Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

April 21 Energy News

April 21, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “The great gas con: there are cheaper, cleaner alternatives” • Yet another Australian “gas summit” ended without a fix to soaring gas prices. Frankly, it beggars belief that the country’s industry is even bothering to ask for cheaper gas prices, when there are obviously cheaper alternatives available – for both electricity and for industrial gas users. [Echonetdaily]

Gas and oil refinery (shutterstock)

¶ “Plunging battery costs raise doubts over Tasmania’s $3 billion hydro plans” • Tasmania’s plans for a $3 billion investment in new pumped hydro schemes and a new submarine transmission link to the Australian mainland may turn out to be little more than damp squib, given concerns raised by two new studies in the proposal. [RenewEconomy]

Science and Technology:

¶ In March, NOAA saw something it has never seen before, a record high global temperature that exceed the 1981-2010 average by a full one degree Centigrade (1.8º F) “in the absence of an El Niño episode in the tropical Pacific Ocean.” NOAA says the reading is a sign the underlying global warming trend is stronger than ever. [CleanTechnica]

Please click on the image to enlarge it.

World:

¶ In a new report examining how climate change will affect its bottom line, Calgary-based oil giant Suncor Energy is admitting its business will be turned upside down. The report notes that new technology and social change will trigger dramatic shifts in the market. But it isn’t ready to throw in the towel on oil any time soon. [National Observer]

¶ The Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon is projected to cost £1.3 billion and generate enough electricity for 155,000 homes, over a lifespan of 120 years. A report from Seafish takes a different look at it. Prospects for cultivating mussels, oysters, scallops, clams, cockles and seaweed in the proposed project are promising, it says. [TheFishSite.com]

Rendering of the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project
(Courtesy: Tidal Lagoon Power)

¶ A majority of India’s 28,000 MW of gas-based power plants are likely to turn idle, especially on the eastern coast of the country, after the Union government decided to terminate the subsidies provided under the gas price pooling mechanism to the power companies beyond March 31, Industry officials told Financial Express. [Financial Express]

¶ A Concentrated Solar Power system in Denmark has reached full capacity. The plant provides the city of Brønderslev with sustainable heating through the city’s district heating network, but it will soon also be contributing to power production. The 16.6-MWth solar energy plant is based on parabolic trough technology. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Concentrated solar power in Denmark

¶ Strike action is already being threatened at the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant, which is under construction in the UK county of Somerset, despite a ground breaking industrial relations agreement being in place that had been considered a blueprint for future best practice. The dispute at Hinkley Point C is over bonus payments. [The Construction Index]

US:

¶ When it comes to clean energy, Vermont is second only to California, according to a nationwide assessment of states by the Union of Concerned Scientists. Vermont came in at the top in two of the 12 categories used in its study, including the per capita creation of jobs in the clean energy economy, and the state’s carbon reduction target. [Rutland Herald]

Vermont Law School solar array
(SayCheeeeeese, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Eos Energy Storage, producer of the cost Znyth battery, announced new forward pricing for the company’s Eos Aurora DC Battery System at a record-breaking low cost. The company is taking orders for volume purchases at a price of $160/kWh for shipment in 2017 and $95 per usable kWh for shipment in 2022. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ Apple has pledged to end its reliance on mining, and to make its devices from only renewable or recycled materials, although it’s not announced any timeline to do so. The pledge was announced in the company’s Environmental Responsibility Report. Apple already gets nearly 100% of its energy from renewable sources. [Cult of Mac]

iPhone (Photo: Ste Smith | Cult of Mac)

¶ Enel Green Power has begun construction of the 300-MW Red Dirt wind farm in Oklahoma. It is Enel Green Power North America’s largest wind farm in the state, and will bring the company’s cumulative capacity up to nearly 1,500 MW. The wind farm will sell its electricity under two long-term power purchase agreements. [CleanTechnica]

¶ L’Oréal USA’s plant in North Little Rock is set to house the fourth largest solar power project in Arkansas. The installation of 3,600 solar panels will provide 1.2 MW of renewable energy and will reduce carbon emissions for the state by 556 metric tons per year. L’Oréal’s plant has been in the state for 40 years and has nearly 500 employees. [THV 11]

L’Oréal solar array

¶ Recycling at Werkhoven Dairy near Monroe, Washington, takes on a whole new meaning when you have more than 3,000 cows that generate an average of 65 pounds of poop a day each. They have been turning cow manure into cow power for nearly a decade, producing enough electricity for nearly 300 homes and then some. [News3LV]

¶ One of the largest solar projects in Georgia has now been completed. The 52-MW solar facility in Hazlehurst is expected to generate more than 134 GWh of renewable energy annually for customers of Green Power EMC for the next 30 years, according to a news release. Construction began in April 2016 on the 480-acre utility. [The Telegraph]

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January 7 Energy News

January 7, 2016

World:

¶ Enel Green Power and the mini-grid technology provider Powerhive are partnering on developing solar-powered mini-grids in rural Kenya. The $12 million project will involve work in 100 different villages in Kenya, with 93% of the financing for the project coming via Enel Green Power, and 7% via Powerhive. [CleanTechnica]

Image by William Warby (some rights reserved)

Image by William Warby (some rights reserved)

¶ While the world’s attention is focused on Saudi Arabia’s latest flare up with Iran, many Saudis are concerned about the “economic bomb” at home. The government is slashing a plethora of perks for its citizens.The cash crunch is so dire that the Saudi government just hiked the price of gasoline by 50%. [CNN]

¶ E·ON and Samsung SDI have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together in the energy storage field. They will collaborate on energy storage solutions, and develop a business model together. Some of the solutions will be for industrial customers, with one focus area being grid stabilization. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Oil has continued its rollercoaster ride into the new year, with Brent crude falling below $35 a barrel for the first time in 11 years, sinking 4.2% to $34.88 a barrel. This surpassed its late December fall, and took the price to its lowest level since 1 July 2004. The price of US crude dropped 3.3% to $34.77 a barrel. [BBC]

Oil is at a new low. Getty Images

Oil is at a new low. Getty Images

¶ Western Power Distribution awarded UK-based Renewable Energy Systems Ltd a contract to build a 300-kVA, 640-kWh energy storage system next to a 1.5-MW solar park in Somerset. The systems will be used to study feasibility of nine different systems of energy storage for distributed generation. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Work has begun on Scotland’s largest solar farm despite forthcoming cuts in government subsidies for a range of renewable power options. The 14-MW scheme on the Errol Estate in Tayside, covering 70 acres of land, is expected to be operational by March. It will ultimately provide power for more than 3,500 homes. [Scotsman]

¶ Power distribution companies in India’s capital have finally begun to take their Renewable Purchase Obligations seriously. After Tata Power procured 400 MW of solar power, Reliance Infra-backed BSES on Wednesday announced its plans to procure 700 MW of ‘green energy’ for the city. [The Hindu]

The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission had notified regulations in 2012 that made Renewable Purchase Obligations compulsory for all discoms in the city. File Photo

Renewable Purchase Obligations are compulsory for all distribution companies in Dehli. File Photo

¶ General Electric will supply its 4-MW Fully Fed LV3 wind converters for 1 GW of offshore wind turbines in China under a deal with Shanghai Electric Wind Power Equipment Co. GE’s converter uses standard LV3 power stacks, but given the same converter footprint, delivers 25% more power, GE says. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ TransCanada will sue the US government for $15 billion (US) for blocking its controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline linking Canada with the Gulf of Mexico. TransCanada said the denial of a permit to complete the pipeline “was arbitrary and unjustified,” and exceeded the president’s constitutional powers. [Business Recorder]

US:

¶ SolarFest, one of Vermont’s longest running celebrations of solar power and renewable energy could be calling the Southern Vermont Arts Center in Manchester a home for its annual 3-day festival this coming July. SolarFest has been a platform for renewable energy advocates, vendors, and artists for 20 years. [The Manchester Journal]

The Southern Vermont Arts Center in Manchester will be the likely new home for this year's SolarFest. (Andrew McKeever – Manchester Journal)

The Southern Vermont Arts Center in Manchester will be the likely new home for this year’s SolarFest. (Andrew McKeever – Manchester Journal)

¶ US-based technology company Switch is set to develop two new solar farms, with a combined capacity of 180 MW, in Nevada. The solar farms are to support Switch’s decision to power all of its SUPERNAP data centers with 100% renewable energy. The farms are expected to be set up within this year. [Power Technology]

¶ Utilities, clean-energy groups and consumer advocates have just unveiled a plan to ensure Oregon will be coal-free by 2030, and that the state’s two largest power companies will focus on using more renewable energy and energy efficiency, making renewables half of their portfolios by 2050. [Public News Service]

¶ California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency Wednesday for the Porter Ranch area in the wake of the ongoing gas leak from a facility in Aliso Viejo in Southern California. The massive leak began in October and has prompted the relocation of thousands of households from the area. [Inland Empire News]

Operations are underway to stop the gas leak.

Operations are underway to stop the gas leak.

¶ Austin Energy, widely regarded as one of the most innovative utilities in the nation, is poised to launch a new system that distributes renewable resources like wind and solar more efficiently to customers in the Austin area. The plan hinges on the use of smart inverters and large-scale renewable energy storage. [Austin Inno]

¶ The co-owners of Plant Vogtle near Waynesboro, Georgia, have settled all litigation between the parties and contractors for the facility’s ongoing expansion project building two reactors at the plant. With the settlement, the projected customer rate impact for the construction is expected to be roughly 2.5%. [The Augusta Chronicle]

December 29 Energy News

December 29, 2015

Opinion:

The strong economics of wind energy • At the recent climate conference in Paris, 70 countries highlighted wind as a major component for their emissions-reduction schemes. Companies are investing in wind power not only because wind is competitive economically, but because it reduces emissions. [The Guardian]

The full moon shines behind a wind park near Norden, Germany. Photograph: Ingo Wagner/dpa/Corbis

The full moon shines behind a wind park near Norden, Germany. Photograph: Ingo Wagner/dpa/Corbis

NC Experts See Hope in Climate Deal • North Carolina could benefit from the deal made at COP21. An economist with the Environmental Defense Fund points to a set of provisions that encourages the use of markets to drive up investment in clean energy and drive down pollution. [Coastal Review Online]

10 Sustainable Business Stories That Shaped 2015 • The year 2015 was a pivotal time when humanity turned more decisively toward building a thriving and sustainable world. On our largest shared challenge, climate change, most of the major hurdles to action, both imagined and real, started to crumble. [Huffington Post]

Solar Could Produce As Much Electricity As Hinkley C For Much Less Money • While the Hinkley C project was delayed because of funding problems, it lumbered back to life thanks to a massive investment by China. But the delay may give proponents of solar power a chance to make their case. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶ Scientists from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory developed an organic aqueous flow battery expected to cost $180 per kWh, a projected savings of about 60% as compared to standard flow batteries. The electrolytes can be a drop-in replacement for those in existing batteries. [IHS Electronics360]

PNNL researcher Xiaoliang Wei prepares a small demonstration organic flow battery. (Source: PNNL)

PNNL researcher Xiaoliang Wei prepares a small demonstration organic flow battery. (Source: PNNL)

World:

¶ Indian IT services major Infosys Ltd launched a solar PV power plant of 6.6 MW capacity at a campus in Telangana. Combined with the existing 0.6-MW rooftop solar plant, it will make the Infosys campus one of the first corporate campuses in India to be run completely by renewable energy. [NetIndian]

¶ Germany is producing so much renewable energy, it sometimes finds it difficult to manage the excess. However, Germany’s grid operators have excelled at managing the variable loads that come with renewable energy, and they have done so without any meaningful energy storage capacity. [OilPrice.com]

¶ Nordex has installed the first of its low wind-speed N131/3300 turbines at the Krampfer project in Germany. The manufacturer said the 3.3-MW machine was built in Brandenburg for Rostock company Voss Energy. The machine is targeted at inland sites in Germany and can replace 3-MW Delta machines. [reNews]

N131 turbine in the 3-MW variant (Nordex)

N131 turbine in the 3-MW variant (Nordex)

¶ Enel Green Power SpA, the renewable-energy unit of Italy’s largest utility, began construction on a 254-megawatt solar farm in Brazil’s northeastern state of Bahia. Enel will invest $400 million to build the Ituverava solar farm. The project will power about 268,000 Brazilian households. [Bloomberg]

¶ Data from sports tracking app Strava have revealed cyclists and runners are using access roads at Scottish wind farms to rack up the miles. The app, which allows subscribers to share a wealth of information on their sporting activity, shows they have logged more than 13,000 miles in less than four years. [Energy Voice]

US:

¶ Google will launch its 15th global data center at the site of a former semiconductor plant in Tennessee, for an investment of $600 million. New technologies will “make this data center the most technologically advanced in the world,” Google said. It will use renewable power provided through the TVA. [Light Reading]

Google is opening its 15th data center at the site of a former semiconductor plant in Tennessee. Photo: Google

Google is opening its 15th data center at the site of a former semiconductor plant in Tennessee. Photo: Google

¶ Salesforce, which is committed to be carbon-neutral by 2050, announced they have signed a 12-year virtual power purchase agreement with a wind farm project in West Virginia to deliver 40 MW of power. This is more than the total amount Salesforce currently uses in their data center space. [ZDNet]

¶ There was no white Christmas for the eastern half of the US this year. Instead, there are record-highs: 86° in Tampa, 83° in Houston, 67° in Boston, 68° in Burlington, Vermont, and 66° in New York City, just to name a few. They end the globe’s hottest year with an exclamation point. [Greentech Media]

¶ Rooftop solar fans in Nevada got a huge lump of coal in their Christmas stockings just last Tuesday, when the state’s Public Utilities Commission voted to increase the charges – and lower the compensation – for rooftop solar installations. Worse yet, the PUC wants the changes to be retroactive. [CleanTechnica]

December 28 Energy News

December 28, 2015

Opinion:

What India Inc could gain from the Paris climate summit • India’s strong stance at the recently concluded climate talks in Paris won it both accolades and brickbats. The country’s negotiators at Conference of Parties-21 Paris ensured they brought back what they believed to be the best possible deal. [Forbes India]

Coal being unloaded at a port in Andhra Pradesh. India plans to double its coal output by 2020. Image: Amit Dave / Reuters

Coal being unloaded at a port in Andhra Pradesh. India plans to double its coal output by 2020. Image: Amit Dave / Reuters

Renewable energy stymied by roadblocks • Converting the wind and sun into electricity is increasingly affordable, but it can be difficult to get that electricity from distant plains and deserts to where it’s needed. The reasons range from technical to regulatory, but they include local opposition. [Huntington Herald Dispatch]

Science and Technology:

¶ Four Phi Suea solar homes being developed in Chiang Mai, Thailand, will convert excess energy into hydrogen and store it in fuel cells. Excess solar power from PV panels will run electrolyzers producing hydrogen during daylight, which can be used to generate electricity with a fuel cell storage system in other times. [CleanTechnica]

Image via CNX Construction

Image via CNX Construction

World:

¶ Scotland met its target for community or local ownership of renewables five years early. Capacity of 508 MW is now operational; the target was 500 MW by 2020. Energy Minister Fergus Ewing foresees continued growth. Last year, renewables returned over £10 million to communities. [The Edinburgh Reporter]

¶ Wind power output in Estonia hit 5,210.47 MWh on December 25 and 4,925.12 MWh on December 26. Estonia has long surpassed its renewable energy target for 2020. The country reached a 25.6% renewables share in gross final consumption of energy in 2013; its goal was 25% by 2020. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ In the first quarter of 2016, Jordan will sign deals with two international companies to build solar-run power plants with a total capacity of 100 MW. The government has awarded contracts to Greece-based Sunrise Photovoltaic Systems and Saudi Oger Ltd, each to build a 50-MW solar plant. [Zawya]

Photo Credit:Reuters/Toby Melville

Photo Credit:Reuters/Toby Melville

¶ China has embarked on an ambitious plan to install nuclear power stations at just the same time it is committing to over 100 coal-fired power plants that may never burn a single tonne of the widely-condemned fossil fuel. The disconnect, a bit of a puzzle, has been analyzed by Greenpeace. [OilPrice.com]

¶ The Nigerian Minister of Environment, said the government is planning to develop about 13,000 MW of off-grid electricity from solar energy. She said the government was working on the possibility of diversifying the country’s energy mix and laid emphases on renewable energy and efficient gas power. [NAIJ.COM]

¶ Morocco postponed without explanation the inauguration of Noor-1, a solar power plant due to open Sunday in Ouarzazate, part of what will eventually be the world’s largest solar power production facility. The Noor-1 facility is to have an electricity production capacity of 160 MW. [Mail & Guardian Africa]

A view of the Noor-1 Concentrated Solar Power plant. (Photo/AFP).

A view of the Noor-1 Concentrated Solar Power plant. (Photo/AFP).

¶ South Africa’s plan to build nuclear power plants will go ahead with Pretoria green-lighting a process that could lead to its adding up to 9,600 MW of nuclear power to its national grid, the department of energy said. Analysts estimate the nuclear project will cost as much as 1 trillion rand ($66 billion). [The BRICS Post]

US:

¶ The Navajo Nation is pursuing an ownership stake in a coal-fired power plant in New Mexico as many utilities are divesting from coal. The Navajo Transitional Energy Co is negotiating with the operator of the Four Corners Power Plant for a 7% interest as a way to build expertise in energy production. [PennEnergy]

Navajo coal plant

Navajo coal plant

¶ US Law firms over the past few years have gone green, focusing on sustainability, according to a report in the New York Law Journal. In many cases, law firms are moving to, or building out, space that is LEED-certified. And the firms are making their efforts in sustainability known. [Proud Green Building]

December 27 Energy News

December 27, 2015

Opinion:

Climate talks, climate action • It is no secret that in a rural state like Vermont, transportation is the biggest contributor of global warming pollution. Vermont joined eleven other countries, states and provinces to announce new efforts to put more zero-emission vehicles on the road. [BurlingtonFreePress.com]

Activists in white bear costumes during the COP21 Conference. (Photo: Matt Dunham/AP)

Activists in white bear costumes during the COP21 Conference. (Photo: Matt Dunham/AP)

Why the freakishly warm December? • In Central Park, the daytime high on Christmas Eve was 71 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s 8 degrees over the previous record for the day. The big El Niño currently in place is very likely one significant factor. Human-induced climate change is most likely another. [CNN]

US uses more energy on Christmas lights than some nations do all year • Overall, the amount of electricity used to power Christmas lights in the US each year is pretty minimal, just 6.6 billion kWh. El Salvador uses 5.7 billion kWh a year, Cambodia uses 3.6 billion, and Nepal uses even less at 3.3 billion. [AOL News]

Christmas lights in Urbana Illinois. Photo by Daniel Schwen. CC BY-SA 3.0 unported. Wikimedia Commons. 

Christmas lights in Urbana Illinois. Photo by Daniel Schwen. CC BY-SA 3.0 unported. Wikimedia Commons.

Science and Technology:

¶ Scientists have developed a new organic aqueous flow battery that offers low-cost energy storage based on organic compounds and will be cheaper than such existing batteries. The battery is expected to cost $180 per kWh, which is 60% less than today’s standard flow batteries, once the technology is fully developed. [Business Standard]

World:

¶ Africa could be the first region in the world to power its economic development on renewable energy rather than fossil fuels, according to the head of the International Energy Agency. He said government pushes to get electricity to Africans without access will help support this, as will falling costs of renewable energy. [Climate Central]

Wind farm in Cape Town, South Africa. Credit: jbdodane/flickr

Wind farm in Cape Town, South Africa. Credit: jbdodane/flickr

¶ In the Philippines, Universal Robina Corp is building a point-to-point transmission facility to connect its 46-MW biomass power plant in Kabankalan to the grid. The 46-MW plant will use bagasse, a by-product of URC’s sugar mill in Kabankalan, which has a capacity of about 9,000 tons per day. [Philippine Star]

¶ Hard on the heels of the COP21 climate conference, the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka rejected the Ceylon Electricity Board’s Long-term Generation Expansion Plan, which was based on coal. The utility was told to make provision for renewable energy like wind and solar power. [The Sunday Times Sri Lanka]

¶ Sustainable Green Energy (Pvt) Ltd, a Sri Lankan company, has received the green-light from the government to launch its ambitious industrial venture of going green with a bamboo cultivation project in the North. The Bamboo will initially supply biomass for a 10-MW power project. [The Sunday Times Sri Lanka]

A bamboo plantation in India

A bamboo plantation in India

¶ Bangladesh and Russia have signed a general contract for the construction and commissioning of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant in Pabna at a cost of $12.65 billion. Speaking at the ceremony Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhit said: “A very old dream has come true today.” [DhakaTribune]

US:

¶ To avoid getting overcommitted to wind and solar, Rocky Mountain Power is asking regulators to shorten required contract terms with green-energy producers from 20 years to just three. Critics have blasted the idea as policy aimed at thwarting competition from renewable sources. [Salt Lake Tribune]

Courtesy | sPower The Latigo Wind Park in Utah

Courtesy | sPower The Latigo Wind Park in Utah

¶ The Sacramento Municipal Utility District and the Western Area Power Administration are proposing a new transmission line in California with the goal of bringing more clean power to customers. The proposed line would cost the utility district roughly $257 million, with construction done by a US DOE agency. [Sacramento Bee]

December 23 Energy News

December 23, 2015

World:

¶ Scotland is celebrating early success in meeting its green energy targets. The original plan was for 50% of its gross electricity consumption to come from renewable sources by 2015. However new figures show the country got to a level of 49.7% from renewable sources in 2014. [Business Green]

EDF Energy Renewables Fallago Rig wind farm

EDF Energy Renewables Fallago Rig wind farm

¶ The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation signed an agreement with the Solar Energy Corporation of India to source electricity from solar power projects. The DMRC intends to source around 1,000 million kWh of electricity every year, and a project of 500-MW capacity has been planned for that. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Transport for London has unveiled plans for nearly one third of the city’s buses on B20 green diesel made from waste cooking oil by March 2016. They explained that two bus operators, Stagecoach and Metroline, have signed deals with Argent Energy to supply them with the B20 green diesel.
[Waste Management World]

¶ OPEC said it expects oil prices to start to recover over the next few years. Prices have fallen from over $100 a barrel in the summer of 2014 to below $40 a barrel now. However, in its World Oil Outlook report, OPEC said oil would rise to $70 a barrel by 2020 and in the long term would continue higher. [BBC]

Oil pumps

Some of OPEC’s nodding donkeys

¶ India expects to seal a contract with Westinghouse Electric Co LLC to build six nuclear reactors in the first half of next year, as its $150 billion dollar nuclear power program is getting off the ground. India plans to build roughly 60 reactors, making the second-biggest nuclear energy market after China. [Daily Mail]

¶ A social enterprise formed by local residents in New South Wales, has become Australia’s first community-owned electricity supplier after raising the $3 million of capital required for it to list on the Australian stock exchange. Enova will get its energy entirely from renewable resources. [eco-business.com]

Australian community-owned electricity provider Enova will begin operating in early 2016, and will buy renewable energy from the grid and from renewable energy generators to sell to customers. Image: Shutterstock

Australian community-owned electricity provider Enova will begin operating in early 2016, and will buy renewable energy from the grid and from renewable energy generators to sell to customers. Image: Shutterstock

US:

¶ Energy storage leader AES recently unveiled its new energy storage platform with a system it has installed in Maryland, and it is the largest grid-scale battery in that state. Brian Perusse, VP of International Market Development for AES, answered some questions about it for CleanTechnica. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Nevada Public Utilities Commission approved the new rate structure for net metering proposed by NV Energy, reducing the sum paid by the utility to customers for the excess power generated by rooftop solar systems. The PUC ruling was immediately criticised by companies in the solar power sector. [SeeNews Renewables]

Rooftop solar system in Nevada. Author: Pacific Southwest Region. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic

Rooftop solar system in Nevada. Author: Pacific Southwest Region. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic

¶ A Navajo community south of Monument Valley will be home to the tribe’s first utility-scale solar plant capable of powering 7,700 homes. The $64 million plant is on track to be built by the end of 2016, using federal loans and tax credits, the general manager of the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority said. [Santa Fe New Mexican]

¶ The Center for Sustainable Economy has found the fight against the fossil fuel industry may work best at the local level. A number of local, state, and provincial leaders have committed to prohibiting new fossil fuel infrastructure in their jurisdictions. Recently, two resolutions were passed by Portland’s City Council. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The 392-MW Ivanpah solar power park in California will get six more months to reach the output levels agreed in its power purchase agreement with Pacific Gas & Electric. An NRG spokesman said external modeling for 2016 forecasts that Ivanpah will be able to meet the targeted output levels. [SeeNews Renewables]

Ivanpah - another CSP complex in California by BrightSource, NRG and Google. Author: Bill & Vicki T. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic

Ivanpah – a CSP complex in California by BrightSource, NRG and Google. Author: Bill & Vicki T. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic

¶ With solar power gaining popularity for renewable energy, the Scarborough, New York, town council gave initial approval to a zone change to allow communal solar arrays in residential neighborhoods. The council voted 7-0 to forward the proposal to the Planning Board for review. [KeepMEcurrent.com]

¶ Regulators directed Maine’s two major utilities to work out 20-year contracts to purchase power from four community-based renewable energy projects as part of a pilot program approved by the Legislature in 2009. The deals include a 9.9-MW solar project, which could be the state’s largest. [Bangor Daily News]

December 22 Energy News

December 22, 2015

Opinion:

9 Signs from 2015 that the Clean Energy Transition is Accelerating • Fortunately, efforts to curb power sector carbon emissions, our nation’s largest source of global warming pollution, gained a lot of momentum in 2015. [The Equation: Blog of the Union of Concerned Scientists]

Apple’s solar PV facility in Maiden, North Carolina is helping the state become a national solar leader. Photo: James West/Climate Desk

Apple’s solar PV facility in Maiden, North Carolina is helping the state become a national solar leader. Photo: James West/Climate Desk

World:

¶ The Senyuan Group has announced commencement of construction at a 1-GW solar power park in Henan province. The project is expected to entail an investment of ¥10 billion ($1.5 billion). The Group has not announced the expected commissioning date for the project. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Australian LNG market underwent massive changes in 2015 despite a relatively small number of additional cargoes delivered. Buyers and sellers are starting to become nervous as to what will happen next year as LNG projects reach capacity and more volumes hit the market. [Interfax Global Energy]

Construction at the Gladstone LNG plant. It shipped its first cargo this year. (Santos)

Construction at the Gladstone LNG plant. It shipped its first cargo this year. (Santos)

¶ The government of the UK has confirmed emissions from the UK’s power sector have fallen sharply in recent years. In an update, it detailed how carbon emissions from the country’s fleet of power stations plummeted 23% between 2012 and 2014 to 121 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent. [Business Green]

¶ Hydro-Quebec commissioned the second unit at its Romaine-1 hydroelectric generating station. The 270-MW Romaine-1 supplied its first power in November, with the commissioning of the first generating unit, and the second unit began generating power on December 13. [HydroWorld]

¶ Beothuk Energy Inc unveiled a plan for a $4-billion project to build a 1000-MW wind farm off the coast of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, to supply power to New England. The 120-turbine venture would be built about 20 km off the coast. Plans include a 200-km submarine line. [TheChronicleHerald.ca]

Beothuk Energy Announces Offshore Wind Farm, Offshore Nova Scotia

Beothuk Energy Announces Offshore Wind Farm, Offshore Nova Scotia

US:

¶ Governor Terry McAuliffe of Virginia has made climate change initiatives the focal point during his final scheduled press conference of 2015. He announced a new partnership with Virginia Dominion Power and other companies to increase solar power in state government. [NBC 29 News]

¶ 2015 has been a big year for renewable energy in the US, with solar and wind power growing like crazy and now providing over 5% of the nation’s electricity. It has been one in a series of very good years, helping us get on track for the low-carbon future we need. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

These US DOE graphs show how the prices of wind and solar power have plummeted as installation has soared.

US DOE graph showing how the price of wind power has plummeted as installation has soared.

¶ Cypress Creek Renewables announced it has taken its first steps toward investing $8 million in a solar energy project in Allendale County, South Carolina. The company says the project will create 40 to 60 jobs during construction and will power approximately 1,600 homes per year. [WRDW-TV]

¶ The US wind power industry is celebrating after reaching a new milestone in November: 70 GW of generating capacity, enough to power about 19 million homes. There are more than 50,000 wind turbines operating across 40 states and Puerto Rico, according to the AWEA. [Innovation Trail]

Wind turbines stand in Western Maine along the Kibby Mountain range. Pat Wellenbach / AP

Wind turbines stand in Western Maine along the Kibby Mountain range. Pat Wellenbach / AP

¶ DTE Energy, in collaboration with the City of Lapeer, Michigan, plans to break ground in the spring of 2016 on 45 MW of new solar generating capacity at two project sites. The projects will generate enough to power 9,000 average size homes with clean, zero-emission solar energy. [PennEnergy]

¶ The US DOE is launching a consent-based process to site nuclear spent fuel storage and disposal facilities, as well as a separate repository for defense high-level waste. It expects to be in the second phase of that process by the end of next year, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in an interview. [Platts]

December 21 Energy News

December 21, 2015

Opinion:

Boom Times Ahead For US Clean Power, Thanks To Oil Lobby • The Intertubes have been buzzing with news of the new US federal budget deal, which basically gave away the store to the clean power industry by including a 5-year extension of key tax credits for wind and solar power. [CleanTechnica]

Photo via US Department of Energy.

Photo via US Department of Energy.

UK’s Poor 2015 Made Worse By Paris Agreement Expectations The UK had a big year in 2014 with lots of records set, but after six months of baffling policy decisions and a lackluster attendance in Paris, the UK has a long way to go if it is to accomplish its role in tackling climate change. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶ A new solid-state sodium battery development project being researched at Iowa State University was awarded $3 million in new funding via ARPA-E’s 2015 OPEN funding initiative, according to recent reports. (ARPA-E stands for Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy.) [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ Scottish Hydro Electric Networks has energized the 137 mile Beauly to Denny overhead power line project. The £820 million upgraded power line will serve as the main artery transmitting renewable energy generated in the north of Scotland to the rest of the country. [Scottish Daily Record]

Pic: Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission

Pic: Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission

¶ TSK of Spain and a partner from the United Arab Emirates will build a 100-MW solar plant in Jordan. The deal for the construction of the $128-million (€118-million) plant was signed with the Spanish engineering and construction firm and Enviromena Power Systems. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ The Australian Renewable Energy Agency has provided $4 million support toward a feasibility study for a pumped storage plant at the disused Kidston Gold Mine in North Queensland. Genex Power Limited plans to use the existing mining pits as water storage reservoirs. [International Business Times AU]

Solar PV will provide th majority of the daytime electricity requirements of Australia’s largest renewables mine. Image from ARENA.

Solar PV will provide th majority of the daytime electricity requirements of Australia’s largest renewables mine. Image from ARENA.

¶ A new wind farm project in South Australia, will help the nation achieve its goal of generating 23% of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020. Trustpower’s Palmer Wind Farm project is expected to generate enough clean energy to power 250,000 homes each year. [Echonetdaily]

¶ Chile’s Ministry of National Property has approved, up to the end of November, land lease agreements for 190 renewable energy schemes, totaling 8,157 MW of capacity. The $16.31 billion (€15 billion) of green power plants will be located on 47,188 hectares of governmental land. [SeeNews Renewables]

US:

¶ Dominion Virginia Power’s argument for building a controversial transmission line from its Surry nuclear plant across the James River to prevent rolling blackouts is based on flawed electricity demand projections, according to analysis by a Maryland-based energy consulting firm. [Richmond Times-Dispatch]

Surry Power Station. Circa 1972. US DOE photo. Public Domain. Wikimedia Commons.

Surry Power Station. Circa 1972. US DOE photo. Public Domain. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ A survey in South Carolina conducted by Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions says voters not only expect renewable energy support from elected officials, they now demand it. 80% of S.C. Republican primary voters think renewable-energy sources should be a priority. [The State]

¶ According to GlobalData, non-hydro renewable energy will be the fastest growing power source in the U.S. through 2025. Installed capacity is expected to increase from 121.9 GW in 2015 to 216 GW in 2025. However, the positive forecast could be subject to the result of the 2016 election. [Hoosier Ag Today]

December 20 Energy News

December 20, 2015

Opinion:

Government U-turn on renewables shows gas, oil and nuclear are still favorites. • Costs have fallen; the latest ground-mounted solar and onshore wind are cheaper than new nuclear, and offshore wind is not far behind, but despite this the government favors nuclear and oil. [The Guardian]

The sun sets at Hinkley Point nuclear power station. Photograph: iVistaphotography / Barcroft

The sun sets at Hinkley Point nuclear power station. Photograph: iVistaphotography / Barcroft

Science and Technology:

¶ With the big animals gone forever, climate change could get worse, according to a study. University of East Anglia research says a decline in fruit-eating animals such as large primates, tapirs and toucans could have a knock-on effect for tree species because they disperse seeds. [Financial Express]

World:

¶ A wind farm in Dumfries and Galloway, sufficient to power more than 37,000 homes, has secured almost £83 million in financing. The UK Green Investment Bank, which is headquartered in Edinburgh, is putting £49.5 million into the consented 52.9-MW Blackcraig wind farm. [Scotsman]

Once operational, the new wind farm is expected to produce more than 150 GWh of renewable electricity annually. Picture: TSPL

Once operational, the new wind farm is expected to produce more than 150 GWh of renewable electricity annually. Picture: TSPL

¶ The Iranian government plans to offer guaranteed purchase terms to domestic and international investors who contribute to the construction of power plants that obtain power from non-exhaustible resources, according to the director of Iran Power Generation and Transmission Company. [Zawya]

¶ Delhi has been shrouded in a toxic soup in recent weeks, pushing PM 2.5 levels more than 10 times over the WHO’s recommended safe limit. These fine particles less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter are linked to higher rates of chronic bronchitis, lung cancer and heart disease. [Yahoo7 News]

Anger, fear at Delhi's pollution ground zero

Anger, fear at Delhi’s pollution ground zero

¶ Jordan has launched the first utility-scale wind power project in the Middle East to boost the country’s shift to renewable energy sources amid growing demand for power. King Abdullah inaugurated the project on Thursday in the presence of senior officials from Jordan and UAE. [Utilities-ME.com]

US:

¶ The governor of Massachusetts is launching a $30-million residential solar loan program. The program is tuned for loans between $3,000 and $60,000 with low, fixed interest rates and should help the state reach its goal of 1,600 MW by 2020. The state currently has 985 MW. [WLNE-TV (ABC6)]

¶ In Minnesota, a three-year, $260 million emissions-reduction project for the Boswell Energy Center’s 585-MW Unit 4, Minnesota Power’s largest coal-fired generating unit is complete. The upgrade will reduce mercury emissions by 90% and reduce the emission of sulfur dioxide and particulates. [Grand Forks Herald]

Large cranes were used to install new equipment. Photo courtesy of Minnesota Power

Large cranes were used to install new equipment. Photo courtesy of Minnesota Power

¶ Lamoureux Ford, a 38-year auto dealership in East Brookfield, Massachusetts, may soon be 100% solar powered. A parking lot at the dealership will have a canopy with 408 solar panels, possibly by year’s end. The panels will produce 160,000 kWh and provide 80% of Lamoureux Ford’s electricity needs. [Worcester Telegram]

¶ President Obama tasted salmon that had been chewed on by a bear, but passed on drinking his own pee, on “Running Wild with Bear Grylls,” a reality TV show with famous people trying survival skills. He alternated between serious talk on battling climate change and jokey banter. [China Post]

December 17 Energy News

December 17, 2015

World:

¶ More than 200‚000 homes in South Africa are receiving power from the world’s largest storage solar farm near Upington in the Northern Cape. Just two years after the start of construction‚ the ACWA Solafrica Bokpoort CSP Power Plant is now operating at full capacity‚ ahead of schedule. [Times LIVE]

An array of solar panels at the Bokpoort plant. The power captured by day is used after sunset. Image by Ramón Vidal

An array of solar panels at the Bokpoort plant. The power captured by day is used after sunset. Image by Ramón Vidal

¶ Campaigners in the UK are furious that members of parliament backed fracking plans which they claim could damage the South Downs National Park. New rules voted in yesterday could allow fracking deep below Sussex beauty spots like the South Downs National Park and the Ashdown Forest. [The Argus]

¶ The UK’s government has been accused of “huge, misguided cuts” to clean energy after it announced reductions of subsidies for solar panels on homes.The move comes just days after the UK backed the COP21 agreement to avoid dangerous climate change by bringing down greenhouse gas emissions. [shropshirestar.com]

¶ India still plans to double coal output by 2020 and rely on the resource for decades afterwards, a senior official said, days after countries agreed in Paris to curb carbon emissions that cause global warming. India, the world’s third-largest carbon emitter, is dependent on coal for about two-thirds of its energy. [The Guardian]

The coal-based Badarpur Thermal Station in New Delhi. Photo: Money Sharma/AFP/Getty Images

The coal-based Badarpur Thermal Station in New Delhi. Photo: Money Sharma/AFP/Getty Images

¶ Analysis from the New Climate Economy think-tank found that positive social media messages regarding climate action and economic growth have increased nearly eightfold over the past three years, based on research done covering media published between January, 2013 and 13 December, 2015. [CleanTechnica]

¶ China is missing no opportunity to build a future without fossil fuels, abroad as well as at home. It is investing in the construction of the UK’s first new nuclear power station in 20 years. But most Chinese energy investment is in renewables, and it has decided to support developing solar power in France. [eco-business.com]

Solar power is not widely used in France. Collector dish of a solar oven at Font Romeu, France. Image: Shutterstock

Solar power is not widely used in France. Collector dish of a solar oven at Font Romeu, France. Image: Shutterstock

US:

¶ In a major boost to the wind and solar industries, Congressional leaders agreed on a multiyear extension of renewable energy tax credits, which could provide several years of predictable policies, encouraging investment in new projects. The tax credits are part of a 2,009-page omnibus-spending bill. [POWER magazine]

¶ Green Mountain Power says it is not supporting plans by a New York company to build a giant solar farm in the town of Ludlow, Vermont. The 20-MW Coolidge Project would be by far the largest solar farm in the state. GMP, the governor, and others, think the project is out of scale with Vermont’s energy needs. [WCAX]

¶ A 20-MW solar array in Jeff Davis County, Georgia, will produce 43,000 MWh of electricity a year. Electricity from the 187,000 solar panels at the 135-acre generation site is being transmitted to 27 electric co-ops in Georgia under a 25-year power purchase contract with the company. [Electric Co-op Today]

Photo by Green Power EMC

Photo by Green Power EMC

¶ Fresh off presenting his plan for promoting renewable energy sources at COP21, Tesla CEO Elon Musk pushed for a global carbon tax and a new look at solar power at a Tuesday meeting of the American Geophysical Union, saying the costs for fossil fuel-based energy production are all “wrong.” [Daily Caller]

¶ The city of Dallas, Texas, is now the first city in the US to possess a hybrid-electric streetcar that can run without an overhead wire-connection. In this case, the streetcar in question makes use of a new “wireless” battery-powered design, allowing it to make it across a mile-long bridge in the route comfortably. [CleanTechnica]

Image Credit: Bill Zeeble/KERA News

Image Credit: Bill Zeeble/KERA News

¶ The Navy, the Air Force, and Southern Company broke ground, marking the start of construction for three large-scale solar generating facilities at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. Combined, these facilities will have approximately 1.5 million solar panels that could generate up to 120 MW of AC power. [Air Force Link]

¶ New Mexico state regulators have adopted a plan to shutter part of a coal-fired power plant that serves customers across the Southwest, bringing to a close years of wrangling over the best way to curb pollution while limiting the effects on utility bills and northwest New Mexico’s economy. [EagleFordTexas.com]

December 16 Energy News

December 16, 2015

World:

¶ As the only such plant for a large city, Hamburg Wasser is the largest wastewater treatment plant in Germany. It is designed to cover its energy demands with renewable energy from its own site produces more energy than it uses. The sells its excess electricity, bio-methane gas, and heat. [CleanTechnica]

The 3 MW turbine at Hamburg Wasser, with plant in the background – Hamburg Wasser; Looking down at a PV Solar solar installation – Roy L Hales photo

The 3 MW turbine at Hamburg Wasser, with plant in the background – Hamburg Wasser; Looking down at a PV Solar solar installation – Roy L Hales photo

¶ A report released in 2013 said that by 2030, one-third of Australian electricity consumers, weary of rising retail prices and drawn to use cheap solar and storage technology, could choose to go off grid. A new report says things have changed; batteries are 20% less expensive than they were expected to be. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Donald Trump’s legal challenge to a planned offshore wind farm has been rejected by the UK’s Supreme Court. Developers intend to site 11 turbines off Aberdeen, close to Mr Trump’s golfing development on the Aberdeenshire coast. The Trump Organisation said would “continue to fight” the proposal. [BBC]

¶ GeoSea has installed the first monopile at the 332-MW Nordsee 1 offshore wind farm in the German North Sea. Water depths at the project site some 40 km north of Juist Island range between 25 and 29 meters. Nordsee 1 is expected to be operational in 2017 and will generate over 1300 GWh of electricity per year. [reNews]

Innovation on the job (RWE)

Innovation on the job (RWE)

¶ The Azraq Syrian refugee camp in Jordan will soon have a new solar farm meeting the needs of the 27,000 Syrian refugees living there. In a joint project between Ikea and the United Nations Refugee Agency, the Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign aims to provide refugees around the world with solar lanterns. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The prime minister of the UK has been urged to intervene in planned cuts to solar power subsidies after the Paris agreement on climate change. Critics pointed to the contrast between the massive subsidy cut planned and the stance David Cameron and his ministers took at the Paris climate conference. [The Guardian]

US:

¶ Green Mountain Power was joined today with Franklin County leaders and champions of Lake Champlain to announce an innovative new project called Clean Power, Cleaner Lake. Working with area dairy farms, the effort will significantly reduce phosphorus runoff while generating clean, local baseload power. [Vermont Biz]

St Albans Bay. GMP photo.

Green Mountain Power will help reduce pollution in Lake Champlain. St Albans Bay is seen here. GMP photo.

¶ American Electric Power and the Sierra Club have agreed on a proposed plan that would lead to what are believed to be the largest investments in wind and solar power in Ohio history. Under the pact, AEP is agreeing to develop 500 MW of wind energy and 400 MW of solar energy. [Akron Beacon Journal]

¶ The California Public Utilities Commission rejected steeper monthly costs for solar owners and instead proposed new, one-time fees for future solar customers and small increases for existing ones. Solar advocates applauded the proposal, which rejected plans by public utilities to increase monthly bills for solar owners. [Record Bee]

¶ A new report from the environmental group Clean Wisconsin shows the state can comply with the Clean Power Plan while reducing ratepayer energy bills by $55 million statewide. The report, Clean Power Plan in Wisconsin, is the first to take an in-depth look at how Wisconsin could comply with the Clean Power Plan. [Wisconsin Gazette]

A report from Clean Wisconsin shows that complying with the Clean Power Plan can reduce bills by $55 million. Photo: Courtesy

A report from Clean Wisconsin shows that complying with the Clean Power Plan can reduce bills by $55 million. Photo: Courtesy

¶ A long-awaited plan to address climate change in San Diego, which has garnered support from both environmental and business groups, was unanimously passed by the City Council on Tuesday. The plan has a goal of reducing emission levels by 20% in 2020 and by half in 2035, from levels recorded in 2010. [CBS 8 San Diego]

¶ Nassau, New York, a town of 5,000 people just outside of Albany, plans to disconnect from the electrical grid. Last week, the town board voted to get 100% of its power from renewables by 2020. The town is making the move as a way to increase its reliance on renewable energy and to gain some energy independence. [EcoWatch]

¶ Just off Florida’s Biscayne Bay, two nuclear reactors churn out enough electricity to power nearly a million homes. The Turkey Point plant’s license goes to 2032. At some point after that, a good part of the low-lying site could be underwater, as sea waters rise. So could at least 13 other U.S. nuclear plants. [National Geographic]

The Turkey Point Generating Station. Photo by Acroterion. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

The Turkey Point Generating Station. Photo by Acroterion. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Shares of clean-energy companies jumped as Congress neared a deal that would extend tax credits for the wind and solar industries. While a deal isn’t certain, Republicans and Democrats are discussing five-year renewals of the two chief clean-energy subsidies in exchange for an end to the 40-year-old ban on US oil exports. [Bloomberg]

¶ The Indian Point 3 plant automatically shut down because of an electrical disturbance, owner Entergy Corp said in a statement late Monday. The last time that happened, spot power more than doubled. This time, however, wind turbines in the state came to the rescue, compensating for the loss of the reactor. [Bloomberg]

December 14 Energy News

December 14, 2015

World:

¶ Indian and Japanese scientists have found that Indian citizens living downstream from an enormous uranium mining and processing complex are routinely exposed to exceptionally high levels of radiation. The Indian government insists that any illnesses are caused by poverty, not radiation. [Center for Public Integrity]

Villagers drink, bathe and wash themselves in the waters found to have alpha radiation 192% higher than safe limits set by the WHO. Ashish Birulee

Villagers drink, bathe and wash themselves in the waters found to have alpha radiation 192% higher than safe limits set by the WHO. Ashish Birulee

¶ Welpsun Renewables announced that it has commissioned a 126-MW wind energy project in the Pratapgarh district of the western Indian state of Rajasthan. The project is expected to generate 290 million kWh electricity every year. It brings Welspun’s total renewable capacity in India to 700 MW. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Continental European power prices fell 9.4% per MWh in November as exceptional wind power output combined with mild temperatures and unexceptional demand, according to a data analysis released by Platts, a leading global provider of energy, petrochemicals, metals and agriculture information. [Your Renewable News]

¶ Oslo-listed seismic vessel operator Dolphin Group has announced today that it will file for bankruptcy. The company’s chairman and CEO both blamed the deterioration in the oil service market, the unpredictability of the oil prices, and subsequent spending cuts of the company’s customers [Splash 247]

Dolphin Polar Duke

Dolphin’s Polar Duke

¶ The UK Government’s energy policy has described as potentially illegal in the wake of the COP21 deal. David Cameron was among leaders to praise the deal, heralding it as a “huge step forward in helping to secure the future of our planet”. And now the Tories are coming under fire for cutting green subsidies. [Manx Radio]

¶ EDF EN Canada, a subsidiary of EDF Energies Nouvelles, has commissioned the 74-MW Mont-Rothery wind farm in Quebec. The project is located in the Regional County Municipalities of La Haute-Gaspésie and La Côte-de-Gaspé and has a 20-year power purchase agreement with Hydro Quebec Distribution. [reNews]

EDF EN's La Mitis wind farm in Quebec (EDF EN Canada)

EDF EN’s La Mitis wind farm in Quebec (EDF EN Canada)

¶ Competition from natural gas and environmental regulations have crippled the coal industry in most of the developed world, bankrupting companies in the US and Europe. But in the Philippines and some other developing countries, coal is seen as essential for prosperity. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]

¶ After a summer of looming power shortages due to drought, Taipower has suggested that Taiwan speed up the installation of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power. The Ministry of Economic Affairs has been researching floating solar power plants as one possibility to reach this goal. [Taipei Times]

US:

¶ A $126 million wind farm is nearing completion in southeast Utah and will begin generating power within weeks. So far, 23 out of 27 giant wind turbines of the Latigo Wind Farm Project have been installed along the foothills of the Abajo Mountains, northwest of Monticello and about 65 miles from Cortez. [Cortez Journal]

So far, 23 out of 27 giant wind turbines have been installed. Sam Green/The Journal

So far, 23 out of 27 giant wind turbines have been installed. Sam Green/The Journal

¶ Availon, a leading multi-brand independent service provider for wind turbines, announced that the company kept the US wind farms it has under contract at historical levels of availability. The most challenging site is running at above 98.4% availability, and other wind farms between 99.4 % and 99.8%. [Your Renewable News]

December 11 Energy News

December 11, 2015

COP21:

¶ France and nine other partners renewed commitment to mobilize a cumulative $10 billion between 2015 and 2020 to boost access to energy in Africa. The costs are to be offset by repealing all subsidies for fossil fuels and ending the tax breaks that encourage corporate inversions. [The Election Central]

Wind farm in Tunisia. Photo by Citizen59. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Wind farm in Tunisia. Photo by Citizen59. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ With the deadline for a climate deal at COP21 closing fast, business leaders from around the world have called for a long-term emissions goal. Organized by The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group, members of the We Mean Business coalition sent a joint letter to governments. [CleanTechnica]

¶ British Columbia’s Environment Minister announced at COP21 it has become the 14th jurisdiction to sign on to the International Zero-Emission Vehicle Alliance. Members of the alliance will strive to make all new passenger vehicles in their jurisdictions ZEVs by no later than 2050. [Voiceonline.com]

¶ Negotiators at COP21 aim to wrap up a global agreement to curb global warming on Saturday, a day later than expected. “Things are moving in the right direction,” said French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who is chairing the summit. But more compromise is needed if an agreement is to be reached. [BBC]

The Marshall Islands, where residents say they must move due to climate change. AFP

Climate change will make residents of the Marshall Islands move. AFP

Science and Technology:

¶ In a set of graphics, we can see the increases in the Earth’s temperature over the years, and we can compare it through the years with the seasonal increases in carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere. We can see the changes in the Arctic ice cap over the years and projections for the future of the planet. [BBC]

World:

¶ Air pollution is the single largest environmental health risk in Europe, contributing to heart disease, respiratory problems and cancer. A report from the European Environment Agency estimates that it is responsible for more than 430,000 premature deaths in Europe each year. [Galway Independent]

¶ Oil fell below $37 a barrel, after new data showed OPEC is still pumping like there is no tomorrow. The mighty oil cartel produced 31.7 million barrels a day in November, which has produced a glut. Saudi Arabia, the most powerful member of the cartel, refuses to cut output in order to defend its market share. [CNN]

Commercial oil tanker AbQaiq readies itself to receive oil. US Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Andrew M. Meyers. Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

Oil tanker AbQaiq readies to receive oil. US Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Andrew M. Meyers. Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ With a population of 3.4 million, Uruguay has been cheered for efforts to decarbonize its economy by such organizations as the World Bank and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. The WWF named Uruguay among its “Green Energy Leaders.” Its energy is 95% green. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The UK has committed to having 0% emissions from vehicles by 2050. Similar commitments come from the US states of California, New York, Connecticut, Oregon, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont; as well as from the Canadian province of Quebec. [CleanTechnica]

US:

¶ The first utility scale solar plant in Utah was commissioned on Thursday. The Utah Red Hills Renewable Park operated by Scatec Solar will produce enough power for 18,500 homes. At a cost of $188 million, the 104-MW plant will help get the state to 25% from renewables by 2025. [Deseret News]

Utah’s first utility-scale solar plant. (Mike Saemisch, Scatec)

Utah’s first utility-scale solar plant. (Mike Saemisch, Scatec)

¶ The fourth quarter of 2015 is shaping up to be the United States solar market’s biggest quarter on record, according to a new projection. The current utility-scale solar PV pipeline stands at 18.7 GW. This is greater than all US solar PV installations brought online through to the end of 2014. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Northern Power Systems, based in Barre, Vermont, announced that technology-driven improvements to its flagship Northern Power 100-kW wind turbine have been shown to decrease the delivered Levelized Cost of Energy of wind power produced by its turbines materially, making it very competitive. [Vermont Biz]

¶ Enel Green Power has brought online the 200-MW Goodwell wind farm in Texas County, Oklahoma. The $310 million wind farm is supported by a 20-year power purchase agreement. It is the fifth wind farm EGP has brought into operation since entering the Oklahoma market in 2012. [reNews]

Image: sxc

Image: sxc

¶ General Motors will use renewable energy to manufacture about 125,000 trucks per year. GM will use wind energy to power its truck production operations at Arlington assembly plant in Texas. EDP will supply around 30 MW from its planned 250-MW Hidalgo wind farm in Edinburg. [CleanTechnology News]

¶ Work to add two nuclear reactors to Plant Vogtle is growing further behind schedule, according to experts. A nuclear engineer testified at a hearing that efforts to catch up have failed. Instead delays have gotten worse despite assurances from Georgia Power executives. [Savannah Morning News]

December 10 Energy News

December 10, 2015

COP21:

¶ Laurent Fabius, COP21 president, released version 1 of a draft text on COP21 agenda item 4 (b), the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (decision 1/CP.17), at 3:00 PM GMT. Fabius said of the current situation, “We’ve made progress but still a lot of work remains to be done. Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.” [CleanTechnica]

COP21 Facilitators - Meeting go on around the clock.

COP21 Facilitators – Meeting go on around the clock.

¶ In the last meeting of December 9, the Comité de Paris of COP21 reconvened to register the reactions of conference parties to the draft agreement. The meeting closed at 11:28 pm. Sub-groups started meeting at midnight. One overnight consultation covers treaty sections on loss and damage, mechanisms, forest, and preamble, but there are others. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The United States has joined with the EU and a range of other countries at COP21 in an effort to secure a final agreement. The so called “high ambition coalition” now comprises well over 100 countries from the rich and developing world. In addition to the US, Norway, Mexico and Colombia have offered their support to the alliance. [BBC]

¶ Dubai is adopting a plan, Clean Energy Strategy 2050, which includes a number of renewable energy targets. One is that all rooftops in the city will have solar PVs by 2030. Another is a goal of solar generating 75% of the city’s energy by 2050. On the way to achieving this goal is the requirement that 25% is generated by solar by 2030. [CleanTechnica]

Image Credit: Imre Solt, Wiki Commons

Image Credit: Imre Solt, Wiki Commons

¶ The launching of renewable energy initiatives became a bright spot at Paris Climate Conference amid the continuing struggle of negotiators to forge a universal and ambitious climate deal by Friday. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spearheaded these efforts to urge various stakeholders to scale up, speed up and collaborate. [ABS CBN News]

World:

¶ Hamburg’s new city core responded to the challenge of rising ocean levels with a relatively inexpensive solution; HafenCity is designed to be flood proof. HafenCity is the rebirth of a city center, containing an intricate network of offices, public spaces, commercial spaces, around 2,000 inhabitants. It is built to an environmental Gold standard. [CleanTechnica]

Photo provided by Hamburg Marketing

Photo provided by Hamburg Marketing

¶ A unit of Chinese firm Sinohydro Corp Ltd erected the last turbine at its 80-MW intertidal wind demonstration project near the coastline of Jiangxi province’s Rudong county. The facility uses 32 turbines of 2.5-MW each, manufactured by Siemens. Of these, 12 will be installed near the coast, while 20 will be located on the shore. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Renewables are beating fossil fuels on cost in island nations from the Pacific to the Caribbean, where they depend on oil from distant sources. For many of them, obtaining and paying for fuel is a costly struggle that they must manage along with the threat of rising sea levels and more violent storms predicted because of global warming. [Bloomberg]

¶ The majority of the world’s microgrid projects are now remote microgrids, according to a new report from Navigant Research. “Microgrid Deployment Tracker 4Q15” offers data and analysis on the various microgrid projects around the world currently (both remote and grid-tied ones), regardless of development stage (active, planned, proposed, etc). [CleanTechnica]

Image by CleanSpark

Image by CleanSpark

US:

¶ Vermont’s main utility is going to be providing Tesla Powerwall home battery systems to customers who want them. If the utility’s customer agrees to allow the utility to use electricity stored in a Powerwall at home, the customer will also get paid for its use. One of the three ways a customer can pay for the Powerwall is $0 down. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Xcel Energy has taken formal control of the Border and Pleasant Valley wind farms in the US, adding 350 MW to its operational portfolio. The projects boost the utility’s wind capacity by 20%. A 150-MW wind farm is in North Dakota and was transferred to Xcel on 3 December. A 200-MW farm in Minnesota was handed over in November. [reNews]

An Xcel project in Colorado (Xcel)

An Xcel project in Colorado (Xcel)

¶ The Supreme Court may shortly decide an obscure case entitled Federal Energy Regulatory Commission v. Electric Power Supply Association (FERC v EPSA). The issue before the court is whether FERC can compel regional power markets to pay consumers who reduce their electricity usage at critical peak periods. And if so, at what price? [OilPrice.com]

¶ American Electric Power, one of the largest utilities, made waves when it confirmed it has dropped membership from the American Legislative Exchange Council, a prominent climate denial front group. AEP was the chair of ALEC’s environmental task force, which produces all of ALEC’s anti-environmental model bills. [Natural Resources Defense Council ]

¶ Wind power has grown exponentially in New York over the last dozen years, and now supplies enough energy to power over 360,000 homes, a report from Environment New York Research & Policy Center says. Last year alone, wind turbines produced enough energy to reduce carbon pollution equal to 400,000 cars. And growth continues. [LongIsland.com]

Wind turbines producing enough energy can help reduce carbon pollution. Photo by: Wind Energy Foundation on Facebook.

Wind turbines producing enough energy can help reduce carbon pollution. Photo by: Wind Energy Foundation on Facebook.

¶ DOE officials and an energy cooperative with members in eight states are negotiating a plan that could lead to the construction of small commercial nuclear reactors at an eastern Idaho federal nuclear site. Officials with Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems said they prefer an 890-square-mile site containing the Idaho National Laboratory. [The Columbian]

December 9 Energy News

December 9, 2015

COP21:

¶ The European Union has formed an alliance with 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries in a final push for agreement at COP21. The new alliance has agreed to a common position on some of the most divisive aspects of the proposed deal. The EU will pay €475 million to support climate action in the partner countries up to 2020. [BBC]

The EU and 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries announced a new alliance at climate talks in Paris

The EU and 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries announced a new alliance at climate talks in Paris

¶ Some of the best news of 2015 about our ability to resist and adapt to climate change is the powerful increase in numbers of subregional and panregional governments, businesses, and cities taking action. Part of the Lima-Paris Action Agenda, Energy Day at COP21 put the focus squarely on this key to approaching and surviving climate change. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Mainstream Renewable Power chief executive Eddie O’Connor has called for a rethink on how investment for renewable energy projects is funded in growing markets. He said at COP21, “By far the best way to do this is to put a price on carbon. A €30 price per tonne of CO2 would rapidly accelerate the transition to sustainability.” [reNews]

¶ The huge French pavilion that was built for the COP 21 climate conference includes over a dozen spacious stands showcasing France’s leadership in various fields of science, technology, education and ecology. But nowhere does the pavilion mention nuclear energy, completely dismissing this key French sector from the country’s energy landscape. [FRANCE 24]

Archival picture shows the Civaux Nuclear Power Plant in Western France on September 22, 2015 | © Guillaume Souvent, AFP

Archival picture shows the Civaux Nuclear Power Plant in Western France on September 22, 2015 | © Guillaume Souvent, AFP

¶ A coalition of 38 countries and over 20 industry and other partners joined forces at COP21 to lift geothermal energy’s place in the global energy mix. The Global Geothermal Alliance was formed with an aim to achieve a 500% increase in geothermal power generation and a 200% increase in geothermal heating by 2030. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ The United Arab Emirates has delivered its national statement on climate change at COP21 at the United Nations Framework on Climate Change Convention, UNFCCC, in Paris, France, encouraging nations to protect future generations from the impacts of climate change and stressing the economic and social benefits of climate action. [Gulf Today]

¶ Australia’s government is sticking to a familiar theme: it has invested heavily in fossil fuels with long-life assets to retain and, anyway, coal is still good for humanity. Its foreign minister used a forum hosted by Indonesia called “Pathways to a Sustainable Low Carbon and Climate Resilient Economy” to push the case for Australian fossil fuels. [RenewEconomy]

World:

¶ Tidal company Atlantis is “on target” to deliver power to the grid in 2016 from its 6-MW Meygen project off the Scottish coast. The developer said it has completed a “very successful construction campaign” in 2015 and that 2016 will be a “watershed year.” An onshore power distribution center should be weather-tight by Christmas. [reNews]

Onshore works for Meygen (Atlantis)

Onshore works for Meygen (Atlantis)

¶ New figures from researchers at the University of East Anglia and the Global Carbon Project suggest that global carbon emissions would stall in 2015. The researchers predict that not only might the growth of CO2 emissions slow or stall this year, but that there might even be a chance emissions growth would decline by 0.6% in 2015. [CleanTechnica]

US:

¶ Alaska is suffering significant climate impacts from rising seas forcing the relocation of remote villages. Governor Bill Walker says that coping with these changes is hugely expensive. He wants to “urgently” drill in the protected lands of the Arctic National Wilderness Refuge to fund them. The state gets 90% of its revenues from oil and gas. [BBC]

¶ Rising global temperatures are helping to speed up slow moving landslides across Alaska. Known as frozen debris lobes, they are threatening a major highway. The warming climate is said to have hastened some of them to a heady speed of five meters a year. Engineers believe that they must either keep the ground frozen or move the roadway. [BBC]

Alaska's famous Dalton Highway runs through the valley of the slow moving landslides. UAF

Alaska’s famous Dalton Highway runs through the valley of the slow moving landslides. UAF

¶ The Korea Midland Power Corporation announced on December 8 that it kicked off a PV project in Boulder City, Nevada with the completion of the project scheduled for October next year. The 100-MW plant, which can supply electricity to 15,000 households, constitutes the first phase of the 200-MW solar power project of the city. [BusinessKorea]

¶ Marketing by some solar businesses in Vermont wrongly leads customers to believe they are using locally sourced solar power or are contributing to the state’s renewable energy capacity, the state’s Attorney General and the Department of Public Services say. Developers of community-scale projects must make credits clear to customers. [BurlingtonFreePress.com]

¶ Deepwater Wind is proposing to build a 90-MW offshore wind farm combined with 15 MW of storage capacity by General Electric to serve the South Fork peninsula in New York state. The US company said its plan involves the 15-turbine Deepwater ONE – South Fork project for a lease area it won on the Outer Continental Shelf. [SeeNews Renewables]

Offshore wind farm. Author: Beverley Goodwin. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic

Offshore wind farm. Author: Beverley Goodwin. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic

¶ A study from the University of Michigan, released during COP21 negotiations on the globe’s first internationally binding climate agreement, found that most economic analysis of carbon capture and storage technology for coal-fired power plants severely underestimates the technique’s costs and overestimates its energy efficiency. [Space Daily]

December 8 Energy News

December 8, 2015

COP21:

¶ After lower-level negotiators at the Paris climate talks delivered a drafted agreement that left all crunch issues unsolved, foreign and environmental ministers stepped in. Warning that “the clock is ticking towards climate catastrophe,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon told ministers the world expects more than “half-measures.” [The Weather Channel]

Demonstrator at the Global Climate March on Nov. 29, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images)

Demonstrator at the Global Climate March on Nov. 29, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images)

¶ A group of mayors from cities around the world have published a letter calling on other mayors and cities to follow suit in divesting from fossil fuel investments. The letter was signed in conjunction with the COP21 Climate Summit for Local Leaders, which is being held in Paris alongside the United Nations climate negotiations. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A group of 44 individual states and regions took the COP21 spotlight with an announcement pledging their own carbon goals through The Compact of States and Regions. This is regardless of what their home countries settle on. Later this week, more than 200 US legislators will launch a climate pledge of their own. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Plans submitted ahead of the COP 21 climate talks indicate that the US, China, India, the EU, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico and Japan will double their renewable energy supply by 2030, according to an analysis by World Resources Institute. Renewable generation will grow from a total 9,000 TWh (in 2009), to 20,000 TWh by 2030. [EarthTechling]

Image Credit: Oimheidi via Pixabay under Creative Commons Licence

Credit: Oimheidi via Pixabay under Creative Commons Licence

¶ The renewable energy industry can stand on its own without subsidies, providing other power companies also forego their own support, the chief executive the world’s largest wind turbine company has told CNBC. Anders Runevad, CEO and president of Vestas criticised the subsidies the fossil fuels industry continued to garner. [Yahoo7 News]

¶ Carmaker BMW and soft drinks producer Coca Cola Enterprises are among the latest companies pledging to source all of their electricity from renewable energy sources as they join The Climate Group’s RE100 initiative. The pledges were announced during the COP21 climate talks, where IKEA is showcasing the campaign’s success story. [edie.net]

¶ An African initiative should see the continent greatly increase its renewable energy over the next 15 years. The African Renewable Energy Initiative plans to develop at least 10 GW of new renewable energy generation capacity by 2020, and at least 300 GW by 2030, potentially making Africa the cleanest continent. [The Guardian]

Solar panels on sale in a market in the northern Malian city of Gao, 2013. Photograph: John Macdougall/AFP/Getty Images

Solar panels on sale in a market in the northern Malian city of Gao, 2013. Photograph: John Macdougall/AFP/Getty Images

World:

¶ Officials of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy recently revealed that the Indian Government is considering increasing the solar Renewable Purchase Obligation target of 3% by 2022 to 10%. Currently, the RPO target is 15% by 2022, including at least 3% from solar power, with the balance contribution from non-solar sources. [CleanTechnica]

¶ European coal emissions must fall three times faster than they are if the region is to meet its climate goals, according to a new report. Models created by the International Energy Agency suggest that European coal emissions must fall on average by 8% annually until 2040. They have fallen by 2.3% each year over the last nine years. [CleanTechnica]

¶ MHI Vestas Offshore Wind has signed a contract with offshore operator Esvagt to use a new purpose-built service vessel for maintenance of more than 100 MHI Vestas turbines off the Belgian coast. With the upcoming construction of the 165-MW Nobelwind project, a new vessel was needed, in addition to one already in service. [SeeNews Renewables]

New vessel to support MHI Vestas projects. Source: ESVAGT

New vessel to support MHI Vestas projects. Source: ESVAGT

¶ UK owners of polluting diesel generators stand to make “sky-high” profits under a government energy regime that slashed subsidies for wind and solar. They could be awarded subsidies of up to £434 million in the capacity market, up from £109 million last year, and this could trigger a “rapid proliferation” of diesel farms. [The Guardian]

US:

¶ Appalachian Power plans to add up to 150 MW of wind power to its renewable energy portfolio. In a regulatory filing, the company says it plans to issue a request for proposals from bidders in February 2016. The company will seek proposals to purchase wind power assets or to buy electricity generated by wind power projects. [Parkersburg News]

¶ Senator Bernie Sanders released his ambitious plan for climate change, a problem he pointedly says is being perpetuated by the “billionaire fossil fuel lobby.” The plan reads like an ecological wish list. It would US carbon pollution by 40% by 2030 by such measures as putting a tax on carbon and cutting subsidies for fossil fuels. [Washington Post]

Bernie Sanders. Photo by Gage Skidmore. Public Domain Pictures

Bernie Sanders. Photo by Gage Skidmore. Public Domain Pictures

¶ Michigan’s two biggest power companies are up against both lliberal Democrats and conservative Republicans over what they pay customers for electricity from solar panels. Environmental Democrats and Tea Party Republicans have joined forces to promote choices for customers and alternative energy. [The Detroit News]

¶ Every year, Lazard Associates publishes its Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis on different types of power plants including wind, solar, natural gas, coal, nuclear and other technologies. Their analysis shows wind energy and solar power are more affordable than ever. In fact, they beat fossil fuels, even without federal incentives. [Clean Energy News]

December 7 Energy News

December 7, 2015

COP21:

¶ Ministers at COP21 will today begin discussions on an approved draft deal that was drawn up over the weekend. The 48-page document is to be debated by ministers, with a comprehensive and binding settlement hoped for by the week close. Delegates from 195 UN countries worked through the night on Friday to come up with the draft paper. [reNews]

Image: United Nations

Image: United Nations

¶ At COP21 heads of some of the planet’s biggest brands – Unilever, Google, IKEA, Philips, and Marks & Spencer – along with policymakers from around the world, shared their commitments to decarbonizing. Collectively they send a clear message that business is expecting a long-term goal from the global climate talks in Paris next week. [LEDinside]

¶ Australia agreed to support the push to lower the global warming goal to 1.5° in a Paris deal in exchange for more favorable carbon emissions rules. With this, the New Zealand Youth Delegation dared Prime Minister John Key to follow Canberra’s example and also for Wellington to back a more ambitious global climate target. [International Business Times AU]

Indonesia could lose about 2,000 islands by 2030 due to climate change, the country's environment minister said on Monday. Reuters/Beaawiharta

Indonesia could lose about 2,000 islands by 2030 due to climate change, the country’s environment minister said on Monday. Reuters/Beaawiharta

¶ Richard Branson has renewed a call by business leaders for climate leaders to include a goal of reducing global emissions to “net zero” by 2050, meaning no more than the planet can absorb. The Virgin Group CEO said a failure to include such a commitment in COP21 would result in “an alternative too horrible to contemplate.” [The Advocate]

¶ Nicaragua burst onto the world stage at this week’s climate change conference in Paris when it became the first nation to declare it had no intention of publishing a national plan to combat global warming. The country’s chief negotiator told reporters the voluntary nature of the pledges meant global temperatures were bound to rise. [Financial Times]

¶ Indigenous leaders from around the world gathered near the COP21 climate summit in Paris to demand world leaders heed the warnings of social movements and take definitive action on climate change with respect to indigenous peoples’ rights. Leaders from “the Arctic to the Amazon” floated down the Seine on boats in a demonstration. [teleSUR English]

IndigenousEnviroNet @IENearth

IndigenousEnviroNet @IENearth

World:

¶ The company responsible for more than one-third of Germany’s electricity grid says there is no issue absorbing high levels of variable renewable energy such as wind and solar, and grids could absorb up to 70% penetration without the need for storage. The CEO of 50Hertz says industry views on renewable energy integration have evolved. [RenewEconomy]

¶ As coal prices continue to fall, financing for projects involving coal are also falling out of favor with big banking. Bank of America, BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole, Citigroup, ING, Société Générale, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo have each amended coal financing policies, largely in recognition of the risks of carbon emissions and climate change. [Mineweb]

¶ As the Indian city of Chennai still struggles to cope after floods that have cost hundreds of lives and left thousands homeless, India says climate change is to blame. In 2012, it was Haiti and the Philippines that were affected, and a super-cyclone hit the Philippines again in 2013. Nevertheless, COP21 climate delegates have not taken much notice. [eco-business.com]

Parts of Southern India have been inundated for weeks, leaving more than three million people without basic services. Image: Destination8Infinity, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Parts of Southern India have been inundated for weeks, leaving more than three million people without basic services. Image: Destination8Infinity, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

¶ The Asian Development Bank announced a $6-million loan for the off-grid solar home system service of Simpa Energy India Private Ltd. The money will help the company to finance about 75,000 solar systems for households and micro-enterprises in India next year. Simpa Energy aims to install 225,000 systems by the end of 2018. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Kenya Tea Development Agency, a marketing agency for small-scale tea growers, has signed a $55 million loan agreement with International Finance Corporation to fund the construction of seven small hydropower projects across tea growing regions. The projects are intended to reduce the cost of energy for each tea factory,. [Coastweek]

¶ China’s capital issued its first ever “red alert” for pollution, the Beijing city government said on Monday, warning that the city would be shrouded in heavy smog from Tuesday until Thursday. China’s leadership has vowed to crack down on environmental degradation, including the air pollution now covering many major cities. [Thomson Reuters Foundation]

US:

¶ Infratech Industries, the company behind Australia’s first floating solar plant has sold its flagship technology to the City of Holtville, in California, marking the first export of the world-leading renewable energy system. The company completed the first installation of a $12 million, 4-MW PV system in April to serve as its showcase project. [CleanTechnica]

Floating solar plant by Infratech Industries

Floating solar plant by Infratech Industries

¶ Bernie Sanders will unveil a sweeping new plan to fight climate change, calling for a carbon tax and an ambitious 40% cut in carbon emissions by 2030 to speed the transition to a greener economy. The Democratic presidential candidate will use the crunch week of COP21 to release a 16-page plan aimed dealing with climate change. [The Guardian]

¶ Officials say one of the Indian Point nuclear power plant’s reactors in suburban NY has been shut down because several control rods lost power. Entergy, the plant’s owner, said no radioactivity was released during the shutdown. A team from the New York Department of Public Service will be among those that investigate the incident. [TV Newsroom]

December 6 Energy News

December 6, 2015

COP21:

¶ Delegates at a UN climate conference in Paris have approved a draft text they hope will form the basis of an agreement to curb global carbon emissions. The 48-page document will be discussed by ministers on Monday. They will try to arrive at a comprehensive settlement by the end of next week. [BBC News]

BBC News

BBC News

¶ The Paris climate conference today published a draft treaty that sets out a warming limit of 1.5° C above pre-industrial levels as its long term temperature goal. Seen as a victory for poor countries, it reduces limit of 2° C warming that had previosly been agreed to as a safe level warming. [The Ecologist]

¶ Dubai’s practices in energy efficiency and water desalination was showcased during the panel discussion held at COP 21 in Paris. UAE Minister of State and Special Envoy for Energy and Climate Change said Dubai aims to produce 75% of its energy using clean sources. [Emirates 24|7]

¶ At the Paris Climate Summit (COP21), the global nuclear lobby is in overdrive. The Breakthrough Energy Coalition, led by Bill Gates, was made public at the start of the conference. And the nuclear lobby is out in force, handing out thousands of copies of its propaganda book, Climate Gamble. [Independent Australia]

¶ United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced that a broad group of organizations and individuals, ranging from financial institutions to municipal mayors and business leaders, will continue momentum on multi-stakeholder climate on May 5 and 6 in Washington, DC. [Big News Network.com]

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

¶ The US, Japan, European and other developed nations are poised to consider boosting their annual financial assistance for developing nations to over $100 billion in 2020 and beyond in a bid to break a COP21 deadlock. The money would include both public and private-sector funds. [Nikkei Asian Review]

¶ Allegations of hypocrisy will be levelled at the UK when the Climate Secretary Amber Rudd appears at COP21. Prime Minister David Cameron impressed summit delegates with his passionate call to action, but his government’s changes may actually increase emissions of greenhouse gases. [BBC]

World:

¶ In less than 10 years, Uruguay has cut its carbon footprint without government subsidies or higher consumer costs, according to its head of climate change policy. In fact, he says now that renewables provide 94.5% of the country’s electricity, prices have gone down, relative to inflation. [Kitsap Sun]

¶ As renewable technologies become more cost-effective, investors are now waking up to opportunities in the previously unattractive green sector. Climate change is a reality and we appear to be in the middle of an energy revolution. Environmental investments are both right and smart. [Irish Independent]

Climate change is a reality, and so is the revolution that has emerged to tackle it.

Climate change is real, and so is the revolution that has emerged to tackle it.

¶ After four years of relative stability, crude oil prices have fallen dramatically over the past eighteen months. The decline in oil prices and certainty that they will not increase soon, have triggered discussions on the impact on Azerbaijan’s alternative and renewable energy industry. [Eurasia Review]

¶ In Japan, it was recently revealed that safety cables at nuclear facilities, including TEPCO’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, were not separated from other cables, a violation of the country’s new nuclear safety standards. It was also revealed that regulatory authorities had failed to inspect them. [The Japan Times]

US:

¶ Instead of showing the benefits of carbon capture, a coal plant towering over pine trees and meadows in rural Mississippi is looking like another monument to an unfulfilled promise of carbon capture technology. Costs for construction have grown to $6.5 billion, over three times the original estimate. [Valley News]

Mississippi Power spokesman Lee Youngblood, talks about the carbon capture power plant in DeKalb. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Mississippi Power spokesman Lee Youngblood, talks about the carbon capture power plant in DeKalb. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

¶ Renewable energy accounted for 100% of new US electricity generation capacity additions in October. Wind and solar made up 98% and the other 2% was biomass. For the year through October, solar and wind accounted for over 63% of all new US power capacity, according to FERC. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The recent closure of two cogeneration plants near Bakersfield, California, illustrates the regulatory, policy and market-based challenges facing small facilities selling electricity to the state’s grid. The plants, each of 35-MW plus heat, were commissioned in 1989. [The Bakersfield Californian]

Rio Bravo Jasmin

Rio Bravo Jasmin

¶ Congress could be close to phasing out the tax credits that have, for years, supported the booming wind and solar energy industries. The wind and solar industry have allies among Democrats and others concerned about climate change, but many conservatives want to phase them out. [The Hill]

December 5 Energy News

December 5, 2015

COP21:

¶ If coal is good for humanity, then someone has forgotten to tell the world’s poorest countries. In a strongly worded statement that came out on the first day of talks at COP21, the leaders of 30 of the world’s poorest countries said they wanted the world to be 100% renewable by 2050. [CleanTechnica]

Shanghai boom and gloom. Author Peter Dowley. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Shanghai boom and gloom. Author Peter Dowley. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ One event in Paris, a Climate Summit for Local Leaders will commit 1000 mayors and local leaders to “support ambitious long-term climate goals such as a transition to 100% renewable energy in our communities, or a 80% greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 2050”. [Blue & Green Tomorrow]

¶ As governments continue negotiations to hammer out a global climate deal at COP21, institutional investors assemble to highlight their contributions, reinforcing calls for robust Paris climate agreement to enable rapid scale up of investment in low-carbon transition. [Blue & Green Tomorrow]

¶ A senior Indian negotiator says his country will cut back its use of coal, if it gets sufficient cash from a Paris deal. The country believes rich nations responsible for the bulk greenhouse gas emissions released so far must provide cash if they want developing countries to cut their emissions. [TV Newsroom]

PM meets Heads of Delegations of Like-Minded Developing Countries, in the run-up to COP-21 in Paris. Author Narendra Modi. CC BY-SA 2.0 Wikimedia Commons.

PM meets Heads of Delegations of Like-Minded Developing Countries, in the run-up to COP-21 in Paris. Author Narendra Modi. CC BY-SA 2.0 Wikimedia Commons.

World:

¶ With nearly 3.1 GW of offshore wind capacity connections expected for 2015, Europe is driving the industry’s expected 3.6 GW of new capacity. Analysis from MAKE Consulting concludes that 2015 is likely to see 3.6 GW of new offshore wind capacity connected to local European grids. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The launch of the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition was the first time in UN climate talk history that heads of state have agreed to sit at same table as the leadership of nongovernment agencies and businesses to decide how to deploy carbon-pricing solutions across the world by 2020. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Google’s current renewable energy portfolio, worth approximately $3 billion, makes it one of the largest renewable energy owning utilities in the world. Google has invested in an array of renewable energy companies and runs several locations on hundreds of megawatts of clean energy. [Huffington Post]

Middelgrunden offshore wind farm observed in Øresund. Photo by Kim Hansen. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Middelgrunden offshore wind farm observed in Øresund. Photo by Kim Hansen. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Norwegian oil and gas company Statoil has made the final investment decision to build the 30-MW Hywind floating wind farm offshore Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. The developer has tapped Siemens to supply five of its SWT-6.0-154 direct-drive offshore wind turbines for the project. [North American Windpower]

¶ A study released by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis showed that worldwide coal consumption is likely to decline between 2% and 4% in 2015, despite near decade-low coal prices. That’s on top of a 0.7% decline a BP study said happened in 2014. [Audubon Magazine Blog]

¶ In an announcement made at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris, Monsanto will stand trial for ecocide and crimes against humanity and nature at the International Court of Justice. An umbrella group of over 800 organizations in 100 countries is involved in the action. [Care2.com]

March Against Monsanto in Eugene, Oregon, 2014. Photo by Visitor7. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

March Against Monsanto in Eugene, Oregon, 2014. Photo by Visitor7. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

US:

¶ The United States deployed 60.3 MW of energy storage during the third quarter of the year, bringing the year’s cumulative total up over 100 MW. The figures come by way of GTM Research’s US Energy Storage Monitor, and represent a 46% increase from the second quarter of 2015. [CleanTechnica]

¶ According to a new study released earlier this week by the US Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), growth in the use of solar energy among America’s top companies has skyrocketed 183% over the last four years since the first Solar Means Business report was published. [CleanTechnica]

12-5 graph

¶ While 150 world leaders are negotiating a climate deal in Paris, nine Northeastern states in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative are sharing $115 million from the latest auction under a regional pact that limits power plant emissions while supporting renewable energy and efficiency projects. [Rutland Herald]

¶ Vermont’s largest electric utility is getting ready to offer customers in-home batteries made by Tesla, best known for making electric cars. In a letter Thursday to the Public Service Board, Green Mountain Power said it would become the first US utility to offer the Tesla Powerwall. [Idaho Statesman]

¶ Scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographics Institution have found signs of nuclear contamination from Fukushima at an increased number of sites off the US West Coast, including the highest detected level to date from a sample collected about 1,600 miles west of San Francisco. [ObserverVoice.com]

December 3 Energy News

December 3, 2015

COP21:

¶ With COP21 underway in Paris, a conference in Rome on Thursday reflected on Pope Francis’s social encyclical Laudato Si’: On Care For Our Common Home. Hosted by the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, the meeting examined what role free markets can play in helping to protect the environment. [Vatican Radio]

A power-generating wind turbine is seen on the Champs Elysees avenue with the Arc de Triomphe in background as part of COP21. - AP

A power-generating wind turbine is seen on the Champs Elysees avenue with the Arc de Triomphe in background as part of COP21. – AP

¶ The total contributions of national carbon reduction plans at COP21 now reaches approximately 90% of what is needed prevent dangerous climate change. This is cause for some cautious optimism. However, the reality of how these reductions will be implemented will probably be a significant challenge over the next two weeks. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The International Chamber of Shipping said that, as a representative of the international shipping industry at COP21, it “fully supports” a global climate change deal, adding that the ambitious CO2 reductions aimed for by the industry will be best achieved if regulation is led by the International Maritime Organization. [Ship & Bunker]

¶ Addressing students at the Sorbonne University on the sidelines of the Paris climate summit, Elon Musk, the renowned Tesla innovator, believes the widespread introduction of a carbon price could halve the time it takes the world to transition to clean energy and make a huge difference to the impact of climate change. [The Guardian]

Tesla Motors chief executive Elon Musk. Photograph: Francois Mori/AP

Tesla Motors chief executive Elon Musk. Photograph: Francois Mori/AP

¶ France has offered provide $2 billion to help develop renewable energy in Africa. French President Francois Hollande disclosed at COP21 that the country has earmarked about $6.4 billion, over the next four years to help with electrification in Africa. Of that, one third is to help develop renewable energy. [Leadership Newspapers]

¶ In the wake of yet another bout of devastating smog, China announced today that it plans cut its power sector emissions 60% by 2020, a promise that puts the US Clean Power Plan to shame. If fulfilled, the pledge would make a major dent in global carbon pollution. China’s cabinet made the announcement at COP21. [Gizmodo India]

World:

¶ Nineteen French cities and the French Parliament announced a commitment to divest from fossil fuels, joining more than 500 institutions holding $3.4 trillion in assets. The number has jumped from 181 institutions representing $50 billion who agreed to divest oil, gas or coal companies from their portfolios in 2014. [eco-business.com]

Protestors campaigning against the further use of fossil fuels hold a demonstration at COP21. Image: IISD Reporting Services

Protestors campaigning against the further use of fossil fuels hold a demonstration at COP21. Image: IISD Reporting Services

¶ Silicor Materials, which makes silicon for solar PVs, announced its plans to be carbon-neutral at its facility in Iceland. Silicor will fund planting over 26,000 trees to offset the yearly production of 2,800 tons of CO2. As it is, Silicor’s current process uses no toxic chemicals, and produces no waste that winds up in landfills. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Bahamas’ Prime Minister says urgent actions are needed to reverse climate change, or The Bahamas might be no more: “With 80 percent of our land within one metre or five feet of mean sea level, business as usual with regard to climate change threatens the very existence of the Bahamas as we know it.” [St. Lucia Times Online News]

¶ In Ottawa, on Parliament Hill, on November 29, a festive crowd of 25,000 held up white bristol boards spelling out “100% possible,” as in a 100% renewable energy economy by 2050. For planet lovers it was heart-warming sight. Canada’s environmental movement was brimming with an optimism it hadn’t felt in a decade. [NOW Magazine]

Demonstration in Ottawa

Demonstration in Ottawa

¶ While countries consider their climate change options at COP21, forest fires and the ensuing pollution have been growing problems in Indonesia. The scorched forest issue was largely isolated in the western Indonesian islands. However, this year, the issue has plagued both Papua and West Papua, raising concerns among activists. [Scoop.co.nz]

US:

¶ 21st Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News Channel, is first on the list of 73 major companies that have just signed on to President Obama’s “American Business Act on Climate Pledge.” A total of 154 major US and global companies have signed in support of a strong outcome for this week’s COP21 Paris climate talks. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory announced success with a new method for fabricating “virtually perfect” single layers of so-called white graphene for use in next-generation solar cells, fuel cells, and other clean tech devices. White graphene is a form of boron nitride, which has a distinctive hexagonal lattice structure. [CleanTechnica]

3-D structure of hexagonal boron nitride sheets and boron nitride nanotubes, courtesy of the Shahsavari Group via Rice University.

3-D structure of hexagonal boron nitride sheets and boron nitride nanotubes, courtesy of the Shahsavari Group via Rice University.

¶ New York Governor Cuomo sent a letter to the state’s Department of Public Service create a program for 50% renewable energy by 2030. Significantly, the letter includes a timeline: DPS must create this policy by July 2016. The governor also says he believes upstate nuclear facilities must continue operating. [pv magazine]

¶ World leaders are gathering this week in Paris at the COP21 talks in an effort to hammer out a global agreement to combat climate change. But in Ohio, a bill crafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council and backed by the fossil fuel industry is preemptively trying to dismantle the work underway. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

December 2 Energy News

December 2, 2015

COP21:

¶ The bosses have come and gone, and many negotiators will have breathed a big sigh of relief. Everyone said the right things. The prospects of a deal, haven’t been harmed, even if they weren’t hugely advanced. On Tuesday the more regular routines of COP life kicked in. The day started with a plenary session of the parties. [BBC]

Deforestation and forest degradation

Deforestation and forest degradation

¶ The impacts of climate change on forests and agriculture were in the spotlight on Tuesday at COP21, as new alliances among organizations and stakeholders were announced aiming to eliminate natural deforestation and forest degradation, and to prevent threats to sustainable farming and people’s livelihoods. [Sify News]

¶ President Barack Obama said that parts of the global warming deal being negotiated in Paris should be legally binding on the countries that sign on, setting up a potential fight with Republicans at home. Obama’s stand won praise at the COP21 conference from those who want a strong agreement to reduce carbon emissions. [Leader-Telegram]

¶ UK-based activist group Brandalism has peppered the streets of Paris with 600 fake outdoor ads meant to expose the hypocrisy of COP21 Climate Conference corporate sponsors. The fake, unauthorized outdoor ads were strategically placed around Paris this past weekend, and were made to look nearly identical to the originals. [Gizmodo Australia]

Credit: Brandalism

Credit: Brandalism

Science and Technology:

¶ Stanford engineers have created underwater solar cells that could play a key role in fighting climate change. They provided design principles to build energy efficient, corrosion-protected solar cells. The impacts of this research are far-reaching for the solar industry and the battle against climate change. [CleanTechnica]

¶ In a paper in the November 27 online edition of the journal Science Advances scientists in Singapore say they have developed new redox flow lithium batteries whose energy densities match those of their lithium-ion counterparts. This means they are about eight to 10 times as high as conventional redox flow batteries. [IEEE Spectrum]

¶ The first sodium-ion (Na-ion) battery in an 18650 format was recently developed by researchers in France. The prototype possesses an energy density of 90 Wh/kilogram, putting it on roughly equal ground with early lithium-ion batteries. It has a lifespan of over 2,000 charge-discharge cycles. [CleanTechnica]

sodium-ion battery © Vincent GUILLY/CEA

sodium-ion battery © Vincent GUILLY/CEA

World:

¶ SaskPower, Saskatchewan’s public utility, has said it has set a goal to generate 50% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030. Installing about 60 MW of utility-scale solar power will help achieve it, but the overall strategy will include geothermal, wind, hydropower, and biomass. [CleanTechnica]

¶ With the serious business of negotiation beginning at COP21, Oxfam has published a report showing that, despite the rich causing most of the global warming, it is the poor that must bear the brunt of the consequences. The richest 1% of the world’s population produces 175 times as much CO2 per person as the bottom 10%. [The Independent]

¶ The postal service of Norway, the Posten, will soon possess an electric vehicle fleet enriched by the purchase of an additional 240 new Renault Kangoo Maxi ZEs, according to recent reports. The Norwegian postal service already possesses a fleet of 900 electric vehicles, including electric cars as well as bikes, quadricycles, etc. [CleanTechnica]

Renault Kangoo Maxi ZEs

Renault Kangoo Maxi ZEs

¶ Wylfa nuclear power plant, in northern Wales, will shutdown at the end of this month. After 44 years producing electricity the plant on Anglesey will start to be decommissioned in the New Year. There will be a 100-day “cool down” period before full decommissioning gets underway and the nuclear fuel is removed. [Daily Post North Wales]

US:

¶ Justin Farrell, assistant professor of sociology at Yale University, writes in Nature Climate Change that semantic analysis and statistical techniques can identify “organizational power” within the contrarian network that has somehow persuaded US voters that scientists are “divided” on the issue of climate change. [eco-business.com]

¶ Hours after President Barack Obama pushed for an international agreement to combat climate change, the GOP-led US House of Representatives voted to demonstrate a lack of support. The House passed two resolutions, largely along party lines, to prevent the EPA from implementing the Clean Energy Plan. [CNN]

Climate change is real.

Climate change is real.

¶ EDF Renewable Energy has closed structured equity financing for its 175-MW Pilot Hill wind project in Illinois, from two American firms, General Electric and Metlife. The project, situated in Kankakee and Iroquois counties, features 91 of GE’s 1.7-100 turbine models, along with 12 of GE 1.85-87 wind turbines. [Power Technology]

¶ DC Water’s Blue Plains plant treats 370 million gallons of dirty water from more than two million households, purging it with micro-organisms that ingest carbon and transform nitrates into nitrogen gas. The water is clean enough to be released without disrupting fragile ecosystems. Solids yield 10 MW of electricity and compost. [Phys.Org]

December 1 Energy News

December 1, 2015

COP21:

¶ The 12th part of the second session of the COP21 Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP 2-12) convened a day early. Sunday evening, November 29, 2015, saw the first Paris session of the ADP, which is the body mainly responsible for forging a unanimous declaration of international will. [CleanTechnica]

ADP Contact Group stocktaking in Bonn (October, iisd.ca)

ADP Contact Group stocktaking in Bonn (October, iisd.ca)

¶ World leaders opened talks Monday in Paris saying the stakes are too high to end the conference without achieving a binding agreement to help slow the pace of global climate change. Their main goal: agree on legally binding greenhouse gas emissions reductions to hold increase in global average temperatures short of 2° C. [CNN]

¶ Bill Gates, the world’s richest man, led a group of philanthropists in vowing to plow $2 billion into clean energy through personal investments and a new fund to be set up next year. Gates will be joined by 26 private investors and the University of California in the so-called Breakthrough Energy Coalition, he said in a briefing. [Independent Online]

Kandi Mossett joins Human Chain, Paris

Kandi Mossett joins Human Chain, Paris

¶ Indigenous Peoples in Paris at COP21, are exposing the facts of the polluters destroying their homelands, and the green schemes designed for the rich to get richer. “Our world is melting,” said Allison Akootchook Warden from Alaska Arctic village Kaktovik. “Climate change and global warming is a reality in my home.” [The NarcoSphere]

World:

¶ Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused Turkey of shooting down a Russian war plane to protect supplies of oil from ISIS to Turkey. On the sidelines of the COP21 conference, Putin said the downing of the plane was a “huge mistake”. It was not the first time that Putin has claimed that Turkey buys oil from ISIS. [News24]

¶ Crude oil just capped off a third straight week of declines, as WTI nears the $40 per barrel threshold. Goldman Sachs is once again raising the possibility of oil dipping into the $20s per barrel. Oil and gas companies have laid off more than 250,000 workers around the world, a tally that will rise if oil prices remain in the dumps. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Dong Energy has agreed to conduct a feasibility study to explore developing a wind farm in Manx waters off the north-east coast of the Isle of Man. Dong Energy will carry out preliminary surveys to determine the practicality and commercial viability of installing wind turbines within the island’s territorial sea. [CleanTechnology News]

Image: Isle of Man is looking to harness offshore wind resources to generate clean electricity. Photo: courtesy of xedos4 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Isle of Man is looking to harness offshore wind resources to generate clean electricity. Photo: courtesy of xedos4 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

¶ If all coal plants in the pipeline were built, emissions from coal power would be 400% higher by 2030 than what is consistent with a 2˚C pathway, according the Climate Action Tracker. Even without new plants, 2030 coal emissions would still be more than 150% higher than what is consistent with holding warming below 2˚C. [NewClimate Institute]

¶ Ahead of the Japanese prime minister’s India visit in December, 13 villages in Jaitapur, Maharashtra, have declared their opposition to the proposed nuclear project by passing a unanimous resolution. The reactor is to be built by Areva, a French company, but Mitsubishi would supply crucial components. [COUNTERVIEW]

US:

¶ The transportation of people and goods accounts for about 25% of all energy consumption. Passenger transportation, in particular light-duty vehicles, accounts for most transportation energy consumption, and light-duty vehicles alone consume more than all freight transportation, such as heavy trucks, marine, and rail. [CleanTechnica]

Source: US Energy Information Administration, International Transportation Energy Demand Determinants model estimates

Source: US Energy Information Administration, International Transportation Energy Demand Determinants model estimates

¶ Xiuhtezcatl Tonatiuh became a climate change activist at age 6 when he saw an environmental documentary. Now 15, the long-haired, hip-hop-savvy Coloradoan is one of 21 young activists joining climate scientist James Hansen in suing the Obama administration for failing to ditch fossil fuels, saying it is not doing its job. [CNN]

¶ As COP21 kicked off in Paris on Monday, a key committee in San Diego pushed ahead with a blueprint for cutting greenhouse-gas emissions and powering the city using only green energy within two decades. Members of the City Council’s environment committee unanimously approved the proposed plan. [The San Diego Union-Tribune]

¶ Think of cities across the country where solar power is booming, and some obvious sunny spots come to mind: Las Vegas, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Antonio. There’s another city, however, that beats them in solar energy production. Try sunny Newark, New Jersey, which ranks eighth in a survey of 65 large US cities, per capita. [NJ.com]

A 13-acre solar producing 3 MW of power in Kearny has been in operation for about three years. (Aristide Economopoulos | The Star-Ledger)

A 13-acre solar producing 3 MW in Kearny, New Jersey, has been in operation for about three years. (Aristide Economopoulos | The Star-Ledger)

¶ A partnership between NRG Home Solar and Airbnb will deliver incentives to Airbnb members in the form of rebates and/or travel credits. According to the results of a study conducted by Cleantech Group for Airbnb, using a green home sharing service while traveling can create significant environmental benefits. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Obama administration is boosting the amount of corn-based ethanol and other renewable fuels in the US gasoline supply despite sustained opposition by an unusual alliance of oil companies, environmentalists and some GOP presidential candidates. The EPA issued a final rule designed to increase use of ethanol. [NewsOK.com]

 

November 30 Energy News

November 30, 2015

COP21:

¶ Leaders from 147 nations are addressing COP21 on its opening day. Negotiators from 195 countries will try to reach a deal during the two-week conference aimed at reducing global carbon emissions. Initiatives to boost clean technologies are due to be launched. But the world’s poorest countries say they fear being “left behind.” [BBC]

The Eiffel Tower was lit up on Sunday evening in support of the climate conference. Reuters

The Eiffel Tower was lit up on Sunday evening in support of the climate conference. Reuters

¶ With world leaders converging in Paris today for the start of the long-awaited COP21 climate talks, The Climate Group’s International Communications Director, Eduardo Goncalves, outlines why we should be optimistic about both a successful outcome, and crucially, the months and years that will follow. [The Climate Group]

¶ All eyes are on the French capital, two weeks after extremists killed 130 people around Paris. Fears of repeat attacks have prompted extra-high security and a crackdown on protests, and threaten to eclipse longer-term concerns about rising seas and extreme weather linked to man-made global warming. [Huffington Post UK]

¶ Organisers have said that at least 50,000 people marched through London in what was the UK’s largest ever demonstration for action against climate change. In the run up to the COP21, activists have been marching in cities around the world, and over 2,000 marches are said to have taken place since Friday. [Yahoo News UK]

March in London

Climate demonstration in London

World:

¶ Wind farm owners representing 12% of global turbine assets have founded a peer-to-peer online platform exchanging information on operations, with an objective of optimizing turbine yields through information exchange. Members include EDPR, Vattenfall, RWE, Dong Energy, Statoil and Acciona Energia. [reNews]

¶ Egypt inaugurated on Sunday the largest wind power station in the Middle East and North Africa region with a capacity of 200 MW, the ministry of electricity and energy said. The project’s cost is estimated at €270 million (roughly $286 million). Egypt has been suffering through increasing power shortages. [Al-Bawaba]

¶ London-based infrastructure group John Laing is “ready to invest” in more Australian renewable energy projects if the Turnbull government gets behind wind and solar farms, its CEO says. Australia was previously not a priority for renewable energy investors because there was a lack of support from the government. [Sydney Morning Herald]

John Laing's first Australian renewable energy investment is in a wind farm near Adelaide. Photo: Mark Kolbe

John Laing’s first Australian renewable energy investment is in a wind farm near Adelaide. Photo: Mark Kolbe

¶ The global coal industry is touting “cleaner coal” technology to fight competition from renewable energy. The World Coal Association is pushing technology it says can cut the greenhouse gases emitted from burning coal by up to 30%. But the high costs of greener coal plants are proving a major obstacle for sales. [Huffington Post India]

¶ The largest solar farm in the Philippines will start supplying energy to Meralco on December 4. The new 11-hectare solar power plant has 32,692 solar panels that can generate 8.6 MW, meaning it can supply 61,920 households. The site had been a fish pond, but it ran dry, prompting its former owners to sell the property. [Manila Bulletin]

US:

¶ Climate change takes center stage Monday as a global conversation begins in Paris. But it’s not just international politicians who will lead discussions. US cities like Boulder will have representatives there to share their best practices. Now the city’s strategy includes a job many have never heard of: Chief Resilience Officer. [Colorado Public Radio]

Greg Guibert, Boulder's first ever Chief Resilience Officer. More US cities are using CROs to strategize for climate change and other natural disaster challenges.

Greg Guibert, Boulder’s first ever Chief Resilience Officer. More US cities are using CROs to strategize for climate change and natural disaster challenges.

¶ President Barack Obama said Sunday that American leadership was helping make gains in the global fight against climate change as he tried to reassure world leaders assembling for a historic conference in Paris that the United States can deliver on its own commitments. Obama is joining other world leaders at COP21. [Albuquerque Journal]

¶ A San Francisco judge urged state regulators to release e-mails about a multibillion-dollar deal with two utilities that shut down the San Onofre nuclear plant. He said the Public Utilities Commission should “do the right thing” and reveal information about what went into a deal that would cost area utility customers over $3.3 billion. [CBS Local]

November 13 Energy News

November 13, 2015

World:

¶ The north of England is set to be home to Europe’s largest floating solar power system. Water company United Utilities is developing a 12,000 panel system covering an area of more than 45,000 square meters. It will cover about 33% of their electricity needs. The system will be on Godley reservoir in Hyde, Greater Manchester. [CNBC]

Image courtesy of United Utilities

Image courtesy of United Utilities

¶ The carbon content of electricity generation in Ireland fell to a record low last year, according to new figures by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland. The country avoided 2.6 million tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2014. SEAI said without renewables, power generation emissions would have been around 23% higher. [Energy Voice]

¶ The UK’s Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and campaign group Oil Change worldwide (OCI) have now published a detailed analysis of G20 subsidies to oil, gas and coal production. The G20 countries spent around four times as much to prop up fossil fuel production as they did to subsidize renewable energy. [Financial Company Voices]

¶ In the UK, production subsidies of £5.9 billion have already benefited major fossil fuel companies operating in the country, most foreign-owned, while £3.7 billion is used to subsidise fossil fuel production overseas in countries including Russia, Saudi Arabia and China, the new analysis from the ODI and OCI found. [The Guardian]

Photograph: bluegreenpict/REX Shutterstock

Photograph: bluegreenpict/REX Shutterstock

¶ The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland announced a Memorandum of Understanding with Apple to promote the development of ocean energy. Apple has committed a €1 million fund to help developers who receive SEAI grants to test their ocean energy prototypes in the Galway Bay Ocean Energy Test Site. [Your Renewable News]

¶ Lightsource Renewable Energy is spearheading a £2 billion investment in solar energy in India. The firm has announced plans to design, install and manage more than 3 GW of solar PV infrastructure in partnership with Indian companies over the next five years, including SREI Infrastructure Finance Limited. [Your Renewable News]

¶ The cabinet of Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition has endorsed changes to the German electricity market, ensuring their passage into law. The law relies on market mechanisms to foster competition between electricity generation and flexibility options, rejecting generator proposals for an American-style capacity market. [POWER magazine]

US:

¶ More than 7,100 solar panels will provide power to areas of Daytona International Speedway and 400 Florida homes per year, according to officials of the speedway and Florida Power & Light. The FPL Solar Pavilion and FPL Solar Patio project at the speedway will be in the Midway, the Sprint FANZONE and Lot 10 parking area. [Bay News 9]

A total of 7,186 solar panels will make up the FPL Solar Pavilion and FPL Solar Patio. (Daytona International Speedway rendering)

A total of 7,186 solar panels will make up the FPL Solar Pavilion and FPL Solar Patio. (Daytona International Speedway rendering)

¶ Procter & Gamble signed a partnership with EDF Renewable Energy to build a wind farm in Texas. It will generate 370,000 MWh of electricity per year, enough to meet the electricity needs for all Procter & Gamble North American Fabric & Home Care plants, where Tide, Cascade, and other such products are produced. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Customers of Xcel Energy Inc in Minnesota will have the option of signing long-term deals to get their electricity from wind and solar farms under a proposed program. The program, which requires state regulatory approval, would be open to all customers. But key features are aimed to support corporate sustainability targets. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

A proposal to erect 28 wind turbines in Windham and Grafton drew opposition at a meeting Monday in Grafton. Photo by Mike Faher/VTDigger

A proposal to erect 28 wind turbines in Windham and Grafton drew opposition at a meeting Monday in Grafton. Photo by Mike Faher/VTDigger

¶ Two weeks after a developer came to town to disclose details of what would be Vermont’s largest wind-turbine site, the project’s opponents presented an impassioned case against building any wind farms in Stiles Brook Forest. Opponents to the proposal painted a picture of troubles, at a meeting they organized. [vtdigger.org]

¶ Hillary Clinton outlined a $30 billion plan to help communities and individuals that rely on coal to recover from the industry’s decline. Clinton has said repeatedly she will not forget the coal workers who “kept the lights on” and drove economic growth. Her campaign said the plan fits squarely with her climate priorities. [Rapid News Network]

¶ The New York Department of State has objected to relicensing the Indian Point nuclear plant on the Hudson River, saying it kills millions of fish larvae and sits near seismic faults with an earthquake threat to millions of people. It says the plant is incompatible with the safety of New York City 24 miles downstream. [Albany Times Union]

November 12 Energy News

November 12, 2015

Opinion:

David and Goliath struggle over solar power • Duke Energy is threatening a small nonprofit and African-American church, as it fights to restrict solar access in North Carolina. Duke Energy asked state regulators to fine Durham nonprofit NC WARN $1,000 a day for selling solar power to Faith Community Church in Greensboro. [News & Observer]

Wilson Ring AP

Wilson Ring AP

Why does the IEA keep underestimating solar and wind? • The press release for the latest World Energy Outlook of the International Energy Agency emphasized that they “see clear signs that the energy transition is underway.” The problem is, the numbers they use in the report don’t really match up with this stated optimism. [Business Spectator]

World:

¶ Germany’s transport ministry has said Volkswagen is likely to need to make more than just software changes to nearly a quarter of its 2.4 million diesel cars being recalled in the country as a result of the emissions scandal. The Federal Motor Transport Authority says about 540,000 will also need hardware changes. [The Guardian]

¶ Around four coal-powered plants are poised to come up every week in China. However, chances are they will remain under-utilised given the existing glut. Around 155 projects with a total capacity of 123 GW got the green signal in 2015 alone, despite the fact that China has nearly no need for the energy they will produce. [Yahoo News UK]

Chinese air pollution.

Chinese air pollution.

¶ German utilities giant E·ON recorded record losses of €5.7 billion ($6.1 billion) for the first nine months of 2015 as its older fossil fuel power plants declined in value amid a switch to renewable energy. There was a write-down of €8.3 billion due to the recent decline in fuel prices, with energy plants barely turning a profit. [Europe Online Magazine]

¶ In its latest planning for the transmission network, Australian Energy Market Operator, which runs the grid, looks at one scenario where 33.3 GW of rooftop solar is installed on homes and businesses by 2034-35, 40% of all homes have residential battery storage totalling 19.1 GWh, and 20% of homes have an electric vehicle. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Tasmania’s King Island was powered by 100% renewable energy for a period of 33 hours non-stop this month, another huge milestone for the renewable energy system established on the island as part of a project by Hydro Tasmania. The project is a prototype combining solar panels, wind turbines and energy storage. [One Step Off The Grid]

¶ South Australia stands at the forefront of the renewable energy transition. Soon, 28% of all households will have residential solar power and 1,473 MW of onshore capacity, representing 25% of the state’s total generation capacity, is online. Balancing the load can be done with transmission and energy storage. [Triple Pundit]

South Australian wind project Mount Bryan. Image credit: Flickr/Ian Sutton

South Australian wind project Mount Bryan. Image credit: Flickr/Ian Sutton

¶ The government of the UK gives the fossil-fuel industry nearly £6 billion a year in subsidies, almost twice the financial support it provides to renewable-energy providers, according to a study by the Overseas Development Institute. The study challenges the popular idea that green energy requires extra taxpayer support. [The Independent]

¶ Mexico will start soliciting bids later this month in its first auction of renewable energy certificates, part of an electricity sector overhaul that ends the state-owned power company’s monopoly. Up to 6 million of the certificates will be awarded in the first auction via 20-year contracts seeking up to 2,500 MW of renewable power. [Reuters]

¶ Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy Ltd, a unit of machinery giant Hitachi Ltd, will start a business to decommission boiling water reactors at Japanese nuclear power plants. In Japan, fourteen reactors at seven nuclear plants, including all six of the reactors at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi, are currently set to be scrapped. [The Japan News]

US:

¶ Hawaii’s largest solar power project was dedicated November 7 by the Lihue-based Kauai Island Electric Cooperative. The array is 12 MW, and is sited on a gently sloping 60-acre site. The goal for the island of Kauai is to get 50% of its electricity from renewable resources by 2023, it will be at 37% by the end of this year. [Electric Co-op Today]

Kauai Island Electric Cooperative’s new 12-MW solar array. (Photo By: Shelley Paik/KIUC)

Kauai Island Electric Cooperative’s new 12-MW solar array. (Photo By: Shelley Paik/KIUC)

¶ Low-income and mid-income New York residents will find it a bit financially easier to get a home solar power system, thanks to the launch of a new program from NY-Sun called Affordable Solar. This program will effectively double the incentives for solar installations on homes they own, in a bid to expand renewable energy. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Mississippi Public Service Commission unanimously approved three solar projects. Collectively, the three facilities will produce 105 MW of electricity for Mississippi Power Co’s 190,000 ratepayers, most of whom are in South Mississippi. Ratepayers will not bear any project costs, the PSC said in a news release. [Hattiesburg American]

¶ In the fourth Republican presidential debate, which was hosted by the Fox Business Network and The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday night, viewers finally got to hear some discussion of energy policy and the Clean Power Plan, President Obama’s major effort to curb carbon emissions. Too bad it was totally misleading. [Grist]

November 11 Energy News

November 11, 2015

World:

¶ Researchers may soon be able harness the power of undersea waves. Carnegie Wave Energy and Western Power are working together to create the first wave energy island microgrid in Australia. This technology, known as the CETO 6 Project, will be built six miles off the coast of Garden Island, a small Australian Island near Perth. [Nature World News]

CETO 6 units (one of which is pictured here) may be able to harness the energy of undersea waves. (Photo : Carnegie Wave Energy)

CETO 6 units (one of which is pictured here) may be able to harness the energy of undersea waves. (Photo : Carnegie Wave Energy)

¶ The UK’s rating for the security of its energy supplies has been cut. In its latest ‘trilemma’ report, the World Energy Council reduced the UK’s rating from AAA to AAB. It also warned that recent ‘unexpected’ moves by the Government to remove subsidies for wind and solar power would hinder future investment in the sector. [This is Money]

¶ It was widely reported last month that Chinese President Xi Jinping and UK Prime Minister David Cameron had struck a deal to try to reinvigorate UK’s stalling nuclear ambitions. But the reality is nothing has been signed yet, despite the huge financial incentives being offered by the Treasury to French and Chinese nuclear corporations. [The Ecologist]

Xioa Yan Kou Farm, China. Photo: Danish Wind Industry Association / Vindmølleindustrien via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Xioa Yan Kou Farm, China. Photo: Danish Wind Industry Association / Vindmølleindustrien via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

¶ A newly signed deal will create of Kuwait’s first solar-thermal energy generation station. The $385m solar-fuelled plant will be built close to the border with Saudi Arabia and Iraq. With the capacity to produce up to 50 MW, the station is expected to be integrated into Kuwait’s existing electrical network by December 2017. [Oxford Business Group]

¶ Scotland will miss its 100% renewable electricity target without further investment in onshore and offshore wind, according to a report by Scottish Renewables. It shows Scotland is on course to generate the equivalent of 87% of its power from renewables by 2020, and highlights the need for further support from the UK government. [reNews]

¶ Governments should ban inefficient coal power plants, according to the chief of the International Energy Agency. They also need to boost support for renewables, regulate to improve energy efficiency and crack down on methane leaks from oil and gas production. Those were the top four recommendations to limit global warming. [Climate Home]

Low oil prices choke investment, increasing reliance on Middle East suppliers (Flickr/Paul Lowry)

Low oil prices choke investment, increasing reliance on Middle East suppliers (Flickr/Paul Lowry)

US:

¶ SunEdison announced that it has completed construction on New Hampshire’s largest solar power plant, a 942 kW solar power plant for the town of Peterborough. SunEdison will supply solar energy generated by this system to the town over the next 20 years, saving taxpayers an estimated $250,000 per year on energy. [AltEnergyMag]

¶ This 17th straight month of low oil prices has remained a boon for drivers, manufacturers and refineries, but the International Energy Agency warned it will also likely force importers like the US, EU, China, and India to rely increasingly on low-cost producers in the Middle East at a scale not seen since the 1970s. [U.S. News & World Report]

¶ Strata Solar will start in the first quarter of 2016 installation of two 10.6-MW solar plants for Alabama Power at the Anniston Army depot and Fort Rucker Army base. The build date was set following the go-ahead from the Alabama Public Service Commission. Alabama Power awarded Strata Solar the contract for the projects. [reNews]

The McKenzie solar project (Strata Solar)

The McKenzie solar project (Strata Solar)

¶ Denmark-based DONG Energy said it plans to build a wind farm with up to 100 wind turbines and capable of generating as much as 1,000 MW of electricity on a leased site, south of Martha’s Vineyard, that the federal government put up for bid in January for development of offshore wind power. [Martha’s Vineyard Times]

¶ A sweeping plan to regulate development of renewable energy in Southern California deserts designates 388,000 acres for potential solar, wind and geothermal plants and millions more acres for conservation and recreation. Much of it is along Interstate 10 west of Blythe near the Arizona border and in Imperial Valley. [Manteca Bulletin]

¶ An Entergy spokesman, speaking of the decision to close the FitzPatrick nuclear plant near Oswego, New York, said “This decision, we view it as a final decision.” He went on, “It’s one the company made reluctantly, because the plant is very well run. It’s just not economically viable.” Operating the plant has cost $60 million. [WRVO Public Media]

November 10 Energy News

November 10, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ Global temperatures are set to rise more than one degree above pre-industrial levels according to the UK’s Met Office. Figures from January to September this year are already 1.02° C above the average between 1850 and 1900. If temperatures remain as predicted, 2015 will be the first year to breach this key threshold. An increase of 2° C is considered dangerous.[BBC]

Global temperatures reached high levels in 2014 but 2015 is expected to be the warmest since records began.

Global temperatures reached high levels in 2014 but 2015 is expected to be the warmest since records began.

¶ Researchers have designed and patented a floating platform for offshore wind turbines that they believe can reduce costs up to €0.12 per kWh. A team of researchers from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya developed the new model of a floating structure for offshore wind turbines that is capable of being anchored at much greater sea depths. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ Renewable energy accounted for almost half of all new power plants in 2014, representing a “clear sign that an energy transition is underway”, according to an International Energy Agency report. Green energy is now the second-largest generator of electricity in the world, after coal, and is set to overtake the dirtiest fossil fuel in the early 2030s, the report said. [The Guardian]

¶ In October the ground was broken for one of Australia’s most innovative biogas projects. In the next 14 months, German biogas plant manufacturer Weltec Biopower and its project partner Aquatec Maxcon will establish a biogas plant in Aurora, Victoria, a Melbourne suburb. The 1-MW plant for digesting organic waste will be one of the first in Australia. [PennEnergy]

¶ Low oil prices may undermine efforts to reduce pollution. If the cost of crude remains near $50 a barrel until the end of the decade, cheaper conventional fuels would hold back the development of electric cars and biofuels that are helping curb carbon emissions. The IEA estimated about $800 billion of efficiency improvements in vehicles would be lost. [Livemint]

Oil pump. Reuters photo.

Oil pump. Reuters photo.

¶ Britain will miss a major legally-binding renewable energy target, Amber Rudd, the Energy Secretary, has admitted in a letter to other cabinet ministers. The letter, however, was leaked to the press. She warned that the “absence of a credible plan” to meet the target could trigger repeated fines from the EU Court of Justice and a judicial review. [Telegraph.co.uk]

¶ Catastrophic global warming can be avoided with a deal at a crunch UN climate change summit in Paris this December because “ultimately nothing can compete with renewables,” according to one of the world’s most influential climate scientists. Professor John Schellnhuber said the best hope of making nations keep their promises was moral pressure. [The Guardian]

US:

¶ Trident Winds has filed early paperwork with Morro Bay, California, city officials for a plan to install 100 floating turbines, each up to 636 feet tall, about 15 miles off the San Luis Obispo County shoreline. The project would generate 1,000 MW of electricity, enough to power 300,000 homes. Some parts of the environmental movement may object. [Bakken.com]

Offshore wind at night.

Offshore wind at night.

¶ After apologizing for two months, Volkswagen is finally putting its money where its mouth is, forking over $500 to VW car owners hit by its emissions cheating scandal. But the payout has not had the intended effect for many owners. Angry VW customers who wrote to CNNMoney used terms like “slap in the face” and “scandalous” to describe the payout. [CNN]

¶ The Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has held the nation’s fifth competitive lease sale for renewable energy in federal waters. Nearly 344,000 acres off New Jersey’s coast were offered for potential wind energy development. Fully developed, the area could support about 3.4 GW of commercial wind generation. [North American Windpower]

¶ Aggressive energy efficiency efforts and new distributed generation capacity, mostly solar projects, are combining to put a lid on growth in peak demand and electric use in New England, ISO New England said in its newly released system plan. The transmission company is working with utilities and other of stakeholders to improve the system. [Platts]

ISO New England's control room. Photo Credit ISO-NE

ISO New England’s control room. Photo Credit ISO-NE

¶ Advanced Microgrid Solutions announced that it will supply and operate batteries for a very large California customer, the Inland Empire Utilities Agency. It’s a large municipal water treatment and distribution agency serving San Bernardino County, where it has 850,000 customers. An array of renewable energy types will be in the system. [Washington Post]

¶ The Administration has underlined its vision of a strong role for nuclear in the country’s clean energy strategy. It announced actions to sustain and finance nuclear energy, including supplements to the DOE’s federal loan guarantee solicitation to support nuclear energy projects. The existing solicitation of $12.5 billion would be supplemented. [World Nuclear News]

November 8 Energy News

November 8, 2015

World:

¶ The world will pump out 748 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide from 2012 through 2030, the UN said Friday in an e-mailed report that analyzed emissions pledges by 146 nations. The World Energy Council is dismissing climate change plans as not good enough and says it plans to write to all participants of upcoming climate talks in Paris. [TV Newsroom]

United Nations Climate Report Photo

Photo from the United Nations Climate Report 

¶ In India, electric transmission and distribution losses, the majority of which pertains to sheer theft of electricity, had been varying between 17% and 35% percent. Financial losses for electricity distribution companies in India reach a staggering ₹3.8 trillion ($58 billion). The states have endorsed a central government plan to deal with distribution. [Greentech Lead]

¶ Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he has set a target of providing 24×7 power around the year across the country by the time India celebrates its 75 years of independence. He said 18,000 villages continue to be deprived of electricity across the country and his dream was to provide them uninterrupted power supply in next 1,000 days. [Times of India]

¶ David Cameron’s chief climate change adviser has warned that the government is “clearly failing” in key policy areas and needs to regain the confidence of investors in green technology, in the runup to next month’s crucial global summit in Paris. Lord Deben is particularly concerned about air sealing draughty homes and utilizing renewable heat. [The Guardian]

A wind farm in Scotland. The onshore wind power industry fears it is being sidelined by the government. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA

A wind farm in Scotland. The onshore wind power industry fears it is being sidelined by the government. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA

¶ The government of Bangladesh set a target to have 3,168 MW electricity from renewable energy sources by 2021. Of that, 1740 MW will come from the solar power while wind-based power generation will be 1370 MW, according to officials concerned. The rest will include 47 MW of biomass and smaller amounts of biogas and mini-hydro. [Financial Express Bangladesh]

¶ AES Philippines has started construction of its first energy storage facility in Asia. The plant, which will be the first battery-based energy storage facility in the Philippines, will be located next to the Masinloc power plant in Zambales. Called the Masinloc Advancion Energy Storage Array, the facility will provide 10 MW to the Luzon grid as needed. [Philippine Star]

US:

Joyce Kilmer Natural Area, Union County, Pennsylvania. Sadly, the natural area is heavily infested with the hemlock woolly adelgid. Photo by Nicholas A. Tonelli. CC BY-2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Pennsylvania’s Joyce Kilmer Natural Area, already heavily infested with the hemlock woolly adelgid. Photo by Nicholas A. Tonelli. CC BY-2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ The majestic forests that Pennsylvanians are familiar with today won’t be the forests that future generations know because of global climate change according to the Secretary of the state’s Department of Environmental Protection. Several species of trees are likely to disappear from the forests: sugar maple, black cherry, and hemlock. [Citizens Voice]

¶ The EIA predicts that because of additional new wind generating capacity coming online in Texas, coupled with the seasonal increase in wind conditions (autumn and spring are typically high wind generating months in Texas), the most recent record set for instantaneous peak output will “very likely be surpassed in the near future.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ The closing of the Fitzpatrick nuclear plant comes after failed negotiations with the state of New York over ways to avoid a shutdown. The plant generates 838 MW of electricity, enough to power more than 800,000 homes. The move means New York would be down to five power plants. State officials vowed to fight the company’s plans. [Poughkeepsie Journal]

Indian Point nuclear plant, which the government of New York would prefer to close. Photo: Ricky Flores/The Journal News

Indian Point nuclear plant, which the government of New York would prefer to close. Photo: Ricky Flores/The Journal News

¶ Oil companies of all hues loaded up on massive amounts of debt to fund rigs and fancy new drilling equipment. The problem is the companies were banking on oil prices closer to $100 oil when they took on the debt. Now oil is around $45 and no one is expecting prices to hit $100 any time soon. What that means is the likelihood of defaulting has increased. [CNN]

¶ In 2015, the EPA has honored 22 Green Power Partners and three renewable energy suppliers across the country with its annual Green Power Leadership awards. The award winners include Apple, Microsoft, TD Bank, Intel, Kohl’s, Kaiser Permanente and Northwestern University. These companies have led the way in cutting emissions. [Justmeans]

 

November 7 Energy News

November 7, 2015

World:

¶ Irish company Amarenco is planning a €200-million-plus investment in 35 solar farms, the first five of which will be built in County Cork. Planning applications will be lodged shortly with Cork County Council for five solar farms, which form the first phase of the development. The solar farms will generate enough energy to power 35,000 homes. [Irish Examiner]

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

¶ Renewable energy company Building Energy signed a memorandum of understanding with the Serbian town of Kruse for construction of a €27 million ($29.4 million) woodchip-fired biomass power station. The plant will have 4.8 MW of electric capacity and 20 MW of thermal. It will generate 38.4 GWh of electric power each year. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ New figures released quietly by the Chinese Government this week shows that China has been burning up to 17% more coal per year than the government had previously disclosed, laying to rest many hopes that the country was on a fast track to carbon dioxide emissions decline. The extra coal would emit a billion more tons of carbon dioxide each year. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The UK’s Labour Party has slammed changes to the tax relief system for community renewable projects, claiming the government is taking away certainty at a time when the industry needs it most. The UK government announced last month that community energy projects will be excluded from two investment schemes from next month. [reNews]

Image: FreeImages

Image: FreeImages

¶ The Asian Development Bank has announced plans to help the country’s biggest wind farm in support of efforts to cut the Philippines’ carbon footprint. In a statement, the Manila-based multilateral lender said it would lend $20 million to Energy Development Corp, which operates the Burgos wind complex in Ilocos Norte. [Inquirer.net]

US:

¶ President Obama took advantage of low gas prices and the resulting decline in US oil production to reject the construction proposal of the Keystone XL pipeline. Since coming into office, Obama has made a strong push for a clean energy future, and shutting down Keystone XL after a 7-year battle could well be the capstone on that effort. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Renewable energy advocates are encouraged by a recent push to expand wind energy in Nebraska. According to John Hansen of the Nebraska Farmers Union, the state is on track for more than 1,300 MW of wind capacity by 2017. Although that amounts to nearly triple what the state had two years ago, Hansen said it isn’t enough. [Sioux City Journal]

Wind turbine near Lincoln, Nebraska. Photo by Blamphoto. CC BY 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Wind turbine near Lincoln, Nebraska. Photo by Blamphoto. CC BY 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Driven by growth in renewable energy and energy efficiency, California’s natural gas demand will steadily fall over the next 15 years, according to a draft state assessment. Gas-fired power generation will also decline, California Energy Commission staff said in a workshop discussing the Integrated Energy Policy Report. [Natural Gas Intelligence]

¶ In the almost three months since the EPA finalized its groundbreaking Clean Power Plan, broad support for the plan and state efforts to make it work continues to be voiced throughout the electric utility industry. More time to review the final standards has yielded more positive power company responses. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

¶ Power companies are working with states to craft compliance for the Clean Power Plan. Major companies see opportunities available with flexible home-grown plans. Xcel, for example, just announced plans to cut carbon emissions across its Northern States Power system by 60% by 2030, at negligible cost to consumers. [Environmental Defense Fund]

¶ The NRC will update proposed guidelines for assessing the safe life span for nuclear reactors by the end of the year. It is a central issue for the nuclear industry, the nation’s future electric power supply and the Clean Power Plan. The NRC’s current judgment that there are as yet no “aging” issues with reactors’ structures. [Environment & Energy Publishing]

November 6 Energy News

November 6, 2015

World:

¶ Two stunning auction results in India and Chile in the last week have underscored the gains that large-scale solar has made against its fossil fuel competitors. In both countries, solar is now clearly the cheapest option compared to new coal-fired power stations. In Chile, the auction produced a record low price for unsubsidised solar, 6.5¢/kWh. [RenewEconomy]

11-6 gas-solar-ppa_580_272

¶ Electric vehicle and battery storage developer Tesla Motors says it is receiving “very strong” demand for its new battery storage products in Australia, which are due to be rolled out in the next month or two. Australia has been chosen as one of the first countries for the Tesla Energy “Powerwall” product, a 7-kWh lithium-ion system. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Rocky Mountain Institute’s new casebook, Renewable Microgrids: Profiles From Islands and Remote Communities Across the Globe, profiles 10 islands and remote communities actively embracing this transition in order to provide examples for other communities looking to make the switch away from oil to efficiency and renewables. [CleanTechnica]

¶ While the developing world is ditching the diesel and embracing solar, often with the direct financial assistance of British companies and the government, ministers in the UK are set to grant vast subsidies to support the creation of 1.5 GW of diesel power capacity to plug the country’s growing energy gap. Meanwhile, subsidies for solar are being cut. [pv magazine]

¶ Enbridge has bought a $750 million stake in a UK project that was developed and is being constructed by E·ON Climate & Renewables UK Limited, one of the world’s largest utilities and a leading developer of wind energy projects. The project will utilize 116 Vestas V112-3.45 MW turbines and is expected to reach full commercial operation in 2018. [Junior College]

Enbridge buys a 750 million stake in United Kingdom project

Enbridge buys a 750 million stake in United Kingdom project

¶ The largest state in Austria now runs on 100% clean and renewable energy, officials have confirmed. The premier of Lower Austria, which has a population of 1.65 million, told a news conference that the state is now generating its electricity solely from renewable sources, led by hydroelectric power, which supplies 63% of the state’s energy. [pv magazine]

¶ Lekela Power, a pan-African renewable power company has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the governmental-owned Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company for a 250-MW wind farm. The project will be situated in the Gulf of Suez area to capitalize on Egypt’s unique wind resources. It is Lekela Power’s third project in Egypt. [Sun & Wind Energy]

¶ According to market research of Deutsche Bank, solar energy is now the cheapest source of electricity in Chile and newly installed PV capacity could exceed 1 GW in 2015. In a round of tender in October 2015, renewables won 100 % of the contracts. The reason being that right now both solar and wind power are cheaper than fossil fuels in Chile. [Sun & Wind Energy]

US:

¶ A3.91-acre, 230-kW solar farm was built on a former municipal landfill-turned neglected park in Newark, Delaware, using money from the state’s Green Energy Program. The intent was to save the city money and make solar energy available to residents who don’t have the means to install their own panels. In its first year, it outperformed hopes. [Cecil Whig]

Newark Post File Photo by Josh Shannon.

Newark Post File Photo by Josh Shannon.

¶ Plans for what is being billed as “the world largest fuel cell power plant” in a former gravel pit west of the Naugatuck River got some up-close and personal scrutiny during a pair of hearings held by the Siting Council in Beacon Falls, Connecticut.Council members heard testimony from the president of the company that will own the facility. [New Haven Register]

¶ Michigan Democratic lawmakers won amendments adding more energy efficiency and a renewable goal to the energy overhaul package passed out of the House Energy Policy Committee.The bill package includes two house bills to amend broad energy policy including that surrounding renewables, energy choice, energy efficiency and rate processes. [MLive.com]

¶ The recent news of yet another pending nuclear-plant closure means that Entergy will be juggling three complicated, expensive decommissioning projects in New England and New York.Company administrators and federal officials say the coming shutdowns of FitzPatrick and Pilgrim won’t negatively affect decommissioning work at Vermont Yankee. [vtdigger.org]

FitzPatrick Nuclear in New York. Courtesy photo

FitzPatrick Nuclear in New York. Courtesy photo

¶ New York’s Attorney General is investigating whether ExxonMobil Corp lied to the public and investors about its knowledge of climate change and its risks. This follows articles published by InsideClimate News and the Los Angeles Times saying their investigations showed Exxon concealed its own scientist’s work on climate science. [The Hill]

¶ Southern California Edison plans to spend $12 billion over the next three years to modernize the electric grid. Critics say the costs are misplaced, as the company is seeking the state’s approval to replace the shuttered San Onofre nuclear plant with three natural gas-fired plants, rather than looking into local renewables and battery storage. [L.A. Biz]

November 5 Energy News

November 5, 2015

Anniversary of Note:

¶ 50 years ago today, President Johnson’s Science Advisory Committee sent him a report, “Restoring the Quality of Our Environment,” which included a warning on carbon dioxide emissions and climate change. It was written by prominent climate scientists Roger Revelle, Wallace Broecker, Charles Keeling, Harmon Craig, and J Smagorisnky. [The Guardian]

Opinion:

¶ “How the World Is Saving Itself From Coal Even Without a UN Prod” • The energy industry is easing away from coal and will keep moving in that direction regardless of what happens at the United Nations climate talks in Paris next month. That’s the view of Michael Liebreich, the founder of Bloomberg New Energy Finance. [Bloomberg]

Emissions rise from a coal power station in Indiana. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

Emissions rise from a coal power station in Indiana. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

World:

¶ Envision Energy, a leading smart energy providers, has acquired a 600 MW portfolio of wind projects in development stages in Mexico. Working with ViveEnergia, Envision Energy is committed to bringing the entire portfolio into a “ready to build” stage by the end of this year, and with construction starting in early 2016. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Renewable energy in eight major economies will collectively more than double by 2030 due to new national climate and energy plans, according to a study by the World Resources Institute. Total clean energy supply from eight of the world’s 10 largest greenhouse gas emitters will jump to 20,000 TWh from around 9,000 TWh in 2009. [Yahoo News]

¶ Vancouver’s Renewable City Strategy has been released. The city currently obtains 31% of its energy from clean energy sources. The target is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% below 1990 levels. This means 80% below the benchmark set by the Kyoto Accord. The city is already 7% below this benchmark. [CleanTechnica]

Vancouver. Photo by Kyla Duhamel via Flickr. CC BY SA, 2.0

Vancouver. Photo by Kyla Duhamel via Flickr. CC BY SA, 2.0

¶ Brookfield will test the case for taking entire suburbs off grid, in a $1.1 million study that could see a NSW development become Australia’s first off-grid suburb. The $1.1 million study is to determine whether renewables, battery storage and other enabling technologies can power suburbs reliably and cost effectively. [The Fifth Estate]

¶ Renewable energy is supplying power to South Africa at prices that are around 40% cheaper than electricity prices forecast for the Medupi and Kusile coal powered plants which are still under construction. The average price for wind energy in South Africa has come down R0.71/kWh (5¢/kWh) this year, a decrease of 50% from 2011. [Independent Online]

¶ The Iranian Ministry of Energy says it signed a $6 billion agreement with a European company to build 4,250 MW of capacity. The agreement envisages developing gas-powered plants for 3,250 MW and wind farms for 1,000 MW of electricity. Media sources suggest the company is Belgian UNIT International SA. [Press TV]

Iranian Government says it signed an agreement to generate 4,250 megawatts of electricity.

Iranian Government says it signed an agreement to generate 4,250 megawatts of electricity.

¶ Nearly six decades after it was first conceived, and after over ¥1 trillion has been poured into it, the Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor in Fukui Prefecture has yet to supply electricity commercially. Now it has suffered a possibly fatal blow, as the Nuclear Regulation Authority called for it to have another operator. [The Japan Times]

¶ The operator of a nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture filed a formal request for nuclear regulators to conduct safety screening, despite expert opinion that it sits atop an active geological fault line. Japan Atomic Power Co filed the request with the Nuclear Regulation Authority for a reactor at the Tsuruga nuclear power plant. [The Japan Times]

US:

¶ Work on Tesla’s Gigafactory is running ahead of schedule, with a production line for Powerpacks and Powerwalls even being moved from the Fremont facility to an automated assembly line at the Gigafactory early in Quarter 4, according to Tesla’s most recent shareholder letter. Production began at the Fremont facility in Quarter 3. [CleanTechnica]

Tesla Gigafactory.

Tesla Gigafactory from the air.

¶ An 18-state coalition led by New York and California has begun taking on a block of 26 states including Texas and Florida in a court fight over the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. The states defending the federal plan are joined by the District of Columbia, New York City, Chicago, and Philadelphia in seeking intervener status. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

¶ Duke Energy said it will scale back its plans to convert its coal-fired Asheville, North Carolina, power plant to natural gas and scrap a bitterly fought transmission line. Instead the company will build two smaller 280-MW gas units and won’t need the new transmission line. A third, 190-MW gas unit may be added in 2023 or later. [WBTV]

¶ Arizona utility regulators are defending their decision to let a utility call burning garbage a “renewable resource” for electricity. The Arizona Corporation Commission urged the state Supreme Court to reject claims by the Sierra Club that a trash-burning incinerator does not qualify for the same legal status as solar and wind. [Sierra Vista Herald]

¶ A federal judge in Nevada has thrown out federal approval of what was to be the state’s largest wind power project, ruling that the Interior Department did not properly evaluate potential impacts to golden eagles and Mojave Desert tortoises. The ruling may be the first rejection of an environmental impact statement. [Environment & Energy Publishing]

November 4 Energy News

November 4, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ Researchers at the UK’s Manchester University say they have discovered a property of graphene that could lead to an advance in battery technology. Their study, published in the journal Nature, says graphene membranes could be used to sieve hydrogen gas from the atmosphere, which could lead to generators powered by air. [CNN]

Molecular structure of a graphene crystal. Hydrogen atoms are red, and carbon atoms are blue.

Molecular structure of a graphene crystal. Hydrogen atoms are red, and carbon atoms are blue.

World:

¶ As November begins, promises from individual countries to the United Nations have addressed nearly 90% of the world’s current greenhouse gas emissions. The world consensus aims to reduce and stabilize them in order to keep earth’s temperatures from climbing higher than two degrees Celsius by 2100. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Still reeling from the diesel emissions scandal, VW said it had set carbon dioxide emissions and fuel consumption figures too low when certifying some models. It said about 800,000 mainly diesel vehicles were affected, and put a preliminary estimate of the cost to the company of the new admission at about €2 billion. [CNN]

¶ Norway was once at risk of losing its forests. After centuries of logging for timber and firewood, the country had consumed much of this previously vast natural resource. All that has changed, as forests recover. In fact, Norwegian forest growth is enough to offset roughly 40% of the country’s annual greenhouse gas emissions. [BBC]

Norway has taken drastic steps to protect its forests. Credit: Michael Becker

Norway has taken drastic steps to protect its forests. Credit: Michael Becker

¶ UK government policy to end new subsidies for onshore wind farms could see residential energy customers pay £500 million more for electricity, warns Citizens Advice. The consumer group says onshore wind is one of the cheapest renewable technologies, and excluding subsidies will reverse cuts made to energy bills. [reNews]

¶ In a giant leap forward, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission approved feed-in tariff regulations for renewable energy sourced electricity. As per the provisions of the regulations, electricity distribution companies will be required to source at least 50% of their total procurement from renewable energy sources. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Renewable sources are predicted to account for one-third of all electricity used in Germany in 2015. An initial estimate shows that wind, solar and other renewable sources will have generated 193 billion kWh of electricity during 2015, up from 161 billion in 2014 and representing 27% of gross electricity consumption in that year. [reNews]

German renewables share hits 33%

German renewables share hits 33%

¶ US-based SunEdision Inc has won a bid to sell solar power in India at a record low tariff of ₹4.63 ($0.0706) per kWh, which could make the renewable energy cheaper than fossil fuel-derived electricity. The company won the auction for a 500-MW project in Andhra Pradesh. The previous low was 5.05 rupees per kilowatt-hour. [Reuters]

¶ With little progress on ground since the 2008 Indo-US nuclear agreement, the Indian government has cut the nuclear energy target from 63,000 MW by 2032 to just about 14,500 MW by 2024. Officials officials at the Department of Atomic Energy now say the higher figure was only “an expression of intention,” not a target. [Deccan Herald]

US:

¶ Canadian energy company Capital Power aims to start construction by early 2017 on the stalled 200-MW Black Fork wind farm in Ohio. Capital took over the project in 2014, when it acquired Element Power US in a $69 million deal that included 10 wind and four solar developments. The developer is contacting all property owners. [reNews]

11-4 Ohio wind

¶ US Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have announced the formation of a Senate Energy and Environment Working Group that will focus on ways to protect the environment and climate while backing clean energy innovation that helps drive job creation. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Thunder Mountain Energy has finalized a $5.2 million sale of its portable solar powered energy units, the world’s most powerful portable solar powered energy unit, to Blackcomb Group of Nevada. Blackcomb Group has purchased several T3000 power units for their ongoing mining operations in Nevada, Utah and Idaho. [Your Renewable News]

¶ A solar array proposed for Brattleboro’s closed landfill, an installation that would be Vermont’s largest by current standards, could lead to a big payoff for Windham County municipalities. Estimates show that a typical town signing on to the project could see electric-bill savings of more than 60% by the end of a 20-year contract. [vtdigger.org]

Headquarters of Windham Solid Waste Management District. Photo by Mike Faher/VTDigger

Headquarters of Windham Solid Waste Management District. Photo by Mike Faher/VTDigger

¶ By the end of this year, 37% of the electricity generated on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai will come from a mix of renewable resources, including solar, hydropower and biomass. Located in the small town of Anahola, along the island’s eastern coast, a 12-MW, $54 million facility is being built on 60 acres of land. [Huffington Post]

¶ Plans have been approved for construction of a 10-MW solar power project at Fort Rucker, one of two major solar projects just approved by the Alabama Public Service Commission. The project supports the DOD Performance Goal and Master Plan, which calls for Army facilities to be 25% renewably powered by 2025. [Dothan Eagle]