Archive for the 'wind' Category

June 18 Energy News

June 18, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Global warming cooks up ‘a different world’ over 3 decades” • We were warned. On June 23, 1988, a sultry day in Washington, Dr James Hansen told Congress that global warming was not approaching – it had already arrived. Thirty years later, it’s clear that Hansen and other doomsayers were right. And the change has been sweeping. [The Denver Post]

James Hansen (Marshall Ritzel, The Associated Press)

Science and Technology:

¶ In a world first, Siemens is opening a £1.5-million pilot project in Oxfordshire employing ammonia as a form of energy storage. The proof-of-concept facility will turn electricity, water, and air into ammonia without releasing carbon emissions. The ammonia can be stored and burned for electricity, sold as a fuel, or used for industrial purposes. [businessgreen.com]

¶ Tesla’s cobalt usage will soon be a thing of the past if Elon Musk has his way. And it makes sense. Cobalt prices are soaring. There is an ethical dilemma with cobalt’s primary sourcing, as much of its mining is tainted with corruption and human rights violations, including child labor. And Panasonic announced it is developing cobalt-free batteries. [CleanTechnica]

Cobalt (Photo: cobalt123 on Foter.com, CC BY-SA)

World:

¶ Through Gigawatt Global Cooperative UA, the US has signed an agreement with Economic Community of West African States, aiming to develop $1 billion renewable energy projects in Africa. Under the terms of the agreement, Gigawatt Global will install 800 MW of solar and wind farms in Burkina Faso, Senegal, Mali, Nigeria, and Gambia. [African review]

¶ A number of Japanese companies are expressing interest in the EnergySail, a system that combines solar and wind energy to provide power for ships. Plans are underway to begin production for commercial release of the Aquarius Eco Ship Project, as the solar power system, batteries, and computer system are all now ready. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]

Aquarius Eco Ship (Image: Eco Marine Power)

¶ Electricity Exchange, an Irish company providing smart grid technology and virtual power plant services, announced that it will double its workforce. The Company, in which Bord na Móna took a 50% share in 2016, operated a virtual power plant from its 24-hour operations center in Limerick. Now it is entering the global market to sell its products. [Limerick Post]

Australia:

¶ Tasmania has some of the best wind resources in the world and there is a line of companies looking to harness the energy. This month Hydro Tasmania announced more details for its plan to introduce pumped hydro in order to become the “battery of the nation.” But Tasmania’s power potential hangs on improving interconnection with the mainland. [ABC News]

Woolnorth wind farm (Photo: David Murphy)

¶ The latest version of Australia’s National Energy Guarantee has raised concerns that it could put a de-facto cap on efforts by state governments, retailers, and even corporate buyers to go beyond the the federal government’s weak targets. Those interested in renewable energy have complained about at least two potential big problems. [RenewEconomy]

¶ The 2018 Off Target report, published by the Climate Action Network Europe, said Ireland is the second-worst performing EU member state in tackling climate change, both in terms of its national action and its support for greater ambition. CAN is very critical of Ireland and warns that it “faces annual non-compliance costs of around €500 million.” [Irish Times]

Irish wind farm (Photo: Dara Mac Donaill | The Irish Times)

¶ Eastern Australia is home to the world’s largest battery. It is increasingly integrating renewable energy into one of the world’s longest interconnected energy systems. And in the past six months, about 180 MW of new demand response resources have entered the ancillary services markets. The effects on obsolete technology are disruptive. [RenewEconomy]

¶ The 228-MW Lal Lal wind farm in Victoria has attracted the corporate investors it needs to go ahead with construction. Lal Lal, which is being built by Vestas and Zenviron, is expected to be fully operational in late 2019, at which point it is expected to generate over 650 GWh per annum, enough energy to power over 92,000 households. [RenewEconomy]

Kangaroos and wind turbines (Vestas Wind Systems AS)

US:

¶ Innogy is to build a 440-MW portfolio of solar PV projects in partnership with local player Birdseye Renewable Energy. A total of 13 developments are included in the deal, which is part of what the German utility calls its “renewables expansion strategy.” The projects are in the North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Mississippi. [reNews]

¶ President Donald Trump ordered a rescue of the nation’s struggling coal and nuclear power industries, but that does not mean utilities are reconsidering the shutdown of unprofitable plants. Many said Trump has not altered their plans to retire old units despite the prospect of his trying to force grid operators to buy power from old plants. [Bloomberg]

Cross Generating Station (Photo: Luke Sharrett | Bloomberg)

¶ The 15th annual American Renewable Energy Day Summit is underway this week in Aspen. The 2018 summit has 176 speakers taking part in more than 80 panel discussions, keynote addresses and networking events. Founder Chip Comins is known for saying, “Climate change doesn’t give us a break, so we’re not going to give it one, either.” [Aspen Times]

¶ Ward County, North Dakota, is on the radar of wind energy companies seeking new areas for expansion. The Ward County Planning Office has had contacts with three companies interested in potential projects, including one that is considering reviving a portion of the large Hartland project that had been proposed 10 years ago. [Minot Daily News]

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

June 18, 2018

2,208 regular daily posts, linking 27,583 articles

§ The most recent reported status of US nuclear power plants can be found at the US Nuclear Power Report, a distressingly dull account of NRC news, posted on non-holiday weekdays and Saturdays. As of June 18, out of 99 US-licensed reactors, 3 were at reduced output and 3 not operating.

§ Video: Energy Week 6/14/18, Episode 267: The United States is subsidizing fossil fuels. China is offering less support for solar power. Pope Francis appealed to oil executives to reduce emissions. Trump is attacking US allies but getting cozy with North Korea. A record was set for low-priced US solar power. Trump-appointed FERC commissioners disagree with him on a need for a bailout for nuclear and coal. And there is more.

June 17 Energy News

June 17, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Full Fledged 5 Alarm Climate Emergency In Antarctica” • Abusing the Earth is finally having the effects scientists have been warning us about for decades. But as the Earth burns, our leaders have fiddled, frittering away nearly every chance to rein in the destruction before it is too late. Now the point of no return may be upon us. [CleanTechnica]

Crack in the ice (Photo: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)

Science and Technology:

¶ Climate change could be accelerating a rise in sea levels more than previously thought, researchers have found. A study by an international team of polar scientists has discovered that the process of warmer ocean water destabilising ice shelves from below is also cracking them apart from above, increasing the chance they’ll break off. [thejournal.ie]

World:

¶ Having come through the crisis a decade ago, Iceland is now enjoying an economic revival, with technology, renewable energy and tourism replacing the unsustainable boom in banking. Visitor numbers have quadrupled and output per head is among the strongest in Europe. The employment rate is the highest in the world. [The Guardian]

Reykjavik, a technology incubator (Photo: Alamy)

¶ China fired back in a spiraling trade dispute with President Donald Trump by raising import duties on a $34 billion list of American goods including soybeans, electric cars, and whiskey. The Chinese government said it was responding in “equal scale” to Trump’s tariff hike in a conflict over Beijing’s trade surplus and technology policy. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ The Indian city of Chennai has the potential to harness solar energy enough to reduce the demand by at least 20% says a report by Greenpeace India and Gujarat Energy Research and Management Institute. The report found that the total rooftop potential of the city was 1,380 MW and that at least 46% can come from residential areas. [Deccan Chronicle]

Chennai vendor (Photo: PlaneMad, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ RES has broken ground on a 10-MW battery storage project in Germany. It is building the facility, with funding from the EU and supported by the state of Schleswig-Holstein, for German utility VBB. The project will provide grid stabilisation and back-up power to the Bordesholm area in the event of a network failure or disruption. [Energy Live News]

¶ The US split from other Group of 20 member countries over the future of the coal industry and the 2015 Paris climate accord. At a press conference at the close of the G-20 meeting of energy ministers in Bariloche, Argentina, Germany’s director of energy policy Thorsten Herdan said G-20 member countries “have to get out of coal.” [The Japan News]

Ash ponds at a West Virginia coal plant (AP file photo)

¶ China’s Silk Road Fund Co is investing in the world’s largest solar thermal plant, which is under development in Dubai, an executive said. The project is being built by Riyadh-based Acwa Power International and Shanghai Electric Group Co Ltd. Its planned capacity is 700 MW, and it is expected to cost $3.9 billion to build. [The National]

¶ The No 2 reactor at Taiwan’s Second Nuclear Power Plant in northern Taiwan was brought to operate at full capacity, the Taiwan Power Co said. It was the first time in more than two years that the reactor has operated at full capacity. It went offline in May 2016 following a glitch in its electrical system during major maintenance work. [Taiwan News]

Kuosheng Nuclear Power Plant (Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ Research by two Harvard University scientists concluded that the Trump administration’s environmental policies could result in an additional 80,000 deaths per decade. The research, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, examined the health impacts of the EPA’s policies on toxic chemicals and air pollutants. [The Hill]

¶ For a split-second after the demolition plunger went down, the cooling towers at St Johns River Power Park stood as if they would remain for 30 more years as Jacksonville landmarks. Then the burst of 1,500 pounds of dynamite ripped through them, and they collapsed into dust. From the crowd, a child’s voice called out: “Do it again.” [The Florida Times-Union]

Cooling towers being blasted (Bob Self | Florida Times Union)

¶ Entergy New Orleans may not have directly paid actors to support its controversial proposal to build a $210 million gas-fired power plant in the city. But it did pay contractors thousands of dollars to recruit and educate supporters on the value of its proposal, with the goal of mimicking, as one consultant put it, an “organic” effort. [The Advocate]

¶ New York Governor Andrew M Cuomo announced that the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority received a $18.5 million DOE grant to lead a national research and development consortium for the offshore wind industry. The consortium will be supported by a public-private partnership and will include other states. [STL.News]

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June 16 Energy News

June 16, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “100% renewable energy, no net metering caps and more in Massachusetts Senate bill” • A bill passed last night in the Massachusetts Senate removes the state’s caps on net metering, sets a 100% renewable energy mandate, boosts the state’s energy storage procurement target to 2 GW and more. But can it pass the House? [pv magazine USA]

Massachusetts State House
(Marco Almbauer, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Despite Tariffs, Solar Energy Is Cheaper Than Ever” • The cost of solar power continues to fall to new lows in the US, even as tariffs are imposed in favor of keeping the coal and natural gas industries afloat. One expert pointed out that it is cheaper to build a new PV plant than just to operate an existing coal or natural gas plant. [The Weather Channel]

Science and Technology:

¶ A special issue of the journal Nature is dedicated to Antarctica. In it, scientists said that if the Paris Accord fails to reverse emission trends, we will see “economic losses from the flooding of coastal cities exceeding $1 trillion per year” within decades. There is enough ice at risk in the Antarctic to raise sea levels more than 100 feet. [ThinkProgress]

Iceberg the size of Delaware (Mario Tama | Getty Images)

World:

¶ In India, excessive demand, mismanaged water resources, erratic weather patterns, and climate change have led to a water shortage that is only getting worse. According to a report by NITI Aayog, India is facing its worst water crisis and about two lakh (200,000) people die every year due to inadequate access to potable water. [India Times]

¶ Milan is getting set for a progressive ban on diesel cars, which is due to start as early as January 2019. The bold move came as a surprise when Milan’s mayor Giuseppe Sala announced it a few days ago at the annual Energy Festival in Rome. Diesel emissions became a focus for government action because of the VW diesel scandal. [CleanTechnica]

Milan

¶ Japan’s SoftBank is planning to invest between $60 billion to $100 billion in a solar power project in India, a Japanese report said. The report by broadcaster NHK comes after SoftBank announced in March it would partner Saudi Arabia on a multi-billion dollar solar project that the company’s founder called the largest in the world. [Daily Times]

¶ The Overseas Private Investment Corporation will extend $225 million (€194.2 million) to back the construction of a 252-MW wind park in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The funds will be allocated to Mytrah Vayu Sabarmati Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of Indian renewable power producer Mytrah Energy Ltd, OPIC announced. [Renewables Now]

Indian wind park (Image: Regien Paassen | Shutterstock.com)

¶ Jiangsu Seraphim Solar System Co, Ltd announced that it won the supply agreement for a monumental 246-MW Ukraine solar project, developed by Ukraine’s largest energy group, DTEK. This installation will be Ukraine’s largest renewable energy power plant to date. Seraphim is the sole module supplier for the project. [pv magazine International]

¶ In its drive to become a 100% renewable energy driven city, the French city of Strasbourg is betting on geothermal energy for heating and power generation. Through Electricité de Strasbourg and its geothermal subsidiary ES Geothermie, there is a lot happening on research and development. But concrete projects are also under way. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

Quai Saint-Nicolas (Valentin R | Flickr, creative commons)

¶ Unit 1 of the Wolsong nuclear power plant will be retired prior to the expiration of its operating licence in 2022, Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power announced. The company also said it has cancelled plans for four new nuclear reactors. The move is in line with the South Korean government’s policy to phase out the use of nuclear energy. [World Nuclear News]

US:

¶ Massachusetts moved closer to embracing an economy-wide price on carbon, as the Senate approved an energy bill with a “market-based compliance mechanism.” One of New England’s largest utilities backed the move, saying a carbon price is needed for the region to have a chance of meeting its greenhouse gas emission targets. [CommonWealth magazine]

Electric vehicle charging

¶ The Boring Company announced a project with the Chicago Transit Authority to develop a set of tunnels connecting Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and downtown Chicago. The new route, the Chicago Express Loop, would get passengers from O’Hare to downtown in just 12 minutes for around $20–25. That’s half the price of a cab. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Though renewable energy has been a Democrat point in the past, more Republicans in Wisconsin say they’re getting excited about it. Over the weekend, Republican State Sen Patrick Testin told people attending the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair that he is looking at solar and wind installation companies as job creators. [Wisconsin Public Radio News]

Wind turbines in Fond du Lac County (Dave, CC-BY-NC-ND)

¶ The Hawai‘i Public Utilities Commission met with the Hawaiian Electric Companies and Hawaiʻi Energy, at the request of Gov David Ige, to develop a series of rapid response actions to address the loss of renewable generation from the Puna Geothermal Venture power plant. The loss was due to the ongoing lava flow on Hawaiʻi Island. [Big Island Now]

¶ AT&T, the Dallas telecommunications giant, is buying 820 MW of electricity generated by wind power from NextEra Energy Resources, a Florida utility. The power will come from four NextEra-owned wind farms that are under construction in Texas and Oklahoma. Three of them are expected to be operational in December. [Laredo Morning Times]

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June 15 Energy News

June 15, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “NRDC, 19 Other Groups Challenge EU’s Mistaken Climate Decision” • EU policymakers agreed on a new Renewable Energy Directive that failed to fix Europe’s broken bioenergy policies. The decision to continue to label the indiscriminate burning of wood as “carbon neutral” undercuts the EU’s climate targets. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

Clearcut forest (MO Stevens, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Nuclear Power Won’t Survive Without A Government Handout” • Once upon a time, if you were an American who didn’t like nuclear energy, you had to stage sit-ins and marches and chain yourself to various inanimate objects in hopes of closing the nation’s nuclear power plants. Today, all you have to do is sit back and wait. [FiveThirtyEight]

Science and Technology:

¶ The world’s system for allocating fish stocks is being outpaced by the movement of fish species in response to climate change, according to a study undertaken by an international team of marine ecologists, fisheries and social scientists, and lawyers. The study found that 70 or more countries will see changed fishery stocks by 2100. [Science Daily]

Fishing boats (Credit: Gabriel Reygondeau)

World:

¶ Australian renewable energy developer Windlab announced that it was awarded environmental approval by the Tanzanian Government to construct the country’s first wind farm. The 300-MW Miombo Hewani Wind Farm, and the transmission line project to bring its power to the grid, are set to be built in the center of the country. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Danish offshore wind energy developer Ørsted has officially opened the 573-MW Race Bank Offshore Wind Farm, which will provide over half a million UK homes with clean electricity. The ceremony took place in Grimsby, home to Ørsted’s East Coast Hub, the UK’s largest offshore wind Operations and Maintenance base. [CleanTechnica]

Race Bank Offshore Wind Farm

¶ Volkswagen’s diesel emission scandal is still ongoing with German prosecutors fining the automaker €1 billion (£882 million, $1.16 billion) for cheating. The one-billion-euro fine is one of the highest fines ever imposed by German authorities against a company, according to Reuters. However, things aren’t slowing down for VW. [Yahoo News UK]

¶ Indonesia has inaugurated its first three solar-plus-storage mini-grids, thus enabling three remote villages to enjoy uninterrupted, off-grid access to electricity for the entire day. The hybrid mini-grids are made up of solar PV and lithium-ion battery storage set up by Akuo Energy, a French renewable power developer. [pv magazine International]

Indonesian islands (Image: Jon Hanson | Wikimedia

¶ At an upcoming meeting of the G20 countries, one of the topics on the agenda will be increasing natural gas production investments by as much as $1.6 trillion by 2030. A report by Oil Change International finds doing so will use up the entire remaining carbon budget limits needed to meet the climate goals of the Paris climate accords. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Norwegian energy company Equinor, together with partners, is looking to supply power from renewable land sources to three gas platforms currently powered by gas turbines. The scheme will seek to utilise and expand existing land infrastructure to power the sites by renewable energy sources such as offshore wind and solar. [Offshore Technology]

Gudrun gas platform (Credit: Equinor)

US:

¶ Connecticut selected a city fuel cell company and a major offshore wind farm developer to help bring more than 250 MW of clean electricity to the state’s consumers. Gov Dannel P Malloy and other officials announced that FuelCell Energy of Danbury and Deepwater Wind were selected from among the 27 bidding companies. [Danbury News Times]

¶ The DOE announced $140 million in funding for the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy, an experiment in rural Utah aimed to develop ways to extract geothermal energy at less-than-ideal locations. If it proves successful, this resource could become a major power source throughout the nation. [Salt Lake Tribune]

Geothermal rig in Utah (Rick Allis | Utah Geological Survey)

¶ Sonnen partnered with California’s SunPower to offering SunPower® Equinox™ home solar energy systems and sonnen’s intelligent energy storage to residential customers across the US. Customers of SunPower’s participating installers benefit from the ability to provide themselves with inexpensive and reliable power. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ Developers of a $2 billion transmission project aimed at getting renewable power from New Mexico and Arizona to large markets in the Southwest are aiming to clear one more regulatory hurdle. Over the next five days, consultants and concerned ranchers will testify before the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission in Santa Fe. [Kdminer]

Transmission lines (Adobe stock photo)

¶ EDF Renewables and Alliant Energy’s Iowa energy company signed contracts by which EDF Renewables will develop and construct up to 200 MW of the Golden Plains Wind Project. The project is located in Winnebago and Kossuth counties in the north central portion of Iowa. It is expected to be completed by early 2020. [PennEnergy]

¶ Massachusetts utilities have signed an agreement to bring hydropower from Quebec through Maine via a new 145-mile transmission corridor. The agreement is a necessary step for the New England Clean Energy Connect transmission project, which will bring power from Hydro-Quebec to markets in the Bay State. [Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel]

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June 14 Energy News

June 14, 2018

Science and Technology:

¶ Sea levels will rise and all coastal countries could be seriously threatened by flooding if nothing is done to stop the massive melt of sea ice in Antarctica, according to nine award-winning scientists who have studied the continent for many years. In the journal Nature, they outline two scenarios, one promising, one bleak, for what could happen by 2070. [CNN]

Penguin selfie

¶ Antarctica is shedding ice at an accelerating rate, according to a report in the journal Nature. Satellites monitoring the state of the White Continent indicate some 200 billion tonnes a year are now being lost to the ocean as a result of melting. This is pushing up global sea levels by 0.6 mm annually, three times as fast as it was in 2012. [BBC]

World:

¶ Scotland’s Climate Change Secretary announced that the country had met its statutory annual greenhouse gas emissions target for the third year in a row in 2016, and this resulted in emissions being down 49% on a 1990 baseline. Of European countries, only Sweden, with a drop of 51%, reduced emissions faster than Scotland. [CleanTechnica]

Wind farm in Scotland

¶ Swytch, blockchain-based clean energy incentive, and the Energy2market, a German company aggregating energy trading in Europe, announced a blockchain renewable energy trial that could power over 500,000 homes. The pilot program, which is in Germany, includes approximately 3.5 GW of solar, wind, hydro, and biogas energy capacity. [SmartCitiesWorld]

¶ Tata Power, India’s largest integrated power company, said that a subsidiary has won a 150-MW Solar PV project in Maharashtra. Tata Power Renewable Energy, Ltd, received the Letter of Award to develop the project. It will sign a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement with the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co, Ltd. [Indiainfoline]

Transmission lines

¶ Tata Power Renewable Energy, a subsidiary of Indian utility Tata Power, said that it signed a power purchase agreement with the US-based conglomerate GE. The Indian renewables company will provide solar installations for six manufacturing and services sites across the country. They will generate over 1,000 MWh per year. [Energy Digital]

¶ A milestone was reached towards the UK becoming a low carbon economy as a new wind farm capable of powering over 500,000 homes opened off the East Coast. The Humber is playing an increasingly significant role with four other huge projects in the pipeline, which will set records as the world’s largest as they come on line. [Yorkshire Post]

Turbine at the new Race Bank wind farm

¶ Swiss group ABB said the 500-MW Maritime Link connection between Newfoundland and Nova Scotia is finished. The high-voltage direct current link will transmit renewable energy from Newfoundland and Labrador to the North American grid, linking to it in Nova Scotia. It will enable Nova Scotia to integrate more renewable power. [Renewables Now]

¶ Lightsource BP, based in the UK, plans offer residential customers in Australia an option to go solar at no upfront cost. Lightsource will supply, install, operate, and maintain a solar PV array, a battery, and a smart metering system. The customers will buy renewable power at a fixed price under terms of a power purchase agreement. [Renewables Now]

Rooftop solar array (Image: Ralf Gosch | Shutterstock.com)

¶ Samsung, the Korean electronics behemoth, announced plans to transition its existing facilities, offices, and factories across US, Europe, and China to 100% renewable energy sources within two years. It plans to install 42,000 square metres of PV panels at its Digital City site in Korea, along with other solar arrays and geothermal plants. [CNET]

¶ The president of TEPCO said the utility is considering the future of the Fukushima No 2 nuclear plant. Fukushima No 2 is about 12 kilometers south of the Fukushima No 1 plant, which was crippled by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. He said the company is leaning toward scrapping all four nuclear reactors at the plant. [The Japan Times]

Fukushima No 2 nuclear plant (KYODO image)

US:

¶ Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest energy provider, said it will stop using coal to generate electricity by 2040. The utility company has said it will increase its use of renewable resources, especially solar, and begin closing its remaining five coal-fired units in 2023. The plan is being filed with the Michigan Public Service Commission. [The Detroit News]

¶ State regulators are seeking more information on the 12-MW Aqua Ventus floating offshore wind demonstration project, led by the University of Maine, before deciding on a power purchase agreement. The Maine Public Utilities Commission will make requests for additional information in the coming weeks, the University of Maine said. [reNews]

VolturnUS prototype (Photo: UMaine)

¶ E.ON entered into a long-term power purchase agreement for 50 MW from its West of the Pecos solar project with a unit of SK E&S Co, Ltd, based in South Korea. West of the Pecos is a 100-MW PV solar project, located in Reeves County, Texas, about 75 miles southwest of Midland-Odessa. It is expected to come online in 2020. [Electric Light & Power]

¶ The US added more solar electric capacity than any other type in the first quarter of 2018. A report from the nonprofit Solar Energy Industries Association said the US solar market added 2.5 GW of new capacity in the first quarter, up 13% from the first quarter of 2017. That accounts for 55% of all new US electric capacity for the quarter. [Business Insider]

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June 13 Energy News

June 13, 2018

Science and Technology:

¶ The Mammal Society and Natural England study said almost one in five British mammals was at risk of extinction. Factors such as climate change, loss of habitat, use of pesticides and disease are to blame, the report said. The hedgehog and water vole have seen their populations decline by almost 70% over the past 20 years. [BBC]

Endangered red squirrel (PA)

¶ Clariant Catalysts and Hydrogenious Technologies formed an alliance to provide reliable, scalable and safe hydrogen supplies for a wide variety of applications. They will use Hydrogenious Technologies’ innovative means of storing H2 by chemically binding the molecules to Liquid Organic H2 Carriers, from which it can later be released. [gasworld]

World:

¶ The oil markets shrugged off the historic meeting in Singapore between President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Both sides hailed the summit as a breakthrough, with a pledge towards denuclearization, but as expected, there was a lack of even the most basic details on how they might get there. Oil was flat at the start of Tuesday. [OilPrice.com]

Singapore (chensiyuan, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Chinese battery heavyweight CATL looks to invest up to €1 billion into a new battery factory in Germany, according to a report from Bloomberg. The move would put one of the largest plug-in vehicle battery manufacturers right in the backyard of Germany’s luxury automotive makers, including BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen, and Porsche. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Germany’s KfW IPEX-Bank said it structured non-recourse financing for the 101.4-MW Pomona wind project, which power producer Genneia is developing in Argentina. The deal supports German exports, as German wind turbine maker Nordex won the contract to supply and install 26 units of its N131/3900 turbine for the project. [Renewables Now]

Nordex 2.4-MW turbines (Source: Nordex SE)

¶ The Swiss company ABB will install a 30-MW battery system in South Australia. It is expected to improve the reliability of power supplies and help balance the network on a daily basis. But in the event of a grid outage, it will support a microgrid powered by the 90-MW Wattle Point wind farm and distributed rooftop solar PV. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ The World Bank is providing an additional $125 million for Morocco’s innovative solar technology. The increased financing, including $25 million from the Clean Technology Fund, will support the development and construction of the Noor-Midelt I and II plants. The plants will have a total capacity of 600 MW to 800 MW. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Concentrating solar power plant

¶ In the last two months, India has seen 2.5 GW of wind tenders completed at record low tariffs at or slightly below $37/MWh, and the Indian Energy Minister increased India’s renewable goal from 175 GW to 227 GW by 2022. Meanwhile, the largest import coal plant in India, the relatively new 4.6-GW Mundra facility, sits idle, unable to compete. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Italian energy giant Eni is to build, develop and operate the 50-MW Badamsha wind farm in north-west Kazakhstan, its first large-scale investment in wind power.  Eni said construction of the plant, which is located at Aktobe Oblast, will start in the coming months. The plant is expected to be in commercial operation by the end of 2019. [reNews]

Wind turbines (Pixabay image)

US:

¶ Bailing out nuclear and coal-fired power plants will not help toughen the US power grid against cyber attacks as the Trump administration claims, according to cyber experts. Hackers have a wide array of options for hitting high-profile targets such as electric infrastructure and nuclear facilities. The ability to store fuel is not relevant. [Reuters]

¶ The Department of Defense has a goal to produce or procure at least 25% of its energy from renewable sources by Fiscal Year 2025. Renewable sources provided 12.6% of its energy in 2016. To go further, while managing their solid waste, individual branches have partnered with industry to build or study waste-to-energy projects. [waste360]

The Pentagon (US Air Force via Getty Images)

¶ Two new reports, published in the span of a few days, have shed light on the state of the US solar industry in 2018. They reveal that billions were lost in cancelled projects due to the Trump administrations imposition of its solar tariffs. But they expect flat growth that, according to GTM Research, is “actually pretty good news.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ A report by the American Jobs Project indicates that offshore wind projects could lift Maine’s flagging manufacturing sector. It contends that wholehearted commitment could boost the state with thousands of new, long-term jobs, millions in financial windfall and helping Maine meet its clean energy goals while paying off handsomely. [Electric Light & Power]

Pilot offshore project in Maine

¶ Federal Energy Regulatory Commission members criticized President Trump’s order to prevent the closing of financially struggling coal and nuclear plants. Republican FERC Chairman Kevin McIntyre dismissed claims that the reliability of the grid is at immediate risk because of planned coal and nuclear plant closures. [Washington Examiner]

¶ As Fort Calhoun’s reputation as the home of nuclear power in eastern Nebraska comes to an end, a deal has been struck that could make the area a home for Nebraska solar power. Omaha Public Power District has worked with city officials to create plans for a 35-acre, 5-MW, community solar facility just east of the city limits. [Blair Enterprise Publishing]

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June 12 Energy News

June 12, 2018

Science and Technology:

¶ International scientists have discovered that most of the oldest and largest African baobab trees have died over the past 12 years. They suspect the demise may be linked to climate change, although they have no direct evidence of this. The tree can grow to an enormous size, and may live hundreds if not thousands of years. [BBC]

Baobab trees (Getty Images)

¶ In a study published in the journal Science Advances, a team of MIT researchers said 39% of all the freshwater withdrawn from rivers, lakes, and reservoirs in the US is earmarked for cooling at power plants that use fossil fuels or nuclear power. They devised a way to recapture some of that water vapor with a process they say is cost effective. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Finland’s VTT Research Centre of Technology found that new wind power technology enables higher towers, longer blades and reasonable efficiency in low wind conditions. These traits will allow turbines to be located more freely in the future, for example in forested areas. Wind provides over 10% of Europe’s electric power. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Wind turbines

World:

¶ Market research firm IHS Markit published new figures showing the global solar market will increase by around 11% in 2018 despite China’s solar policy reductions. China’s cuts make large amounts of PVs available elsewhere, and Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts that prices for PVs will drop by around 35% this year. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Engineering consulting firm WSP has been awarded a contract to work on the 500-MW Greenlink interconnector between Wales and Ireland. The €400 million ($471 million) privately financed interconnector is being developed by a subsidiary of Element Power, Greenlink Interconnector Ltd. Construction is to start in 2020. [Renewables Now]

Wind turbines in Ireland (Harry Pears, CC-BY-SA 2.0 Generic)

¶ Global science-based company Royal DSM signed a purchase agreement with Dutch energy firm Eneco to operate on 100% renewable energy in the Netherlands. Under the terms of the agreement, Eneco will supply DSM with electricity generated by Dutch wind parks Krammer and Bouwdokken for the years 2018 through 2025. [Power Technology]

¶ Tilt Renewables Ltd has brought online its 54-MW Salt Creek wind park in Western Victoria, Australia, and started exporting power to the grid. The Salt Creek wind farm is powered by 15 turbines supplied by Vestas Wind Systems A/S. After further testing and commissioning, the wind farm is expected to reach full production in July. [Renewables Now]

Vestas turbines

¶ The City of London Corporation has pledged to source 100% of its electricity from renewable sources starting this October. The organisation, which is the governing body of the financial and commercial district Square Mile, plans to invest in both onsite and offsite renewable energy as well as buying green power currently on the market. [Energy Live News]

US:

¶ The American Jobs Project issued a report that focuses on energy transformation in Maine. It shows how a combination of interest from cooperative industry associations in the state, a growing network of composites manufacturers, and offshore energy potential because of strong winds could expand the state’s energy economy. [CleanTechnica]

Offshore wind turbine (Phil Hollman, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Nevada Power, a utility owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, has signed a deal to build more than 1 GW of new large-scale solar in the US, with power purchase agreements starting as low as $21.55/MWh, a record low in the US. More than half of the PV systems will be co-located with battery storage, priced in separately. [RenewEconomy]

¶ German utility EnBW formed a joint venture with US outfit Trident Winds to develop up to 1 GW of floating offshore wind power off the coast of California. The joint venture’s first job is to get a site lease from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. It hopes to secure a grid connection made available by the Morro Bay power plant’s shutdown. [reNews]

Offshore wind turbines (reNews image)

¶ Minneapolis’ Metropolitan Council, which operates the transit systems and wastewater treatment in the Twin Cities region, and Xcel Energy are working to get the Council’s use of renewable energy for its wastewater and transit systems to 100% by 2040. The agreement includes efforts to get more electric buses onto Minnesota roads. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ Despite pronouncements from the White House, the preferred utility power mix is no longer a portfolio based largely on coal and nuclear energy. Both those resources have seen their market share undercut by cheaper natural gas in recent years, pushing many of the oldest and least efficient plants offline. And natural gas may decline also. [Utility Dive]

Solar power plant

¶ Crocker Wind Farm LLC, a subsidiary of Geronimo Energy, has been given the green light to build a wind farm in Clark County, South Dakota with a capacity of up to 400 MW. The wind project will have up to 120 turbines and a 5.2-mile transmission line. The wind farm is expected to start operations by the fourth quarter of 2019. [Renewables Now]

¶ Sixteen senators and 63 representatives delivered a letter to Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities Chair Angela O’Connor to show support for expanding access to solar energy while raising concerns about a utility-backed proposal to cap the amount of credits that community solar customers receive on their bills. [Solar Power World]

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June 11 Energy News

June 11, 2018

Science and Technology:

¶ A team of researchers at UC Berkeley developed a potential solution to water shortages; a box that can harvest water out of desert air, without any need for power other than sunlight. The key to the device is not a pump or solar panel-operated tap, but rather the materials contained in the box, what the chemists call a metal-organic framework. [Alphr]

Berkeley water collector in the lab

¶ A beetle that has killed millions of acres of pines in southern forests is munching its way north, and research suggests its tree-killing could get worse. Once unknown north of Delaware, the southern pine beetles have been expanding their range as the climate warms. They have been caught as far north as New England. [Fort Wayne Journal Gazette]

World:

¶ Several years ago, India set what seemed like a lofty target of 175 GW of wind and solar energy by March 2022. Few believed that was a practical target, but then India plowed forward and happily impressed the world. This week that goal was increased to 227 GW! India has installed more than 70 GW already, and additions are coming faster. [CleanTechnica]

Solar farm (Image: Siemens Gamesa)

¶ The Maharashtra government is considering using the Swiss challenge method to finalize a bidder to set up floating solar plants across various reservoirs and water bodies in the state. Under the system, any person with suitable credentials can submit a development proposal to the government for a public project. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ The Tokyo metropolitan government plans to introduce “solar roads” that collect energy from the sun via solar panels installed beneath the surface of the roads. The effort aims to promote Tokyo as an eco-friendly city, both domestically and abroad, ahead of the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics. Trial installations will begin next year. [The Independent]

Solar parking lot in Tokyo (Photo: Japan News-Yomiuri)

¶ The Asian Development Bank will help Pakistan build 2,330 MW of solar capacity in Punjab and 5,204 MW of micro-hydro generating capacity from hundreds of power plants in off-grid areas of Khyber Pakthunkhwa. The projects are to be built by 2026 under the bank’s “Access to Clean Energy Investment Programme.” [Pakistan Observer]

¶ Even in places where pastoral tribesmen still tend livestock, they may chat over smart phones and use money-transfer apps to pay their debts. To charge the phones without grid access, Africans spend more than $17 billion each year on such fuels as kerosene to power generators. Azuri Technologies Ltd is helping with solar panels and AI. [Bloomberg]

Azuri home solar system delivery (Photo: Azuri Technologies)

¶ Dailyexcelsior reported that a third-generation European Pressurised Reactor reactor in China carried out its first nuclear chain reaction. It is a first for the much-delayed European technology, and Xavier Ursat, head of new nuclear projects for EDF, tweeted the news. EDF has a 30% holding in the reactor that was being tested. [SteelGuru]

¶ Lekela, which has utility-scale projects across Africa, succeeded in reaching financial close on two additional wind power projects in South Africa. The Kangnas and Perdekraal East wind power projects together will add 250 MW of electric power to South Africa’s grid. The projects are expected to be fully operational in under 28 months. [African Review]

Wind project (Image: Markus Distelrath | Pixabay)

US:

¶ One of the Hawaii Civil Defense Agency’s biggest fears about Volcano Kilauea has been realized. Puna Geothermal Venture, Hawaii’s first and only geothermal plant, was flooded by lava, destroying two of its building and shutting down the plant. PGV contributed nearly 30% of the electricity for the Island of Hawaii, according to the DOE. [Inverse]

¶ A new survey of Southeast cities found that about half expect to install or buy more renewable energy. West Palm Beach and Atlanta are among the leaders. Only about 20% of the cities have set emissions-reduction goals so far, but more are taking a closer look at their emissions and plan to make greater use of renewable energy. [InsideClimate News]

Jacksonville, Florida (Credit: A Davey | CC-BY-ND-NC-2.0)

¶ A utility serving Oregon, Idaho, and Washington issued a request for proposals for up to 50 MW in renewable power generation capacity, including geothermal energy. Avista Utilities provides energy services and electricity to 375,000 customers and natural gas to 336,000 customers in parts of Washington, Idaho, and Oregon. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

¶ Battery technology is speeding up change in the US electricity sector and could help power a rally in certain renewable energy and utility stocks, Barron’s reported. After a decade of steep cost declines, wind and solar installations, often paired with battery storage, are increasingly displacing older coal and gas-fired power plants. [ETEnergyworld.com]

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June 10 Energy News

June 10, 2018

Opinion:

¶ The G7 summit, summed up in one photo” • Hundreds, or even thousands, of photos taken at the G7 summit, a two-day gathering of leaders from member states to discuss everything from climate change to international trade policy. But one in particular stood out after it was published and raced around the internet. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

G7 Leaders (Adam Scotti | Prime Minister’s Office via Reuters)

¶ “‘Baseload Is Poison’ And 5 Other Lessons From Germany’s Energy Transition” • Germany has achieved some moments in its Energiewende when renewables met 100% of demand without the aid of baseload power or batteries. Germany was able to do that, a government energy official pointed out, because of its system’s flexibility. [Forbes]

¶ “Is the Trans Mountain Pipeline (and Other Fossil Fuel Investments) a Future Stranded Asset?” • Some major economies rely heavily on fossil fuel production and exports. But renewable energy technologies, energy efficiency improvements, and climate emission policies are certain to substantially reduce the global demand for fossil fuels. [DeSmog]

Dakota Access Oil Pipeline (Tony Webster, Creative Commons)

Science and Technology:

¶ One of the more interesting revelations to come out of the 2018 Tesla Shareholder Meeting was updated information about Tesla’s current battery costs and projected reductions over the next 2 years. Elon Musk said “We think at the cell level probably we can do better than $100/kWh maybe later this year…” The ongoing cost drop is good news. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Heavy rainfall from storms has increased in the US since the 1950s and will only get worse in the coming years, thanks to global warming, scientists say. The EPA noted that heavy rainfall events increased by 70% in the Pacific Northwest, where the increases are worst, but increases are also seen in the Midwest and Upper Plains. [The Weather Channel]

Washington State (Scott Terrell | Skagit Valley Herald via AP)

¶ Cobalt prices are soaring and ethical questions about artisanal mining continue. Panasonic announced it is developing cobalt-free EV batteries. Panasonic, the world’s largest lithium-ion battery manufacturer for cars and Tesla’s exclusive battery cell supplier for the Model 3 sedan, produces the cells at the joint Gigafactory 1 in Nevada. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ Pope Francis told senior oil company executives that the world must convert to renewable alternatives to prevent humanity being destroyed by climate change. Speaking to the high-profile group at the end of a two-day conference at the Vatican, the pontiff warned: “Civilisation requires energy but energy use must not destroy civilisation.” [The Independent]

Pope Francis (AFP image)

¶ This week, dozens of activists descended on the capital of Kenya in what campaigners described as the “first anti-coal demonstration in Nairobi.” The coalition of advocacy groups is protesting the building of a coal-fired energy plant on the island of Lamu, a major tourist attraction, and a UNESCO heritage site, and coal mining in eastern Kenya. [Quartz]

¶ A $300 million project has been approved by the Zimbabwe Investment Authority for Victoria Falls to produce electricity. The power plant will be able to supply the country’s national grid and sell excess power to such other countries as Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique. The plant is expected to produce 125 MW of electricity. [Devdiscourse]

Victoria Falls (Pixabay image)

¶ The growing adoption of EVs is expected to cost Germany’s key auto industry about 75,000 jobs by 2030, a study shows, with parts suppliers set to suffer the most. Germany’s car industry currently employs about 840,000 people, with 210,000 of them working on powertrain production, the sub-sector set to be the worst hit. [OilPrice.com]

US:

¶ The municipal electric utility for Garden City, Kansas, now has over 30% of its power from renewable energy resources. The city is getting power Buckeye Wind Energy Center in Ellis County. Garden City is a member of the Kansas Municipal Energy Agency, which has a contract with Invenergy, owner of the Buckeye Center. [The Topeka Capital-Journal]

Buckeye Wind Farm (Hays Daily News photo)

¶ As West Virginians continue to see their utility bills rise, the regional electric grid serving the state is among those warning that attempts by the Trump administration to keep coal and nuclear power plants from closing will lead to higher electricity prices. Coal produced 94% of West Virginia’s net electricity generation in 2016. [Charleston Gazette-Mail]

¶ A Trump administration plan that would spend billions of dollars to subsidize aging coal-fired and nuclear power plants may not be much of a boon for Wyoming coal, according to one of the state’s leading economists. And the cost of the subsidy, which could be from $3 billion to $30 billion, would fall on the consumers. [Casper Star-Tribune Online]

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June 9 Energy News

June 9, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Photos don’t lie. Plan needed for sea-level rise” • Florida Senator Bill Nelson addressed the US Senate: “During 2017, the average high-tide flooding was the highest ever recorded. And in 2018, NOAA predicts that high-tide flooding will be 60% more frequent across US coastlines than it was in 2000, primarily because of sea-level rise.” [Sun Sentinel]

Sunny day flooding in Miami

World:

¶ Vestas received a 306-MW wind turbine order in Mexico from EnerAB, a joint venture of The AES Corp and Grupo BAL. The order is for the Mesa la Paz wind park, located in the state of Tamaulipas. The order includes the supply and installation of 85 V136-3.45 MW turbines, delivered in 3.6 MW power-optimized mode. [North American Windpower]

¶ The government of Québec is blocking all new requests for hydroelectric power from cryptocurrency mining operations. They say they are doing it so Hydro-Québec can keep supplying power to everyone else in the province. The emergency move followed a warning from Hydro-Québec in January over the “unprecedented demand.” [Stockhouse]

La Grande-1 dam (Photo: P199, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Energy2market GmbH, a leader in European aggregated energy trading, and Swytch, a blockchain-based clean energy incentive, announced a pilot program including roughly 3.5 GW of renewable energy capacity in Germany. Swytch is testing data flow, blockchain, dashboard, estimators, and other key parts of the platform. [Bankless Times]

¶ Solar developer Gigawatt Global Cooperatief UA, with financial backing from the US government, has signed a deal with the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States to build $1 billion of renewable energy projects in the region. The Agency for International Development may have retained its ability to act despite President Trump. [Bloomberg]

Solar array (Photo: Xaume Olleros | Bloomberg)

¶ European renewable energy targets for 2030 are facing a key decision. The EU energy ministers are meeting ahead of a final meeting between council and EU Parliament, and there may be movement toward a possible compromise in positions. The EU Council originally proposed “at least 27%,” but is now tabling two options: 30%-31% or 32%-33%. [Platts]

¶ A forest fire that had raged for three days in the restricted zone around Chernobyl, scene of the world’s worst nuclear accident in 1986, has been put out, and no increase in radiation in the air was detected, authorities said. The fire broke out in a dry grassy area of the exclusion zone, before moving to a forested area 10 km from the power plant. [Yahoo News UK]

Fire near the Chernobyl plant

¶ Bulgaria’s parliament revived plans to build a major nuclear power station on the Danube, fuelling concerns of environmental and corruption risks and Russian efforts to regain influence in the Balkan state. Deputies gave their overwhelming approval to a government request to seek investors to build a 2,000-MW atomic plant at Belene. [Irish Times]

US:

¶ Aspen Electric achieved 100% renewables in 2015, and now the residential rates for Aspen’s customers rank among the lowest in Colorado. This month, upgrades to a wind farm near Kimball, Nebraska, of which Aspen Electric is a major customer, will push the utility’s costs even lower, dropping about 15% annually, or $475,000. [Energy News Network]

Wind farm near Kimball, Nebraska

¶ Massachusetts utilities would need to ramp up renewable energy purchases, the state could dramatically expand its support of offshore wind, and commercial solar endeavors would be freed from existing restrictions, under legislation the Senate plans to take up next week. But the end of formal sessions is coming up on July 31. [Sentinel & Enterprise]

¶ A renewable energy boom in Ohio is all but inevitable, a report that has support from a number of major companies said. The Powering Ohio report says the state can attract investment worth billions of dollars by embracing clean energy and by building on the state’s strengths such as industrial research and automotive manufacturing. [Energy Manager Today]

Ohio

¶ US power company NRG Energy Inc will install 25 MW of solar gardens in Texas to meet about 10% of the national electricity usage of food products distributor Sysco Corporation. The two companies have entered into a 10-year agreement on renewable energy that calls for construction of three solar gardens in the Houston and Dallas areas. [Renewables Now]

¶ The number of cities that pledged to go to 100% renewable energy has doubled since last year, bolstering hopes that similar state and national policies could soon gain traction. Seventy cities and nine counties across the US have adopted ordinances setting targets to overhaul their electricity use, up from 36 cities before June 2017. [HuffPost]

Tennessee Solar facility (Acker | Bloomberg via Getty Images)

¶ Central Arizona Project, which supplies water to a large part of Arizona and is the main buyer of electricity from an Arizona coal plant on the verge of closure, said on it will instead source its electricity largely from a solar power project, ignoring an appeal by the US Interior Department to buy more power from the plant to keep it open. [Reuters]

¶ After strong growth in 2017, wind power now supplies more than 30% of the electricity in four states: Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, and South Dakota. The industry’s latest trends and milestones from 2017 are detailed in the American Wind Energy Association US Wind Industry Annual Market Report 2017 released in May 2018. [Facility Executive Magazine]

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June 8 Energy News

June 8, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Trump’s nuclear bailout could cost consumers up to $17 billion each year” • According to an updated report from the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, Trump’s subsidies for nuclear power plants could increase the overall cost of electricity by up to $17 billion each year. And that does not include subsidies for coal-burning plants. [Inhabitat]

Nuclear power plant’s cooling towers

Science and Technology:

¶ Tropical cyclones, are moving slower around the planet, a study from NOAA scientist James Kossin said. The study, released in the scientific journal Nature, showed a 10% decrease in forward speed globally between 1949 and 2016, though there is some variation among ocean basins. Slow-moving storms leave more rainfall in the areas they visit. [CNN]

World:

¶ Leaders of the G7 group are gathering in Canada for what could be one its most acrimonious summits in years. Some leaders clashed with US President Trump, who has imposed steel and aluminium tariffs that have sparked reprisals from trade partners. But the nations could also clash on the Iran nuclear deal and climate change. [BBC]

Protester with a flare (Reuters image)

¶ A new European renewable energy initiative has Microsoft, Google, and Amazon and other corporate giants in its steering group. RE-Source is an alliance of big brands that are buying and supplying clean power in the corporate market. The European network will help streamline and coordinate how green energy is sourced. [Innovators Magazine]

¶ China’s decision to curtail solar development this year in an effort to prevent oversupply has resulted in significantly revised forecasts for the Chinese and global solar markets. Forecasts on China’s solar installations for the year were revised downward by up to 40%. Expectations now are that solar module prices will fall by 35%. [CleanTechnica]

Chinese solar panels

¶ The Asian Development Bank will support over $1 billion in energy investments in the Pacific in 2018 through 2021. This includes 19 projects helping countries get access to sustainable energy sources, according to the Pacific Energy Update 2018. The report provides an overview of ADB’s energy-focused work in the Pacific. [Modern Diplomacy]

¶ European renewables asset manager WPO is to issue renewable energy production certificates that can be traced by blockchain to its projects. This will provide “secure and irrefutable traceability of the production of energy from renewable sources.” The aim is to make the certificates a standard reference to encourage clean power generation. [reNews]

Wind farm (Pixabay image)

¶ Brazilian utility Cia Energetica de Minas Gerais SA said it has contracted power generation from 1,240 MW of solar and wind capacity through an energy auction. The tender awarded 20-year power purchase agreements starting in January 2022. The power auction was to provide electricity to meet demands for several Brazilian regions. [Renewables Now]

¶ Enel Green Power has launched a series of initiatives in Italy aimed at improving the efficiency and maintenance processes at its wind farms. The Wind Big Data Boost project is collating information from over 4000 of the company’s operational wind turbines, including all of those in Italy and Spain, to help improve predictive maintenance. [reNews]

Wind turbines (Enel Green Power image)

US:

¶ EPA head Scott Pruitt said greenhouse gases such as CO2 are “good for us” and that CO2 does not cause global warming. After the EPA ignored a Freedom of Information Request for information supporting Pruitt’s claim, the agency was taken to court on the issue. Now a federal judge has ruled that Pruitt has to deliver the documents. [ZME Science]

¶ Freightliner Trucks, a division of Daimler Truckers North America, took to the stage recently to take the wraps off of two new fully-electric truck offerings. The Freightliner eCascadia is a heavy-duty truck, while the Freightliner eM2 106 is a medium-duty truck, and the company says they mark the beginning of a new era in trucking. [CleanTechnica]

Freightliner Trucks

¶ At the International Mayors Climate Summit in Boston, Boston mayor Marty Walsh urged other mayors to join in a renewable energy procurement initiative. He plans to issue a request for information aimed at compiling energy demand data from participating cities and asking energy developers for renewable energy prices. [The Salem News]

¶ JinkoSolar, the world’s leading solar PV supplier, announced that it signed a three-year, 1.43-GW solar supply agreement with sPower, the largest private owner and operator of solar assets in the country. sPower has 13 GW of wind and solar projects in its operating and construction pipeline, and has 1.3 GW already in operation. [CleanTechnica]

Robot with a solar panel

¶ The latest war of words over Arizona’s renewable energy ballot measure focuses on the Palo Verde nuclear station. The Arizona Public Service Co said it could be forced to close the 3,037-MW three-unit nuclear plant if voters approve the measure. But a study by energy firm ICF said Palo Verde would remain open regardless. [Power Engineering Magazine]

¶ Former Chattanooga developer Franklin L Haney signed an agreement to hire a Canadian engineering company to do engineering and construction work to finish one reactor at the unfinished Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant in Alabama. He is buying the plant for $111 million, and he is asking for federal guarantees. [Chattanooga Times Free Press]

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June 7 Energy News

June 7, 2018

Science and Technology:

¶ Universities in the US, Germany and elsewhere are testing the concept of “dual use farming,” as some advocates call it, where crops grow below canopies of solar panels. They are finding they grow just fine, and in some cases, better than crops in full sun. In Minnesota, over half of solar farms built in 2016 and 2017 were dual use. [Scientific American]

Dual use farming (Getty Images)

¶ Every area of the globe has warmed since instrument records began in 1880, NASA data shows. The planet isn’t warming equally, however. The fastest temperature increases are taking place at the poles. That Arctic, for example, is warming at more than twice the rate of the rest of the globe, melting glaciers, sea ice, and permafrost. [Axios]

World:

¶ Energy sector investments in big data technologies have exploded. In fact, according to a study by BDO, the industry’s expenditure on this technology in 2017 has increased by ten times compared to the previous year, with the firm attributing much of this growth to the need for improved management of renewables. [Technical Review Middle East]

Wind turbines (Image: Myriams-fotos | Pixabay)

¶ Russian wind power association RAWI is inviting wind turbine manufacturers to work with it to help set up production facilities in the local market. RAWI said prospective partners must have experience of producing turbines with capacities of at least 2.5 MW, provide evidence of successful projects, and be willing to open production facilities in Russia. [reNews]

¶ On World Environment Day, renewable energy companies are ecstatic that South Africa has signed a R58 billion ($4.5 billion) renewable energy deal to replace one for nuclear plants. The cancellation of the nuclear deal was largely due to the work of two activists who won the Goldman Environmental Prize for their efforts. [Independent Online]

Windpower (Ayanda Ndamane | African News Agency | ANA)

¶ Kenya leads Africa for potential geothermal power capacity, a report by Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st century has revealed. According to the report, Kenya has a potential geothermal capacity of about 700 MW, and it occupies the ninth position globally. The US has the most, with a potential capacity of 2,500 MW. [BusinessAMLive]

¶ After a first round of solar auctions, the government of Turkey is keen to know whether energy storage could help lower the cost of energy from the projects. With that in mind, DNV GL will assess the potential impact of storage on Levelized Cost of Energy figures and develop specification requirements for the auctions. [Energy Storage News]

Solar array (Image: DNV GL)

¶ The University of Queensland has taken its commitment to reducing carbon emissions to the next level, in what it claims will be a world first. The university will develop a 64-MW utility scale solar project in the state, which, added to the 50,000 modules it already in place at its campuses, will virtually provide all of its electricity needs. [pv magazine Australia]

¶ The World Bank will provide financing for the construction of a 3-MW solar power plant in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the lender said. The funds will come from a $53.6 million (€24.5 million) funding package intended to support projects related to climate change and promote projects for renewable energy and energy efficiency. [Renewables Now]

In the Marshall Islands (Photo: amanderson2, CC-BY-SA 2.0)

¶ Consumer goods giant Unilever says it will run its Australian manufacturing plants entirely on clean energy within two years, as the country had passed a “tipping point” where going green is no longer a financial disadvantage. The Anglo-Dutch firm had earlier regarded the jump to renewables too risky due to policy uncertainty. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

US:

¶ Xcel Energy Colorado unveiled a power plan that it estimates could save customers $215 million, cut carbon emissions by half, and increase its renewable energy sources to 55% of its electricity portfolio by 2026, according to a filing the utility submitted to the Colorado PUC. The plan is to retire 660 MW of coal-burning power plants. [The Denver Post]

Solar array supplying Xcel (Denver Post file photo)

¶ The tariff on imported solar panels led US renewable energy companies to cancel or freeze investments of over $2.5 billion in large installation projects, along with thousands of jobs, the developers told Reuters. New spending plans for building or expanding US solar factories to take advantage of the tariffs came to 40% of that amount. [Reuters Africa]

¶ Research from the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Overseas Development Institute, Oil Change International, and the International Institute for Sustainable Development found that the US Government spent $26 billion in both 2015 and 2016 on support for fossil fuels. Of this, $15 billion was for production and $1 billion for exploration. [CleanTechnica]

Pollution from fossil fuels

¶ Black Hills Energy has moved to provide more renewable energy to its southern Colorado system over the past year. In 2017 the company got Colorado PUC approval to add up to 60 MW of wind power to serve its customers in the area. Now, it has a power purchase agreement with Colorado Electric, and the project is moving ahead. [La Voz Nueva]

¶ Minnesota cooperative utility Great River Energy aims for 50% of its power to come from renewable sources within the next 12 years. The GRE board approved the initiative and announced the new goal at its annual meeting. A proposed wind farm in south central North Dakota would be an important part of achieving that goal. [Bismarck Tribune]

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June 6 Energy News

June 6, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Carbon Collapse: Fossil fuels to lose ALL their value costing global economy $4 Trillion” • The global economy is looking at a “time bomb” due to a “carbon bubble” from investment in fossil fuels which is likely to burst, wipe off trillions from the global economy and bring devastation to the planet, according to terrifying new research. [Express.co.uk]

Use of fossil fuels (Getty Images)

World:

¶ The African Development Bank, the Green Climate Fund, and the Africa50 investment fund signed a letter of intent on the sidelines of annual meetings late May that will see the three international organizations collaborate on the Desert to Power Program, an initiative aimed at developing solar throughout the Sahel region of Africa. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A consortium led by Mainstream Renewable Power has reached financial close on two wind farms in South Africa totalling 250-MW. Construction of the 140-MW Kangnas project, near Springbok in the Northern Cape, and the 110-MW Perdekraal East facility, north-east of Ceres in the Western Cape, is expected to start this month. [reNews]

South African wind turbine (Mainstream Renewable Power)

¶ The Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has now set its sights on “over achieving” the target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022. The ministry’s projections say that India will have 225 GW of installed renewable energy by 2022. In the past four years, solar power has grown by a factor of nine, and wind by 50%. [Business Line]

¶ The Green for Growth Fund said it would provide €32 million ($37.44 million) financing for Serbia’s first large-scale wind farms, to help the Balkan country diversify its energy mix and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The fund said it would provide €18.35 million for the 158-MW Cibuk windfarm, Serbia’s biggest wind project to date. [Reuters]

Wind farm (Christian Hartmann | Reuters File Photo)

¶ Engie Energia Chile SA signed an agreement to supply renewable power to a facility of local construction company Cementos BSA in Chile. EEC will deliver the equivalent to 35 GWh per year, enough to cover 100% of Cementos BSA’s needs at that plant. The electricity will come from local solar and hydropower plants. [Renewables Now]

¶ Australian electricity retailer Flow Power announced a deal to buy the output of a 50-MW portion of the Kiamal Solar Farm, which is expected to be the largest solar facility in Victoria. The power purchase agreement was signed with Total Eren SA, the French renewable energy company. Oil group Total SA owns a stake in Total Eren. [Renewables Now]

Solar farm (Photo: iamme ubeyou, CC0 1.0 Universal)

¶ Ukrainian authorities reported that a fire had broken out in the exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear plant. According to the authorities, the fire covered 10 hectares of the so-called “red forest,” which the Chernobyl Disaster contaminated heavily. The fire was the result of prolonged drought and high temperatures in the region. [Sputnik International]

¶ EDF Renewables, together with two other owners and about 170 guests, celebrated the inauguration of the Nicolas-Riou Wind Project in Quebec. The project has a capacity of 224.25 MW. It illustrates the importance of collaboration and support of local communities in the development and implementation of renewable energy projects. [Financial Post]

Nicolas-Riou Wind Project (Business Wire)

UK:

¶ The world’s first grid-scale liquid air energy storage plant has been officially launched near Manchester. The 5-MW/15-MWh plant is the first grid-scale demonstration of liquid air energy storage. LAES technology stores air as a liquid, and then converts it back to a gas by letting it boil, driving a turbine to generate electricity. [Power Engineering International]

¶ Microsoft has sunk a data centre in the sea off Orkney to see whether it can boost energy efficiency. The data centre, a white cylinder containing computers, could sit on the sea floor for up to five years. An undersea cable brings the data centre power and takes its data to the shore and the wider internet. But repairs are not possible. [BBC]

New Microsoft data center

¶ Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones called for Tidal Lagoon Power’s proposed 320-MW Swansea Bay project to be offered price supports similar to those of the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant. In a letter to UK energy secretary Greg Clark, Jones said Swansea Bay should be given a 35 year Contract for Difference worth £92.50/MWh in 2012 prices. [reNews]

US:

¶ In Las Vegas, Wynn Resorts began drawing power from its new solar array outside Fallon, about 375 miles away. The 160-acre, 20-MW Wynn Solar Facility went online just in time for triple-digit temperatures, spiking energy prices, and an announcement of a new position in the resort company, a chief sustainability officer. [Las Vegas Review-Journal]

An earlier 1-MW Wynn Resorts solar array (Wynn Resorts)

¶ “Sea level rise” and “climate change” are not phrases Trump appointees typically use to describe anything but hoaxes. But on Monday, the acting head of NOAA, spoke to a crowd of more than 600 scientists, advocates, and policymakers about the agency’s commitment to studying climate change and its effect on the warming oceans. [Mother Jones]

¶ Hawaii has three new laws that seek to make the state carbon neutral by 2045. One of them establishes the carbon neutral goal. Another will make the funds that are derived from carbon offsets available to plant more trees in the islands. And the third requires new building projects to consider sea level rise in engineering decisions. [CleanTechnica]

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June 5 Energy News

June 5, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Carbon ‘bubble’ could cost global economy trillions” • A rapid reduction in demand for fossil fuels could see global economic losses of $1 trillion to $4 trillion by 2035 according to a report. Energy efficiency and low carbon technology could cause the downturn, even if governments fail to take new steps to meet the Paris climate goals. [BBC]

Offshore oil rig (Photo: SPL)

¶ “Bailing Out the Coal Industry Will Hurt Consumers” • Donald Trump’s plan to subsidize money-losing coal and nuclear plants makes no economic sense and runs counter to the free market ideology of his party. It might make some plant operators very happy, but consumers will foot what could be an extraordinarily expensive bill. [New York Times]

World:

¶ Ireland saw a fall in carbon emissions last year “despite strong economic growth.” Analysis from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland reveals carbon dioxide emissions from power production fell by nearly 10%. The power generation fuel mix had seen a 21% reduction in coal and an 18% increase in renewable energy. [Energy Live News]

Harvested peat bog (Amos from Tel Aviv, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The Royal Bank of Scotland announced a new suite of energy financing policies at the end of last month. They are designed to reduce the bank’s exposure to investments in fossil fuels substantially. That includes halting project-specific financing for new coal-fired power stations, coal mines, and oil sands, and Arctic oil projects. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The 396-MW Merkur offshore wind farm in the German North Sea has produced its first power. The first test on the MO40 turbine generated power to the mini-grid, project company Merkur Offshore said. The project will feature 66 GE Haliade 6-MW turbines. Jack-up vessel Seafox 5 has installed more than one-third of the machines. [reNews]

GE wind turbine (SPS image)

¶ In a coordinated move, three administrative agencies of the Chinese government issued a notice imposing caps and reducing feed-in tariffs, while setting rules at the central government level for utility-scale projects. The aim of the “2018 Solar PV Power Generation Notice” is to prevent excessive solar PV generation capacity from being installed. [PV-Tech]

¶ Finance deals were signed for a 51-MW solar farm in Jamaica. The Paradise Park project is majority owned by the French renewable power producer Neoen. France’s development bank Proparco and Dutch development bank FMO will provide the senior debt for the project. The total investment amounts to $64 million. [Power Engineering International]

Neoen solar farm

¶ One result of the Indian government’s focus on growing the country’s renewable energy sector has been a 76% growth in job searches in the solar energy sector since 2014, according to a report. The government has set a target to produce 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022, out of which 100 GW has to come from solar power. [BW Businessworld]

¶ The UK government confirmed it is considering using taxpayer money for building a nuclear power station at Wylfa in North Wales. That decision would mark a significant U-turn in the government’s approach to new nuclear power. In 2010, it was adamant that its taxpayers should never be exposed to nuclear power’s typical costly overruns. [BBC]

Rendering of the Wylfa nuclear plant (Horizon)

Australia:

¶ The latest national emissions audit from The Australia Institute includes an update on key electricity trends in Australia’s electric power market. It notes some interesting developments over the last three months. One of these is that renewables-rich South Australia, which had imported 30% of its electricity in 2000, is now a net exporter. [The Guardian]

¶ The Pilbara region of Western Australia is set to be the home of the country’s largest microgrid, with awards of major contracts focused on renewables. Horizon Power has State Government approval for the next phase of a distributed energy project, which will provide the town of Onslow with renewable energy to meet its electricity needs. [PACE Today]

Pilbara sunset (Calistemon, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The Queensland government approved the country’s largest windfarm, a $1 billion project with almost 200 turbines. The 800-MW Clarke Creek project has received planning approval. Developer Lacour Energy says it will create about 350 jobs for three years of construction and has the capacity to provide 3% of the state’s electricity. [The Guardian]

US:

¶ Data from California’s grid operator shows that in May solar generation in the area managed by the California ISO rose to a new record, providing nearly 17% of in-state generation. With gas falling to only around 15%, this means that solar provided more electricity for Californians than gas, for the first time ever, on a monthly basis. [pv magazine Australia]

California solar array (NRG image)

¶ San Diego Gas & Electric announced it will double its backup battery capacity to support the growth of renewable energy in its service area. The utility plans to build five more lithium-ion battery backup facilities, including one of the biggest in the US, over the next three years. The new plants will add nearly 100 MW of capacity. [Times of San Diego]

¶ Duke Energy Carolinas has reached an agreement that would reduce its 10-year grid modernization plan from $7.8 billion to $2.5 billion. The agreement would also increase renewable and energy storage development. Energy storage initiatives have grown to 300-MW by 2026, according to a Greentech Media report. [Power Engineering Magazine]

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June 4 Energy News

June 4, 2018

World:

¶ Renewable power accounted for 70% of net additions to global power generating capacity in 2017, the largest such increase in modern history, a report from REN21 said. But the heating, cooling and transport sectors, which together account for about four-fifths of global final energy demand, continue to lag far behind the power sector. [EnergyInfraPost]

Dusk at a solar system

¶ In 2017, the world set a new record for renewable-power capacity added to the grid. In fact, the money spent on renewable installations was more than twice the sum spent on nuclear and fossil-fuel power, according to the annual Global Status Report published by renewables policy group REN21. But it was not enough to reduce emissions. [Quartz]

¶ Wind farms produced 24.1% of Spain’s power in the first five months of 2018, more than any other energy source, while nuclear power plants came second with a share of 20.8%. Total of 46.4% of the country’s electricity in the period came from renewable energy sources, according to provisional statistics from the grid operator. [Renewables Now]

Wind park in Abla, Spain (Photo: JJ Merelo, CC-BY-SA 2.0)

¶ Institutional investors managing $26 trillion in assets called on Group of Seven leaders to phase out the use of coal in power generation to help limit climate change. Their call came despite strong opposition from Washington. They wrote that the Paris Agreement plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions were too weak to limit warming. [GMA News]

¶ Dutch contractor Van Oord made its first step into the Asian offshore wind market. It was designated a preferred contractor for a 640-MW offshore wind project in Taiwan. A German company, wpd, will develop the Yunlin offshore wind project. Taiwan’s offshore wind strategy is driven by a desire to phase out nuclear power. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Installing offshore wind turbines

¶ Switzerland launched a strategic plan this week to boost renewable energy sources and gradually replace nuclear energy, which currently accounts for 33% of state energy production. The Swiss Confederation will initiate measures needed to switch to renewables at the ends of the “safe” lives of the nuclear plants it owns. [Canadian Homesteading]

¶ Macquarie Group is teaming up with South Korean company Gyeongbuk Floating Offshore Wind Power to jointly develop a 1-GW floating wind project off the coast of the Asian country. The partners signed a memorandum of understanding to work on a project 50-km off the coast of Pohang and Ulsan in South Korea. No development timeline was given. [reNews]

Offshore wind farm (reNews image)

Australia:

¶ The Labor Party proposes to establish the Australia’s first official renewable energy zone in Tasmania, where more than $2 billion of investment are planned. Federal Labor’s climate change spokesman, and party president, Mark Butler, announced the proposal while campaigning in the seat of Braddon, which will go to the polls in August. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Remote Northern Territory communities from the Tiwi Islands to the South Australian border are set to be connected to solar power as construction begins on the next phase of the $59 million Solar Energy Transformation Program project, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency said. The phase will bring solar power to 17 communities. [EcoGeneration]

Oenpelli, NT (Jason Motbey, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ A Newcastle company’s massive plan for large-scale renewable energy projects in New South Wales reflects the “huge global investor appetite” in the sector, an analyst says. The Newcastle Herald reported that CWP Renewables had secured a $700 million investment from a Swiss equity firm to build wind, solar and battery projects. [Newcastle Herald]

US:

¶ Multiple scientific studies indicate that concern about climate change is having impacts on values of real estate that may be exposed to flooding. This is especially evidenced by beachfront real estate markets. Not surprisingly, property owners who see increased coastal flooding due to slowly rising sea levels are moving to higher ground. [CNN]

Flash flood (Kenneth K Lam | The Baltimore Sun via AP)

¶ California is at the forefront of US states when it comes to reducing carbon emissions. Nearly 40% of the state’s emissions come from its transportation sector. California’s utilities are directly involved in the efforts to cut those emissions. They proposed an initiative on vehicle electrification, and the state’s PUC approved it. [CleanTechnica]

¶ San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer pledged to have the city adopt either community choice or San Diego Gas & Electric’s blueprint to help fulfill the city’s goal of using all green power by 2035. SDG&E’s bid to provide the city of San Diego with 100% renewable energy may be in trouble, as community choice attracts voters. [The San Diego Union-Tribune]

Transmission towers (Photo: staff | San Diego Union-Tribune)

¶ Solar energy is gaining traction in Nebraska as a growing number of cities adopt it and officials look for ways to help the trend. PVs have become so popular that some cities have had to expand their recently built solar farms or build new ones to keep pace with customer demand. A new program is helping cities and villages adopt solar power. [NTV]

¶ The White House’s press service gave a statement in response to media reports about the plan to support uncompetitive coal and nuclear plants. It said, “Impending retirements of fuel-secure power facilities are leading to a rapid depletion of a critical part of our nation’s energy mix, and impacting the resilience of our power grid.” [Renewables Now]

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June 3 Energy News

June 3, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Trump’s Coal Rescue Plan Will Force Taxpayers To Bail Out A Dying Industry” • The Trump administration is considering a plan to order utilities to buy power from coal-burning plants. It is a plant that would force you to buy more expensive, dirtier electricity that is more likely to cause you health problems and perhaps even premature death. [CleanTechnica]

Trump’s vision of a great America

¶ “The Californization of America” • Democrats across the country are winning primaries by promoting policies like universal health insurance and guaranteed income, ideas once laughed off as things that work only on the “Left Coast.” At the same time, national politicians from both sides are finally putting front and center such issues as immigration, clean energy, and suburban sprawl. [New York Times]

¶ “Is Trans Mountain worth the risk?” • Environmental impact concerns lie at the heart of opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, which is aims to take tar sand oil to the sea. It has driven a political divide between British Columbia and Alberta, and Ottawa. Now two civil court actions are aimed at halting it. [Yukon News]

Oil spill cleanup (Huffington Post image)

¶ “What happens to our trash and recycling in Winona? We followed a cereal box through the process” • I followed a cereal box and its liner through the trash and recycling processes. They went through a journey involving companies in three states, loud machinery, and in the case of the box, a potential trade war with China. [Winona Daily News]

Science and Technology:

¶ Vertical farms avoid much of the emissions of agriculture, despite their reliance on artificial light and climate-controlled. Indeed, vertical farms evangelist Dickson Despommier says these kinds of farms could significantly reduce the amount of land devoted to farming and thereby make a serious dent in our climate change problem. [IEEE Spectrum]

Vertical farm (Photo: Harry Goldstein)

¶ Separately from any energy source needed, carbon dioxide is a product of a chemical reaction in the production of aluminum. It amounts to 20% of the emissions. Alcoa created a new process that produces oxygen, rather than carbon dioxide, in the final reaction step, enabling the world’s first process for truly carbon-free aluminum production. [Motley Fool]

World:

¶ The Vodafone Group has become the 135th global brand to make the 100% renewable energy pledge. The company set the date of its goal at 2025. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) reported last month that the amount of green power sourced by big business last year was enough to meet the energy needs of France. [Innovators Magazine]

Wind turbine (Photo: Casey Horner, Unsplash)

¶ IRENA’s new report, Renewable Energy Auctions: Cases from Sub-Saharan Africa, analyses the design details and prices from three renewable energy auctions in Sub-Saharan Africa. It shows that South African auctions have driven the cost of solar PV and wind power down to less than the average cost of power supply from the national utilities. [Utilities-ME.com]

¶ As renewables projects are increasingly built Queensland, they use large parcels of agricultural land. Clean energy may offer billions in investment and thousands of jobs for Queensland. But it also faces on-the-ground challenges, including turf wars with intensive farming that threaten to hamper the energy sector’s transition. [The Guardian]

Queensland farm (Shiftchange, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ In January, China donated over 32,000 solar power generating systems to Nepal to build domestic capacity and to provide electricity to communities that had been without power since the 2015 earthquake. Now, making further inroads, China has set up a generating system for the government itself, including the office of the prime minister. [Derby Journal]

¶ Guatemala has an irrigation system, unique in Central America, that works with solar panels, an official source reported. The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Food announced the installation of the 1,000 panels in the municipality of Cabañas. It was financed by the International Development Fund at cost of $534,759. [Devdiscourse]

Irrigation (Pixabay image)

US:

¶ NOAA issues a hurricane season forecast each spring, and its forecast for the 2018 season specifies a 75% chance that this year’s storm activity will be at normal or above-normal levels. There’s a 70% likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms . Of these, five to nine could become hurricanes, with one to four turning into major hurricanes. [NBCNews.com]

¶ Alabama’s farmers are learning how to go green and save their green. Officials say using solar power on farms is catching on and a new program could make it easier for farmers to do that. They are helping farmers who want to qualify for a USDA program that would pay for a quarter of the cost to set up a renewable energy system. [rocketcitynow.com]

Solar power on the farm

¶ In Massachusetts, eight Democrats are running for the 1st Franklin District post being vacated by 25-year incumbent Rep Stephen Kulik. They agreed virtually all of the time on a range of environmental and energy questions in a two-hour session that was sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Franklin County and Climate Action Now. [Amherst Bulletin]

¶ After Florida Power & Light asked nuclear regulators to keep its aging reactors on the shore of Biscayne Bay running another 20 years, environmentalists and residents jumped on a new issue. An underground saltwater plume from the plant’s cooling water canals already has threaten wells, and with rising seas, the threats will get worse. [Miami Herald]

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June 2 Energy News

June 2, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Breaking Down the Opposition to DOE’s Emergency Coal and Nuclear Bailout Plan” • It is hard to overstate how negative the reactions have been to news that the Trump Administration is directing the US DOE to find ways to force Americans to buy power from uncompetitive coal and nuclear plants in the name of national security. [Greentech Media]

Closed coal power plant

¶ “The US EPA’s science advisers push back against Scott Pruitt’s attempts to dilute environmental regulation” • In the larger interest of the nation, the EPA’s Science Advisory Board has decided to fight back against Pruitt’s vision of a reduced agency. The board voted to review some of the controversial rules his EPA proposed. [Financial Express]

¶ “A Year After Trump’s Paris Pullout, US Companies Are Driving a Renewables Boom” • When President Trump announced on June 1 last year that the US would exit the Paris climate deal, many of America’s largest corporations said they would honor the agreement anyway, vowing to pursue clean energy and cut emissions on their own. [New York Times]

California Walmart roof (Reed Saxon | Associated Press)

Science and Technology:

¶ A team in the department of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Delaware have discovered a previously unknown property in bismuth that they say could be a tool in the fight against global warming. Through a catalytic process, bismuth can be used to convert atmospheric CO2 directly into liquid fuels and industrial chemicals. [Seeker]

World:

¶ CleanTechnica’s Kyle Field caught up with BYD’s Jack Symington to talk about what the current deployment of BYD trucks looks like around the world. BYD is moving into new facilities across the globe as it builds out use cases and platforms for company fleets. BYD is developing a wide-ranging set of offerings. [CleanTechnica]

BYD Electric waste collection truck

¶ The French Environment & Energy Management Agency will allocate €100 million next year to support the nation’s hydrogen industry. The French government believes hydrogen can become a pillar of its energy transition because it can be used to store renewable energy, according to the Minister of Ecological and Solidary Transition. [pv magazine International]

¶ South Africa’s Department of Energy will launch a new bid window of its Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme later this year, said Minister Jeff Radebe. He told a stakeholder engagement session in Midrand that bid window 5 could bring up to R50 billion ($3.94 billion) of investment to the country. [Devdiscourse]

Wind turbines (Credit: Twitter)

¶ The Vatican will host executives of the top oil companies for a conference next week on climate change and the transition away from fossil fuels, a Vatican source said. Pope Francis, who wrote a major document on protection of the environment from global warming in 2015, is expected to address the group on the last day of the conference. [Reuters Africa]

US:

¶ The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission directed three utility companies in the state to include the social cost of coal in their future planning. These include the costs of effects on human health and environmental damage. The social cost of coal will be $42 per metric ton by 2020 and will rise to $60 per metric ton by 2040. [CleanTechnica]

Coal-burning power plant

¶ Only a day after MidAmerican Energy announced it would become the first investor-owned utility to be 100% renewable energy by 2020 with a 591-MW wind farm, it had more news. MidAmerican subsidiary NV Energy will procure power from 1001 MW of new solar projects and 100 MW/400 MWh of battery storage. [pv magazine USA]

¶ Rocky Mountain Power is seeking cost-competitive bids for solar, wind and geothermal energy projects in Utah to connect to the PacifiCorp system. The company is seeking proposals for 308,000 MWh of power generation, which implies about 40 MW of geothermal capacity or about 100 to 126 MW of wind or solar capacity. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

Cove Fort geothermal plant (Ariel Sacerdoti, Ormat)

¶ Florida’s NextEra plans to build 300 MW of solar power in Wisconsin. The first project, the 150-MW Badger Hollow Solar Farm, would be located in southwestern Wisconsin, about 12 miles west of Dodgeville. Wisconsin Public Service will own 100 MW of this plant and Madison Gas and Electric will own the remaining 50 MW. [pv magazine USA]

¶ NV Energy plans to build more than 1 GW of solar and 100 MW of battery storage in Nevada. Three of the solar projects will be located in northern Nevada, and three will be located in the southern areas. The company will file a plan with the state’s Public Utilities Commission, requesting approval for six 25-year power purchase agreements. [Solar Industry]

Nevada Solar One (Photo: s pants, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ US online retailer Amazon.com, Inc, switched on a 1.1-MW rooftop solar system on its fulfillment centre in North Las Vegas, Nevada. Including this one, Amazon has deployed 17 rooftop solar arrays in the US over the past 14 months. It aims to install at least 50 rooftop solar systems worldwide by 2020, in a move to 100% renewable energy. [Renewables Now]

¶ After NRG abandoned a two-reactor expansion of its South Texas Project nuclear plant, Toshiba sought investors to continue the project. Now Toshiba has officially withdrawn its plans for the two reactors, Reuters reported. Toshiba said it had failed to find investors due to sharply lower electric rates and increased global regulation. [Power Engineering Magazine]

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June 1 Energy News

June 1, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “How Trump has weakened America diplomatically and economically” • On June 1, 2017, President Donald Trump staged a Rose Garden event to announce his intent to withdraw the US from the Paris climate agreement. Looking back, it is clear that this heedless act was just  one of a set of actions that have broadly undermined US diplomacy. [CNN]

White House (Photo: Eric Cox, Wikimedia Commons)

World:

¶ Austrian Federal Railways opened what may be the world’s first solar power plant designed specifically to power an electric railway system. A solar PV farm puts its electric output directly to the rail system, powering the trains on the Ostbahn. The pilot project is to test the feasibility of larger use of solar power in rail transportation. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The third longest railway system in the world could be on the verge of an energy storage makeover. Russian Railways sprawls over 85,500 km. A little over half that length is electrified, but with a new R&D project, the little could turn into a lot. The rail system is partnering with Enel Group in a new energy storage project. [CleanTechnica]

Railway system

¶ Two new wind energy projects are set to power South Africa’s Western Cape province following the recent signing of multi-billion-rand renewable energy deals. The 110-MW Perdekraal East Wind Farm, with 48 turbines, has completed all of its needed permits. The 32.5-MW Excelsior Wind Energy Facility will have 13 turbines. [ITWeb]

¶ Australia’s Clean Energy Council launched the Clean Energy Australia Report to provide a comprehensive overview of the country’s clean energy sector and the latest key energy market data. The first report says the Australian clean energy industry is finally “on the verge of a major breakthrough” after setting records in 2017. [CleanTechnica]

Tesla storage in South Australia

¶ Canada is set to become a member of IRENA, the International Renewable Energy Agency. Kim Rudd, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources, made the announcement during last week’s Clean Energy Ministerial in Copenhagen. Canada is the  second largest producer of hydropower in the world. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ In the Netherlands, the onshore wind farm Windpark Spui has achieved financial close. Its output, enough to power over 24,000 households, will be sold to Eneco Group, a Dutch sustainable energy company, under a 16-year power purchase agreement. The wind park will have five Enercon wind turbines, each of 4.2 MW capacity. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Wind farm at Greensburg, Kansas (NREL photo)

¶ Victoria could be still burning brown coal to produce electricity in 30 years, after the state government extended the licences of two key power stations in the Latrobe Valley. Green groups are furious at the deal to keep what they call Australia’s dirtiest power stations at Yallourn and Loy Yang open until 2032 and 2048 respectively. [The Age]

¶ The UK is ready to provide support to Hitachi Ltd’s £20 billion ($27 billion) nuclear project in exchange for a lower guaranteed power price once the two reactors are up and running. The UK decided that amount must be less than the £92.50/MWh it had agreed to pay for power from Hinkley, the undersecretary of state for business and industry said. [Bloomberg]

Wylfa nuclear station (Christopher Furlong | Getty Images)

US:

¶ American telecom giant AT&T has announced this week a new goal to achieve “zero waste” at 100 of its facilities by the end of 2020, as part of its larger environmental commitments and policies. AT&T’s other environmental and energy achievements of this year have included a power purchase agreement for 520 MW of wind power. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Trump administration officials are making plans to order grid operators to buy electricity from struggling coal and nuclear plants in an effort to extend their life. The DOE would exercise federal emergency authority for the unprecedented intervention into US energy markets, according to a memo obtained by Bloomberg News. [Bloomberg]

Polluting power plant (Photo: Luke Sharrett | Bloomberg)

¶ Alliant Energy subsidiary Wisconsin Power and Light Company filed plans with the state’s Public Service Commission to supply its customers with electricity from a 150-MW wind farm in Iowa. The 60-turbine wind farm would be built by Invenergy, with ownership switching to Alliant on completion. The PSC’s decision is expected in early 2019. [reNews]

¶ The New York state electricity Independent System Operator released a report, 2018 Power Trends, that projected the state’s electricity demand to fall by 0.14% a year for the next decade. The ISO predicts most of this decrease will be due to behind-the-meter distributed solar power and continued energy efficiency gains. [pv magazine USA]

Statue of Liberty (National Park Service photo)

¶ The race to lead America’s self-driving car market moved up a gear. Japan’s SoftBank is putting $2.25 billion (€1.92 billion, £1.7 billion) into GM’s autonomous unit Cruise, one of the biggest single investments in self-driving technology. And Waymo, which is owned by Google, is buying up to 62,000 Fiat Chrysler minivans for its autonomous fleet. [BBC]

¶ Nevada’s NV Energy has selected 8minuteenergy, based in California, to develop the 300-MW Eagle Shadow Mountain Solar Farm in Clark County, Nevada. The project will be built on the Moapa River Indian Reservation about 30 miles north of Las Vegas, and will be the largest solar installation to date built on tribal land. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

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May 31 Energy News

May 31, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Home Battery Storage In Australia: Are We There Yet?” • There is a perfect storm of factors that make home battery storage look attractive in Australia, at least on paper. So, why aren’t Australians rushing to install battery storage? There’s no question that it is still mainly a matter of capital outlays and financial viability. [CleanTechnica]

Are we there yet?

Science and Technology:

¶ The Potsdam Institute For Climate Impact Research, which is commonly known as PIK, has published new research in the journal Nature Climate Change suggesting that the impact of local climate change related weather events, such as flooding along China’s rivers, could create ripple effects that disrupt economies around the world. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The energy efficiency of vertical farms could soon be boosted by as much as 20%. A new system developed by a student from Brunel University London. vFarm, by design student Jonny Reader, uses OLEDs (organic light-emitting diodes) and smart automation to reduce the amount of power used in vertical farming. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Vertical farm (Image ©Brunel University London)

¶ Researchers from Stanford University have determined that failure to meet climate mitigation goals of the Paris Climate Agreement could cost the planet trillions over the next century. This highlights less the climate and environmental benefits of achieving these targets but more the economic risks attendant with ignoring these targets. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Converting biomass to biocoal creates a product with similar characteristics to traditional fossil-based coal, making it a viable option for coal consumers looking to reduce their emissions. Clean Energy Generation claims that using biocoal makes it possible for existing coal-fired power plants to be sustainable without major adjustments. [CleanTechnica]

Biocoal (Image courtesy of Proud Green Building)

World:

¶ German developer Ib Vogt reached financial close on the 54.5-MW Scaldia solar farm in the Netherlands. The solar farm is already under construction on land owned by North Sea Port. HSH Nordbank is providing a €41 million debt facility for the project. Scaldia will supply electricity to Engie under a 17-year power purchase agreement (PPA). [reNews]

¶ Lithuanian state-owned electricity and gas provider Lietuvos Energija has unveiled a plan to increase renewable energy power production and pursue development in neighbouring countries. It will invest in on-shore wind, large-scale solar and biofuels. Its renewable energy assets are expected to reach 1,000 MW by 2025. [pv magazine International]

Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital (David Kosmos Smith | Flickr)

Australia:

¶ Mars Australia is going 100% renewables, and will source all the power for its six Australian factories and two offices from a 200-MW solar farm in Victoria. Mars announced that it signed a 20-year PPA with Total Eren to produce the equivalent of all its power needs from the new Kiamal solar farm when it is complete in mid-2019. [One Step Off The Grid]

¶ The Australian renewable energy sector had a record year on many fronts in 2017, the Clean Energy Council said. Sixteen large-scale renewable energy projects totalling about 700 MW were brought online during the year. Of that, 547 MW was wind capacity. But there was also 1.1 GW of rooftop solar, surpassing its record high, set in 2012. [Renewables Now]

Wind turbines (Photo: City of Melbourne)

¶ The Victoria government has announced planning approval for a new 40-MW wind farm, continuing the boom in renewable energy projects. Approval was given for the Wonwondah wind farm, also known as the Rifle Butts wind farm, to be developed by NewEn. The wind farm will feature 13 turbines on land south-west of Horsham. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Victorian dairy producer Burra Foods signed a 10-year PPA with energy retailer Flow Power for renewably generated electricity. Flow Power had earlier signed its own deal with the 240-MW Ararat wind farm, so it could provide its business customers renewable electricity that was “significantly cheaper” than power from the grid. [RenewEconomy]

Ararat Wind Farm (Photo: Ararat Wind Farm)

US:

¶ MidAmerican Energy proposed building a 591-MW wind farm and formally filed with the Iowa Utilities Board. The company said that it will be the first investor-owned electric utility in the country to generate renewable energy equal to 100% of its customers’ usage on an annual basis, when the Wind XII project is finished. [North American Windpower]

¶ Deepwater Wind’s 400-MW Revolution Wind offshore wind farm is expected to create over 800 jobs during construction and 50 permanent positions in the state of Rhode island. The developer is also planning to invest $250 million in the state, including $40 million in port investment. Work on the project could start as early as 2020. [reNews]

Block Island wind farm (Deepwater Wind)

¶ Facebook is set to build a new data center in Eagle Mountain, Utah. It will span nearly one million square feet and represent a $750 million investment in the city. The data center will be powered by 100% net-new renewable energy through Rocky Mountain power renewable energy tariffs. Facebook will develop its own water system. [KSL.com]

¶ The first large group of employees at the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in New Jersey’s Ocean County are set to leave as the nuclear plant prepares to shut down after nearly a half century of producing electricity. Exelon Corp filed notice that 84 of its workers would be ending their employment with the company, starting in June. [NJ.com]

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May 30 Energy News

May 30, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Suddenly, Solar Energy Plus Storage is Giving Conventional Fuels a Run For Their Money” • The renewables energy dynamic is changing so fast in Colorado that one Sierra Club senior campaign representative can hardly keep up with it. “I feel like we’re having to rewrite the talking points on the drawing board every month in Colorado,” he says. [Ensia]

Solar power (Photo: Douglas Murray | courtesy of FPL)

Science and Technology:

¶ The cost of building new nuclear power plants is nearly 20% higher than expected due to delays, analysis found. The study, published in the journal Energy Policy, was by researchers from Imperial College London, the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, and the University of Minho. It examined nuclear plants built from 1955 to 2016. [Tech Xplore]

World:

¶ The wind farm Donald Trump tried to block is now complete. Trump fought construction of the 11-turbine offshore wind farm at Aberdeen, but his legal challenges were overthrown in 2015. Now, the last of the turbines has been installed, completing the offshore project. The wind farm will provide approximately 70% of Aberdeen’s electricity. [Quartz]

Aberdeen wind farm (Vattenfall image)

¶ Canada will purchase Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline and related infrastructure for C$4.5 billion ($3.4 billion, £2.6 billion). The Trans Mountain extension would connect Alberta to British Columbia and triple Kinder Morgan’s capacity. The project faces fierce opposition from the government of British Columbia and environmentalists. [BBC]

¶ Tackling pollution in Paris is a centerpiece of Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s administration. She would phase out older vehicles and get rid of diesels, while offering generous subsidies for other forms of transport. A study carried out in 2016 by the French national health agency said air pollution is responsible for 48,000 deaths a year in the country. [BBC]

Paris (Getty Images)

¶ The Royal Bank of Scotland said it tightened restrictions on loans to support high-carbon energy projects and companies. The bank said it would no longer provide direct finance for new coal-fired power stations or thermal coal mines, oil sands or Arctic oil projects, and unsustainable vegetation or peatland clearance projects. [Reuters]

¶ The Times of India reported that the Indian Ministry of New & Renewable Energy had approved the establishment of the 5-GW Dholera solar power park. The project will be largest solar power park in the country and the first major development in Gujarat since the Charanka solar park that had been established under the state policy. [CleanTechnica]

Solar park in Gujarat

¶ Australia’s energy utility Snowy Hydro has invited potential energy suppliers to submit proposals with the aim to contract up to 400 MW of wind and 400 MW of solar generation. Earlier this year, the federal government announced that it will acquire stakes in the project held by New South Wales and Victoria to have full ownership. [pv magazine Australia]

¶ Marine energy developer Minesto has completed the second offshore installation phase of its DG500 project in Wales. It is the first tidal energy project in the world targeting the power of low-velocity currents. Once fully installed, the 10-MW Deep Green array will supply enough power to cover the needs of over 8,000 households. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Welsh waters (Courtesy of Minesto)

US:

¶ Amazon took the next step in powering its worldwide company operations with renewable energy by launching a 1.1-MW solar rooftop installation on the roof of its North Las Vegas fulfillment center. The rooftop project covers an area of 813,000 square feet, which is equivalent to 3 1/2 football fields, and it consists of 3,145 individual solar modules. [Las Vegas Sun]

¶ Cape Light Compact announced a substantial decrease in electricity prices for its green aggregation power supply program for the next six-month term, beginning on customers’ June 2018 meter read dates and ending on December 2018 meter read dates. The Compact’s new pricing for residential customers will be 10.6¢/kWh. [Cape Cod Today]

Cape Cod (Photo: Steve Erdelen, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Nearly two months after she called on Harvard University to divest from fossil fuels in a move she deemed necessary to “address the existential crisis of our time,” Kat Taylor, Member of the Harvard University Board of Overseers, announced her resignation in protest over the school’s failure to divest from fossil fuels. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Southern Power acquired the 100-MW Wildhorse Mountain wind farm in Oklahoma. The 29-turbine project was developed by Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc and Vestas Wind Systems A/S. It is expected to be finished in the final quarter of 2019. The power will go to the Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation. [Renewables Now]

Blue Canyon, Oklahoma (Source: RES)

¶ The Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy in Massachusetts advanced two solar power-focused bills. One is to increase the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to 35% by 2030. The other is to increase the net metering cap by 2%. Last fall, pv magazine calculated that projects worth $78 million were stalled in the state. [pv magazine USA]

¶ Microgrid companies are finding fertile turf in Alaska, with help of a competition offered by the Alaska Center for Microgrid Technologies Commercialization. The Alaska Center for Energy and Power has led work on the three-year-old competition. It provides technical and business assistance to improve microgrid technologies. [Microgrid Knowledge]

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May 29 Energy News

May 29, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “The Threat Is In The Carbon: Companies Are Undervaluing Climate-Related Risk” • Many banks face a climate data gap in identifying the energy technology exposure of the companies in their lending portfolios. They own shares of carbon-intensive firms whose business plans lead to more carbon emissions than the world can handle. [CleanTechnica]

Climate at risk

¶ “The 60-Year Downfall of Nuclear Power in the US Has Left a Huge Mess” • Sixty years ago, on May 26, 1958, America’s first commercial nuclear power station was opened at Shippingport, Pennsylvania. Today, dreams of a nuclear future with power “too cheap to meter” are all but over. What remains is the reality of a trillion-dollar cleanup. [The Atlantic]

Science and Technology:

¶ Scientists at the School of Ocean Sciences, Bangor University in Wales published the review of tidal range energy resource and optimization in the peer-reviewed journal Renewable Energy. They say a third of global electricity needs could be provided by the world’s tidal range. That is about 5,792 TWh from tidal range power plants. [Phys.org]

Wave (Credit: CC0 Public Domain)

¶ The “Renewable Hydrogen Roadmap” report was produced by EIN in partnership with the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation and the California Hydrogen Business Council. The report focuses on meeting California Governor Jerry Brown’s goal of 5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road in California by 2030, and 200 hydrogen stations by 2025. [Triple Pundit]

World:

¶ German renewables investor and asset manager Luxcara GmbH announced that it has inaugurated the 111.2-MW Egersund wind farm in Norway. The wind power plant, which consists of 33 turbines provided by German manufacturer Senvion SA, took 15 months to complete. It has been supplying power to the grid since November 2017. [Renewables Now]

Egersund wind farm inauguration (Luxcara GmbH image)

¶ The German solar energy startup sonnen is getting a €60 million ($70 million) investment from Shell a press release says. It will help sonnen develop technologies for energy sharing and a virtual battery pool. To date, sonnen has raised $85 million from GE Ventures as well as $3 million in 2013, $9.4 million in 2014, and $12 million in 2015. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Edmonton International Airport and NextStep Renewable Energy Inc have announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding to bring forward low-carbon, renewable fuels into the aviation and airport sectors using existing market-proven technologies. This will generate jobs, economic growth, and diversification in Alberta. [Skies Magazine]

Edmonton International Airport (EIA Photo)

¶ China accounts for more than two-fifths of all renewable energy jobs, with the country’s share particularly high in solar heating and cooling (83%) and in the sola photovoltaic sector (66%), though less so in wind power, according to the Renewable Energy & Jobs report from International Renewable Energy Agency. [brand-e.biz]

¶ The Indian government announced that approval has been granted to a 2.5-GW auction for wind and solar hybrid projects. Recently issued policy promotes large hybrid power plants, combining wind turbines and solar PVs to optimise the use of transmission infrastructure and land and to reduce renewable power variability. [Renewables Now]

Wind and solar together (Photo: Gerry Machen)

¶ HDF Energy launched one of the world’s largest solar-plus-storage power plants in French Guiana. The $90 million plant is expected to generate around 50 GWh per year. The facility will produce 10 MW until evening and of 3 MW during the night. Hydrogen will be used for long-term storage, with batteries short-term. [pv magazine International]

US:

¶ The chief analyst of the solar market research firm SPV Market Research, does not see that Trump’s tariffs are causing significant shrinkage in the market for utility-scale solar projects, although she forecasts some slight adjustments due to margin squeeze for the smaller business and residential applications that provide distributed generation. [CleanTechnica]

Solar array (American Public Power Association image)

¶ Around 90% of millennials understand that the climate is changing, the highest proportion of any age group. Nearly 80% think humankind must work to stem temperature rise. That includes a majority of young Republicans, most of whom see that humans are altering the climate and want the government to tackle the problem. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Ormat Technologies Inc provided an update on the Puna geothermal power plant, about 15 miles away from the Kilauea volcano. Flowing lava has covered the wellheads of two of their geothermal wells. The company cannot yet assess the extent of the damage. The lava is still flowing and may reach other wells at the plant. [DirectorsTalk Interviews]

Lava coming down a street (USGS, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ California is likely facing another year of water woes. The Sierra Nevada snowpack, which supplies up to a third of California’s water, is exceptionally meager this year. Experts found around half as much snow on the mountains as they typically would in early April, when the snowpack is historically most voluminous. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Natural gas has been the fuel of choice to replace the ageing fleet of coal power plants in the US, but lately renewables have been flexing their muscles, too. In the latest development, the energy company Ameren is counting on a new 400-MW wind farm in Missouri to help fill the void left by a slew of upcoming coal power plant retirements. [CleanTechnica]

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May 28 Energy News

May 28, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “China’s Green Shift Positions It to Overtake US in Energy, Security” • China’s air has been badly polluted. Recently, it has improved, as concentrations of PM2.5, the particulate matter that can lodge in the lungs, were down about 40% compared with 2012, in the Beijing area. But the implications of China’s move away from coal go beyond health. [Truthdig]

Great Hall of the People (Juan Cole | Informed Content)

Science and Technology:

¶ Most EVs use valuable battery power to operate climate control systems, but that can cause the range to drop by over 50%. Two methods for addressing this issue were recently presented at the Society of Automotive Engineers WCX conference. One involves increasing thermal storage and the other reducing load imposed by heating systems. [FutureCar]

World:

¶ After the usual off-season (January and February), the Chinese plug-in vehicle market is back at full charge, with 71,000 units registered in April, up 129% year over year. Overall, 2018 sales have more than doubled compared to the same period last year. Last month, the Chinese OEMs represented roughly 50% of all PEVs registered globally. [CleanTechnica]

Zhidou D2 EVs

¶ Four of the UK’s Big Six energy firms will raise prices this summer, affecting 7.4 million households, experts warned. EDF, British Gas, Scottish Power, and npower are all hiking prices in early June. Figures show an eye-watering £393.8 million will be paid in extra gas and electricity bills. Experts urged Britons to switch energy suppliers. [Express.co.uk]

¶ Scotland is set to become home to Europe’s most northerly solar farm. Despite the country often lacking in the warm, yellow stuff, an abandoned airfield in the Highlands has been earmarked for a 50 MW project that could power 15,000 homes or 19,000 electric cars for a year. Ministers have given approval for the farm in Elgin, Moray. [HeraldScotland]

Solar farm

¶ The SoftBank Group is tying up with IL&FS to develop over 20 GW of solar capacity in India by 2025 to support Prime Minister Modi’s ambitious renewable energy road map for the country. The SoftBank Group had only recently teamed up with China’s GCL System Integration Technology for a $930 million (₹6,350 crore) PV venture in India. [Economic Times]

¶ Enel Green Power Mexico inaugurated the 238-MW Don José PV plant located in San Luis de la Paz, in the Mexican state of Guanajuato. The Don José solar farm is the fifth renewable energy plant commissioned by Enel Green Power worldwide in 2018, bringing the company’s total capacity commissioned in the year to around 1 GW. [SteelGuru]

Don José solar project

¶ The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has started laying the groundwork to retrieve fuel from one of the nuclear plant’s reactor buildings. It is a crucial step toward scrapping the complex. TEPCO began work to move 615 fuel rods from a storage pool on the top floor of the No 2 reactor to a more secure location. [NHK WORLD]

¶ Vattenfall has completed turbine installation at the 93.2-MW Aberdeen Bay wind farm off Scotland. Swire Blue Ocean jack-up Pacific Orca tackled the work from the Danish port of Esbjerg. The wind farm features eleven turbines made by MHI Vestas. Nine of these have capacities of 8.4 MW each, and two are 8.8-MW models. [reNews]

Wind turbines at Aberdeen Bay (Vattenfall image)

Australia:

¶ In Western Australia, PVs are disrupting the status quo. The Australian Energy Market Operator said it had to invoke extraordinary powers designed for emergencies such as major power-plant failures or bushfires to protect the grid from soaring levels of solar output. PV output sometimes drives demand to negligible levels. [The West Australian]

¶ Renewable energy developer CWP Renewables joined forces with global private markets investment manager Partners Group to build a total of 1,300 MW of wind, solar and battery projects they say will beat coal power on price and reliability. They will begin with the 135-MW Crudine Ridge project, soon to be under construction. [RenewEconomy]

Sapphire wind farm and snow

¶ The timing of Australia’s carbon tax was “unfortunate” because it coincided with soaring electricity network costs that have underpinned increases to household bills, the head of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission told a forum in Brisbane. The ACCC is due to produce its final report on the electricity market next month. [The Guardian]

US:

¶ Community choice aggregation has spread across California. It now serves 12% of the state’s electricity demand, and it is growing fast. Local governments have embraced it as a way exert more control over their electricity supply and set their own rates while increasing their use of renewable power. But some worry about possible difficulties. [San Francisco Chronicle]

Wildflowers and PV panels (Photo: Paul Chinn | The Chronicle)

¶ The Western Energy Imbalance Market is a wholesale energy trading market that allows participating utilities around the West to buy and sell energy among one another. If one market is generating too much energy, it can sell its energy to the market next door. The market started in Oregon and California, and it is making its way to other states. [AZ Big Media]

¶ Senior EPA officials have been working closely with a conservative group that dismisses climate change to rally like-minded people for public hearings on science and global warming. Recently released emails show they also recruited help to counter negative news coverage and tout Administrator Scott Pruitt’s agency stewardship. [New York Daily News]

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May 27 Energy News

May 27, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “The Silence of the Bugs” • Fifty-six years after Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” warned of bird die-offs from pesticides, a new biocrisis may be emerging. A study published last fall, showing a 76% decline in the total seasonal biomass of flying insects netted at 63 locations in Germany over the last three decades, tells only part of the story. [The New York Times]

Artwork by Enzo Pérès-Labourdette

¶ “Climate Change Canaries and Our Changing Climate” • While some disagree over its causes, the reality of climate change is an incontrovertible fact. The planet is warming, affecting our weather and our oceans. Our growing seasons are affected, in turn having effects on our food. Crops fail, causing shortages and price hikes. [The Market Oracle]

¶ “Electric Buses A Crucial Portion Of Our Mobility Needs” • So far, the electric news limelight has been around electric sedans and SUVs. But vehicles for industrial use, fleets, and true utility services are alive and well. The e-bus market grew beyond expectation between 2016 and 2017, and we expect more of the same in 2018. [CleanTechnica]

Proterra 35-foot Catalyst bus

World:

¶ Saudi Arabia and Russia are discussing raising OPEC and non-OPEC oil production by about 1 million barrels a day, sources said, weeks after US President Donald Trump complained about artificially high prices. Raising production would ease 17 months of strict supply curbs as oil hits its highest price since late 2014 at $80.50 a barrel. [Voice of America]

¶ In three years, 20% of electricity consumed by Jordan’s water sector will be generated with renewable energy, under the Water and Irrigation Ministry’s new “self-reliance” approach, according to government officials. The ministry is currently developing five large renewable energy projects, both of solar and windpower, to reach this goal. [Jordan Times]

Solar project in Jordan (Jordan Times file photo)

¶ The recently unveiled National Wind-Solar Hybrid Policy will help India meet its target of 175-GW renewable energy capacity by 2022, which has been increased from 69 GW. Analysts say the generation costs can be cut by a quarter. By combining the technologies, both connection costs and variability of output are decreased. [Financial Express]

¶ Chile has become a model country for its advances in non-conventional energy. Now it is debating whether citizens who individually or as a group generate electricity can profit from the sale of the surplus from their self-consumption. The question will be decisive for encouraging their contribution to the energy supply. [Inter Press Service]

Rooftop solar array in Chile (Photo: Orlando Milesi | IPS)

¶ Finland and China are collaborating on open international test platforms to demonstrate flexible and clean energy systems. Finland’s Åland Islands will host a flexible energy system, based on smart grids and 100% renewable energy production. In China, the Zhangjiakou Demonstration Zone will show renewable microgrids. [Energy Live News]

¶ A deluge of investments are pouring into Nigeria’s off-grid electricity initiative, targeting key economic clusters across the country. The initiative may free a national grid system that has been unreliable even after the monopolistic National Electric Power Authority was unbundled and the power sector partly privatised in 2013. [Leadership Newspaper]

Transmission towers

¶ The ministry of New and Renewable Energy has appointed Solar Energy Corporation of India as the nodal agency for setting up 2,500 MW of inter-state transmission system-connected power projects on a build, own, operate basis across the country. This paves the way for the nodal agency to float bids for such projects. [Devdiscourse]

¶ The Taiwan Strait, the narrow sea channel between the island of Taiwan and mainland China, has become an offshore wind farms investment hotspot. But heightened geopolitical tensions in the area have raised concerns on the adequacy of insurance coverage for the sector, according to an insurer with a focus on renewable energy. [South China Morning Post]

Offshore wind turbines

US:

¶ Valley Clean Energy is a new locally governed not-for-profit electricity program that was established to deliver clean, reliable, and cost-competitive electricity to customers in three counties in central California. VCE will use higher levels of renewable energy than PG&E to deliver power at a 2.5% lower generation rate. [The People’s Vanguard of Davis]

¶ Arizona Public Service is looking for new proposals that would use the small trees and branches gathered from Arizona forests to generate up to 60 MW of power, a small portion of the energy the utility sends to customers around the state. In the forests, the fuel is a fire hazard. But the forest service has not yet moved on contracts. [Arizona Daily Sun]

Forest thinning (Jake Bacon, Arizona Daily Sun)

¶ State records show a Detroit solid-waste incinerator exceeded pollution emission rules more than 750 times over the last five years with a variety of harmful chemicals. In more than 50 instances, Detroit Renewable Power did not meet standards after investigations of complaints of odors or there were independent odor reviews. [Fairfield Citizen]

¶ The US is leading a drive to promote nuclear power worldwide, showcasing the Trump administration’s understanding of nuclear technology as a crucial source of zero-carbon electricity. Deputy Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette launched an initiative that aims to “highlight the value of nuclear energy as a clean reliable energy source.” [The Western Journal]

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May 26 Energy News

May 26, 2018

World:

¶ Uniti, the Swedish startup planning to build an all new electric car, claims pre-orders have now reached $60 million. To all those auto industry executives who whine about people not wanting to buy EVs, Uniti is the wakeup call you have been dreading. People want to buy electric cars, and if you decide not to provide them, someone else will. [CleanTechnica]

Uniti prototype

¶ A partnership between Honda Motor and Chinese battery conglomerate Contemporary Amperex Technology to develop a next-generation electric vehicle for the motor company with at least 300 km (186 miles) of range.  Based on the Honda Fit, the car would have a price of just over $18,000, and it is expected to be available in 2020. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The International Finance Corporation, which is a member of the World Bank Group, signed a mandate with the government of Uzbekistan to increase its renewable power capacity and encourage private sector investment in the country’s renewable energy sector. IFC will advise on construction and operation of a 100-MW solar PV project. [Mercom India]

Wind and sun (Flickr image)

¶ Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis Global Power Industry Outlook, 2018, posits that solar will surpass wind in global energy capacity starting in 2020, making it the fourth largest source of energy generation behind coal, gas and hydro. The report also predicts that about $2.2 trillion will be invested in new energy capacity through 2021. [CleanTechnica]

¶ With its centuries-old timber-framed houses and cobblestone lanes, Wolfhagen could easily illustrate a Grimm Brothers’ fable. But for all of its medieval charm and pastoral feel, this town of 14,000 near Frankfurt has taken a big step into the future over the past few years. Its power needs are met 106% by renewable power sources. [PRI]

Wolfhagen marketplace (Dirk Schmidt, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Finnish developer TuuliWatti is building a 21-MW subsidy-free wind farm in the Nordic country’s municipality of Ii on the Bay of Bothnia. The Viinamaki project, due for completion next year, will feature five Vestas 4.2-MW turbines. TuuliWatti calculates that the wind farm’s specifications will push production costs below €30/MWh (3.5¢/kWh). [reNews]

¶ The Electricity Supply Board and Bord na Móna announced the €160 million ($186.5 million) Oweninny wind project in Ireland has reached financial close. The 89-MW wind farm will be located in North County Mayo, between Crossmolina and Bangor Erris, on a site where peat was formerly harvested and burned for power. [Energy Live News]

County Mayo in Ireland (Shutterstock image)

¶ UK utility SSE Plc said it plans to invest £6 billion ($8 billion, €6.9 billion) over the next five years in the UK and Ireland, with 70% of that in regulated electricity networks and renewable energy. The plans include £350 million for a natural gas plant. In the first year of the five, SSE’s capital spending is expected to be about £1.7 billion. [Renewables Now]

¶ Britain’s hopes for a number of new nuclear power stations could collapse if the government and Hitachi fail to make a breakthrough on talks for a plant in Wales, a top nuclear lobbyist warned. The deal would work if the government offered a guaranteed price of power of almost twice the wholesale cost of electricity. [The Guardian]

Construction at Hinkley Point C (Toby Melville | Reuters)

US:

¶ Two utilities, Vistra Energy Corp and Dominion Energy Inc, which serve about 5.5 million electricity customers in more than a dozen US states, both say they are done building combined-cycle natural gas-fired power plants. Instead, they are building large solar plants, which offer them plentiful and inexpensive electricity. [Reuters]

¶ General Electric’s shares plunged 7% on May 23, their worst one-day decline since an 8.4% slide in April 2009. The economic health of GE and other the large power equipment makers may hinge on how utilities handle the expected wave of power plant retirements. Mitsubishi said it expects orders for steam and gas turbines to run dry by 2020. [Utility Dive]

Jenbacher J620 gas generator

¶ Widespread adoption of solar and wind power could lower the wholesale price of electricity dramatically and change electric power systems profoundly, according to a study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Nuclear and fossil fuel power plants would struggle to compete. The change will complicate grid management. [Wyoming Business Report]

¶ GTM Research projects 24¢/W solar panels and utility scale fixed-tilt systems costing 70¢/W by 2022. This would open up new possibilities for ultra-cheap power. The cost of electricity from such systems could fall to 1.5¢/kWh or lower. Trump’s solar panel tariffs may delay that goal, but they are set to phase out by 2022. [pv magazine International]

Solar array (Soltec image)

¶ The New Orleans City Council signed off on an investigation into the use of paid actors to support an Entergy plan for a new power plant in New Orleans East. The council vote to release a request for proposals for a third-party consultant to look into the matter was unanimous. The council also plans to look into earlier similar incidents. [The Advocate]

¶ The Sierra Club and others are accusing US regulators of violating clean water rules by repeatedly delaying action on a discharge permit for the coal-fired Four Corners Power Plant, which provides power to customers in three states. They filed papers in federal court over exposure to pollutants that wind up in the San Juan River. [Electric Light and Power]

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May 25 Energy News

May 25, 2018

World:

¶ BYD landed its first SkyRail contract in South America with a deal with the Brazilian city of Salvador that will see a twenty-kilometer stretch of the overhead light rail system running over the water. The $689 million project is broken up into two phases, with construction on the first phase to begin in the last quarter of 2018. [CleanTechnica]

SkyRail demonstration in Shenzhen

¶ London-based Pivot Power unveiled plans to build a world-first 2-GW network of grid-scale batteries and rapid electric vehicle charging stations across the UK. The £1.6 billion ($2.1 billion) program will provide infrastructure to support the adoption of EVs and it will store electrical energy provided by renewable resources. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ Russian power company TGC-1 has struck a deal with the Leningrad Oblast administration for the development of a 50-MW wind farm in the country’s north-west region. Governor Aleksandr Drozdenko and TGC-1 general director Alexey Barvinok signed a cooperation agreement for the project located on the coast of the Gulf of Finland. [reNews]

Wind turbines (MorgueFile image)

¶ ESS Inc, US maker of the only flow battery with a chemistry based on iron and saltwater electrolytes, is making its first move into the Brazilian energy storage market. A 50-kW/400-kWh test unit will be deployed and integrated together with 100 kW of PV, allowing for several hours of energy storage of onsite generated electricity. [Energy Storage News]

¶ China’s energy regulator ordered local authorities to consider grid capacity when selecting new wind power projects to ensure that no more than 5% of their electricity is wasted. The National Energy Administration said priority for construction should be given to wind farms that can deliver electricity to different regional grids. [South China Morning Post]

Chinese wind turbine (Photo: Xinhua)

¶ The Scottish government has published a draft climate change bill setting out a target to reduce carbon emissions by 90% by 2050. The legislation stopped short of committing to a 100% reduction in emissions, known as “net-zero.” Holyrood said the UK Committee on Climate Change has decreed the 90% target is “at the limit of feasibility.” [reNews]

Australia:

¶ Climate change is “a current and existential national security risk,” and “threatens the premature extinction of [the Earth’s] intelligent life or the permanent and drastic destruction of its potential for desirable future development,” an Australian Senate report said. But the report’s findings and its recommendations appear to be disconnected. [RenewEconomy]

Burning Australian savanna (CSIRO image)

¶ South Australia will push ahead with a plan to install Tesla battery systems in 50,000 homes. The new state government is committed to the pro-battery agenda of its predecessor. The deal to create what is being called the world’s largest virtual power plant appears to have survived political changes from Labor to Liberal dominance. [ABC Online]

¶ UPC Renewables hopes to advance both the biggest solar project in New South Wales and Australia’s biggest wind farm after bringing in a major investor. AC Energy, a subsidiary of Ayala Corporation, based in the Philippines, have a 50% share of UPC’s Australian business with an investment of A$40 million ($30 million). [RenewEconomy]

Tasmanian windpower (Andrew Baker, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ New Hampshire regulators voted unanimously not to give Eversource a new hearing for its Northern Pass power line proposal. The case is likely to go to the state’s Supreme Court. Eversource argued the state Site Evaluation Committee failed to consider details of the power line proposal before denying its permit. [New Hampshire Public Radio]

¶ New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation that will move the state’s electricity mix to 50% renewable by 2030 and codifies the largest state commitment to offshore wind power. State law now commits the state of New Jersey to develop 3,500 MW of offshore wind, enough to power over one million average homes. [Windpower Engineering]

Wind turbines

¶ ForeFront Power and Los Altos School District in California celebrated the completion of solar canopy systems across nine District schools today. LASD used a power purchase agreement to get solar energy at no upfront cost.  The 1.4-MW portfolio is now delivering clean energy to the schools at a price below their grid rate. [PR Newswire]

¶ Electricity generation from solar resources in the US reached 77 million MWh in 2017, surpassing for the first time annual generation from biomass resources, which generated 64 million MWh in 2017. Among renewable sources, only hydro and wind generated more electricity in 2017, at 300 million MWh and 254 million MWh, respectively. [CleanTechnica]

Solar thermal plant (US Bureau of Land Management image)

¶ The future of Exelon’s unprofitable Three Mile Island nuclear power plant looks even bleaker. The company said it failed at an annual auction for the future electricity sales. Exelon’s Dresden and Byron plants, both in Illinois, also failed in the 2021-2022 auction to supply the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regional power grid. [StateImpact Pennsylvania]

¶ A bill that would have provided more cost-recovery certainty for two Minnesota nuclear plants was not acted on before the end of the legislative session, effectively killing the measure. It would have allowed Xcel Energy to submit proposals to the Public Utilities Commission to designate the plants as carbon-reduction facilities. [POWER magazine]

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May 24 Energy News

May 24, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “The Pros & Cons Of Biofuels” • Even if governments wanted to change every car to an electric car, every medieval style of energy inefficient house to be exemplary in high-tech modernity and carbon neutrality, and every electricity generator to operate without burning fossil fuels, the goal could not be achieved in an afternoon. [CleanTechnica]

Different kinds of Biomass

¶ “Bitcoin Or Not, Here’s Why Concentrating Solar Power Is The New Nuclear” • The Department of Energy made the case for nuclear energy in a blog post arguing that nuclear energy provides a “clean, reliable, and resilient source of electricity” for growing needs. But nuclear has a problem. We have solar power and other clean options. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶ SeaTwirl is part of research project assessing the fatigue of vertical axis wind turbines. The project is being run by the Swedish Wind Power Technology Centre, the Research Institutes of Sweden, and Chalmers University of Technology. It will focus on coming up with the most robust design as possible for a turbine, the partners said. [reNews]

Vertical turbines (SeaTwirl image)

World:

¶ Facebook and European asset manager Luxcara have entered into long-term power purchase agreements for 100% of the output and environmental attributes of three contiguous wind projects in southwest Norway. The projects will consist of 70 wind turbines of 4.2 MW each and should reach commercial operation in Q4 2019. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ A new Bloomberg New Energy Finance report focused on electric buses forecasts a surge in electric bus sales to 84% of global new bus sales by 2030. The report forecasts that electric cars will follow, but at a slower pace, reaching 28% of new car sales in 2030. But the forecasts highlight the risk of nearly single-sourced cobalt. [CleanTechnica]

Traffic with BYD buses in Shenzhen

¶ Argentina’s president Mauricio Macri inaugurated the 100-MW Ingeniero Mario Cebreiro wind park in Bahia Blanca, Buenos Aires province. The wind farm, made up of 29 wind turbines, is a project of Argentina-based power company Pampa Energia SA. There are two other parks under construction in the same region, each of 50 MW. [Renewables Now]

¶ Siemens Gamesa is testing a redox flow energy storage system at the company’s La Plana research and development site near Zaragoza, Spain. The redox flow system is connected to the hybrid controller of a combined wind and PV generation system, and is supplementing the lithium-ion batteries that are already in use at the site. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Hybrid renewable system

¶ Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet has agreed to compensate utilities up to €1 billion for income lost due to the planned phaseout of nuclear power, the German environment ministry said. In 2016, a Constitutional Court ruled that a decision to decommission nuclear power stations by the end of 2022 violated property rights. [StreetInsider.com]

¶ Corrosion and holes were found in ventilation ducts in the central control rooms for 12 reactors at seven Japanese nuclear power plants. They could have exposed workers to radioactive materials in the event of an accident, Japan’s nuclear watchdog reported. One of the plants was TEPCO’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Niigata Prefecture. [Asahi Shimbun]

Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Station (IAEA image)

US:

¶ Massachusetts made a big step forward in its push to rely more on renewable energy by agreeing to purchase 800 MW of offshore wind power from Vineyard Wind. The New Bedford-based company was one of three competing for the contract. The proposed farm is poised to become the largest offshore wind farm in the country. [WCAI]

¶ The state of Rhode Island has selected Deepwater Wind, the Providence company that built the nation’s first offshore wind farm, to develop a 400-MW proposal in federal waters far off the coast that would be more than 10 times the size of the Block Island demonstration project. Gov Gina Raimondo announced the surprise decision. [The Providence Journal]

Block Island wind farm

¶ A Vermont food company, whose products are on store shelves throughout New England, is now making its coffee using an emerging power source that’s gentler on the environment. The coffee beans look the same, dark brown as always, but the energy that now fuels operations at the Vermont Coffee Company in Middlebury is green. [NECN]

¶ The City of Norman, Oklahoma, committed to transition to 100% clean and renewable energy, according to the Sierra Club, which said Norman is the first city in Oklahoma to make the commitment. Norman’s City Council unanimously adopted the resolution, committing the city to use 100% clean energy for electricity by 2035. [Solar Industry]

Oklahoma

¶ The future of wind power in North Carolina may be decided in coming weeks by lawmakers who could revisit fears that giant turbines threaten national security in a state, which has a heavy military presence. The Defense Department Defense already has authority to put restrictions on wind turbines that could interfere with operations. [InsideClimate News]

¶ Legislation that authorizes $300 million annually to rescue New Jersey’s nuclear energy industry has been signed into law. Gov Phil Murphy also signed a measure aimed at strengthening the state’s renewable energy goals. The nuclear measure will be funded by ratepayers, but the cost of the renewable energy legislation is unclear. [PennEnergy]

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May 23 Energy News

May 23, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “A 100 percent renewable grid isn’t just feasible, it’s already happening” • The ongoing debate around whether it is feasible to have an electric grid running on 100% renewable power in the coming decades often misses one key point: There are many countries and regions that are already at or close to being 100% renewably powered now. [ThinkProgress]

Chinese solar farm (STR | AFP | Getty Images)

¶ “How renewables can provide the same grid services as new gas plants” • Nearly 500 GW of coal, gas, and nuclear plants in the US are likely to retire by 2030. That is about half of the existing thermal generator fleet. Replacing them will require investments of about $500 billion, but they can be replaced with reliable and inexpensive renewable power. [RenewEconomy]

¶ “Waiting for cheaper renewables can cost more in the long run” • Waiting for the price to come down before switching to a new technology may sound like being frugal. But for electrical grids, what saves you money now could cost you much more in the long run, according to a study led by Imperial College London’s Clara Heuberger. [Ars Technica]

Offshore wind (Paul | Flickr)

World:

¶ Following on the heels of a deal for 500 electric refuse trucks in Shenzhen a few days ago, BYD announced another deal for an impressive 200 electric refuse trucks in Indaiatuba, Brazil. The electric refuse weigh in at 21 metric tons when fully loaded. The first twenty of the trucks will be delivered in September, and the rest over 5 years. [CleanTechnica]

¶ As the existential threat of climate change grows, people and communities across the world are growing frustrated with governments dragging their feet on environmental policy. The village of Tyalgum, New South Wales, is going off the grid. And for the people in this bohemian town in Australia’s east coast hinterland, the stakes are high. [CNET]

Tyalgum, New South Wales

¶ The Netherlands has announced that it will ban the use of coal for electricity generation from 2030 onwards, and that the two oldest plants must close by the end of 2024. Germany utility company RWE has deemed the plan “ill judged.” But according to Carbon Tracker, over half of all European coal-burning power plants are losing money. [CleanTechnica]

¶ In France, development company Fonroche will drill the second well of its future deep geothermal power plant near Strasbourg. The first well for the future geothermal power plant in Fonroche has yielded promising results. The second well will be used to create a geothermal doublet, without hydraulic fracturing. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

Geothermal drilling rig in Germany (source: Herrenknecht)

¶ The Taishan power station, operated by China General Nuclear Power Corp, is being loaded with its first nuclear fuel. It is set to become the first plant to operate a European Pressurized Reactor within months. The Franco-German technology has been hit by delays and cost overruns since it was designed in the 1990s, but France is pinning hopes on it. [OZY]

¶ Azure Power secured rights to develop four 50-MW solar farms in the Indian state of Maharashtra. The solar projects will deliver electric power to Maharashtra State Power Generation Company under a 25-year power purchase agreement at 4.7¢/kWh. They are set to be commissioned in 2019 and will take Azure Power’s total capacity to over 2 GW. [reNews]

Solar farm (Azure Power image)

US:

¶ The Oregon Public Utility Commission has declined to acknowledge a short list of four Wyoming wind power projects from a request for proposals by PacifiCorp, saying the process was not sufficiently competitive. PacifiCorp said it will move ahead with the $3.5 billion wind and transmission expansion anyway. [Portland Business Journal]

¶ The American Wind Energy Association says that the number of contracts signed for wind power projects hit a record of 3,500 MW in the first quarter of 2018, a possible predictor of a strong year for wind power. Among the news items it cited was an announcement by PacifiCorp of a plan for a $2 billion wind farm in Wyoming. [Energy Manager Today]

Wind farm

¶ In its Corporate Responsibility Report, Xcel Energy announced it cut carbon emissions 35%, putting itself on track to reach its ambitious goal of reducing carbon emissions 60% by 2030 from 2005 levels. This means that Xcel Energy is a step closer to achieving one of the most aggressive carbon-reduction goals in the industry. [POWER magazine]

¶ Portland General Electric Co, which serves 877,000 Oregon customers, opened bidding on a request for proposals for 100 average MW of renewable power resources. Proposals can include geothermal, biomass, biogas, solar, wind, or hydropower. PGE  is looking for projects at least 10 MW to be added to its portfolio by 2021. [Renewables Now]

Wind farm (Tony Webster, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Research on nearly 700 North American fish species predicts Atlantic cod habitat could shrink by as much as 90% by century’s end and that lobster populations could shift 200 miles farther north due to climate change. A separate research project suggests Maine’s soft-shell clam industry could collapse because of the warming waters. [Press Herald]

¶ New Jersey Gov Phil Murphy plans to sign a bill requiring utility customers to spend over $300 million a year to rescue struggling nuclear power plants run by Exelon Corp and Public Service Enterprise Group Inc, an informed source said. He is also expected to sign a bill calling for  50% of the state’s electricity to be from renewables by 2030. [Bloomberg]

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May 22 Energy News

May 22, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Officials tried to censor a report on national parks. Here’s what was in it.” • The Trump administration attempted to release a report from the National Park service about dangers to National Parks from rising sea levels with all references to climate change removed. It identified human-caused climate change as the main culprit behind the rising sea levels. [Grist]

Acadia (Nate Parker Maine Photography | Getty Images)

World:

¶ When Shell holds its annual meeting, shareholders will be asked to support a resolution from the Dutch group Follow This, which demands the company clearly state how it will transition away from being a traditional oil company to leading in renewable energy. Follow This has the support of some major institutional investors. [CleanTechnica]

¶ An independent analysis from Imperial College London found that Gravitricity’s gravity-fed energy storage system may offer a better long-term cost of energy storage than batteries or other potentially available alternatives. The report makes comparisons among the various systems based on their levelized costs of storage. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Gravitricity storage system (Gravitricity image)

¶ Scientists from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden say that an array of new technological achievements relating to gasification of biomass has an impressive potential for the switch to renewable energy. The researchers say the new systems they are putting forward could be even be applied at existing plants worldwide. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ Using electric car battery packs for large-scale energy storage projects is becoming increasingly common. A new one made of BMW i3 battery packs has been connected to the UK National Grid and is one of the largest to date. The project has five units the size of shipping containers, each with 500 i3 BMW battery packs, each with a 33-kWh capacity. [Electrek]

Vattenfall turbines and BMW i3 batteries

¶ Russia’s first floating nuclear power plant arrived in Murmansk, where it will take on nuclear fuel. It is on its way to an isolated area in eastern Russian. The state company behind the plant says it could be a pioneer power source for remote regions, but green campaigners are concerned about the risks it poses of nuclear accidents. [Daily Sabah]

Australia:

¶ Documents obtained under Freedom of Information say the Liddell power station is allowed to emit nearly three times as much nitrogen oxide as is considered best practice. Liddell, in New South Wales, is permitted to emit 1,400 µg of NOx per cubic meter; less than 500 µg per cubic meter is considered an international standard. [ABC Online]

Liddell power station

¶ Some Australian Coalition politicians want AGL punished for refusing either to sell the Liddell coal-burning power plant or to keep it open. They propose changes to fine it heavily or have it face class action. AGL would replace Liddell with a gas-fired plant, upgrades at another coal plant, and renewable energy generation. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

¶ Australian power companies can lead in the clean energy transformation, but must fully integrate renewables, Catherine Tanna, Energy Australia’s managing director, told Bloomberg. She said coal will continue to have a role in Australian energy, but she said she does not think Australia will build any new coal-fired power stations. [Energy Matters]

Australian solar farm (Grahamec, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The main union representing workers at the doomed and decrepit Liddell power station has welcomed AGL Energy’s plan to transition the asset to a clean energy hub, even as conservative politicians insist on a forced sale of the asset to another buyer. The union praised AGL for striking a balance that secures future jobs. [RenewEconomy]

¶ The new coal plants former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has proposed will be uncompetitive in a power grid with increasingly higher shares of renewable energy, the head of Snowy Hydro told the Senate. He said wind and solar energy could outcompete coal power because their short run marginal cost of supply was zero. [The Australian Financial Review]

Snow Hydro turbines (Ear1grey, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ Ameren Missouri has agreed to buy a 400-MW wind farm in the northeast of the state from an affiliate of developer Terra-Gen, once the project is completed. The 175-turbine wind farm will be located in Adair and Schuyler counties, with construction expected to kick off in summer 2019, according to a statement from Ameren. [reNews]

¶ EDP Renewables North America is to sell power from its 50-MW Hidalgo 2 wind farm in Texas to an unnamed client under a 15-year power purchase agreement. The project is expected to start operations in 2019. EDPR said it has now secured over 1.6 GW of long-term PPAs for US wind projects being built between 2016 and 2020. [reNews]

Wind farm and cattle (EDPR image)

¶ Power producers are rushing to build natural gas plants and pipelines to replace retiring coal, but in less than 10 years much of that infrastructure will be more expensive to operate than the cost to build new renewables, analysis released by the Rocky Mountain Institute says. That would leave investors saddled with billions in stranded assets. [Forbes]

¶ A University of Colorado research scientist said she was “extremely happy” the National Park Service released a study on sea level rise even though it “probably destroyed” her career doing agency research. Maria Caffrey refused to accept NPS corrections that are said to have removed words linking global warming to human activity. [The Western Journal]

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May 21 Energy News

May 21, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “This Clean Energy Champion Is Out To Break Vietnam’s Coal Habit” • The Goldman Environmental Prize for grassroots advocacy was awarded to its first Vietnamese recipient, 42-year-old clean energy champion, Nguy Thi Khanh, who hopes to end Vietnam’s reliance on coal and persuade the country to take a greener approach. [Forbes]

Vietnamese woman making cakes of dried coal dust to
fuel a kiln (Photo: Eye Ubiquitous | UIG via Getty Images)

World:

¶ Sales of BMW electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles are up more than 49% year over year in 2018. BMW’s EV sales are up nicely so far this year, 73% in the US and 25% in the UK. But EV sales have surged far more in China, where sales are up 646%, thanks largely to a new, locally produced plug-in hybrid electric version of the 5 Series sedan. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Energiekontor, based in Germany, reached financial close on the 8.2-MW Withernwick 2 wind farm in Yorkshire. The project will feature four 2.05-MW turbines. Energiekontor said it will be the first wind farm in the UK to be built without subsidies. The facility is expected to be commissioned in the first quarter of 2019, the company said. [reNews]

Wind farm (Pixabay image)

¶ South Africa is set to commission its first solar-powered desalination plant at the end of October 2018 in the Western Cape. The project is to be co-funded, partly by the Western Cape Government through the drought relief fund, and partly by the French Treasury, through a fund for implementing innovative green technologies. [ESI Africa]

¶ Enel Green Power Espana unveiled plans to build over 320 MW of wind and solar parks in Spain next year. The company, which is a subsidiary of Spanish energy company Endesa SA, will invest €280 million ($329.6 million) in the plan. It foresees deployment of 64 MW of wind and 260 MW of PV capacity in Andalusia and Extremadura. [Renewables Now]

Wind turbines in Spain (petter palander, CC-BY-SA 2.0)

¶ Drax Group will lead a £400,000 trial to capture and store carbon at its north Yorkshire power station. The technology has repeatedly failed to get off the ground in the UK. The company was part of earlier efforts to build a £1 billion prototype carbon capture coal plant, but pulled out in 2015 after it missed out on renewable energy subsidies. [The Guardian]

Australia:

¶ After months of pressure from the Australian government either to keep the old coal-fired plant open longer than planned or to sell it to somebody who will, the AGL board has decided to proceed with its original plan to close it. AGL said that an offer it got was in its best interests of neither the company nor its shareholders. [The Singleton Argus]

Liddell power station

¶ Renewable energy developer RES Australia plans to build a 176-MW solar farm with battery storage in South Australia. The company said the solar farm would supply enough electricity to the National Electricity Market to meet the needs of 82,000 homes, and it would store dispatchable energy for later use in lithium-ion battery banks. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Neoen, based in France, secured development approval by the state of Queensland for a $300 million (US$225.4 million, €191.5 million) wind-plus-battery project at Kaban. Planning minister Cameron Dick said the 29 turbines at the wind farm would have a capacity of 5.5 MW each, which would produce a total capacity of close to 160 MW. [Renewables Now]

Windy Hill Wind Farm (Leonard Low, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Tasmania’s renewable energy surge continues, with an early works construction agreement signed for a $300 million wind farm in the Central Highlands. Goldwind Australia’s Cattle Hill wind farm is expected to generate enough power for over 60,000 homes. It will create up to 150 jobs for construction and about 10 permanent jobs. [The Advocate]

¶ French renewable energy developer Neoen has received the council planning approval it needed for the Western Downs green power hub, a solar farm of up to 500 MW with battery storage, in south-west Queensland. It consists of up to 1,500 hectares of ground mounted solar panels and 2 hectares of battery energy storage. [RenewEconomy]

Site for solar farm and battery storage facility

US:

¶ Utilities are welcoming a historic rooftop solar building code in California, but urging caution with its implementation to protect non-solar customers. Utilities and solar developers are calling at the same time for a dialogue among stakeholders to effectively integrate additional rooftop solar into the grid. The new code is to be effective in 2020. [Utility Dive]

¶ Qualcomm Inc has been developing motor vehicle static charging technology with major carmakers for the past seven years. The company announced that its system is expected to be commercially available on EVs within two years, based on the fact that the cost of static wireless charging is now comparable with conductive charging. [Solar Magazine]

Solar Roadway project (Source: Designboom)

¶ The new era of big batteries has already drawn scrutiny after fiery electric-car crashes in both America and Europe. US city planners worry about a similar risk of hard-to-control blazes, if power-storage units make their way into basements and onto rooftops. So far, deployment of large batteries within buildings has been limited. [The Seattle Times]

¶ The abandonment of two nuclear reactors at the VC Summer Nuclear Station generated headlines and riled South Carolina lawmakers, but a similar scenario played out at the Savannah River Site near Aiken. The weapons-to-fuel project is decades behind schedule and its final cost increase the initial estimates by 12 times. [Charleston Post Courier]

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May 20 Energy News

May 20, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “A ‘hostile environment’ for renewables: Why has UK clean energy investment plummeted?” • Headlines suggest renewable energy in Britain is booming. Windpower has overtaken nuclear. More days pass without using coal. But the reality is government indifference leading to “dramatic and worrying collapse” in green investment. [The Independent]

Wind turbine in the UK (Nigel Cox, Wikimedia Commons)

Science and Technology:

¶ The alternative energy revolution, based on such renewable energy sources as wind, solar, and geothermal being fed into the overall electrical grid, is reviving an argument Thomas Edison and Nicola Tesla had well over a century ago. The grid supplies AC power, but renewable energy sources such as solar and batteries are DC. [RTInsights]

¶ Global warming is on track to cause a major wipeout of insects, compounding already severe losses, according to a new analysis. Insects are vital to most ecosystems and a widespread collapse would cause extremely far-reaching disruption to life on Earth, and scientists warn that much more carbon needs to be cut than nations have promised. [theindependentbd.com]

Monarch butterflies (Joel Sartore | NG | Getty Images)

World:

¶ Hybrid power plants, microgrids, and energy storage systems are set to transform the power sector in the Indian state of Kerala, as it seeks to enlarge the share of renewable energy in its power supply. An example is a 25-kW grid-connected hybrid system with rooftop solar panels and diesel generators to provide power to 25 families. [The Hindu]

¶ A broadly consensus view among financiers, business owners, and energy experts at the African Utility Week conference in Cape Town this week is that Eskom, the debt-laden South African generator and distributor of electricity, is the biggest stumbling block to developing affordable, clean power in the country. They say it should be unbundled. [Fin24]

Coal power plant (Gerhard Roux, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Construction has started on the A$240 million ($180 million) Yarranlea solar farm west of Toowoomba, Queensland. The 121-MW project will create 200 jobs and generate enough electricity to power about 32,000 homes. Once completed, about 400,000 solar panels, each 1×2 meters, will dot the sprawling 250 hectares at Yarranlea. [Chronicle]

¶ Husband and wife Reverend Canon John and Elizabeth Sheen have had a wind turbine in their back garden on the Isle of Man for years. Elizabeth said, “The windmill is a joy and helps the pension very much. It generates electricity straight to the MUA, which counts out how many units have been produced. You then get a bill.” [Isle of Man Today]

The Sheens and their turbine

¶ The number of storage tanks for contaminated water and other materials is still increasing at Fukushima Daiichi, and space for still more tanks is approaching the limit. It is seven years since an earthquake and tsunami overwhelmed Fukushima and a way to get rid of treated water, or tritium water, has still not been decided. [New Zealand Herald]

US:

¶ Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation has entered into a power purchase agreement with Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc, of Broomfield, Colorado, to purchase up to 100 MW of electric power. The solar power will be produced by an 800-acre solar farm near Crossett, Arkansas, to be completed in 2021. [Texarkana Gazette]

Solar power in Dawson County, Texas. (Submitted photo)

¶ Jonathan Naughton, director of the University of Wyoming’s Wind Energy Research Center, expects that in the next five to seven years up to 5,000 MW of wind power could be built in the state. That is three times the capacity of Wyoming’s current fleet of wind projects. The local utilities want wind power because it is inexpensive. [Casper Star-Tribune Online]

¶ When a New Mexico electric cooperative anxious to lower its rates and pursue greater use of renewable energy learned that doing so would cost it a net $37 million exit fee from its contract with its wholesale power provider, it did what once might have been unthinkable. Now co-op other members are weighing their options. [The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel]

Wind turbines (Photo: Willie Petersen)

¶ Columbia University Professor Jeffrey Sachs said the world’s ways of producing and using energy need to change “much faster, much more dramatically” than political leaders looking to tap hydrocarbon reserves understand. Sachs, a prominent American economist, was speaking at a conference in Cyprus about climate challenges. [El Paso Inc]

¶ Denver International Airport first installed solar power for sustainability reasons in 2008. Now, it has 11.6 MW of solar capacity, with most of the electricity being sold back to the grid. A 2015 survey indicated that the nation’s airports had 70 solar projects. Now more are coming, as the airports consider what to do with open land. [Longview News-Journal]

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May 19 Energy News

May 19, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Solar and wind are coming. And the power sector isn’t ready.” • The US electricity system is at an extremely uncertain juncture. Increasingly, indicators point toward a future in which wind and solar power play a large role. Things will look different when we have lots of variable renewable energy, a study from Lawrence Berkeley National Lab says. [Vox]

Times change (USFWS Mountain-Prairie, Wikimedia Commons)

Science and Technology:

¶ Research into the decline in carbon dioxide emissions in the US between 2007 and 2013 shows that it is actually more complex than thought. Most experts attributed the decline to a drop in energy demand and increasing use of natural gas in the energy mix. But they have failed to understand the importance of renewables. [Science Trends]

¶ Could renewable sources meet 100 percent of our energy demand? Yes, according to new research which scrutinises the arguments against. “There are no roadblocks on the way to a 100% renewable future,” the research states, while pointing out that existing research already holds the answers to the common objections raised. [New Atlas]

Crescent Dunes (Murray Foubister, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Mysterious, ghostlike “whistler waves” that are normally created by lightning could protect nuclear fusion reactors from runaway electrons, new research suggests. These whistler waves are naturally found high above ground in the ionosphere, a layer of Earth’s atmosphere at altitudes of about 50 to 600 miles (80 to 1000 km). [Live Science]

¶ In the last 15 years, polar bear hunters in eastern Greenland have had to adapt their hunting practices because of climate change, according to a new survey published this week in the journal Frontiers in Maritime Science. Hunters said that since 2006, the region has had increasing numbers of polar bears coming into towns. [CBC.ca]

Polar bear with cub (Elisha Dacey | CBC)

World:

¶ Moldova, a small country in eastern Europe, imports three-quarters of its energy and has seen its energy prices rise by more than half in the past five years. But that could soon change, the UN Development Program said. It plans to launch an innovative effort to power a Moldovan university with cryptocurrency-funded solar energy. [Saudi Gazette]

¶ The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is organizing a loan together with the Clean Technology Fund and the Asian Development Bank to fund construction of a 50-MW solar power plant in central Kazakhstan. It is to be the first joint internationally financed project for Kazakhstan’s renewable energy. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Solar array construction in Kazakhstan (EBRD image)

¶ Renewable energy costs are falling worldwide, but there are few signs that the Philippines are moving away from coal, despite its ratifying the Paris Agreement to curb climate change and passing laws pushing for a shift to renewable energy. A 400% tax hike on imported coal may signal a shift in the government’s attitude towards the fossil fuel. [Reuters]

¶ After the evacuation of 2,000 residents at risk from floodwaters in northwestern Colombia, tens of thousands more were put on alert as engineers struggled to contain the damage at a giant hydroelectric dam project that its owners admitted is in danger of collapse. The dam is under construction, and is threatened by premature water rise. [Toronto Star]

Landslide at dam (Joaquin Sarmiento | AFP | Getty Images)

¶ India’s renewable energy sector, including the solar and wind power generation segments, could create between 2 million and 4.5 million new job opportunities over the next 25 years, according to a new detailed study of the country’s energy sector. Green energy sectors are clearly better investment opportunities than fossil fuels. [ETEnergyworld.com]

US:

¶ The city of San Francisco and its Municipal Transportation Agency announced that all public buses operating in the city will be electric no later than 2035. To achieve that goal, new buses purchased in 2025 and thereafter will be battery operated. Reaching that goal will require a significant expansion of SFMTA’s charging infrastructure. [CleanTechnica]

San Francisco (Lili Popper, unsplash.com)

¶ The National Park Service released a report showing risks to national parks from sea level rise and storms. Report drafts obtained earlier by Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting showed officials had deleted every mention of humans causing climate change. But after a long delay, the report was published with the references restored. [Reveal]

¶ Consumers Energy and DTE Energy announced new goals in Michigan of 50% clean energy by 2030. The aim is to achieve this target through a combination of renewable investments (of at least 25%) and energy efficiency. They will be retiring coal-burning power plants, replacing them with of wind and solar generating facilities. [Windpower Engineering]

Lake Michigan lighthouse

¶ CleanChoice Energy, a renewable energy company providing 100% clean electricity to customers, has been chosen by the City of Takoma Park, Maryland, to supply residents and businesses with renewable energy on an opt-in basis. The new partnership reflects Takoma Park’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions citywide. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ A report from Microsoft Corp shows significant energy and carbon emissions reduction potential from use of the Microsoft Cloud, compared with on-premises datacenters. These gains can be as much as 93% for energy efficiency and 98% for carbon efficiency. They are partly due to Microsoft’s use of renewable energy. [Global Banking And Finance Review]

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