100% of carbon emissions by 2050. [Daily Illini]

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November 11 Energy News

November 11, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “We Already Know Which Grid Fixes Can Keep Lights On During Bad Storms. Here Are 3.” • Restoring electricity after the fires in California or Hurricane Irma in Florida took about 10 days. And 70% of Puerto Ricans still lack power six weeks after Hurricane Maria. But there are solutions available on the market today. [Breaking Energy]

Wreckage after a hurricane

Joseph Mangum, of Sunnyside Solar, is helping people in Puerto Rico. How can you help the people of Puerto Rico? One way is to donate at [Sunnyside Solar’s crowdfunding website].

Science and Technology:

¶ Researchers at Sandia National Labs have figured out how to downsize concentrating solar power facilities so that they are economically viable without taking up as much space as more traditional solar panel arrays. The objective of the research was to create small-scale CSP facilities of 1 MW or less to be used by small rural communities. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ Dutch group NERO Renewables wants to build three wind parks, with a total installed capacity of 1 GW, in Romania. They proposed that the Dutch Government adopt the project so the Netherlands can reach its renewable energy target for 2020. The project’s cost is estimated at €1.4 billion, according to a local site, Profit.ro. [Romania-Insider.com]

Romanian wind park

¶ The German government faces the prospect of not meeting its 2020 carbon emission reduction goal. It is considering investing in carbon reduction abroad, to compensate. The government could pay other countries to cut emissions so it can meet future targets and avoid building new coal-fired power plants. [Power Engineering International]

¶ The China National Renewable Energy Center advises the Chinese government to increase its 2020 solar target to 200 GW, up from its current 110 GW. The boom of installations saw the country pass its existing 2020 target last August. CNREC also advises increasing to wind and bioenergy targets and halting approvals of coal power capacity. [PV-Tech]

Chinese solar farm (Credit: Panda Green Energy)

¶ As the world gathers in Bonn for COP23, a professor from The University of Manchester’s School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering, outlined why he thinks offshore wind could be a boom industry for the UK. The UK gets around 5% of its electric power from offshore wind and generates more than any other country in the world. [Phys.Org]

¶ UK solar developer Hive Energy announced plans to develop a 350-MW solar park in Kent without any government subsidies. The proposed power project would located on the north coast of the county. The project would constitute the UK’s largest solar farm to date, by far, able to supply enough electricity for 110,000 households. [Climate Action Programme]

Small olar system

¶ Although China and India remain the largest consumers of coal, a new University of Maryland-led study found that China’s sulfur dioxide emissions have fallen by 75% since 2007, while India’s emissions increased by 50%. The results suggest that India is becoming the world’s top sulfur dioxide emitter, if it is not already. [Scoop.co.nz]

US:

¶ Officials of Dairyland Power inaugurated a $167 million wind farm in the southwestern part of Wisconsin. The 98-MW Quilt Block project, with 49 turbines, is the state’s fourth largest wind farm and boosts the Wisconsin’s wind capacity by 15%. It is expected to provide enough energy for over 35,000 average households. [The Courier Life News]

Wisconsin farmland (Dairyland Power Cooperative image)

¶ Practically the entire island of Puerto Rico went dark again after a major power line repaired by Whitefish Energy failed. Even though that the failure may have had nothing to do with Whitefish’s work, it is still a demonstration that microgrids and renewable energy are the way to go for grid resiliency and reliability. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Despite the US decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accords and uncertainty around other government initiatives, utilities and consumers are driving a transformation of the energy system. The political uncertainty created by federal government has not stopped increased investments in green and renewable energy. [Electric Light & Power]

Storage for solar power

¶ Senate Republicans have put forward their own tax reform plan this week which, unlike the tax reform bill proposed by the House, does not take aim at renewable energy provisions such as the wind Production Tax Credit. The House plan proposed eliminating the vehicle tax credit and added a retroactive tax hike on the wind industry. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Con Edison Development, one of the largest owners and operators of renewable energy infrastructure projects in the US, announced the acquisition of Big Timber Wind, a 25-MW wind power project that will provide Montana residents with low-cost electricity. Big Timber Wind is expected to come online in the upcoming weeks. [Electric Light & Power]

Wind farm in the mountains

¶ Years of delays and billions of cost overruns at Plant Vogtle cannot be blamed on any mistakes made by Georgia Power, the company’s CEO said in an interview. He told reporters at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that other factors were to blame, including bankruptcy of the main contractor and requirements imposed by the NRC. [MyAJC]

¶ The South Carolina House speaker is proposing six laws aimed at protecting consumers from financial consequences of a failed project to build two nuclear reactors. South Carolina utilities spent more than $9 billion on two nuclear reactors before abandoning them. They had collected nearly $2 billion from ratepayers as they did. [New Jersey Herald]

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November 10 Energy News

November 10, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Cities Stand United on Paris Agreement at COP23” • Cities face a new reality of monster storms, unprecedented flooding, dangerous and record-breaking heat and drought, wildfires, and other challenges. More than 350 US “Climate Mayors” have pledged to commit to reduce emissions 80% by 2050, as laid out in Paris. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

Bonn, site of COP23 (Pixabay image)

Science and Technology:

¶ Self-driving systems don’t have to be perfect to save tens of thousands of lives, the RAND Corporation says in a report, The Enemy of Good: Estimating the Cost of Waiting for Nearly Perfect. If autonomous vehicles systems drive only slightly better than humans, they could prevent hundreds of thousands of fatalities worldwide over the next 30 years. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ A report by the International Energy Agency underscores the important implications of the recent rapid cost reductions in solar PVs and wind power. One of the report’s main findings is that greening the industry may be achieved either directly from electricity or through the production of hydrogen-rich fuels and chemicals. [pv magazine International]

Solar array (Duke Energy image)

¶ South America’s biggest facility, now being built in Brazil’s south-east, aims to give the country its place in the sun. The plant in the state of Minas Gerais, has 1.2 million solar panels, covering the equivalent of more than 1,200 soccer fields. The first of three phases began producing power in September, and the second is now going online. [Phys.Org]

¶ In one of the biggest demolitions every undertaken, explosions have brought down the main section of the Northern Power Station at Port Augusta, South Australia. Alinta Energy closed the coal-fired power station 18 months ago. The two 80-meter tall boilers, with 10,000 tonnes of steel in each, were brought down by a series of explosive charges. [ABC Online]

Northern Power Station’s end (Supplied: McMahon Services)

¶ The failure of wealthy nations to deliver on short-term climate commitments could hinder the rollout of a landmark treaty, a bloc of 134 developing countries, including India and China, warned Thursday at UN negotiations in Bonn. The diplomatic spat has underscored the difficulty of reaching a consensus at the 196-nation talks. [Phys.Org]

¶ The world’s first floating wind farm, launched by Statoil off the coast of Scotland in October, will generate 30 MW of energy, enough to power 20,000 homes. In France, the 2-MW Floatgen facility was launched on the Atlantic Coast. Now commercial floating wind farms are planned to be commissioned in the UK, Ireland, France, and Portugal. [Energy Digital]

Towing floating turbines to sea (Getty Images)

US:

¶ Apple signed a deal to power to a Nevada data center with one of the cheapest contracted starting prices for solar power in the US. The deal was signed with NV Energy, owned by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway. The start price is 3.099¢/kWh with a 2% a year escalator, making it very inexpensive energy. The project has a capacity of 50 MW. [Electrek]

¶ The federal government is ignoring threats to life presented by climate change, according to a claim of a lawsuit against Trump administration officials. The suit was filed in federal court in Philadelphia, on behalf of two Pennsylvania children and the Clean Air Council. Donald Trump, Scott Pruitt, and Rick Perry are named as defendants. [Public News Service]

Protecting future generations (Photo: Pezibear | Pixabay)

¶ As demand for electricity on Nantucket has grown, National Grid considered adding a new undersea power cable or buying two new generators. Instead, it invested some of its money in a grid-scale battery system. Tesla will install 200 Powerpack batteries on the island, for a total storage capacity of 48 MWh, in place of one of the new generators. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The US car industry will be wrecked if President Trump relaxes emissions standards, California Governor Jerry Brown said. He said China would dominate car manufacture because it was heavily promoting the electric vehicles that would dominate the future. He said President Trump and US car-makers had not understood the scale of the challenge. [BBC]

Assembly line (Getty images)

¶ The California Department of Food and Agriculture has awarded $35.2 million to 18 dairy digester projects. The projects are part of the Dairy Digester Research and Development program and aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from manure at California dairy farms, helping to address the problem of climate change. [Biomass Magazine]

¶ The owners of StuyTown, a rental apartment complex comprising Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village in Manhattan, have announced plans to make the property home to the largest private multifamily residential rooftop solar project in the US. The 3.8 MW-DC solar project will triple Manhattan’s installed PV capacity. [Solar Industry]

StuyTown apartments in Manhattan

¶ Madison Gas & Electric, based in Wisconsin, has the green light from state regulators to build a wind farm in northeastern Iowa in 2018 to serve its customers. The $107 million Saratoga wind farm is to be built near Saratoga, Iowa, about 200 miles west of Madison. It won unanimous approval from the three-member state Public Service Commission. [Madison.com]

¶ SCANA may fully abandon two unfinished nuclear reactors at VC Summer station in South Carolina by the end of the year in order to apply for a roughly $2 billion tax deduction. The  proposed federal tax write-off could be equal to 40% of the $4.9 billion that SCANA paid for its share of the Westinghouse-designed reactors since 2009. [Charleston Post Courier]

Joseph Mangum, of Sunnyside Solar, is helping people in Puerto Rico. How can you help the people of Puerto Rico? One way is to donate at [Sunnyside Solar’s crowdfunding website].

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November 9 Energy News

November 9, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Will the US put the lights out in the waning Coal Industry?” • Like the largest dinosaurs, the coal industry has put a giant footprint on the planet. In recent years it has played a cancerous role in global environmental problems. Global temperatures have already risen by nearly 1° C, and they are continuing the rise. [Industry Leaders Magazine]

Coal mine

¶ “A year after Trump’s win, coal is still losing to renewables” • It has been a year since President Trump’s election and his pledges to transform the energy markets have not exactly come to pass. In fact, what was true under President Barack Obama is still true: Coal’s generation is declining, and renewable’s share is growing fast. [Fairfield Daily Republic]

Science and Technology:

¶ HomeBiogas, which successfully launched its first home biodigester system on Indiegogo in early 2016, has been working to improve the design of its product into a more durable, lower cost, and more efficient model. It recently unveiled the next iteration of this backyard biogas device, cutting the cost of the device in half. [CleanTechnica]

HomeBiogas system

¶ Exposure to particulate matter air pollution is responsible for more than 10.7 million cases of the development of chronic kidney disease per year, according to a study. Chronic kidney disease is just one of a  long list of reasons moving away from petrol/gas and diesel cars, and coal-fired power plants, would benefit public health greatly. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ Tennet announced that it was running the first European blockchain-controlled power stabilization scheme, in a partnership with battery supplier Sonnen, using IBM’s blockchain software. The partners announced test pilots in May, as CoinDesk reported at the time. That work has now entered the phase of practical application. [CoinDesk]

Transmission lines (Shutterstock image)

¶ The European Commission published its annual climate action progress report this week. Between 1990 and 2016 the European Union has cut greenhouse gas emissions by 23% while at the same time growing its economy by 53%. This proves again that environmental action need not negatively affect the financial bottom line. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A global transition to 100% renewable electricity, far from being a long-term vision, is happening now, a study says. It is the work of Finland’s Lappeenranta University of Technology and the Energy Watch Group, and it was published at the UN climate change conference, COP23. The conference is now underway in Bonn, Germany. [eco-business.com]

Thai solar Farm (Asian Development Bank image, CC BY 2.0)

¶ ACCIONA Energía will double its renewable energy capacity in Latin America to over 2,000 MW by 2020. It alreadly owns 897 MW of wind and PV power capacity in the region. In the last four months of 2017, 700 MW more will be under construction, and other projects are being developed for completion in 2020. [Windpower Engineering]

US:

¶ A diverse group of a dozen US energy industry associations representing a wide range of technologies, including oil, natural gas, wind, solar, efficiency, and others, have come together to urge the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reject the DOE’s proposal to subsidize the coal and nuclear energy industries. [CleanTechnica]

Power plant

¶ Wells Fargo & Company announced that 100% of its global electricity consumption for 2017 will be met with renewable energy. The company has met the first part of a commitment that includes a transition to long-term agreements that fund new sources of green power by 2020. Its real estate portfolio is already 24% LEED certified. [Energy Voice]

¶ While the market for offshore wind power is well established in Europe, it still is in its nascent stage of development in the US. Now, Denmark, a leader of the offshore wind power industry, and the US have decided to work in collaboration to help expand the offshore wind power generation capacity in both of the countries. [CMFE News]

Offshore wind power

¶ The Republican-controlled House has approved a bill aimed at expanding hydroelectric power by a vote of 257-166. The bill was sponsored by Rep Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington. It defines hydropower as a renewable resource and streamlines the way projects are licensed, with primary authority granted to a single federal agency. [ABC News]

¶ Lincoln Clean Energy announced that its 250-MW Willow Springs wind farm has begun commercial operations in Haskell County, Texas. The Willow Springs wind farm is expected to generate about 1 million MWh of energy annually. Lincoln Clean Energy now has brought a total of 503 MW of wind power online this year. [Electric Light & Power]

Willow Springs wind farm

¶ Solar and wind power production, though still only a small contributor to the region’s overall power supply, has started to reduce demand on traditional power plants, according to ISO New England. The study predicts that there will be an adequate electrical power generation overall in New England through at least 2021. [Hartford Business]

¶ California’s last nuclear power plant may be one step closer to closing, despite a vocal campaign to save it. The California Public Utilities Commission issued a proposed decision that would approve plans by Diablo Canyon’s owner, Pacific Gas and Electric Co, to shut its two reactors down when the operating licenses expire, in 2024 and 2025. [San Francisco Chronicle]

Joseph Mangum, of Sunnyside Solar, is helping people in Puerto Rico. How can you help the people of Puerto Rico? One way is to donate at [Sunnyside Solar’s crowdfunding website].

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November 8 Energy News

November 8, 2017

 

Opinion:

¶ “Lazard: Wind & Solar Power Costs Continue To Fall, Putting Coal & Nuclear At A Disadvantage” • Lazard’s new Levelized Cost of Energy report shows costs of onshore wind and solar fell while others did not. So just operating a coal-fired facility may now be more costly than building and operating a solar or wind power installation. [CleanTechnica]

MHI Vestas offshore wind farm

¶ “Hotel in One of Earth’s Driest Places Is Powered by the Sun” • Chile’s Atacama Desert is so dry that some parts of it have never seen precipitation, and there’s rarely lasting cloud-cover. While these conditions are hostile for human life, some businesses believe they are just right to host enough solar panels to power all of South America. [National Geographic]

¶ “White House admits Trump climate policies will destroy all US coastal property” • The massive climate report released by the Trump administration makes clear that its climate policies will destroy every last bit of US (and global) coastal property in the decades to come, and over $1 trillion in US coastal property will eventually be valueless. [ThinkProgress]

Flooding in downtown Houston (Photo: Jason Dearen | AP)

Science and Technology:

¶ Digital technologies are set to transform the global energy landscape, making it more reliable and sustainable, a report by the International Energy Agency says. Demand side response from buildings, industry, and transport could provide 185 GW of flexibility, avoiding $270 billion of new infrastructure investment through 2040. [ETEnergyworld.com]

World:

¶ The 353-MW Galloper offshore wind farm off the Suffolk coast has generated first power, according to the company leading the project, Germany’s Innogy SE. The milestone means the process to commission the wind park’s 56 turbines, of which 38 are in place, has now begun. It is expected to be completed early next year. [Renewables Now]

Galloper (Source: galloperwindfarm.com)

¶ The US is now a party of one in its stance on climate change. Syria will join the Paris climate agreement, leaving the US as the only country in the world not signed on to the landmark climate deal. Syrian officials announced their intention to ratify the accord at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn on Tuesday. [CNN]

¶ Royal Society for the Protection of Birds lost its long and expensive case against the Scottish Government over the giant Neart na Gaoithe wind farm in the Firth of Forth. The UK Supreme Court refused permission for the RSPB to appeal against the decision of Scotland’s top civil court that Mainstream Renewable Power’s development. [The National]

Burbo Bank Offshore Wind Farm

¶ Some of Europe’s top utilities have called the EU’s green energy targets unambitious, urging the bar to be raised in the fight against climate change, Reuters said. A letter, signed by Enel, Iberdrola, and four others, called for the energy target, currently to get at least 27% of energy from renewables by 2030, to be raised to 35%. [Financial Tribune]

¶ Potentially sparing Western Australia hundreds of millions of dollars, electricity provider Synergy is poised to partner with a Dutch investment fund to bankroll obligations under federal green energy laws. The Cabinet signed off on plans by Synergy to establish a green power fund to meet its commitments under the renewable energy target. [The West Australian]

Albany  wind farm (Photo: Miles Liedtke | Instagram)

¶ The French government said that it probably would not be able to keep its 2025 deadline to reduce the proportion of electricity generated from nuclear to 50%, an admission which angered ecologists. The Environment Minister said that it would be difficult to keep to the 2025 calendar without increasing use of fossil fuels. [The Local France]

¶ Green Investment Group Ltd and General Electric Co have achieved financial close on the 650-MW Markbygden ETT onshore wind farm in Northern Sweden, having raised about €800 million ($925 million). Svevind has been developing the scheme since 2002. The European Commission approved the transaction in August. [Renewables Now]

GE wind farm in Europe (GE image, all rights reserved)

US:

¶ In its mania to prove how horrible the Clean Power Plan is, the EPA has rejiggered the numbers and found that the Clean Power Plan could save more lives than the Obama officials thought. Oddly enough, the means that rolling back its provisions could lead to between 40,000 and 100,000 more premature deaths in America by the year 2050. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Last week, the annual National Climate Report stated that all the increase in average global temperatures since 1950 can be attributed to human activity. This week, a lawsuit has been filed in federal court in Philadelphia claiming the federal government has a duty to protect its citizens from injury or death due to climate change. [CleanTechnica]

Air pollution

¶ The governor of Puerto Rico announced that the island will pursue a 20% and 25% renewables share for power generation. The renewable sources planned to be used include solar, wind and hydro. Electric micro grids will also be deployed, and a new program will aim to equip 85,000 homes with solar panels and batteries. [Renewables Now]

¶ The local utility in Kongiganak, Alaska, has not only managed to cut some of its residents’ heating bills in half, but built a revolutionary microgrid along the way. Five wind turbines now produce 25% of the village’s electricity, but when they produce more power than can be used, the excess is diverted to heating homes, cutting bills by 50%. [KYUK]

Sunnyside Solar’s Joseph Mangum is in Puerto Rico, helping
people. How can I help the people of Puerto Rico? One way is
to donate at [
Sunnyside Solar’s crowdfunding website].

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November 7 Energy News

November 7, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Embattled Navajo coal plant is a preview of what’s ahead as coal declines across the US.” • It looks like it doesn’t belong there. The lonely, aging power plant stands out against the red desert, connected to the nearest town by a single, crumbling road. If it closes as scheduled, it will soon become an artifact, a relic from when coal was king. [ThinkProgress]

Navajo Generating Station (Credit: Wolfgang Moroder)

World:

¶ The largest retailer in Canada that specializes in food and pharmaceuticals unveiled a 53 foot, fully electric class 8 BYD truck that is the first in a transition of its company-owned fleet to electric vehicles. The new semi truck is the first of many, as Loblaw announced a commitment to move its entire trucking fleet to electric vehicles. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Petroleum Development Oman and GlassPoint Solar have announced completion of the first block of one of the world’s largest solar plants, the 1,021-MW Miraah solar plant in Oman. Each of the 36 blocks has a separate greenhouse protecting its solar array from the harsh conditions on the oilfield, such as strong winds and dust storms. [CleanTechnica]

Miraah solar plant

¶ Zhangbei County, 150 miles northwest of Beijing, has 128 low income villages where residents have an abundance of sunshine but struggle to get by. Now each of those villages is in line to benefit from a 300-kW solar power plant, for a total installed capacity of 38.4 MW. The project will use 140,000 solar panels supplied by Yingli. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Waves4Power, based in Sweden, hopes to establish a wave energy park in UK waters, off the Cornish Isles of Scilly, to help generate 40% of the islands’ power from renewable sources by 2025. The buoy was developed to supply fish farms, offshore power platforms and remote island communities with renewable electricity. [Business Cornwall Magazine]

Inauguration of the WaveEL buoy

¶ London Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced that the city’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone will begin in central London from the 8th of April, 2019, and will reduce lethal air pollution and reduce harmful emissions from up to 60,000 vehicles daily. He said, “London’s lethal air is one of the biggest health challenges of this generation.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ The solar and wind power generated in Germany in October has reached a record high. According to research released by IWR on behalf of Entsoe-e, 14.6 billion kWh of energy was generated last month. This is almost double the production of last October, and significantly beats the previous record of 12.5 billion kWh set last March. [Energy Digital]

Solar array (Getty Images)

¶ Some of the world’s largest and most notable energy companies, traders and financial institutions have united to create a blockchain-based digital platform that replaces the current manual tasks in the energy sector with digital contracts. The blockchain digital platform is expected to be launched by the end of 2018. [pv magazine International]

¶ Strong winds and storms in October helped Scottish turbines produce more than 1.7 million MWh of electricity for the National Grid. Wind power provided more than 100% of electricity demand for Scotland on 15 days during October and supplied enough electricity to power all of Scotland’s homes on 28 days. [Aberdeen Evening Express]

Wind turbines

US:

¶ A $48.8 million loan from the US Department of Agriculture will help the Umatilla Electric Cooperative build 25 miles of new power lines, while improving 41 miles of lines and investing in smart grid projects. The upcoming projects include a new power line that will boost reliability for customers, a UEC spokesman said. [East Oregonian]

¶ After NRG Energy pulled plans for the construction of a 262-MW gas plant in Oxnard, California, state regulators allowed the company to place the development process on hold for six months, the Ventura County Star reported. NRG said it needed six months to analyze the feasibility of an alternative renewable energy project. [Power Engineering Magazine]

Oxnard Puente Power Project

¶ Regulators have approved a plan allowing Tampa Electric to expand its solar power generation to provide nearly 7% of the utility’s capacity while also granting a rate freeze for electricity customers for the next four years. The electricity generated by the utility’s anticipated solar capacity could power 100,000 homes, a press release said. [Patch.com]

¶ American Electric Power announced it is increasing capital investment in its regulated operations and new, renewable generation over the next three years to provide more advanced, cleaner energy solutions for its customers. The company plans to invest $1.8 billion in new renewable generation during 2018 to 2020. [Digital Journal]

Wind Catcher project in Oklahoma

¶ The future looks promising for the local and regional offshore wind business. Three recent reports project up to 36,000 new jobs and 8,000 MW of offshore wind power between New Jersey and Maine by 2030. The reports were released by the Clean Energy States Alliance, a coalition of state energy agencies and other organizations. [ecoRI news]

¶ Georgia Power and partner companies overseeing the construction of nuclear plant, Vogtle, presented a united appeal to PSC commissioners, as hearings began on the fate of the nuclear power plant. The CEO’sof the companies argued the project would present “the best economic choice” and “long-term benefits to customers.” [MyAJC]

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November 6 Energy News

November 6, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Bonn talks test global resolve to fix climate, without Donald Trump” • Governments will try to bolster a 2015 pact to combat climate change at annual talks in Germany, strained by President Donald Trump’s plan to pull out and instead promote the US coal and oil industries. Almost 200 nations will meet in Bonn starting November 6. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Renewable energy

¶ “Here’s How Far the World Is From Meeting Its Climate Goals” Two years after nearly all countries signed the climate agreement in Paris, the world remains far off course from preventing drastic global warming. The latest round of post-Paris international climate talks begin in Bonn, Germany, to discuss how to step up efforts. [New York Times]

¶ “How telling the right stories can make people act on climate change” • The latest UN Climate Change Conference will be presided over by the government of Fiji, a country that is no stranger to global warming’s devastation. Fiji’s narrative tells a familiar tale of vulnerable villages in fear of rising tides from climate change. [The Conversation UK]

Fiji Islands (Photo: catlin.wolfard, Wikimedia Commons)

Science and Technology:

¶ Lazard has released its annual Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis (LCOE 11.0), with analysis of power costs. It shows a continued decline in the cost of generating electricity from alternative energy technologies, especially utility-scale solar and wind, but energy storage is not yet cost competitive in most applications. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

World:

¶ EDF Energies Nouvelles has brought online five wind farms totaling 164 MW in India, as well as three solar plants with a combined capacity of 87 MW. The wind farms, which are in the state of Gujarat, have a total of 82 turbines. Two of the solar projects are in Uttarakhand in northern India and each has an installed capacity of 36 MW. [reNews]

Wind turbines (EDF image)

¶ Frustrated by disinterested state and federal governments, some Australian communities have taken renewable energy into their own hands. In Goulburn, New South Wales, residents and businesses have come together to build a community-funded 1.2-MW solar farm, with the capacity to power 350 to 500 households. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

¶ Cape Verde, a small island archipelago nation off Africa’s northwest coast, set itself a bold renewable energy target. As part of its “sustainable energy for all” agenda, it pledged to get 100% of its electricity from renewable resources by 2025. A quarter is now provided renewably, and the rest mostly by petroleum products. [AllAfrica.com]

Port in Mindelo, Cape Verde (Photo: Harry and Rowena Kennedy)

¶ HSBC bank has pledged to provide $100 billion in sustainable financing and investment by 2025, as one of five commitments to help combat climate change. HSBC will also reduce its exposure to coal, by discontinuing the financing of new coal-fired power plants in developed markets and of thermal coal mines worldwide. [reNews]

¶ Following investments of £30 million, renewable energy firm Green Hedge, based in Bath, is poised to expand the production of its battery-energy storage units, with hopes to develop, build and operate them across the UK. The director of non-profit Regen SW expects up to 10 GW of energy storage projects in the UK by 2030. [TechSPARK]

Green Hedge energy barn

¶ Nuclear-powered electricity generation in Taiwan has already shown signs of a sharp reduction, down from 400 TWh in 2015 to 300 TWh in 2016, and anticipated further reductions to zero by 2025. But debate over the possible future of nuclear power in Taiwan continues, with calls for the restart of nuclear reactors. [Center for Research on Globalization]

¶ Indonesia‘s PT PLN is will sign power purchase agreements for 640.45 MW of renewable energy projects by the middle of this month, its strategic procurement director announced. The largest part of the capacity will be for a 515-MW hydropower plant in Central Sulawesi, to be constructed at a cost of $831 million (€715.5 million). [Renewables Now]

Geothermal plant in Indonesia

US:

¶ As Rick Perry makes one laughable statement after another, the Department of Energy goes about its renewable energy mission, full steam ahead. A new article appeared on the DOE’s website on November 3 under the title, “Concentrating Solar Power Could Provide the Flexibility and Reliability the US Electric Grid Needs.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ Despite the lack of renewable-energy-friendly policies and the reluctance from Republican-led state legislatures to address climate change, states across the South and Appalachia are rapidly expanding their solar markets. Utilities are investing in solar projects, which are now cost-competitive with coal and gas. [InsideClimate News]

Nashville’s Music City Center (Credit: Roofmeadow)

¶ City of Farmington, Missouri, and a set of companies held a groundbreaking ceremony at the future site of the new Farmington Solar Farm. The solar farm will consist of over 9,000 solar panels, covering around 20 acres of land. The solar panels will generate enough electricity to power nearly 500 homes in the Farmington power grid. [STL.News]

¶ The New England grid will integrate more renewable resources and increase its reliance on natural gas-fired generation over the next decade, according to ISO-NE’s 2017 Regional System Plan. It highlights increasing wind and solar penetration, flat load growth, and fuel security concerns because of natural gas pipeline constraints. [RTO Insider]

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November 5 Energy News

November 5, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “The COP23 climate change summit in Bonn and why it matters” • Aiming to “prevent dangerous human caused interference with the climate system,” nations are meeting for the 23rd annual “conference of the parties” (COP23) under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. It is taking place in Bonn starting November 6. [The Guardian]

Homes in West Bengal (Photo: Sushavan Nandy | Barcroft Images)

Science and Technology:

¶ The Trump Administration released a sweeping federal climate report concluding that the Earth is warming at an alarming rate due to human activity. The congressionally mandated report said the Earth is undergoing its warmest period “in the history of modern civilization,” fueled primarily by rising levels of carbon dioxide. [Bloomberg]

World:

¶ Roughly a quarter of the world’s oil refineries face closure by 2035 if governments around the world actually manage to meet their current greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, according to a report from the think tank Carbon Tracker, the investment fund AP7, and PKA, a pension fund is based in Denmark. [CleanTechnica]

Oil refinery (Image: James Daisa | Flickr, some rights reserved)

¶ Over 100 Vietnamese provincial government officials, investors and other stakeholders have gathered in Ho Chi Minh City to discuss policies for the development of solar energy. The central government has a target of increasing the installed capacity of solar power from around 7 MW at the end of 2017 to 850 MW by 2020. [en.vietnamplus.vn]

¶ The chief minister of the Indian state of Maharashtra launched a pilot project under which farmlands could get up to 12 hours of uninterrupted power tapping solar energy, officials said. The pilot project will come up at a famed model village created under the state’s “Mukhyamantri Agricultural Solar Feeder Scheme.” [ETEnergyworld.com]

Solar panels at sunset

¶ SaskPower’s president said it is “highly unlikely” his company will recommend the government pursue carbon capture and storage projects in the foreseeable future because of the costs. The economics of power generation have changed since the company decided in 2010 to retrofit a coal-fired generating unit to capture and store carbon emissions. [CBC.ca]

¶ To the anger of environmentalists, a Trump adviser is expected to take part in a presentation in at COP23, the UN’s climate conference in Bonn, promoting coal as a solution to climate change. Separately, a group of governors will say that the US is still committed to climate action despite Mr Trump’s rejection of the Paris agreement. [BBC News]

Clean as it can be (Getty Images)

¶ South Africa’s Energy Minister is forcing his plans for nuclear power into action, and officials at his department are working weekends to finalize the country’s reviewed integrated energy resource plan four months ahead of schedule. Last week, the Finance Minister said nuclear energy was neither affordable nor immediately necessary. [News24]

¶ Historically, Flinders Island, off Tasmania’s north-east coast, has been powered by diesel fuel. In December, Hydro Tasmania will enable the island to be powered by 60% renewable energy on average by putting its Hybrid Energy Hub into service. Solar, wind, and battery storage will reduce the island’s reliance on expensive diesel power. [ABC Online]

Hybrid Energy Hub (Photo: Rhiannon Shine | ABC News)

US:

¶ The White House has sought to downplay a major climate change report, which was compiled by 13 US federal agencies. The study is at odds with assertions from President Donald Trump and several members of his administration. It says it is “extremely likely” human activity is the “dominant cause” of global warming. [BBC News]

¶ President Trump is accused of deliberately obstructing research on global warming, blocking a critically important technique for investigating sea-ice cover at the poles. The row has erupted after a key polar satellite broke down a few days ago, leaving the US with only three ageing ones, and the only backup was ordered dismantled. [The Guardian]

Melting sea ice (Photo: David Goldman | AP)

¶ Storage specialist Sonnen launched its Puerto Rico Energy Security Initiative with the specific aim to restore power to a number of communities around the island nation with microgrid technology. Sonnen donated 15 microgrid systems, partnered with Pura Energia, and hit the road en route to Puerto Rico to get them up and running. [CleanTechnica]

Joseph Mangum of Sunnyside Solar is working in Puerto Rico,
helping people. How can I help the people of Puerto Rico? One
way is to donate at [Sunnyside Solar’s crowdfunding website].

¶ There’s been more than $3.3 billion in insured losses caused by the wildfires in California so far this year, with the figure expected to rise, the California Department of Insurance has revealed. California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said he is concerned that the fires represent a new normal, as climate change raises temperatures. [PlanetSave.com]

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November 4 Energy News

November 4, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Long-Awaited US Tax Reform Signals Continued Undermining Of Renewables” • US Republicans finally published their proposed tax plan to much ballyhoo and recriminations, not only among Democrats but also in the country’s renewable energy industry, which will likely lose thousands of jobs and billions in investments if it passes. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “The clean energy revolution tipping point is inevitable – but the sooner, the better” • As global leaders gather for the UN’s annual COP meetings on mitigating the impacts of climate change, an energy revolution is underway with enormous implications, not least for the world’s poor, and market forces are accelerating those adoption rates. [Quartz]

¶ “Trump’s Coal Threat to Renewable Energy” • The Trump administration is plotting a series of moves in 2018 that could end up harming the wind and solar industries. The planned actions include asking regulators to rewrite power market rules, revamping the tax code, and imposing tariffs on foreign-made solar panels. [Bloomberg]

Solar panels (Photo: JG Photography | Alamy)

Science and Technology:

¶ Enevate, located in Irvine, California, claims its latest silicon-dominant lithium-ion battery technology makes 5 minute charging possible. In a press release, the company says an electric car equipped with one of its batteries can add 240 miles of range in just 5 minutes or 50 miles of range in a minute. And it has a number of other advantages. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Renewable energy may offer emissions-free electricity, but it isn’t always easy for electrical grids to integrate that energy. Dutch company Alfen is launching their answer to the dilemma. The Cellular Smart Grid Platform allows a central grid to be divided into smaller cells that can operate independently, if necessary, and even self-heal. [Inhabitat]

Alfen Energy Storage

World:

¶ Kinder Morgan plans to build the Trans Mountain pipeline to carry crude oil from the Alberta tar sands to an ocean terminal in Vancouver. But the route crosses more than 300 miles of land claimed by the Secwepemc Nation in British Columbia, and they plan to put a solar powered tiny house community in the way of the pipeline. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Indian EPC contractor Sterling and Wilson said it plans to build 500 MW of solar power stations in Australia in the coming three years. The company said in a statement it expects these projects to attract an investment of about A$600 million ($459 million, €395 million) and create over 750 jobs during the construction process. [Renewables Now]

Sterling and Wilson solar park (Photo: Business Wire)

¶ Enel Generación Chile was awarded the supply of 1.18 TWh per year to a number of Chilean distribution companies through the tender launched by the country’s National Energy Commission, and aimed at meeting the energy demand of regulated market customers over the 2024-2043 period. The award was 54% of a 2.2-TWh-per-year tender. [pv magazine International]

US:

¶ Duke Energy is investing $3 billion in South Carolina over the next 10 years or so to strengthen the energy grid and provide a major boost to the state’s economy. The Power/Forward Carolinas initiative will result in an average of 3,300 jobs and more than $100 million in new tax revenue to benefit communities. [Windpower Engineering]

South Carolina grid

¶ City Utilities, in Springfield, Missouri, can now store electricity from renewable wind, solar, and hydroelectric source, thanks to a $1 million battery bank on the city’s south side. CU split the cost of the Battery Energy Storage System at Cox Substation with NorthStar Battery, which has a large manufacturing plant in Springfield. [OzarksFirst.com]

¶ A group of officials including the mayor of Duluth and the chancellor of the University of Minnesota-Duluth celebrated the start of a new “Solar Garden” pilot program in Wrenshall. The 1-MW solar array in Wrenshall and another in Duluth help provide power to the City of Duluth, UMD, and Minnesota Power customers who sign up. [KDAL]

Wrenshall solar array (Minnesota Power)

¶ Starwood Energy Group Global, LLC, announced that it finalized agreements to finance and construct the 100-MW Northwest Ohio Wind Project in Paulding County. The project will use GE 2.5-116 wind turbines. It contracted to sell 100% of its output to General Motors pursuant to a long-term power purchase agreement. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ In Oregon, a spokesman for the Portland General Electric Company said the utility is testing several different models to best use energy storage. That includes installing storage alongside existing solar and biomass facilities, installing batteries at a substation, and starting a pilot project to install batteries at people’s homes. [KLCC FM Public Radio]

Solar array in an Oregon vineyard (eyeliam, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The North Dakota Public Service Commission gave its okay to Otter Tail Power for a North Dakota wind farm and a South Dakota Natural Gas power plant. The two will replace an aging coal plant in Fergus Falls. The natural gas plant will be built near Astoria, South Dakota, and the wind farm will be built near Ashley. [Prairie Public Broadcasting]

¶ Westinghouse plans to be the first company to install a 3D printed fuel component in a commercial nuclear reactor. The company plans to explore how to reduce costs and lead times for obsolete and difficult-to-source parts, along with fuel structural components and prototypes for next-generation plants, such as microchannel heat exchangers. [3DPrint.com]

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November 3 Energy News

November 3, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “We already know which grid fixes can keep lights on during bad storms. Here are 3.” • There are solutions available on the market today that can reduce the impact of weather related grid outages. Here are three cost-effective grid improvements that could keep the lights on for more people during future storms. [Environmental Defense Fund]

Building a solar microgrid (US Army Corps of Engineers image)

¶ “Puerto Rico Suffers While Defending Against ‘Disaster Capitalism'” • Over a month after Hurricane Maria hit, most of Puerto Rico remains dark. Its 3.5 million US citizens struggle to obtain the basic essentials of life, and many are leaving the island for the mainland. There are people coming to the island, though: disaster capitalists. [Common Dreams]

How can I help the people of Puerto Rico? One way is
to donate at [Sunnyside Solar’s crowdfunding website].

¶ “Renewables Are Starting to Crush Aging US Nukes, Coal Plants” • In parts of the US, it has become a less expensive proposition to build new solar and wind farms and use their power than to keep the existing, and aging, fleet of coal and nuclear generators producing electricity, according to financial adviser Lazard Ltd. [Bloomberg]

Wind farm construction (Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg)

Science and Technology:

¶ The yearly average levels of atmospheric CO2 rose up to 403.3 parts per million in 2016, but methane levels rose fairly rapidly also, according to a report from the World Meteorological Organization. With scientific reserve, the scientists involved said that they do not know why atmospheric methane levels are rising rapidly. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Climate deniers’ new dodge: ‘All energy matters’ + ‘Very fine scientists on both sides'” • Trump’s nominee to lead NASA, asked about climate change, admitted that it is already destructive and caused by greenhouse gases. But he said scientists disagree about the ultimate cause. A leaked report from federal agencies says humans cause 93% to 123% of it. [Red, Green, and Blue]

.

World:

¶ A quarter of all global refining capacity could be stranded and forced to close by 2035 if demand continues to fall and climate regulations and rapid clean technology advances continue to impose themselves, according to a new report, Margin Call: Refining Capacity in a 2° C World, published this week by Carbon Tracker. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Windpower provided a record 24.6% of the EU’s electricity demand on October 28, according to WindEurope. The new high broke the previous record of 19.9% set on October 7. Onshore wind accounted for 21.8% of EU power demand and offshore wind for 2.8%. Danish windpower provided 109% of the national needs. [Renewables Now]

Wind farm in Hamburg (Photo: ID-een, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ An explosion at a newly commissioned unit of a coal-fired power plant in northern India killed 29 people and injured 85. Flue gases and steam were released by the blast at NTPC Ltd’s Unchahar power plant, the company said. NTPC shut the unit, which began operations in September, but the rest of the facility is still operating. [Energy Voice]

¶ Australia’s largest cities could begin experiencing extreme heatwaves with 50° C (122° F) temperatures within the relatively near term, possibly 20 years, even if international climate change and greenhouse gas emissions reductions goals are met, according to a recent study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. [PlanetSave.com]

Please click on the image to enlarge it.

¶ Nigeria must use its oil wealth to prepare for a future when the world no longer runs on fossil fuels, the country’s vice president said. He said the nation, an OPEC member, needed to develop renewable energy and help other businesses flourish as the significance of oil dwindles. “It is no longer a question of if but when,” he said. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ Microsoft confirmed it will use wind energy to power its international data center in Holland. It has signed a deal to source 100% of the output produced from Vattenfall’s new onshore wind farm, being developed at Wieringermeer polder, from 2019. The data center provides local cloud services and extra global capacity. [Innovators Magazine]

Wind turbine

US:

¶ Louisville, Kentucky, has problems with air pollution, and some areas of the city are worse than others. Residents in the poorer neighborhoods of Louisville, those closest to Louisville’s industrial areas, have life expectancy that is 11 years shorter than those in more upscale neighborhoods where trees, parks, and green spaces are common. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The states of Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island released reports setting out contexts for development of offshore windpower in the Northeast and revealing potential economic benefits. The Northeast could see offshore wind deployment of between 4,000 and 8,000 MW by 2030, creating up to 36,000 jobs. [Offshore Wind Journal]

Offshore wind farm

¶ US Energy Secretary Rick Perry suggested that the expansion of fossil fuel use in Africa would help protect people there from sexual assault. The comment was followed by a swift rebuke from environmental activists. The Sierra Club, which campaigns for increased use of wind and solar power, called for Perry to resign. [The Japan Times]

¶ The nascent market for electric cars will suffer a big setback if the Republican tax plan enters into law. Among the changes to the current tax code would be an end to the Plug-In Electric Drive Vehicle Credit, the tax incentive that you can get from the IRS when you purchase a new battery or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. [Ars Technica]

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November 2 Energy News

November 2, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ The burning of biomass in the Amazon releases particulate matter air pollution that causes oxidative stress as well as severe DNA damage in human lung cells – primarily through the actions of the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon known as retene – according to a new study published in the journal Scientific Reports. [CleanTechnica]

Deforestation in the Amazon (NASA image)

¶ Even when they are powered exclusively by the “dirtiest” grid-provided electricity in the world, plug-in electric vehicles are responsible for a smaller greenhouse gas footprint than that of diesel cars, according to a new lifecycle analysis from Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the nonprofit research organization Transport & Environment. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ As of November 1st, the sale of high-sulfur content diesel fuel – that is, diesel fuel with more than 10 ppm of sulfur – will be banned nationwide in China, the government in the capital of Beijing has revealed. High-sulfur diesel fuel is typically used in China as a relatively low-cost option for those running tractors or ships. [CleanTechnica]

Haikou Xiuying Port

¶ Egyptian outfit Orascom Construction partnered with French company Engie and Japan’s Eurus Energy Holdings to develop a 250-MW wind farm in Egypt. The $400 million project at Ras Ghareb, in the northern Red Sea Governorate, has a 20-year power purchase agreement with the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company. [reNews]

¶ China is working on a “trackless electric train.” Developed by China’s CRRC Corporation, responsible for the country’s high-speed trains and hailed as one of the world’s largest train manufacturers, the trackless electric train concept was first unveiled by the company in June. It is now being tested in Zhuzhou, Hunan Province. [CleanTechnica]

Trackless electric train

¶ Italy saw the addition of 323 MW of new PV systems in the first nine months of 2017, based on data provided by the country’s grid operator Terna. This represents a 13% growth over the same period in 2016 and a 31% increase from the first nine months of 2015. In the third quarter of this year, new additions totaled 89.9 MW. [pv magazine International]

¶ TPREL, a subsidiary of Tata Power, commissioned a 30-MW solar plant in the Indian state of Maharashtra. It will produce over 62 million kWh annually, covering the annual energy needs of over 14,000 households. Tata Power has seen major growth in its solar engineering, procurement, and construction business. [pv magazine International]

Indian solar system (Tata Power image)

¶ Pu Neng has been awarded a contract for a 3-MW/12-MWh flow battery as phase 1 of the Hubei Zaoyang 10-MW/40-MWh Storage Integration Demonstration Project. There are plans for a larger 100-MW/500-MWh energy storage project that will be the cornerstone of a new smart energy grid in Hubei Province. [GlobeNewswire]

¶ A report says at least $1 trillion are being invested globally in ways to reduce the threat of climate change, including renewable power, energy efficiency, and public transportation. Investments like these may make it possible for the world’s governments to meet their commitments under the Paris agreement on climate change. [The Guardian]

Renewable energy (Pablo Blazquez Dominguez | Getty Images)

¶ Ten years after PetroChina peaked on its first day of trading in Shanghai, the state-owned energy producer has lost about $800 billion of market value, a sum large enough to circle the Earth 31 times with $100 bills. In current dollar terms, it’s the world’s biggest-ever wipeout of shareholder wealth. And it may only get worse. [Montreal Gazette]

US:

¶ Duke Energy is seeking state permission to build a 2-MW solar farm and a power-storage system at the Indiana National Guard’s Camp Atterbury training base. If it is approved, the company says the solar farm and battery storage equipment would become the first microgrid at any National Guard facility in the state. [WISH-TV]

Camp Atterbury (WISH Photo)

¶ Sen Lisa Murkowski was unequivocal when asked recently about rising global temperatures. “Climate change is real,” the Alaska Republican told an audience in Anchorage. Yet her stance on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is  that it must happen, for the economic prosperity of her state and the security of the country. [Seattle Times]

¶ Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives has dedicated Cooperative Solar Farm One, a 60-acre solar energy facility located in Clark County. Cooperative Solar Farm One has 32,300 solar panels, for a total capacity of 8.5 MW. The output will be enough to provide all the annual power needs for about 1,000 typical homes. [The Lane Report]

Cooperative Solar Farm One

¶ President Trump has declared an end to the “war on coal.” But coal country is grappling with powerful market force. More evidence of coal’s challenges came as Armstrong Energy, a western Kentucky coal company, filed for bankruptcy protection. Armstrong recently warned it would lay off workers at two of its facilities. [KVIA El Paso]

¶ Southern Co is seeking to raise cash as it expects about $1.4 billion in added costs to complete nuclear power units at Vogtle, which are soaring to over $25 billion. The company is also bailing out its Mississippi Power unit after regulators said they would not allow it to recover costs for a failed coal-gasification power project. [The Sun Herald]

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November 1 Energy News

November 1, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ Scottish Association for Marine Science researchers predict that cod, herring and haddock could migrate out of the local ecosystem by 2100, most likely to colder waters further north, because of global warming. Waters off Scotland’s west coast are already nearing the highest temperatures cod and herring can tolerate. [Aberdeen Evening Express]

Fishing boat

¶ A record loss of global tree cover in 2016 – totaling around 297,000 square kilometers (114,672 square miles) – was driven partly by increasingly common wildfires worsened by rising temperatures and drought, according to the Global Forest Watch, based on data from the University of Maryland. The area was a rise of 51% on 2015. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ During the weekend starting October 28, so much energy was created by German windstorms, that it was being given away for free. Output equivalent to that of 40 nuclear power plants was generated during the storms, causing the wholesale prices to fall below zero. Output from windpower rose to as much as 39,409 MW. [Energy Digital]

Wind turbines in a storm (Getty Images)

¶ A report on the viability of a new coal-fired power station in north Queensland has found it would only return big profits if power prices remain high. Queensland’s premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, told Sky News the report said the plant was not viable. It had been commissioned by the Department of Energy and completed in February. [Sky News Australia]

¶ There is still a large gap between the pledges by governments to cut greenhouse gas emissions and the reductions scientists say are needed to avoid dangerous levels of climate change, the UN has said. Current pledges from across the world, would lead to temperature rises of as much as 3° C or more by the end of this century. [The Guardian]

Emissions in Paris (Philippe Wojazer | Reuters)

¶ Radioactive material from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster is accumulating in sands and brackish groundwater beneath beaches up to 60 miles away from the nuclear power plant itself, a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says. The material is radioactive cesium. [CleanTechnica]

¶ If South Africa’s National Energy Regulator grants Eskom the 19.9% tariff hike it has applied for, it will simply enhance the utility death spiral it faces where users move to renewable energy alternatives. This was the message from the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry at Nersa’s public hearings on the Eskom tariff hike application. [Fin24]

Khi Solar One, South Africa (Hp.Baumeler, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ There are now more than 50,990 public and private plug-in electric vehicle charging sites located throughout the US – up from 34,151 in 2015 – according to the newly released Electric Vehicle Charging Association’s 2017 State of the Charge report. In 2011, there were 5,070 charging sites in the US; there are currently 15,930 in California. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A deal calling for further cooperation in the offshore wind energy sector has been signed by the US and Denmark, recent reports say. The new agreement means that top Europe-based wind energy firms, such as DONG Energy and Vestas, should have an easier time developing projects and relationships within the US market. [CleanTechnica]

MHI Vestas offshore wind turbines

¶ Norway’s Statoil aims to sign a power purchase agreement with a US utility to develop an offshore wind power project off New York, a senior company official said. Statoil won a lease sale of 79,350 acres offshore New York, which could be used to develop a windpower site with up to 1 GW of capacity, by bidding $42.5 million. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ While nearly 70% of Puerto Rico remains without power six weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated the island, eleven United Nations human rights experts have issued a joint statement decrying the “absence of adequate emergency response” by the US. The storm has put a spotlight on Puerto Rico’s colonial history with the US. [eNews Park Forest]

UN experts inspecting (Photo: Puerto Rico National Guard | Flickr)

How can I help the people of Puerto Rico? One way is
to donate at [Sunnyside Solar’s crowdfunding website].

¶ Efforts to restore electricity to Puerto Rico nearly six weeks after Hurricane Maria are shifting as Whitefish Energy, a tiny Montana contractor, was removed. The Army Corps of Engineers, which is leading the federal power restoration effort, said it planned to boost the size of a contract awarded to Fluor Corp by $600 million, to $840 million. [Nasdaq]

¶ Renewable energy has St Cloud, Minnesota, producing more power than it consumes, to the tune of some 40 million kWh. The city uses about 30 million kWh of energy across city buildings while producing 70 kWh from various renewable energy products. St Cloud’s Public Services Director says more solar energy projects are coming. [WJON News]

St Cloud hydro dam (Photo: Rebecca David | WJON.com)

¶ Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed a bill that could change the way the state’s only nuclear plant sells its energy. Dominion, which owns the Waterford-based plant, could compete against power from renewable sources, but only if state regulators say it is in the interest of ratepayers and the state’s long-term carbon goals. [WNPR News]

¶ Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy announced that it will supply 310 wind turbines of different types for five projects in the US. Together, these five onshore wind projects will have the potential to provide clean power to nearly 240,000 US homes. So far, the company has installed 17 GW of wind capacity in the US. [Gulf Digital News]

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October 31 Energy News

October 31, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Trump Admin. Desperate To Keep Coal Power Plant Alive With Taxpayer Dollars” • Trump supporters have repeated often, “government shouldn’t be picking winners and losers.” Now, the administration is trying to prop up the Navajo Generating Station in Arizona with taxpayer dollars, perfectly illustrating the depth of the lie. [CleanTechnica]

Navajo Generating Station

¶ “Why More Flexible Operation Won’t Save US Nuclear Power Plants” • Flexible nuclear operation is happening in Europe. But for nuclear plants that depend purely on power sales, as is the case with US merchant plants, operating flexibly just reduces the total amount of energy sold, and thereby reduces the profits. [Greentech Media]

¶ “If we don’t talk about water, are we really talking about resiliency?” • Depending on the type of technology, generating just one megawatt-hour of electricity could use anywhere from 500 to 50,000 gallons of water. Solar and wind, on the other hand, use negligible amounts of water, and energy efficiency uses none. [Environmental Defense Fund]

Sunset, water, and power lines (pixabay)

¶ “Wine Country post-fire rebuilding offers an opportunity for microgrids” • Electric lines are notoriously vulnerable to a variety of hazards, and may even have caused the recent fires. It is time to think about replacing some of our centralized electrical system with decentralized “microgrids,”  and without utility poles. [San Francisco Chronicle]

Science and Technology:

¶ Concentrations of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere surged to a record high in 2016, according to the World Meteorological Organization. Last year’s increase was 50% higher than the average of the past 10 years. Researchers say a combination of human activities and El Niño drove CO2 to a level not seen in 800,000 years. [BBC News]

Emissions (Getty Images)

World:

¶ Climate change is already affecting the health of populations around the world, but things are set to get worse if adequate changes are not made. Fueling the impact is the fact that more than 2,100 cities globally exceed recommended levels of atmospheric particulate matter, a report published in the medical journal The Lancet says. [CNN]

¶ A poor country in the Caribbean did a good deal better than Florida with Hurricane Irma. In fact, as far as hurricane preparedness goes, the Dominican Republic beat the US hands down. After losing many power lines and over 40% of their generating capacity, the grid was still operating, partly thanks to two backup battery systems. [CleanTechnica]

Storm in the Dominican Republic
(Photo: MIGUEL montojo Wikimedia Commons)

¶ London’s long awaited “T-Charge” went into effect in the city last week, effectively limiting access to central London by those driving the oldest and most heavily polluting vehicles still on the road (those not meeting Euro 4 standards). Such vehicles must now pay a £10 daily tax. The city will increasingly restrict such cars in the future. [CleanTechnica]

¶ British solar developer Lightsource Renewable Energy and Australian bank Macquarie will jointly fund development of large solar power projects in India, the bank said. Macquarie’s UK Climate Investments will provide 49% of the equity for the first project, Lightsource’s 60-MW solar project in the Indian state of Maharashtra. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Solar system in Asia

¶ United Breweries Limited has joined hands with CleanMax Solar to adopt large-scale rooftop and ground mounted solar power for ten of their breweries across India. With a total solar capacity of 4 MW peak across six large facilities in the first phase, the initiative will reduce United Breweries’ carbon footprint and save electricity costs. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ Salmon are leaping in a scenic Perthshire river for the first time in nearly 70 years after pioneering work was carried out to restore flow cut off by a hydro-electric scheme. A 10-mile stretch of the River Garry, which had been dry since the mid-1950s, is now running with water, promising major benefits for local salmon populations. [The Scotsman]

River Garry (Photo: Sarah Charlesworth, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ In mid-December, National Grid Plc will start an automated trading system that pays hospitals and research facilities at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus to sell electricity from their onsite solar panels, batteries, and other generators to doctors’ offices and businesses, the first power market ever designed within a single utility service area. [Bloomberg]

¶ New Mexico’s largest electric provider put out a request for proposals for hundreds of megawatts of power to fill a future void it plans to wean itself from coal-fired generation over the next several years. Public Service Co of New Mexico plans to close two units at the San Juan Generating Station before the end of the year. [Power Engineering Magazine]

San Juan Generating Station

¶ The loss of 2,000 MW of power resulting from the shutdown of the Indian Point nuclear plant will be filled by natural gas until renewable sources like solar and wind power become more readily available, experts at an Iona College conference said. The event was sponsored by the pro-natural gas Empire Energy Forum. [The Journal News | LoHud.com]

¶ Entergy Arkansas completed the state’s largest solar energy project near Stuttgart in partnership with NextEra Energy Solutions of Florida. Now it hopes to top itself with an even bigger solar facility near Lake Village. Entergy filed documents with the Arkansas Public Service Commission seeking approval for a 100-MW project. [Arkansas Business Online]

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October 30 Energy News

October 30, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “A sustainable energy future is within our grasp … if we take action now” • The world is in a major energy transition, underpinned by renewable energy. A new study from the International Renewable Energy Agency finds that an energy transition in line with Paris Agreement is both technically feasible and economically attractive. [The National]

Shams 1 power station (Christopher Pike | The National)

¶ “Productivity Commission pulls no punches on ‘appalling’ energy crisis, calls for carbon price” • The Productivity Commission report contains some blunt assessments on the nature of Australia’s energy problems and how to fix them. Dealing a blow to the Coalition, the primary recommendation is to adopt a carbon price. [ABC Online]

Science and Technology:

¶ With the tale the Three Little Pigs embedded in our psyches since childhood, we can’t help but think of a straw house as a flimsy thing, just waiting to be blown away by a big, bad wolf. But straw dwellers know better, and given that there are no wolves at our doors, there are many good reasons to build with straw. Here are a few. [New Atlas]

Straw-bale house (Photo: Six B Design)

World:

¶ International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, said it completed a $653 million debt package to finance building 13 solar power plants near Aswan in Egypt, planned to be part of the largest solar park in the world. The Nubian Suns Feed-in-Tariff Financing Program is to generate up to 752 MW of solar power. [Reuters Africa]

¶ Research by UK renewable energy company Pure Planet shows that 50% of people currently with the biggest energy suppliers say they want out after a year of price hikes. The news comes after all six of the UK energy giants, British Gas, SSE, NPower, Scottish Power, E.On, and EDF, raised prices in the past year despite falling production costs. [The Sun]

Transmission lines (PA image)

¶ Elon Musk said he cannot believe the mess Australia finds itself, in regard to its power supply problems. He is building the world’s largest lithium-ion battery to secure South Australia’s power supply. But he had no idea of the firestorm of how to power Australia, he had walked into. He warned that the choice is to move to renewables or collapse. [Gatton Star]

¶ Because of the energy crisis, record numbers of Australian families are on hardship plans or deferred payments, and the rate of disconnections in most states is up sharply. Many people tailor their lives around trying to afford their next electricity bill. Elon Musk has pointed out the cost advantages of renewable energy in Australia. [9news.com.au]

Wind farm in Queensland (Leonard Low, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ UK billionaire Sanjeev Gupta is leveraging an investment in Australian renewable energy and storage company Zen Energy. It is planning 1 GW of dispatchable renewable capacity in South Australia. This will be based around up to 680 MW of solar capacity, a 100-MW/100-MWh battery at Port Augusta, and other resources. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Vattenfall is to invest more than €200 million ($2.33 million) in an onshore wind project in the Netherlands. The firm plans to repower and expand the Wieringermeer wind farm, replacing older wind turbines with the latest technology, to a capacity of 180 MW and combine it with an adjacent 115-MW wind farm extension. [Energy Live News]

Vattenfall wind project (Vattenfall image)

¶ EDF’s departing UK chief executive indicated that first power from the Sizewell C nuclear plant in Suffolk should come by 2031. It is a sister project to Hinkley Point C in Somerset, which is due to start producing electricity by the end of 2025, although EDF has warned that the £20 billion project could be delayed until early 2027. [The Times]

US:

¶ OhmConnect aggregates a network of residential subscribers across the territories of California’s three major utilities: Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric. When demand is high and peaking plants could come online, a text message is sent, and subscribers who cut their loads earn money. [InsideClimate News]

California power plant (Photo: David Monniaux | CC-BY-SA-2.0)

¶ Lancaster, California, had a 17% jobless rate and a housing market dominated by foreclosures when its Republican mayor met with a tech innovator planning a solar thermal plant. The mayor, seeing a way to bring jobs to town, read everything he could about renewable energy. What he learned about climate change terrified him. [HuffPost]

¶ French renewable power producer Akuo Energy said it has completed construction of the 150-MW Rocksprings wind farm in Texas. The works took nine months, in line with the project’s schedule. The plant in Val Verde County uses 53 units of 2.3-MW wind turbines and 16 units of 1.72-MW machines supplied by General Electric. [Renewables Now]

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October 29 Energy News

October 29, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Rise of renewables a growing challenge to natural gas” • Even though natural gas demand is forecast to continue its ascendancy over the next 20 to 30 years, supported by low cost and the drive for cleaner fuels, new evidence shows that it faces challenges from fast growth of renewables and stubbornly remaining coal, particularly in Asia. [Cyprus Mail]

Growing renewable generation

¶ “How Fossil Fuel Allies Are Tearing Apart Ohio’s Embrace of Clean Energy” • As fossil fuel interests mobilized at the national level to fight proposals to mitigate climate change that threaten their profits, they made Ohio a priority for fighting clean energy policy at the state level. Now, they are getting laws passed that benefit only themselves. [InsideClimate News]

¶ “Communities in Illinois can take lead against climate change” Chicago, Elgin, Evanston, Highland Park, and other Illinois municipalities have pledged to fill the void left by  Trump and seize opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas pollution. For both environmental and economic reasons, now is the time for them to act. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Crawford power plant in Chicago, the last coal-burning power
plant in a major US city (Photo by Scott Olson | Getty Images)

Science and Technology:

¶ Historically, nearly all of the world’s power has either been used as quickly as it is made or wasted. But climate change has made governments interested in renewable energy and storage. The economics of adding storage to a grid or wind farm are increasingly making more sense. Here is a list of important storage technologies. [Ars Technica]

World:

¶ China is getting serious about pollution. Up to 40% of its factories have recently been closed at least temporarily as the country has struggled to meet its year-end pollution reduction goals, sources say. Officials from more than 80,000 factories have been charged with criminal offences relating to emissions over the past year. [CleanTechnica]

Factory in China (Photo: High Contrast, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ British billionaire Richard Branson plans to lead a post-hurricane rebuilding effort in the Caribbean, with a focus on clean energy projects. The effort focuses on “a green energy revolution” to make area economies more sustainable, he said. But it may also include debt relief negotiations mediated by the International Monetary Fund. [Times LIVE]

¶ Norway is the top country in the world as regards market share for plug-in vehicles (by far). In the first 9 months of 2017, electric vehicles captured a 32% market share, as compared to a 24% share in 2016. For comparison, #2 was Iceland at 8%, #3 was Sweden at 4%. China was at 1.6% and the US at 1.1%, according to world sales tracker EV Volumes. [CleanTechnica]

Street in Oslo (Photo: Bjørn Erik Pedersen, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ France will detail at the end of 2018 how many nuclear reactors will close to meet a target on reducing atomic energy, French Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot said. France aims to cut the share of atomic energy in power generation to 50% by 2025 from 75% now. The nuclear sector currently supports about 220,000 jobs, directly and indirectly. [Sky News Australia]

US:

¶ At the ninth annual NH Local Energy Solutions Conference, a large number of people attended a session on remaking the power grid. The future of the grid is drawing increasing interest because the growth of renewable energy sources and online devices has upended the business model used by regulated electric utilities. [Concord Monitor]

Grid infrastructure (Don Bartletti | Los Angeles Times | TNS)

¶ Hydropower is making a comeback in Northwest Colorado. A push by the state to develop small hydro projects resulted in new state policies in 2007, but it was insufficient in the face of federal regulations. Then Congress passed the Small Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act in 2013, to simplify the permitting process. [Craig Daily Press]

¶ Across the US, the year’s first freeze has been arriving further and further into the calendar, according to more than a century of measurements from weather stations nationwide. Scientists say it is yet another sign of the changing climate, with both good and bad consequences, more fruits and vegetables, but also more allergies and pests. [The Olympian]

Fall colors in Pennsylvania (David Mckeown | AP)

¶ More US organizations, including Adobe, CVS Health, Gap, Nike, and Merck, are taking climate change seriously and have committed to emissions reduction targets in line with the Paris Agreement, according to Picking up the pace: tracking progress on corporate climate action, by CDP, a nonprofit global environmental disclosure platform. [Chief Executive Group]

¶ Findings of the Risky Business Project, run by a broad group of US business leaders, is that climate change poses tremendous risk to American agriculture, business, and citizens. The solution is to adapt rapidly and transition to a low-carbon, clean-energy economy that also would boost both jobs and the economy. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

How can I help the people of Puerto Rico? One way is
to donate at [Sunnyside Solar’s crowdfunding website].

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October 28 Energy News

October 28, 2017

World:

¶ Spanish utility Iberdrola has completed the installation of 70 wind turbines at the 350-MW Wikinger offshore wind farm in the German area of the Baltic Sea. The wind farm is a flagship offshore wind project for Iberdrola, which committed €1.4 billion ($1.63 billion) to the project. It is off the coast of the German island of Rügen. [CleanTechnica]

Installing the nacelle of a wind turbine

¶ European solar industry association SolarPower Europe has published its latest market analysis for annual global solar power demand. It projects that the solar market demand will reach 100 GW for the first time ever this year. This is a 30% growth from solar demand levels of 2016, when 76.6 GW was connected to electricity grids. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The C40 Fossil-Fuel-Free Streets Declaration was signed by the mayors of twelve of the world’s largest, most economically important cities, paving the way for the cities in question to transition completely away from internal combustion engine vehicles and to create zero-emissions areas in their cities by 2030. [CleanTechnica]

Boris Johnson’s cycle superhighway in London

¶ A paper published in the journal Environmental Research Letters confirms that significant sea level rise is inevitable, requiring humans to adapt rapidly. But the study reveals the majority of that much of the rise could be avoided if the world meets the commitment made in Paris to keep global warming to “well below 2°C.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ German company Max Bogl is claiming to have the world’s tallest wind turbine, sited near Stuttgart. The Gaildorf complex, which features pumped storage hydro technology, has a GE 3.4-MW machine with a 178-meter hub height sitting atop a 40-meter water reservoir. The total height of the system is 246.5 meters (809 feet). [reNews]

Max Bogl wind turbine installation (Max Bogl image)

¶ Belgian developers InControl and Otary have reached agreement with government ministers over offshore wind supports, clearing the way for construction of three projects totaling 770 MW. The wind farms will receive €79 per MWh (9.17¢/kWh) for roughly 16 years, said the government, saving some €3.9 billion over their lifetimes. [reNews]

¶ Jordan’s Ministry of Water and Irrigation is scheduled to reduce its energy use by half in early 2019. It constitutes 14% of the country’s total energy consumption, according to officials. Under the 10-million-dollar project, the pumps and electric equipment at the stations will be replaced with energy-efficient systems. [ZAWYA]

Distributing water in a refugee camp (Ammar Awad | Reuters)

¶ South Africa can not afford a major nuclear program for lack of money, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said, as concerns mounted over the country’s pursuit of nuclear energy. A major nuclear program would be out of the question for at least the next five years, he told a gathering of business people and journalists in Cape Town. [Coastweek]

US:

¶ In a state that still gets nearly 80% of its electricity from coal, the city of St Louis is charting a course to use entirely clean energy by 2035. The city Board of Aldermen unanimously passed a resolution calling for promoting greater energy efficiency measures and transitioning to wind and solar energy, for 100% carbon-free energy. [STLtoday.com]

St Louis (Photo: Becherka, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Help from Vermont is going to Puerto Rico. Joseph Mangum, of Sunnyside Solar in West Brattleboro, is heading to Puerto Rico with five solar systems for towns in the island’s interior. The systems were partly paid for by the first $5,000 of a $20,000 gofundme campaign. He is also taking food, water purification systems, and seeds. [Green Energy Times]

How can I help the people of Puerto Rico? One way is
to donate at [Sunnyside Solar’s crowdfunding website].

¶ More than 200,000 black glass panels stretch across former farmland in southern Fauquier County, Virginia. The $46 million development stands on 125 acres that Dominion owns east of Remington. Because Dominion owned the property and transmission lines near Remington, it proved to be the perfect spot. [Fauquier Now]

Dominion solar farm (Dominion image)

¶ On Monday and Tuesday, the wind blew hard enough for wind turbines to meet all of the electricity needs of MidAmerican’s customers in Iowa, a spokesperson said. MidAmerican’s goal is to produce 100% of its power with renewable resources, and it has been investing in windpower. There are 670,000 MidAmerican electric customers in Iowa. [KCCI Des Moines]

¶ The Trump administration may try to prop up coal companies at the expense of renewable energy, but it faces increasing headwinds from market forces. Data from the Bureau of Labor statistics shows that jobs in solar and wind are projected to grow fastest over the coming decade. Demand is expected to double for some renewable industry jobs. [CBS News]

Wind turbine technician (Photo: energy.gov | flickr)

¶ New York Gov Andrew M Cuomo announced that NY Green Bank seeks to raise at least an additional $1 billion in private sector funds to expand financing availability for clean energy projects. These additional funds to be raised will enable NY Green Bank to deliver even greater environmental and cost benefits to New Yorkers. [LongIsland.com]

¶ A bill that would allow the Millstone Nuclear Station to compete in a program that was intended to foster Connecticut’s young solar and wind-power industries has been passed by both houses of the state’s legislature. A number of consumer groups and environmental activists are asking Gov Dannel P Malloy to veto it. [CT Post]

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October 27 Energy News

October 27, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Fortune 500’s, traditional utilities: Everyone is buying wind power” • Our research team ran the numbers, and the wind industry’s third quarter results paint a clear picture: wind power is in high demand across all sectors of the electricity market. American Electric Power’s Wind Catcher project in Oklahoma is just one example. [HuffPost]

Power County Wind Farm in Idaho

¶ “Joyce out, Canavan in, Roberts out – What High Court ruling means for climate, renewables” • Australia’s deputy prime minister and leader of the National Party, Barnaby Joyce, is headed for a by-election, after the High Court ruled him ineligible to hold his seat due to dual citizenship. He is just one of the climate deniers affected. [RenewEconomy]

World:

¶ Siemens Gamesa is to supply turbines totalling 281 MW to the Nordlicht wind farm in Norway. The order is for supply and installation of 67 SWT-DD-130 4.2-MW machines – 47 on the Kvitfjell mountain and 21 on the Raudfjell mountain near Tromsø. Asset manager Prime Capital will manage the wind farm on behalf of project investors. [reNews]

Nordlicht – northern lights (Siemens Gamesa image)

¶ Solar Energy Corporation of India issued a tender on behalf of Coal India Limited, the largest coal mining company in the world, for setting up two solar power projects of 100 MW capacity each at a planned solar power park in the state of Madhya Pradesh. The solar power park will have an eventual installed capacity of 500 MW. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A self-driving minibus, EZ10, is now in operation in Bad Birnbach, Lower Bavaria. It can carry six people on a route between the town center and the rail station. This is not a pilot project – that was implemented in the spring. And the bus is not acting as a lone wolf, but is actually part of the Deutsche Bahn (German Railways) network. [CleanTechnica]

EazyMile EZ10

¶ Working in conjunction with ClimateWorks Foundation, Bloomberg New Energy Finance has published the China Renewable Curtailment and Coal Stranded Assets Risk Map which aims “to cast light on the issues central regulators will have to weigh up as they steer the power system through fundamental restructuring.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ German power producers are poised to pay customers to use electricity this weekend. Wind generation is forecast to climb to a record on Sunday, possibly driving electricity prices below zero, broker data compiled by Bloomberg show. It would be the first time this year that the average price for a whole day is negative. [The Independent]

Wind turbines in action (Bloomberg image)

US:

¶ The “We Are Still In” coalition of US non-federal leaders set up immediately after of President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the country out of the Paris Climate Agreement has committed to send delegations to COP23, the next round of UN Climate talks to be held in Bonn, Germany, next month, spurning their President’s decision. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Organic Valley, America’s largest organic farmer co-operative, will be one of the largest food companies in the world to use 100% renewable electricity. It is working with the Upper Midwest Municipal Energy Group and OneEnergy Renewables in solar community partnership, with over 12 MW of solar installations in Wisconsin. [Co-operative News]

Organic Valley office building (PRNewsfoto | Organic Valley)

¶ DOE secretary Rick Perry’s pro-coal market intervention would cost taxpayers as much as $10.6 billion a year over the next decade, according to a joint analysis by the non-partisan groups Climate Policy Initiative and Energy Innovation. Just a handful of companies, operating about 90 plants in the East and Midwest, would benefit. [The Guardian]

¶ Kansas City Airport became the first airport to integrate fully electric buses for passenger service as it took delivery of four BYD 30 foot electric coaches. The four buses will be parking lot shuttles, carrying passengers between airport terminals and parking lots. The airport shuttles were custom built for service in the airport by BYD. [CleanTechnica]

BYD electric bus at KCI

¶ NextEra Energy, whose holdings include Seabrook Nuclear Station, has hopes of making money on the largest proposed solar site in New Hampshire, but several other sites are in the works. Combined, the projects proposed in New Hampshire total 210 MW of capacity, triple the state’s solar capacity in 2016. [New Hampshire Business Review]

¶ The American Wind Energy Association has published “The US Wind Industry Third Quarter 2017 Market Report.” Almost 30 GW of new wind projects were under construction or in advancement development in the US at the end of the third quarter of 2017, up 27% on the same period last year, according to the AWEA study. [reNews]

Farm in a wind farm

¶ After extended debate, Vermont lawmakers imposed new statewide limits on wind power that are meant to prevent sound from disturbing neighbors’ health and sleep. Some renewable energy advocates claim the restrictions will effectively stop the construction of large wind projects, which deliver the lowest cost energy in the area. [BurlingtonFreePress.com]

¶ Connecticut lawmakers gave final legislative approval to a bill that could change the rules for how the Millstone Nuclear Power Station sells electricity. The House voted 75-66 for the bill, which allows state regulators to determine whether the power should be sold on the clean energy market like renewable power. [WTNH Connecticut News]

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October 26 Energy News

October 26, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Donald Trump, Bird Killer” • He campaigned as a guardian of birds against windpower. His secretary of the Department of Interior, Ryan Zinke, recently noted renewable energy’s risks to birds in arguing against using public lands for solar power. Now, his administration is pushing policies that could send billions of birds to their deaths. [New Republic]

Victim of obsolete technology (Historical Picture Archive | Getty)

¶ “Game 1 of the World Series breaks heat record” • In a year of catastrophic hurricanes and devastating wildfires, the heat wave in Southern California this week is another urgent reminder that climate change is already here. Evening temperatures at Dodger Stadium reached 103° F. The average October high in Los Angeles is 75° F.  [ThinkProgress]

Science and Technology:

¶ New research suggests that the oceans hundreds of millions of years ago were much cooler than we thought. If this is correct, it means that the global warming we are currently undergoing is unparalleled within the last 100 million years and far worse than we had previously calculated. The research was published in Nature Communications. [The Independent]

Arctic ice (Getty Images | iStockphoto)

World:

¶ An unwritten UK Government promise of “no subsidies” for onshore wind could end up costing more than £1 billion over the next four to five years relative to other technologies. A report from the Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit outlines reasons why the UK Government may want to revisit its policy on onshore wind installations. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Singapore is to trial two types of utility-scale battery energy storage, lithium-ion and redox flow battery storage systems. As part of an $18.3 million project, contracts have been awarded install and test a total of 4.4 MWh of storage. Singapore’s tests support a goal of having 1 GW of solar power installed beyond 2020. [Power Engineering International]

Singapore

¶ South Korea’s energy ministry said it will resume the suspended construction of two new nuclear reactors but has shelved plans to build six more reactors, Reuters reported. Work on the two reactors was halted after President Moon Jae-in came to power in May on a platform calling for scaling back nuclear power. [Kallanish Energy]

¶ The 37 MW of power Microsoft will get from GE’s Tullahennal wind farm in County Kerry, Ireland, will bring the renewable energy the company uses worldwide to a total of 600 MW. But it will also be used to help Microsoft understand how much energy storage it needs to fully run on its hyper-scale cloud on 100% renewable energy. [Data Center Knowledge]

Partially constructed wind turbines (Getty image)

US:

¶ With Amazon Wind Farm Texas, Amazon has launched 18 wind and solar projects across the US, with over 35 more to come. Together, these projects will generate enough clean energy to power over 330,000 homes annually. These projects also support hundreds of jobs in local communities across the country. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ More than a month after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico’s aging electric grid, 80% of people on the island are still without power. Most are also without access to clean water. Two of the world leaders in solar power and microgrids – Tesla and sonnen – are making heroic efforts to provide power to hospitals and other critical facilities. [CleanTechnica]

Solar system for a Tesla microgrid in Puerto Rico

How can I help the people of Puerto Rico? One way is
to donate at [Sunnyside Solar’s crowdfunding website].

¶ Illinois state legislature enacted the Future Energy Jobs Act. This policy updates the Illinois Renewable Portfolio Standard, which requires increased energy production from renewable sources. Illinois now has about 80 MW of solar installed, but the new RPS means that solar installations will increase to 2,700 MW by 2030. [CleanTechnica]

¶ MHI Vestas Offshore Wind signed an agreement with Clemson University in South Carolina to test the world’s most powerful wind turbine, with a capacity of 9.5-MW, helping to elevate the US as one of the world’s leading testing and research locations for offshore wind. The university has a state-of-the-art 15-MW test bench. [CleanTechnica]

Clemson’s test bed (Credit: Clemson University Relations)

¶ At the Minds + Machines Industrial Internet conference, GE announced a wide-ranging software and professional services agreement with the New York State Power Authority to advance NYPA’s goal to be the world’s first fully digital utility. NYPA’s goal is to use digital solutions to optimize its entire electricity value network. [Digital Journal]

¶ SunPower has announced that it has been chosen by AES Distributed Energy to supply its modular Oasis power blocks for the largest solar and battery storage project to date not only in Kaua’i, but in Hawaii. The 28-MW PV plant will be accompanied by 20 MW of batteries, with a five-hour duration, for a 100 MWh rating. [pv magazine International]

Kaua’i (Photo: MariaMichelle | Pixabay)

¶ The EPA’s Edison, New Jersey, campus has installed 4,788 PV panels, which will generate enough electricity to power 45% of the campus’ electrical demand based on annual consumption. This project was contracted through the Defense Logistics Agency Energy, which provides comprehensive energy solutions. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ Akamai, a midsize American cloud-delivery-platform company, signed a virtual power purchase agreement with the Seymour Hills wind farm, a Texas project of Infinity Renewables. The PPA is for 7 MW of the project’s total 80 MW capacity, sufficient to cover the electricity load of Akamai’s entire network in Texas for 20 years. [GreenBiz]

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October 25 Energy News

October 25, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “‘Can You Say Corruption?’ Puerto Rico Contract for Trump-Connected Raises Concerns” • Two-year-old Whitefish Energy won $300 million no-bid contract to restore Puerto Rico’s electrical grid. Its financiers have important connections to the Trump administration. It had two employees when the hurricane struck. [Common Dreams]

Downtown Whitefish, Montana, home of Whitefish Energy,
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and a major donor to Trump campaign (Photo: WikiCapa, Wikimedia Commons)

How can I help the people of Puerto Rico? One way is
to donate at [Sunnyside Solar’s crowdfunding website].

World:

¶ Nicaragua has signed on to the Paris Agreement, so now the United States and Syria are now the only two nations in the world that have refused to be members of the climate pact. The Central American country held out on signing the deal for two years, based on its government’s criticisms that the pact was “insufficient” in addressing climate change. [CNN]

¶ China is currently on track to install close to 50 GW of solar energy in 2017, nearly half of total global demand, but new research from Princeton University concluded that China’s severe air pollution is “significantly reducing” the country’s solar energy output because the pollution is blocking light from the sun reaching solar installations. [CleanTechnica]

Beijing National Stadium (Photo: Ry Tweedie-Cullen)

¶ Authorities in Singapore have announced a plan to limit the number of private cars on its streets to the number currently in use starting in 2018. After that date, apparently, one existing car will need to be retired from service before a new vehicle will be allowed on the roadways. There are about 600,000 vehicles on the road in the city. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Nelson Mandela spent 18 years in maximum security prison on Robben Island, now a World Heritage Site attracting nearly 2,000 tourists every day. In the past, the island was powered by a diesel generator that used nearly 600,000 liters a year. With a microgrid based on solar power and a storage battery, fuel use is reduced by 250,000 liters. [Cape Business News]

Solar Power (Photo: BusinessTech)

¶ According to CDP, formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project, 89% of companies responding now have emissions reductions targets. And if all responding companies meet their current targets, they would be 31% of the way towards being consistent with limiting global warming to below 2 degrees – a 6% improvement from 2016. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The government of Italy today announced its intention to phase out coal-fired electricity generation by 2025, and increase the deployment of renewable energy. Think tank E3G said that coal plants with as little as 15 years of operational life will need to be retired. Canada, France and the UK are also taking action to phase out coal power generation. [reNews]

Pollution sxc image

¶ Saudi Arabia announced  $500 billion plan to create a business and industrial zone extending across its borders into Jordan and Egypt. Adjacent to the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba, the zone will power itself solely with wind power and solar energy, according to the Public Investment Fund, Saudi Arabia’s top sovereign fund. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ New Zealand’s next prime minister Jacinda Ardern has set ambitious environmental policies to confront a warming planet, including a “Zero Carbon Act.” Green initiatives include transitioning the country’s power grid to 100% renewable energy, a significant investment in regional rail, and a goal to plant 100 million trees a year. [EcoWatch]

New Zealand

¶ More than 100 citizen groups and 19 affected communities in the Philippines recently filed a historic complaint against the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank’s private-sector arm, accusing the IFC of fueling global climate change through its investments in a Philippine bank that is a major financier of the coal industry. [Manila Bulletin]

US:

¶ Entrepreneur Elon Musk has followed through on his plan to boost power resources in Puerto Rico after it was devastated by Hurricane Maria. Mr Musk’s firm, Tesla, has set up solar panels and energy storage batteries at Hospital del Niño, a children’s hospital in San Juan. He said on Twitter this was the “first of many” such projects. [BBC News]

Hospital del Niño solar project (Tesla image)

¶ Storm-ravaged Puerto Rico has promised a full audit of a $300 million deal won by a small electrical firm with connections to the Trump administration. A US House committee is also scrutinizing the contract. The chief executive of Whitefish Energy Holdings in Montana has close political connections to the Trump administration. [BBC News]

¶ On Block Island, it used to be that electric clocks could not keep time and appliances that wore out years ahead of schedule because of Block Island’s poor “quality” electricity, running at anywhere from 59 to 61 hz. Now powered almost entirely by wind turbines, the electric grid is not only more reliable, but of higher quality. [Into the Wind]

Block Island wind farm (Photo: Ionna22, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Opposition continues to grow against DOE Secretary Rick Perry’s plan to subsidize the coal and nuclear industries for their supposed contribution to grid resiliency. A diverse group of 12 energy industry associations and a large group of manufacturers called on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to ditch the plan. [CleanTechnica]

¶ As New York State moves toward its goal of getting 50 percent of the state’s energy from renewable sources by 2030, much of the focus is on wind and solar energy. But there is another energy source out there whose boosters want to shine a light on it. Renewable energy advocates want to boost the use of biogas from manure. [WSKG News]

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October 24 Energy News

October 24, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “The importance of grid resilience during severe storm conditions” • With increasingly powerful storms, the Dominican Republic set a surprising example during September’s storms. It used battery-based energy storage to keep its grid operating, despite damage to power lines and 40% of its generating assets being forced offline. [pv magazine USA]

Flooding in Houston after Hurricane Harvey (Public domain
photo: Staff Sgt Daniel J Martinez, US Air National Guard)

¶ “What’s Resilience? DOE Should Say Before Spending Your Money” • The US DOE proposed that consumers further subsidize certain power plants that can store fuel onsite, because it will somehow provide the electric grid with “resilience.” But it never explained what resilience is or how it relates to piles of coal. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

¶ “Small nuclear reactors are a 1950s mirage come back to haunt us” • The UK’s government is due to announce a £250 million support package for “small modular reactors” this week, just as the price renewable energy contracts push wholesale prices down. It looks like a camouflaged subsidy to the UK’s Trident nuclear missile system. [The Ecologist]

Nuclear submarine HMS Ambush (© Defence Images)

Science and Technology:

¶ Massive insect population declines indicate we are “currently on course for ecological Armageddon,” one scientist said. The causes are unknown, but one likely culprit is widespread use of pesticides. A recent UN report has denounced using pesticides on such a massive scale and claims they kill 200,000 people annually. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ According to the Wall Street Journal, Tesla will build its first factory outside the US in the free trade zone outside Shanghai. Under new foreign ownership policy, Tesla will be the sole owner of the factory. If the market for electric cars continues to soar, as Chinese officials hope they will, Tesla could open more factories in China in the future. [Gas 2.0]

Tesla in China

¶ Media reports say four Indian companies agreed to supply 300 MW of solar modules to the Energy Efficiency Services Limited. They will be used in rooftop solar power systems and at rural sub-stations for agricultural purposes. Adani Green Energy is said to have quoted the lowest price of modules at 30¢/watt, beating Chinese prices. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Enel SpA said its renewables subsidiary is partnering in the project with Ethiopian infrastructure firm Orchid Business Group to build a 100-MW solar power plant in Metehara, Ethiopia. The consortium will invest about $120 million (€102 million) to build the solar PV park. It is planned to start power generation in 2019. [Renewables Now]

Sunset in Ethiopia (Photo: Rod Waddington)

¶ India will put 4.5 GW of windpower capacity on the block by February 2018. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has announced that auctions of 1.5 GW of capacity each will take place in October, December 2017 and February 2018. So far two auctions have been organized at the central level with 1 GW capacity each. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Brazilian financial services provider Banco do Nordeste, partly owned by the Brazilian Federal Government, announced it has granted loans for the construction of PV power plants with a combined capacity of 482 MW in Brazil. Enel Green Power will build systems totaling 350 MW, and Scatec Solar will install 132 MW. [pv magazine International]

Enel’s 254-MW Ituverava solar plant in Brazil (Enerray)

¶ Germany calls its plan to transition to a low or zero carbon economy Energiewende. It says it is moving ahead with the plan, which will allow it to honor the commitments it made to the world community in Paris in 2015, and is on schedule. But critics charge that it is stalled and stands in need of an immediate jump start. [CleanTechnica]

US:

¶ Puerto Rico is looking to rebuild its electric grid long-term and is considering Tesla’s suggestion about scaling its microgrid technology using batteries and solar power, and so transforming the island’s energy infrastructure to make it resilient. A month after Hurricane Maria, 80% of the people on the island have no electric power. [Digital Journal]

Repairing power lines in Loiza (Ricardo Arduengo | AFP)

How can I help the people of Puerto Rico? One way is
to donate at [Sunnyside Solar’s crowdfunding website].

¶ A government report is sounding an alarm over the threat of costs of climate change. The US government has spent more than $350 billion over the past decade in response to extreme weather and fire events, and the GAO report estimated the US would incur far higher costs as the years progress if global emission rates don’t go down. [CNN]

¶ In Maine, a legislative committee will consider a Democratic lawmaker’s bill to allow municipalities to create microgrids. The lawmaker says the goal of his conceptual bill is to create a legal framework within which municipalities can create electricity distribution systems that can be operated while independent of the main power network. [Electric Light & Power]

Floating wind turbine undergoing testing at Castine,
Maine (Photo: Jplourde umaine, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ A national solar energy company is betting nearly $1 billion on an Oregon development spree, including five new solar farms. Cypress Creek Renewables, a developer that sells electricity to utility companies and already operates seven PV sites in the state, is building farms near Salem, Silverton, Gervais, Turner, and Grand Ronde. [Bend Bulletin]

¶ The independent company that manages competitive wholesale power markets in Ohio and 12 other states believes a federal proposal to subsidize the owners of old nuclear and coal plants is unworkable and would not even be legal. PJM intends to file formal comments later today with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. [cleveland.com]

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October 23 Energy News

October 23, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “How to Keep the Lights On After a Hurricane” • More than a month after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, nearly 80% of the island remains without power, and food and water can be tough to find. As we rally to help the survivors and look to rebuild, we owe it to the victims to build more resilient infrastructure. [New York Times]

A resident of Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, trying to repair his
electrical lines. (Credit: Ramon Espinosa | Associated Press)

How can I help the people of Puerto Rico? One way is
to donate at [Sunnyside Solar’s crowdfunding website].

¶ “UN Officials Urge the World to Ignore Trump on Climate” • In a deliberate denial of mainstream science, Donald Trump’s administration has issued a strategic four-year plan for the US EPA that does not once mention “greenhouse gas emissions”, “carbon dioxide” or “climate change” in its 48 pages. Clearly, this was not an oversight. [Truthdig]

Science and Technology:

¶ All sea life will be affected because carbon dioxide emissions are making the oceans more acidic, a major new report will say. The eight-year study from more than 250 scientists finds that infant sea creatures will be especially harmed. The number of baby cod growing to adulthood could fall to a quarter or less of what it is today. [BBC News]

Mesocosms for acidification research (Maike Nicolai | Geomar)

¶ Scientists at MIT say they devised a cost-effective way to capture wasted methane and turn it into fuel or chemical feed stocks. Instead of venting it into the air, the process could allow companies to turn that wasted gas into money. Fossil fuel companies that are deaf to the plight of the earth can hear a dollar bill crinkling at 40 paces. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Hurricane Ophelia paid a visit to Ireland earlier this month with sustained winds of 119 miles per hour. Do you remember any other hurricanes hitting Ireland? Probably not. Ophelia was what is commonly known as an outlier. It was the most powerful hurricane in the eastern Atlantic ocean ever recorded and way beyond the norm. [CleanTechnica]

Ophelia in red, with major hurricane tracks (Credit: Spillo)

World:

¶ Solar power costs will fall by another 60% over the next decade giving an already booming market another boost, the head of the International Renewable Energy Agency said. Irena expects 80 to 90 GW of new solar capacity, enough to power more than 8 billion LED light bulbs, to be added globally each year over the next 5 to 6 years. [Times LIVE]

¶ Chongqing Changan Automobile, based in China, is one of the first auto manufacturers operating in the country to commit publicly to a total shift away from manufacture and sale of vehicles that burn fossil fuels. It was also announced that the company will invest over ¥100 billion ($15.10 billion) by 2025 into its “new energy strategy.” [CleanTechnica]

Changan Benni EV

¶ In July 2017, the share of renewable energy generation among India’s total electricity generation and imports touched 13.2%, the highest percentage in the country’s history. Total electricity generation and imports in India during July 2017 came to 98.1 billion kWh, while total renewable energy generation was 12.9 billion kWh. [CleanTechnica]

¶ An initiative to install 10,000 solar panels on the roof of the world’s second-biggest indoor snow center (by surface area) is now underway. The installation process at SnowWorld Landgraaf in the Netherlands should be complete by the end of the year, by which time the system should be able to generate 3.2 MWp of electric power. [InTheSnow]

Officials installing solar panels

¶ The environmental group Greenpeace issued a report giving technology titans, including Samsung Electronics, Amazon, and Huawei, low marks for their environmental impact. “Tech companies claim to be at the forefront of innovation, but their supply chains are stuck in the Industrial Age,” a Greenpeace USA statement said. [Business Mirror]

¶ Ireland’s largest wind farm, which is expected to generate enough renewable energy to power more than 140,000 homes, has entered commercial operation. Galway Wind Park was developed by SSE and Coillte as a €280 million ($328.8 million) joint venture. It has 58 Siemens 3-MW wind turbines, for a total capacity of 169 MW. [Irish Times]

Galway Wind Park

¶ There are no plans for an electricity rate hike in Taiwan even though the nation is transitioning to renewable energy, the Cabinet said yesterday, as the premier inspected a new solar power system in Kinmen County. The cabinet anticipates that the cost of renewable energy will continue to drop as technology advances. [Taipei Times]

US:

¶ Maryland issued a conditional utility permit to Elon Musk’s Boring Company to dig a 10.3 mile tunnel beneath a state-owned parkway its governor’s office said. The tunnel could be part of a Hyperloop system Musk says will carry passengers from New York City to Washington in 29 minutes, with stops along the way in Philadelphia and Baltimore. [CleanTechnica]

Boring Company tunneling machine (to put it objectively)

¶ The EPA canceled the speaking appearance of three agency scientists who were scheduled to discuss climate change at a conference today in Rhode Island, an EPA spokesman said, giving no further explanation. Scientists involved in the program said that much of the discussion at the event centers on climate change. [Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette]

¶ Over two years, the Connecticut Senate has voted three times for measures to change the rules for how Dominion sells electricity from the Millstone nuclear power plant, whose profits have eroded. The Senate voted 23-8 for a new version of the bill in special session five weeks ago, and it may come up for a vote in the House soon. [The CT Mirror]

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