Archive for the 'solar' Category

August 21 Energy News

August 21, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Why solar towers and storage plants will reshape energy markets” • The 150-MW solar tower and molten salt storage plant to be built in Port Augusta has been made possible by a ground-breaking pricing and contract structure that could help completely reshape Australian power markets, including the end of “baseload” power as we know it. [RenewEconomy]

Visitors at a solar thermal power plant

¶ “How Nigeria Can Cure Its Oil Addiction” • Nigeria is addicted to oil. The oil industry contributes over 90% of export earnings and around 70% of Nigeria’s government revenue. Successive governments have sought to diversify the economy with limited success. But global moves toward electric cars and renewable energy signal the decline of oil. [Newsweek]

World:

¶ The developer of a large-scale Queensland renewable energy hub has struck a “critical” new agreement as the project powers towards production. The agreement between Genex Power and Powerlink finalizes a “vital element” in connecting the Kidston solar and hydro projects – 400 km southwest of Cairns – to the national electricity grid. [The Cairns Post]

Former gold mine to be repurposed (Photo: Marc McCormack)

¶ Powerlink is investigating plans to connect up to 2000 MW of renewable projects in North Queensland. This could make the area an exporter of wind and solar power. The state government has announced plans to connect renewable projects in five cities and towns, while Powerlink has called for expressions of interest from potential stakeholders. [Townsville Bulletin]

¶ With an expected boost from regional suppliers of coal and equipment, Vietnam plans to rely more heavily on coal-fired power plants by 2030. Unless it can be mitigated, this is not only bad news for a Southeast Asian nation already suffering from severe air pollution but also for international efforts to battle climate change. [Asia Times]

Hawking coal bricks in Hanoi (Photo: AFP | Hoang Dinh Nam)

¶ GreenWish Partners, a renewable energy company run by a former Morgan Stanley executive, is planning to invest $800 million on solar-powered telephone towers across Africa. The project could fuel economic growth by providing power for essential services. Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest rates of energy access in the world. [Bloomberg]

¶ Panasian Power has announced the acquisition of Lower Kotmale-Oya Power Two (Pvt) Ltd to construct two mini hydro-power plants in the Sri Lankan district of Nuwara-Eliya in early 2018. The construction will have an estimated investment of 400 million rupees ($2.6 million), and envisages combined output of 7.53 GWh per annum. [Lanka Business Online]

Power grid in Sri Lanka

¶ Northland Power has reached financial close at its 252-MW DeBu offshore wind farm in the German North Sea. The total cost of the project is €1.3 billion, and a financing run was oversubscribed, the Canadian company said. MHI Vestas is supplying 31 V164-8.0MW turbines. Vattenfall will provide direct marketing for the project’s power. [reNews]

US:

¶ According to the University of Minnesota’s Energy Transition Lab, starting in 2019 the overall cost of building grid-scale storage there will be less than that of building natural-gas plants to meet future energy demand in that state. Current plans for adding 1,800 MW of gas-fired “peaker” plants by 2028 may be unnecessary. [Yahoo Finance UK]

Solar panels

¶ In late 2015, DME unveiled its Renewable Denton Plan to almost immediate controversy, as it pivoted on a $265 million investment in a new, gas-fired power plant. After management changes, a new plan is expected to identify clear steps to get 70% to 100% percent of Denton’s electricity from renewable energy by 2019. [Denton Record Chronicle]

¶ Rocky Mountain Institute has released its 2017 Micropower Database. This comes shortly after leaked drafts of Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s electric grid reliability study said renewable power does not threaten the grid, and another study to be published by federal scientists found that the US is already suffering effects of climate change. [RMI]

Global growth of micropower and nuclear power, 2000 to 2016
(Please click on the image to enlarge it)

¶ The Trump administration has decided to withdraw the official estimate of the Social Cost of Carbon and disband the inter-agency working group that developed it. Despite this, a group of prominent economists and lawyers have highlighted the metric’s continued validity for policymaking in a letter published in the journal Science. [eco-business.com]

¶ President Donald Trump’s administration has dissolved a federal panel of scientists and other experts tasked with helping create and implement new policy based on the latest climate change research findings. It is a decision that does not bode well for the future of climate change preparation and prevention during Trump’s time in office. [HuffPost]

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

August 21, 2017

1906 regular daily posts, linking 23,223 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 August 21, out of 99 US-licensed reactors, 4 are at reduced output and all are operating.

§ Video: Energy Week: 8/17/17 – Canadian oil workers put out of work by industry declines are finding jobs in wind power. Wildfires are a growing problem in Greenland. Financial researchers say Europe must multiply its offshore wind power by three to address climate change. Big carbon cuts could add to the coffers of states in the Northeast. Billions of dollars and thousands of lives have been saved in the US because of wind and solar power. And there is more.

August 20 Energy News

August 20, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “President Trump Has An Oil Problem” • After six months of regulatory rollback, Trump has done almost nothing that will create jobs on oil fields or offshore rigs. That’s because low oil prices, not environmental protections, are stunting job growth, and Trump’s push to nix federal regulations only makes oil cheaper. [CleanTechnica]

(Please click on the image to enlarge it.)

¶ “Montana’s fly fishing industry calls for action on climate change” • Washington politicians may deny science, but the effects of climate change can be clearly seen in Montana. The state has some of the best fly fishing in the country, but the industry already sees negative impacts from climate change on cold water fishing. [Great Falls Tribune]

Science and Technology:

“Roadkill” (The Economist)

¶ The most recent cover story in The Economist announces, “The death of the internal combustion engine… it had a good run. But the end is in sight.” The Economist reports that the end of the internal combustion engine is in sight and its days are numbered. Rapid gains in battery technology favor electric motors over internal combustion.” [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ According to a report by the UN Development Programme and the Asian Development Bank, Sri Lanka’s electricity capacity will need to increase from the current 3,700 MW to about 34,000 MW. Of this, 15,000 MW will be wind energy and about 16,000 MW will be solar energy. Balance capacity is expected to be met by other renewable sources. [Colombo Page]

¶ Masdar, a renewable energy company based in Abu Dhabi, signed an engineering, procurement and construction contract with a group of companies that include GE and Spain TSK to build a wind farm in Oman. It will be the first large scale project of its kind in the Gulf. The 50-MW Dhofar Wind Power Project will power 16,000 homes. [The National]

Offshore wind farm (AFP | Scott Eisen)

¶ Nova Scotia Power plans to install 12 fast charging stations for electric cars across the province as part of a pilot project. NSP hopes Nova Scotians will soon be able to drive electric vehicles from Sydney to Yarmouth without having to worry about where they can charge their batteries. The pilot project will be ready for use in the spring of 2018. [The Register/Advertiser]

¶ Abengoa has achieved practical completion for Xina Solar One, its third solar thermal plant in South Africa. Xina Solar One is a 100-MW plant using parabolic through technology to generate renewable and dispatchable power from the sun. The plant has a thermal energy storage system sufficient to supply power for 5.5 hours after dark. [Independent Online]

Solar thermal power plant (IOL file image)

¶ Sales of Chinese solar panels to North Koreans have soared in the past two years. It is one of the border businesses still thriving despite growing US pressure on China to limit commerce with the Stalinist regime. Last year, China exported 466,248 solar panels across the border, according to official figures from Beijing. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ Some day over the next two weeks, an AP1000 nuclear power plant in China’s Zhejiang Province will start loading more than 100 fuel assemblies into the honeycomb core of its AP1000 reactor with a pair of robotic arms. It is the first Westinghouse AP1000 to be finished. It is a design claimed to be meltdown-proof. [South China Morning Post]

AP1000 in Zhejiang Province

US:

¶ Increasingly, solar companies work with farmers to install solar panels on their land. In North Carolina, solar companies pay rents up to $1,400 an acre, far more than what most farmers could earn from planting crops or raising livestock. But PV arrays are low-impact, so farmers can raise livestock or grow crops on land covered with PVs. [CleanTechnica]

¶ As Monday’s total solar eclipse sweeps from Oregon to South Carolina, US electric power and grid operators will be glued to their monitoring systems in what may represent the biggest test yet of the renewable energy era. Utilities and grid operators have been planning for the event for years and have lined up standby power sources. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Eclipse of 2012, partly obscured by clouds
(Abby182000, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ When President Trump announced his intention to pull the US out of the landmark Paris Agreement, one thing he said stuck out to us: “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.” But Pittsburgh, as well as the rest of the Mid-Atlantic region, is feeling the negative effects of the climate crisis right now. [CleanTechnica]

¶ While President Donald Trump continues to dismantle Obama-era climate policies, an unlikely surge of Republican lawmakers has begun distancing themselves from the GOP’s hard line on climate change. The House Climate Solutions Caucus, a bipartisan backwater when it formed early last year, has more than tripled in size since January. [Politico]

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August 19 Energy News

August 19, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Staying below 2 degrees is ‘possible and practical’ says RMI” • The latest UN Emissions Gap report showed that the world would still be heading for a temperature rise between 2.9 and 3.4 °C by 2100. A report from the Rocky Mountain Institute argues that staying below 2° C is both practical and possible given trends in renewable energy. [pv magazine]

Wind and solar, sun and clouds (Public domain image)

¶ “Pushing us to the brink of climate disaster” • President Trump’s repulsive behavior drew well-deserved media attention this week, but his antics drowned out some truly troubling warnings from the scientific community on climate change. A spate of recent reports indicate we are in new territory thanks to human-driven carbon emissions. [HuffPost]

¶ “Wind and solar power are saving Americans an astounding amount of money” • The main rationale for renewable energy subsidies is that wind and solar produce benefits to society that are not captured in their market price. Wind and solar power reduce pollution, which reduces sickness, missed work days, and early deaths. [Gears Of Biz]

Please click on the image to enlarge it. (CA senate image)

World:

¶ General Electric will supply and install all of the wind turbines to the Coopers Gap wind farm project in Queensland. GE won the contract from the Powering Australian Renewables Fund. GE will provide 91 of its 3.6-MW turbines and 32 of its 3.8-MW turbines. The Coopers Gap wind farm will be the largest in Australia. [ExpressNewsline]

¶ Darwin is set to play host to an Australian solar-powered battery “giga-factory.” Energy Renaissance said it had received support from the Northern Territory government for its proposed 1-GWh lithium-ion battery plant. The company says its semi-solid state lithium-ion batteries are uniquely optimized for warm climates. [CleanTechnica]

Rendering of Australian battery factory

¶ Acer Inc, a leading PC brand in Taiwan, has inaugurated a solar power station in its Aspire Park in Taoyuan City as part of its efforts to push for the use of renewable energy, the company said. When completed, it will have an installed capacity of 2.4 MW, and be capable of generating roughly 3,520 MWh of power a year. [Focus Taiwan News Channel]

¶ Described as “a fortress for data,” developer Kolos plans to build the world’s largest data center within the Arctic Circle in Ballangen, Norway. The facility will be powered entirely by sustainable energy from hydro and wind power. The 600,000 sqare meter facility will eventually need more than 1,000 MW, although at first it will use just 70 MW. [GCR]

Proposed data center for Ballangen, Norway (Kolos image)

¶ In a European test of vehicle-to-grid technology involving 100 vehicles, the owners of the electric Nissans earned an average of $1,530 a year from the program, more than the cost of charging the vehicles. The test also showed that vehicle-to-grid schemes may actually slow the rate at which lithium-ion batteries degrade in normal use. [CleanTechnica]

US:

¶ The residents of Neptune, New Jersey know well the problems that can be created by a hurricane. Now, Neptune is one of 13 state municipalities getting money from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to study microgrids. One hundred fifty thousand dollars will be spent on a feasibility study to be completed by early next year. [NJTV News]

After Hurricane Sandy (National Guard, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The Baker-Polito administration in Massachusetts has awarded a $545,000 grant to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department to support the installation of a 436-kW solar canopy at the Franklin County Jail and House of Correction in Greenfield. The grant is the seventh by the Leading by Example State Solar Canopy grant program. [Solar Industry]

¶ Scott Pruitt’s successor in Oklahoma as attorney general, Mike Hunter, is showing the fossil fuel industry that he cares as much about it as Pruitt did. After threatening a lawsuit against a California official over his stance on coal, Hunter is challenging plans by Public Service of Oklahoma plans to purchase the $4.5 billion Wind Catcher project. [ThinkProgress]

Oklahoma’s frequent earthquakes may be caused by fracking.
(Photo: Brian Sherrod, USGS, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Utility company Mississippi Power and SR Meridian III have received unanimous approval from the Mississippi Public Service Commission to build a 52.5-MW solar project in Lauderdale County. The project will include approximately 570,000 PV panels, and the plant is scheduled to begin providing energy by December 2019. [Solar Industry]

¶ The Midcontinent ISO has launched a multiyear study of renewable energy integration and its impacts on grid reliability. The study aims to inform future discussions of resource needs. It will consider limitations to renewable energy integration, including where the grid might be impacted and whether battery storage is required. [Utility Dive]

Wind turbines in Oklahoma (USGS photo, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The Home Depot is developing mini solar farms on 50 of its store rooftops. In partnership with Current, a subsidiary of GE, and Tesla, the company is leasing its roof space to produce power through power purchase agreements in five states and the District of Columbia. This will reduce grid demand at each store by 30% to 35%. [AltEnergyMag]

¶ As South Carolina grapples with the debacle of two utilities abandoning a nuclear power project, a poll found that more than two-thirds of its voters believe the state should rely more on solar energy to generate electricity, while substantially fewer voters believe it should become more reliant on sources like coal and nuclear power. [Solar Industry]

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August 18 Energy News

August 18, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Climate change will likely wreck their livelihoods – but they still don’t buy the science” • In 50 years, Cameron Parish, Louisiana, will likely be no more, according to newly published calculations of the Louisiana government. Cameron Parish also has the greatest percentage of Trump supporters of any county in the US. [The Guardian]

Leo Adley Dyson Sr (Photo: Shanon Sims)

¶ “What Happens to Solar Power in an Eclipse? We’ll Find Out Monday” • As the eclipse carves a long shadow over California on Monday morning, it is expected to knock offline more than 5,600 MW of solar panels at its peak, a big chunk of the 19,000 MW of solar power that currently provide one-tenth of the state’s electricity. [New York Times]

Science and Technology:

¶ Getting electricity and clean water to remote villages can make a huge difference to those who live there. Running power and water lines from a central location can be expensive, but water filtration systems and electricity generation can be provided to remote locations at low cost. An Italian startup has a $15,000 all-in-one modular solution. [CleanTechnica]

Modular electricity and water supply

¶ The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that July was the second hottest month since record keeping began in 1880. At 61.89° F (16.63° C), last month was behind July 2016’s all-time record by just .09° F (0.05° C), and land temperatures in July were the hottest on record at 59.96° F (15.5° C). [The Japan Times]

World:

¶ The European Commission published tighter new standards for the bloc’s most polluting power plants, including many large coal-fired power stations, giving them four years to meet the lower emission standards. The new standards include tighter rules for emissions of nitrous oxides, sulphur dioxide, mercury and particulate matter. [EURACTIV]

Uniper coal-burning power plant near Rotterdam (Shutterstock)

¶ Germany announced the results of its second onshore wind auction this week. They show that a total of 1 GW was awarded at an average cost 25% less than the average price recorded in the first onshore wind auction just a few months ago. The accepted bids ranged from 3.5 to 4.29 Euro-cents per kWh (4.11¢/kWh to 5.04¢/kWh). [CleanTechnica]

¶ Construction is set to begin on a world-leading wind, solar, and battery storage hybrid project in north Queensland, after the company behind the 1200-MW Kennedy Energy Park, Windlab, raised A$50 million through an initial public offer. Construction of the first 60 MW of the project is due to commence over the coming few months. [RenewEconomy]

Australian renewable energy (Image: Kennedy Energy Park)

¶ Taiwan recently suffered from a massive blackout that affected millions of households and businesses. Now the government of Taiwan says that it is reaching out to Tesla to consider a solution similar to the massive 100-MW/129-MWh battery system that South Australia ordered after they had their own power outage issues. [Electrek]

¶ Latin America has the world’s cleanest electricity, having long relied on dams to generate a large share of its energy needs, according to the World Bank. Even for Latin America, Chilean officials have an ambitious goal, saying the country is on track to rely on clean sources for 90% of its electricity needs by 2050, up from the current 45%. [The Seattle Times]

Vicuas and flamingos in northern Chile (Meridith Kohut | NYT)

¶ In the basement of a three-story house in a leafy neighborhood in Tokyo, about 40 lawyers crowded together, plotting against Japan’s massive nuclear power industry. The host was Harley-riding 73-year-old Hiroyuki Kawai, one of Japan’s most colorful litigators. The end game? To close all of the country’s 42 reactors for good. [Bloomberg]

US:

¶ Members of the public have been invited to express their views on the proposed 20.7-MW Icebreaker offshore wind project in Lake Erie near Cleveland. The Ohio Power Siting Board said it will hold a public hearing on 8 November to gauge support. Last month, the board said the application is “in compliance and ready to be processed”. [reNews]

Icebreaker test project (LEEDCo image)

¶ Cummins Inc, based in Columbus Indiana, has entered into a virtual power purchase agreement with EDP Renewables North America to expand a wind farm. The expansion will add 75 MW, enough to power 20,000 average-size Indiana homes, to the existing 600-MW at the Meadow Lake Wind Farm complex in Chalmers, Indiana. [Seymour Tribune]

¶ In Minnesota, capped landfills have become hosts to solar PV installations. Of three recently built, two were established by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. They are being used to provide power for equipment set up at the sites to collect the methane gas and leachate produced by decomposing fill. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

Solar panels at old landfill in Minnesota

¶ Nine facilities in Oceanside, California, will soon be powered by solar energy. Oceanside, which has 320 days per year of sunshine, has a 25-year agreement to buy generated electricity from PFMG Solar at a price below utility SDG&E’s rates. In return, the company will install and maintain the solar energy systems. [Coast News]

¶ Ameren Corp and S&C Electric Co conducted a successful 24-hour islanding test at a recently built microgrid in Champaign, Illinois. The 50-kW microgrid combines 225 kW of solar and wind generation with a 250-kW/500-kWh battery system. The test proved it can provide a seamless transition from grid-connected to island mode. [Solar Industry]

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August 17 Energy News

August 17, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “On the climb to renewable energy, solar and wind prices tumble” • When so little is getting done in Washington, it is heartening to see how much has already been accomplished. A report from the Environment New York Research & Policy Center highlights past growth of renewable energy and says it is set for more dramatic growth. [GreenBiz]

Looking at how far we have come (Shutterstock | kopov58)

¶ “US Power Companies Have A History Of Walking Away From Nuclear Projects” • William Freebairn explains how the story of the Summer project in South Carolina demonstrates the capital-intensive nature of nuclear energy and the substantial risks of cutting-edge nuclear plant design. Will the Vogtle project  be abandoned next? [Platts]

¶ “Pace of renewables shift leaves city planners struggling to keep up” • Renewable energy is driving changes in cities much more quickly than expected. Networks of city decision-makers have begun adopting climate change strategies to promote renewable energy. But land use planning has seemingly been lagging behind. [One Step Off The Grid]

Suburban solar array (Image: The Conversation)

World:

¶ Xinhua News Agency said that China is halting construction of 150 GW of new coal-fired generating capacity during the 13th Five-Year Plan period, which ends in 2020. The National Development and Reform Commission will also eliminate 20 GW of outdated capacity and upgrade almost 1,000 GW of coal capacity to decrease emissions. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The gas reserves in shale rocks in the UK have been “hyped”, a geology professor has warned. Professor John Underhill from Heriot-Watt University said UK shale deposits were formed 55 million years too late to trap substantial amounts of gas. He said the government would be wise to formulate a Plan B to fracking for future gas supplies. [BBC News]

Magma under Iceland tilted UK shale basins. (Getty Images)

¶ Most Europeans can choose who they buy their power from and can choose to purchase power from renewable power plants, instead of accepting a “grey default” power offer. More and more consumers prefer to buy clean energy from solar, wind, hydro, geothermal or bio. Growth in demand for renewable power stands at 39% this year. [Press Release Rocket]

¶ Ford of Europe has linked up with Deutsche Post to build a larger version of the electric truck DHL designed itself last year. Called the StreetScooter Work XL, it is customized to be ideal for urban delivery chores and has over 700 cubic feet of cargo space. The basic battery is rated at 30 kWh and has 50 miles of range. [CleanTechnica]

DHL StreetScooter

¶ Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen publicly apologized for power outages that hit more than 6 million households and disrupted some semiconductor manufacturing but defended her policies to phase out nuclear power in favor of natural gas and renewables. Outage factors included hot weather and damage from a recent typhoon. [Hong Kong Standard]

¶ In Milan, architect Stefano Boeri created two high-rise apartment blocks that are adorned with a massive number of trees and plants, including 800 trees and 16,000 other plants. Combined, the two towers can convert around 44,000 pounds of carbon dioxide into oxygen annually. They also filter dust from the air. [CleanTechnica]

Stefano Boeri’s high-rise towers

US:

¶ A partnership of Fuel cell maker Bloom Energy and Southern Company microgrid subsidiary PowerSecure have landed their biggest client to date. They have made a 37-MW fuel cell deal with data center company Equinix.  Twelve Equinix data centers in California and New York will get fuel cells over the next two years. [Greentech Media]

¶ The governor of Montana is worried about climate change. The eastern half of the Montana is now in the most severe drought in the nation. July farm losses are nearly $400 million more than last year’s, according to figures from the US Forest Service. And the state’s wildfire season is costing Montanans more than a million dollars a day. [MTPR]

A difficult year in Montana (Credit: Nate Hegyi | YPR)

¶ The Nederland, Colorado, city council unanimously voted to power their city with 100% renewable electricity by 2025. The vote came shortly after Orlando, Florida, and Nevada City, California, established similar goals last week. The Sierra Club said that Nederland is the 42nd US city to commit to 100% renewables. [North American Windpower]

¶ As climate change pushes US cities to build protections against more powerful storms and more frequent floods, the Rockefeller Foundation is helping with a kind of financing that transfers some of the risk of innovative projects from cities to investors. The environmental impact bonds were pioneered by The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. [Bloomberg]

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August 16 Energy News

August 16, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ A new study by the National Renewable Energy Lab tabulated data collected from Proterra electric buses and buses powered by compressed natural gas. When driven on the same route, average fuel economy for the CNG buses came to 2.1 miles per diesel gallon equivalent. By contrast, the Proterra electric buses had an observed MPDGe of 17.35. [CleanTechnica]

Proterra electric buses

¶ Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder claim they have invented a new passive cooling material that can reduce temperatures even in direct sunlight while using no energy and no water. The new metamaterial is a glass/polymer sheet that is 50 μm thick, just slightly thicker than a piece of household aluminum foil. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ Soon plastic waste will no longer clog up Costa Rica’s landfills. The country announced it will have a ban on single-use plastics by 2021. Costa Rica wants to become the world’s first country to achieve a comprehensive national strategy to eliminate single-use plastics, a goal that coincides with a 2021 goal of being carbon neutral. [CleanTechnica]

Costa Rica (Photo: Foter.com)

¶ London Mayor Sadiq Khan launched plans to turn his city into the world’s first National Park City and one of the greenest cities on Earth. He will create a £9 million fund to increase the cities’ trees and green infrastructure, and proposed building more green roofs, walls, and rain gardens. The first goal is to protect London’s Green Belt. [CleanTechnica]

¶ As the world searches for clean fuels for cars, there may be a solution right under our noses. The first ‘poo-powered’ car has hit the streets of Australia. It gets power from every flush of a toilet. The electric vehicle from Queensland Urban Utilities is run on electricity generated by the city of Brisbane’s toilet waste. [International Business Times UK]

Australia’s first ‘poo powered’ car (Queensland Urban Utilities)

¶ Dutch Airports will run on 100% renewable energy generated in the country starting next year. Dutch airport owners Royal Schiphol Group made a deal with energy firm Eneco, which will provide 200 GWh of clean power annually for the next 15 years. Wind farms will be built to support the airports in the years ahead. [Innovators Magazine]

¶ French utility Engie has signed a £50-million contract with Voith Hydro to refurbish its Ffestiniog power station, part of the 2-GW First Hydro pumped storage operation in North Wales. Design, planning and component production are due to start immediately. The refurbishing is scheduled for completion by early 2020. [reNews]

Hydro facility (sxc image)

¶ The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Scotland has applied directly to the Supreme Court for permission to appeal against the recent decision by the Inner House of the Court of Session on its Firth of Forth offshore windfarm judicial review. The appeal relates to the wind energy projects with a total of 2,100 MW capacity. [Offshore Wind Journal]

¶ Coal India Ltd, which produces 84% of the country’s total output of the mineral, plans to invest ₹8,500 crore ($1.28 billion) as capital expenditure in 2017-18, its annual report said. The mining company also planned to invest ₹6,500 crore in various coal-related projects, ranging from research to acquisition of Indian coal blocks. [The New Indian Express]

Coal mine in India (Flickr image, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ China National Nuclear Power announced plans to build 20 floating nuclear power stations in a bid to reinforce its influence in the South China Sea. A new company is being setup in Shanghai for the purpose. China claims an area up to 1500 miles from its shores but the claim is contested by many other countries. [Power Engineering International]

US:

¶ Duke Energy Carolinas wants to purchase up to 500 MW of wind power by 2022, reports say. The Duke Energy unit issued a request for proposals for new or existing wind farms to deliver power to the Duke transmission grid. Duke has 35 solar power projects in the region, but this would be the utility’s first use of wind power. [Electric Light & Power]

Wind project in Idaho (ELP image)

¶ Facebook will spend $750 million on a new data center in central Ohio, the company announced. The move marks another boost for the state’s growing technology sector. The 22-acre data center will be powered exclusively with renewable energy. It is expected to employ 100 people to start and to begin providing services in 2019. [Huntington Herald Dispatch]

¶ A year or so from now, electric customers of Rochester, New York, could have easy access to 100% renewable energy at a price lower than their current rates. The mayor is preparing legislation stating the city’s intent to pursue community choice aggregation, which would let the city negotiate an energy-supply contract. [Rochester City Newspaper]

Rochester, New York (Evilarry, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ A study from the University of California, Berkeley gives us more reason to move from fossil fuels to renewable energy. The study says the US wind and solar power boom has helped prevent the premature deaths of thousands of people and has saved the country billions of dollars in healthcare and climate-related costs in a single year. [AlterNet]

¶ Furthering his attack on Obama-era climate policies, President Donald Trump is expected to rescind a rule that requires federal, state and local agencies to account for rising sea levels caused by climate change and to construct buildings, highways and other infrastructure to withstand flooding, according to multiple media reports. [HuffPost]

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August 15 Energy News

August 15, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “A bolder, better deal for all Americans” • The Democratic Party recently unveiled the Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future platform focused on an economic message. As Hurricane Trump wreaks its havoc, this jobs agenda comes not a moment too soon. But as we expand upon our message, the time has come to be bold! [The Hill]

Dawn (Getty Images)

¶ “Huge Climate Opportunity If RGGI Governors Step Up” • The governors of nine Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states are about to make a momentous decision: how much they will cut power plant pollution, and how fast they will cut it. Big carbon cuts could add $3.2 billion to state coffers and reduce air pollution. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

Science and Technology:

¶ New analysis of flow rates and precipitation suggest flooding in urban areas is intensifying while rural areas dry up. To identify links between global warming and river flow patterns, scientists at the University of New South Wales surveyed flow rate and rainfall data from 5,300 river monitoring sites and 43,000 rain gauges in 160 countries. [UPI.com]

2016 Flood in Baton Rouge (USDA photo, Wikimedia Commons)

World:

¶ The UK Government spent £6.13 billion ($9.73 billion) in 2016 on energy in developing countries. Of that amount, 46% went to supporting fossil fuels, but only 22% was put towards supporting renewable energy development, according to a report by the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development and the Overseas Development Institute. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Danish wind turbine-maker Vestas has received an order to supply 99-MW of turbines to China Datang Corp Renewable Power for its Shandianhe project. The project will be located in the Guyuan County of northern China’s Hebei Province. For the project, Vestas will supply 45 of its V110-2.2MW turbines. [CleanTechnology News]

Vestas turbines (Photo: Steve Ralston | FreeImages.com)

¶ German energy company Innogy has entered the Irish market having acquired a wind farm site in County Kerry. The 10.2-MW Dromadda Beg wind farm will have three turbines, which received planning approval in May 2014. Construction is due to begin in September, with commissioning scheduled for the second half of 2018. [Irish Times]

¶ Residents of a remote community on the central coast of British Columbia received funding to build a run-of-river hydroelectric plant. The Wuikinuxv Village, on the banks of the Wanukv River, has about 80 people in it. It is accessible only by float plane or boat, so life is challenging, and it has depended on diesel power in the past. [BCLocalNews]

Wanukv River (Photo: CCIRA)

¶ Spanish firm ACCIONA has been selected by Zuma Energía to build a new 424-MW wind farm in Mexico. The Reynosa wind farm will be the largest of its kind in the country, and will require an investment of around €510 million ($600 million). The wind farm will have 123 wind generators, each with a capacity of 3.45 MW to 3.6 MW. [Power Technology]

US:

¶ A coalition of business, environmental and community leaders has backed Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan to make offshore wind the focus of New York’s renewable energy plan. The New York Offshore Wind Alliance voiced its support for developing green energy off the state’s coastline ahead of a series of public meetings. [reNews]

Offshore wind farm (reNews image)

¶ A partnership of the Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association, GRID Alternatives, and the Colorado Energy Office will work to develop the United States’ largest low-income community solar project aimed at lowering the electricity bills of qualifying low-income residents, affordable housing providers, and nonprofit organizations. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Southern California Edison, one of the largest US utilities, has signed contracts with solar and geothermal energy producers for more than 1,500 MW of power. Signed contracts include the purchase of more than 1,300 MW of new solar power and the re-contracting of 225 MW with an existing California geothermal energy project. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

Geothermal plant in California (Photo: ThinkGeoEnergy)

¶ NextGen America, a green energy advocacy group founded by Tom Steyer, has released a video opposing the proposed power plant for coastal Oxnard, California. They are objecting to a proposal by NRG Energy Inc to replace two existing power plants at the Mandalay Generating Station with a new gas-fired facility. [Ventura County Star]

¶ A last-ditch effort to send hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks to Georgia’s struggling Plant Vogtle nuclear project appears to be stuck in the US Senate. Boosters of the project hope the federal bill could throw an economic lifeline, which it needs amid major cost overruns and deep delays. The cost is estimated to be $25 billion. [MyAJC]

Vogtle (Photo: Charles C Watson Jr, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Duke Energy Renewables has acquired the 24.9-MW Shoreham Solar Commons PV project in New York from developer Invenergy. The PV plant, which is being built on a former golf course on Long Island, is due to be completed in the second quarter of 2018 and has a 20-year power-purchase agreement with the Long Island Power Authority. [reNews]

¶ The US DOE’s recently commissioned study on the national electric grid hit a new legal road block this week when the Sierra Club filed a lawsuit against the agency to reveal the third parties consulted on the study, according to Reuters. Energy Secretary Rick Perry ordered the 60-day study in April but its release has been delayed. [OilPrice.com]

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August 14 Energy News

August 14, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “A greener grid for East Asia” • Nine of the 10 nuclear reactors that opened in 2015 were in Asia. But declarations by South Korea and Taiwan that they will “go green” have called into question nuclear power’s viability in the region. This year may mark the end of the region’s nuclear love affair and the start of one with renewables. [eco-business.com]

Windmills in Taiwan (Image: Alexander Synaptic, CC BY-NC 2.0)

World:

¶ Enel Energy, Nissan, Mitsubishi, and PSA Groupe, have been working together to pave the way for a roll-out of vehicle-to-grid technology. The Parker Project, going on in Denmark, is using a fleet of EVs to demonstrate the technology. It supplies electricity to the grid as needed from parked electric vehicles, in a real-life setting. [Digital Journal]

¶ A tiny Tesla house is on a tour of Australia, showing off the Powerwall and educating the public on how to generate, store and use renewable energy. Oh yes, and the tiny home is towed by a Tesla Model X. The tiny home is completely powered by renewable energy courtesy of a 2-kW solar power system and a Powerwall battery. [Gizmodo Australia]

Tesla Tiny House in Melbourne (iStock photo)

¶ Pakistan’s vulnerability to climate change is well established and widely recognized. Pakistan ratified the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. But even as the rest of the world is holding down on coal consumption, Pakistan is reviving its coal industry with several new power plants and working against the country’s own well-being. [MENAFN.COM]

¶ A lack of solar auctions in India could drive solar power prices down, below the record low of ₹2.44 (3.8¢/kWh). Developers backed by private equity funds are trying hard to build their assets, even if it means sacrificing returns. Analysts believe the internal rate of returns in the solar sector have reduced from 15-16% to the range of 10-13%. [Hindu Business Line]

Solar array in India

¶ Relief is in sight for farmers and other rural people in New Zealand suffering from electricity supply problems. Electricity distributor Powerco has developed a cutting-edge unit called Base Power. The system depends on PVs and batteries with diesel backup generators. Five customers have already received Base Power systems. [New Zealand Herald]

¶ Alberta produces about 80% of Canada’s oil. But as oil prices have dropped, there have been lay-offs, and the unemployment rate in the once-booming province stands at nearly 8%. Now Alberta’s renewable energy capacity is doubling roughly every two years, and interest in green energy training has been growing swiftly. [Huffington Post Canada]

Wind turbines in Alberta (Todd Korol | Reuters)

¶ Seaway Heavy Lifting has installed the first jacket foundation at the 588-MW Beatrice wind farm off the coast of Scotland, with the vessel Oleg Strashnov on the job. The foundations are being made at yards across Europe by BiFab, Bladt, and Smulders. Beatrice will feature 84 Siemens 7-MW turbines when fully commissioned in 2019. [reNews]

¶ A proposed solar thermal power plant in South Australia’s mid-north has been contracted to supply all the state government’s power needs. Work on the A$650 million SolarReserve facility will start in 2018. The state government said the 150-MW plant, to be ready in 2020, would dispatch energy to the grid even when the sun was not shining. [The Guardian]

Solar Reserve plant in Nevada (Photo: Solar Reserve)

¶ A consortium of Chinese organizations is teaming up with state-owned China National Nuclear Power Company to develop and produce small, floating nuclear power plants. The new venture will have $150 million in funding. The plants will be able to sail to where they are needed to fill a variety of high power needs. [The Maritime Executive]

US:

¶ Last year, California’s 1.4 million dairy cows fell under a statewide mandate to find a way to curb their environmental footprint in order to achieve the state’s goal to reduce methane emissions 40% from 2013 levels by 2030. The state government says now it is receiving more applications for anaerobic digesters than it can currently fund. [Triple Pundit]

California dairy cows (USDA photo, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Despite moves made by Ohio’s legislature to thwart large-scale wind farm development, there is still a steady demand for small installations to power factories and small businesses. Projects with just a few turbines put Ohio among the top 10 for wind capacity installed since 2003, according to a report from the US DOE. [Midland Daily News]

¶ A 121-year-old church on the edge of coal country is harnessing the sun’s energy in an effort to move into the future. Campton Baptist Church in Wolfe County with 80 solar panels on its roof, has become one of the first churches nationwide to switch to solar energy, not only for both itself but also for others in the community. [WYMT News]

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August 13 Energy News

August 13, 2017

 

Opinion:

¶ “Joining Forces for Honest Environmental Journalism” • News publication have for years insisted on presenting opposing points of view for balance, even if they are self-serving and unscientific. The Climate News Network was set up in 2013 to provide a daily news story, objectively written, on some aspect of energy or climate change. [Truthdig]

USGS surveyors in Alaska (US Geological Survey | CC 2.0)

World:

¶ Australia is undergoing something of an energy crisis. Growing demand combined with under-investment in the electric grid has recently led to a series of embarrassing blackouts, and at the same time electric rates are soaring. South Australia has just overtaken Denmark as the place with the world’s most expensive electricity. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Norway’s plan to ramp up oil and gas production in the Arctic threatens efforts to tackle climate change, a study said. It says 12 gigatonnes of carbon could be added by exploration sites in the Barents Sea and elsewhere over the next 50 years. This is 1.5 times more than the Norwegian fields currently being tapped or under construction. [The Guardian]

Oil platform maintenance (Photo: Marius Dobilas | Alamy Stock)

¶ The Indian government is looking at doubling the nuclear power generation capacity to about 14,000 MW, Union minister Piyush Goyal said. He has ruled out nuclear power becoming the main source of energy for India because it is too expensive, but he said the government plans to add ten new reactors of 700 MW each in the country. [citytoday]

¶ The regions of New South Wales known as New England and the North West have two more solar farms in the pipeline, with a combined investment of almost A$300 million ($237 million). Canadian Solar is building a 60-MW solar farm in Narrabri, and Photon Energy is developing a 155-MW solar farm in Gunnedah. [The Northern Daily Leader]

Australian solar farm

¶ Records are being set in the UK. There was not a single major plant generating purely solar power in 2007, but now, there are 277. The current UK target calls for 30% of electricity to be generated from renewable sources by 2020, and according to provisional figures, the number for the first three months of 2017 was 26.6%. [domain-B]

¶ Tourism tycoon Chris Morris is helping fund a scientific expedition into the northern part of the Great Barrier Reef to search for corals that can survive bleaching. He is lending Great Barrier Reef Legacy his 35.5-meter yacht Flying Fish to search for “supercorals” that have tolerated warm water temperatures during bleaching events. [The Cairns Post]

The Flying Fish

US:

¶ In Mahwah, New Jersey, a Ramapough Lenape Nation’s prayer ground now has electricity, courtesy of renewable energy technology donated by Princeton University graduates. The energy system, which arrived in a 20-foot metal shipping container, has solar panels, a small wind turbine ready to be raised, and energy storage. [NorthJersey.com]

¶ A 1-MW solar array in Tres Piedras, New Mexico, started soaking in the sun and pumping power to the grid last week. Kit Carson Electric Cooperative announced plans earlier this year to eventually provide its 30,000 members with 100% renewable energy. The Tres Piedras solar array is the first of seven the co-op plans to build this year. [taosnews]

Solar array in New Mexico

¶ With an ambitious agenda to build two nuclear reactors in South Carolina, SCE&G painted a bright picture for years about progress on the nuclear project it had undertaken with state-owned utility Santee Cooper. The result was that many people did not know the magnitude of problems that started surfacing in 2012 until very recently. [The State]

¶ The clean energy standard, developed by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, qualifies only zero-carbon producers that became operational after December 31, 2010, for clean energy credits. The Pilgrim nuclear plant is too old to get any subsidies. [SouthCoastToday.com]

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August 12 Energy News

August 12, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Here’s What Trump’s Team Has Gotten Wrong About Climate Change So Far” • President Donald Trump is not the only official in the government to doubt human-caused climate change. His skepticism is shared by many others in his administration. This week two new reports again prove that Trump’s team simply has it wrong. [The Weather Channel]

Global surface temperature changes (NOAA)

¶ “As Massachusetts Unveils New Climate Rules, More Progress Needed on Transportation Emissions” • Massachusetts has issued new regulations to reduce the emissions causing climate change. They are a positive step, but the state needs to go further, and this includes working across state lines to cut transportation emissions. [Union of Concerned Scientists]

World:

¶ Northern Adelaide Waste Management Authority is set to host a combined solar and methane power plant at a landfill, believed to be an Australian first. South Australia gets 57% of its electric power from renewable sources, meeting a 50% target eight years early. Over the last nine months reported, solar power met 7.6% of demand. [pv magazine]

Solar site at NAWMA landfill (NAWMA image)

¶ India installed an impressive 4.8 GW worth of solar in the first half of 2017, according to new figures published by Mercom India Research. This fact is all the more impressive when you consider that the country only installed 4.3 GW in all of 2016. Utility-scale solar accounted for 4,290 MW and rooftop solar 475 MW. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Capital investment in global oil and gas supply fell by 38% between 2014 and 2016, the IEA said, but still comprises around 40% of the total. This drop has allowed spending on low-carbon energy supply, including electricity networks, to reach a record 43% of the global, total spend last year. This is a rise of 12% from 2014 levels. [Petroleum Economist]

Children near a wind farm

¶ India’s renewable energy program is proceeding at such a rapid pace that its contribution to total power generation will equal that of coal in 2026 and surpass it the following year, according to projections made in the second volume of the Economic Survey. At present, coal provides 55% of India’s installed power capacity. [EnergyInfraPost]

¶ Canadian Solar Inc. and EDF Energies Nouvelles announced a partnership in the 92.5-MWp Pirapora III PV project in Brazil, through the sale of 80% interest in the Project by Canadian Solar to EDF EN do Brasil. The Pirapora III project has started construction and is expected to reach commercial operation in the fourth quarter of 2017. [solarserver.com]

Canadian Solar PV array (Canadian Solar image)

¶ JSW Energy will invest up to ₹40 billion ($623 million) to build electric cars, batteries and charging infrastructure, part of the power company’s diversification plans to drive future growth, its chief executive said. JSW plans to roll out its first electric car by 2020, making it the first non-automotive company in India to enter electric car business. [News18]

¶ Growth in the deployment of offshore wind in Europe must triple if countries are to have any chance of meeting the goals of the Paris climate agreement, a study said. Research by a joint team from Ecofys and parent company Navigant found that 45% of Europe’s power requirements would need to come from offshore wind to meet the target. [reNews]

Offshore wind farm (reNews image)

US:

¶ North Carolina’s HB589 included an amendment to set an 18-month moratorium on developing onshore wind power. In the wake of its passing, 50 small businesses, community groups, environmental organizations, and elected officials sent a letter to Governor Cooper urging him to embrace offshore wind for the state’s energy plan. [North American Windpower]

¶ Last month, the New York Independent System Operator’s CEO told a House subcommittee that it planned to integrate a price on carbon into its market dispatch within three years after the Brattle Group published a report on potential impacts. The Brattle Group has released the report, so the clock has started on carbon pricing in the state. [Utility Dive]

New York City

¶ Utility customers in Waterloo, Iowa, will soon receive more of their electricity from cost-effective renewable energy. Waterloo Utilities’ not-for-profit wholesale power supplier, WPPI Energy, has entered an agreement with Invenergy. WPPI Energy will buy the output from Invenergy’s 132-MW Bishop Hill III Wind Energy Center. [hngnews.com]

¶ Sandia National Laboratories is testing whether one of the largest and most polluted lakes in California can be transformed into one of its most productive and profitable. The 350-square-mile Salton Sea has high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus from agricultural runoff. Some algae that thrive on these elements may be used to make biofuel. [Biomass Magazine]

Defunct Salton Sea bait shop (Conn, Kit | Wikimedia Commons)

¶ South Miami has a new “Solar Requirements” section in its Land Development Code. The city enacted its new residential solar mandate, making it the only municipality between California and Florida to enact a law mandating that solar power be installed in newly built homes or those subject to major renovation. [Miami’s Community Newspapers]

¶ Millions of customers who have been footing the bill for a now-abandoned nuclear power project for years may get a temporary reprieve from rising bills, as South Carolina’s state-owned utility dropped plans for two rate hikes. Santee Cooper’s board canceled the approval process for average increases of 3.5% in 2018 and 3.9% in 2019. [Santa Cruz Sentinel]

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August 11 Energy News

August 11, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Renewable Energy Sources Get Thumbs up from Corporate America” • The double benefit of an environmentally friendly energy source at a low cost is hard to pass up, and corporate America is starting to take notice. Many of the multinational conglomerates are putting up investment money to cash in on the alternative energy boom. [Newswire]

Offshore wind power (Øyvind Holmstad, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “The wise man Trump should listen to” • My unsolicited advice to our President: Listen to George Shultz, who held cabinet positions under Presidents Nixon and Reagan and has a wealth of knowledge. Speaking of what worries him, he said, “Well, there are two things that can wipe us out. One is nuclear weapons and the other is climate change.” [CNN]

Science and Technology:

¶ The records highlighted in the “State of the Climate in 2016” report from the NOAA sound ominous. Global land surface temperatures last year were highest in 137 years of record keeping. Sea surface temperatures were also at their highest. Sea levels were at record highs. Scientists worry that the report will be buried. [CNN]

Sea level Rise (National Park Service, Wikimedia Commons)

World:

¶ India has auctioned the largest capacity of rooftop solar power projects in history. The results are extremely promising and could provide a boost to the rooftop solar power market. In an auction of just over 503 MW of rooftop solar capacity, bids ranged from $1.01/W to $1.166/W with tariffs ranging from 3.4¢/kWh to 7.1¢/kWh. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Origin Energy will underwrite one of Queensland’s largest solar farms through a power purchasing agreement with the 150-MW project. Origin has bought all the output and renewable energy certificates from the Daydream solar farm until 2030 and the deal brings its commitment to solar to 1200 MW since March 2016. [Courier Mail]

Australian solar farm

¶ Saudi Arabia’s Electricity & Cogeneration Regulatory Authority has approved the “Small-Scale Solar PV Systems Regulations,” a new net metering scheme for residential PV. The new rules will apply to PV systems not exceeding 1 MW. The program will also allow some projects with a power range of 1 MW to 5 MW to be put online. [pv magazine]

¶ India’s total installed solar power generation capacity grew over threefold to 13,652 MW over the past two fiscal years, the country’s energy minister said. He also stated the government has revised the National Solar Mission target of Grid Connected Solar Power projects from 20,000 MW by 2022 to 100,000 MW by 2022. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Solar array in India

¶ A bomb dating to World War II was found buried in a parking lot of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The Self-Defense Forces said the 50-kilogram dud was likely left by the imperial Japanese military and is in no danger of exploding. A radius of 200 meters was cordoned off while the SDF worked to recover the bomb. [Asahi Shimbun]

¶ A dairy farm in southern Manitoba will soon boast the largest solar energy installation in the province. Hans Gorter is getting 540 panels, each with an area of 1.4 to 1.6 square metres, installed on his 130-cow dairy farm in Otterburne, about 45 kM south of Winnipeg. The system will generate close to 200,000 kWh of energy annually. [CBC.ca]

Gorter’s dairy farm in Otterburne (Pierre Verriere | CBC)

US:

¶ Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo signed a handful of bills aimed at expanding the state’s clean energy industry. Among the bills was a 10 year extension of the renewable energy growth program. Among several other bills signed into law were some streamlining the permitting processes and for expanding net metering. [Utility Dive]

¶ US retailer Target has agreed to buy 100 MW of electricity from Infinity Renewables’ 474-MW Solomon Forks wind farm in Kansas. Target will use the energy to power about 150 stores in the region, Infinity said. Construction of the project will start in early 2018, with commercial operation scheduled for the fourth quarter of that year. [reNews]

Wind power in Kansas (Pixabay image)

¶ Vermont Governor Phil Scott’s Climate Advisory Commission hasn’t even held its first meeting, but it’s already taken a step that may alienate a broad swath of Vermont’s environmental community. The commission’s Technical Advisory Group will have Annette Smith, vociferous critic of wind turbines, as its co-chair. [Seven Days]

¶ The Wyoming Mining Association recently asked lawmakers for a tax break for uranium mines until prices rise. Without it, they couldn’t build up production, and they would be faced with increasing layoffs, companies argued. That request was denied. Now their hope is for new nuclear power plants in Asia to increase demand. [Casper Star-Tribune Online]

Uranium leaching mine wellheads (Alan Rogers | Star-Tribune)

¶ Wind power started in California in 1981, when the Altamont wind farm was built as a reaction to the Arab Oil Embargo of the 1970s. But now, as a map from the American Wind Energy Association shows, the industry is spreading rapidly across the US, with more than 52,000 large-scale turbines now operating in 41 states. [The Mercury News]

¶ Oil and gas operators are positioning for potential growth in US offshore wind projects. The US could generate more than 2,000 GW of offshore wind power, Stephanie McClellan with the University of Delaware said at Renewable Energy World’s inaugural Offshore Wind Executive Summit. Statoil and DONG may invest in the US. [Offshore Oil and Gas Magazine]

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August 10 Energy News

August 10, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Global Fossil Fuel Subsidies Still Total More Than $5 Trillion Annually” • A study by four economists at the International Monetary Fund – not exactly a liberal outfit – and published in the journal World Development finds that direct and indirect subsidies to fossil fuel companies amount to about 6.5% of global GDP. [CleanTechnica]

Sun setting on a nodding donkey

World:

¶ Since oil prices collapsed in 2014, Canada has lost more than 40,000 jobs in oil, gas and related industries, according to data released last year by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. Thousands of employees of fossil fuel businesses left jobless following a plunge in oil prices are finding work with solar or wind energy. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ Aela Energía, a joint venture of Actis and Mainstream Renewable Power, has sealed $410 million in project financing for two wind farms in Chile totaling 299 MW. The finance will allow Aela to proceed with the construction of the 170-MW Sarco and 129-MW Aurora projects. Both projects will have turbines made by Senvion. [reNews]

Senvion turbine (Senvion image)

¶ GE Renewable Energy booked a turnkey contract with Star Pumped Storage Ltd for the 344-MW Kokhav Hayarden pumped storage station in Israel. GE Renewable Energy is responsible for the design, manufacture, supply and installation of all electro-mechanical and hydro-mechanical equipment for the two 172 MW pumped-storage units. [Your Industry News]

¶ Wildfires can happen even in Greenland. They are very rare there, but unfortunately they are becoming more common. This year has been unprecedented far as numbers of fires go. This is particularly bad, as wildfires release soot, and soot that has been deposited on ice sheets or snow greatly increases the speed at which the ice melts. [CleanTechnica]

Greenland wildfire (Photo: Pierre Markuse, some rights reserved)

¶ Sri Lanka’s cabinet has given the go ahead to install PV systems to generate solar power on the roofs of all public institutions. About 3% of Sri Lanka’s energy demand is currently met by renewables such as wind and solar. Solar power has the potential to meet 32% of Sri Lanka’s annual power demand of around 10,500 GW. [Lanka Business Online]

¶ An Australia trial to demonstrate the ability of wind farms to provide crucial grid stabilizing services, traditionally supplied by “baseload” coal and gas plants, is set to begin in October. The trial will test the ability of Hornsdale 2 to provide frequency control and ancillary services and subsequently to participate in the grid markets. [RenewEconomy]

Hornsdale wind farm

¶ Two parallel announcements have given shape to the planned 424-MW Reynosa III Wind Park set to be developed in Mexico. Three state-owned development banks will provide $1,072 million in financing, and Vestas is to supply 120 of its V136-3.45 MW wind turbines. The wind farm is expected to be completed by 2019. [CleanTechnica]

¶ In the last two years, Indian coal consumption has slowed to its lowest level in two decades, even though the economy has been growing at a steamy 7% annual pace. Thermal power plants have been running well below full capacity for years and as of June were operating at only 57% of their total capacity, the lowest level ever. [PennEnergy]

Illegal coal scavengers (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer, File)

US:

¶ When construction was halted on two nuclear power plants in South Carolina spiraling costs were blamed. But another equally important reason was that the demand for electricity has not increased as expected when the project was proposed in 2008. In fact, a report shows that US residential demand has declined from what it was ten years ago. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The US has over 20 offshore wind projects in the pipeline, with over 24-GW of potential installed capacity, according to the US DOE. Most projects are planned for the northeast Atlantic, but schemes are also in the pipeline in the southeast Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf of Mexico and Great Lakes, DOE said a report it released on wind energy. [reNews]

Block Island offshore wind farm (Deepwater Wind image)

¶ AES is to supply two batteries to Arizona Public Service for an 8-MWh energy storage project. The batteries will be installed at the community of Punkin Center. The new project will be built to avoid rebuilding 20 miles of power lines over rough terrain to the community, the company said. The facility expected to be operational in early 2018. [reNews]

¶ The wind energy industry reached an important milestone in 2016 when it passed the generating capacity of hydroelectric power for the first time to become the nation’s top renewable generating source. The total amount of wind capacity in the queue represents 34% of all generating capacity waiting to connect to the grid. [ThinkProgress]

Dry Lake wind project in Arizona (DOE photo)

¶ The total solar eclipse on Monday will obscure the sunlight at 1,900 utility-scale solar-power plants in the country, the Energy Information Administration said this week. Though there will be a reduction in solar output, relatively little solar-power capacity lies directly on the path of totality and no reliability issues are expected in the US, the EIA said. [MarketWatch]

¶ The city commission in Orlando, Florida, unanimously approved a resolution to commit to a goal of 100% clean and renewable energy for the city by 2050. According to the Sierra Club, Orlando has joined a growing movement of more than three dozen cities nationwide that have committed to a 100% clean energy future. [North American Windpower]

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August 9 Energy News

August 9, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Switching from coal to natural gas will not save our planet” • If as little as 3% of natural gas leaks in the course of fracking and delivering it to the power plant through a pipe, then it’s worse than coal. And, sadly, it’s now clear that leakage rates are higher than that. Aerial surveys of one fracking area found leak rates as high as 9%. [The Seattle Times]

Natural gas well (Ralph Wilson | The Associated Press)

Science and Technology:

¶ Researchers at Rice University have developed a simple water filter that has been shown to remove up to 99% of the toxic heavy metals in treated water samples, including copper, cadmium, lead, mercury, and nickel. A single gram of it can treat up to 83,000 liters of contaminated water, after which it can be washed with vinegar and reused. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Ineratic, a spinoff of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, has cooperated with Finnish partners to develop a mobile chemical pilot plant that can be used decentrally to produces gasoline, diesel oil, and kerosene from regenerative hydrogen and carbon dioxide from the air. The pilot plant is so compact that it fits into a shipping container. [domain-B]

Pilot plant (Image: VTT)

World:

¶ Irizar e-mobility has been awarded the contract to supply Madrid with its first 15 electric buses, and to supply Barcelona with its first 4 electric articulated buses. The city of Valencia will also buy its first electric bus from Irizar, and the city of Bilbao will buy two. These units are expected to all be delivered before the end of 2017. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Belectric has built and commissioned a 16-MWh battery storage plant for Eins Energie in Saxony. The €10 million ($11.7 million) project provides primary reserve of 10 MW to the power market, Belectric said. The German state of Saxony funded the project, together with €1 million from the European Regional Development Fund. [reNews]

Belectric storage project (Credit: Belectric)

¶ The Queensland Government introduced a new program to support renewable energy investment and storage projects. Known as Renewables 400, it is part of the government’s A$1.16 billion ($919 million) Powering Queensland Plan. It aims to aid companies to develop large-scale renewable and battery storage projects. [Power Technology]

¶ Australian funds manager Impact Investment Group has committed to fund the construction and operation of a new 19-MW solar farm in Victoria’s Swan Hill. The Swan Hill Solar Farm is expected to produce 37,700 MWh in its first year of operation, enough to power the equivalent of about 6,300 Australian homes. [The Urban Developer]

Solar array

¶ Shell Energy Europe announced plans to enter the UK power market. It has applied for a licence to supply electric power to industries and businesses in Britain. The oil giant plans to start signing them up now to start providing them with electricity early next year. The company offtakes renewable power from wind farms and solar parks. [Energy Live News]

¶ A project that will test whether South Australia’s excess solar and wind power can be used to produce cheap hydrogen, both as a means to supplement Australia’s gas supply, and as a long-term energy storage option, has been backed by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. The agency is funding a pilot project with A$5 million. [RenewEconomy]

Snowtown II wind farm

¶ Homes across the Northern Tablelands of New South Wales will receive a second boost of locally-generated renewable electricity, with a 400,000 panel solar farm soon to be built in the region. The state government approved the 100-MW Metz Solar Farm. Construction is scheduled to begin early next year. [The Guyra Argus]

US:

¶ Goldwind Americas is to supply One Energy Enterprises with turbines totaling 60 MW for several wind projects in the US. The first 20 GW87/1500 machines are scheduled for immediate delivery, Goldwind said. The first four turbines will be installed at wind for industry projects to supply power to Whirlpool Corp facilities in Ohio. [reNews]

View from the top of a wind turbine (Goldwind image)

¶ US diplomats should sidestep questions on what it would take for the Trump administration to re-engage in the global Paris climate agreement, a diplomatic cable seen by Reuters said. The cable was sent to embassies by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. It also said diplomats should make clear the US wants to help other countries use fossil fuels. [HuffPost]

¶ The DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory released its annual Wind Technologies Market Report. It confirms that US wind energy costs continue to fall, technology continues to advance, and performance continues to improve. This has helped the wind industry sell energy at historically low prices to electricity customers. [Into the Wind]

American wind power

¶ Eagle Creek has acquired the 19-MW Abenaki and the 9-MW Anson facilities located on the Kennebec River in Maine. The two facilities had provided power to a mill until it closed in 2016. Under Eagle Creek’s ownership, they will now provide about 150 million kWh per year of electric energy to the New England power grid. [POWER magazine]

¶ When the South Carolina utilities decided to stop construction of the VC Summers nuclear plant, their move came “without warning,” Westinghouse said in a document filed with the bankruptcy court. The project owners did not give Westinghouse any notice before dismissing its subcontractors and vendors on the job. [PowerSource]

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August 8 Energy News

August 8, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “The red state with an energy blueprint” • Iowa didn’t become an energy powerhouse by accident. Back in the 1980s, the state enacted the nation’s first law incentivizing utilities that bought more renewable power. Last year, nearly 37% of Iowa’s power came from wind. It has given the state jobs and the country’s most reliable and inexpensive energy. [The Hill]

Wind turbines (Getty Images)

¶ “Censoring climate change won’t stop global warming” • The United States Department of Agriculture has decided to combat the threat of global warming by forbidding the use of the words. The terms “climate change” and “climate change adaptation,” are to be replaced by “weather extremes” and “resilience to weather extremes.” [The Guardian]

World:

¶ Potent, climate warming gases are being emitted into the atmosphere but are not being recorded in official inventories, a BBC investigation has found. In just one example, Swiss air monitors detected large quantities of one gas coming from a location in Italy. However, the Italian submission to the UN records just a tiny amount. [BBC News]

Air monitoring station at Jungfraujoch

¶ Cumulative installed PV power has reached 237 MW in Brazil as of the end of June, according to provisional statistics provided by the country’s Minister of Mines and Energy. It said in the report it expects another 530.4 MW of PV plants awarded in the auctions to come online by the end of 2017 and 1.34 GW to be connected to the grid in 2018. [pv magazine]

¶ A German public works department, Stadtwerke Heidelberg, has broken ground on a new type of energy storage center. Solar and wind energy generated on site will be used to heat up the water inside the tower. The heat will then be sold. The heat storage center will also provide a sustainable energy knowledge hub to the community. [The Urban Developer]

Rendering of heat storage tank in Heidelberg

¶ The UK government has given the green light for an offshore wind farm that could meet the power needs of 890,000 homes. The 1.2-GW East Anglia Three offshore wind farm, 40 miles off the coast of Suffolk, will have up to 172 huge, wind turbines, of up to 12-MW each, bigger than any turbines currently available. [Aberdeen Evening Express]

¶ Lightsource, a UK-based solar energy developer, has applied to the Meath County Council in Ireland for planning permission to build a 70-MW solar farm. If granted, the plant would be by far the largest single solar array in Ireland, and also the largest in the British Isles. The expected investment cost is likely to reach €60 million. [pv magazine]

Castle in County Meath (Image: Andrew Parnell | Wikipedia)

US:

¶ The average temperature in the US has risen rapidly and drastically since 1980, and Americans are feeling the effects, according to a sweeping federal climate change report awaiting approval by the Trump administration. Scientists say they fear that the administration could change or suppress the report. A draft of it is available. [New York Times]

¶ Farmers Electric Cooperative serves 605 households and businesses in Kalona, Iowa, and its surrounding villages. It generates 3,719 watts of solar power per subscriber, 76% more than any other utility. The cooperative offers a look at how community-minded thinking can shape energy policy and reinvent the local economy. [CleanTechnica]

Farmers Electric solar array (Farmers Electric photo)

¶ After taking in orders for the US wind industry worth 632 MW during the second quarter of this year, Vestas has in the past two weeks announced 348 MW worth of new wind turbine orders for the United States alone. This brings the total number of wind turbine orders from the United States for the year up to 1,776 MW. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Alger Delta members in the Michigan’s Upper Peninsula will soon receive even more of their electricity from cost-effective renewable energy. Alger Delta’s not-for-profit wholesale power supplier, WPPI Energy, entered an agreement with Invenergy, to purchase the output from a 132-MW wind energy center that Invenergy owns. [UPMatters.com]

Wind turbines at sunset

¶ Only a day after the EPA was sued by 16 Democratic state attorneys general, Scott Pruitt and the EPA announced that they would forego delaying the designation of areas currently impacted by high levels of ground-level ozone, also known as smog. A press release heralded the EPA’s willingness to work with states. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Software giant Salesforce, in San Francisco’s largest employer, is switching two of its high-rise office buildings in the City by the Bay to 100% renewable wind and solar energy through a local community choice aggregation program. The company is the largest business yet to opt into the SuperGreen level of the not-for-profit CleanPowerSF initiative. [GreenBiz]

San Francisco (Shutterstock image)

¶ Low-income customers in New York City and nearby areas will have access to solar starting in 2018. A plan for Consolidated Edison to put solar panels on its buildings and properties in the city has been approved. The initial installations, totaling 3 MW, will be installed on properties including in the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. [pv magazine USA]

¶ An article in the Wall Street Journal says South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster is looking at ways to revive the abandoned project to build two new nuclear reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station. One is the idea to sell the state-owned utility, Santee Cooper, or sell the Santee Cooper’s 45% ownership in the construction of the reactors. [WLTX.com]

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August 7 Energy News

August 7, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ Climate change may have contributed to 59,000 suicides committed by Indian farmers over the last 30 years, a research paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences said. It suggests India will see more such tragedies as climate change brings hotter temperatures that damage crops and exacerbate drought. [Gears Of Biz]

Farming in India

¶ Over the coming decades, a number of new diseases spread into Europe as the continued warming of the climate allows them to expand, a study from the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Infection and Global Health said. Among them may be Lyme disease, malaria, sleeping sickness, cholera, liver fluke infection, and anthrax. [CleanTechnica]

¶ At China’s Yunnan Agricultural University, researchers have developed a perennial rice by crossing Oryza sativa, the short-lived Asian rice, with a wild African perennial O. longistaminata. The cross, a possible help for climate change, “apparently lasts at least five years and gives 10 seasons of grain twice a year with yields comparable to seasonal rice.” [NewsX]

Perennial rice

¶ There is now only a 5% “chance” that anthropogenic climate warming will be limited to under 2° Celsius, the goal set at the 2015 Paris Climate Change conference, a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change said. It said there is a 90% likelihood that temperatures will rise between 2° Celsius and 4.9° Celsius by 2100. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ The head of Egypt’s New & Renewable Energy Authority announced that Egypt will begin to make solar panels soon, and the project will pave the way to other initiatives. According to the state-run newspaper, the solar panels will be set up on buildings that are being already established in Egypt’s New Administrative capital. [Egypt Independent]

New solar array

¶ Some of the world’s largest petroleum companies are investing in renewable energy. That is partly due to public concerns over climate change and uncertainty about the future. Statoil’s Senior Vice President of Sustainability told an international oil congress in Istanbul that his company would spend 20% to 30% of its resources on alternates. [Gears Of Biz]

¶ Plans for a major solar energy farm on a 27-hectare site in Ireland have been approved by Wicklow County Council. Ireland must meet a binding target of generating 16% of energy from renewable sources by 2020, or face a penalty of up to €120 million that will be imposed by the EU for every 1% the State falls below target. [Irish Times]

Solar panels in Ireland

¶ Taiwan’s first offshore wind farm has begun generating power with 6.5 MW coming from its first two turbines. The capacity is expected to grow to 120 MW by 2019, lead developer Swancor Renewable Energy Co Ltd (上緯新能源) said. The Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Bureau of Energy has a goal to install 1,000 wind turbines by 2030. [Taipei Times]

¶ Last week’s tender for the Wind Energy Renewable Energy Resource Area project in Turkey resulted in a world record feed-in-tariff, offered by Siemens-Türkerler-Kalyon consortium. The feed-in-tariff went down from 10.3¢/kWh to below 3.5¢/kWh, setting a new world record. This price is calculated to be 50% below the current incentive price. [Daily Sabah]

Wind power

¶ Latvia’s state-owned power utility Latvenergo has launched a program to support development of residential PV installations of up to 10 kW under net metering. Latvenergo also offers solar panels on the basis of interest-free hire-purchase with a term up to five years. The PV systems are to be installed by a partner company. [pv magazine]
Latvia (Photo: Flickr | Kārlis Dambrāns)

¶ TuNur Limited, a private company incorporated in the United Kingdom is seeking to set up a 4.5 GW concentrating solar power system in Tunisia. The power would be sent through three submarine cables to Europe. The first link, sending up to 500 MW of electricity through Malta, could be finished as soon as 2020. [Malta Independent Online]

Cable routes from Tunisia to Europe

¶ Engie Australia has begun the pre-construction work of the 119-MW Willogoleche wind farm near Hallett in South Australia. The $A250 million ($198 million) project, to be built on Willogoleche Hill about 160 km north of Adelaide, will include 32 turbines that each produce between 3.4 MW and 3.8 MW of power. [FutureFive NZ]

US:

¶ As more Hawaii residents use PV systems to power their homes and new large renewable energy sources come online, Hawaiian Electric Co. and its subsidiaries continued to see the islands’ old grid systems unable to effectively handle renewable energy sources. Now the utility is mounting a major push to modernize its electrical systems. [Maui News]

Hawaiian PV system (Photo: Matthew Thayer | The Maui News)

¶ There are a few more than 50,000 coal miners working in the US. That is slightly more than last year, with President Trump taking credit for the change, but coal mining is not secure work. By contrast, the wind industry added 15,000 workers last year and the solar industry added 50,000. The question is whether miners could take the new jobs. [Gears Of Biz]

¶ Billions of dollars have been lost on US nuclear power. Most of the 18 nuclear projects pending before the NRC a decade ago have been aborted or suspended indefinitely. The NRC licensed seven, but none of them is operational. Only one in Georgia is still being built, at a cost of $100 million a month, and in the end it could cost $25 billion. [The Augusta Chronicle]

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August 6 Energy News

August 6, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Reality check: We can’t turn back time on Alberta’s climate policy” • The environment is not the partisan issue it’s often made out to be. Outside of a vocal minority who object to any action on climate change, leaders across the political spectrum recognize this is the critical economic and environmental challenge of our times. [Calgary Herald]

Oilsands extraction facility (Mark Ralston | AFP | Getty Images)

¶ “How SC lawmakers passed a 2007 law that failed SC power customers” • A 2007 law put SC power customers on the hook for financing nuclear reactors. The law, which was promoted as protecting South Carolina ratepayers, “basically allowed the utilities a blank check at the ratepayers’ expense,” according to one state lawmaker. [The State]

¶ “Dirty energy’s quiet war on solar panels” • With rooftop solar power, you can help address climate change, grow the renewable energy economy, create jobs, and save money. Win-win-win, right? Well, not if you’re in the fossil fuel industry – or one of the politicians who owe them favors. And that’s where things get messy. [The Hill]

Rooftop solar system (Infrogmation, Wikimedia Commons)

World:

¶ Solar has become the world’s favorite type of new electricity generation. Global data show that more solar PV capacity is being installed than any other generation technology. Across the world, 73 GW of net new solar PV capacity was installed in 2016. Wind energy came in second place with 55 GW. Coal was third with 52 GW. [finder.com.au]

¶ Global movement toward clean energy sources is a boon for Canada’s mining industry, according to Mining for Clean Energy: Tracking the Energy Revolution 2017, a report from Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue. Solar panels, wind turbines, electric vehicles, smart grids, and LEDs all require Canadian metals and minerals. [The Reminder]

Zoro Lithium Project

¶ An academic who is a critic of the cost of renewable power is to lead an independent review of the cost of energy amid concerns about rising bills in the UK. He was chosen by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to carry out the inquiry which he said will “sort out the facts from the myths about the cost of energy.” [The Times]

¶ The tiny Orkney island of Eday is working on an initiative that could revolutionize the world of sea transport. With shipping under pressure for producing high levels of emissions, islanders are developing a project that could pave the way for pollution-free roll-on/roll-off vehicle ferries powered by locally produced hydrogen. [The Times]

Tidal power project (LCHAM | SIPA | Rex | Shutterstock)

US:

¶ President Donald Trump has made no secret of his desire to roll back environmental regulations and change the playing field for the fossil-fuel industry. His administration’s actions over its first six months have been following that lead, including what many scientists say is a full-fledged battle against research and facts. [CNN]

¶ Manufacturers choosing where to expand may see electricity costs as vitally important, but experts say last week’s decision to scrap construction of two new reactors at the VC Summer Nuclear Station due to high costs is not expected to have a long-term impact on statewide economic development efforts in South Carolina. [Charleston Post Courier]

Boeing 787 assembly plant (Charleston Post Courier file photo)

¶ The “flash drought” that came out of nowhere this summer in the US High Plains, afflicting Montana and the Dakotas worst, has already destroyed more than half of this year’s wheat crop, going by some recent field surveys. Flash droughts are expected to become more common over the coming decades as the climate continues warming. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Citing Appalachia’s need to compensate for losing thousands of megawatts worth of coal-fired power during the last few years, developer Pike Island Energy hopes to build a $200 million hydroelectric plant at the Pike Island Locks and Dam in the Ohio River. The 48-MW plant would generate enough electricity for about 22,000 homes. [The Review]

Pike Island Locks and Dam (US Army, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ News from Arizona is a mixed bag. As the shutdown of the 2,250-MW Navajo Generating Station is still moving forward, the 27.3-MW Kayenta Solar Project has gone online, and some of its power going to Navajo homes that have never had electricity before. But Arizona utilities are doing what they can to oppose rooftop solar power. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A growing opposition in the executive branch comes as the White House’s legislative agenda has stalled in Congress and Trump turns to his Cabinet agencies to change course in several policy areas. It is emanating from career staffers whose resistance to Trump has at times been rooted in deep opposition to the president’s agenda. [The Hill]

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August 5 Energy News

August 5, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ A finger of ice spilling out of the Chugach Mountains marks Alaska’s rapidly warming climate – almost literally. The path approaching Exit Glacier, the most accessible of the 500 square miles of ancient ice covering Kenai Fjords National Park, is a timeline of retreat. The glacier lost 252 feet last summer. Visitors notice the change. [Alaska Dispatch News]

Glacial terminus of 1917 (Marc Lester | Alaska Dispatch News)

¶ Extreme weather could kill up to 152,000 people yearly in Europe by 2100 if nothing is done to curb the effects of climate change, scientists say. The number is 50 times more deaths than reported now, a study in The Lancet Planetary Health said. The study also said heat waves would cause 99% of all weather-related deaths. [BBC News]

¶ The North Atlantic Ocean is home to a “warming hole” that has enthralled scientists, but a new study on it in the journal Nature Climate Change is troubling. The study is part of a growing chorus of research that suggests the cold patch shows a major ocean current system may be slowing down, and melting Arctic sea ice could be the culprit. [The Weather Channel]

Observed temperature trends, 1900 to 2012. (NOAA image)

World:

¶ The Trump administration has taken another step towards exiting from the Paris climate agreement. It has notified the United Nations of its decision to leave the deal. The actual withdrawal process will prove lengthier and cannot be initiated until 2019 at the earliest. The administration still pledges to stay engaged on the issue of climate change. [CNN]

¶ In early July, the world’s first ever hybrid hydro-solar plant began full-scale operation in Portugal. Now floating on the surface of the dammed river at the Alto Rabagão Dam are 840 solar panels that work together with the dam’s hydroelectric generators. Energias de Portugal’s project the first of its kind. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Alto Rabagão Dam

¶ Plans to promote electric vehicles in the UK do not go far enough to tackle air pollution, a leading government adviser said. Writing in the Guardian, Prof Frank Kelly said fewer cars, not just cleaner ones, were the key to cleaner air. Electric cars produce particulates from their tires and brakes, and these are linked to serious health problems. [BBC News]

¶ ABB has won a $30 million contract from TenneT to supply grid stabilization technology to help increase the uptake of renewable energy in Germany. The work will involve delivery and installation of a hybrid static compensator at the Borken substation in Hessen in central Germany to provide dynamic voltage support. [reNews]

Statcom system (ABB image)

¶ More than $2 million in funding from the state of Victoria and the Moreland Council has been committed to kickstart the construction of a hydrogen refueling station. The council has partnered with hydrogen utility company H2U for the project and international vehicle manufacturer CNH Industrial is set to develop the hydrogen fuel cell trucks. [Herald Sun]

US:

¶ Allete Clean Energy is planning to refurbish 385 turbines at three wind farms in Minnesota and Iowa. The work will include replacing select blades, gearboxes and generators at the 104-MW Lake Benton project in Minnesota and the Storm Lake 1 and 2 wind farms in Iowa, which have capacities of 109 MW and 79.5 MW, respectively. [reNews]

Iowa farm (Image: Pixabay)

¶ President Donald Trump came to the heart of coal country and told a large and cheering crowd what they wanted to hear: that Obama’s war on coal has ended. But in fact, Kentucky coal jobs and production continued down in the second quarter of the year. In eastern Kentucky, employment in the second quarter dropped 5.3 %. [The Independent]

¶ Toyota and Mazda will be partnering to develop a new $1.6 billion assembly plant in the US, as well as to develop electric vehicle technologies. The new assembly plant will reportedly be capable of producing around 300,000 vehicles a year and will employ around 4,000 people. Operations are expected to begin by 2021. [CleanTechnica]

Toyota Prius Prime (Image: Zach Shahan)

¶ In Utah, like many places in the US, the growth of rooftop solar panel systems is being thrown some shade. Rooftop solar has been booming, with the number of installations increasing by an estimated 900% in six years. But the state’s largest power utility is pushing to raise the rates on rooftop solar customers who tie into the electrical grid. [St. George Daily Spectrum]

¶ South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson is opening an investigation and state Senate leaders are calling for a special legislative session following the abandonment of construction of two nuclear reactors at the VC Summer plant in Fairfield County. The $9 billion failure of the plant prompted the multi-pronged response. [Charleston Post Courier]

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August 4 Energy News

August 4, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Nuclear power as we know it is finished” • South Carolina Electric and Gas Co and partner Santee Cooper abandoned work on two new nuclear reactors this week because the only way to pay for them was to overcharge customers or bankrupt both companies. Nuclear power has a hard time competing in a competitive market. [Houston Chronicle]

Control room at Three Mile Island (AP Photo | Matt Rourke, File)

¶ “How To Get Past Climate Despair To Take Climate Action: Advice From Experienced Activists” • When the news gets bad, it is only natural to feel afraid, even when you know gloomy headlines are just one side of the story and the solutions we need are in our hands today. So the question is: how do you get past the fear and start fighting? [CleanTechnica]

¶ “On Healing Sick Ecosystems” • Many creatures are in danger because we are unintentionally destroying their homes. Whether by pollution, climate change, or clearing habitats for our own reasons, we have made much of the world less habitable. There are compelling moral and practical cases for preserving healthy ecosystems. [Union of Concerned Scientists]

Ecosystem in need (Photo: lgnc.org | conservation)

Science and Technology:

¶ Part of the bad news on climate change is that New England may become a hotspot for invasive plants and animals. That was the pressing subject on the minds of around 100 experts from academia, conservation organizations and government agencies who gathered at a symposium on invasive species and climate change in Amherst. [Amherst Bulletin]

World:

¶ IKEA has teamed up with LG Chem and Solarcentury to offer residential storage battery solutions to its customers in the UK. Solar-plus-storage solutions from IKEA will start at around $9,000 with LG Chem supplying batteries between 3.3 kWh and 6.5 kWh. Battery-only packages begin at under $6,000 after a 15% IKEA family discount. [CleanTechnica]

IKEA store in Sweden

¶ Since 2014, the RE100 initiative has been working behind the scenes with businesses and organizations of all sizes and sectors to negotiate transitions to 100% renewable electricity. The reason is simple: shift to 100% renewable electricity and you massively reduce the amount of carbon pollution you produce as a company. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Nexans Norway has started installing the subsea power cable for the 1.4-GW NordLink interconnector between Germany and Norway. Starting at Vollesfjord in Vest-Agder, cable ship Nexans Skagerrak is installing the wires, which weigh 70 kg per meter, while offshore vessel Polar King will carry out subsea burying operations. [reNews]

Nexans Skagerrak (Nexans photo)

¶ Equis Energy has secured approval to begin constructing one of the largest solar farms in the world, a 1-GW installation in the Australian state of Queensland. The Western Downs Regional Council has approved the plans submitted by renewable energy developer Equis Energy to build the project. It will cost A$1.5 billion ($1.2 billion) to A$2 billion. [pv magazine]

¶ Two of the world’s largest energy companies, French giant Engie and American conglomerate GE, have announced plans to build a 119-MW wind farm in South Australia, 160 km north of Adelaide. The 32 wind turbines at the Willogoleche Wind Farm add yet another project to a state already shooting above 50% renewable energy. [RenewEconomy]

Wind farm in the Netherlands (Source: GE Renewables)

US:

¶ A study on the economic effects of climate and clean energy policies in California’s Inland Empire estimates a net benefit of $9.1 billion in direct economic activity and 41,000 net direct jobs from 2010 to 2016. With spillover effects of these benefits, the net value jumps to $14.2 billion and the jobs to over 73,000. [North American Windpower]

¶ Dominion Energy Virginia signed an agreement with DONG Energy to build two 6-MW turbines about 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach in a federally leased site. The companies are ironing out engineering, procurement and construction details. The Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project is expected to be installed by the end of 2020. [Marine Log]

Offshore wind power

¶ Green energy companies have submitted dozens of bids to bring more hydropower, wind and solar to Massachusetts to help keep the lights turned on and cut carbon emissions. In total, at least 46 bids were submitted to the state Department of Energy Resources by last week’s deadline. Winning bids are set to be announced next January. [Eagle-Tribune]

¶ US power supplier WPPI Energy made a deal with Invenergy to buy electricity from the 132-MW Bishop Hill 3 wind energy center in Illinois. The agreement will supply electricity to WPPI Energy’s 51 member utilities and customers in Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa. The project is scheduled to start commercial operations by mid-2018. [reNews]

Wind turbine (Image: Invenergy)

¶ Alliant Energy is seeking approval from the Iowa Utilities Board to add up to 500 MW of wind energy in Iowa. A decision is expected in early 2018. The company received approval in 2016 for a similar expansion. The combined projects would represent a $1.8 billion investment and add up to 1,000 MW of new wind generation. [PR Newswire]

¶ The Trump Administration, despite public pronouncements vowing support for US nuclear energy, gave little or no response after executives with both Santee Cooper and South Carolina Electric & Gas made pleas to save the construction of two units at the now abandoned VC Summer Nuclear Station, according to recent testimony. [Electric Light & Power]

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August 3 Energy News

August 3, 2017

 

Science and Technology:

¶ A study led by Harvard University reveals that the damage to crops from climate change will be worse than anyone previously expected. Based on data gathered from experiments conducted on staple crops that were exposed to projected atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, the team found reductions in protein levels. [IFLScience]

Indian harvest (Photo: Zvonimir Atletic | Shutterstock)

World:

¶ The state government of Queensland announced that it is going to install a network of 18 charging stations along a highway stretching more than two thousand miles. It runs along the east coast of Queensland from Cairns to Coolangatta and then turns west to Toowoomba. The exact type of charging system has not been announced. [ExtremeTech]

¶ The Press and Communications Manager at WindEurope said offshore wind energy is “rapidly moving from being a niche technology to a mainstream supplier of low-carbon electricity.” He confirms that there is currently 12.6 GW of offshore wind operating in Europe. The sector started with eleven 450-kW turbines in 1991. [Maritime Journal]

Offshore wind turbines

¶ NTPC, India’s largest power utility, is increasing its bets on solar power as tariffs keep falling on the back of decline in prices of cells and modules in the global market. The shift in business strategy of India’s largest coal-fired generator cannot be ignored. NTPC’s chairman said that his company would focus especially on adding solar capacity. [EnergyInfraPost]

¶ Millions of people living in South Asia face a deadly threat from heat and humidity driven by global warming according to a new study published in the journal Science Advances. Most of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh will experience temperatures close to the limits of survivability by 2100, without emissions reductions. [BBC News]

Indian farmer (Photo: Noah Seelam)

¶ In a dramatic U-turn, Sri Lanka’s energy regulator approved a new long-term electricity supply plan that rejects construction of any new coal plants to 2037. Coal power’s fall from grace in Sri Lanka has in large part been driven by public opposition to pollution from the country’s only coal plant, the Norochcholai Power Station. [RenewEconomy]

US:

¶ The US renewable industry is set for long-term growth as generating costs are falling and the industry is becoming more resilient, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s Head of America. He noted that problems always develop as young industries mature, but renewable energy’s falling costs add to its resilience. [Energy Matters]

Solar array (Image: Pixabay)

¶ Oregon-based energy storage company Powin Energy Corp will install software and infrastructure to seven Hawaiian sites, including the Boy Scouts of America’s Honolulu headquarters and the Aqua Kauai Beach Resort, to maximize their bottom lines through storing solar energy not used during daylight hours. [Pacific Business News (Honolulu)]

¶ The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced plans to convert its entire 2,200 bus fleet to zero-emission buses by 2030. It is awarding contracts for 95 electric buses and charging infrastructure for two of its bus service routes, as Southern California Edison expands its electric vehicle charging system. [Utility Dive]

Proterra bus (Image: Proterra)

¶ New York energy giant Con Edison is proposing a partnership with a group of energy developers called Maine Power Express LLC to deliver wind power from northern Maine to Boston markets. MPX would build a 630-MW wind facility and deliver its power via an underground power line on an existing energy corridor. [Press Herald]

¶ The mayor of White Plains, New York, announced support for a goal of powering White Plains entirely with clean and renewable energy by 2035. He joins a growing coalition of more than 120 Mayors for 100% Clean Energy who have goals of powering their communities with 100% renewable energy, such as wind and solar. [Hudson Valley News Network]

New York wind farm (Photo: Windtech, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Oregon legislators failed to renew solar panel incentives during this year’s legislative session. The Residential Energy Tax Credit, which gave as much as $6,000 for installing solar panels, will expire at the end of the year. A push to replace RETC with reimbursements through 2019, after which they would decline, also failed. [The Corvallis Advocate]

¶ Vestas is to deliver turbines totalling 148 MW for Southern Power’s Cactus Flats wind farm in Texas. The Danish turbine manufacturer will supply and commission 43 V126-3.45MW machines. Delivery is expected to start in 2017, to be followed by commissioning in 2018. The deal also includes a 20-year service agreement, Vestas said. [reNews]

V126-33MW turbines (Credit: Vestas)

¶ The recent decisions of South Carolina energy companies to abandon construction of two unfinished nuclear reactors over their high costs could affect whether Virginia goes forward with a pricey new reactor of its own. Dominion Energy is considering whether to move forward with North Anna 3, projected to cost about $25 billion. [WSET]

¶ Southern Company, a utility based in Georgia, released a preliminary estimate that indicated overall costs for its Vogtle Electric Generating Plant have risen to at least $25.2 billion. The latest estimate raises new questions about whether the sole remaining nuclear facility under construction in the US will get built. [Fox Business]

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August 2 Energy News

August 2, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ An interdisciplinary team of researchers funded by the National Science Foundation concluded that bacteria in a lake 800 meters (2,600 feet) beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet may digest methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, preventing its release into the atmosphere. The team published its results in the journal Nature Geoscience. [Laboratory Equipment]

Monitoring the WISSARD borehole

¶ The impact of climate change on the emergence and spread of infectious diseases could be greater than previously thought, according to research by the University of Liverpool. The study, published in Scientific Reports, is the first large-scale assessment of how climate affects bacterium, viruses, and other pathogens in Europe. [EurekAlert]

World:

¶ Australia’s power utilities and grid operators, under threat from the world’s fastest take-up of home solar panels, are rushing to come up with ways to stay relevant and protect long-term revenues. They are starting a push to cash into the millions of solar panels on the roofs of homes around the country, rather than lose out on them. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Solar array

¶ The monsoon season in India brings with it very high wind speeds, especially in the southern states. This year it has enabled record wind power generation in Tamil Nadu, which produced more than 5,000 MW of it at one point. The high wind energy generation forced the state utility to shut down 1,020 MW of thermal power capacity. [CleanTechnica]

¶ An analysis of Chinese development on the solar energy front from sector consultant group Wood Mackenzie finds that, when counting all planned and announced projects, solar power capacity will more than double by 2020. For wind power in China, Wood Mackenzie estimates capacity will increase by 40% by 2020. [UPI.com]

Chinese renewable energy (Photo: Stephen Shaver | UPI)

¶ The Indonesian Government plans to launch an auction for six geothermal projects in September this year. The projects will have a combined capacity of 255 MW and will involve a total investment capital of $1.02 billion. The auction aims to expand Indonesia’s renewable energy capacity, according to the Jakarta Post. [en.vietnamplus.vn]

¶ NB Power is proposing a maintenance project to ensure its 660-MW Mactaquac Generating Station can operate to its intended 100-year lifespan. The run-of-river hydro facility supplies about 12% of New Brunswick homes and businesses with power. The Mactaquac Generating Station began producing electricity in 1968. [HydroWorld]

Mactaquac Generating Station

¶ According to predictions by Eirgrid, Ireland’s transmission system operator, Irish solar power will reach grid parity in less than a decade, and this is despite its having no large scale ground mount solar currently installed. The prediction was in Eirgrid’s Future Energy Scenarios document, Tomorrow’s Energy Scenarios 2017. [Solar Power Portal]

¶ Some of Australia’s iconic beer brands will be brewed using 100% renewable energy. This is because Anheuser-Busch InBev has committed to buy all of its electricity from renewable resources by 2025, including on-site solar. Anheuser-Busch InBev is the parent company of Foster’s Group and Carlton United Breweries. [One Step Off The Grid]

Beer, to come from solar power

¶ The Spanish government says it is closing the country’s oldest nuclear power station because of lack of support among stakeholders to keep it open. Production at the 46-year-old Garona was halted in 2012 when its operator, Nuclenor, objected to a new tax. Its board has failed to reach agreement on keeping the plant open. [PennEnergy]

US:

¶ Tesla and wind farm developer Deepwater Wind plan to team up to create the largest project in the world that combines an offshore wind farm with large-scale electricity storage, the companies announced. The Revolution Wind Farm, about 12 miles off the shore of Martha’s Vineyard, would be able to store power in Tesla batteries. [RenewEconomy]

Block Island Wind Farm (Photo: Climate Central)

¶ The environmental impact study for the Keystone XL pipeline assumed that the price of oil would never fall below $100 a barrel during its useful life. Today, oil is selling for half that amount. Finding customers willing to sign up for oil shipments in 2020 may be harder than expected. And without customers, the pipeline will languish. [CleanTechnica]

¶ American Electric Power, which is based in Ohio, is applying for regulatory approval to build transmission lines for Wind Catcher, a massive wind farm under construction in Oklahoma. It will be the second largest in the world. AEP, once a leading coal-fired power plant operator, has a building program for renewable energy. [WKSU News]

Wind farm in Oklahoma (Invenergy image)

¶ The US government awarded $4.6 million in aid to retrain hundreds of Montana coal workers, many of whom will soon be out of jobs because of a partial closure of the coal-fired Colstrip power plant. President Donald Trump has declared that the “war on coal” was over, but coal industry workers’ jobs are still under threat. [Observer-Reporter]

¶ Utility customers in South Carolina may end up spending the next 60 years paying billions for two nuclear reactors that will never get built, based on a proposal that Scana Corp filed with regulators. Scana is seeking state approval to collect $4.9 billion from customers to cover the costs of scrapping two half-finished reactors. [Bloomberg]

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August 1 Energy News

August 1, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Why Court Victories for New York, Illinois Nuclear Subsidies Are a Big Win for Renewables” • A federal judge ruled that New York’s plan to subsidize nuclear power plants “is constitutional” and “of legitimate state concern.” It is a big win for Exelon, but the ramifications go well beyond the legality of New York’s nuclear program. [Greentech Media]

Indian Point nuclear plant (Greentech Media image)

Science and Technology:

¶ By the end of the century, the global temperature is likely to rise more than 2° C (3.6° F). This rise in temperature is the ominous conclusion reached by two different studies using entirely different methods published in the journal Nature Climate Change. One study put the chance that Earth will warm more than 2° at over 95%. [CNN]

¶ “Ghost forests,” stands of dead trees along coastlines invaded by rising seas, are something scientists call one of the most visible markers of climate change. The process has occurred naturally for thousands of years, but it has accelerated in recent decades as polar ice melts, sea levels rise, and salt water pushes farther inland. [Charleston Post Courier]

Ghost forest (AP photo, Stephen B Morton)

World:

¶ In Australia, the declining cost of renewables means it will soon be cheaper to build new renewables than to refurbish an existing coal plant even if it is fully depreciated, according to Kobad Bhavnagri at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. This means baseload coal power will gradually become a liability. [The Australian Financial Review]

¶ Convert is a solar tracker specialist headquartered in Italy, and is the world’s fourth largest according to IHS Markit. It signed a supply deal with Atlas Renewable Energy to deliver its tracker solutions to two large Brazilian solar projects. The $35 million agreement will see Convert ship trackers for 220 MW of PVs to Brazil. [pv magazine]

Sunrise in Rio de Janeiro

¶ Delhi’s metro rail network has been named as the only completely ‘green’ metro system in the world for adhering to green building standards. This feat was achieved after the DMRC obtained the platinum rating for adherence to green building norms for its 10 residential colonies from the Indian Green Building Council. [Business Standard]

¶ Chinese company Jereh Group has announced it has won a contract for two further sections of a geothermal power plant at Olkaria in Nigeria for state-owned power company KenGen. Under the contract, a consortium led by a subsidiary of Jereh Group will build up the facility’s total installed capacity to 61 MW. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Steam rising at the Olkaria Geothermal Plant (Photo: Jereh Group)

¶ In a press release, the government of Kazakhstan’s Akmola Region has announced that the Kazakh investment company KBEnterprises is planning construction of a 100 MW solar power plant near Kabanbay, Tselinograd District, in the north of the country. The $165 million project will be built on a 300 hectare site. [pv magazine]

US:

¶ American Electric Power selected Quanta Services to provide engineering, procurement and construction services for the power transmission line for the 2-GW Wind Catcher project in Oklahoma. The link will consist of approximately 350 miles of a single circuit 765-kV power line. Quanta expects construction to start in late 2018. [reNews]

GE wind turbines (GE image)

¶ The EPA must enforce Obama era pollution limits for the oil and gas industry. Nine of the eleven judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued this latest ruling after another ruling by the court in July that the EPA unlawfully tried to delay implementing the Obama-era methane pollution rule. [CNN]

¶ New York has been graced with strong sun and whipping winds that electricity companies increasingly harness for renewable energy. It has seen a 6,548% increase in the amount of energy it gets from the sun and a 473% increase in wind power production since 2007, according to a report. And it is not alone in seeing renewable energy grow. [TheInertia.com]

Solar array (Photo: Andreas Gücklhorn on Unsplash)

¶ Deepwater Wind will bid a combined 144 MW offshore wind and 40 MW energy storage project into the Massachusetts clean energy call. The US developer said the Revolution project will be put forward in reply to the segment of the state’s request for proposals that includes the promotion of energy diversity. The project could be scaled up, if needed. [reNews]

¶ LEEDCo and Fred Olsen Renewables’ 20.7-MW Icebreaker offshore wind project in Lake Erie has taken a big step forward. The Ohio Power Siting Board has found that the freshwater wind farm’s application is “in compliance and ready to be processed.” Icebreaker is expected to feature six MHI Vestas 3.45-MW turbines. [reNews]

Work in Lake Erie (LEEDCo image)

¶ The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority has started operating the 27.3-MW Kayenta Solar Project on 200 acres near Kayenta, Arizona. The closing of the Navajo Generating Station is leaving a hole in power generation in the region that ultimately will be filled with renewable energy, according to the solar farm’s project manager. [PennEnergy]

¶ Work has been suspended on two nuclear reactors being built by Westinghouse in South Carolina. Santee Cooper and South Carolina Electric & Gas Company said they had ordered a halt to construction of their jointly-owned project, the VC Summer plant, due to spiraling costs. The decision casts doubt on other nuclear projects. [Financial Times]

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July 31 Energy News

July 31, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Mysterious craters blowing out of Russia could mean trouble for the whole planet” • In Siberia, temperature rises are causing mysterious giant craters, but more dire consequences could be in store. Permafrost melting is causing collapses of railways and roads and sinking building foundations, as powerful greenhouse gasses are released. [South China Morning Post]

Siberian crater

Science and Technology:

¶ A study from Aalto University found that solar energy could be used to cover between 53% and 81% of annual domestic heating energy consumption in Finland. The study considered heat that could be stored seasonally. The findings relate, in approximation, to the potentials in neighboring countries at the same latitude as well. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Alphabet Inc’s secretive X skunk works has another idea that could save the world. This one, code-named Malta, involves vats of salt and antifreeze. It can be located almost anywhere, has the potential to last longer than lithium-ion batteries and compete on price with new hydroelectric plants and other existing clean energy storage. [Bloomberg]

Malta’s grid-scale energy storage technology (Source: X)

¶ Researchers at the Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka in Malaysia incorporated demand response scenarios in simulated network case studies based on 100 urban low-voltage network samples. Their research showed the significance that demand response can have on network operations with different levels of PV penetration. [pvbuzz media]

World:

¶ A Dene hamlet in the Northwest Territory made history last year by becoming the first in Canada’s North to replace its old diesel generator with a combination of diesel, batteries and a solar array. It used diesel as a backup and during the winter, and use the sun for everything else. Twelve months later, things have worked out as planned. [National Post]

Colville Lake, NWT (Wikipedia Commons)

¶ The European passenger plug-in market had a near-record month in June, with 28,000 registrations, up 54% over the same month last year. For the year through June, the market is up 30% this year, with the EV share now standing at a record 1.5%. The Renault Zoe hatchback is once again the continent’s best seller. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A Japanese consortium has taken a 60% stake in a portfolio of five wind farms owned by Invis Energy in Ireland. Invis will retain a 40% stake. Together, the wind farms constitute a 223-MW portfolio. Four of the wind farms are operating; the final project is under construction and due to be commissioned in the first quarter of 2018. [reNews]

Wind farm in County Kerry (Image: Invis Energy)

¶ Microgrids are networks that connect and co-ordinate power sources and loads in a small area, They are not as publicized as renewable energy from the sun and the wind, energy storage, or electric vehicles, but they are becoming increasingly important. Horizon Power manages more than 40 of them across Western Australia. [The West Australian]

¶ French energy major EDF has pointed towards a more renewable future after collapsing nuclear power prices in the UK sent its earnings down by one-fifth. In its results disclosure for the first half of the year released late last week, the firm reported EBITDA for the period of €7 billion, down one-fifth year-on-year. [Clean Energy News]

Renewable energy

¶ Delegates at both the New South Wales and Tasmanian Labor Conferences held over the weekend kept up the pressure on the Federal Labor Party to stick with a carbon price policy. They urged the party’s leadership to take immediate steps to meet the emissions target outlined by Australia’s Climate Change Authority. [Energy Matters]

¶ The Met Office’s State Of The Climate study for 2016 said last year was 0.5° C warmer across the UK than the average between 1981 and 2010. There was 4% more sunshine. The summer was drier and the winter was wetter, but the overall amount of rainfall was below normal. These changes are not isolated. They are part of a growing trend. [The Weather Channel]

The sunniest year on record

¶ A government advisory body has compiled a draft blueprint for recovering nuclear fuel debris from the three reactors that melted down at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, it has been learned. The aim is to start the project in 2021 and to complete decommissioning sometime 30 to 40 years after the disaster occurred. [The Japan News]

US:

¶ The Senate Appropriations Committee wants to save ARPA-E, the advanced energy research division President Donald Trump proposed eliminating. The House budget plan would eliminate ARPA-E, but the Senate committee’s report recommended not only maintaining the division, but also increasing its budget 8% to $330 million. [Houston Chronicle]

Photobioreactor

¶ An obscure state rule is being used to prevent Massachusetts private companies and property owners from getting net-metering credits for multiple sources of renewable energy on a single parcel of land. One company is pushing back against the rule, arguing that the Department of Public Utilities erred in its interpretation. [The Salem News]

¶ Plug Power Inc, makes hydrogen fuel cells, and for years has struggled to find customers. No longer. In April, Amazon.com Inc agreed to try out the technology in forklift fleets at 10 of its warehouses. And in July, Wal-Mart Stores Inc committed to double, to 58, the number of its warehouses that use forklifts running on Power Plug cells. [Bloomberg]

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July 30 Energy News

July 30, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will lead a new $9 million project to address technical barriers to commercializing enhanced geothermal systems. The clean energy technology has a potential to power 100 million American homes. The effort is to develop field experiments to understand and model rock fractures. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Testing rock samples (Credit: Marilyn Chung | Berkeley Lab)

¶ Levels of some forms of particulate air pollution present in car cabins while driving may be twice previous estimates, according to a study performed as part of the Atlanta Commuter Exposures Study. The air quality study was based on actual readings in cabins of operating cars, instead of on roadsides as earlier studies had done. [CleanTechnica]

¶ According to a study from Columbia University, the high temperatures we can expect in many parts of the world over the coming decades as a result of anthropogenic climate change will drive up aviation industry operating costs considerably. Takeoff weights will have to be reduced whenever temperatures climb too high. [CleanTechnica]

Air transportation

World:

¶ As Europe battles biblically extreme weather, experts say it is linked to climate change. From intense heatwaves to severe flooding, Europe is a continent of extremes at the moment. Severe weather conditions have caused mayhem and destruction in many countries. Some parts of Italy have seen rainfall totals 80% below normal. [Yahoo News UK]

¶ After 24 days at sea and a journey of over 10,000 km (6,214 miles), the icebreaker MSV Nordica set a new record for the earliest transit of the fabled Northwest Passage. The Arctic route linking the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans has been opening up sooner and for a longer period each summer due to climate change. [Houston Chronicle]

Northwest Passage (Photo: David Goldman, STF)

¶ The Vietnamese government has approved several programs to encourage renewable energy development. As many as five wind farms with total capacity of almost 200 MW are operating. More than 50 other projects are in construction or being planned. However, a number of regulatory and market barriers need to be addressed. [VietNamNet Bridge]

¶ Landmark robot footage Fukushima Daiichi’s unit 3 nuclear reactor is helping TEPCO understand the damage and forcing it to rewrite of the road map for decommissioning. The first images indicate melted fuel did not burn through the pressure vessel, but exited through the holes used to insert the control rods. [The Japan Times]

Robot used to survey the damaged reactor (KYODO)

¶ Opposition to a proposed coal plant in eastern Myanmar, has exposed an energy security dilemma in the country. Activists argue the project will have a range of negative impacts, such as encouraging land grabbing, polluting the air and water, ruining local livelihoods, and exacerbating already poor public health in the region. [Global Risk Insights]

US:

¶ Tesla has rolled out its new Model 3 vehicle, its least costly car to date. The first 30 customers, mostly company employees, received their cars on Friday. Chief executive Elon Musk said the Model 3 was the “best car for its cost, either electric or gasoline.” Prices start at $35,000, which the firm hopes will bring mass market interest. [BBC News]

Tesla Model 3 (Tesla Motors via Reuters)

¶ Citing the importance of the legislation as a support for the solar industry, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signed HB589 into law. It establishes a moratorium on new wind farm permits through 2018. However, Cooper has also signed an executive order aimed at mitigating the moratorium’s effects. [North American Windpower]

¶ Minnesota utility regulators greatly increased the “social cost” of carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, but not as much as requested by two state agencies and environmental groups. It voted 3-2 to raise that cost from the current range of $0.44 to $4.53 per short ton to a range of $9.05 to $43.06 per short ton by 2020. [Duluth News Tribune]

Wind farm in Minnesota (Windtech, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Maui Electric Co has been given the green light to expand its “Fast Demand Response” program from four to a projected 13 Maui businesses, which would receive bill credits to reduce their energy use with 10 minutes’ notice. The program is designed to help stabilize the grid with increased levels of renewable energy generation. [Maui News]

¶ With a limited lifetime for traditional oil drilling, Weld County, Colorado, is doing its part to prepare for the future. It is easing regulations for solar development and attracting developers to put up utility-scale solar farms. And the demand is great as utilities try to meet state goals for renewable-energy generation and consumer preferences. [The Denver Post]

Oil pump in Colorado (Greg Goebel, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ New Mexico faces job losses and reduced revenue from taxes as the electric utility industry changes. These effects will be spurred by closures of two coal-fired generating stations in San Juan County. Utilities across the country are increasing their reliance on renewable energy and natural gas, as they move away from coal. [Farmington Daily Times]

¶ BuildZoom reports that Tesla applied for several building permits, including one to add a microgrid lab to its colossal Gigafactory near Reno. It is not yet clear what the purpose is, but the lab’s relatively small price tag of $460,000 suggests that it is intended to be a design or testing facility rather than to provide for off-grid power. [ENGINEERING.com]

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July 29 Energy News

July 29, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Electric trucks and vans cut pollution faster than cars” • The clock may be ticking for petrol and diesel-powered cars, but it’s vans, trucks and buses that are driving the electric vehicle revolution on the world’s roads. The larger vehicles are far bigger polluters than cars, and the need to switch the fleets over to electric power is greater. [BBC News]

Electric garbage truck in Sacramento (Electrek image)

¶ “Al Gore Returns with an Ever-More Inconvenient Truth” • An Inconvenient Truth was released in 2006. Since then more polar ice has melted, and global temperature and carbon dioxide levels have climbed. Hurricanes are growing stronger, droughts more intense and flooding more extensive. And Al Gore has an urgent, but hopeful, message. [Scientific American]

Science and Technology:

¶ The western US is ablaze as the wildfire season has gotten off to an intense start. More than 37,000 fires have burned more than 5.2 million acres nationally since the beginning of the year, with 47 large fires burning across nine states as of Friday. The fire season comes earlier and lasts longer than it used to, partly due to climate change. [Climate Central]

Fire in Arizona (Credit: Prescott National Forest | flickr)

World:

¶ The Indian government reviewed the status of 34 stressed thermal power projects with an estimated debt of nearly ₹1.8 lakh crore ($15.6 billion), according to the country’s energy minister. NTPC, India’s largest utility has no proposal to acquire stressed power projects or enable their lenders to operate on a contract basis. [BloombergQuint]

¶ A report by Health and Environment Alliance has assessed the subsidy spending and health costs of seven economically powerful countries. India spent $16.9 billion on fossil fuel subsidies in 2013 and 2014, but health costs to meet the burden of diseases linked to air pollution are eight times the fossil fuel subsidies, at $140.7 billion. [Times of India]

Air pollution in India

¶ Air conditioners are cranked up and summer power use is at an all-time high as Saskatchewan continues to bask in a heat wave. SaskPower reported Saskatchewan broke its summer power use record Thursday, with a peak usage of 3,419 MW. The previous record was set earlier this month, on July 10, with a peak use of 3,360 MW. [CTV News]

¶ Energy giant Emera Inc is upping the amount of electricity it wants to carry on a proposed $2-billion transmission line from New Brunswick to Massachusetts from 900 MW to 1,000 MW. The 563-km HVDC transmission line would have two converter stations, one at Coleson Cove and the other near the Pilgrim nuclear plant. [TheChronicleHerald.ca]

The pulling end of the submarine cable

¶ EDF Energy suffered a drop in half-year profits amid rising competition, unexpected outages, and lower UK nuclear energy prices. A breakdown of regional operations showed that its UK operations suffered the biggest drop in earnings for the period, falling 34.4% to €627 million (£560 million) partly due to lower nuclear prices. [East Anglian Daily Times]

¶ Next year, Santiago’s subway system will buy 60% of its energy from solar and wind projects. A 100-MW solar farm in northern Chile’s Atacama Desert, with 254,000 panels and covering an area the size of 370 football fields, will produce 42% of the subway system’s power, and a recently built wind farm will supply 18%. [MarketWatch]

Subway in Santiago (Photo: Bloomberg)

US:

¶ When Tesla’s Gigafactory was first announced, it was shared that it would be able to produce more batteries than the rest of the world could build at the time combined. Now, in an update, Tesla shared that when it is running at full capacity, the Gigafactory will produce more batteries than the rest of the world combined – by a factor of 2! [CleanTechnica]

¶ Throughout Vermont, customers are signing up for a program that will allow them to power their homes while disconnected from the grid. The projects are part of a bold experiment aimed at turning homes, neighborhoods and towns into virtual power plants. Behind this movement is the local electric company, Green Mountain Power. [New York Times]

CEO Mary Powell of GMP (Jacob Hannah | The New York Times)

¶ New York banking giant JPMorgan Chase announced it plans to switch all its facilities to 100% renewable power by 2020. In Texas, 75% of JPMorgan Chase’s facilities will run on wind energy by the end of this year. That covers 584 branches and 8 million square feet, including a new 1.2 million-square-foot Plano campus. [Dallas News]

¶ The Trump administration may have to reconsider its proposal from earlier this month to curb biofuel use after a US appeals court in Washington ruled that the EPA does not have the authority to cut quotas while citing inadequate domestic supply. The decision was a unanimous ruling by a panel of three judges. [Bloomberg]

Loading ethanol (Photo: Daniel Acker | Bloomberg)

¶ SCANA Corp and state-owned utility Santee Cooper said Toshiba agreed to pay nearly $2.2 billion to cap its liabilities from the unfinished VC Summer nuclear project in South Carolina. Toshiba subsidiary Westinghouse, which was building two nuclear units at the Summer site, filed for bankruptcy in March. [POWER magazine]

¶ South Carolina Electric & Gas and Santee Cooper said there are “significant challenges” to completing two 1,150-MW partly built nuclear generating units at their Summer station. The likely cost to complete the units will “materially exceed” previous estimates, and they may not be completed in time to meet a December 2020 deadline for tax credits. [Platts]

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July 28 Energy News

July 28, 2017

World:

¶ Enormous quantities of toxic mercury are now accumulating in the Arctic tundra as a result of industrial activity and emissions in the temperate parts of the globe, according to a study from UMass Lowell. With the Arctic tundra warming, mercury that is accumulating there will increasingly make its way into the Arctic Ocean. [CleanTechnica]

Researcher in the Tundra

¶ Royal Dutch Shell is bracing for a peak in oil demand. Shell boss Ben Van Beurden said the oil major had changed its company mindset to a “lower forever” oil price environment and is focusing on being “fit for the forties,” in reference to the faltering oil price, which has struggled to remain above the $50 a barrel mark. [Telegraph.co.uk]

¶ A report from the Rocky Mountain Institute has concluded that a collection of factors have created a “groundbreaking” opportunity for decarbonizing the global mining industry by transitioning to renewable energy. The Sunshine for Mines program facilitates use of renewables for mines and aims to see 8 GW of capacity built by 2025. [CleanTechnica]

Levelized Cost of Energy: Gas Peaker and Diesel vs Solar
(Please click on the image to enlarge it.)

¶ Mexico hit an installed PV capacity of around 389 MW as of the end of December 2016, according to a report published by the country’s energy department. New grid-connected PV systems installed in Mexico in 2016 totaled 219 MW. This result represents a 128% year-on-year growth, the largest ever for the Mexican solar sector. [pv magazine]

¶ The pioneer of floating solar power plants, French company Ciel & Terre International has collaborated with Portuguese energy firm EDP  Group to design and build the first floating solar project at an existing hydro-electric power station at a dam located at the mouth of Rabagão river in Montalegre, Portugal. [PV-Tech]

Floating PV system in Portugal

¶ The New South Wales minister for planning  said solar projects have been approved for development in four locations in central and northern parts of the state. Their total rated capacity is 275 MW. The four new large-scale solar projects bring the total number now approved by the NSW government to 16 across the state. [RenewEconomy]

¶ With climate change, water scarcity and warmth could begin impacting European electricity generation as soon as 2030, causing production to decrease or to stop altogether, according to a study, published in the journal Nature. It concludes that traditional generation sources such as coal, gas, and nuclear will be increasingly vulnerable. [CleanTechnica]

Coal power plant (Credit: iStockphoto ©Michael Utech)

US:

¶ Analysis of sediments and porewaters from a lake downstream from two facilities that treat fracking wastewater in Pennsylvania led to the detection of highly elevated levels of radium, alkaline earth metals, salts, and organic chemicals. Peak concentrations correlate with a local peak of fracking wastewater disposal 5 to 10 years ago. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Kansas is the fifth state to have at least 5000 MW of wind power capacity installed. The state is behind California, Oklahoma, Iowa and Texas, which has a capacity of a whopping 21,000 MW. Kansans get 30% of their power from wind and solar. The state now has enough wind power capacity to supply 1.5 million average homes. [KMUW]

Kansas wind farm (Sean Sandefur | KMUW File Photo)

¶ Marin Clean Energy set up Deep Green, California’s first community choice aggregation, program in 2010. Individual customers may opt out of the program, but can also “opt up” for more clean energy than standard – 100% renewable energy costs 1¢/kWh extra. Eleven communities have signed up with Deep Green in the last three months. [pv magazine USA]

¶ US wind-power projects under construction or in advanced development in the second quarter are up 40% from the same quarter last year, according to the American Wind Energy Association. In April through June, 29 wind projects, for a total capacity of 3,841 MW, either began construction or entered advanced development. [Windpower Engineering]

Wind turbines at sunrise

¶ In an op-ed essay in Crain’s, New York City council candidate Keith Powers argues that the city should follow the lead of international farmers, power companies, and businesses that put floating solar panels on bodies of water. “We can do the same,” Powers writes, “in Central Park and across our upstate network of reservoirs.” [Habitat magazine]

¶ Vermont Governor Phil Scott issued a statement in support of proposals to supply Massachusetts with 1,000 MW of clean power via the TDI New England Clean Power Link. The TDI project would run from the Canadian border and under Lake Champlain for nearly a hundred miles before connecting to the New England grid in Ludlow. [Vermont Biz]

Lake Champlain (Aaron danielg, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ National Grid is offering two proposals for increasing the supply of renewable energy in Massachusetts. One project would upgrade transmission lines in Vermont and New Hampshire to deliver wind power from Quebec. The other project would build new lines to carry 500 MW between Nassau, New York, and Hinsdale, Massachusetts. [wwlp.com]

¶ Central Maine Power has submitted several proposals for transmission line investments to deliver energy from hydro and other resources from Quebec to the New England electric grid. CMP took this action in response to the Massachusetts Request for Proposals for delivery of clean energy, according to a press release. [HydroWorld]

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July 27 Energy News

July 27, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ Coastal mangroves are among the most imperiled ecosystems on earth. Current estimates say up to 67% have been lost to date, according to the United Nations science wing. UNESCO highlighted their role in sequestering significant amounts of carbon from the atmosphere and ocean, which is crucial for mitigating climate change. [UN News Centre]

Planting mangrove on Tarawa (UN Photo | Eskinder Debebe)

¶ The weather has always been an unpredictable element of agriculture, but climate change is expected to make matters significantly worse. Determining how much worse has historically been a challenge. A new study, however, says climate-induced drought could hit several of the world’s major corn producing regions all at once. [BloombergQuint]

¶ A ship with renewable energy panels instead of sails is set for trials next year. The EnergySail, a rigid sail that sits on a pole and rotates to harness both wind and solar energy, could help lower toxic gas and carbon emissions. The EnergySail can also be used when a ship is at anchor or in port to help reduce fuel costs. It can withstand high winds. [Daily Mail]

Eco Marine Power system

World:

¶ Moves including scrapping new diesel and petrol cars from 2040 and £255 million for councils to tackle air pollution locally have been welcomed. The UK Transport Secretary said the government was determined to deliver a “green revolution.” But environmental groups criticized the lack of a scrappage scheme and immediate clean air zones. [BBC]

¶ Highlands and Islands Enterprise has awarded £250,000 to a project aimed at providing power 24 hours a day on Fair Isle in Scotland. The £2.6 million project, which is being led by community group Fair Isle Electricity Company, plans to install three 60-kW wind turbines, a 50-kW solar farm and battery storage on the island. [reNews]

Fair Isle’s old turbine  (Wikimedia Commons | Dave Wheeler)

¶ Renewables and battery storage will replace gas as South Australia’s main source of electricity within eight years, according to industry analysts. The state’s energy transition could be a “leading case study on managing a power system in transition for other mature markets to follow”, says a report by Wood Mackenzie. [The Guardian]

¶ Around 3,516 MW of solar projects were selected in Spain’s renewable energy auction for large-scale solar and wind power plants held by the Spanish Ministry of Energy, Tourism, and the Digital Agenda. Provisional data provided by the spokeswoman of Spanish solar association UNEF, the share of wind power was just 720 MW. [pv magazine]

Sonnedix PV plant in Spain (Sonnedix image)

¶ A total of 6.1 GW of new wind power capacity was installed in Europe in the first half of 2017, according to WindEurope. Some 4.8 GW of onshore wind capacity was installed in the first six months of the year, with the majority in Germany, the UK, and France. A total of 1.3 GW of new offshore capacity was installed in 18 projects. [reNews]

US:

¶ According to a new report by Environment America Research and Policy Center, the US generates nearly eight times as much electricity from the sun and the wind as it did in 2007. This is enough to power more than 25 million homes. The average American uses 10% less energy than he or she did 10 years ago. [North American Windpower]

Wind farm on the prairie

¶ Two California governors, a Republican and a Democrat, celebrated extending one of the state’s key global warming programs. Governor Jerry Brown signed a law extending the state’s cap-and-trade program, as former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger slammed the federal government for abandoning the climate fight. [Governing]

¶ The latest proposed roadmap for Connecticut’s energy future is out, and it is likely to spark debate in the coming months, much of it over the Millstone nuclear plant and solar energy. The release of the proposed 2017 Comprehensive Energy Strategy is the first step in a months-long process with several public hearings before it is approved. [New Haven Register]

Millstone nuclear plant (NRC photo)

¶ South Carolina Electric & Gas Co has announced its customers are producing 43 MW of electricity from their own solar generating systems. That is more than 1% of the five-year retail peak demand on SCE&G’s system, meaning it exceeds the goal set forth in South Carolina’s landmark solar legislation (Act 236) in 2014. [Solar Industry]

¶ Power development company Invenergy LLC and General Electric Co announced plans to build the largest wind farm in the United States in Oklahoma, part of a $4.5 billion project to provide electricity to 1.1 million utility customers in the region. The 2-GW Wind Catcher wind farm is scheduled to come online in 2020. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Wind turbines in Oklahoma (USGS photo, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ In a move that will probably surprise no one, recent reports indicate Donald Trump will nominate former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler to serve as deputy administrator of the EPA. Wheeler was not only a key DC advocate for the coal industry, but also used to be an aide for everyone’s “favorite” climate-denying senator, James Inhofe. [HuffPost]

¶ A group representing several energy companies and ratepayers said it would appeal a federal judge’s ruling that upholds New York’s plan to subsidize nuclear power plants in the state. US District Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan had ruled that federal law does not preempt use of zero-emissions credits to support nuclear power. [POWER magazine]

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July 26 Energy News

July 26, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Small nuclear power reactors: Future or folly?” • Nuclear energy companies are proposing small nuclear reactors as a safer and cheaper source of electricity. A physicist with nearly two decades of experience researching and writing on nuclear reactor designs believes that one should be skeptical of these claims. [CanadianManufacturing.com]

Unfinished Bellefonte nuclear plant (Photo: TVA)

¶ “‘Clean Coal’ Is A Political Myth, Says Coal Company Owner” • Robert Murray, CEO of Murray Energy, America’s largest privately owned coal-mining company, told the press at a conference on clean coal, “Carbon capture and sequestration does not work. It’s a pseudonym for ‘no coal.’ It is neither practical nor economic.” [CleanTechnica]

Science:

¶ Scientists are sucking carbon dioxide from the air with giant fans and preparing to release chemicals from a balloon to dim the sun’s rays as part of a climate engineering push to cool the planet. Backers say the risky, often expensive projects are urgently needed to find ways of meeting the goals of the Paris climate deal to curb global warming. [Reuters]

Facility to capture atmospheric CO2 (Arnd Wiegmann)

World:

¶ New diesel and petrol cars and vans will be banned in the UK from 2040 in a bid to tackle air pollution, the government is set to announce. Ministers will also unveil a £255 million fund to help councils tackle emissions from diesel vehicles. A £3 billion package of spending on air quality responds to a High Court deadline. [BBC News]

¶ Toyota is not giving up on the hydrogen fuel cell technology that powers the Mirai, but is busy working in the background on an all-electric car with solid-state batteries that offer long range and fast recharging. The plan is to introduce the car, which will be built on an all new chassis, to the Japanese market in 2022. [CleanTechnica]

Toyota Concept-i

¶ Nordex, a German manufacturer, has signed a pair of contracts to supply turbines rated at 3.6 MW and 3.3 MW to EDF Energies Nouvelles projects in France. The 18-MW Espiers wind farm will feature five N117 3.6-MW turbines while the 17.7-MW Guilleville will feature four N117/3600s and a single N100 3.3-MW machine. [reNews]

¶ A slowing of jobs in the UK’s renewable energy sector can be blamed on inaction by lawmakers after a turbulent year of politics, according to a study. Just under 126,000 people were employed in the UK’s renewable energy industry in 2015/16. This is just a 2.5% increase compared to 2014/15, after two years with 8.8% growth in each. [CNBC]

Offshore wind farm (Christopher Furlong | Getty Images)

¶ Siemens Gamesa has entered into an agreement with the independent developer, Fuerza y Energía Limpia de Tizimín, to install 36 of the firm’s G114-2.1-MW turbines this year. The Tizimín wind farm, in the state of Yucatán, will have a total capacity of 76 MW. It is scheduled to be commissioned in 2018. [Power Engineering Magazine]

¶ SunPower and independent renewable power producer Tenergie announced that SunPower will supply 29.9 MW of its high-efficiency SunPower E-Series solar panels for projects Tenergie is developing in France. The panels will be installed at 157 rooftop projects totaling 26.8 MW and two ground-mounted systems totaling 3.1 MW. [PV-Tech]

SunPower solar system (SunPower image)

¶ The Mayor of Kashiwazaki said he will agree to the restart of two reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant, but on the condition that TEPCO “presents a plan to decommission the remaining five in two years.” The demand was made in the mayor’s first meeting with TEPCO’s new president, along with other conditions for a restart. [Asahi Shimbun]

US:

¶ The California Department of Transportation, Caltrans, has already begun altering California’s roadways so as to better accommodate the rollout of self-driving vehicles. It is doing so mostly by better accommodating the way that many self-driving vehicles navigate. This news comes from recent comments from the director of Caltrans. [CleanTechnica]

Waymo Chrysler

¶ A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit to stop the state of New York from subsidizing struggling nuclear power plants. The judge said the subsidy program was “plainly related to a matter of legitimate state concern,” the production of clean energy, and reduction of emissions from other energy that could add to global warming. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ Documents released by the California-based Energy and Policy Institute show that a member of President Lyndon B Johnson’s administration warned the Edison Electric Institute industry group at its 1968 annual convention that carbon emissions from fossil fuels could change the climate and trigger “catastrophic effects.” [The Wire]

ConocoPhillips oil refinery (Credit: Reuters | Bret Hartman | Files)

¶ Connecticut Governor Dannel P Malloy ordered a study of the Millstone Power Station’s future economic viability. But a top official at Richmond-based Dominion Energy, which owns the nuclear power plant, said “the time for a study without action has passed,” and Dominion will make a “business decision” regardless of Connecticut’s study. [Richmond.com]

¶ A dairy farmer in northern California says he’s been working on a way to reduce dairy methane emissions for several years, and has succeeded in making his dairy operations carbon positive. Albert Straus, well known for sustainable agriculture practices, revealed what he says is the world’s first first full-scale electric truck powered by cow manure. [Triple Pundit]

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July 25 Energy News

July 25, 2017

Opinion:

Chimpanzee hooting in western Uganda (Suzi Eszterhas | Minden Pictures)

¶ “A Cheap Fix for Climate Change? Pay People Not to Chop Down Trees” • A team of researchers has shown that there is a surprisingly cheap and easy way to slow the pace of deforestation in Uganda: Just pay landowners small sums not to cut down their trees. Their study was published in the journal Science. [The New York Times]
(Thanks to Tad Montgomery.)

¶ “Time for Europe’s financial community to join the climate fight” • There is a growing awareness that climate risk could pose a threat to financial stability. Not only do the physical effects of climate change raise the prospect of massive financial losses, but the move from fossil fuels towards a low-carbon economy could become a rush for the exit. [EURACTIV]

Science and Technology:

¶ Research scientists are “very worried” that the melting of the Greenland ice sheet could accelerate and raise sea levels more than expected. They say warmer conditions are encouraging algae to grow and darken the surface. Dark ice absorbs more solar radiation than clean white ice so warms up and melts more rapidly. [BBC News]

Greenland (Photo: Kate Stephens)

¶ Scientists in Finland are working on a process that creates protein using electricity and carbon dioxide from the air. This means it might be possible for people to feed themselves anywhere on earth using nothing but electricity from solar or other renewable energy sources, without fertilizers, animal wastes, deforestation, or emissions. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ Increasingly severe weather, triggered by climate change, is putting hundreds of millions of people at risk across southern Asia. As the rains fall harder, more than 137 million people in India, Bangladesh and China will be put at risk of coastal or inland flooding, more people than in the rest of the Asia-Pacific combined, a study in 2012 found. [CNN]

Loudi, Hunan province, July 2017

¶ The ongoing melting of permafrost in Siberia has produced some strange events. One is massive methane blowouts making craters in the previously frozen tundra. Another is the return of microbial illnesses that haven’t been present in the region for quite some time, including recent outbreaks of anthrax after over 75 years’ absence. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Batteries and renewable power are on the verge of bringing about an “epochal transformation” of the UK that could make energy clean, abundant, and very cheap, according to a cabinet minister. He said government plans for a more flexible energy system and £246 million of funding for battery research would “radically” bring down bills. [The Guardian]

UK wind turbines (Photo: Danny Lawson | PA)

¶ Enel Green Power Brasil Participações has started commercial operations at its 90-MW Cristalândia wind farm in Brazil. The 45-turbine project is located in the municipalities of Brumado, Rio de Contas and Dom Basilio in the north-east state of Bahia. Cristalândia is expected to generate about 350 GWh of electricity each year. [reNews]

¶ Ten Australian indigenous communities are set to be powered by hybrid solar PV and diesel systems in the first phase of an A$55 million (US$43.8 million) project.  The off-grid projects commissioned today consist of 10,000 solar panels, with a total of 3.325 MW capacity, saving over one million liters of diesel fuel every year. [PV-Tech]

Uluru, or Ayers Rock (Photo: Flickr | Robert Young)

¶ India’s Union Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines, in a written reply to a question said information provided by the States indicated that 13,872 un-electrified villages have been reported to be electrified up to June 30, 2017, out of 18,452 un-electrified villages in the country as of April 1, 2015. [EnergyInfraPost]

¶ Researchers from ETH Zürich and Imperial College London concluded that the variability of electricity supply from wind turbines in Europe is due to a lack of planning by individual countries. They suggest in Nature Climate Change, that nations look beyond their own boundaries when deciding where to site wind energy projects. [CleanTechnica]

Wind turbines (Photo: Master Wen | Unsplash)

¶ The Japanese government hopes to decide around September on a method for extracting fuel debris from Fukushima Daiichi’s reactor 3, based on findings from a recent robot inspection, the industry minister said. Last week, the robot captured images of what is thought to be melted fuel debris scattered around the crippled reactor. [The Japan Times]

US:

¶ The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine issued a report, Enhancing the Resilience of the Nation’s Electricity System,  claiming that the US electrical grid remains vulnerable to natural disasters, cyber attacks, and physical attacks. It says immediate action is needed to improve the resiliency of the power system. [CleanTechnica]

Transmission lines

¶ Billionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Energy subsidiary has gobbled up utilities and natural gas pipelines and tapped into clean energy production, including from Southern California’s abundant geothermal resources. Its latest move is the planned $9-billion purchase of Dallas-based Oncor, with 10 million customers. [Los Angeles Times]

¶ The midterm congressional elections are still a year away, but hundreds of rookie candidates are crafting policy positions for the first time. Most of them are Democrats, spurred by polls showing their party with the edge for 2018. In previous elections, many candidates glossed over their positions on climate change, but that looks like it could change. [The Hill]

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July 24 Energy News

July 24, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Clean, Green And Profitable, A Look At Malaysia’s Switch To Renewable Energy” • According to the National Renewable Energy Policy and Action Plan, adopted in 2011, Malaysia aims to have 11% of its energy sources to be from renewables by 2020. It may seem small, but Malaysia is still a developing country. [malaysiandigest.com]

Clean energy in Malaysia

¶ “California Shows How States Can Lead on Climate Change” • California, which has long been a pioneer in fighting climate change, renewed its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions last week by extending, to 2030, its cap-and-trade program, which effectively puts a price on emissions in a bold, bipartisan action. [New York Times]

Science and Technology:

¶ In September of 2013, severe storms struck Colorado with prolonged, heavy rainfall, dumping more than 17 inches of rain, causing the Platte River to reach record flood levels. Now, in a paper that appeared online at Weather and Climate Extremes, a team of scientists reports that climate change greatly increased the storm’s severity. [Phys.Org]

September 2013 flood of the Platte River (Photo: US EPA)

World:

¶ The EU is to spend almost €10 million on researching renewable energy off parts of Ireland and Scotland. The work will focus on the use of tidal power at Strangford Lough and the north Antrim coast, ocean energy sites off western Scotland, and the potential for wave and tidal power generation in Donegal in the Republic. [Belfast Telegraph]

¶ The world’s first full-scale floating wind farm has started to take shape off the north-east coast of Scotland. The technology will allow wind power to be harvested in waters too deep for the current conventional bottom-standing turbines, especially in Japan and the west coast of the US. This will open new markets for offshore wind power. [BBC News]

Towing turbines into place

¶ The Government of the UK is poised to invest £246 million in battery technology that it says will be a key to power its industrial strategy. In its first major move to support the storage revolution, the Government will set up a “battery institute” to award funds to companies on the brink of major research and development breakthroughs. [Telegraph.co.uk]

¶ When it comes to tackling rising energy prices, a Queensland council has taken an innovative approach and built its own $50 million solar farm to fully offset all its power needs. The Sunshine Coast Council is now the first local government in Australia with 100% of its electricity consumption from a renewable source. [ABC Online]

Sunshine Coast Council array (Photo: Sunshine Coast Council)

¶ Following the recent commissioning of Flanders’ first megawatt-sized PV project after the revision of the green certificate scheme in 2013, the Minister of Energy of Belgium’s Flemish-speaking region has revealed that he is planning to introduce a fiscal incentive for community solar and wind power projects. [pv magazine]

¶ Scottish wind power output has helped set a new record for the first half of the year, according WWF Scotland analysis. Wind turbines provided 6,634,585 MWh of electricity to the National Grid, which analysts say could on average supply the electrical needs of 124% of Scottish households, or more than three million homes. [The Independent]

Wind turbines outside Stirling Castle (Photo: Getty)

¶ Geminor, based in Norway, has an agreement to supply refuse-derived fuel to the Amager Bakke energy-from-waste plant in Copenhagen. The first delivery has been made, marking the agreement’s commencement. Going forwards, Geminor will manage the transport of the fuel material from producers in the UK and Ireland. [Bioenergy Insight Magazine]

¶ A PV power project is launching this week in the city of Mahan, Kerman Province, Iran, marking the completion of a Swiss-German venture in the Iranian renewable industry after last year’s lifting of sanctions. The solar units are made up of over 76,000 PV panels with 260-W capacity mounted on 27,000 metal poles. [Financial Tribune]

Mokran Solar Power Complex (Photo: Javad Esmaeilzadeh)

¶ South Korea’s new energy minister on Monday said he plans to support the country’s push to sell nuclear reactors overseas, even as the nation curbs nuclear power at home. State-run KEPCO is building the first of four nuclear plants in the United Arab Emirates in an $18.6 billion deal, and is scouting for more business in other countries. [Reuters]

US:

¶ The Long Island Power Authority has reportedly backed away from plans to build a second New York offshore wind farm with US developer Deepwater Wind. The utility reviewed a number of potential projects including the 210-MW East End wind farm before concluding it already had sufficient renewables in the pipeline, according to Newsday. [reNews]

Block Island (Deepwater Wind image)

¶ Drivers who charge their electric vehicles at Palo Alto’s public garages will soon have more stations at their disposal, though they will be charged for the privilege. The new chargers at two garages are powered by solar panels. In August, however, the city will start charging a fee of 23¢/kWh, which will cost an average driver $2 per charge. [Palo Alto Online]

¶ Former Vice President Al Gore helped shape the conversation about climate change with An Inconvenient Truth. Now he’s back with a sequel, called An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, due out next month. It follows Gore as he continues the crusade he made famous with that first film. And it shows his hope, despite setbacks. [NPR]

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July 23 Energy News

July 23, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Myths and facts to know ahead of Rick Perry’s study on the electrical grid and renewable energy” • Energy Secretary Rick Perry ordered his department to produce a study on whether shifting to renewable energy affects grid reliability. Many experts believe the study is intended to be biased in favor of fossil fuels and nuclear power. [Salon]

San Onofre, closed (Photo: Northwalker, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Trump May Have Unintentionally Killed US Nuclear” • The President’s March 28th Executive Order could damage the US nuclear power industry. As it undermines the idea that we should consider the social cost of air pollution from power generation, it also undermines the arguments of those who favor of expensive nuclear power. [OilPrice.com]

Science and Technology:

¶ One farmer in Georgia said the past two years brought the worst weather he has ever seen. There were catfish in his corn fields one year and drought the next. Until recently, he hadn’t considered global warming too deeply. He is paying attention now, as climate scientists are predicting increasingly difficult weather. [Chattanooga Times Free Press]

Georgia farmer (Photo: Doug Strickland | Times Free Press)

World:

¶ South Korea’s carbon dioxide emissions rose 1.3% in 2016 from the previous year, industry data showed. The data put more urgency on Seoul’s efforts to reduce its dependence on fossil fuel to meet its energy needs. The new Moon Jae-in government has vowed to retire both nuclear and coal-fired thermal power plants as they age. [Yonhap News]

¶ Solar prices have fallen 73% in India since 2010. Renewable energy could generate 49% of electricity in India by 2040 because more efficient batteries will provide flexibility of use and boost the reach of renewables, cutting the cost of solar energy by a further 66% over current costs, according to a Bloomberg report. [Hindustan Times]

Solar system (Wikimedia Commons | Binu Jayakrishnan)

¶ According to an alternative environment-friendly power generation proposal, the price of electricity in Bangladesh in 2021 could be Tk7.65/kWh (9.49¢/kWh), as opposed to the government’s projected price of Tk11.56/kWh (14.34¢/kWh). Implementation the draft alternative proposal would save $19 billion from 2016 to 2041. [The Daily Star]

¶ The Middle East and North Africa region is looking to develop more than 67 GW of clean energy projects that are currently at various stages of the design and study, according to Renewable Energy in the MENA Region 2017, a new report from MEED. The report estimates that this will require investment upwards of $200 billion. [Technical Review Middle East]

Tracking solar system (Image: James Moran | Flickr)

¶ Live Mint reported that US-based investment company Warburg Pincus is planning to invest $75 million in Indian residential solar power developer CleanMax Solar. That would mark one of the largest investments in India’s rooftop/residential solar power market as India works towards adding 100 GW of solar capacity by 2022. [Microgrid Media]

US:

¶ The Michigan Public Service Commission is expected to rule on fair rates that a utility has to pay to small companies that get power from renewables such as hydroelectric, biomass, waste-to-energy, and landfill gas. The market is one in which renewable energy is increasingly dominated by utility-owned wind and solar projects. [Crain’s Detroit Business]

Privately owned dam of White’s Bridge Hydro Co

¶ In his farewell earnings report, Jeffrey Immelt ended his 16-year tenure as CEO of GE by telling investors that GE’s earnings are likely to be disappointing the rest of this year. The culprit: sputtering energy markets. Oil has become a source of headaches for GE investors since the company put billions into that sector. [Bloomberg]

¶ Guam Power Authority’s newest power purchase agreement is with a consortium that plans to build an estimated $200 million solar power plant. The investors’ partnership, called KEPCO-LG CNS Consortium, is expected to build a 60-MW solar power plant that would also include a system that stores power for nighttime use. [The Guam Daily Post]

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July 22 Energy News

July 22, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “A Beach Town’s Dilemma: Protect Homes or Save the Shore?” The sandy beach in front of homes in the north San Diego County town of Del Mar is shrinking, and the high tide is edging closer. A report to the town says seas will rise 5 to 12 inches by 2030, and 1 to 2 feet by 2050. None of the options addressing this is ideal. [Scientific American]

California Beach (Credit: Tim Buss Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Science and Technology:

¶ More than 8.3 billion metric tons of plastics have been produced by humans since large-scale production began back in the 1950s, according to a study published in the journal Science Advances. The bulk of this is now litter, micro-plastics pollution, or buried in landfills. As of 2015, 9% of the plastics made was recycled, and 12% incinerated. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Heat waves generated by global warming could ground nearly a third of flights during the hottest days, forcing carriers to jettison cargo in order to take off, according to a study in this month’s Climatic Change. Cargo stalwarts, such as the Boeing 777-300, are expected to experience the greatest impact, due to their size. [Air Cargo World]

Boeing 777-300 (Photo: Terence Ong, Wikimedia Commons)

World:

¶ A group of businesses and investors have written to Prime Minister Theresa May, urging her to raise the UK’s ambitions. The group represents thousands of companies with hundreds of billions in revenue, and hundreds of investors managing assets worth more than £19 trillion. The letter is a clarion call from the UK business sector. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Under Brexit, UK Farm subsidies, which total £3 billion, will have to be earned rather than just handed out, the Environment Secretary said in a speech. Farmers will only get payouts if they agree to protect the environment and enhance rural life. Under the current EU policy, farmers are paid based on the amount of land they farm. [BBC]

Farm in the UK (Getty Images)

¶ With the Tolo 1 wind project, Siemens Gamesa secured its first order in Indonesia for the gearless SWT-3.6-130 wind turbines. The onshore wind project is being developed by Equis Energy, the largest renewable energy independent power producer in the Asia-Pacific region. It will be installed by late 2017, and it is to be commissioned in early 2018. [PennEnergy]

¶ Vattenfall is to inaugurate the 288-MW Sandbank wind farm off Germany with a public barbecue in Hamburg. Offshore construction at the project, located 90km west of the island of Sylt, began in June 2015. MPI jack-up Adventure wrapped up installation of the project’s 72 Siemens 4-MW turbines three months ahead of schedule. [reNews]

MPI Adventure (Photo: Wikipedia)

¶ Asset management group BlackRock has taken its Renewable Income UK fund up to £1.1 billion ($1.43 billion), making it one of the largest single investments in renewable energy. The fundraiser, for its third reopening, secured an additional £475 million, building on the £600 million already invested in 40 UK wind and solar projects. [PV-Tech]

¶ Hanwha Q CELLS has signed an MOU with Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power to build an 80-MW rotating floating solar project on a reservoir in South Korea, which would be the largest of its type in the world. Recently, China completed the largest floating solar project in the world, at 40 MW, and it has a 70-MW project under way. [PV-Tech]

At 40 MW, the world’s largest floating solar project

¶ The discovery of apparent icicle-shaped melted nuclear fuel within a reactor at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant could be an important first step toward decommissioning the facility. Images taken by a submersible robot under the pressure vessel of the No 3 reactor showed what appeared to be fuel debris. [Asahi Shimbun]

¶ Infrastructure investment group Foresight has snapped up a consented 10-MW Nevendon battery storage project in the UK. Construction work will start immediately with full commissioning in the first quarter of next year. Foresight acquired the project just one month after its acquisition of the 35-MW Port of Tyne storage project. [reNews]

A Foresight solar array (Foresight image)

US:

¶ The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has issued its first approval of an offshore wind Site Assessment Plan to the Bay State Wind offshore wind farm being developed by DONG Energy and Eversource Energy. The area off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, that has the potential for at least 2 GW of capacity. [CleanTechnica]

¶ New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced plans to rebuild 78 miles of power transmission infrastructure in the North Country. It will help New York meet the Governor’s Clean Energy Standard that mandates that 50% of the state’s consumed electricity comes from renewable energy sources like wind and solar by 2030. [LongIsland.com]

Transmission lines (Photo: blickpixel)

¶ There are now 60 solar panels on the roof of the HooDoo Brewing Company in Fairbanks, Alaska. They are the first installed at any brewery in the state. HooDoo’s owner said brewing beer is an energy intensive business, as cooling the beer is a major energy expense. The solar panels has cut the energy bill by a third. [Fairbanks Daily News-Miner]

¶ A scientist accused the Trump administration of demoting him for speaking out about climate change. Joel Clement was the former director of the Interior Department’s Office of Policy Analysis under the Obama administration and advised on Arctic issues. He was recently reassigned to work in an “accounting office.” [The Weather Channel]

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