Archive for the 'solar' Category

July 20 Energy News

July 20, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Rosatom as a Tactic in Russia’s Foreign Policy” • Russia has continued to supply record amounts of coal, oil, and gas to global markets, but it has also identified nuclear power generation as a new energy export option. Russian leadership has embarked on active nuclear power diplomacy globally, with Rosatom as its centerpiece. [International Policy Digest]

Rosatom icebreaker (Rosatom image)

¶ “Life after coal: the South Australian city leading the way” • In 2016, the region around Port Augusta was on the brink, hit by the closure and near collapse of coal and steel plants. Now it is on the cusp of a wave of construction that investors and community leaders say should place the region at the vanguard of green innovation. [The Guardian]

¶ “New York Utilities: We Believe Blockchain Is ‘Transformative’” • Avangrid, Con Edison, National Grid, the Indigo Advisory Group, and the New York Power Authority describe the many attractive use cases for blockchain technology. What they say is that the new technology could potentially be transformative for the energy industry. [Greentech Media]

Blockchain in New York (Shutterstock image)

Science and Technology:

¶ Adding to evidence attributing observed atmospheric changes to manmade influences, climate scientists used decades of satellite data to identify a human “fingerprint” on the troposphere, the lowest region of the atmosphere. In this space, say the authors, human-caused warming has significantly affected the seasonal cycle of the temperature. [EurekAlert]

World:

¶ Albania’s state-run power utility KESH says it is planning to build the country’s first floating solar PV plant on the northern Drin River cascade, where it generates about two-thirds of the country’s domestic electricity from three hydropower plants built in the 1970s and 1980s. The floating system will have a capacity of 12.9 MW. [Tirana Times]

Floating solar array (Photo: Tirana Times)

¶ A recent report says that in 2017 India invested more money in its renewable energy sector than fossil fuels. The findings were revealed in the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Investment 2018 report. India spent almost $20 billion on clean energy and more than doubled its spending on solar PV projects compared to 2016. [Energy Digital]

¶ German wind industry groups have urged policymakers to raise Germany’s 2030 offshore target to 20 GW from 15 GW currently and introduce a 30-GW goal for 2035. The groups, which include AGOW, BWE, the Offshore Wind Foundation, VDMA Power Systems, and WAB, called for an end to what they call an “energy policy standstill.” [reNews]

Offshore wind power (reNews image)

¶ Germany’s hard coal imports may fall for the third year in a row this year and by 12% from 2017 levels, importers group VDKi forecast, citing competition from renewable energy. The group forecasts imports of 45 million tonnes in 2018. Total imports of 51.2 million tonnes in 2017 were already down 10.2% from a year earlier. [Reuters]

¶ The first electricity from a £2.6 billion wind farm in the Moray Firth has been exported to the National Grid from one of the first installed of the its 84 turbines. It was erected by specialist ship Pacific Orca. Once completed, the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Ltd project will be capable of providing enough electricity for up to 450,000 homes. [BBC News]

Pacific Orca at work (Beatrice Offshore Windfarm image)

US:

¶ Massachusetts is nationally recognized as a leading state in renewable energy, but the Environment Massachusetts Research & Policy Center said the Commonwealth could be doing more. The Boston-based advocacy group released a report, “Renewables on the Rise 2018,” and discussed it at press conference at City Hall in Springfield. [Reminder Publications]

¶ A US judge dismissed a lawsuit by New York City seeking to hold major oil companies liable for climate change caused by carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels. In dismissing the city’s claims, US District Judge John Keenan in Manhattan said climate change must be addressed through federal regulation and foreign policy. [Reuters]

Lower Manhattan (Eyone, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Advancing its clean energy goals, Madison Gas and Electric filed a rate case settlement agreement that seeks to lower electric rates and increase natural gas rates in 2019 and 2020 with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin. The proposal would decrease overall electric rates by 1.94% in 2019, with no change proposed for 2020. [North American Windpower]

¶ According to a new report, North Carolina ranks third for solar energy growth and second in the nation for installed PV capacity. This is largely thanks to policies encouraging investment into solar infrastructure in the state’s rural communities, which have helped the state consistently rank top ten in the nation over the last decade. [Chapelboro.com]

Solar array

¶ A report from the EPA’s Office of the Inspector General strongly criticizes the local, state and federal government’s response to the Flint water crisis in 2015 and 2016. The EPA issued an emergency order seven months after it had the “authority and sufficient information” to do so, according to a press release issued by the OIG. [CNN]

¶ EDF Renewables North America said it has struck a long-term power purchase agreement for its 70-MW Desert Harvest II solar project in California. Desert Harvest II is expected to go online in 2020, generating enough power to meet the annual demand of 35,000 homes. The project comes with a 35-MW, 4-hour energy storage system. [Renewables Now]

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

July 20, 2018

2,240 regular daily posts, linking 28,059 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 July 20, out of 99 US-licensed reactors, 8 were at reduced output and zero not operating.

§ Video: Energy Week Episode #271, July 12th, 2018: Sweden will reach its 2030 climate target this year. Trump’s plan to save coal could kill one person for every two jobs it saves. Scott Pruitt resigned, and his replacement is a coal lobbyist. Thousands of New Jersey homes will soon flood regularly because of climate change. The UK government’s energy report said to stop investing in nuclear and put the effort into renewables.

July 19 Energy News

July 19, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Rooftop solar could save utilities $100 to $120 per installed kilowatt” • Researchers from Carnegie Mellon and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory calculated that reduced demand in California because of solar panels installed between 2013 and 2015 saved utilities up to $730 million on purchases of electricity. There is a downside, however. [Ars Technica]

Rooftop solar system

¶ “Is coal making a comeback? No, it’s just ‘dead cat bounce’” • At first glance, the latest figures make for uncomfortable reading. Overall energy demand is up. Coal consumption is also up, for the first time in four years. And, perhaps most shockingly of all, greenhouse gas carbon emissions are rising again. Does it mean we are in reverse? [Irish Times]

World:

¶ The President of Peru Martin Vizcarra Cornejo officially opened Enel Green Power’s 132-MW Wayra 1 wind farm in the Ica region of the country. Wayra 1 consists of 42 3-MW turbines and will generate 600 GWh of electricity a year. The $165 million project is backed by a 20-year energy supply contract with Peru’s Ministry of Energy and Mines. [reNews]

Wayra 1 (Enel Green Power)

¶ China General Nuclear Power Corp has taken a 75% interest in the 650-MW Markbygden Ett wind farm in Sweden, Reuters reports, citing China’s state news agency Xinhua as the story’s source. No details on the value of the deal was given in the news report. The first of 179 GE 3.6-137 turbines was installed at the project earlier this week. [reNews]

¶ Statkraft, a Norwegian company, is planning to ramp up wind and solar power developments as part of an updated strategy in response to technological developments. The company said in its results for the first half of 2018 that optimisation of hydropower is also part of the new strategy, as are new business opportunities in renewables and decarbonisation. [reNews]

Wind farm (Photo: Statkraft)

¶ Carbon Brief reports the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions are already 38% below 1990 levels and are now equal to emissions not seen in that country since Queen Victoria sat on the throne. It says the decrease is attributable to a sharp drop in the amount of coal used in the UK to generate electricity, along with an increase in renewables. [Red, Green, and Blue]

¶ Victoria’s second large-scale solar PV farm, the 19-MW Swan Hill project in Victoria’s north-west, has been officially opened. The A$36 million ($26.44 million) project, which is owned and funded by Impact Investment Group’s second Solar Asset Fund, is expected to provide enough electricity for about 6,050 Australian homes. [RenewEconomy]

Solar farm

US:

¶ As one of his first major acts as acting director of the EPA, Andrew Wheeler signed and finalized new standards overseeing coal ash, the leftover waste created by power plants that burn coal. The new rules are a revision of 2015 regulations that were put into place by the Obama administration after two significant industrial coal ash spills. [CNN]

¶ A report and interactive map from Environment America takes stock of US clean energy progress to date. Renewables are taking off in nearly every state. Today, the US produces nearly six times as much renewable electricity from the sun and the wind as it did in 2008, and nine states now get more than 20% of their electricity from renewables. [Greentech Media]

Renewable energy (Photo: Shutterstock.com)

¶ Denver’s Mayor, now seeking a third term, pledged that the city will source 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. In doing so, Denver became the 73rd city in the US to commit to a 100% renewable electricity target. Nine other Colorado cities have made a 100% renewable electricity commitment, but Denver is the largest. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Arizona Public Service spent nearly $11 million to combat a renewable energy ballot proposal, a liberal watchdog group’s report says. The measure sets a goal of 50% renewable energy by 2030. APS shelled out $6.4 million in three months to prevent it from reaching the ballot. Local reports say it even paid petition collectors to stop signing up voters. [Utility Dive]

Solar array at sunrise

¶ Facebook will finance construction of six large solar projects to offset power use at its campus in Prineville, Oregon. The company says they will generate enough clean electricity to run all of the data centers there. The solar projects will generate 437 MW of power, an enormous amount of electricity needed to run the site’s power-hungry computers. [OregonLive.com]

¶ The Massachusetts House and Senate have passed different energy bills on the percentage of renewable energy in the Renewable Portfolio Standard. The Senate wants increases of 3% a year, but the House wants a lower rate. The Senate version could make the Commonwealth a leader in renewable power, attracting businesses in that field. [Public News Service]

Renewable energy in Massachusetts (Pixabay image)

¶ FuelCell Energy, Inc announced that it will add over 100 highly skilled manufacturing jobs at its Torrington, Connecticut facility to support a 120% increase in the rate of production. FuelCell Energy is expanding annual production rate from the current 25 MW to 55 MW. The jobs will be added over a period of about 12 months. [GlobeNewswire]

¶ The Trump administration began an investigation into whether uranium imports threaten national security, a move that may lead to tariffs on the nuclear power plant fuel. US uranium miners supply less than 5% of domestic consumption for the metal and say it’s increasingly difficult to compete with state-subsidized companies abroad. [Yahoo Finance]

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July 18 Energy News

July 18, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Investment in renewable energy drops as fossil fuel use rises” • Global investment in renewable energy is on the decline, the International Energy Agency said. Governments are failing to keep Paris Climate Accord promises. Investment fell by 7% to $318 billion last year, but fossil fuels’ share of energy investment rose for the first time since 2014. [Engadget]

Coal-burning power plant (Getty Images)

¶ “White nuclear elephants move onto the endangered list” • The UK has long been a welcoming habitat for a number of white elephants. Normally, these rare and massive beasts roam freely, grazing on political expediency. However, now and again their existence is threatened by outbreaks of political honesty and economic necessity. [The Ecologist]

¶ “Climate Change Scenarios: An Updated Summary Of Climate Change, Seal Level Rise, & Carbon Bubble Predictions” • If we do not change, we’re headed down a dark path. The Global Carbon Budget 2017 says that in order to avoid 2°C of warming, “global CO2 emissions need to decline rapidly and cross zero emissions after 2050.” [CleanTechnica]

Melting Arctic ice

 

World:

¶ Google is putting its considerable resources behind a new partnership with the UN, national governments, and NGOs that will chart changes in the Earth’s various ecosystems in real time. Google will use “massive parallel cloud computing technology” to make it possible to monitor changes in the Earth’s ecosystem in real time. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Indian renewables developer Azure Power has over 3 GW in its project portfolio, after securing the rights to develop a 300-MW PV scheme in a recent auction by Solar Energy Corporation of India. The latest project is part of the Interstate Transmission System scheme and so can be developed anywhere in India, the company said. [reNews]

Azure Power solar array (Azure Power image)

¶ Global energy investment fell for the third consecutive year in 2017, according to the International Energy Agency. Investment in nuclear power declined by nearly 45% last year to $17 billion. Although spending on new nuclear reactors reached the lowest level in five years, investment on upgrades of existing units increased. [World Nuclear News]

¶ Over the next year and a half, the Pacific island nation of Palau will shift to 100% renewable energy, at no cost to the government, in what is likely to be the fastest national transition to renewable energy ever to occur. In a new program, the partners behind the work in Palau plan to now help other small island nations do the same thing. [Fast Company]

A few of Palau’s many islands (Dr James P McVey | NOAA)

Australia:

¶ New figures from the Australian PV Institute show that Australia impressively installed 1.3 GW of solar PV in 2017, a record for the country. But it may be just a prelude to 2018, which looks to be set to eclipse all previous years. The figures say 1.9 GW of solar currently under construction in Australia and a further 35 GW at various stages of development. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Queensland will have 2164 MW of renewable energy ready by mid-2019, equivalent to 21% of its total energy production, its Energy Minister said. The Clean Energy Council said that level of renewable energy would power more than 800,000 Queensland homes. Queensland’s largest coal-burning power plant will close in about 10 years. [Brisbane Times]

Gladstone Power Station, Queensland (Photo: Glenn Hunt)

¶ In February, Tesla and the government of South Australia announced a plan to create the largest virtual power plant in the world, 50,000 home systems with a total system output of 250 MW and 625 MWh of storage. So far, installations have been completed on 100 homes, and the results are everything Tesla expected them to be. [CleanTechnica]

US:

¶ The developer of the first offshore wind farm in the US is ramping up work on projects to supply energy to several states. Deepwater Wind’s CEO said they are beginning new phases of development for three wind farms. One is for Rhode Island and Connecticut, another for Long Island, New York, and a third for Maryland’s Eastern Shore. [Fairfield Citizen]

Block Island wind farm (Photo: Michael Dwyer | AP)

¶ The Molson Coors Brewing Company published its annual sustainability report, which detailed the company’s progress towards its sustainability targets and announced that it has committed to a science-based greenhouse gas emissions target intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to keep global temperature increase below 2°C. [CleanTechnica]

¶ With soybean prices falling to their lowest levels in years, farming the sun instead of the land is becoming an increasingly attractive, and sometimes more profitable, use of property for some landowners. One Illinois farmer finally found the type of development she feels is right for forty acres of her land south of Belleville, Illinois. [Belleville News-Democrat]

Solar development (Innovative Power Systems)

¶ US home energy storage systems installations hit a record high in the first quarter of 2018. 36 MWh of grid-connected home energy storage systems were installed during this period. US energy storage market growth was 26% from Q4 2017 to Q1 2018. Nearly three quarters of the Q1 installations were in California and Hawaii. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A proposal for a high-voltage power line carrying wind energy across the Midwest received new life as the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that the state regulators had wrongly rejected it. The $2.3 billion project would carry power harnessed from western Kansas to Illinois and an electric grid in Indiana that serves the eastern US. [Arkansas Online]

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July 17 Energy News

July 17, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “As subsidies wane, market forces drive the growth of renewables” • For twenty years, Germany had a subsidy scheme for renewables. As that was replaced by an auction system, the market has proceeded along a bumpy road. Now, the declining costs of wind and solar power are increasingly competing on their own merits. [GreenBiz]

Path in an Indian national park (Don Mammoser | Shutterstock)

¶ “An Open Letter To California Energy Commissioners On The Rooftop Solar Mandate” • The conventional wisdom in electricity generation is that scale matters. But this outdated notion rests on the assumption that electricity generators compete only in the wholesale market. California’s nearly 1 million solar roofs debunk this myth. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶ A thought experiment published by London-based climate charity 10:10 Climate Action raises the question of whether the many lost rivers of London, now running through tunnels, could again become the lifeblood of one of the world’s great cities by using heat pumps to provide low cost, low carbon heating and cooling. [CleanTechnica]

London

World:

¶ Renewable energy developer KP Energy announced it has signed an agreement with GE India to set up a 300-MW wind power project at Kutch in Gujarat. The project would use 120 wind turbine generators of 2.5-MW capacity each and is likely to be connected to the power grid and commissioned in September of next year. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ JA Solar, by some accounts the world’s third-largest solar PV module supplier, announced securing loans in connection with a 1.5-MW PV cell manufacturing plant it is building in Vietnam. The plant will further the company’s ability to ship products from countries other than China, which has been the target of trade barriers for several years, [CleanTechnica]

Solar cell manufacture

¶ China and the EU reaffirmed their commitments to the Paris climate pact and called other signatories to do the same, saying action against global warming is increasingly important. After President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the agreement, China and the EU have emerged as world leaders on climate change. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ Seeking a competitive edge in the world’s renewable energy auctions, manufacturers of both onshore and offshore wind turbines are having to increase the pace of innovation. This is driving “unprecedented growth” of the next-generation of onshore and offshore wind turbine sizes, according to research from MAKE Consulting. [CleanTechnica]

GE Renewable Energy’s 12 MW Haliade-X offshore wind turbine

¶ The Danish Energy Agency developed a sophisticated modelling tool to calculate the levelized costs of energy. It provides costs of €30/MWh for electricity from onshore wind and €40/MWh for solar power. The cost of electric power from Danish offshore wind projects is €46/MWh, and this makes offshore windpower cheaper than nuclear power. [Business Insider Nordic]

¶ A UK rail freight company said all its sites and offices will be powered by 100% renewable electricity. DB Cargo UK signed a three-year agreement with SSE Business Energy to supply its sites with green power. This is estimated to help reduce 5,000 tonnes of carbon emissions a year and equivalent to powering almost 4,000 homes. [Energy Live News]

UK rail transit (Image: DB Cargo UK)

¶ The global power sector is witnessing a gradual transition from conventional thermal power generating sources toward clean energy technologies. The renewables share was 8.6% in the global energy mix in 2010 and is expected to increase to 22.5% in 2020 as per a recent thematic research report Renewable Energy by GlobalData. [Power Technology]

¶ Despite the spin the government put on the Australian Energy Market Operator’s Integrated System Plan, its supporting data shows that the National Energy Market could be almost 85% renewable by 2040, with only 7.25 GW of coal power left in the country by then. Coal’s current 40% share of capacity could drop to just 6%. [RenewEconomy]

Hazelton Power Station (CSIRO, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Ontario’s Energy Minister is refusing to say how much it will cost taxpayers to cancel 758 renewable energy contracts in an effort to save $790 million, as opposition parties accuse him of leaving Ontarians in the dark. “It’s still money out the door. The people deserve to know that,” said a Green Party Leader. “It’s very disturbing.” [Toronto Star]

US:

¶ The Missouri Public Service Commission is supporting a 600-MW wind project filed by The Empire District Electric Company. It found that the company had presented credible and persuasive evidence that the Customer Savings Plan, if implemented as designed, would generate customer savings of about $295 million over 30 years. [Windpower Engineering]

Midwest wind farm

¶ A study released by the Smart Electric Power Alliance says Massachusetts needs to upgrade its infrastructure to take the next steps in clean energy. While the state is a leader in clean energy and the reduction of greenhouse gases, it is behind some other states in upgrading infrastructure and optimizing distributed energy resources. [Daily Energy Insider]

¶ A garbage-to-energy plant in Elk River, Minnesota, could be going out of business, a victim of falling prices for electricity. Officials of the Elk River Resource Recovery Project announced it would shut the plant down in March 2019, if it could not find a buyer. The project removes recyclable metals from garbage and burns it to generate power. [TwinCities.com]

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July 16 Energy News

July 16, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Babcock Ranch In Florida Is To Sustainable Living What Tesla Is To Sustainable Transportation” • Tucked into a corner of Southwest Florida about a half-hour from Fort Myers, Babcock Ranch is what developer Syd Kitson calls the most sustainable new community in America. It was designed from the start as a green development. [CleanTechnica]

Babcock Ranch

¶ “Why Nuclear Energy Is Critical For Russia” • The order book of Russia’s state-owned Rosatom has steadily grown to $300 billion dollars in recent years. Currently, 34 reactors in 12 countries are under construction worldwide, while several other states have shown interest. That is 60% of all nuclear power plants planned or under construction. [OilPrice.com]

Science and Technology:

¶ We have seen news about a cruise ship, Energy Observer, which as caught the world’s attention as it sails around the world on a six-year voyage. It is going on this long trip powered entirely by solar, hydrogen, wind and water energy, without fossil fuels. One article has already appeared here on June 23, but now we have more. [Interesting Engineering]

Energy Observer (Gaël Musquet | Wikimedia Commons)

World:

¶ For the first time ever, more than 80% of the power generated in the Indian state of Karnataka was green. According to the energy department, of the total 6,763 MW power generated at 7 pm, only 1,300 MW was from conventional sources. Non-conventional sources contributed 3,319 MW, of which wind energy accounted for 2,964 MW. [Deccan Herald]

¶ China is set to make more inroads into European infrastructure, as a state-owned company tries to gain full control of Portugal’s power grid. The EU Commission lacks the proper legal framework to “protect” EU common interests, and it could be a wake-up call to speed up the procedure to establish an investments screening mechanism. [EURACTIV]

Transmission lines

¶ A Franco-German declaration signed in Paris on 21 July could see the countries collaborate in the realization of offshore wind and other renewable energy initiatives. The declaration noted that France and Germany believe co-ordination in the field of EU energy policy should be complemented by concrete projects and measures. [Offshore Wind Journal]

¶ South Korea saw the trading value of power generated from renewable energy come to 2.05 trillion won ($1.82 billion) last year, up 20.1% from the previous year, according to the data from the Korea Power Exchange. Electricity coming from the so-called by-product gas accounted for 47% of renewable energy-based power generation. [The Korea Bizwire]

Wind turbines (Image: Korea Bizwire)

¶ A governmental framework to bring clean power to rural communities through micro hydro plants is being developed in the Dominican Republic. It is part of an effort to develop planning and technical advice schemes so that no community in the country is left without electricity, in line with national strategy goals. [Renewables Now]

¶ A YouGov poll found that a majority of the UK public think the Government should reverse its current policy on banning onshore wind from the energy mix. Of people surveyed, 66% said they felt that they would support a change in government policy to allow the building of onshore wind farms in areas where they have local backing. [Energy Voice]

Welsh wind farm

Australia:

¶ Australian renewable energy company Renew Estate says it has been granted planning approval to build the 300-MW Rodds Bay Solar Farm in Queensland. If it goes ahead at that scale, Rodds Bay will be one of the largest solar farms in Australia, and would provide enough renewable energy to power about 88,000 homes. [RenewEconomy]

¶ The Renewable Energy Index reveals that solar and wind farms contracted or being built in Australia, combined with steady rooftop solar investment, will contribute 33.3% of power to the National Energy Market by 2020. This almost doubles the 2015 rate when renewables contributed just 17.3% of annual electricity consumption. [PACE Today]

Transmission lines at twilight

¶ The prospects for Tesla’s proposed 250-MW virtual power plant in South Australia look significantly brighter after the success of its first trial and an enthusiastic response from the South Australia government. So far, some 100 Housing SA homes have received their 5-kW of rooftop solar PVs and the 13.5k-Wh Tesla Powerwall batteries. [RenewEconomy]

US:

¶ Tucson Electric Power Co claims a proposed state policy requiring utilities to generate 80% of their power from renewable sources by 2050 is doable but would raise costs by more than $800 million through 2030. Much of the higher costs would consist of an additional $673 million in investments in energy-storage systems. [Arizona Daily Star]

Solar power (Courtesy of Tucson Electric Power Co)

¶ According to the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, the Future Energy Jobs Act, signed into law in 2017, was designed to help guide Illinois toward new clean economy by growing renewable energy resources and energy efficiency programs. Residents of Bloomington-Normal are achieving goals with it. [WJBC News]

¶ While the US is deeply divided on many issues, climate change stands out as one where there is remarkable consensus, according to a Stanford research study that was conducted with ABC News and Resources for the Future, a research organization based in Washington, DC. Of those polled, 74% believe the world is warming. [Stanford University News]

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July 15 Energy News

July 15, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Forest policy looms over Oregon’s climate change debate” • As lawmakers gear up to make another attempt to pass a climate change bill in 2019, new data suggests that the forest sector is not only a factor in Oregon’s carbon picture, it is THE factor and one of national and even international importance for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. [OregonLive.com]

Forest fire

¶ “India will weather Iran-fuelled oil price instability” • Energy prices in India have been going up for geopolitical reasons, especially the uncertainty over the supply of Iranian crude. The current turmoil stems from the Trump administration’s plan to impose sanctions on Iran, but India has secured oil sources from other parts of the world. [The Sunday Guardian]

¶ “Europe keeps setting clean-energy records” • This week, two of the biggest economies in Europe set new records for clean energy. And the pace of change is only expected to accelerate, as prices for renewable energy continue to decline rapidly. Now, the EU is tightening its emissions-trading scheme, which is raising the price of carbon. [Quartz]

Wind turbine’s reflection in solar panels

¶ “How Renewable Energy Is Making Our Military Bases More Resilient” • To make its domestic military bases more energy resilient, and more secure in the event of a natural disaster or manmade event, the Pentagon wants to move toward energy sources that do not rely on fuel or traditional supply chain methods that supply fuel. [MarketWatch]

Science and Technology:

¶ In a hurricane-proof lab in the Florida Keys, scientists coddle tiny pieces of coral from the moment they are spawned until they are hearty enough to be separated into specimens equipped to survive in the wild. Global warming is rapidly bringing the natural wonder to the brink of extermination, and the scientists hope for “assisted evolution.” [WatertownDailyTimes.com]

Coral nursery (Carolyn Cole | Los Angeles Times | TNS)

¶ Chemical reactor company INERATEC, a spinoff of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, and the Spanish company Gas Natural Fenosa built a plant in Spain that produces synthetic natural gas from CO2 and renewable hydrogen. The hydrogen is produced by electrolysis using renewable power, and the CO2 comes from sewage sludge. [Green Car Congress]

¶ In a study published in the journal Nature Plants, a multinational team of scientists discussed how they sequenced genomes for tiny ferns Azolla filiculoides and Salvinia cucullata. The research has implications in fields ranging from agriculture to climate science. It turns out that the ferns may be important tools to fight global warming. [The Inquisitr]

Azolla

World:

¶ In an innovative effort to fight electricity crisis in forward areas, Gujarat Frontier of the Border Security Force will use solar energy for its out-posts in remote border areas where no electrification has been possible to date. Gujarat Frontier will soon set up a 5-MW PV plant and also separately electrify 20 border outposts by solar energy. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ Most electric mobility news is centered around EVs with wheels, and now also electric aircraft, but the electric maritime world is not left behind entirely. Monaco is putting on the Solar Boat Energy Challenge. The purpose is to encourage technological innovation and help the maritime industries to become more sustainable. [CleanTechnica]

Electric boat racing

¶ Uzbekistan said it reached an agreement with Russia to build a nuclear power plant, a development it says will help it economize on gas and coal. Opponents of the scheme, however, say the power station could pose a danger to the environment. And the vast costs attached to the project raise questions about how the funding is to be secured. [OilPrice.com]

¶ New Vietnamese policies encourage both local and international firms to invest in renewable energy there, according to authorities. The Prime Minister approved 15 wind projects in Ninh Thuan province, with investments on twelve of them coming to $1.2 billion. About 25 solar power projects were also added, bringing more investment. [en.vietnamplus.vn]

Dam Nai wind project in Ninh Thuan (Image: VNA)

US:

¶ ExxonMobil announced it will leave the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate lobby group bankrolled by the Koch brothers and known for its attempts to block climate action. Campaigners cautiously welcomed the decision, though they said Exxon had to do more to prove it was committed to addressing climate change. [NationofChange]

¶ Foley Power Solutions, a division of Foley Equipment, Wichita, Kansas, has completed the installation of a solar microgrid on the roof of the company’s Kansas City, Missouri, facility. The 172-kW solar microgrid will create energy at a cost savings of $23,000 in its first year with a planned savings of $1.25 million over the next 25 years. [Rental Pulse]

Foley Equipment solar facility

¶ Christine Todd Whitman was head of the EPA under President George W Bush back in 2001–2003. Working intimately with (and regulating) the energy industries, she witnessed efforts from the oil industry to undermine clean energy solutions. Recently, she appeared on CNBC to discuss the misguided “misinformation” efforts of Big Oil. [CleanTechnica]

¶ In September, the nonprofit Just Transition Fund will hold its first meeting focused specifically on the transition away from coal in the Midwest, with a particular focus on organized labor. The group will also expand its focus on Illinois, where the EcoJustice Collaborative has been working on transition plans with mining communities for years. [Rapid City Journal]

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July 14 Energy News

July 14, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Clean energy is catching up to natural gas” • The natural gas “bridge” to sustainability may be shorter than expected. Around 2015, just five years into gas’s rise to power, complications for the bridge narrative began to appear. Wind and solar costs fell so far, so fast that gas is increasingly unable to compete with them, and then batteries came along. [Vox]

Dead end for the bridge (Shutterstock image)

¶ “Lawmaker inaction leaves SC home solar industry endangered” • South Carolina has a cap on net metering of 2%. It is especially disappointing that state lawmakers could not take even modest steps to help electric ratepayers by raising it. Instead, the year was dominated by discussion over the failed construction of two nuclear reactors. [Charleston Post Courier]

Science and Technology:

¶ High temperature records have been set across much of the world this week as an unusually prolonged heat wave intensifies concerns about climate change. The World Meteorological Organization said the rising temperatures were at odds with a global cyclical climate phenomena known as La Niña, which is usually associated with cooling. [The Guardian]

Dried up river in England (Photo: Matt Cardy | Getty Images)

World:

¶ Ontario’s new Progressive Conservative government said it is cancelling 758 renewable energy contracts, making good on a campaign promise. The energy minister said the move is an effort to save ratepayers in the province $790 million. Industry officials dispute the figure and say the move will just mean job losses for small business. [CBC.ca]

¶ Apple will partner with 10 initial Chinese suppliers to invest $300 million over the next four years, as part of the company’s commitment to address climate change and increase the use of renewable energy in its supply chain. The fund will invest in and help to develop clean energy projects worth more than 1 GW of renewable energy in China. [CleanTechnica]

Solar PVs in Sichuan province

¶ Corvus Energy, based in Vancouver, is expanding its battery manufacturing capability in Canada and at a new factory in Norway. The company leads in providing electric propulsion for ships and ferries. Its CEO said, “There is an electric revolution going on in the maritime sector, and we want to deliver the best solutions in the industry.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ Saudi renewables developer Acwa Power signed an agreement with South Africa’s Central Energy Fund to co-invest in a 100-MW concentrated solar power project in North Cape province. The Redstone project is expected to dispatch around 480,000 MWh per year, enough to power 210,000 homes during peak demand times, Acwa Power said. [The National]

Concentrated solar power project in Tunisia (Courtesy TuNur)

¶ A Navigant Research report looks at the global market for corporate procurement of renewable energy from utility-scale, offsite renewable energy projects through 2027. For the Asia Pacific region, they are forecast to reach 9.2 GW and $7.9 billion annually by 2027. In North America, they are expected to reach 2.7 GW and $3.1 billion. [Windpower Engineering]

US:

¶ Bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis Inc, Proterra, and Southern California’s Foothill Transit announced the first electric double-deck bus order for a public transit agency in North America. Proterra will provide the electric batteries and powertrain for ADI’s next-generation double-deck Enviro500 platform for the North American market. [CleanTechnica]

Enviro500 bus

¶ Climate activists are lashing out at leaders of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, saying a clean energy bill they just passed does not go far enough in support of clean energy. Mass Power Forward, a coalition of 150 groups, said the “paltry increase” represents an “utter abdication of progressive leadership on renewable energy.” [MassLive.com]

¶ Montana’s sparsely populated upper Musselshell River Valley looks almost empty from the top of Gordon Butte. But if the plans of renewable-power developers pan out, the butte and the valley will be sites of a large wind farm, or two, and a $1 billion hydro project that serves as a “battery” storage to complement intermittent wind power. [KTVH]

Musselshell River Valley (USDA photo)

¶ Atop the new 290,000-square-foot Ikea store in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, are 4,716 solar panels, part of Ikea’s worldwide effort at conservation. Those panels collect sunlight to generate electricity, providing the store with 20% to 50% of the power it consumes. At least for now, Ikea has the largest rooftop solar power project in Wisconsin. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

¶ As the global transition from fossil fuels and nuclear power to renewable energy progresses, even those states that have shown less ambition to date are beginning to make bold moves. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection published a draft report that plans to provide 10% of the state’s electricity with solar power. [pv magazine International]

Solar installers (Office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo)

¶ New York’s utility leadership ordered the first procurements toward a goal of 2,400 MW of offshore wind power generation by 2030, the governor’s office announced. The New York Energy Research & Development Authority will procure about 800 MW of offshore wind through a solicitation in the fourth quarter this year. [Power Engineering Magazine]

¶ In the last week of June, broad areas of the the US were hit by a powerful heat wave stretching across the country, breaking 227 US records in its first week alone. A new and distressing report from Media Matters reveals that most major broadcast TV networks are completely ignoring the link between unprecedented heat waves and climate change. [ScienceAlert]

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July 13 Energy News

July 13, 2018

Science and Technology:

¶ Australia boasts a renewable energy potential of 25,000 GW, one of the highest in the world and about four times the installed electricity production capacity of the entire planet. A chemist at Monash University says that energy can be captured and stored for later use by making ammonia, which can be used as a carbon-free fuel. [Science Magazine]

Australian energy (Coast Protection Board, South Australia)

¶ Researchers at Norway’s Department of Energy Technology in Kjeller say they have perfected a way to substitute silicon for the graphite commonly used in the anodes of lithium-ion batteries. The discovery will lead to batteries that can power an electric car for 600 miles or more, the researchers claim. Pure silicon has ten times the capacity of graphite. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Recent research conducted by Theodore Endreny, Dr David Nowak of the USDA Forest Service, and Scott Maco from the Davey Institute generated some insights about the value of urban trees. In addition to the shade and beauty they provide to cityscapes, they also provide value, which can be measured in economic terms. [CleanTechnica]

Heckscher Playground in Central Park

World:

¶ A combination of good meteorological conditions in the first half of 2018 has led Spain to cover 45.8% of the electricity demand on its grid from renewable energy sources. Wind energy systems were the peninsula’s primary source of electricity, covering 22.6% of its electricity demand, followed by hydro power, with a 16.9% share. [pv magazine International]

¶ In 2016, the UK ran for a total of 210 hours without using coal to generate electricity. In 2017, the figure rose to 624 hours. For 2018, the figure is already above 1,000 hours, and the switch to renewable power is accelerating, as two of the UK’s eight coal-burning plants are to close this year. Over the past four weeks, PVs provided 7.4% of the UK’s electricity. [The Guardian]

Smoke from coal (Photo: John Giles | PA)

¶ A little over a year since President Donald Trump announced that the US would withdraw from the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement, the Vatican hosted a conference to commemorate the third anniversary of Laudato Si, Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical. He encouraged citizens to take matters into their own hands. [Crux: Covering all things Catholic]

The Guardian reports that the Irish fossil fuel divestment bill has now passed the lower house of parliament, and it is expected to pass the upper house rapidly. That means it could be law before the end of the year, and the government will be obligated by law to sell all investments in coal, oil, gas, and peat as soon as it is practicable to do so. [Treehugger]

Wind farm (Harrygep, CC BY-SA 2.0)

¶ The UK has mapped plans for a “broad energy cooperation” with the EU after Brexit. London has suggested a series of options for electricity trading in a white paper it published, including leaving the Internal Energy Market. But the white paper also proposes continued participation in the internal market, under a new set of common rules. [reNews]

¶ Tata Power Renewable Energy Ltd won a contract to develop 250 MW of solar projects in the Indian state of Karnataka.The projects will be set up at the Pavagada Solar Park and will supply energy to the state distribution companies under a 25-year power purchase agreement. Tata Power won the bid at a ₹2.85/kWh (4.2¢/kWh) tariff rate. [pv magazine India]

Tata Power Solar project (Image: Tata Power Solar)

¶ A crowdfunding campaign has been set up to support EDF’s 5-MW Aramon solar PV project in France. The campaign, on digital investment platform WiSeed, aims to raise €200,000 for the solar farm’s construction. Aramon, in the Gard region of southern France, was awarded to EDF in March 2017 by CRE, the French regulator. [reNews]

¶ India can add about 3 million new jobs by 2030, provided 40% of the country’s electricity is generated through renewables, according to a report by IndiaSpend. The report quotes a study from the International Labour Organisation, an arm of the UN, which examines the implications of climate change mitigation for employment. [EnergyInfraPost]

Indian wind farm

¶ Three shareholders filed a temporary injunction request with the Tokyo District Court to stop TEPCO from providing funding to restart the Tokai No 2 nuclear plant. They claim that any financial support violates provisions in the Companies Law that call for careful management decisions that do not clash with the interests of shareholders. [Asahi Shimbun]

US:

¶ 8minutenergy, the largest independent solar power developer in the US, announced that it successfully energized Phases 1 and 2 of the 328-MW Mount Signal 3 Solar Farm in the city of Calexico in California’s Imperial Valley. American solar PV manufacturer First Solar provided 2.8 million Series 4 thin-film solar panels for the mammoth project. [CleanTechnica]

Mount Signal 3 Solar Farm

¶ A Tesla spokesperson officially confirmed to CleanTechnica that the company had sold and delivered 200,000 EVs in the US. The phaseout period of the federal EV tax credit is set into motion when a manufacturer sells its 200,000th EV in this country. The amount of the tax credit will be cut 50% on January 1, 2019, with two further to follow. [CleanTechnica]

¶ ElectraTherm commissioned its first Power+ waste heat to power unit in California. Low-temperature organic Rankine cycle heat recovery systems are able to generate power from waste heat ranging from 170-252°F. Captured heat is then used to produce a high pressure vapor that drives a generator to produce emission-free power. [CleanTechnica]

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July 12 Energy News

July 12, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “World’s only carbon-negative country Bhutan is giving us renewable energy goals” • Bhutan’s Prime Minister had the goal of making his country carbon neutral to make sure Bhutan does not contribute to the releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Now he has added a new policy of maintaining a minimum of 60% forest coverage. [India Today]

Paro Taktsang, Bhutan

¶ “Germany Is Nobody’s ‘Captive,’ Mr Trump” • At the NATO summit, Trump said Germany was “totally controlled” by Russia. “Germany is a captive of Russia because they got rid of their coal plants, they got rid of their nuclear plants. They’re getting so much of the oil and gas from Russia. I think it’s something NATO has to look at.” [Bloomberg]

¶ “Top Renewable Energy Financiers Reveal Pathway To $1 Trillion In US Investment” • A new financial sector survey shows confidence that renewable energy projects in the US will continue to be more attractive than other investments. Cumulative private investment in US renewable energy could reach up to $1 trillion between 2018 and 2030. [Forbes]

Wind park in Michigan (Consumers Energy via Flickr)

World:

¶ Independent solar power producer based Azure Power has announced that it won a 160-MW solar power project in Uttar Pradesh. It will sign a 25-year power purchase agreement with Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited at a tariff of ₹3.55/kWh (5.2¢/kWh), around 45% higher than the lowest tariff bid for a solar project in India. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ Delhi-based private power transmission firm Sterlite Power has announced that it bagged six new electricity line projects worth $1 billion in a recently concluded auction in Brazil. The projects include setting up 23 sub-stations; 2,000 circuit Kilometer of transmission lines and 5,500 Mega Volt Ampere of transformation capacity, the company said. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Aerial view of a transmission tower and lines
(A Google image search says this is a hardwood floor.)

¶ The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission recommended the government give financial certainty to new power plants, guaranteeing energy will be bought at a cheap price if it can’t be sold. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the finance proposal had merit, but he ruled out directly funding specific types of power generation. [SBS]

¶ Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy is to supply 109 turbines to two wind farms in South Africa. They are the 140-MW Kangnas wind farm in the Northern Cape, and the 110-MW Perdekraal East wind farm in the Western Cape. When they are done Siemens Gamesa will have installed over 850 MW of wind capacity in the country. [Power Engineering International]

South African wind farm (Kalle Pihlajasaari, Wikimedia Commons)

UK:

¶ UK renewable energy developer British Solar Renewables has announced that it had completed construction of the 49.99-MW Stocking Pelham battery storage project in England, the largest such facility in the UK. It is made up of seven of SMA’s E-houses, 27 inverters, 12 kilometers of cable, and 150,000 lithium-ion battery cells. [CleanTechnica]

¶ UK tidal power company Tidal Lagoon Power struck back at the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and its recent decision not to support the 320-MW Swansea Tidal Lagoon project in Wales. TLP said the department’s statement on tidal lagoons as a whole was “designed to mislead” and was “a manifest distortion of the truth.” [CleanTechnica]

Swansea Tidal Lagoon power plant

¶ The General Synod of the Church of England voted almost unanimously in favor of divesting from companies that fail to align themselves with the Paris Climate Agreement. The Church will “assess companies’ progress by 2023” to evaluate performance on climate goals and divest from oil and gas companies deemed to be failing. [CleanTechnica]

US:

¶ California greenhouse gas emissions fell below 1990 levels, meeting an early target years ahead of schedule and putting the state well on its way toward reaching long-term goals to fight climate change, officials said. The California Air Resources Board announced pollution levels were down 13% since their 2004 peak, while the economy grew 26%. [The Japan Times]

San Gabriel Mountains and Los Angeles (AP photo)

¶ Napa County might generate as well as take green energy from the power grid if proposed solar farms in rural Coombsville east of the city of Napa and near American Canyon become realities. Renewable Properties has applied to Napa County to build two rural arrays. Each of the solar systems would have a capacity of about three MW. [Napa Valley Register]

¶ BYD has delivered five electric buses to Martha’s Vineyard Transit Authority. The new buses will give residents and visitors alike the opportunity to ride in fully electric buses that generate zero emissions and make far less noise than those with internal combustion engines. And each bus will save the transit authority tens of thousands of dollars per year. [CleanTechnica]

VTA electric bus in a Fourth of July parade

¶ Westar Energy is creating a new opportunity for businesses to access wind-generated power. The utility company announced it has received approval from the Kansas Corporation Commission for a renewable energy program that will allow companies to purchase wind energy from a wind farm to be developed near Manhattan, Kansas. [Wichita Business Journal]

¶ A federal appeals court backed Florida Power & Light and Duke Energy Florida in a class-action lawsuit that sought to recover $2 billion in money paid by utility customers under a controversial 2006 nuclear-power law. The law, allowing utilities to collect money for nuclear projects that might never be built, was argued to be unconstitutional. [Citrus County Chronicle]

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July 11 Energy News

July 11, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “ACCC wants federal rooftop solar subsidy abolished by 2021” • The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, in a report on how electricity consumers have been ripped off by networks, generators, and retailers, targeted the technology with the least impact, and probably biggest benefit – rooftop solar – to have its subsidies abolished. [RenewEconomy]

Rooftop solar system on a School in Western Australia
(Photo: Orderinchaos, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Kavanaugh Could Usher In Even More Business-Friendly Era on Supreme Court” • Brett Kavanaugh could add a powerful new voice on the Supreme Court. His record on the US appeals court reveals views closely aligned with conservatives who seek to rein in agencies on issues from climate change to net neutrality and financial oversight. [BloombergQuint]

World:

¶ The Volkswagen Group signed the initial letters of intent with the FAW Group and the Connected Vehicles Research Institute during a visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to Berlin. VW plans to invest €15 billion for new ventures in the lucrative country through 2022 for both local investments and new research and development efforts. [CleanTechnica]

Volkswagen ID

¶ With a string of new investments and acquisitions in the past year, Shell has quietly stepped up the pace of its transition from an oil and gas company into an energy company. “We are further along than people realize,” says Mark Gainsborough, Executive Vice-President of Shell New Energies, in an exclusive interview with Energy Post. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Investment in clean technologies is closely tracking last year and has already hit $138.2 billion, analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance shows. This is just 1% lower than for the first half of 2017, though the direction of investment is changing. Both windpower and smart technologies (including batteries) have seen increased investment. [Climate Action Programme]

Wind farm

¶ German prime minister Angela Merkel and Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang signed an agreement that will bring a CATL battery factory to the German city of Erfurt. CATL is China’s largest battery manufacturer. BMW has already signed up to buy over $1.7 billion worth of CATL batteries for electric cars it builds for the European market. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Scottish developer Sustainable Marine Energy’s Plat-I floating tidal device has departed the UK and is on its way to Canada for deployment off Nova Scotia. The trimaran platform left Liverpool on a container ship. SME is to deploy the device in the Grand Passage in the Bay of Fundy for a project at the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy. [reNews]

Container ship Atlantic Sky carrying the floating
tidal device (UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency)

¶ The Indian state of Maharashtra has banned plastic packaging along with such other plastic items as drinking straws and cutlery. The goal is for all of India to do the same by 2022. Maharashtra’s ban is more far-reaching than those of other places. Even colorful plastic garlands that often adorn Hindu temples will no longer be legal. [WBHM]

¶ Irish renewables company DP Energy has been given the green light to expand a hybrid renewable energy park in South Australia to a total of 1.1 GW of wind, solar and storage. The company announced that it had won state government approval for the proposed second stage of its Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park in June. [RenewEconomy]

DP Energy hybrid power station

¶ According to data released by the German Association of Energy and Water Industries, wind, solar, hydropower, and biogas met 36.3% of Germany’s electricity needs between January and June 2018, while coal provided just 35.1%. This is the first time coal has fallen behind renewable power over such a long period of time in Germany. [EURACTIV]

US:

¶ The city council of Concord, New Hampshire, voted to establish a goal of transitioning the city to 100% renewable energy, the Sierra Club announced. The vote was unanimous. The resolution adopts a goal of using 100% renewable energy for electricity by 2030 and for all sectors including heat and transportation by 2050. [North American Windpower]

Wind turbine

¶ BYD and Generate Capital announced a new electric bus leasing program. The new program is seeded with an initial $200 million investment that is geared towards lowering the barrier to adoption for electric vehicles for public and private-sector buses. The move allows customers to shift some upfront costs to a monthly expense. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Duke Energy introduced a solar rebate program for North Carolina and announced a request for proposals for adding 680 MW of renewable energy capacity in both North and South Carolina. The competitive selection is targeting new solar or other renewable energy facilities. Each project has to have a capacity of between 1 MW and 80 MW. [Renewables Now]

Worker at a Duke Energy solar park (Photo: Duke ENergy)

¶ As of April 2018, more than 99% of the hydro and fossil-fueled (petroleum, natural gas, and coal) power capacity in Puerto Rico was operating, an update from the DOE’s Energy Information Administration said. About a hundred power plants were still not operating as of April, but they are expected to return to service by the end of 2018. [Daily Energy Insider]

¶ EVs could drive a 38% rise in US electricity demand, according to the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The NREL study indicates that rising electricity demand could lead to sustained absolute growth of 80,000 GWh per year over the next thirty years. This could add a growth of 1.6% per year over that period for utility companies. [Utility Dive]

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July 10 Energy News

July 10, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “China and EU can lead on climate action” • When Donald Trump announced that the US would withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, he surrendered its influence. The upcoming EU-China summit in Beijing will be yet another moment when the world leaders can emphasise the successes in decarbonizing their respective economies. [Climate Home]

Mulan wind farm, China (Photo: Creative Commons)

¶ “New utility settlement highlights how Ohio utilities are leaving FirstEnergy behind on clean energy” • Dayton Power & Light and environmental groups have reached a settlement that limits cost increases while promoting efficiency, electric vehicles, and clean energy. But FirstEnergy is doubling down on clunky old power plants. [Environmental Defense Fund]

Science and Technology:

¶ Since records began in the early 1900s, hurricanes have only reached a maximum strength of category five during six seasons: 1932, 1933, 1961, 2005, 2007, and 2017. But some scientists now warn that as the Earth gets warmer as a result of climate change, hurricanes will produce more wind and rain, and we may see some of Category Six. [Express.co.uk]

Hurricane

World:

¶ The UK’s first independent infrastructure review poured cold water on plans to invest billions of pounds in a string of new nuclear power stations. It was in favor of cheaper wind and solar power. The National Infrastructure Commission warned ministers against deals for more than one follow-up to the Hinkley Point C project before 2025. [Telegraph.co.uk]

¶ The world’s largest vertical farm is to be built in Dubai. It is a joint venture between agri-tech firm Crop One Holdings and Emirates Flight Catering, which supplies 225,000 meals daily from its base at Dubai International Airport. Construction of the 130,000-square foot farm will begin in November. It will provide 6,000 pounds of produce daily. [CNN]

Vertical farm

¶ The 750-MW Rewa solar power project, one of the world’s largest single-site solar power plants, has started operations. Located in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, it is the first solar project in the country to supply power to an inter-state open access customer. It will supply electricity to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. [pv magazine India]

¶ Morocco is moving towards achieving its renewable energy production goals. It inaugurated the 120-MW Khalladi wind farm in the city of Tangier. Built at a cost of $170 million, the farm was developed by ACWA Power, a firm headquartered in Riyadh. The launch of the wind farm could fast track Morocco’s ambitions for energy independence. [Forbes Middle East]

Wind farm (ShutterStock image)

¶ Renewable energy provided a record 28.1% of the UK’s electricity in the second quarter of 2018, according to a report by EnAppSys. The figure was boosted by high winds and a sunny start to the summer. Wind farms provided the largest share, at 9,500 GWh. The next share came from solar, at 5,200 GWh, with the help of a June heat wave. [reNews]

¶ With Japan saying for the first time that renewable energy will be a “major” source of its electricity supply, international windpower companies are gearing up to get into the potentially lucrative market. Such foreign players have mostly stayed away thus far, deterred by high installation costs and red tape, but they are now rethinking the situation. [Nikkei Asian Review]

Offshore wind turbine operated by Toda (Courtesy of Toda)

US:

¶ Wind turbines standing on 22,000 acres of North Carolina farmland do not interfere with a Navy radar system in Virginia, according to a study by researchers at MIT. But the Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk reports that the study also said a developer should not expand the 104-tower Amazon Wind Farm to 150 turbines as originally planned. [WHSV]

¶ On his last day in office, former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt managed to cement a massive loophole for some of the dirtiest, most polluting trucks on the road, allowing manufacturers to build even more them. Pruitt’s last policy decision benefits a small number of truck manufacturers, including one that hosted a campaign event for Donald Trump. [Vox]

Not a “green” machine (Image: Fitzgerald Glider Kits)

¶ NET Power completed a demonstration plant outside Houston for a technology that it claims will capture 100% of the carbon dioxide produced as it burns natural gas to generate electricity. It uses carbon dioxide as part of its process. It says the excess CO2 can be sold for industrial uses, the most important of which is for oil recovery. [CleanTechnica]

¶ All residential buildings in Keene, New Hampshire, could get their electricity from solar installations by 2030, a group of Keene State College environmental studies students found. They said all residential heating and transportation in the city could be solar powered by 2045. The local Ready for 100 campaign helped them to study the question. [The Keene Sentinel]

Rooftop solar system (Flickr image)

¶ Dwindling populations of bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds could be the winners in the push to add more solar power to New York’s energy grid. A three-year project will identify the ecological and economic benefits of adding so-called pollinator friendly wildflowers and habitat on solar farms in Central New York and the Hudson Valley. [The Journal News]

¶ A growing number of Massachusetts and New Hampshire communities are raising concerns about the evacuation plans for Seabrook Nuclear Power Station, especially during summer months when roadways are clogged by visitors. NextEra Energy, Seabrook’s owner, has applied for a 20-year license extension to operate until 2050. [Wicked Local]

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July 9 Energy News

July 9, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “The World’s ‘New Oil’ – Batteries” • Could batteries become the world’s new oil? According to Bloomberg, “the rise of electric vehicles and renewable-energy sources may mean that some crude may stay in the ground. BP last year said battery-powered vehicles could flatten projected oil-demand growth from cars in the next 20 years.” [CleanTechnica]

Tesla’s Model S (Image: Tesla)

World:

¶ The Garissa Solar Plant will bring down the cost of electricity in Kenya to 5.4¢/kWh. The plant consists of about 210,210 PV panels of 260 watts each, sitting on 85 hectares, and will be able to generate power capable of lighting around 625,000 homes. Originally, it was to be completed in December, but the date has been revised to September. [Daily Nation]

¶ Pakistan overcame a crippling power crisis, and over 95% of its population have access to electricity, the Spectator Index reported, citing World Bank Data. Earlier this year, a report from the International Renewable Energy Agency said that Pakistan needs to fully exploit indigenous renewable energy resources to improve energy security. [Daily Pakistan]

Electric transmission lines

¶ Sinosteel Corp, a Chinese company, signed a memorandum of understanding with Denikon, based in Italy, to jointly build a solar park in Iran with a capacity of up to 1,000 MW, the Islamic Republic News Agency reports. The agreement envisages the construction of a solar park, 20,000 residential PV systems, and a PV manufacturing facility. [Renewables Now]

¶ The solar industry has developed rapidly in recent years, with global capacity increasing from just 1.5 GW in 2005 to 98 GW in 2017. GTM Research’s recent report, Top 15 Global Utility Solar PV Developers, details the world’s largest solar PV developers. Together, they account for 20% of installed utility-scale solar capacity worldwide. [Power Technology]

Solar array (First Solar image)

¶ China’s State Council released the full text of a three-year action plan to curb air pollution by 2020. Air pollution in China is now affecting 37% of China’s population, and measures taken so far are falling short of government goals and public expectations. The new plan offers tougher limits and proposes a quicker shift to cleaner energy. [The Maritime Executive]

Australia:

¶ The Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Victoria government are leading a new program to establish standards for household and commercial battery storage to make it easier for residential and business customers to compare different storage options. Over 2 million Australian homes and businesses that already have rooftop solar. [RenewEconomy]

Battery

¶ Australian rooftop solar panel installations soared by almost half in the first six months of 2018 as businesses eclipse residential take-up for the first time. In the January-June half, rooftop PV installations reached 701.9 MW, up 48.1% from the same time a year earlier, according to Green Energy Markets, a consultancy. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

¶ The Australian Capital Territory has declared any coal deal to placate conservative Liberals and Nationals would be “entirely unhelpful” to a successful resolution of the national energy guarantee in early August. The territory’s climate change minister, Shane Rattenbury, has warned the commonwealth a side deal on coal could kill the NEG. [The Guardian]

Coal (Greg Wood | AFP | Getty Images)

US:

¶ Western states are running into critical water issues because of climate change. Desalination plants can address the issue, but they are expensive and use a lot of power. So the US DOE is putting $21 million toward fourteen projects aimed at developing technology to cut the cost of using solar energy to power thermal desalination. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A US judge ordered Chinese wind turbine maker Sinovel Wind Group to pay a $1.5 million fine after the company was convicted of stealing key technology from the Massachusetts-based AMSC. The US Justice Department said Sinovel has already paid AMSC, formerly known as American Superconductor Corp, $32.5 million. [The Epoch Times]

Wind turbines in China (STR | AFP | Getty Images)

¶ City officials in St Paul, Minnesota, have set a goal to get the city’s carbon footprint to net zero by 2050. “The high-level goal is we want city buildings operating as carbon neutral by 2030, and all buildings by 2050,” said Russ Stark, a former president of the St Paul City Council who is now the city’s chief resilience officer. [TwinCities.com-Pioneer Press]

¶ Researchers at University of California at San Diego, Harvard, and Carnegie Mellon published a paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showing the nuclear industry is on the verge of collapse just when we need to limit carbon emissions. Some advocacy groups would rather focus on supporting renewable sources. [South China Morning Post]

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July 8 Energy News

July 8, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “For Effective Natural Disaster Recovery, Long-Term & Holistic Solutions Are Needed” • As areas of the world are ravaged by extreme events, many fueled by climate change, it is important that reconstruction policies   take into account the human factors of well-being and contentment. Acting to help people should not impair their lives. [CleanTechnica]

Port Arthur, Texas, after Hurricane Harvey

¶ “Clean energy has big economic impact on Colorado” • In two decades, I’ve seen wind energy costs plummet, municipalities cut power bills by building energy-efficient schools, and the solar market explode from a few renegades to a technology favored by America’s most profitable corporations. But the most dramatic shift I’ve seen? Jobs. [Pueblo Chieftain]

¶ “The roiled solar power market shows how Trump’s tariffs can disrupt an industry” • A 30% US tariff on imported solar panels should have caused prices here to jump. But when tariffs are unleashed, as businesses are learning, things don’t always go as expected. In the US, prices have not changed, but worldwide solar prices declined 35%. [Los Angeles Times]

Installing a solar system (Joe Raedle | Getty Images)

World:

¶ The UK has already decided to ban the sale of new cars and vans with internal combustion engines by 2040 but some are calling for that ban to happen sooner to improve air quality near many roads and highways. The CEO of Royal Dutch Shell, told The Guardian he supports the calls to move up the effective date of the ban. [CleanTechnica]

¶ China had 53% of the global new solar capacity in 2017, up from 45% in 2016. But its new solar policy reduces the amount of solar to be installed in China. Most forecasters project a downturn in PV production, but IHS Markit predicts that the global solar market will increase by around 11% to 105 GW in 2018 in spite of Chinese policy. [CleanTechnica]

Floating solar array

¶ The benchmark seaborne thermal coal prices have jumped to $120.10 per tonne, its highest level since November 2012, thanks to tight supply in key Asian export regions. Measured from lows hit end-2015, the cost of coal used in power generation has gained 140%. China has continued to buy coal, despite actions to discourage its use. [OilPrice.com]

¶ Madagascar has announced plans to develop more solar power projects in a bid to reduce the cost of electricity. Its government will implement the Madagascar Electricity Sector Operations and Governance Improvement Project, which has been approved by the World Bank for a $40 million credit from the International Development Association. [Energy Digital]

Madagascar (Getty Images)

¶ Total’s main business today may be oil and gas, but it is making aggressive moves to become a leader in renewable energy also. CEO Patrick Pouyanne said Total was ready to build 10,000 MW of solar power plants in France, enough to power 1.64 million homes, over the next 10 years. The government of France has set goals for solar power. [Motley Fool]

US:

¶ In New Jersey, 25,000 homes – worth nearly $10 billion – will be at risk of chronic flooding by 2035. Those properties could flood 26 times or more annually, according to a recent study by the Union of Concerned Scientists, making New Jersey the state that will be hit the hardest in the contiguous US in terms of value of property at risk by 2035. [NJ.com]

Flooding in Sea Bright

¶ Incoming EPA chief Andrew Wheeler said in a new interview that he believes humans have played a role in climate change, but the EPA will likely not change much under his leadership. He said that he will continue to pursue alternatives to the Clean Power Plan, which he has criticized for going “outside the four corners of the Clean Air Act.” [The Hill]

¶ Duke Energy Carolinas plans to sell five small hydro power plants to Northbrook Energy at a $40 million loss and says the sale is in the best interest of customers. The companies asked the North Carolina Utilities Commission to approve the sale and also asked for a declaratory ruling to qualify the small plants as new renewable energy facilities. [WSOC Charlotte]

Hydro dam

¶ Arizona regulator Andy Tobin filed a set of proposed rules that would implement his Arizona Energy Modernization Plan to put utilities on a course to supply 80% renewable or nuclear power by 2050. Tobin’s proposal would require utilities to roll out 3 GW of energy storage by 2030 and to grow the use of energy efficiency and electric vehicles. [Utility Dive]

¶ The Bonneville Power Administration, which produces power in the Northwest, could save money and help fish by walking away from costly future upgrades to the four lower Snake River dams, according to some environmentalists. Cheap renewable electricity from solar and wind farms has made it uneconomical to operate the dams. [Lewiston Morning Tribune]

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July 7 Energy News

July 7, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “3 Ways Cities Can Protect Low-Income Residents From Climate Change” • Climate impacts often fall disproportionately and unfairly on society’s most vulnerable, but cities are uniquely well-positioned to do something about these inequities by taking innovative climate action. And local leaders are ready right now to take climate action. [CleanTechnica]

Protecting low-income citizens

¶ “This Is The 16-Year-Old Leading The Next Climate March” • At 16 years old, Climate Reality Leader Jamie Margolin is one of 13 plaintiffs suing Washington State for failing to take adequate steps to fight climate change. On July 21, she will lead a mass youth climate march in Washington, DC, led by her organization, Zero Hour. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ Swiss Re is one of the world’s leading providers of reinsurance, insurance, and other forms of insurance-based risk transfer.  It announced it will not provide reinsurance to businesses with more than 30% exposure to thermal coal across all business lines. It is just the latest company to tighten the screws on the future of thermal coal. [CleanTechnica]

Coal-burning power plant (Petr Štefek, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Six Uttar Pradesh cities alone can generate 11.4 GW of solar energy using 11% of their built-up area, a report by the Centre for Environment and Energy Development said. The report said that installing solar rooftops in Lucknow, Kanpur, Allahabad, Meerut, Agra, and Gorakhpur can also generate 3 lakh (300,000) jobs in the Indian state. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ Poland, Europe’s second-biggest consumer of coal, is cautiously embracing renewables to improve energy supply security and meet its EU targets. The country’s upper house of parliament approved removing clean power investment roadblocks within a law that is aimed to put Poland on track to 15% renewables by 2020. [Greentech Media]

Warsaw (Shutterstock image)

¶ A coalition of seven Dutch political parties, with 113 out of 150 seats in parliament, unveiled a climate policy proposal that is breathtaking in its ambition. If it becomes law, it will codify the most stringent targets for greenhouse gas reductions of any country in the world, requiring the country to reduce carbon emissions by 95% by 2050. [Vox]

¶ Time is running out for the world’s forests, warns a report by the UN agriculture agency. It urges fostering an all-inclusive approach to benefit both trees and those who rely on them. Halting deforestation, managing sustainably, restoring degraded forests, and adding tree cover all need action to avoid damaging consequences. [UN News]

Forest in Germany (Bob Ionescu, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ The Trump administration drafted a new proposal to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, but it is far less stringent than the climate plan formalized in 2015 by the Obama administration. The new proposal accepts, for now, the idea that CO2 is a pollutant, but  it is likely to spur only small tweaks to the nation’s energy system. [The New York Times]

¶ The US government announced plans to boost the nation’s offshore wind industry by streamlining, permitting, and offering leases in coastal waters. The plans form part of the “America First” initiative that aims to increase local energy production and employment, Reuters reported. The news sparked interest in European energy firms. [Energy Digital]

Offshore wind farm (Getty Images)

¶ In addition to its wind farms, Texas has seen a sharp increase in the number of new solar arrays. The largest of those projects so far is a 150-MW solar farm on 1,600 acres in Upton County. That array may soon be overtaken by a 250-MW solar project in West Texas, as Canadian company Innergex has acquired the rights to develop it. [Climate Action Programme]

¶ The American Geophysical Union is a nonprofit professional scientific organization whose members come from different fields of Earth and space sciences. They could see that systems in its ageing Washington, DC headquarters needed major repair. They also saw this as an opportunity to design an entirely new “green” workplace. [CleanTechnica]

AGU headquarters with a new solar array

¶ An EIA study examines the role of high-voltage direct current lines in integrating renewables resources into the electric grid. The review shows that there are limited applications in the current electric transmission network, but properly configured HVDC lines could help mitigate some of the operational issues of renewable generation. [Solar Power World]

¶ Last year had the lowest share of total US energy consumption by fossil fuels in more than 100 years, but they still have an 80% market share. The Energy Information Administration found petroleum, natural gas, and coal use have been decreasing for the last three years. Coal especially has taken hits, the others are both down. [Daily Energy Insider]

Old technology and new (©Shutterstock)

¶ “We want microgrids everywhere,” Puerto Rico Gov Ricardo Rosselló said in a recent discussion of his Energy 2.0 plan. The remark, part of his “New Vision for Puerto Rico” speech at the Aspen Ideas Festival, signaled a push to modernize the island’s electric grid with microgrids, renewable energy, and energy storage. [Microgrid Knowledge]

¶ The Millstone nuclear plant is renewing threats to close its reactors after state regulators proposed delaying the company from bidding on clean energy contracts. A draft request for proposals by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection would delay Millstone’s ability to bid for zero carbon electric contracts for five years. [CT Post]

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July 6 Energy News

July 6, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Syrian seeds could save US wheat from climate menace” • A Kansas greenhouse has in it a buzzing horde of flies laying waste to 20,000 wheat seedlings. But as researchers watched, there was one species of growth that remained untouched. That species, grown from Syrian seeds, could end up saving US wheat from climate change. [The Guardian]

Syrian wheat harvest (Amer Almohibany | AFP | Getty Images)

World:

¶ US tariffs on $34 billion (£25.7 billion) of Chinese goods have gone into effect, signalling the start of a trade war between the world’s two largest economies. China has retaliated by imposing a similar 25% tariff on 545 US products, also worth a total of $34 billion. Beijing accused the US of starting the “largest trade war in economic history.” [BBC]

¶ GeoSea jack-up A2Sea Sea Challenger installed the first turbine at E.ON’s 385-MW Arkona offshore wind farm in the German Baltic Sea. The project will feature 60 Siemens Gamesa 6.45-MW machines, with tip heights of 180 metres. E.ON said that directly after installation the project team is preparing the turbines for power generation. [reNews]

Turbine installation (Image: 2018 ds Xpress GmbH)

¶ Greece completed its first renewable energy auction, awarding about 277 MW of capacity. The auction, which was conducted by the Regulatory Authority for Energy, had three categories: PV power plants of up to 1 MW (18.9%); PV plants of between 1 MW and 20 MW (18.9%) ; and wind power plants of between 3 MW and 50 MW (62.2%). [Renewables Now]

¶ UK renewable energy developer Ecotricity announced the launch of a “vegan electricity tariff” in response to the use of animal by-products from the meat and dairy industries to produce power and gas. The anaerobic digestion sector responded that it is important to deal with waste effectively, regardless of its source. [Renewables Now]

Anaerobic digestion facility

¶ Victoria has enough large-scale renewables in the pipeline to supply the annual needs of all of the state’s households, new data shows. According to Environment Victoria, the state’s utility-scale wind and solar farms could soon power about 2.5 million homes. That includes both projects already built and those  now under construction. [Energy Matters]

¶ The second generation of Germany’s SINN Power wave energy technology, has been successfully put into operation in Heraklion, Greece. By implementing the new generation of prototypes, SINN Power is now one of the first wave energy companies to be able to generate controlled and stable electrical energy from ocean wave action. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Getting power from waves

¶ A French parliamentary inquiry flagged up “failings” in the defenses of the country’s nuclear power plants, days after activists crashed a drone into a facility to underscore safety concerns. France is the world’s most nuclear-dependent country, with 58 reactors providing 75% of its electricity. Greenpeace has repeatedly challenged their security. [Free Malaysia Today]

US:

¶ A newly published study projects that a Trump administration proposal for propping up struggling coal and nuclear plants could lead to premature deaths from pollution. Resources for the Future found that for every 2 to 4.5 coal mining jobs the plan protects, there would be 1 human death due to emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. [The Hill]

Coal (Getty Images)

¶ EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned. Now, a former coal lobbyist will be the EPA’s new acting head. Andrew Wheeler was confirmed by the Senate in April to be the Deputy Administrator, though he was criticized by Democrats for his past ties to energy lobbyists. One client of the law firm where he worked was coal mining company Murray Energy. [CNN]

Sunrun CEO Lynn Jurich installing solar panels on a
fire station in Puerto Rico (Image: Sunrun, via Twitter)

¶ Sunrun, the leading residential solar, storage, and energy services company in the US, has announced it is now offering its Brightbox solar-as-a-service and home battery combination to households in storm-ravaged Puerto Rico. Sunrun was one of the first US national solar companies to send aid to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. [CleanTechnica]

¶ To better understand attitudes and choices around renewables and clean energy trends, Swytch commissioned a survey of over 1,000 consumers across the United States. Nearly 73% of the respondents in red states and 74% of the respondents in blue states are worried that there isn’t enough being done to reduce climate change. [Solar Power World]

¶ Pushing ahead where utility regulators so far will not, advocates of more renewable energy filed more than 480,000 signatures to put the question on the November ballot in Arizona. Their ballot initiative would require electric utilities to get at least half their power from solar, wind, biomass, and other renewable sources by 2030. [Arizona Capitol Times]

Power lines

¶ With solar PV as the most popular renewable choice, customer-owned renewable generation increased 51% in 2017 in Florida, according to new electric utility reports filed with the Florida Public Service Commission. The commission says renewable system interconnections totaled 24,157 last year, compared to 15,994 in 2016. [Solar Industry]

¶ The heads of ten Massachusetts local chambers of commerce sent a letter to House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Harriette Chandler, asking them to support an increase in the renewable portfolio standard as they pass bills during the final months of the two-year legislative session. They cited potential economic benefits. [Worcester Telegram]

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July 5 Energy News

July 5, 2018

Science and Technology:

¶ Global warming may eventually be twice what is projected by climate models, and sea levels may rise six metres or more even if the world meets the 2°C target, according to an international team of researchers from 17 countries. The findings are based on observational evidence from three warm periods over the past 3.5 million years. [UNSW Newsroom]

Sunset (Photo: Patrik Linderstam, Unsplash)

¶ A study published by the UK National Oceanographic Centre warned that rising sea levels could cost the world economy £10 trillion ($14 trillion) a year by 2100. It argued that failure to meet the UN’s 2° C warming limits could have catastrophic effects. The findings were published in the science journal Environmental Research Letters. [Express.co.uk]

World:

¶ The Indian state governments have resolved to electrify every household in the country by December. The Minister of State for Power and Renewable Energy, addressing a conference of power and renewable energy ministers of states and union territories,  said states have given written assurances to meet the household electrification deadlines. [Business Line]

Indian rooftop solar system

¶ GE won a contract to supply variable speed equipment for the massive new $1.87 billion Fengning hydropower and pumped storage project in China’s Hebei Province. The Fengning power plant is billed as the biggest facility of its kind in the world. It has a capacity of 3.6 GW. The pumped storage will add another 1.8 GW of capacity. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Ideol’s 2-MW Floatgen floating wind turbine at the SEM-REV test center in France is ready to supply its first power after the replacement of a defective connection box. Marine consultancy Mojo Maritime carried out the operation. Final validation checks on the connection revealed an insulation defect in the 25 km long underwater cable. [reNews]

Floatgen (Image: Ideol BYTP Centrale Nantes)

¶ NKT has secured a €145 million ($169.5 million) contract from Ørsted to supply export cabling for the 1386-MW Hornsea 2 offshore wind farm off the east coast of Yorkshire. The deal is for delivery of three far-shore wires totalling over 190 km in length. They will transmit power for about 50% of the whole offshore wind project. [reNews]

¶ Swedish utilities and power generators have already installed so many wind turbines that the nation is on course to reach its 2030 renewable energy target this year. By December, Sweden will have 3,681 wind turbines installed, lobby group Swedish Wind Energy Association estimated. The turbines will supply enough power to meet the 2030 goal. [Business Day]

Wind turbines in Sweden (Supplied image)

¶ The renewable energy sector created 47,000 new jobs in India in 2017, employing 432,000 people, according to a recent report by the inter-governmental International Renewable Energy Agency. In all, India had 20% of the more than 500,000 new green jobs created globally in 2017. There are now 721,000 green sector jobs in India. [Business Standard]

¶ British solar power firm Proinso said it has partnered with Joules Power Ltd, based in Bangladesh, on a 28-MW solar project in the Asian country. The PV park is the first utility-scale facility of its kind in Bangladesh and will be commissioned this month. The plant’s annual output is expected to be 43,000 MWh, when it is working at peak capacity. [Renewables Now]

Solar park in Bangladesh (Proinso image)

Australia:

¶ A Queensland-led coal push is intensifying as the Turnbull government pushes for the national energy guarantee. At the state Liberal and National Parties coalition conference there are several motions expected calling for a new coal-fired power station and an end to renewable subsidies. Nuclear power will also be on the agenda. [The Guardian]

¶ Monash University has committed to buying green energy from the Murra Warra Wind Farm in western Victoria, in a new deal that brings the university closer to its target of 100% renewables. The long-term power purchase agreement is part of the 226-MW first stage of the wind farm. It is expected to be fully operational in 2019. [RenewEconomy]

Australian wind farm

¶ June was a big month for the Danish wind turbine maker Vestas. In the last six days of the month alone, the company secured and announced receiving nine orders for a total of 803 MW of wind turbine capacity. These add to the 1,354 MW announced through the first three weeks of the month, bringing the total orders for June to 2,157 MW. [CleanTechnica]

US:

¶ The cost of burning coal is rising, while the cost of renewable forms of energy is going down, according to a recent study commissioned by the Sierra Club. An independent company, Energy Strategies, was contracted for the study. Its analysis showed that wind and solar power tend to be less expensive for consumers than coal. [Utah Public Radio]

Coal plant in Utah (Photo: Arbryreed | Flickr.com)

¶ EDP Renewables North America is to sell electricity from two wind farms in Illinois and Indiana, totalling 405 MW, to three commercial and industrial companies. The power is covered by four 15-year power purchase agreements. The Illinois wind farm is expected to start operations next year, and the Indiana project is to come online in 2020. [reNews]

¶ A report by the Bonneville Power Administration and the state of Montana says Montana can now provide 360 MW of renewable energy to the Northwest, and more capacity will be available after the partial shutdown of the Colstrip power plant by 2022. One person commented that Colstrip’s power can be replaced with renewables at minimal cost. [Chem.Info]

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July 4 Energy News

July 4, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Fossil Fuels Are Likely To Go Bust Regardless Of Climate Action” • Wind turbines, solar panels, and electric vehicles get cheaper and more abundant by the day, hurting demand for coal, oil and natural gas. As demand falls for fossil fuels, so will prices. Companies with coal mines or oil wells, will be unable to turn a profit digging up fuel. [CleanTechnica]

Offshore oil (Genghiskhanviet, Wikimedia Commons)

World:

¶ Acme Solar and Azure Power managed to secure the rights to develop 600 megawatts of capacity each in the largest solar power tender issued by the Solar Energy Corporation of India to date. The Acme Solar bid of ₹2.44/kWh (3.55¢/kWh) matches a price at one earlier Acme Solar site as at the lowest ever in the Indian solar power market. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The new energy company and electric vehicle titan BYD, based in China, has signed the largest bus deal it has ever had in the Americas, with a new order for 100 fully electric BYD buses in Santiago, Chile. The new buses will start operations in November of this year, when BYD hands them over to the transit operator, Transantiago. [CleanTechnica]

BYD buses for Santiago

¶ French utility ENGIE and the sustainable investments firm SUSI Partners signed financing agreements to develop a 208-MW wind farm in Norway. The 51 Siemens Gamesa turbines in Project Tonstad will be located in the provinces of Sirdal and Flekkefjord. The wind farm will be one of the largest in the country. [Energy Digital]

¶ Nestle officially opened a nine turbine wind farm that can produce enough power for half of its factories, warehouses, and offices in the UK and Ireland. The food and beverage powerhouse said the facility generates 125 GWh of power annually, so enough electricity for 30,000 homes will be sent directly to the network each year. [CNBC]

Nestle wind farm (Nestle image)

¶ On the occasion of Global Wind Day, Indian Minister for New and Renewable Energy RK Singh announced that the country will auction 40 GW of solar and wind energy capacity every year until 2028. The government plans to auction 30 GW of solar and 10 GW of wind capacity every year until the end of fiscal year 2019-20. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A new 2.4-GWh hydro pump storage plant in Scotland’s Loch Ness will increase the country’s ability to deliver renewable energy. Plans for the huge facility were revealed last week. Technical, practical, ecological and all other plans for Red John will go to the government this September. It is exptected that the review will take a year. [Wired.co.uk]

Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness (DeAgostini | Getty Images)

¶ Greenpeace France crashed a drone dressed as Superman into the Bugey nuclear energy plant to expose how vulnerable that facility is to a terrorist attack and highlight the broader dangers of nuclear power. The activists said the drone struck “a storage pool for spent nuclear fuel next to a reactor, one of the most radioactive areas at the site.” [Citizen Truth]

¶ Japan approved an energy plan that sets ambitious targets for nuclear energy use and sustains a struggling program for spent-fuel recycling despite setbacks after the 2011 Fukushima disaster. The Cabinet plan noted for the first time the need to draw down the plutonium stockpile, especially given international security concerns. [Electric Light & Power]

Monju nuclear power plant

US:

¶ The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum commissioned a study of the economic impacts of increased renewable energy on the state’s economy. They were shocked to find that if renewable energy is increased 30% by 2027, it will create more than 68,000 new jobs and have a gross economic impact on the state of over $10 billion. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Innergex Renewable Energy Inc will build the 250-MW Phoebe solar farm in Winkler County, Texas, which is on the border of New Mexico. The company bought the project from Longroad Energy Partners. Innergex said the solar farm will cost nearly $400 million and is expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2019. [mySanAntonio.com]

Solar farm (John Davenport | San Antonio Express-News)

¶ One year ago, President Trump announced the US would exit the Paris Climate Agreement. Now, the 17 Democratic and Republican governors belonging to the US Climate Alliance have announced a slate of new initiatives to fulfill their share of the US commitment to the agreement, cutting carbon pollution by more than 26% by 2025. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Ohio Power Siting Board has given conditional approval for the 21-MW Icebreaker offshore wind farm on Lake Erie, according to local news reports. The wind farm will not be allowed to operate at night from 1 March until 1 January unless the developers have an adequate monitoring plan for birds and bats in place, the reports said. [reNews]

Icebreaker test site

¶ California took another step to mandate that utilities move towards sourcing 100% of their electricity from sources that do not emit CO2. On a 10-5 vote, the Assembly Utilities and Energy Committee approved SB100. The bill now goes to the full Assembly, and if approved will go to Governor Jerry Brown, who is expected to sign it. [pv magazine USA]

¶ America’s oldest nuclear power plant will shut down on September 17, but the Oyster Creek plant near the New Jersey shore will stay right where it is for the next 60 years. All told, it will cost $1.4 billion to shut down the plant; Exelon currently has $982.1 million of that set aside in a decommissioning account, NRC officials said. [Power Engineering Magazine]

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July 3 Energy News

July 3, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Trump Has Done More Than Pull Out of Paris” • Since taking office, Trump has done something worse for the climate than pull the US out of the Paris Agreement on climate change: He has cut a large body of climate-focused rules issued by President Obama. With rules no longer in place, corporate plans will increase carbon emissions. [The Atlantic]

Coal-fired power plant (Greg Goebel, Wikimedia Commons)

Science and Technology:

¶ Researchers at Penn State University created a self-heating battery. Cold temperatures slow down the charging rate of conventional lithium-ion batteries, so they have to be plugged in longer to be charged fully when it is cold. Charging when it is below 50º F can also lead to faster battery degradation, the researchers say. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Alta Devices, a California-based subsidiary of Hanergy Thin Film Power Group, set a record for conversion efficiency of 28.9% for a single-junction solar module, it announced. The US National Renewable Energy Laboratory rated Alta Devices’ single junction GaAs module as the world’s most efficient single-junction solar module. [Renewables Now]

Alta Devices solar cell. (Photo: Business Wire)

World:

¶ Tata Power Renewable Energy Ltd, an arm of Mumbai-based private power producer Tata Power, said it has commissioned a 100-MW solar power project at Anthapuramu Solar Park in Andhra Pradesh. The overall operating renewable energy capacity of the company now stands at 2,215 MW in India, the firm said in a statement. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ The largest nuclear power company in China, China General Nuclear Power Group, aims to expand its UK operations. The firm is targeting clean energy projects, specifically wind power and liquefied natural gas opportunities. CGN already owns over 300 MW of wind capacity in the UK and a 33.5% stake in the 3.3-GW Hinkley Point C farm. [Energy Digital]

Wind farm on the shore (Getty Images)

¶ Britain’s heatwave has helped break several records for solar power generation, and over the weekend the renewable energy source briefly eclipsed gas power stations as the UK’s top source of electricity. Solar broke the record for weekly output, producing 533 GWh of power. In a first, solar output was over GW for eight consecutive days. [The Guardian]

¶ The Danish renewable energy specialist, Aalborg CSP, has collaborated with Smørum Kraftvarme AmbA on a new solar district heating facility in the capital area of Denmark. The plant consists of flat panels that can jointly produce 5,568 MWh heat annually, contributing to 2,583 consumers’ heat and hot water demands. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Solar heating plant in Denmark (Courtesy of Aalborg CSP)

¶ Bosnia’s autonomous Serb Republic has launched a tender for the construction of a 65-MW solar power plant in southeastern Bosnia, the country’s largest so far, an Energy Ministry official told Reuters. Investors have until July 27 to submit bids. The project is expected to cost around 150 million Bosnian marka ($89.4 million). [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ Wind turbines or solar panels with batteries will be able to provide on-demand power cheaper than old coal plants in China by 2028, analysts at Bloomberg New Energy Finance predict. In the US, the combo can outcompete gas generation by 2027, according to the same New Energy Outlook report, presented in London. [Climate Home]

¶ In New South Wales, the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal has released its final report on solar feed-in tariffs. It recommended that the voluntary payments be cut from 11¢/kWh to 15¢/kWh to 6.9¢-8.4¢, from the start of this month. Such a decision on rooftop solar power will “sabotage” the solar industry, critics warn. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

¶ The production of renewable energy in Germany has hit a new record, providing 41.5% of the country’s power supply in the first half of 2018. Politics are becoming embroiled in migration issues, but the launch of a commission to find a path to end coal-fired power generation has fuelled hopes that the country will be able to reduce emissions more. [RenewEconomy]

Wind and solar power (Photo: Pixabay)

US:

¶ The TransAlta power plant contributes 10% of the of the total greenhouse gas emmissions of Washington state. Its three units will shut down, one at a time, from 2020 to 2025. The plant’s coal comes from a terraced, open-to-the-sky strip mine, and TransAlta will replace its generating capacity by repurposing 1,000 acres of the mine site to a solar farm. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Rhode Island has become the first state to sue oil companies over the effects of climate change. It filed a complaint seeking damages for the costs associated with protecting the state from rising seas and severe weather. The state’s attorney general said Rhode Island would hold the companies accountable for harm they have caused. [InsideClimate News]

Rhode Island (Photo: Marc Choquette | CC-BY-2.0)

¶ An administrative law judge has recommended that plans for a proposed natural gas power plant in Minnesota come to an end. Judge Jeanne M Cochran said Minnesota Power’s proposed Nemadji Trail Energy Center is neither needed nor in the public interest, and should be rejected by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. [Duluth News Tribune]

¶ At a June 28 meeting, New Orleans regulators put the city’s public utility Entergy in the hot seat over slow progress on clean energy goals and increasing power outages. City council members showed little patience for the company, which currently is under investigation for its role in paying actors to show support for a proposed natural gas power plant. [DeSmog]

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July 2 Energy News

July 2, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “No Industry Immune To Blockchain Technology, Not Even The Electricity World” • What the blockchain technology does is to digitize generation and consumption data to permit peer-to-peer sales, allowing power to be monitored and traded without a utility middleman. A person whose solar panels produce excess electricity can sell to a stranger nearby. [Forbes]

Blockchain (Shutterstock image)

Science and Technology:

¶ A team of researchers working tirelessly to develop a new glass to store nuclear waste have found significant leads. One research scientist said, “Borosilicate glasses have high durability and are the chosen form to immobilize high-level nuclear waste. The key is to maintain durability in the very long term: thousands to hundreds of thousands of years.” [ecns]

¶ UK wave technology development company Marine Power Systems has successfully installed its prototype WaveSub wave energy converter at marine test centre FaBTest, marking the start of a new phase of sea-based testing. Wave energy could become a significant player in the UK power market, offering a competitive price for energy. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

WaveSub (MPS image)

World:

¶ German power production from renewable energy sources in the first half of 2018 totalled 104 billion kWh, 9.5% more than in the same period of 2017 and was above 100 billion kWh for the first time, according to utility E.ON. The company’s data showed the increase for the half of the year has been 33% over the past three years. [Reuters India]

¶ The Chinese plug-in electric vehicle market is at full charge, with some 94,000 units registered in May, up 127% from last year and just 8,000 units less than the current record of 102,000 units set last December. PEVs took a 5% market share in May, well above the 2.1% of 2017. If sales keep progressing this fast, expect a new all-time record in June. [CleanTechnica]

BAIC EC-180

¶ A report from the Grattan Institute says Australian federal and state governments must tell voters that government intervention to keep coal-fired power stations and other ageing assets working is a poor long-term solution. The problem of high power rates can only be fixed with credible climate policy that encourages investment. [The Guardian]

¶ Vattenfall has delivered power for the first time from the 93.2-MW Aberdeen Bay offshore wind farm. The project delivered electricity to the UK National Grid on 1 July from the first two of the 11 MHI Vestas turbines to go live, according to the Swedish company. Aberdeen Bay will feature two 8.8-MW machines and nine 8.4-MW units. [reNews]

Aberdeen Bay wind farm (Vattenfall image)

¶ First power has been generated from the 90-MW Nangang offshore wind farm in China, turbine manufacturer Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy SA said. The wind park in Tianjin is owned by a subsidiary of PowerChina. Located off the coast of Tianjin, northeastern China, the plant uses 18 turbines of the G132-5MW model. [Renewables Now]

US:

¶ In the US, EV sales have been hovering in the neighborhood of 1% for the last two years. But EV sales in April 2018 were 1.74% of total light vehicle sales and could end up close to 2% by the end of 2018. This is primarily because of deliveries of Tesla’s Model 3. California’s EV market share reached a record 7.77% in April and could go much higher. [CleanTechnica]

Ford F-150

¶ Irish solar company BNRG Renewables has begun construction of a portfolio of ten solar PV projects totalling 35 MW in Oregon. The projects have secured a 20-year power purchase agreement with local utility Portland General Electric. Construction started in early June on the first three projects. All are expected to be completed by mid-2019. [Irish Times]

¶ To address the threat of rising seas and subsiding land, during the recent primary elections Foster City, California proposed a ballot measure: $90 million worth of property tax increases to fund raising the levees by 2½ metres. Foster City residents voted yes, by more than 80%. The levees should protect them for a little over thirty years. [CBC.ca]

Foster City (Kim Brunhuber | CBC)

¶ Tesla teamed up with the Pacific Gas and Electric Company, one of the largest electric utilities in the US, to produce a massive battery system with a capacity of up to 1.1 GWh. The battery packs for this project will be provided by Tesla with an output capacity of 182.5 MW of power for 4 hours. PG&E can choose to increase the time to 6 hours. [TNW]

¶ During visits from energy assistance agencies, low-income households in Colorado are getting a new question: Have you considered solar panels? It is an innovative approach to solving two challenges: reducing greenhouse gas emissions as the effects of climate change appear across the state, and reducing electric bills for low-income families. [InsideClimate News]

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July 1 Energy News

July 1, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “India’s huge solar ambitions could push coal further into shade” • India says it intends to launch a tender for 100 GW of solar power, 10 times the size of the current largest solar tender in the world, which is also Indian. These and other green power promises from Delhi have serious implications for the coal industry. [The Guardian]

Solar array (Adani | Supplied)

Science and Technology:

¶ A study from the University of California in Santa Cruz, shows that we might have a powerful tool at our disposal to scrub carbon dioxide from the air. We can do this by splitting seawater atoms and producing hydrogen gas for fuel at the same time. The carbon dioxide is turned into a bicarbonate. [India Times]

World:

¶ Leading Saudi electricity producer and desalter, Acwa power, officially switched on a 120-MW wind farm in northern Morocco, as it continues to diversify its portfolio in the north African country. It is the first wind farm by Acwa power, a group that operates solar and desalination plants in 10 countries. [The North Africa Post]

Wind farm in Morocco

¶ US President Donald Trump has urged Saudi Arabia to sharply increase its oil production to combat the rising cost of fuel. Mr Trump tweeted that he had asked Saudi ruler King Salman to raise oil output by up to two million barrels a day. “Prices to [sic] high! He has agreed!” the president added. [BBC]

¶ The Swansea tidal lagoon energy project could go ahead without UK government backing. The Welsh government said it does not have the resources to back the project, but a Swansea council leader told the BBC’s Sunday Politics Wales it could be viable under different ways of paying for it and selling the energy. [BBC News]

Swansea tidal lagoon energy project (TLP)

¶ Kosovo aims to generate a quarter of its energy from renewable sources by 2020 to meet the standards of the EU, which it aspires to join. To achieve that goal it has to attract more investment and shift away from coal. Nine turbines at Kosovo’s first wind farm will cover 3% of the country’s demand. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ In an effort to become a ‘green’ city by 2025, Da Nang cut 12,000 tons of carbon emissions with solar-powered home water heaters and environmentally-friendly electric cars. Vietnam’s central region is sunny almost all year, so solar power systems are seen as among the most effective power solutions. [Inquirer.net]

Rooftop solar system (Viet Nam News | Asia News Network)

¶ A Chinese firm, Shenzhen Kang Ming Sheng Technology Industry Incorporation said it is planning to invest in a renewable energy manufacturing plant in Nigeria to help address the country’s power situation. The plant would produce affordable solar panels, energy-saving lights, and other clean energy products. [Today.ng]

US:

¶ The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejected both of PJM Interconnection’s proposals to address failures in its 13-state capacity markets due to state subsidies supporting preferred generation resources. The decision came on a 3-2 vote. States supporting nuclear and renewable power is an issue for FERC commissioners. [Utility Dive]

Nuclear power plant

¶ Colorado farmers are turning to a resource bringing new economic life into eastern Colorado: wind turbines. One family has thirty turbines going up on its land, part of the largest wind farm ever put up in the state. The Xcel project will have a capacity of 300 MW, and is to be in operation in October. [Colorado Springs Gazette]

¶ The US cut its contribution to the Global Environment Facility for the first time in nearly 30 years, India Climate Dialogue reported. In 2014, the US gave $546 million to the GEF, which convenes an assembly once every four years. Reportedly, the Trump administration’s 2018 contribution will be only $273 million. [ThinkProgress]

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June 30 Energy News

June 30, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “3 Oil Companies Getting Serious About Renewable Energy – and 2 That Aren’t” • The good news is that some of the world’s largest oil and gas producers are investing billions in renewable energy assets, from offshore wind farms to solar energy to next-generation batteries. Unfortunately, other oil majors are all talk with no action. [Motley Fool]

Wind turbines

¶ “‘We’ve turned a corner’: farmers shift on climate change and want a say on energy” • Out in the Australian bush, far from the political jousting in Canberra, attitudes are changing. National Farmers’ Federation head Fiona Simson says people on the land cannot ignore what is right before their eyes. They have turned a corner on climate change. [The Guardian]

Science and Technology:

¶ Levels of air pollution well below what is considered safe by the US EPA and the World Health Organization are causing an increased risk of diabetes worldwide, a study published in Lancet Planetary Health said. In 2016, air pollution contributed to 3.2 million new diabetes cases, worldwide. It is linked to 150,000 new cases per year in the US. [CNN]

Salt Lake City (Eltiempo10, Wikimedia Commons)

World:

¶ Offshore wind turbine manufacturer and developer MHI Vestas announced that its flagship V164 9.5-MW offshore wind turbine, the world’s most powerful wind turbine, was awarded an S class type certificate, paving the way for installations to begin in late 2019. MHI Vestas also held the previous record, which was 8.8 MW. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Following an agreement with Danish energy group Ørsted in February, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy confirmed that it will provide 165 of its SG 8.0-167 DD wind turbines to the 1,386 MW Hornsea Project Two offshore wind farm. The project is set to be built in the Hornsea Offshore Wind Zone off the west coast of England. [CleanTechnica]

Siemens Gamesa SG 8.0-167 DD turbine

¶ Poland’s upper house of parliament approved an amendment to the renewable sources of energy law to remove obstacles to green energy investment and help meet EU renewable energy targets. Poland’s conservative Law and Justice party won the 2015 election partly with promises to sustain the coal industry, but its direction has changed. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ New figures published by the UK’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy showed that renewable energy accounted for 30.1% of the country’s total electricity generation in the first quarter, up 3% from last year. There was record wind generation that accounted for over half of the total renewable energy generation. [CleanTechnica]

Hywind offshore wind farm in Scotland

¶ Three utilities announced a collaboration aimed to advance the research and development of renewable natural gas, including such technologies as power-to-gas, which uses renewable power to synthesize fuel. One of the utilities, Énergir (formerly Gaz Metro), is the parent company of Vermont Gas Systems and Green Mountain Power. [Vermont Biz]

¶ Denmark will build three new offshore wind farms with a total capacity of at least 2,400 MW by 2030, a unanimous Danish parliament agreed. In 2017, 43% of Denmark’s total electricity consumption was supplied by wind turbines, one of the largest shares in the world. Denmark has also increased its renewable energy goals. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Wind energy

US:

¶ According to a report produced by the National Association of State Energy Officials and the Energy Futures Initiative, there are more than twice as many solar power jobs in the US as jobs in the coal industry. Solar was also the fastest growing sector in US employment, before the Trump administration’s policies started to go into effect. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The US Energy Information Administration summarized the true coal power trends very concisely, saying, “At least 25 GW of coal-fired capacity will retire within the next three years (2018–2020), according to planned retirements reported to the EIA.” It also pointed out that natural gas now produces more power than coal. [CleanTechnica]

Coal-fired power plant

¶ A PacifiCorp study concluded that coal plants owned by Wyoming’s largest utility are not always the cheapest power source for customers, particularly compared to renewables. That finding runs counter to assumptions that proximity to coal mines always drives down the cost of coal power, compared with other options. [Casper Star-Tribune Online]

¶ Chinese company GCL New Energy completed construction of the first phase of its 50-MW GCL Oregon solar project, and the facility is already selling power to local utilities. GCL Oregon, located in Jefferson County, consists of four single sub-projects. Two additional sub-projects will reach commercial operation in July and November. [reNews]

GCL solar project (GCL image)

¶ Land O’Lakes, Inc and California Bioenergy have launched a collaboration to support financing, installation, and management of on-farm methane digesters to generate compressed natural gas fuel from renewable resources in California. State law requires that farms reduce methane emissions 40% from 2013 levels by 2030. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ The 11th Circuit shot down a novel request for NextEra Energy to get a tax refund on the $97 million it paid to dispose of nuclear waste. Citing the net operating losses from fees it had paid pursuant to the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, NextEra had sought a refund in from tax payments made between 1969 and 1995. [Courthouse News Service]

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June 29 Energy News

June 29, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “These Are the Toughest Emissions to Cut, and a Big Chunk of the Climate Problem” • Efforts to tackle climate change typically focus on renewable energy or cleaner cars. Without improving shipping, cement, and steel, however, major greenhouse gas pollution sources will be locked in for generations, new research shows. [InsideClimate News]

Ocean shipping (Photo: Sean Gallup | Getty Images)

¶ “How to convince a country to end their reliance on coal” • In a victory for all of us campaigning for a renewable future, Israel’s Minister of Energy, Yuval Steinitz, recently announced that Israel will be free of coal and oil by 2030. We focused on three issues: Coal is bad for public health, bad for public finances, and bad for our climate. [Greenpeace International]

Science and Technology:

¶ A paper by University of Southern Mississippi researchers, published in the journal Scientific Reports, says oil residue from the Deepwater Horizon fire and spill of 2010 caused fundamental changes in microbes playing an important role in marine carbon dioxide absorption. They are also essential building blocks in the food chain for marine life. [CleanTechnica]

Deepwater Horizon (US Coastguard photo)

World:

¶ BYD opened a 24 GWh battery factory in Western China’s Qinghai province, with plans to ramp up to a total production capacity of 60 GWh by 2020. The new factory joins BYD’s two other existing battery factories in Shenzhen and Huizhou. At full capacity, the factory’s 60 GWh of batteries can supply 1.2 million of BYD’s popular Tang EV. [CleanTechnica]

¶ BYD announced that it was releasing the technology for 341 sensors and 66 controllers for its DiLink system “on an open platform” to encourage other companies to adopt a standard platform for the developing EVs. BYD’s DiLink Intelligent Network System is a critical part of its e-Platform, the foundation for its EV technology. [CleanTechnica]

BYD production line in Shenzhen

¶ Canadian Solar has started commercial operations at the 56.3-MW Yamaguchi Shin Mine solar farm in Japan. The project comprises 173,000 Canadian Solar CS6U modules and is expected to generate approximately 66,000 MWh of electricity a year. Chugoku Electric Power will buy the electricity under a 20-year feed-in-tariff contract. [reNews]

¶ The Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro project would have to double or triple in size for Australia to meet its Paris climate change agreements, says Snowy Hydro chief executive Paul Broad. GE’s regional head of hydropower for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Bill Armstrong, agreed, saying the  single project was not enough. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro project (Photo supplied)

¶ Blackrock, the world’s largest investment company, bought a 197.4-MW wind farm in Norway through one of its funds, and it will cover its construction cost. The seller, Zephyr, will continue to manage the farm’s construction, which will cost about €200 million ($231.76 million) and is expected to be completed by the end of 2020. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ Seaway Heavy Lifting crane vessel Stanislav Yudin installed the first monopile foundation for Trianel’s 200-MW Borkum West 2.2 offshore wind farm in the German North Sea. The project is 45 km off the coast of Borkum island. The wind farm will feature 32 Senvion 6.3MW turbines and is scheduled to be operational before the end of 2019. [reNews]

First monopile installation (Image: Trianel | TWB II)

¶ Jan De Nul Group has completed export cable installation at Trianel’s 203-MW Borkum West 2.2 and Orsted 450-MW Borkum Riffgrund 2 offshore wind farms in the German North Sea. Cable laying vessel Willem de Vlamingh and trenching support vessel Adhemar de Saint-Venant were mobilised for both jobs, according to Jan De Nul. [reNews]

US:

¶ For the month of April, coal generated a total of 73,489 MWh, or 24.3% of the country’s total net generation. Natural gas is still dominant with 100,004 MWh, or 33% of production. Meanwhile, nuclear and renewables continued to battle it out, with nuclear having 19.5% and renewables (all sources, including hydroelectric) at 22% of total electricity. [CleanTechnica]

Renewable Energy

¶ Energy Secretary Rick Perry told reporters that bailing out struggling coal and nuclear power plants is as important to national security as keeping the military strong. “You cannot put a dollar figure on the cost to keep America free,” he said. When asked about the cost of a potential bailout, he said he did not yet know. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ Hydro-Québec and Central Maine Power Company jointly announced the successful conclusion of contract negotiations with Massachusetts electric distribution companies for the New England Clean Energy Connect 100% hydropower project. The deal will provide enough renewable electricity to power over 3 million electrical vehicles. [CleanTechnica]

Hydro-Québec reservoir

¶ At the World Gas Conference in Washington this week, the world’s biggest energy companies championed natural gas as the fuel of the future, rather than one that simply bridges the gap toward renewables. Their message was that to reduce emissions and provide affordable electricity, the world needs to burn more fossils, not less. [Bloomberg]

¶ South Carolina state lawmakers have overridden Governor Henry McMaster’s veto of a bill that gives SCE&G customers a rate cut of 15%. The governor had felt the cut did not go far enough in giving customers a break for footing the cost of a disastrous project. He had been hoping for a reduction of 18% for electricity customers. [WLTX.com]

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June 28 Energy News

June 28, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Can Wind Turbines Make You Sick?” • Whether the sound, audible or inaudible, actually impacts human health remains a deeply contested issue. Scientific consensus suggests it does not. Twenty-five peer-reviewed studies looking at a range of health effects have found that living near wind turbines does not pose a risk on human health. [NOVA Next]

Wind turbines

¶ “The single sentence that sums up the government’s latest betrayal of our future” • Just as the UK’s government decided to increase defence spending from 2% to 3% of GDP, it dropped support for “the world’s first tidal power lagoon” in Swansea. The Green Party observed, “The Government’s energy policy is in chaos.” [The Canary]

¶ “New coal doesn’t stack up – just look at Queensland’s renewable energy numbers” • Is all the pro-coal jockeying within the federal government actually necessary for the future of our energy or our economy? There is a reason why virtually all new generation being built in Australia is solar or wind energy. It is because PVs and wind are inexpensive. [Phys.Org]

Windy Hill (Credit: Leonard Low | Flickr | Wikimedia Commons)

World:

¶ Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy announced that it would supply 136 wind turbines to Brazil’s Santa Luzia wind complex, which consists of 15 wind farms with a total capacity of 471 MW. Brazil’s installed wind energy capacity sits at 13 GW, including about 3 GW installed by Siemens Gamesa, and has another 5 GW in its pipeline. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Chinese solar PV maker JinkoSolar confirmed that it intends to ship between 11.5 and 12 GW of solar modules in 2018. It shipped 2,015 MW of solar modules in the first quarter. This is a decrease of 18.8% from the 2,481 MW shipped in the fourth quarter of 2017 and a 2.6% decrease on the 2,068 MW shipped in the first quarter of 2017. [CleanTechnica]

Inside the JinkoSolar factory

¶ Britain must set out policies and incentives to cut greenhouse gas emissions more, or the taxpayer will face higher costs to meet legally-binding targets for reductions, the government’s climate advisers said. Britain has cut greenhouse gas emissions by 43% from 1990 levels, but three quarters of that came from the power sector. [Reuters]

¶ Lord mayor Clover Moore’s plan to make half of Sydney’s power come from renewable energy has been supercharged by the launch of an industrial-sized Tesla Powerpack battery and solar installation. The Alexandra Canal transport depot is powered by about 1600 solar panels and supported by a 500-kWh battery. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

Alexandra Canal Depot (Photo supplied)

¶ One of Scotland’s best known landscapes could become home to a transformational development to provide energy storage capable of meeting the country’s renewable ambitions. Red John, in Loch Ness, would follow the example of existing pumped-storage schemes by making use of two water sources connected by a pressure tunnel. [The Scotsman]

US:

¶ In Oregon, Eagle Point solar farm has a “solar apiary” that has agriculture with PVs. The owners believe the installation is the largest of its kind in the country. Utility-scale solar is sited with 48 beehives, covering 41 acres of land and providing pollination services to surrounding farms, while also producing electricity for the local grid. [Treehugger]

Bee visiting a flower (supersum, CC BY 2.0)

¶ For the first time, large-scale solar is coming to Wyoming. The US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management gave the final environmental approval for Wyoming’s first utility-scale solar project located on roughly 700 acres of land in Sweetwater County. The Sweetwater Solar plant is a project of 174 Power Global. [pv magazine USA]

¶ The City of Albuquerque is installing 12 solar power systems using a bond that will be paid back with electricity savings. Along with this, the local police and fire facilities are increasing their resilience with onsite energy generation. Along the way, the city moves closer to 25% renewable electricity and local jobs are being created. [pv magazine USA]

SunEdison carport (SunEdison photo)

¶ Renewable energy sources accounted for more than one-fifth (20.05%) of net domestic electrical generation during the first third of 2018, according to a SUN DAY Campaign analysis of data released by the US Energy Information Administration. And solar power alone is now providing 2.07% of the nation’s electrical production. [Solar Power World]

¶ In Hawaii, the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative signed a power purchase agreement with project developer and constructor AES Distributed Energy for 25 years, set at a price of 10.85¢/kWh. The utility said the facility will be one of its “lowest-cost power sources.” It has 19.3 MW of solar and 70 MWh of battery storage capacity. [Energy Storage News]

The coast of Kaua’i (Image: Flickr user Paul Bica)

¶ On June 22, Puerto Rico quietly asked the world to deliver one of the biggest battery systems ever built. The proposal, which was posted on a government website, calls for the island to add at least 200 MWh of batteries as it rebuilds in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. That is enough to supply 5% of the island’s peak electricity demand. [Quartz]

¶ The South Carolina House and Senate passed a proposal to cut temporarily SCE&G’s electric rates by almost 15%, almost wiping out the portion of the utility’s power bills that customers now pay for two abandoned nuclear reactors. Gov Henry McMaster threatened to veto the rate-cut bill, saying it does not protect customers well enough. [The State]

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June 27 Energy News

June 27, 2018

Science and Technology:

¶ Around the world, coral reefs are being wiped out by rising sea temperatures, a consequence of climate change. But in some places, there are corals that are able to withstand the heat. Marine biologists are trying to learn what gives these corals their ability to survive warming seas and whether genetic technology could be used to save dying coral reefs. [CNN]

Grouper and coral

¶ John Goodenough invented the lithium-ion battery. Now aged 95, he claims to have invented a new solid state battery with remarkable features. He and his fellow researchers claim their batteries can last for more than 23,000 charge/discharge cycles and have the highest known relative dielectric constant. But the numbers raise some red flags. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Swedish company Azelio says it has developed new technology that could make concentrated solar power suitable for projects as small as 500 kW or as large as 20 MW, according to a report in Renewable Energy Magazine. The key to the Azelio system is that is uses molten aluminum to store heat and a Stirling engine to generate electricity. [CleanTechnica]

Stirling engine

World:

¶ The ongoing renewables surge in Australia is making it harder for the Tony Abbott coal lobby push to gain traction against the National Energy Guarantee. Green Energy Markets predicts clean energy will supply 33.3% of market generation in the eastern states by 2020, rising to 40% by 2030. The NEG goes for 32% to 36% by 2030. [Energy Matters]

¶ Environmental impact non-profit CDP announced that the 115 of the world’s largest purchasers it works with, which together represent annual spend of over $3.3 trillion, are requesting environmental data from over 11,500 suppliers. The list of 115 companies includes behemoths like Walmart, CVS Health, Target Corporation, and Tesco. [CleanTechnica]

Loading containers on a ship

¶ India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy reiterated an offshore windpower capacity target of 5 MW by 2022. It also set a new capacity target of 30 GW by 2030. The announcement came about 18 months after Suzlon Energy started measurements of wind quality off the coast of Gujarat. India’s target for onshore windpower is 60 GW.  [CleanTechnica]

¶ Norwegian developer Equinor has installed and officially launched the batwind storage system at the 30-MW Hywind Scotland floating offshore wind farm. The 1-MW battery is located at the project’s onshore substation. Hywind features five Siemens Gamesa 6-MW turbines atop spar foundations and entered commercial operations last year. [reNews]

Offshore wind turbines (Image: Oyvind Gravas | Equinor)

¶ Xavier Ursat, Group senior executive vice president of EDF in charge of new nuclear projects and engineering, and Andreas Lusch, President and CEO of GE’s Steam Power business, announced signing of a strategic cooperation agreement between GE and EDF for the planned construction of 6 EPR reactors in Maharashtra, India. [New Kerala]

US:

¶ Dickinson College, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, has taken a step towards taking control of its electricity usage with the installation of 12,456 solar panels on a 12-acre plot adjacent to the school. The system represents about 5 solar panels per student and will offset 25% of the usage of the electricity used by the school each year. [CleanTechnica]

Dickinson College solar farm

¶ BP Plc, Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp escaped blame for the public costs of global warming when a US judge ruled that lawsuits by cities against oil companies are not the answer to climate change. The court did accept the reality of human caused climate change, and the cities are reviewing whether they should appeal. [Los Angeles Times]

¶ Golden Gate Zero Emission Marine, a San Francisco Bay Area company, announced it received a $3 million grant by the California Air Resources Board to build the first hydrogen fuel-cell ferry in the US. If hydrogen fuel cells become more widely adopted, the demand could also provide California with support to store renewable energy. [San Francisco Examiner]

Fuel-cell ferry (Courtesy rendering)

¶ In Irvine, California, the Irvine Water District and Michelson Capital announced the completion of the nation’s largest behind-the-meter energy storage project at the Irvine Ranch Water District’s Michelson Water Recycling Plant. The new 2.5-MW/15-MWh installation is a part of a distributed network of 11 energy storage installations. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Ohio lawmakers are considering a bill that would relax the state’s strict wind turbine setbacks rules but again weaken renewable and energy efficiency standards. House Bill 114 would roll back the state’s on-again, off-again clean energy standards, which resumed 18 months ago after a 2014 law suspended them for two years. [Energy News Network]

Wind turbines

¶ Following a strategic review, GE has announced a focus on aviation, power and renewable energy. GE says its energy strategy, driven by GE Power and GE Renewable Energy, is based on offering a range of energy solutions across the electricity value chain. GE is shedding positions in oil services, healthcare, and transportation. [North American Windpower]

¶ Warming waters have reduced the harvest of Alaska’s prized Copper River salmon to a fraction of last year’s harvest, Alaska biologists say. The runs of Copper River salmon were so low that the Alaska Department of Fish and Game shut down commercial harvests last month, cutting a season that usually lasts three months to less than two weeks. [The Japan Times]

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June 26 Energy News

June 26, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Microgrids are the future of U.S. energy security” • Puerto Rico serves as an alarming reminder of the increasing threat of disasters capable causing grid failure anywhere in the country. US Army Corps of Engineers officials are exploring the use of microgrids to reduce the risk of regional, state, or nation-wide power outages. [United States Army]

Puerto Rico (Photo: US Army photo by Preston Chasteen)

Science and Technology:

¶ A Danish company, Ecobotix, is developing solutions that may eliminate the use of chemical pesticides. It uses drones to deliver biological predators that can attack and eliminate agricultural pests. The drones also provide farmers with visual and infrared imagery recorded at fixed intervals so the farmer can see how crops are developing. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Polymetalic nodules containing cobalt, manganese, nickel, and copper can be found lying exposed on the ocean floor in some parts of the Earth. DeepGreen and Nauru Ocean Resources, Inc are developing technology to collect the polymetallic nodules, bring them to the surface, and process them with the objective of producing zero waste. [CleanTechnica]

DeepGreen nodule harvesting

¶ Perovskite solar panels cost much less than silicon-based solar panels, but they are easily damaged by moisture and are harder to manufacture commercially. Researchers at the New York University School of Engineering, working with colleagues at other universities in China and the US, think they have an answer for easier manufacturing. [CleanTechnica]

¶ On June 24, a purpose-built Volkswagen electric race car took its turn racing in the annual Pikes Peak Hill Climb. When it finished, not only had it beat the existing electric car record, it had set the fastest time ever recorded for the event. Its time was just a tick over 7 minutes, 57 seconds, beating the old record by almost 17 seconds. [CleanTechnica]

VW racer on Pikes Peak

World:

¶ The UK government has pulled support for the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon Project. MP Gregory Clark, who is also the Britain’s secretary of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said in the end, the £1.3 billion ($1.7 billion) project was not a value for the money. Ocean Energy Europe was among those that panned the decision. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ Investment in low-carbon energy sources must be at least double the current level to ensure temperature targets are attained, according to a paper published last week in Nature Times. The paper showed that, globally, an extra $460 billion investment into clean energy is needed each year over the next 12 years to meet the 1.5°C limit. [Power Technology]

Wind farm (Wikimedia image)

¶ Egypt’s Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy said it will inaugurate one of the largest wind power farms in the world, a state-run newspaper said. The wind farm, in Egypt’s Red Sea governorate, has 300 wind turbines and a capacity of 580 MW. Construction started in 2015 and cost 12 billion Egyptian pounds (about $625 million). [Arab News]

¶ According to Polish industry bodies, the nation’s government is creating a bill to enable development of offshore wind projects. The news was announced in the Offshore Wind Journal. Polish MP Zbigniew Gryglas confirmed that the country is targeting 6 GW of new offshore capacity by 2030, with the potential of reaching 10 GW by 2040. [Energy Digital]

Offshore wind farm (Getty Images)

¶ The government of South Australia has approved the first phase of a huge renewable energy project that eventually will add 400 MW of PV capacity and 270 MWh of battery storage. The approval was for Solar River Project Stage 1, which will include a 200-MW solar park and a 120-MWh lithium-ion energy storage facility. [Renewables Now]

¶ BYD, known for electric buses and SkyRail, has been working to develope stationary energy storage solutions. BYD brought its two new energy storage offerings to Intersolar Europe in Munich this week as falling battery prices continue to make stationary energy storage a cost-effective option for both businesses and homeowners around the world. [CleanTechnica]

BYD energy storage

US:

¶ The Senate passed a $145 billion spending bill 86-5, with provisions to fund the DOE for 2019. It keeps spending level or slightly increases funds for programs offered through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy as well as the Energy Information Agency. It includes $1.2 billion for nuclear energy research and development. [Greentech Media]

¶ Michigan’s CMS Energy announced the addition of two new planned wind farms to its portfolio. They will have a combined capacity of 250 MW. CMS Energy subsidiary Consumers Energy has entered into an agreement to own, construct and operate the Gratiot Farms Wind Project now being developed by Tradewind Energy. [Windpower Engineering]

Wind turbines

¶ The Hawaiian island of Kauai will become home to a 19.3-MW solar park with a 70-MWh energy storage system, which will help it move closer to reaching a 70% renewables generation target earlier than planned. The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative announced that the project had been approved by the state’s Public Utilities Commission. [Renewables Now]

¶ Santee Cooper asked the South Carolina Supreme Court to rule that twenty electric co-ops – and their almost two million customers – must continue to pay the costs of the state-owned utility’s failed effort to build two nuclear reactors. The petition was a reaction to lawsuits filed against Santee Cooper by some of the co-ops. [The State]

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June 25 Energy News

June 25, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Why solar is suddenly so sexy for Indian companies” • A few months ago, a few firms were experimenting with renewable energy. Now, solar and wind energy tariffs are below grid costs and the government pushing for renewables, so companies are going big on them. Some are even working towards meeting all their needs with clean power. [Quartz]

Solar power (Stringer | Reuters)

¶ “30 years later, deniers are still lying about Hansen’s amazing global warming prediction” • The incredible accuracy of James Hansen’s climate model predictions can debunk a number of climate denier myths. It shows that climate models are accurate and global warming is proceeding as predicted. But some people purposely distort Hanson’s work. [The Guardian]

World:

¶ India’s Directorate General of Trade Remedies is set to hold a public hearing in the national capital with regard to imposition of 70% safeguard duty on imported solar equipment. Solar power developers have expressed concerns that such a duty on solar equipment may jeopardize India’s target of installing 100 GW capacity by 2022. [Moneycontrol.com]

Solar array on water

¶ The roll-out of large-scale solar power in Queensland – and the ongoing rapid uptake of rooftop solar by homes and businesses – is starting to have an impact on electricity prices in the state, even sending prices into negative territory in the middle of the day. On June 19, wholesale electricity prices in the state dipped below zero. [RenewEconomy]

¶ China’s decision to cap deployment and reduce feed-in-tariffs for solar projects may lead to a further drop in module prices, and this is likely to result in further reduction in solar bid tariffs, experts say. Chinese module prices are expected to decline to 29¢/W or lower from the current average of 33¢/W, following this announcement. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Indian solar array

¶ Sembcorp Solar Singapore Pte Ltd won a 50-MW project from the Housing & Development Board and the Singapore Economic Development Board. Sembcorp will build, own, operate, and maintain grid-tied rooftop solar systems in the West Coast and Choa Chu Kang Town Councils along wtih 27 other government sites in Singapore. [The Straits Times]

¶ World leaders and officials from over 100 nations, top heads of UN agencies and multilateral financial institutions, scientists, and activists gathered in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang for the Global Environment Facility’s Assembly to tackle global climate change challenges. The GEF Assembly reviews policy every three to four years. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Air pollution

¶ A windpower boom is underway in Finland. Hundreds of new wind farms are in the pipeline, despite the state’s intention to curb subsidies for the energy source. A renewable energy expert at the Lappeenranta University of Technology, explains that today wind energy is €5 to €7 cheaper per megawatt hour to produce than nuclear power. [YLE News]

¶ Residents of five German cities, including Berlin and Hamburg, took it to the streets on Sunday to protest against the country’s reliance on coal for power production. The Associated Press reported that about 22% of Germany’s electricity comes from burning lignite or brown coal, 12% from hard coal, and 33% from renewable energy. [MINING.com]

Germans protesting against coal (Photo: WWF Twitter page)

¶ London’s first “virtual power station” is to be created using only electricity produced by solar panels fitted on the roofs of houses. Batteries will be installed at about 40 homes already fitted with solar panels within the borough of Barnet. The virtual power station will mean they can both save and earn money from excess energy. [Compelo]

US:

¶ Tippy Dam in Brethren, Michigan, has become Consumers Energy’s latest hydroelectric facility to mark 100 years. The company celebrated the milestone by opening the dam to public tours. A company spokesman said Consumers Energy anticipates that the dam will be vital part of its energy portfolio for years to come. [Manistee News Advocate]

Tippy Dam (Michelle Graves | News Advocate)

¶ Thirty years after many Americans first heard the term climate change, Skagit County, Washington – like the rest of the world – is warmer on average. The North Cascades now has less glacial ice and the Sauk River has more intense winter floods. The changes NASA scientist James Hansen warned Congress about in June 1988 are now real. [goskagit.com]

¶ Michigan energy suppliers say that the Trump administration proposal to declare an energy state of emergency is unnecessary and could lead to higher electric bills for customers. One nuclear and four more coal plants are to retire in Michigan by 2025. The closures would nearly eliminate grid-supporting coal generation in the state. [The Detroit News]

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June 24 Energy News

June 24, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Thirty Years Ago Today, Global Warming First Made Headline News” • On June 23, 1988, amid a host of environmental issues, global warming jumped from an esoteric news item to the front page. That day, NASA climate scientist James Hansen told a US Senate committee that human-produced greenhouse gases were measurably heating the climate. [NOVA Next]

Fire at Yellowstone National Park in 1988

¶ “How big corporations are – and aren’t – fighting global warming” • Major companies in the US and worldwide are increasingly acting to lower the carbon footprint of what they produce, how they ship goods, and the energy they buy. They are driven by market signals, government mandates, reputational interests, investor pressure, and other factors. [Axios]

¶ “Green energy feels the heat as subsidies go to fossil fuels” • The “big six” energy companies have raised their prices so that the average British household is paying £1,150 to £1,200 a year. Grassroots schemes can cut electricity bills in half, but with subsidy changes, the number that succeed dropped from 30 in 2016 to one last year. [The Guardian]

Bavarian village of Grossbardorf, fuelled by biogas from
its farms (Photo: Martin Siepmann | Rex | Shutterstock)

Science and Technology:

¶ North Dakota-based Weather Modification International uses planes to target clouds and draw out more rain from them. The concept, called cloud seeding, has been around for decades. But now, there is new urgency due to climate change and a rapidly growing global population, which have disrupted global water supplies. [CNN]

World:

¶ Talks over a 1,000 km (620 mile), 1,000-MW cable to carry electric power from geothermal plants in Iceland to the UK have been on the cards for decades. Iceland’s finance minister has called on the UK Government to offer a fixed energy price to enable plans for an undersea electricity cable between the two countries to move ahead. [Telegraph.co.uk]

Steam rising from a  geothermal power plant in
Iceland (Photo: Daniel Bosma | Moment Open)

¶ The Gujarat government announced a scheme under which farmers would be encouraged to generate electricity and sell their surplus to power distribution companies. The first phase of the ₹870 crore ($130.8 million) project would provide financial assistance to 12,400 farmers to generate an estimated 175 MW of power. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ Four renewable energy power plants with a total capacity of 120 MW will be put into operation in Mongolia’s southeast province of Dornogovi this year, the governor’s office said. They include three solar arrays with a combined capacity of 65 MW and a 55-MW wind farm. The country has more than 250 days of sunshine a year. [Pakistan Observer]

Small Mongolian PV system (Chinneeb, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ One of WWF Zimbabwe’s strategic objectives is to support renewable energy access and investments in the country. As part of achieving this objective, WWF Zimbabwe promoted biogas as a possible solution for reducing over-reliance on wood energy by households in two districts. Biogas makes people’s lives easier in a number of ways. [sundaymail.co.zw]

¶ While Japan’s government clings to atomic power even after the Fukushima nuclear crisis, its private sector is moving ahead with more use of renewables to power their operations amid growing international awareness of global warming. In parts of Japan, renewable power developers would supply much more than the grid can accept. [Japan Today]

Experimental turbine being towed in Japan (Kyodo image)

¶ India and Cuba have agreed to enhance cooperation in biotechnology, renewable energy, and medicine as President Ram Nath Kovind held wide-ranging talks with his Cuban counterpart Miguel Diaz-Canel to further cement their strong bilateral ties. Kovind arrived on the last leg of a tour including Greece and Suriname. [ETEnergyworld.com]

US:

¶ A freight train from Alberta derailed in northwest Iowa, leaking crude oil into the flooded fields flanking the tracks and raising concerns about the possible contamination of residential water supplies downstream, according to officials. No information was immediately available on how much oil each of the tankers was carrying. [CBC.ca]

Derailed cars (Sioux County Sheriff’s Office via Associated Press)

¶ Between 2016 and 2017 the amount of solar power produced in Minnesota jumped from almost nothing to 1.2% of the state’s electricity, the Minnesota Department of Commerce said. Now, with falling costs and environmental concerns, several cities, including Minneapolis, are setting bold goals for 100% renewable power. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

¶ After months of furious rhetoric from lawmakers, time for action is running out as legislators return to Columbia for a special, two-day session. They plan to finalize the state’s 2018-19 budget and pass bills aimed at protecting SC residents who pay higher power bills because of the VC Summer nuclear plant fiasco. But success is not guaranteed. [The State]

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June 23 Energy News

June 23, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Cleveland can lead in switch to clean energy” • On June 22, 1969, an oil slick in the Cuyahoga River caught fire, one of several such fires in the river’s history. Historically, the river was fed by pollution from Cleveland’s industry. The Cleveland of 2018 looks dramatically different – it’s a healthier city ecologically, and it’s working to diversify economically. [cleveland.com]

The Farrell, a crane and drilling barge, getting soil samples
for a pilot wind farm (John Funk, The Plain Dealer, File, 2015)

¶ “Indonesia poised to benefit as China’s Belt and Road turns green” • The Belt and Road Initiative, was unveiled by President Xi Jinping of China in September 2013 to reawaken and extend the old Silk Road for enhanced international trade, development, and cooperation. It is exected account for 30% of global gross domestic product. [Jakarta Post]

World:

¶ Global annual wind power capacity additions are now expected to average over 67 GW between 2018 and 2027 according to an updated forecast from MAKE Consulting, which had to upgrade its own forecasts made just last quarter. The organization projects that windpower will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 8%. [CleanTechnica]

Lake Turkana Wind Farm in Kenya

¶ Major players in the offshore wind market are eyeing India’s first 1-GW offshore wind farm, according to a list of interested parties released by the National Institute of Wind Energy. The list covers 35 companies that responded to an April call for expressions of interest to develop a project off the coast of the state of Gujarat. Three of them are Indian. [reNews]

¶ Turkey’s Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources is accepting applications for a 1,200-MW offshore wind plant, which will be the biggest in the world and Turkey’s first. The ceiling price for one MWh has been set as $8 and applicants will compete for the lowest bid in a reverse auction. Applications are due no later than October 23. [Daily Sabah]

Offshore wind farm

¶ Taiwan awarded Ørsted and a Northland Power-led consortium a total of 1664 MW of offshore wind capacity it is latest auction. Ørsted won 920 MW, taking its total Changhua pipeline to 1.82 GW. The Danish developer made successful bids of $84.06/MWh (€72.23). The Northland Power consortium won 744 MW with a bid of $73.40/MWh. [reNews]

¶ The first vessel powered by renewables and hydrogen, “Energy Observer”, moored at Flisvos Marina in Athens as part of its world tour to raise awareness on energy transition. Since it left France last June, Energy Observer has traveled more than 7,000 nautical miles, without emitting any greenhouse gases or fine particles. [Xinhua]

Energy Observer (Marios Lolos | Xinhua)

¶ The start of power generation by two AP1000 reactors under construction in China moved a step closer with first criticality being achieved at Sanmen 1 and the loading of fuel beginning at Haiyang 1. Both units are expected to begin operations by the end of this year. If they do so, they will be the first operating AP1000 reactors. [World Nuclear News]

US:

¶ Cobb EMC, an electric cooperative utility based in Georgia, announced an expansion of its solar energy portfolio through a 30-year power purchase agreement with Green Power EMC. This, along with other recent solar initiatives, increased the cooperative’s solar portfolio by 360% since 2016. Cobb EMC can now supply power at below 3¢/kWh. [Patch.com]

Solar array (Cobb EMC image)

¶ Former Senators Trent Lott of Mississippi and John Breaux of Louisiana, longtime lobbyists for big oil, formed a new political action committee. It is dedicated to the passage of a carbon tax. The plan would impose a carbon tax starting at $40, “rising gradually” at an as-yet-unspecified rate, with all the revenue returned as per-capita dividends. [Vox]

¶ This summer, Team Sunergy’s 2018 crew is taking Appalachian State University’s Cruiser Class solar car ROSE to race in two international competitions. The crew includes 15 team members, four faculty advisors, and a university photographer. They are setting off to Nebraska for the Formula Sun Grand Prix , held July 6–12. [Appalachian State University]

ROSE (Racing on Solar Energy)

¶ The IRS is extending incentives for solar power and other clean energy sources by as long as four years. Developers can claim a 30% tax credit for solar projects as long as they prove they’ve started construction by the end of 2019, an IRS notice said. That means breaking ground or investing at least 5% of the total expected costs of the installation. [Bloomberg]

¶ Two reports provide new details about Xcel Energy’s Colorado Energy Plan. The plan’s low bid prices for new renewable energy projects in the state include $35/MWh for solar with battery backup. The analysis of the impacts of the plan indicate boosts in employment and tax revenue for both Colorado and Pueblo County. [Clean Cooperative]

Colorado wind turbines (Jeffrey Beall, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The California Public Utilities Commission approved a 12-year solar rebate program for low-income homeowners living in disadvantaged communities, extending California’s Single-Family Affordable Solar Homes program. A law passed in 2013 required the CPUC to seek ways to enable solar power in disadvantaged areas. [Solar Power World]

¶ A California renewable energy company is working to create the first wind farm in Knox County, Illinois. Orion Renewable Energy Group plans to bring the farm to the land north of Galesburg but south of the Henry County line. The project would include a maximum of 150 wind towers generating up to 300 MW of power. [Galesburg Register-Mail]

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June 22 Energy News

June 22, 2018

Science and Technology:

¶ The results from the first experimental agrophotovoltaic program by the Fraunhofer Institute For Solar Energy Systems near Lake Constance in Germany found combining agriculture and farming increased the output of the land by 60% over what it would be if the same land was devoted 100% to farming or 100% to solar panels. [CleanTechnica]

Agrophotovoltaic system (©Fraunhofer ISE)

World:

¶ Mainstream Renewable Power has installed first of 50 turbines at the 170-MW Sarco wind farm in northern Chile. The Aela Energia-owned project, developed and built by Mainstream, features 3.4-MW Senvion turbines. The components were brought 160 km from the Port of Las Losas to the project site in Chile’s Atacama region. [reNews]

¶ Hybrit, which plans to make steel without using any fossil fuels, has broken ground in Sweden for its first pilot plant. Its CEO said that if the new process were applied to all of Sweden’s steel-making industry, the nation’s carbon emissions could be reduced by 10%. Hybrit is a consortium of Vattenfall, steel maker SSAB, iron ore producer LKAB. [CleanTechnica]

Making steel

¶ The world’s first sea-going car and passenger ferry fuelled by renewable energy is to be developed in Scotland. The vessel’s fuel will be produced from renewable electricity marking a paradigm shift towards entirely emissions-free marine transport. The supported development is expected to cost around €12.6 million. [Scottish Construction Now]

¶ BYD and its local partner Alexander Dennis Ltd have won London’s first order for fully-electric double-decker buses. The deal will see 37 BYD ADL Enviro400EV buses serving London’s transit passengers in the spring of 2019. London currently has five electric double-decker buses. It still has more than 6,800 double-decker buses to replace. [CleanTechnica]

London electric double-decker bus

¶ Backbenchers in Australia’s Coalition government are speaking in favor of its energy plan after complaints from former prime minister Tony Abbott. An unlikely alliance could kill the policy; Greens MP and Australia Capital Territory Climate Change Minister Shane Rattenbury joined Mr Abbott in dismissing the plan. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

¶ NEC Energy Solutions announced that they have completed and commissioned the largest energy storage system in Europe for EnspireME. The 48-MW energy storage system, located in Germany, has over 50 MWh of storage capacity and will generate revenue from the primary reserve market by providing reactive power for grid stabilization. [Business Wire]

Energy storage system in Jardelund, Germany

¶ As in other Latin American countries, China has become a strong investor in Argentina. But the environmental impact and economic benefits of this are subjects of discussion among local stakeholders. Energy is a key interest. One Argentine NGO’s study focuses on China’s financing of hydroelectric, nuclear, and hydrocarbon projects. [eco-business.com]

¶ The organizing committee for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic games aims to power them with renewable energy. All electricity will be derived from renewable energy sources. The committee also plans to use rental and lease services so that 99% of the goods procured for the Tokyo games will be reused or recycled. [The Japan Times]

Solar panels (Getty Images)

US:

¶ Hawaii has the country’s most aggressive Renewable Portfolio Standard, a plan to double renewable energy penetration by 2021, and multiple counties committed to a 100% renewable public transportation system. And Maui College just announced that it will become the first school in the country to be powered by 100% solar energy. [pv magazine USA]

¶ The Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center of Stony Brook University will play a key role in a nationwide research and development consortium for the offshore wind industry. Support will come from a public-private partnership of state governments, the offshore wind industry, utilities, and research laboratories. [Windpower Engineering]

Offshore wind farm

¶ Texas has some innovative microgrid projects as developers leverage its many opportunities. Electrical Midstream is a case in point. It is among 12 microgrid developers chosen to participate in the Microgrid Financing Connection program, which was launched at the Microgrid 2018 conference to match projects with financing. [Microgrid Knowledge]

¶ US oil and gas operations release far more methane into the atmosphere than the federal government estimates, causing much more harm to the environment and undermining the case for cleaner-burning natural gas as a bridge fuel to a carbon-free future, according to a study published in the prestigious journal Science. [Houston Chronicle]

Searching for a gas leak (Photo: Andrea Morales, STR | NYT)

¶ New York Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled an energy storage roadmap to guide the state to a 1.5-GW target by 2025. The plan offers guidance on how storage can provide value to consumers, meet grid demands, and accelerate deployment. It also highlighted ways to deal with permitting and siting issues and to cut indirect costs. [reNews]

¶ Connecticut Gov Dannel P Malloy signed two bills related to climate change and renewable energy. The Democratic state executive said he signed the bills because climate change “poses a threat” to the state’s residents. One bill contains provisions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and looks ahead to sea level rise. [Electric Light & Power]

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June 21 Energy News

June 21, 2018

World:

¶ Global law firm Hogan Lovells published a report showing the challenges posed by producing and accessing renewable energy in Africa, and how these can be overcome to achieve potential and scale. The analysis also highlights the potential for renewable energy production to revolutionize access to energy throughout the continent. [ESI Africa]

Renewable power in Africa

¶ Exhibitors at the Solar Canada conference in Calgary say the decision by Ontario premier-designate Doug Ford to axe Ontario’s cap-and-trade system and the Green Ontario Fund consumer rebate program means they may do less solar energy-related business in Ontario. They expect more investment to flow to Alberta and the US. [The Record]

¶ India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has clipped the wings of state energy bodies by abolishing the requirement that renewable energy projects receive state approval. Three solar projects that have been slowed down, with a total 7,750 MW of grid-connected PV capacity, are among those that will now move ahead more quickly. [pv magazine India]

Indian solar plant (Epagemakerwiki, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The French government approved six long-delayed offshore wind projects but sharply cut their subsidies. The six projects to French and foreign utilities had contracts to sell electricity at feed-in tariffs of around €200/MWh for 20 years guaranteed by the government, but after long delays for approval, that is being reduced to €150/MWh. [Reuters]

¶ South Korea’s energy ministry said it will compensate the state-run nuclear operator for the financial loss incurred by the early closure of an aged reactor. The Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co has decided to shutter Wolsong-1 before the end of its operational life cycle. The company had spent $536.2 million on improvements. [Yonhap News]

Wolsong-1 reactor (Yonhap)

Australia:

¶ A year’s worth of greenhouse gas savings of Australia’s solar panels could be wiped out because of technical problems at a single oil and gas project in Western Australia. Chevron promised its new Gorgon gas plant would capture and store 40% of its emissions through geo-sequestration. But the scheme has not worked yet. [ABC News]

¶ The Australian Capital Territory has warned it will be “very difficult” to sign on to the national energy guarantee in early August if the federal government fails to give any ground in the coming weeks. The ACT climate change minister said he has seen no willingness at the Commonwealth level to make any concessions. [The Guardian]

Factory emissions in New South Wales (Dave Hunt | AAP)

¶ Construction has started on Stockyard Hill Wind Farm project in Victoria. The project is being developed by Goldwind, a Chinese wind turbine manufacturer. The 530-MW wind farm will feature 149 wind turbines and will have enough generating capacity to power more than 340,000 households across Victoria and beyond. [Power Technology]

US:

¶ A California Senate panel has narrowly advanced a contentious proposal to link oversight of California’s power grid with other western states. The committee’s vote keeps alive a plan that has divided environmentalists and sparked passionate debate about the best way to expand renewable energy in the state and its neighbors. [Electric Light & Power]

San Francisco at night

¶ Southwestern Electric Power Co announced that the Louisiana Public Service Commission has approved the proposed Wind Catcher Energy Connection project. The $4.5 billion WCEC is a major wind farm and a dedicated power line that will bring low-cost, clean, reliable energy to AEP customers in Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. [Benzinga]

¶ MidAmerican Energy Co, based in Des Moines, provided its Iowa customers with more than half of their electricity from renewable sources last year. The Iowa Utilities Board verified that MidAmerican Energy served 50.8% of its retail electric load using renewable generation and expects this percentage to grow each year. [North American Windpower]

Iowa wind farm

¶ Puerto Rico’s governor signed a historic bill to privatize the territory’s troubled power company in a move many hope will help minimize power outages that have followed Hurricane Maria and stabilize the production and distribution of energy. The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority faces more than $9 billion in public debt. [Seattle Times]

¶ Chicago, which has committed to power its 900 municipal buildings with 100% renewable electricity by 2025, has joined a seven-city collaboration to request price estimates for renewable electricity. The collaboration, led by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, also includes Los Angeles; Houston; Orlando; Portland, Oregon; and Evanston, Illinois. [pv magazine USA]

Chicago

¶ Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper issued an executive order that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment develop a rule to establish a low-emissions vehicle program for the state which incorporates the requirements of the California LEV program. His order has specific deadlines to be met this year. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The United States imposed an additional 25% tariff on imported Chinese solar cells and modules last week in America’s steadily escalating trade war with one of the world’s most dominant economies and international powers. The newly imposed tariffs will impact $50 billion worth of Chinese products, including solar cells and modules. [CleanTechnica]

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June 20 Energy News

June 20, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “The Lifesaving Benefits of Offshore Wind Power” • As an environmental health and climate researcher, I’m intrigued by how offshore wind power may improve public health. Replacing fossil fuels with wind and solar energy, research shows, can reduce risks of asthma, hospitalizations and heart attacks. In turn, that can save lives. [US News & World Report]

Offshore wind farm (Sean Gallup | Getty Images)

Science and Technology:

¶ A nuclear experiment that borrows elements from existing designs to create a stable fusion reactor could make never-ending energy a reality within decades. A Washington startup, Agni Energym, says its ‘beam-target’ reactor focuses and controls the elements needed to achieve nuclear fusion more efficiently than other designs. [Infosurhoy]

¶ Cost reductions of up to 30% have been realised on elements of the 28-MW Nissum Bredning offshore wind farm demonstration project off the coast of Jutland in Denmark, according to Siemens Gamesa. The project showcases a several different engineering innovations that reduce costs of installation and the efficiency of electricity transmission. [reNews]

Turbine at Nissum Bredning (Siemens Gamesa image)

World:

¶ Finnish technology company Wärtsilä has unveiled a solar and energy storage hybrid system that it says will enable companies to deliver renewable electricity as “baseload” power. The system includes a software and control platform, which optimizes performance as it monitors changes in market conditions and rate structures. [reNews]

¶ Canada’s Magna builds cars for other companies, most notably BMW and Jaguar Land Rover. It builds the new Jaguar I-PACE at its Magna Steyer facility in Austria. It announced it has formed a joint venture with Beijing Electric Vehicle Company, a BAIC subsidiary, to engineer and build two new premium electric cars for the Chinese market. [CleanTechnica]

Zhenjiang car factory

¶ The number of offshore wind farms in operation, under construction, or in development has grown 10% in the last 12 months to 104 GW from 95 GW, RenewableUK data shows. The UK leads the list with 35.2 GW, followed by Germany with 23.4 GW, then Taiwan with 8.3 GW, China with 7.7 GW, and the US at 7.5 GW. [reNews]

¶ New solar power installations halved in the UK last year for the second year in a row, as fallout from government subsidy cuts continues. They declined from 4.1 GW in 2015 to 1.97 GW in 2016, and 0.95 GW last year. Labour said the figures showed the government’s commitment to green energy was “nothing but an empty PR move.” [The Guardian]

Solar installer (Ashley Cooper | Global Warming Images | Alamy)

Australia:

¶ Australia’s coal-fired generation could provide as little as 8% of its power as early as 2050, as it is replaced by cheap renewables and battery storage, along with household energy investments. The latest National Energy Outlook from Bloomberg New Energy sees technology and economics as more important than government policies. [RenewEconomy]

¶ The annual Bloomberg New Energy Finance energy outlook forecasts renewable power investment in Australia will reach more than A$186 billion ($138 billion) by 2050 as the rate of new wind and solar entering the market increases to account for 92% of all generation. BNEF projected further declines in the costs of renewable power. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

Rooftop solar panels in Australia (Photo: Jason South)

¶ Genex Power’s Queensland-based Kidston pumped hydro storage and solar project received more than $500 million from a government infrastructure fund that has previously drawn flak as a facility to prop up coal projects. The project is the first funded by the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility fund since it was overhauled. [The Sidney Morning Herald]

¶ The 2018 Lowy Institute’s annual poll on Australian attitudes found massive support for renewables. Asked if the government should focus on renewables “even if this means we may need to invest more” or traditional energy “even if this means the environment may suffer to some extent,” 84% of respondents chose renewables. [The Sidney Morning Herald]

Liddell power station (Photo: Janie Barrett)

US:

¶ The American Council on Renewable Energy, a national business group made up of companies that finance, develop, manufacture, and use all forms of renewable energy, announced the launch of a new campaign that aims to reach $1 trillion in new US private sector investment in renewable energy and enabling grid technologies by 2030. [Business Wire]

¶ Hydro-Québec and Central Maine Power Company have successfully concluded contract negotiations with the electric distribution companies in Massachusetts for the New England Clean Energy Connect, 100% hydropower project. Now, the agreement will go to the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Hydropower (Courtesy of Hydro-Québec)

¶ Nashville-based solar developer and operator Silicon Ranch Corp will build another 194 MW of solar capacity as part of a partnership with Georgia renewable energy provider Green Power EMC, the two said in separate statements. The capacity will come from four single-axis tracking solar parks in middle and south Georgia. [Renewables Now]

¶ New Hampshire Republican Gov Chris Sununu vetoed two energy-related bills that he says would have cost ratepayers about $110 million over three years. But key members of his party are bristling at the move, calling one bill a vital lifeline for the biomass and timber industry. And they say they have the votes to override a veto. [Concord Monitor]

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