Archive for the 'wind' Category

July 20 Energy News

July 20, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ The energy costs of operating the world’s largest oil fields can rise dramatically as extraction rates begin dropping, according to a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change. As extraction begins to ramp down, the net energy from the process can begin to fall rapidly, so that each unit of oil becomes more carbon intensive. [CleanTechnica]

Offshore oil structure

¶ Global asset manager Schroders launched a Climate Progress Dashboard designed to provide investors “a unique insight” into the global progress towards limiting global warming to the 2°C target and the overall progress of the transition to a low-carbon global economy. It currently says we are on path for a 4°C rise in temperature. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ Eddie O’Connor’s Mainstream Renewable Power’s plans to develop a £2 billion ($2.59 billion) wind farm off the Scottish coast passed a significant legal milestone. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds was denied the right to appeal an earlier court decision to the Scottish supreme court, paving the way for the development. [Irish Times]

Moon over wind turbines

¶ The European Investment Bank has this week approved new financing worth a total of €12.4 billion for projects all over the world, including €4.3 billion for new renewable energy and security of energy supply schemes. It is also investing in support of rail, road, air, and maritime transport systems around the world. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Toyota announced a “Virtual Power Plant” project in Toyota City, Japan utilizing its popular 2nd generation Prius Plug-In (called Prius Prime in the US), focusing on local production and local consumption of renewable electricity. Delayed charging of the cars provides one of several elements for regulating power on the demand side. [InsideEVs]

Toyota Prius Plug-In at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show

¶ Major utility EnergyAustralia has signed a long-term deal to buy 100 MW of the output from a yet to be built solar farm in New South Wales, marking its fifth renewable energy PPA in just seven months. The deal is yet another coup for Neoen, a French renewables developer, which is building the solar farm in New South Wales. [RenewEconomy]

¶ The Nordex Group won an installation contract for the Pays Chaumontais wind farm, 250 km southwest of Paris in Jonchery. With a capacity of 14.4 MW, the project will comprise six N117/2400 turbines to be installed in the first quarter of 2018. The contract includes delivery, operation and maintenance for a period of 16 years. [North American Windpower]

Wind farm in France

¶ Major transmission company Transgrid says 100% renewable energy is both feasible and affordable. It is urging policy makers to “step out in large ways” because incremental change will not deliver climate goals or potential cost savings. Transgrid’s head of regulation said the company would benefit from such a move, but so would consumers. [RenewEconomy]

¶ SolarReserve has received an environmental approval from the Chilean government to build a 390-MW solar thermal power station with 5,100 MWh of energy storage. This is SolarReserve’s third approval of a solar thermal project that will provide Chile with a continuous, 24-hour supply of energy, at a competitive price. [PennEnergy]

SolarReserve solar station (Rendering: Business Wire)

¶ New images of inside the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant taken by a swimming robot reveal previously unseen damage from the meltdown. Almost all of the nuclear fuel in the No 3 reactor likely melted and dropped from the pressure vessel and accumulated at the bottom of the containment vessel, TEPCO said. [Asahi Shimbun]

¶ SaskPower says it will rely on power generated by wind to achieve its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The power company plans to reduce emissions by 40% from 2005 levels by 2030. It wants to have added an additional 1,600 MW of wind power by then. There are currently just 225 MW of wind power installed in Saskatchewan. [CBC.ca]

Wind turbine (Credit: Rick Bowmer)

US:

¶ Agricultural yields in certain “hot spots” in the US will be severely diminished by 2050 as a result of the impact that climate change will have on water availability, according to an MIT study. The hot spots are mostly within the Southwestern US, where agriculture is highly dependent upon unsustainable groundwater extraction rates. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The San Diego County Water Authority issued a request for proposals for a pumped storage facility, which would provide energy when needed by releasing water it has pumped into a reservoir during low demand times. The facility will be up to 500 MW in capacity. The DOE says US pumped storage capacity is 184 GW. [pv magazine USA]

San Vicente Reservoir (Photo: H Hooks)

¶ A closed landfill in Berkley, Massachusetts has made the leap from disposable to renewable. It is now home to a 3.6-MW solar farm that began generating power on April 27, according the owner of the landfill site. Including the landfill, Berkley now has four working solar farms up and running, the town’s Selectmen Chairman said. [Taunton Daily Gazette]

¶ An attorney for a group fighting the Keystone XL pipeline says the organization plans to appeal a South Dakota judge’s decision upholding state regulators’ approval for the pipeline to cross the state. Dakota Rural Action, a conservation and family agriculture group, plans to raise the issue to the South Dakota Supreme Court. [PennEnergy]

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

July 20, 2017

1874 regular daily posts, linking 22,763 articles

§ The most recent reported status of US nuclear power plants can be found at the US Nuclear Power Report, a distressingly dull account of NRC news, posted on non-holiday weekdays and Saturdays. As of July 20, out of 99 US-licensed reactors, 3 are at reduced output and 3 not operating.

§ Video: Energy Week: 7/13/17 – Big American car makers are selling more electric cars. Morgan Stanley predicts big reductions in global power sector carbon emissions. Tesla will build the largest lithium-ion battery ever in Australia. France is banning petroleum-powered cars. An oil supply shortage looms. GMP is leading in more ways than one. And there is more.

July 19 Energy News

July 19, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Renewables on the grid: Putting the negative-price myth to bed” • A new study evaluated 2016 price data for all retiring power plants in the main wholesale electricity markets with large amounts of wind generation. It confirms that renewable policies incentivizing wind power have a trivial impact on retiring power plants. [Into the Wind – The AWEA Blog]

Oklahoma wind farm

World:

¶ German utility company EWE says it is planning to build the world’s largest battery based on flow technology in a pair of salt caves currently used to store natural gas. The caves have a total volume of 3.5 million cubic feet – enough to store up to 700 MWh of electricity with an output capacity of 120 MW, according to Digital Trends. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A major solar power project in the Middle East will provide electricity during the night. The $1 billion (£770 million) scheme will provide up to 200 MW to Dubai between 4 pm and 10 am. The CEO of the company behind the project said he expects concentrated solar power to be competitive with natural gas within 18 months. [The Independent]

Sunset in Dubai (Ahmed Jadallah | Reuters)

¶ As federal authorities debate emissions targets, Australian councils and community groups are taking the lead on climate action, a report from the Climate Council says. One out of five local governments already have 100% renewable energy goals, and they could collectively cut emissions associated with energy by 70%. [Energy Matters]

¶ Coal mining has become a way of life for Inner Mongolia but a new wave of green energy is about to change that. Last year it had 154 wind farms with 17% of the total Chinese capacity. For China as a whole, electricity production generated by wind farms was 46.6 billion kWh or 19.3% of the overall total production. [China Daily]

Farmers in Inner Mongolia (Photo: Su Weizhong | China Daily)

¶ Green bonds issued by Indian companies are gathering pace as India’s ambitious target for renewable energy fuels interest from investors. Greenko Energy Holdings raised $1 billion earlier this week, making it the largest corporate green bond issuer in Asia, Bloomberg data shows. Indian green bonds are likely to grow even more important. [Livemint]

US:

¶ Google set up an independent business outside the Alphabet umbrella called Dandelion. The new company was created to promote new geothermal system technology. Dandelion will attempt to do for residential heating and cooling what SolarCity has done for rooftop solar. It uses new, less expensive, drilling technology. [CleanTechnica]

Dandelion geothermal system

¶ Responding to the US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, California Governor Jerry Brown and Michael Bloomberg have launched America’s Pledge. It is a new initiative that they hope will gather together and quantify all the action being taken by states, cities, and business across the US to meet the agreement’s goals. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Northern Power Systems, a wind turbine maker based in Vermont, says it has seen a surge of interest in wind power in distributed energy (behind-the-meter, on-site power generation) applications in the US. Specifically, the advantages have become evident in dairy and farming operations, the company says. [North American Windpower]

Northern Power Systems turbine

¶ Regulators granted a site-certificate amendment for turbines with rotor diameters of 136 meters and generating capacities of 3.6 MW at the Montague Wind Power Facility, Apple’s project in Oregon. They may be the largest ever in the Pacific Northwest. Avangrid Renewables has not made a final decision on which turbines it will use. [Portland Business Journal]

¶ In Nebraska, the Beatrice City Council approved a 25-year power purchase agreement with Cottonwood Wind Project. The wind project is planned to be constructed by NextEra Energy in Webster County. Under the agreement, Beatrice will acquire 16.1 MW of wind energy at a fixed price of $15.85/MWh (1.585¢/kWh). [Beatrice Daily Sun]

Turbines near Odell (Lee Enterprises file photo)

¶ A plan by Upper Michigan Energy Resources Corp to build two natural gas-fired power plants totaling 183 MW capacity has drawn criticism from several quarters. They include at least one electric co-op, along wth environmentalists, who say the utility failed to consider other “increasingly viable options,” such as energy storage and renewables. [Platts]

¶ In California, Marin County, San Mateo County, and the city of Imperial Beach, sued 37 fossil fuel companies for damage they claim the companies knew would occur as a result of their contribution to rising sea level and global warming. The lawsuits seek compensatory damages, disgorgement of profits, and punitive damages. [Shadowproof]

Flooding in Imperial Beach (Photo: Sher Edling LLP)

¶ Last December, after several earlier attempts failed, Hawaiian Electric Companies issued a new Power Supply Improvement Plan. It would put Hawaii on the road to get 100% of its electricity by 2040 from renewable sources, with no fossil fuel assets on the islands by 2045. Now, the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission has approved the PSIP. [pv magazine USA]

¶ A report on two new reactors being built at the VC Summer Nuclear has been released. It says the Public Service Commission could save utility customers up to $10 billion by “pulling the plug” on the project and ordering at least some prepaid costs refunded. The report was funded by the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth. [Sumter Item]

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July 18 Energy News

July 18, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “How China Floated to the Top in Solar” • After years of growth and pollution, China is changing tact and embracing sustainability – no longer beholden to the singular tenet of growth at any cost. China is now the world’s largest renewable energy investor. And the US has relinquished its leadership role, following the policies of Donald Trump. [Time]

Fisherman and solar panels (Kevin Frayer | Getty Images)

¶ “Big oil’s electric fight against coal and nuclear” • The powerful American Petroleum Institute is fighting nuclear power subsidies, opposed to any efforts to expand renewable electricity, and telling the Trump administration that its study on the power grid better not hurt natural gas in an effort to help coal and nuclear energy. [Axios]

¶ “Big oil sees salvation in gas, but what if it’s wrong?” • Oil executives are pitching natural gas, but with the sharply falling costs of renewable technologies, some experts are warning that the outlook may not be so rosy. Forecasters are beginning to talk about peak gas demand, spurred by the growth of alternative power supplies. [Energy Voice]

Oil refinery valves (Photo: Shawn Baldwin | Bloomberg)

¶ “Rise of energy storage set to drive down energy prices, McKinsey says” • Grid and power operators face the potential of disruption much sooner than many anticipate, according to a McKinsey & Company study. It explores the rapid rise of battery storage systems, and their potential impact on consumers’ behavior and power operators. [Consultancy.uk]

World:

¶ A Scottish renewable energy leader teamed up with a Welsh organisation, YnNi Llyn, to develop a tidal energy project off the Llyn Peninsula in north Wales. Edinburgh-based Nova Innovation has been awarded an Agreement for Lease for the initiative. This enables the company to start site surveys and feasibility studies. [The National]

Work at Bardsey Sound in north Wales

¶ El Salvador’s energy watchdog Siget announced that the tariff of electricity will be reduced by 3.09% in the quarter from July 15 to October 15. Siget explained that the price drop was mainly due to an increase of 22.9% of power production from hydro sources and the connection to the grid of a 60-MW solar power plant. [pv magazine]

¶ A 40-MW park will be built at Woodington Farm, near Romsey, Hampshire, on land surrounding Hive Energy’s head office. Permission was granted for the park for 25 years subject to a number of conditions, including the restoration of the site to its original state. The project is expected to supply energy to about 9,100 homes. [BBC]

Woodington Farm (Hive Energy photo)

¶ Despite its polar climate and its proximity with the North Pole, the Canadian province of Nunavut has decided to support the installation of small-sized PV and wind power generators through net metering. The program will be open to residential and municipal customers’ renewable energy power stations not exceeding 10 kW. [pv magazine]

US:

¶ Long Island businesses, unions, environmental groups, and elected officials joined with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to support New York state’s offshore wind plans. The coalition came together at a news conference at the Long Island Association offices in advance of a public meeting hosted NYSERDA. [reNews]

Long Island (Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Green Mountain Power, the largest utility in Vermont, is promoting another aggressive clean energy offer to its customers. Now through September 30, GMP customers can visit Freedom Nissan in South Burlington and claim a $10,000 rebate on the purchase of a new 2017 Nissan LEAF, by presenting a special code supplied by GMP. [CleanTechnica]

¶ It has been more than a month since President Trump announced a withdrawal from the Paris Climate agreement. Part of that agreement included a goal of replacing coal-fired plants with natural gas and renewable energy. But in Idaho, there is a move away from coal energy, and this is largely driven by the economy. [Boise State Public Radio]

Boardman Coal plant close in 2020 (Nigel Duara | AP Images)

¶ By early 2018, Florida Power & Light Company will have almost doubled its use of clean solar energy through the construction of eight new solar parks. With each station producing 74.5 MW, 120,000 Floridian homes will be powered statewide. The new power stations resulted from the lower solar power costs. [The Independent Florida Alligator]

Western energy imbalance market

¶ Seven electricity providers in the western US and Canada plan to join the California Independent System Operator’s western energy imbalance market. CAISO dispatches generating units every five minutes to balance supply and demand. The rapid response allows for better integration of wind and solar resources. [Power Engineering Magazine]

¶ ThinkProgress obtained a copy of Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s grid study, and it has many surprises  for those who are not energy experts. They may be unpleasant surprises to Perry and the White House. For instance, a large fraction of America’s aging fleet of coal and nuclear plants are simply not economic to operate anymore. [RenewEconomy]

¶ States’ authority to enact clean energy policy was significantly bolstered last week in an important federal district court decision. The US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois dismissed a challenge from fossil fuel companies that objected to an Illinois program to support nuclear generation because it hurt their bottom line. [Solar Industry]

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July 17 Energy News

July 17, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Heritage at Risk: How Rising Seas Threaten Ancient Coastal Ruins” • The shores of Scotland’s Orkney Islands are dotted with ruins that date to the Stone Age. But after enduring for millennia, these archaeological sites, along with many others from Easter Island to Jamestown, are facing an existential threat from climate change. [Yale Environment 360]

Ruins on Scotland’s Rousay Island coast (Adam Markham)

World:

¶ Saudi Arabia has plans for a 400-MW wind farm and for further tenders to kick off this year as part of a $50 billion spending program on renewables within six years. The program is intended to help meet the Saudi target of producing enough electricity from renewables to power 3 million homes within six years. [The National]

¶ More than half of India’s gas-based capacity of about 25,139 MW remains stranded due to unavailability of natural gas. To bring respite to 26,000-MW gas and hydro power plants that are stranded, the government is planning to introduce what is called “peaking power policy,” giving distribution companies better ability to manage power. [EnergyInfraPost]

Indian thermal power plant

¶ Commercial vehicles wing of Tata Motors showcased the first Bio-CNG or bio-methane bus at the Urja Utsav event in Pune, Maharashtra. Along with the new alternative fuel bus, Tata Motors also showcased three engines compatible with bio-methane fuel for light, intermediate, and medium commercial vehicles. [Financial Express]

¶ A pioneering project to produce power from hot rocks several kilometers under the ground in Cornwall will begin drilling early next year, if a multimillion-pound fundraising drive succeeds. Abundance, a crowdfunding platform, is launching a bond to raise £5 million for the UK’s first commercial geothermal power station. [The Guardian]

The Earth is hot below the granite boulders of Bodmin Moor
(Nature Picture Library | Getty Images | Nature Picture Library)

¶ The US-based masterminds behind a microgrid in Brooklyn unveiled their first Australian project in South Australia. They say it could herald the start of an industry-changing, renewable energy sharing revolution. The project will see up to 6 MW of distributed solar generation made available on a local peer-to-peer trading platform. [RenewEconomy]

¶ TSO TenneT has awarded Siemens a contract to build and install the 900-MW DolWin6 grid hub in the German North Sea. The grid hub is slated to go online in 2023 and will cost less than €1 billion, TenneT said. Siemens will deploy its direct current compact switchgear technology for DolWin6, greatly reducing its weight and size. [reNews]

DolWin Gamma grid hub (reNews image)

US:

¶ It might sound counterintuitive that the Trump administration is contemplating a “replacement” version of former President Barack Obama’s climate change rules, but that’s what miners and major labor groups are pushing in meetings with the EPA and the White House. They want a Trump Clean Power Plan based on “clean coal.” [Washington Examiner]

¶ Florida generates less solar energy than some cloudier states, including Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey. Four electric utilities, which  supply power to around 75% of Florida ratepayers, effectively, control Florida’s power market, dictating how and at what price residents get their energy, and they see rooftop solar as a threat to their bottom line. [CleanTechnica]

Groups funding Consumers for Smart Solar (Source: Energy
and Policy Institute) Please click on the image to enlarge it.

¶ Last month, the Missouri Supreme Court decided not to review a Western District Court of Appeals opinion that overturned the Public Service Commission’s approval for the Grain Belt Express transmission line. Nevertheless, the PSC could still give the developers a right to take land under eminent domain. [Columbia Daily Tribune]

¶ PacifiCorp and Portland General Electric pitched plans to regulators that include major investments in renewable energy. PacifiCorp would build 1,100 MW of new wind farms in Wyoming and upgrade another 1,000 MW. PGE touted a 525-MW wind farm in the Columbia River Gorge. But there is disagreement on the issue. [OregonLive.com]

PGE’s Tucannon River Wind Farm (Courtesy PGE)

¶ Renewable energy stakeholders have been deeply concerned that the Trump administration will slow or even halt progress on decarbonizing the US economy. However, the DOE continues to roll out new federal investments supporting renewable energy. A new round of $46.2 million has come to fund advanced solar power technology. [Triple Pundit]

¶ Federal regulators signed off on a plan for a nuclear plant proposal in Florida to pump wastewater underground despite concerns the facility could contaminate drinking water. The decision by the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board means Florida Power & Light is a “step closer” to obtaining a license for adding two new reactors. [Water Online]

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July 16 Energy News

July 16, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “What You Can Actually Do To Fight Climate Change, According To Science” • Collective action starts with individual choices, and for all the data-driven decision makers out there, the path forward just got a bit clearer. A study in Environmental Research Letters determined which life choices reduce our carbon footprints the most. [Gizmodo Australia]

Twilight (Image: Dennis Yang | Flickr Creative Commons)

¶ “Are Deeper Cuts OPEC’s Only Option?” • Despite the November, 2016 Vienna crude oil agreement among OPEC and certain non-OPEC producers and its subsequent May 2017 extension, the global crude oil market is still burdened with excess supply and may be far from re-balancing. Observers worry about another price crash. [OilPrice.com]

¶ “Six Years After Fukushima, Japan Tries To Quell Its Energy Angst” • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promoted a policy of restarting nuclear reactors, but he is now politically at the weakest point since his 2012 return to power. It is worth assessing how just far Japan’s nuclear revival can go, especially as costs for renewable energy keep falling. [EnergyInfraPost]

Cleanup workers at Fukushima Daiichi

Science and Technology:

¶ Governments may be seriously underestimating the risks of crop disasters. Research by UK Met Office scientists used advanced climate modelling to show that extreme weather events could devastate food production if they occurred in several key areas at the same time. Such an outcome could trigger widespread famine. [The Guardian]

World:

¶ So far, more than 13,000 subscribers have signed up for the 2017 green power program initiated by Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs in 2017, topping the goal of 10,000 for the year, the ministry said. Program subscribers receive a certain amount of green power at a premium price of NT$1.06/kWh (3.5¢/kWh). [Focus Taiwan News Channel]

Wind power in Taiwan (Maggie Chou, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Nearly 100 homes in Uttar Pradesh’s Sarvantara village have been electrified, thanks to an initiative by a student from the UK’s prestigious Imperial College. Clementine Chambon, a final year PhD student, has helped connect the homes with a mini eight-kWh solar energy grid providing around 1,000 people with energy for affordable lighting. [EnergyInfraPost]

¶ Russian hackers are thought to have attacked the UK’s national grid sparking fears that electricity supplies could be cut by cyber terrorists. Security analysts say that a group backed by Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin also targeted the Republic of Ireland’s energy sector and tried to infiltrate control systems. Hacking energy systems is a worldwide problem. [Daily Mail]

UK power grid (Daily Mail stock photo)

US:

¶ President Trump may want to expand offshore oil, but he is facing pushback in a region that is one of the most at risk of climate change and where residents are increasingly turning to renewable energy. Officials of San Mateo County, California, are urging the federal government to maintain protections for three marine sanctuaries. [San Mateo Daily Journal]

¶ Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which had its 40th birthday on July 5, have been innovating and contributing to the Colorado and national economy through seven presidential administrations. The laboratory’s future is uncertain under President Trump, but workers are keeping up hopes. [The Denver Post]

Wind Technology Center (Helen H. Richardson | Denver Post)

¶ Energy legislation in North Carolina presents the governor with a choice between buttressing the state’s bright solar industry and nurturing its nascent wind power business. The legislation could make solar power production more competitive. But the bill includes a moratorium on wind projects through the end of 2018. [Asheville Citizen-Times]

¶ The Energy Information Administration’s monthly Short Term Energy Outlook projects coal will fuel 31.3% of electricity in the US in 2017, compared with 31.1% for natural gas. Coal stood at 30.4% last year, and natural gas was at 33.8%. The coal industry takes the change, small as it is, as welcome news. [Huntington Herald Dispatch]

Coal installation (Lon Wolfe | The Herald-Dispatch)

¶ In Georgia, homeowners with solar power installed buy electric energy at the retail rate of 15¢/kWh. But when they sell power to the electric company, they do so at the wholesale rate of 5¢/kWh. That makes it hard to pay off a solar installation when the system favors utilities. And county commissioners are not helping. [Valdosta Daily Times]

¶ Husqvarna Group, Stockholm, is preparing to build its first solar power generating facility at its current injection molding site in Nashville, Arkansas. The new facility will have a capacity of 1.3 MW. It is expected to reduce the CO2 footprint by approximately 1,000 tons during each year over the 25 years it will operate. [Rental Pulse]

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July 15 Energy News

July 15, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Climate Change Could Make The Earth ‘Practically Ungovernable'” • Former NASA climate chief James Hansen believes climate change’s most dangerous effect may be a continuous rise in sea level. Because so many people live in coastal cities, the mass migrations inland that will follow this rise could leave the world in ungovernable chaos. [ScienceAlert]

Miami (Photo: Brian W. Schaller, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Bloomberg: Tesla Set To Win” • It looks like bad news for Big Oil as electric cars gained traction this past week. Bloomberg reports, “France plans to end the sale of gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles by 2040” and, “Volvo Car Group became the first major manufacturer to say it will start phasing out vehicles powered solely by fossil fuels.” [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶ A research project conducted in the Netherlands found that just attaching newly designed tips to wind turbine blades can increase power output by as much as 6%. The project looked at three new designs. One design has a bend on the tip, another has wake-reduction geometry, and the third improves characteristics of flow around the tip area. [reNews]

Working on the tip of a wind turbine blade (Image: ECN)

World:

¶ The Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation announced that it awarded solar power projects with cumulative capacity of 1,500 MW to 16 developers. All these projects have been awarded at ₹3.47/kWh (5.4¢/kWh), the lowest tariff bid committed by 25 participating developers. Developers had offered 2.67 GW. [CleanTechies]

¶ Record low renewable energy prices in Chile are here to stay and will likely push power prices even lower, Chile’s energy minister told Reuters, a development that would pressure the nation’s already squeezed diesel and natural gas industries. Chile, with ample solar and wind resources, has become a poster child for renewable energy. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Wind turbines on a beach

¶ Siemens Gamesa got a contract to supply 118 MW of wind turbines to the Baglar and Ardicli wind farms in Turkey. The order is for 36 wind turbines. This marked the first order of turbines from Siemens Gamesa’s 3.3 MW platform in Europe. The design is intended to minimize the cost of energy across a wide variety of wind farm sites. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A $640 million biorefinery is scheduled to start early next year in Ingham, Queensland after eight years of development. It promises to provide electricity to more than 28,000 homes. The biorefinery, which is owned by the North Queensland Bio-Energy Corporation, will use sugar cane bagasse to generate renewable energy. [Townsville Bulletin]

Cane harvester (Picture: Hitchcock Ian MM337802)

¶ Wind power tariffs are expected to fall to a record of around ₹3.30 per unit (5.38¢/kWh), in a 1 GW tender by state-run Solar Energy Corp of India. SECI has received bids for three times the grid-linked capacity on offer. Wind power tariffs in India followed the solar route and hit a record low of ₹3.46/kWh in February. [Livemint]

¶ Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power has decided to temporarily suspend construction of units 5 and 6 at the Shin Kori nuclear power plant in south-eastern Korea. The move comes two weeks after South Korean President Moon Jae-in issued an order to halt construction. Construction of the reactors was due to start this year. [World Nuclear News]

Artists impression of Shin Kori 5 and 6 (Image: KHNP)

¶ Japan’s disaster reconstruction minister said he opposes releasing treated water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power into the sea, citing the possible repercussions for local fishermen. His remarks came shortly after a top official from TEPCO said he is ready to see the tritium-containing water dumped into the sea. [The Mainichi]

US:

¶ Republicans are not all united against renewable energy. The House of Representatives voted down an amendment to block a requirement in the pending National Defense Authorization Act for the armed services to study the impact of climate change on the military. Those who voted against the measure included 43 Republicans. [CleanTechnica]

US Capitol

¶ National Grid is holding “community meetings” to gather input and discuss details of its proposed Granite State Power Link project, which would bring hydropower from Canada through New Hampshire to southern New England. The Granite State Power Link project would also cross northeastern Vermont. [New Hampshire Public Radio]

¶ Hesperia Unified School District, in San Bernardino County, California, will soon have more than 5.7 MW of high-efficiency SunPower carport systems generating solar power for 29 of its sites. Construction of the carports is underway at 15 locations now, and SunPower expects to complete all installations by the end of 2017. [Parking Network]

Solar parking system

¶ A draft version of the DOE’s highly anticipated grid study states that wind and solar do not represent a serious threat to electric grid reliability, running counter to comments made by Energy Secretary Rick Perry earlier this year. Perry ordered the grid study to examine negative effects of Obama-era clean energy incentives. [Greentech Media]

¶ Duke Energy will build three utility owned and operated solar projects in Kentucky. Construction will start by the end of the summer and the projects are likely to be on line by early 2018, Duke says. Duke Energy Carolinas, Duke Energy Progress, Duke Energy Florida, and Duke Energy Indiana all have solar farms already. [Charlotte Business Journal]

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July 14 Energy News

July 14, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Japan’s Renewable-Energy Revolution” • A set of images from a series of flights over the Tokyo and Kobe/Osaka regions of Japan show a range of PV projects on former golf courses, quarries, dams, man-made islands, and floating projects on ponds and reservoirs. They add a new look on energy and climate change. [Bloomberg]

Solar farm on the face of a dam (Photo: Jamey Stillings)
(Please click on the image to enlarge it.)

¶ “Why Nuclear Power, Once Cash Cow, Now Has Tin Cup” • A decade ago, nuclear power plants in the US were cash cows. Now more than half of them are bleeding cash. The industry used to look down on the subsidies needed by its clean-energy rivals, wind and solar power, but now, some states are offering subsidies to nuclear plants. [Bloomberg]

¶ “Want to live in a zero-carbon home? Maybe try Texas” • In 2015, the city council of Austin pledged to achieve net zero community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, shifting its energy grid away from natural gas and coal to renewable energy. Now, the city and property developers are putting their money where their mouths are. [National Observer]

Austin (Photo: Earl McGehee on Flickr Creative Commons)

World:

¶ The growth of electric vehicles in the UK has the potential to increase peak electricity demand by 3.5 GW by 2030 and 18 GW by 2050, National Grid says in its latest Future Energy Scenarios analysis. Without smart charging technology the 2030 figure could be as high as 8 GW. Peak UK demand today is around 60 GW. [Platts]

¶ The UK should focus on using waste products like chip fat if it wants to double production of biofuels according a new study. A report from the Royal Academy of Engineering says that making fuel from crops like wheat should be restricted. Incentives should be given to farmers to increase production of fuel crops like Miscanthus on marginal land. [BBC]

Crop-based biofuels

¶ The Brazilian Senate approved a draft resolution authorizing an external credit of $750 million for financing the country’s incentive program for renewables. The additional program funds will be used mainly for projects of small and medium-sized companies in the renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors. [pv magazine]

¶ In Pakistan, rumors are being spread that solar arrays raise ambient temperatures of the buildings they are attached to. Allegedly, utility company installers, fearing lost income, are trying to dissuade potential solar buyers even as the country reels under power shortage. And the rumors are slowing the switch to renewables. [Scroll.in]

Solar workers in Islamabad (Credit: Aamir Qureshi | AFP)

¶ Both France and Germany are heavy in baseload generating capacity. They should work together towards a clean energy future, as they are set to exit coal and nuclear, according to Berlin-based think tank Agora Energiewende and the French Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations. [Platts]

¶ Indian Railways launched the first solar-powered DEMU (diesel electrical multiple unit) train from the Safdarjung railway station in Delhi. The train will run between railway stations in Delhi and Haryana. Each of six coaches has sixteen 300-W solar panels. The train also has battery backup power, on which it can run for at least 72 hours. [Economic Times]

Solar power on its first train in India

¶ Toyota and several partners have announced the beginning of its Low-carbon Hydrogen Technology Demonstration Project, which aims to implement and evaluate an efficient hydrogen fuel supply chain. This supply chain would rely on renewable energy and would provide hydrogen fuel for various purposes in Japan. [Hydrogen Fuel News]

US:

¶ A new wind farm in Nebraska will boost wind power to about 40% of the Omaha Public Power District’s electricity generation by the end of 2019. That’s up from less than 20% in 2016. Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources will build a 160-MW wind farm, from which OPPD will purchase the electricity generated. [Omaha World-Herald]

Grande Prairie wind farm (Megan Farmer | The World Herald)

¶ Waste water from fracking has contaminated a watershed in Pennsylvania with organic chemicals, salts, radium, and alkaline earth metals. Some pollutants are associated with endocrine system changes and others with carcinogens. Fracking produces half of the oil and two-thirds of the natural gas extracted in the US. [CleanTechnica]

¶ EDF Renewable Energy acquired the 179-MW Switch Station 1 and 2 solar projects in Nevada from First Solar. The projects will both sell electricity and renewable energy credits to subsidiaries of NV Energy. Switch Station 1 is scheduled to come online later this month, while Switch Station 2 start commercial operations in late September. [reNews]

Switch Station solar project (Credit EDF RE)

¶ Switching to an alternative energy program called community choice will help the city of San Diego use more renewable sources of energy and could lower electricity costs, according to a study published this week. The long-anticipated study was paid for by the city and conducted by the firm Willdan Financial Services. [KPBS]

¶ The University of Bridgeport successfully installed a megawatt-class microgrid. The 1.4-MW fuel cell power plant can make the university grid independent. The microgrid was tested by disconnecting the University from the electric grid with the fuel cell power plant powering the school’s critical infrastructure. [Energy Manager Today]

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July 13 Energy News

July 13, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Why the Antarctic ice shelf broke apart and what it means” • A bit of good news is that the calving of the Larsen C ice shelf, creating this new iceberg, won’t contribute to rising sea levels as the ice was already floating in the water. But scientists will definitely be keeping an eye on what happens of the Larsen C ice shelf. [CBC.ca]

Growing gap (British Antarctic Survey via Associated Press)

¶ “America’s Leadership on Climate Is Still Strong” • Though President Trump is turning his back on the 2015 Paris climate agreement and putting fossil fuels first, others are still standing strong. More than 2,100 states, cities, universities, businesses, and investors have pledged to take action on climate change. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

World:

¶ The largest solar park in the world is being grid-synchronized at Kurnool in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It is the first ever solar park to reach 1 GW of grid-tied capacity. The Andhra Pradesh Solar Power Corporation noted on its website that the final 20 MW of the park is scheduled for commissioning by 13 July. [PV-Tech]

Sunrise in Kurnool (Flickr | Pranav)

¶ Welsh Water awarded a five-year contract to DONG Energy to provide green power across its operational sites, of which there are more than 4,000. The not-for-profit company, the fifth largest business in Wales, supplies 828 million liters of water daily to more than three million people, including 1.4 million homes and businesses. [Energy Live News]

¶ A new report, the “Carbon Majors Report,” has found that just 100 companies have emitted more than 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988. Moreover, the 25 biggest emitters, including ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, and many state-owned giants, have been responsible for more than half of all emissions. [Business Insider Nordic]

Offshore oil (Statoil | Asa Harald Pettersen)

¶ According to one Australian Liberal MP, the chairman of the Coalition’s backbench energy and environment committee, renewable energy is killing Australian people this winter. He said people will not use heating in winter because of price of power. Labor said Mr Kelly’s comments were insulting and accused him of scare-mongering. [ABC Online]

¶ Australian state energy ministers are threatening to “go it alone” with their own clean energy target, independently of the federal government. They are ramping up pressure on the Coalition, which is fracturing from the hard right response to the Finkel Review and the prospect of a growing share of wind and solar power. [RenewEconomy]

Royalla Solar Farm (Grahamec, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ Following Trump announced he would pull the US from the Paris climate agreement, Lyft announced that to drive climate action and EV use forward, its shared platform will provide at least 1 billion rides per year using electric autonomous vehicles by 2025. Lyft’s autonomous vehicles will be powered by 100% renewable energy. [EcoWatch]

¶ For the past several years, scientists have been trying to get people to wake up to the dangers that lie ahead in rising seas due to climate change. A study from the Union of Concerned Scientists includes a list naming hundreds of US cities, large and small, that may not make it through the next 20, 50 or 80 years due to sea level rise. [CNN]

Please click on the image to enlarge it.

¶ Though it has been over thirty years since former US president Jimmy Carter was in office, he is still paving the way for a brighter future. The solar array on 10 acres of land Carter leased out for the city of Plains, Georgia is now operating, The panels will generate over 5,500 GWh of clean energy over the next 25 years. [Good News Network]

¶ Many Nebraska landowners are opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline slashing through their land. So they’re fighting the proposed oil pipeline with clean, renewable energy. Activists launched the Solar XL campaign to install solar panels on land that Nebraska locals refuse to sell – directly in the path of the pipeline. [Inhabitat]

Nebraska landowner

¶ A report, “Modernizing Minnesota’s Grid: An Economic Analysis of Energy Storage Opportunities,” shows that increasing the deployment of energy storage combined with renewable energy would help Minnesota meet its statutory goal of 80% carbon reduction by 2050 sooner and at a lower cost than other technologies. [Phys.Org]

¶ For the second year in a row, Governor LePage has vetoed a measure aimed at boosting Maine’s rooftop solar resources while creating middle ground between utilities and solar interests over compensation for excess energy. Solar advocates say the governor has a “crusade” against solar energy; he says he is protecting ratepayers. [Utility Dive]

Installing a rooftop solar system

¶ NRG announced the results of its corporate transformation review, hoping to reduce its debt by $13 billion and raise up to $4 billion in revenue from selling off a set of both conventional and renewable assets. NRG will divest from 6 GW of conventional generation and sell off 50%-100% of its NRG Yield renewable energy business. [Utility Dive]

¶ The announcement that the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant would close forced the town of Vernon into some difficult decisions as the plant’s employees started moving away. The town’s $2 million budget had to be cut in half. Vernon’s dilemma is faced by other towns where nuclear plants close across the USA. [The Journal News | LoHud.com]

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July 12 Energy News

July 12, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Can Urban America Save Paris Agreement?” • Hundreds of mayors have pledged to remain committed to reducing US greenhouse gas emissions. But how much can cities do on their own, without the federal government supporting the Paris accord, to curb climate change? We talked with climate experts to find out. [Live Science]

New York City (Credit: Songquan Deng | Shutterstock)

¶ “G20 Communique: Strong On Climate Change, On Sustainability, On Environmental Justice” • It was a victory for climate change action and support for the Paris Climate Agreement. The G20 Communique at the end of the Hamburg summit was more: A statement about sustainability, income inequality, and human rights. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Koch Bros and ALEC Shout From the Rooftops: ‘Stop Rooftop Solar!'” • There is a nationwide push to make rooftop solar less attractive so utilities can continue to make money without competition from individual home owners. Spearheading the effort is the top energy lobbyist, Edison Electric Institute. [Tucson Weekly]

Installing a solar system (Courtesy of Bigstock)

Science and Technology:

¶ New rules are urgently needed to protect the open seas, scientists have warned. A report to a UN ocean conference in New York points out that more than 60% of the ocean has no rules because it’s outside national jurisdiction. It says the open ocean is at risk from climate change, over-fishing, deep-sea mining, farm pollution and plastics. [BBC]

¶ According to a study published in Nature Communications, carbon dioxide concentrations are heading towards values not seen in the past 200 million years. The sun has also been gradually getting stronger over time. Put together, these facts mean the climate may be heading towards warmth not seen in the past half a billion years. [The Conversation]

Desert (Neo Studio | shutterstock)

World:

¶ In an extraordinary speech, Don Harwin, the energy minister of the New South Wales Coalition government, has made a dramatic departure from the bulk of his state and federal colleagues by declaring that it was time to move on from the notion of “baseload” power as essential to the reliability of the future grid. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The future of fresh local produce could include distributed farming, with more foods being grown in smaller systems right near the point of sale, instead of everything being shipped in from larger growing operations. Now, Infarm, a Berlin startup, is aiming to put tiny vertical farms into the grocery stores themselves. [CleanTechnica]

Infarm’s in-store herb garden

¶ With four new additions of AkzoNobel NV, AXA, Burberry, and the Carlsberg Group, The Climate Group’s RE100 initiative has reached a 100-member milestone. Its members, large businesses transitioning to 100% renewable energy globally, include 30 Fortune Global 500 companies have a total revenue of $2.5 trillion. [Solar Industry]

¶ European power giants Engie and Uniper have withdrawn from a test project to capture and store carbon dioxide generated by one of several major new coal plants in the Netherlands, dealing yet another blow to the prospects of “clean coal” technology, in which the Australian government and fossil fuel lobbyists still hold much stock. [RenewEconomy]

Maasvlakte power plant in Rotterdam

US:

¶ Engineering giant Siemens and AES, an international power company based in Arlington, Virginia, are partnering to expand into the alternative energy market, selling industrial-scale batteries. They formed a company, Fluence, based in the District of Columbia, to compete against such established players as Tesla. [Standard-Examiner]

¶ Green Mountain Power can seem more like a disruptive high-tech start-up than Vermont’s largest electric utility. It has emerged as a leading national innovator in renewable energy, demonstrating how electricity can be generated, stored, and distributed in ways that are cheaper, cleaner, and more resilient to interruptions. [Triple Pundit]

Green Mountain Power solar array

¶ ViZn Energy Systems Inc is integrating its zinc iron flow battery storage system for a record low price of 4¢/kWh. A ViZn 30-MW, 4-hour system added to a 100 MW solar plant can generate a seven percent internal rate of return with a 4¢/kWh power purchase agreement, 20% below the lowest published values. [AltEnergyMag]

¶ Asset manager Capital Dynamics acquired the Mount Signal 3 solar plant in California from 8minutenergy Renewables. Development of the 328-MW plant started in 2011, and 8minutenergy will oversee construction. First Solar will supply 2.8 million thin-film solar panels, and commercial operations are expected to start by the end of 2018. [reNews]

California solar array (Image: 8minutenergy)

¶ Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has committed the state to greenhouse gas reductions consistent with the global accord reached in Paris, despite President Trump’s decision to pull the United States from that accord. Colorado has joined the US Climate Alliance, which now includes 13 states and Puerto Rico. [Grand Junction Daily Sentinel]

¶ Energy Secretary Rick Perry reversed course today and confirmed that hackers are targeting US nuclear power plants, though he said federal labs can safeguard the nation’s sprawling grid. When asked about FBI and Department of Homeland Security reports about hackers, Perry said, “Well, obviously it’s real, it’s ongoing … ” [E&E News]

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July 11 Energy News

July 11, 2017

World:

¶ EDF has floated out the first of five gravity-base foundations for its 41.5-MW Blyth offshore wind demonstration project off the Northumberland coast. EDF said they will be installed using a “float and submerge” method – the first time this process has been used for offshore turbines. Each foundation weighs over 15,000 tonnes. [reNews]

Blyth foundation (Credit EDF)

¶ China’s electric power generation capacity from renewable sources now represents 20.5% of the world’s total while the US share is 20%. China is now the world’s leading producer of electricity from renewable sources. Of the world’s annual growth of renewable resources last year, China contributed 40%, and the US contributed 16.9%. [24/7 Wall St.]

¶ New data has confirmed the effects of a second rooftop solar boom taking place in Australia – driven by falling technology costs and increasingly volatile electricity prices – with nearly one quarter of all Australian households found to have invested in solar panels. Uptake is was strongest in South Australia, where it is at 32.8% [CleanTechnica]

Percentages of homes with solar installations

¶ Sonnen unveiled what it calls a major assault on the traditional energy utility business model. It introduced a battery offer modeled on what consumers get from a mobile phone company. An average house consuming around 10,000 kWh a year, or nearly 30 kWh a day, can cut its annual bill of around A$3,400 to just A$480 a year. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A new UK company, UTM Consultants, will provide specialist staff to offshore sectors, including renewables. It aims to source and supply the staff required to deliver remote operated vehicles, survey, inspection, repair and maintenance projects to the oil and gas, renewable, hydrographic, marine, telecommunications, and power sectors. [reNews]

Offshore wind farm (reNews image)

¶ Power generation and electricity grid expansions took in $718 billion, 42% of the $1.7 trillion invested in energy last year, according to a report by the International Energy Agency. Oil, gas and coal supply by contrast brought in $708 billion, a drop from last year reflecting lower prices and profits by major oil companies. [Bloomberg]

¶ The Italian solar market has grown by 19% in the first five months of this year with around 204 MW of newly installed capacity, according to provisional numbers released by the Italian renewable energy association Anie Rinnovabili. It based its information on data provided by the country’s grid operator Terna. [pv magazine]

Solar park by Meeco in central Italy (Meeco image)

¶ The head of Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority told TEPCO’s top management he questions their attitude toward decommissioning the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and the company’s ability to resume operating its other reactors. “I feel a sense of danger,” NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka said during a special meeting. [The Japan Times]

¶ The Polish government has contracted around 4.725 TWh of power in the renewable energy auction it held on June 29, a local PV analyst said. Bidding was open to PV, wind, and hydropower projects up to 1 MW, and solar is expected to have won the largest share of the 472 awarded projects. Bids ranged from $52.6/MWh to $107.6/MWh. [pv magazine]

Installing solar panels in Poland (Greenpeace Polska)

US:

¶ The US withdrawal from the Paris climate accord has been described as a major blow to the global carbon reduction effort. But a report from Morgan Stanley argues the move could cause barely a ripple, in the face of the “seismic shift” in renewable energy economics that is rapidly making wind and solar the cheapest new power sources. [RenewEconomy]

¶ In Massachusetts, Co-op Power has built up its credentials steadily over the past decade. In a significant milestone, it mounted a $4.3 million community-based fundraising campaign for a biodiesel plant set to go online early next year. It has supported hundreds of rooftop solar installations, and fueled the region’s green job growth. [ilsr.org]

New England countryside

¶ John Laing Group is acquiring a 90.5% interest in the 100.5-MW Buckthorn wind farm in Texas. The project will have 26 Vestas V126-3.45MW turbines with 87-meter hub heights and three V117 3.6MW machines with 91.5-meter hub heights. NRG Energy is developing the project and will operate it. It is set to be operational this year. [reNews]

¶ Dominion Energy Virginia has signed an agreement and strategic partnership with DONG Energy to build a 12-MW offshore wind demonstration project off the coast of Virginia Beach. The Coastal Virginia offshore development will consist of two 6-MW turbines. It will be built approximately 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. [reNews]

DONG Energy wind farm (DONG Energy image)

¶ This summer, members and employees of Washington Electric Coop, a 100% renewable, 100% member-owned electric utility serving communities in north-central Vermont, are eligible to receive incentives totaling $10,000 on the purchase of a new 2017 Nissan Leaf all electric vehicle from Freedom Nissan in South Burlington. [vtdigger.org]

¶ Invenergy has officially pushed back from 2019 to 2020 the opening of fossil fuel-burning power plant it has proposed to build in Burrillville, Rhode Island. The Chicago-based company did not give a reason for the delay, but observers have long suspected that Invenergy would not meet its 2019 target date because of opposition. [The Providence Journal]

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July 10 Energy News

July 10, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “25 Fossil Fuel Producers Responsible for Half Global Emissions in Past 3 Decades” • A handful of big fossil fuel producers have been responsible for the majority of global greenhouse gas emissions in the years since climate change seized the world’s attention as a looming crisis, according to a report issued by CDP. [InsideClimate News]

Petroleum production (Cole Burston | AFP | Getty Images)

¶ “Everything you need to know about Tesla’s battery in South Australia” • Billionaire Elon Musk has put his money where his mouth is and has promised to solve South Australia’s energy issues by building the world’s largest lithium-ion battery. His promise: If he fails to deliver on the battery within 100 days, it will be free. [NEWS.com.au]

¶ “Global Meltdown? Nuclear Power’s Annus Horribilis” • Two of the industry’s worst-ever years have been in the past decade and there will be many more bad years ahead as the trickle of closures of ageing reactors becomes a flood ‒ the International Energy Agency expects almost 200 reactor closures between 2014 and 2040. [New Matilda]

Old nuclear and new wind (Image: Jeanne Menjoulet, Flickr)

World:

¶ Royal Dutch Shell Plc plans to spend up to $1 billion a year on its New Energies division as the transition toward renewable power and electric cars accelerates. Shell sees opportunities in hydrogen fuel-cells; liquefied natural gas; and next-generation biofuels for air travel, shipping and heavy freight, for which batteries are not adequate. [Bloomberg]

¶ The world might be heading for an oil supply shortage following a steep drop in investments and a lack of fresh conventional discoveries, Saudi Aramco’s chief executive Amin Nasser told a conference in Istanbul. He said we should not assume that shale oil and alternative energy can be developed quickly enough to replace oil and gas. [CNBC]

Oil site in Saudi Arabia (Reza | Getty Images)

¶ For the second time, South Africa’s power utility Eskom refused to sign power purchase agreements with renewable energy project developers. The problem is that poor government planning has lead to an oversupply. With its decision not to sign contracts with planned projects, investments worth $4.45 billion are now stranded. [CleanTechnica]

¶ As high energy price rise across Australia, more households look toward renewable energy solutions. Closure of cheap coal-fired power stations and a high price of gas have been a key driver in the rising cost of electricity. One company put up five times as many solar installations in the first six months of 2017 as it did for the whole of 2016. [NEWS.com.au]

Sonnen home battery system

¶ Apple Inc said Monday it will spend 6 billion Danish crowns ($921 million) on a new data center in southern Denmark near the German border, its second in the country to run entirely on renewable energy. Facebook Inc in January also announced plans to build a data center in Denmark, only its third outside of the United States. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ The 100-MW/129-MWh battery bank Tesla will build in South Australia will smooth out power fluctuations from the Hornsdale Wind Farm and provide power during peak demand hours, a welcome relief for hot summers. The batteries are the same type of Li-ion cells that have logged more than a billion miles in Tesla vehicles. [ENGINEERING.com]

Tesla Battery system to be built in Australia (Courtesy of Tesla)

¶ France is to close up to 17 nuclear power stations to reach the government’s target of 50% nuclear power by 2025, the Ecology Minister said on Monday. He presented a “climate plan,” though it was short on details on reaching the commitment to reduce the amount of electricity produced in nuclear reactors from the current 75% to 50%. [RFI]

¶ Australia has recorded a significant “bounce-back” in renewable energy investment in the second quarter of 2017, with $1.5 billion poured into big solar and wind projects from April to June, a 77% year-on-year increase. The Australian up-tick in investment is one of a number worldwide highlighted by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. [RenewEconomy]

Australian wind farm

US:

¶ Last year nearly 40% of US wind contracts were signed by corporate power users, along with university and military customers. That’s up from just 5% in 2013, according to the American Wind Energy Association. These users also accounted for 10% of the market for large scale solar projects in 2016, up from 0% two years earlier. [Yahoo7 News]

¶ US Energy Information Administration said that in March, and April, US monthly electricity generation from utility-scale renewable sources exceeded nuclear generation for the first time since July 1984. What contributed to the rise? The report said it was “record generation from both wind and solar.” This resulted from new installations. [Tech Xplore]

Please click on the image to enlarge it. (Credit: EIA)

¶ As part of an awareness campaign to end human trafficking, the two friends have broken the record for the fastest coast-to-coast drive in an electric car. They set out from Los Angeles on July 1st and arrived in New York City 51 hours and 47 minutes later, beating the previous best (race driver Alex Roy’s 55 hours) by a comfortable margin. [Engadget]

¶ The goal of Appalachian Power Company is to rely 50% on coal and 50% on renewable energy, according to the company’s president. Businesses that wish to set up in West Virginia often have their own goals for greenhouse gas emissions. They will go elsewhere if Appalachian Power cannot offer ways to reduce emissions. [West Virginia MetroNews]

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July 9 Energy News

July 9, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Sell Your Fossil Fuel Stocks” • For people who claim to support states’ rights and the free market, the support for fossil fuels is the height of hypocrisy and delusion. When Republicans say they want to run the government “like a business,” what they apparently mean is, “run government like a Trump casino headed straight for bankruptcy court.” [HuffPost]

Nodding donkey (Greg Goebel, Wikimedia Commons)

Science and Technology:

¶ The collapse and melting of the Eurasian ice sheet at the end of the last ice age led to chaos all across the European continent, according to a new study published in the journal Quaternary Science Reviews. The collapse of the ice sheet led to serious changes to ecological systems and environments, and to the region’s human habitability. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A new analysis has been published by researchers involved with Climate Central’s World Weather Attribution program and partners. It concluded that climate warming from anthropogenic greenhouse gasses increased the intensity and frequency of extreme heat in the June 2017 heat wave in Europe by as much as a factor of 10. [CleanTechnica]

Prague Castle

¶ A study using complex computational models finds that smart solid-state transformers could be used to make a stable, reliable “smart grid.” This may help realize the idea, which has been around for years, that a smart grid could handle power flows not just from the power company to our homes, but also from our homes to the power company. [pvbuzz media]

World:

¶ Engineering giant IHI Corp unveiled an “ocean current power generator” prototype, which harnesses the energy in ocean currents. It will be tested in a demonstration project off the coast of Kagoshima Prefecture. A similar experiment with wave power was announced by Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding Co in April. [The Mainichi]

Prototype ocean current power generator (Mainichi)

¶ Negotiations over the wording of the final communiqué from the G20 meeting carried on late into Saturday morning. The sticking point? Disagreements over the US’s preferred phrasing for the group’s position on climate change and renewable energy. Bafflingly, the US wanted to state that it will help other nations with access to fossil fuels. [Gizmodo]

¶ Chile’s Santiago metro system will soon source as much as 60% of its energy requirement from renewable energy sources. The metro system, which serves 2.4 million people every day, will acquire 42% of its energy needs from a solar power project and 18% from a wind energy project. Both projects are located in the Atacama Desert. [CleanTechies]

Metro de Santiago (Credit: Ariel Cruz Pizarro | CC-BY-SA 2.0)

¶ The South African nation of Zimbabwe is planning a big push in the renewable energy sector with specific capacity targets and financial support to project developers, according to reports. A document reviewed by Bloomberg News says that Zimbabwe plans to have 1 GW of renewable energy capacity operational by 2025. [CleanTechnica]

US:

¶ Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway agreed to pay $9 billion to buy the parent of Texas power transmission company Oncor Electric Delivery Co, as it pursues steady profits from utilities and infrastructure deals. Given federal and state approval, it will gain control of one of the largest US transmission companies. [The News International]

Transmission towers (From energy.gov, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ In the past six years, rooftop solar panel installations have grown explosively – as much as 900% by one estimate. But that growth is projected to be reversed, with a decline in new installations of 2%, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. This is due in part to well-funded lobbying campaigns in state capitals. [WatertownDailyTimes.com]

¶ Coal mines have actually been hiring in North Dakota in recent years, a sharp contrast to other coal regions. Utilities have been investing significant money in coal-powered plants. The state’s coal industry “isn’t immune to what’s occurring in the rest of the US, but it may be the last place where it hits,” one economist said. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

Refurbishing a turbine (Richard Tsong-Taatarii)

¶ Southwestern New Hampshire is on its way to becoming a solar-power mecca. Keene, Chesterfield, Fitzwilliam, and Hinsdale have projects at various stages of capturing energy from the sun. The developer of the Fitzwilliam and Hinsdale projects has proposed approximately 30-MW, and up to 65-MW, systems, respectively. [The Keene Sentinel]

¶ While hackers working for a foreign government recently breached at least a dozen US power plants, including the Wolf Creek nuclear facility in Kansas, regional and local electric utilities say they have found no evidence that a recent wave of cyberattacks infiltrated any of their power plants and computer networks. [The Daily Nonpareil]

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July 8 Energy News

July 8, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ In recent years, some scientists have suggested that climate change will be less severe than the projections suggest. A study published in Science Advances joins a growing body of literature suggesting the models are correct. That may be worrisome for the planet, but it is good news for the scientists working to understand its future. [The Independent]

Tabular ice bergs off Antarctica (Reuters image)

World:

¶ German authorities have arrested an Audi manager in connection with the VW diesel scandal. This is the first arrest in Germany related to Volkswagen’s emissions-test cheating scandal. The person may have been former Audi manager Giovanni Pamio, who the US had just charged with directing staff to design emissions-cheating software. [BBC]

¶ France has announced plans to ban all petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040, following India’s push to switch to entirely electric vehicles. The country’s Environment Minister revealed the plan as part of a national goal to be carbon neutral by 2050. The French Prime Minister wants France to be the European leader in clean energy. [Interesting Engineering]

Cars in Paris (Image: Pixabay)

¶ Internet giant Amazon is establishing an electricity trading unit in Dublin as it continues to expand its footprint in Ireland and plans a €1 billion data center complex. It is not clear what type of electricity trading the Amazon Web Services unit will engage in, but it is clearly linked to the large electricity consumption of its data centers. [Independent.ie]

¶ SSE’s latest wind farm development, Slieve Divena II in County Tyrone, is fully operational, generating enough green energy to power 16,500 homes. The Ballygawley wind farm’s capacity is 18.8 MW, and its eight turbines will help offset approximately 24,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year from fossil fuel generation. [the Irish News]

The Slieve Divena II windfarm in Co Tyrone

¶ According to research and ratings agency India Ratings, private developers are facing more challenges operating thermal power projects than renewable energy projects. With aggressive bidding and falling renewable tariffs, thermal power has become less economical, leading to muted demand for private thermal power projects. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ Google is reportedly preparing to invest nearly €1 billion in the construction of a data center in Luxembourg, according to local media. The facility is to be built on a 25-hectare piece of land, making it the largest in the country. Local state-funded radio said further details on the project are to be revealed at the end of July. [Data Economy]

Luxembourg

¶ Ukraine is talking to one of France’s largest energy companies about building a giant, €1 billion ($1.25 billion) solar park in the uninhabited radioactive zone surrounding the abandoned Chernobyl nuclear reactor. Engie is beginning a pre-feasibility study funded by the French government, with the results expected for the end of the year. [National Post]

¶ Officials in Portugal inaugurated the world’s first hydro-solar power station this week. The Alto Rabagão dam, near the country’s northern border with Spain, added 840 floating solar panels earlier this year, boosting the plant’s total peak capacity by 220 kW. The solar array is about the size of what might be put on a large warehouse. [HuffPost]

Floating solar array (Horacio Villalobos/Corbis via Getty Images)

¶ A coal baron is delivering the world’s first solar train to Australia. The Byron Bay Railroad Company, operated by mining executive Brian Flannery, expects to have its two-carriage heritage train running before Christmas. It will operate on part of the disused Casino-to-Murwillumbah line, which closed in 2004. [Walcha News]

US:

¶ Massachusetts utilities, in coordination with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, issued a Request for Proposals for long-term contracts for offshore wind energy projects. The RFP, issued under the Energy Diversity Act, calls for bidders to offer from 400 MW to about 800 MW of offshore wind energy capacity. [EnergyOnline]

Block Island Wind Farm (Photo: Ionna22, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The North Carolina House and Senate voted to enact a compromise version a bill, “Competitive Energy Solutions for North Carolina.” This major new energy legislation evolves and, in some respects, expands solar business opportunities in North Carolina significantly. It establishes an 18-month moratorium on wind power permits, however. [JD Supra]

¶ The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approved Xcel Energy’s plan for a huge wind energy expansion in the Upper Midwest. Seven wind farms are planned for Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota, and the plan is for them to be operational by the end of 2020. The projects’ combined capacity is over 1,500 MW. [North American Windpower]

Wind farm in the Midwest

¶ On a tour of a coal-fired power plant, US Energy Secretary Rick Perry was asked about the economics of coal when natural gas is cheaper. He said, “Here’s a little economics lesson, supply and demand: You put the supply out there and the demand will follow that. The market will decide which of these they’re going to pick and choose.” [The Daily Times]

¶ Tucson Electric Power is seeking bids for the engineering, design, and construction of natural gas generators to help provide reliable electric service by supporting the expansion of renewable energy. A new facility will house 10 reciprocating engines, powered by natural gas, with a combined capacity of up to 200 MW. [BOE Report]

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July 7 Energy News

July 7, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ Scientists have found evidence in computer simulations for a possible abrupt change to heavy seasonal rainfall in the Sahel, a region that so far has been characterized by extreme dryness. They detect a self-amplifying mechanism which might kick in beyond 1.5° to 2° C of global warming, the limits of the Paris Climate Agreement. [Eurasia Review]

The Sahel region (Image: Wikipedia Commons)

¶ Flooding is already one of the most costly perils for the re/insurance community and a recent report by AIR Worldwide shows flooding costs are set to skyrocket; it’s the risk with the most evidence from climate science supporting forecasts of an increase in frequency and intensity of both coastal and inland flood events. [Reinsurance News]

World:

¶ An Australian state will install the world’s largest lithium-ion battery in a “historic” deal with electric car firm Tesla and energy company Neoen. Tesla boss Elon Musk confirmed a promise that Tesla would build the battery within 100 days, or it would be provided for free. The 100-MW/129-MWh battery should be ready this year. [BBC]

A need for storm resilience in South Australia (Getty Images)

¶ G20 countries continue to spend billions in public financing for fossil fuels, spending nearly four times as much as on clean energy, with the total coming to $215.3 billion in deals for oil, gas, and coal in the years 2013 through 2015. This is according to a report that a group of non-profit organizations published this week. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Google’s big data center campuses in Europe are to be powered using renewable energy sourced from Norway starting next September. A Google spokesman said the company expects a wind farm currently being built by Tellenes to be operational by then and ready to export power to be used in at least one of the Google data center. [Data Economy]

Rural European Windpower (Pixabay image)

¶ Nearly 400 global investors who together manage more than $22 trillion in assets have written to G20 leaders in advance of the G20 summit, urging them to commit to the Paris Agreement and help drive its implementation. This is not the first time that investors have spoken up and urged nations to support climate change action. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Scotland set a record for total wind power output in March, jumping more than 80% year-on-year. Wind power covered 136% of Scottish household demand, or 58% of the country’s total demand for the month. The news increases pressure on the UK Government to rethink its decision to withdraw new subsidies for onshore windfarms. [Power Technology]

Scottish wind power

¶ Electric vehicles are not just transforming the auto industry. They are also about to reshape the global power market. By 2040, more than half of all new cars sold will be plug-ins like those offered by Tesla, according to a report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. That means electricity demand from vehicles will surge 300-fold. [Bloomberg]

¶ A report from Morgan Stanley predicts “surprisingly large” reductions in global power sector emissions – even in Trump’s America – as solar and wind energy hurtle towards being the cheapest new sources of electricity generation, with or without ambitious policy targets. The power industry will be steered by economics. [RenewEconomy]

Coal-burning power plant in New Mexico

US:

¶ Appalachian Power Co is asking state regulators in Virginia and West Virginia to approve 225 MW of new wind generation from facilities located in Ohio and West Virginia. With the approval of the two new projects, the company would have a total of 1,000 MW of renewable energy from a combination of wind and hydro power. [Bacon’s Rebellion]

¶ Hawaiian Electric Companies has to deal with the most ambitious renewable energy mandate in the nation, and one of the most ambitious in the world, which requires that it procure 100% of its electricity from renewables by 2045. If that weren’t daunting enough, it is dealing with limitations imposed by having a series of island grids. [pv magazine USA]

Hawaiian rooftop solar (RevoluSun image)

¶ In what is becoming a trend in the Western US, Public Service Co of New Mexico plans to exit coal-fired generation by 2031 in favor of renewables and natural gas-fired generation. Its integrated resource plan’s preferred portfolio replaces baseload resources with resources that have lower operating costs and greater flexibility. [Platts]

¶ The three primary power grids – the Eastern Interconnection, the Western Interconnection and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas – have very little electricity moving among them. As Part of the Grid Modernization Initiative the DOE is working with researchers  to study ways to increase resilience by tying the eastern and western grids together. [Tech Xplore]

US grids (Please click on the image to enlarge it.)

¶ Speaking by videoconference to the Global Citizens Festival in Hamburg, California Governor Jerry Brown reinforced his reputation as America’s de facto leader on climate change, announcing to cheering crowds that his state would gather leaders from around the world for a global warming summit next year. [The New York Times]

¶ Since May, hackers have been penetrating the computer networks of companies that operate nuclear power stations and other US energy facilities. The Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation was one target, according to security consultants, and an urgent joint report was issued by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI. [CNBC]

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July 6 Energy News

July 6, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Confronting the Himalayan environmental crisis” • Burning black carbon is accelerating glacial melt and disturbing weather patterns in the Himalayas. This has led to extreme droughts and flooding in the region. According to NASA, the black soot concentration in the Himalayas has increased three-fold in the last 20 years. [Online Khabar]

Avalanche on Everest (Photo: Chagai, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Is blockchain about to disrupt the electricity sector?” • When the leaders of Europe’s electricity industry gathered last month for their annual conference, they devoted a whole morning to technologies that promise a future “beyond utilities.” The buzziest such technology is blockchain, which brought us the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. [EURACTIV]

World:

¶ Wind and solar electricity will be the cheapest forms of power generation in every G20 country by 2030, according to a report commissioned by Greenpeace Germany. It also said that in about half of the G20 countries, renewables have produced electricity at rates equal to or lower than those from coal or nuclear since 2015. [reNews]

Wind Power (Pixabay image)

¶ The tallest wind turbines ever to be built in Australia will come through the Port of Newcastle next month. The 200-metre tall turbines will be transported to the Sapphire Wind Farm project in the New England area of New South Wales. Newcastle-based CWP Renewables is building the $588 million project, which will have 75 turbines. [Newcastle Herald]

¶ The Philippine Department of Energy has authorized Citicore Power Inc to proceed with the pre-development stage of its five proposed hydropower projects in Southern Luzon. The pre-development stage covers permitting and conducting various studies for the contracts, which potentially have a combined capacity of 2,300 MW. [Power Philippines]

Philippine hydropower

¶ Australia has been ranked as very low in its performance tackling climate change in a new Brown to Green report. Other countries that were singled out for poor performance include the US, Russia, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. The best performers were China, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Mexico, and South Africa. [Energy Matters]

¶ Australia’s Climate Change Authority, a government board set up to advise on climate policy, has no climate scientists left. None. Not one. No climate scientists remain on the government agency appointed to advise on climate policy. The University of Melbourne’s Professor David Karoly lasted five years. He just left. [Gizmodo Australia]

Outback whirlwind (Image: iStock)

¶ Sanjeev Gupta, the flamboyant Indian-born billionaire who has agreed to buy the ailing steel producer Arrium, has promised to turn the ageing Whyalla steel plant “green” by getting electricity from renewables and pumped storage. A recent study found numerous potential pumped storage sites in South Australia, including a number near Whyalla. [RenewEconomy]

US:

¶ A federal court has ruled that the EPA cannot suspend a methane emissions rule crafted by the Obama administration. Under EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, the EPA argued that the oil and gas industry has not been allowed to comment on the rules. An appeals court in Washington, DC, rejected that claim in a 2-1 ruling. [San Francisco Chronicle]

Pump jack in Midland, Texas (Photo: Michael Stravato, NYT)

¶ For automakers who report the monthly sales in the US of their plug-in models (which includes most big auto makers but not Tesla), fully electric car in June 2017 were up 102% from June 2016, and plug-in hybrid sales were up 11.5%. For the year through June, fully electric sales were up 96% and plug-in hybrid sales were up 42%. [CleanTechnica]

¶ To implement a renewable energy program, the Northern Marianas Commonwealth Utilities Corp will issue two requests for proposals for geothermal exploration and integrated-resource planning. The RFPs will focus on developing new energy sources. Project funding came from the US Department of the Interior. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

Saipan, Marianas (source: flickr | Matt Watts, creative commons)

¶ A federal appeals court affirmed the legality of Connecticut’s renewable portfolio standard and related clean energy initiatives. The groundbreaking decision should boost states’ confidence that they can exercise climate and clean energy leadership at a time when the Trump Administration wants to move backwards. [Microgrid Knowledge]

¶ Dominion Generation Inc, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dominion Energy Inc, is expanding its solar portfolio with the acquisition of a 10-MW solar facility in Clarke County, Virginia. It also intends to purchase a 20-MW solar farm currently under construction in Northampton County, Virginia, from the same developer. [Commercial Property Executive]

Clarke County 10-MW solar facility
(Image courtesy of Dominion Energy’s Facebook Page)

¶ The Phipps Bend Nuclear Power Plant has sat abandoned since 1981, as one of over 100 nuclear plants that have been cancelled in the US. Today, however, the site is finally producing CO2-free electricity, which it is generating with a 1-MW solar power plant. Many other sites of nuclear or coal-burning power plants can be similarly developed. [Electrek]

¶ Idaho Power has plans to phase out most of its coal-fired generation, partly because its plants are running less often amid persistently low natural gas prices, and partly because of expanded renewable generating capacity. This is according to the integrated resource plan the utility filed with state regulators prior to the holiday weekend. [Platts]

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July 5 Energy News

July 5, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “If We Stopped Emitting Greenhouse Gases Right Now, Would We Stop Climate Change?” • What would happen to the climate if we were to stop emitting carbon dioxide today, right now? Would we return to the climate of our elders? The simple answer is no. [ScienceAlert]

Freedom to emit pollution (Aziz Acharki | Unsplash)

¶ “The Hinkley C nuclear power plant will be a costly mistake – we can still stop it” • News that the cost of building the new nuclear plant has risen by another £1.5 billion came shortly after the National Audit Office confirmed that the deal is overpriced and risky. [New Statesman]

Science and Technology:

¶ Over the past several months, historic shareholder resolutions have pushed oil giants, including Exxon, to disclose climate-related risks. Food companies are next, experts say, whether they use or produce palm oil, corn, soy or beef, to name some with the biggest climate impacts. [InsideClimate News]

Cutting forests for palm oil (Credit Dimas Ardian | Getty Images)

World:

¶ Volvo is phasing out cars that rely solely on combustion engines. Every new model launched from 2019 will have an electric motor, as the shift away from the technology dependent entirely on fossil fuels gathers pace. Volvo is owned by Chinese billionaire Li Shuf. [Bloomberg]

¶ Wood Group and Romax Technologies has improved the performance of EDF Energies Nouvelles’ 67.5-MW La Mata y La Ventosa wind farm in Oaxaca, Mexico by changing the control system. High turbulence and wind speeds had caused some turbines to be run at reduced power. [reNews]

La Mata y La Ventosa wind farm (Clipper image)

¶ India’s ambitious aim to install 160 GW of renewable energy by 2022 will have a positive impact on the country’s jobs market, a study showed. It says that more than 300,000 full-time workers will be needed, with a potential to create around one million job opportunities. [EnergyInfraPost]

¶ The European Investment Bank is to loan the Belgian transmission system operator Elia €100 million to help link offshore wind to the country’s mainland grid. The offshore wind energy will be integrated to distribute electricity across the Belgian network by the end of 2017. [reNews]

Offshore wind substation (Elia Group image)

¶ Leading economist Ross Garnaut, who has authored two influential climate change reports, says Australia is being held back by those with “ideological or vested interests in old ways of supplying energy.” He said renewable energy is key to securing the nation’s economic future. [The New Daily]

¶ An investment of over $1 million investment has been “worth its weight in gold” for a Great Barrier Reef island resort that’s leading the charge in renewable power, according to the manager. Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort is on track to being 100% renewably powered. [Gladstone Observer]

Lady Elliot Island solar array (Tegan Annett)

¶ NTPC, India’s biggest power producer, plans to invest $10 billion in new coal-fired power stations over the next five years despite objections and the electricity regulator’s assessment that thermal plants now under construction will be able to meet demands until 2027. [The Hans India]

¶ A 42-MWdc solar PV plant is to be built in Nonogasta, a municipality of Argentine province Nueva Rioja, the local government announced. It will have an estimated 132,000 solar PV panels. It will cost $40 million to bring to completion and create 150 jobs. [pv magazine]

Nueva Rioja region (Image: Roberto Fiadone | Wikipedia)

¶ The European Commission has allocated €4 million to a project that will link the French and Irish electricity grids via an undersea cable. The Celtic Interconnector project, called an “obvious solution,” would have a 600-km-long undersea cable with a capacity of 700 MW. [EURACTIV]

US:

¶ A wind power project in California aims to capture the Central Coast’s wind. Trident Winds proposes to build a wind farm of 60 to 100 turbines off the coast, from Cayucos to north of Piedras Blancas. The project would have a capacity of 1000 MW. [The San Luis Obispo Tribune]

Sheringham Shoal Wind Farm (Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Secretary of Energy Rick Perry could order Americans to pay more for electricity to keep his boss’s promises to coal miners, nuclear power plants and electric companies. He has authority to do that under a law that allows him to declare a national reliability emergency. [Houston Chronicle]

¶ Federal real property is getting greener, one system at a time. The Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Management Program recently awarded 21 contracts to energy service companies to help the government increase energy savings and lower operating costs. [FederalNewsRadio.com]

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July 4 Energy News

July 4, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Larsen C breakoff could have ‘dire consequences'” • A massive piece of an ice shelf in West Antarctica is poised to break off any day now, creating an iceberg the size of the state of Delaware. The possible collapse of the Larsen C ice shelf has scientists worried. Why? Expert John Abraham explains – and speaks out about Trump. [Deutsche Welle]

Larsen ice shelf

World:

¶ An $8 million wind and solar farm has been announced in Western Australia by Advanced Energy Resources in conjunction with GMA Garnet. The construction of a 3-MW wind and solar farm with battery storage will supply electricity at a GMA Garnet mining location about 120 km from the nearest electric grid substation. [Energy Matters]

¶ The world’s first commercial-scale floating wind farm, which will be sited 25 km off the coast of Scotland, is nearer to being a reality. According to a press statement, each of the five 5-MW wind turbines has been attached onto a floating substructure in Norway, and they are now ready to be towed into position and anchored to the seabed. [Gulf Today]

Building a floating wind turbine

¶ Viet Nam’s FECON Corporation and Saudi Arabi’s Acwa Power signed a memorandum of understanding for developing renewable energy projects in Viet Nam. The MOU says FECON and Acwa Power will evaluate renewable energy investment potentials, especially for wind and solar power in southern and central regions. [Viet Nam News]

¶ The UK faces a stiff challenge over the next three years if it is to meet its EU target of achieving 15% renewable energy penetration by 2020. Figures released by UK government ahead of the G20 Summit show that the UK had a renewable energy penetration of 8.9% at the end of 2016. This is far short of its EU target for 2020 of 15%. [pv magazine]

Working to meet the UK 2020 RE target (Image: Pfalzsolar)

¶ As a global technology leader in electrification, Siemens has reiterated its commitment to assisting Ghana in meeting the country’s expanding energy needs. Siemens is undertaking a new training program in Accra. The program is aimed at keeping Siemens’ partners in Ghana up to date on the company’s latest technology offerings. [News Ghana]

¶ German policymakers have outlawed negative bids in next year’s 1.6-GW offshore wind tender after the bulk of capacity in the country’s first auction in April was won by zero subsidy bids. The amendment to the Wind Energy at Sea Act has been made to prevent a downward spiral into negative prices. The price cap was lowered at the same time. [reNews]

Riffgat offshore wind farm in Germany (Credit: EWE)

¶ Photon Energy is developing a 316-MW solar power plant near Gunning, New South Wales. It would be the biggest PV project in the state and one of the largest planned in Australia, comparable in size to conventional utility scale power stations. The solar power plan would be constructed on 590 hectares of land as soon as 2019. [Sun & Wind Energy]

¶ Swedish state-owned power company Vattenfall has established a new business unit dedicated to solar plus storage. Additionally, the company will look to immediately capitalize on growth of the technology within Europe by lining up investments of €150 million in large-scale solar and battery storage projects on the continent. [Solar Power Portal]

Turbine in the Parc Cynog wind farm in Wales

¶ The US administration told India that Westinghouse Electric Co will emerge from bankruptcy and be sold by the year end, sources said, raising the prospect of a Washington-supported sale or bailout for the nuclear firm. Some form of US backing or involvement could avoid a Chinese or Russian buyer unpalatable to Washington. [The Indian Express]

¶ The amount of solar energy installed on the world’s power grids increased 50% year over year in 2016, according to a report by the International Energy Agency. Between 70 GW and 75 GW solar panels came online, with close to half those installations coming in China, where solar capacity more than doubled last year. [Chron.com]

Alamo 6 solar farm in West Texas

US:

¶ Two key moves this year will propel San Francisco’s toward an all-renewable electricity mix by 2030. They could make San Francisco, the nation’s 13th largest city, a model for others. A 2012 report showed the city’s electricity was even then 41% renewable-generated, thanks to municipal solar, hydroelectric, and biogas facilities. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Goldman Sachs became the first US bank to sign a large-scale power purchase agreement for off-site renewable energy. The agreement will make it possible to build a new 68-MW wind farm in Pennsylvania. Goldman Sachs has established a goal to get 100% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. (Interview) [One Step Off The Grid]

Goldman Sachs buying power from a wind farm

¶ Rocky Mountain Power is asking regulators in three states to approve an initial plan to expand the amount of wind power serving its customers by 2020 by 1.1 GW. Regulatory filings have been made in Wyoming, Utah and Idaho, though most of the new investments would be in Wyoming, Rocky Mountain Power said. [North American Windpower]

¶ PowerDocks LLC partnered with the city of Newport, Rhode Island, to launch the Blue Isles platform in Newport Harbor. It is the first aquatic microgrid platform built to power and recharge electric marine propulsion vessels using solar power. The solar panels provide free electricity and Wi-Fi to vessels docked within 300 feet. [ecoRI news]

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July 3 Energy News

July 3, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Wind Power Cost vs Fossil Fuels: Who Just Won?” • Over the last three years the cost of wind power generation has dropped by more than 20%. Today it is as cheap as coal and does not need subsidies to be competitive. And that does not consider the fact that wind power does not create any pollution as it captures power. [The Green Optimistic]

Offshore wind construction

Science and Technology:

¶ Stephen Hawking is not mincing words: President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the landmark Paris Accord could cause irreversible harm to the planet. “Trump’s action could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of two hundred and fifty degrees, and raining sulphuric acid.” [HuffPost]

¶ Using surplus electricity from renewables to make hydrogen fuel is starting a new era for all forms of heavy transport. Trucks, trains and ships using hydrogen fuel cells for propulsion are no longer just theoretically possible: they have reached the trial stage. And using hydrogen for fuel has come to make economic sense. [eco-business.com]

An Electric train could be converted to use hydrogen
and fuel cells. (David Gubler, Wikimedia Commons)

World:

¶ Iran says French energy giant Total is to sign a contract worth close to $5 billion (£3.8 billion) to develop an offshore gas field in the Gulf. Oil ministry officials said Total would get a 50.1% stake in the deal, China’s CNPC would hold a 30% stake and Iran’s Petropars 19.9%. The deal will be signed in Tehran on July 3. [BBC]

¶ In Nigeria a 25-year-old woman developed a mini-grid powered by biogas made from organic waste, and the power it generates benefits 550 local people. The Rije biogas station produces the 20 kW of electricity and uses 1.2 tonnes of organic waste daily. Agricultural, kitchen, and human waste are all used to generate electricity. [Cleanleap]

Building a bio-digester

¶ Victoria looks set to get another wind farm, after New Zealand-based outfit Tilt Renewables confirmed it would proceed with plans to develop a 54-MW project in the state’s west. Tilt says the company has decided that the $105 million Salt Creek wind farm, near Mortlake, would go ahead without a power purchase agreement. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Germany raised the proportion of its power produced by renewable energy to 35% in the first half of 2017 from 33% the previous year, according to a renewable energy association. Germany has got up to 85% of its electricity from renewable sources on certain sunny or windy days, as it aims to phase out nuclear power by 2022. [Business Insider]

Wind turbines in the North sea (Photo: Thomson Reuters)

¶ Alberta’s NDP government has not wasted time on climate change policies. In the past six months, Albertans now pay a carbon tax and they are eligible for subsidies on efficiency improvements and solar panels. The coal phase-out has been negotiated, and an auction is underway to bring more renewable power to the province. [CBC.ca]

¶ Some 134 million people in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations region do not have access to electricity, and for many of those who have electricity, the supply is unstable. Off-grid distributed energy systems using renewable energy could be a solution to this problem, thanks to the increasing availability of renewable energy technologies. [BRINK]

Green School, Indonesia (Photo: Putu Sayoga | Getty Images)

¶ The estimated completion cost for the Hinkley Point C nuclear reactors is now £19.6 billion, up from £18 billion pounds last September. EDF now says, however, that the final bill could come to more than £20 billion pounds ($26 billion). There are also risks of further delays for the two reactors. The nuclear plant is on the coast of Somerset. [BloombergQuint]

¶ Jan De Nul jack-up vessel Vole au Vent has completed turbine installation at Suomen Hyötytuuli’s 42-MW Tahkoluoto offshore wind farm off the coast of Finland. The vessel successfully lifted the project’s 10th Siemens 4.2-MW turbine onto its foundations slightly ahead of schedule. First power is expected on the grid this week. [reNews]

Turbine installation (Photo: Suomen Hyötytuuli)

US:

¶ Offshore wind power could provide 15 million homes in New York state with energy, according to a local authority body. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) said wind farms in the Atlantic could transform the renewable energy landscape. It is working on a roadmap for offshore wind development. [Innovators Magazine]

¶ One of South Dakota’s most populated counties is deciding the future of wind power within its borders, and the outcome could provide direction for the future of wind generation in the entire state. Voters in Lincoln County will decide whether to keep the strict setback rules for wind projects county commissioners had adopted. [Sioux City Journal]

Wind turbines at sunset (Photo: USGS, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ With the country seemingly paralyzed by polarization, two separate announcements in California and Washington, DC last week heralded strange bedfellows coming together to advocate for climate dividends. They include environmentalists in California and big business – including some of the largest oil and gas companies. [HuffPost]

¶ In New York, capital markets this year are more willing than ever to finance green energy projects, according to a panel at the Renewable Energy Conference. The Business Council of New York State and the Hudson Renewable Energy Institute hosted the event at Marist College. Panelists spoke of pent-up demand pushing a new market. [RTO Insider]

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July 2 Energy News

July 2, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “1,800 tons of radioactive waste has an ocean view and nowhere to go” • The closed San Onofre nuclear power plant will loom for a long time as a landmark, its 1,800 tons of lethal radioactive waste stored on the edge of the Pacific. And like the other 79,000 tons of spent fuel in the US, San Onofre’s nuclear waste has nowhere to go. [Los Angeles Times]

San Onofre nuclear plant, seen from Camp Pendleton
(Photo: Allen J. Schaben | Los Angeles Times)

¶ “Utility Spends $7.5 Billion To Prove Clean Coal Is A Cruel Hoax” • In 2010, Southern Company began construction of a “clean coal” generating facility in Mississippi. Working on a $3.5 billion budget, its mission was to prove that the technology worked. Now, 3 years overdue and $4 billion over budget, the company has given up. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ When China halted plans for more than 100 new coal-fired power plants this year, even as President Trump vowed to “bring back coal,” the contrast seemed to confirm Beijing’s leadership in the fight against climate change. But China’s energy companies are building or planning to build more than 700 new coal plants worldwide. [New York Times]

Construction at a Chinese-owned coal-burning power
plant in Pakistan (Credit: Asad Zaidi | Bloomberg)

¶ The Indian state of Telangana is have over 5000 MW of solar power generation capacity by 2019, up from 1300 MW of capacity now. This is because the state adopted a distributed development model. Under this system, solar project developers are offered opportunities to develop projects based on demand. [Times of India]

¶ Botswana’s rural electrification currently stands at 80%, and the country is targeting to connect the remaining 20% of rural households to electricity by 2020, the energy minister said. Botswana’s production capacity will be augmented by renewable initiatives that the government is putting in place with the help of private players. [Xinhua]

Reservoir at Gaborone Dam (Athena Lao, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Four green technologies are growing fast enough that with a little help they can do their part in a zero-carbon-emissions world by mid-century, an International Energy Agency official said this week in Chicago. The technologies are electric vehicles, energy storage, solar PV, and wind power. All have rapidly falling costs. [Forbes]

US:

¶ The University of Oklahoma has long been known for weather and climate research, but a high-ranking administrator says an eight-year, $161 million project that has just formally begun puts OU in an entirely new orbit. The contract involves  development, deployment and operation of the Geostationary Carbon Cycle Observatory. [Tulsa World]

Bizzell Library, University of Oklahoma
(Photo: tylerphotos, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ During a four-day period from May 4 to May 7, electricity pricing for some wholesale buyers in New England reached negative levels, as wind farms and solar arrays were producing large amounts of electricity and demand was low. A 2014 change in the energy market rules aimed at market flexibility made negative pricing possible. [The Union Leader]

¶ Climate change will aggravate economic inequality in the United States, essentially transferring wealth from poor counties in the Southeast and the Midwest to well-off communities in the Northeast and on the coasts, according to the most detailed economic assessment of the phenomenon ever conducted. The study was published in Science. [CityLab]

Effects of climate change (Tony Gutierrez | AP)

¶ Concord, New Hampshire, might be in line for a solar-power boom now that solar panels will no longer be subject to property tax assessments, especially after state regulators decided not to greatly change payments for electricity production. The city council unanimously voted to create a tax exemption for most solar installations. [Concord Monitor]

¶ New York and Massachusetts have joined a growing number of states that are setting targets for energy storage as wind, solar and other renewable energy sources are supplying increasing amounts of power to their electric grids. It is not a new idea. The first large scale storage facility in the US was built in Connecticut in 1929. [Digital Journal]

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July 1 Energy News

July 1, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ Global warming is a clear and present danger, and the people who deny it are putting us and future generations at risk. But these deniers are losing one argument after the other. Earlier this week, data showed how quickly the oceans are warming. Now, new data shows that the small discrepancies between satellite and ground data are actually not there. [IFLScience]

Earth from the ISS (Reid Wiseman | NASA image)

World:

¶ German Chancellor Angela Merkel, one of the most influential and respected leaders in the world, has issued a shot across the bow of Donald Trump’s nascent US leadership in advance of next week’s G20 summit next week, raising the specter of a public and contentious clash over several issues, including the stance on climate change. [CleanTechnica]

¶ As part of the Mayor of London’s ongoing efforts to reduce the city’s growing air pollution problems, a new retrofit program has been announced that will result in around 5,000 buses being upgraded so as to meet the Euro VI emissions standard. The program is reportedly expected to cut the emissions of the buses by up to 95%. [CleanTechnica]

London buses (Photo: Chris Sampson, some rights reserved)

¶ China appointed a new environment minister, Li Ganjie. On his first day in that job, he told staff to take environmental protection to “a new level” and wage a “protracted battle” to clean up the nation’s notoriously polluted air, water and soil. He takes over the job from Chen Jining, who was appointed acting mayor of Beijing. [Thomson Reuters Foundation]

¶ Philippine environment groups filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to stop the government from approving more coal-fired power plants that contribute to harmful air pollution in the country. The group took two government departments to task for allegedly neglecting their duty and respective mandates on fossil fuels. [Business Mirror]

Coal pollution (Business Mirror file photo)

US:

¶ A natural-gas-infrastructure project slated for southern New England came to a screeching halt June 29, when Houston-based Spectra Energy Partners announced that the controversial Access Northeast project is being suspended. The Algonquin natural-gas pipeline included a series of extensions between New York and Massachusetts. [ecoRI news]

¶ Hawaiian Electric Companies submitted a draft of its plan to modernize the power grids on the five Islands it serves to bring more renewable resources online. The plan shows how the gird modernization will help achieve a consolidated renewable portfolio standard of 48% by 2020. The state mandated RPS calls for 30% by 2020. [Pacific Business News]

Rooftop solar in Hawaii (Photo Risource Energy)

¶ The White House is planning on using military concepts to conduct an “at-length evaluation of US climate science.” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is pushing an initiative that will use so-called “red team, blue team” tactics, developed within the military to try to find vulnerabilities in ideas for field operations, to discuss climate science. [The Independent]

¶  A landmark lawsuit by a group of children against the Trump administration over climate change is headed to trial. The plaintiffs include 21 children and young adults who originally sued in 2015, arguing that the federal government encourages use of fossil fuels despite knowing about the dangers of climate change. [Scientific American]

Protesting climate change (Credit: Bill Wechter | Getty Images)

¶ A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine said premature deaths resulting from air pollution are occurring in areas where levels are within National Ambient Air Quality Standards. It said that even a modest reduction in PM2.5 pollution particles could prevent about 12,000 premature deaths annually. [Yale Environment 360]

¶ Lately, crude oil hasn’t looked like a great investment. The Keystone XL pipeline’s operator, TransCanada, is struggling to track down oil producers and refiners who want to invest in transporting crude oil from Canada to the United States. When it proposed the pipeline extension in 2008, a barrel of crude cost $130. Now it’s down to $45. [Grist]

Keystone XL site in Nebraska (Photo: Shannon Ramos)

¶ The science division of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy was unstaffed as of Friday as the three remaining employees departed this week, sources told CBS News. The departures from the division highlight the different commitment to scientific research under Presidents Obama and Trump. [CBS News]

¶ The Edmonds, Washington, City Council has approved a resolution establishing a goal for the city to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2025. According to the Sierra Club, Edmonds represents the first municipality in Washington state, and the 37th city in the US, to commit to 100% renewable energy. [North American Windpower]

Renewable energy

¶ The Public Utility Commission of Oregon has approved community solar rules that will help to enable all citizens in the state to directly participate in, and benefit from, local solar projects. The new rules will enable state citizens to benefit from state projects without having to install solar panels on their own roofs. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ The US government warned industrial firms this week about a hacking campaign targeting the nuclear and energy sectors, the latest event to highlight the power industry’s vulnerability to cyber attacks. Since at least May, hackers used tainted “phishing” emails to “harvest credentials” so they could gain access to networks. [Al-Arabiya]

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June 30 Energy News

June 30, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ Humanity must put carbon dioxide emissions on a downward slope by 2020 to have a realistic shot at capping global warming at well under two degrees Celsius, the bedrock goal of the Paris climate accord, experts warned in a commentary published in the science journal Nature. A world that heats up beyond that threshold will face devastating impacts. [NEWS.com.au]

Devastation (Picture: Kevin Frayer)

World:

¶ Renewable energy analysts MAKE Consulting published its China Wind Power Outlook 2017 report this week. Over the next ten years, China is expected to install an annual average of more than 25 GW of new wind capacity, resulting in a cumulative growth across the decade of about 403 GW, according to the report’s figures. [CleanTechnica]

¶ In 2016, China’s State Council released guidelines forbidding the construction of “bizarre” and “odd-shaped” buildings lacking character or cultural heritage. They want a focus on “economic, green and beautiful.” Newly unveiled plans for Liuzhou Forest City, designed by Stefano Boeri Architetti for southern China, seem to fit the bill. [CNN]

Liuzhou forest city (Please click on the image to enlarge it.)

¶ In line with government plans to make India energy self-sufficient, the energy minister released a study on integrating 175 GW of renewable energy the grid by 2022. The study, developed under the US-India bilateral program ‘Greening the Grid’, confirms that goal as viable and identifies a course of actions that would favor it. [Indiainfoline]

¶ In Austria, new law will provide €30 million in incentives for solar-plus-storage installations for the period 2018-2019. This means that for the first time Austria will provide incentives for PV storage at a national level. The new regulation also will make it possible to build community solar plants in multi-occupied buildings. [pv magazine]

Rooftop PV system in Austria (Photo: Mea Solar)

¶ Output from onshore wind power in the UK stood at 7.7 TWh in the first quarter of 2017, according to government figures. This was up 20% in the first quarter of 2017. Onshore wind was boosted by a capacity increase of 23% or 2.2 GW on the first three months of last year. Increased onshore output came, despite lower wind speeds. [reNews]

¶ Global research institute McKinsey & Company analyzed current energy storage prices and concluded that commercial customers are already feeling the economic benefits of cheaper batteries and falling prices for lithium-ion technology. Battery-pack costs now down to less than $230/kWh, compared to about $1,000/kWh in 2010. [RenewEconomy]

Battery storage

¶ Australian demand for power from the grid is expected to be roughly flat over the next 20 years even with a 30% rise in population, thanks to rooftop solar and energy efficiency, the Australian Energy Market Operator said. Power demand from the grid is expected to inch up to about 190,000 GWh by 2037 from 185,000 GWh in 2016. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ GE Energy Financial Services has so far raised ¥46.3 billion (€360 million, $414 million) for a solar energy fund in Japan to invest in local solar power projects. Development Bank of Japan has committed one third of the investment, with additional backing by a group of Japanese institutional investors. The fund has already invested in solar assets. [reNews]

Kumenan solar array (GE image)

¶ The Visayan Electric Company is sourcing over half of its power supply from renewable energy sources, making Metro Cebu as one of the “most sustainable” local government units in the Philippines. Most of its power comes from geothermal installations. About 32% of the Philippine electricity comes from renewable sources. [Philippine Star]

US:

¶ Rocky Mountain Power is making regulatory filings in Utah and two other states seeking approval to expand the its wind power generation by 2020. The expansion project is part of a $3.5 billion spending package that includes building new wind turbines, improving the existing wind fleet, and building 140 miles of transmission lines. [KSL.com]

Wyoming wind farm (Photo: Alan Rogers, Casper Star-Tribune)

¶ Legislation designed to encourage more solar energy in North Carolina is in jeopardy after the state House and Senate passed different versions of the bill. A key sticking point is a provision the Senate added that would halt new wind power projects in the state until the end of 2020. The House bill was an example of rare compromise. [WFAE]

¶ NextEra Energy Resources plans to install GE turbines at the 90-MW Cottonwood wind farm now under construction in southern Nebraska. The project, located in Webster County, will comprise 40 2.3-MW and 1.7-MW machines. Work on the ground has already begun, and turbine erection is slated to start in September. [reNews]

GE 1.75-MW wind turbine (GE image)

¶ President Donald Trump on Thursday touted a list of actions that he said will allow the United States to achieve “new era of American energy dominance,” largely by promoting fossil fuels. He did not mention renewable power, and environmental groups decried the actions as gifts to corporate polluters that will harm the climate. [RenewEconomy]

¶ President Donald Trump frequently used the word “wealth” on Wednesday when describing natural resources like coal, natural gas, and heavy crude oil, before laying out six ways American businesses could sell off those resources for profit. Trump wants to “revitalize the nuclear energy sector,” but aside from that, he is just promoting fossil fuels. [Inverse]

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June 29 Energy News

June 29, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “The Trump White House thinks if you stop measuring climate change it isn’t happening – that’s wrong and dangerous” • With each passing year, measurements tell us that the climate system is far more sensitive than we thought only a decade ago. It is prudent risk management take significant steps to mitigate the worst risks of climate change. [The Independent]

Changing the climate

World:

¶ Some Australian states and electric power companies are rolling out a new weapon against fossil fuels. Increasingly, states are requiring large batteries to be used to help expand wind and solar power. The trend is catching on quickly as at least three states have created energy storage targets or incentives so far this year. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Scientists are concerned about an unknown cause of a rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide. In one of the most hopeful signs since the global climate crisis became widely known, the amount of carbon dioxide that people are pumping into the air seems to have stabilized. Nevertheless, the amount in the air is still increasing. [New York Times] Thanks to CC Reilly

Cape Grim Baseline Air Pollution Station in Tasmania. (Credit:
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization)

¶ Navigant Research’s latest Microgrid Deployment Tracker highlights remote projects leading all microgrid segments in terms of capacity and in number of projects. According to Navigant Research, as of the second quarter of 2017, there are 1,842 microgrid projects lodged in its Tracker, representing a total of 19,279 MW of capacity. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Dutch company Alfen has built a 3-MW energy storage system using BMW car batteries at Nuon’s Prinses Alexia wind farm in the Netherlands. The companies said that they plan to expand the system to 12 MW “over the coming period”. It is Alfen’s second energy storage project linked to a wind farm; the first was a 1-MW system at Giessenwind. [reNews]

Alfen battery system (Alfen image)

¶ Dong Energy has concluded agreements for the conversion of the Asnæs power station to bio energy that will help phase out coal-fired generation in Denmark by 2023. The plant will be fueled with wood chips, which will come from primarily from by-products, such as branches, twigs and thinning trees from sustainable forestry projects. [reNews]

¶ Three companies, SSAB, LKAB, and Vattenfall, announced that they have formed a joint venture company to continue to drive the HYBRIT initiative. The three companies will each own one third of the company, which will seek to develop a steelmaking process that uses no fossil fuels and emits water instead of carbon dioxide. [Automotive World]

Steel without fossil fuels (Please click on the image to enlarge it.)

¶ In the UK, household energy bills and carbon emissions will rise unless ministers devise new policies to save power, a report says. The Committee on Climate Change confirms that bills and emissions have been forced down since 2008 by EU energy efficiency rules. The CCC says the UK must adopt new policies much more swiftly. [BBC]

US:

¶ Mississippi Power and DE Shaw Renewable Investments, LLC have announced that the 52-MW solar generating facility near Sumrall, the largest solar power plant in the state of Mississippi, is operating and providing energy to the Mississippi Power grid. The facility, with about 220,000 panels on 600 acres, can power approximately 8,000 homes. [Hattiesburg American]

Sumrall solar facility (Photo: Mississippi Power)

¶ Mississippi Power Co, faced with an ultimatum from state regulators, said it will suspend efforts to build a coal-fueled power plant with carbon capture. The cost of the plant ballooned from $2.9 billion to $7.5 billion and it is three years behind schedule. Instead of running on so-called “clean coal,” it will run on natural gas. [FederalNewsRadio.com]

¶ The Navajo Nation Council approved a lease extension to allow the coal-fired power Navajo Generating Station to continue operating through December 2019. The 18-4 Council vote came Monday night after about eight hours of debate. It means at least 700 jobs at the plant and the coal mine that supplies it will not be lost immediately. [PennEnergy]

Navajo Generating Station

¶ The clean energy organization The Sun Day Campaign has picked apart the latest data from the US Energy Information Agency, and the news may be ominous for nuclear energy. So far low cost natural gas has been the primary driver of coal power plant closings, but renewables are beginning to play a larger role. [Triple Pundit]

¶ The nation’s electricity grid operators are increasingly turning to more flexible resources and low-cost renewable energy options like wind and solar, rendering outdated the notion that “baseload” generating plants are required to reliably power America’s homes and businesses, according to a new report by The Brattle Group. [Solar Industry]

Transmitting baseload power (iStock-5028143391)

¶ Rock Art Brewery became the first Vermont brewery to fully offset its electricity needs with solar. SunCommon, of Waterbury, helped the 20-year-old, family-owned brewery realize a longstanding goal to go solar by installing a 200-panel, 67 kW array on the brewery’s rooftop in Morrisville. The brewery released a special ale to celebrate. [Vermont Biz]

¶ Greater Cincinnati Waterworks will transition from coal-powered energy to solar, Mayor John Cranley announced. The solar array is estimated to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 25,000 tons annually. Cranley also joined ‘Mayors for 100 percent Clean Energy’ committing Cincinnati city government to move to 100% renewable energy by 2035. [WXIX]

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June 28 Energy News

June 28, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Ceding US Leadership in Advanced Energy Is a National Security Risk, Says Military Advisory Board” • A report from CNA’s Military Advisory Board advises, “As new energy options emerge to meet global demand, nations that lead stand to gain; should the US sit on the sidelines, it does so at considerable risk to our national security.” [New Security Beat]

Solar hot water tubes on display (Image: Jim Girardi |Flickr)

¶ “Mayors can outpace national leaders in fight against climate change” • Through the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, more than 7,400 cities worldwide have united in a coordinated effort to address the causes and impacts of climate change. These cities have pledged to meet ambitious targets for reducing carbon emissions. [CNN]

¶ “Perry’s claims about reliability of renewables immediately debunked by regulator” • Energy Secretary Rick Perry addressed an energy conference, saying the Obama’s hostility to coal in favor of renewable energy threatens grid reliability. The next speaker, one of the nation’s top grid regulators, immediately debunked him. [RenewEconomy]

Rick Perry speaks at the 2017 EIA energy conference

Science and Technology:

¶ Ultra-thin, flexible screen-printed batteries for cheap portable devices and intermittent renewable energy are closer to reality, due to a joint project of two Australian universities to develop technology by battery energy storage firm Printed Energy. The solid state batteries are printed in a roll-to-roll process like a newspaper. [Manufacturers’ Monthly]

¶ Team Fast, a spin-off company from Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, has found a way formic acid can efficiently carry the ingredients needed for hydrogen fuel cells, used to power electric vehicles. The fuel is a liquid, which means you can transport it easily and refill vehicles quickly, just as with conventional fuels. [BBC]

Fuel trailer on the back of the bus (Team Fast image)

World:

¶ The Indian state of Uttar Pradesh targets 10.7 GW of solar power by 2022, with 4.3 GW from rooftop, under its draft “Solar Power Policy 2017.” Earlier, Indian energy minister Piyush Goyal challenged Germany to a race between Munich and Varanasi, in Uttar Pradesh, to be the first large city to be 100% powered by clean energy. [PV-Tech]

¶ The Quebec Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources has unveiled the first action plan of the 2030 Energy Policy. According to the MENR’s document, large-scale solar, which was an option that was never seriously considered by the local government to date, will now become part of the province’s energy mix. [pv magazine]

Quebec (Photo: Max Lagace)

¶ A new 100 MW National Solar Park Program has been launched in Cambodia with the aid of the Asian Development Bank. The program is being set up by Electricite Du Cambodge and will focus on delivering 100 MW of PV capacity to the southeast Asian country in two phases of 30 MW and 70 MW respectively. [pv magazine]

¶ The worldwide delivery service UPS announced greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets and future additions of more alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles to its global fleet. The company plans to generate 25% of its electricity from renewables and reduce emissions from its worldwide ground operations 12% by 2025. [Triple Pundit]

UPS electric van in London (Image: kenjonbro | Flickr)

¶ Three former TEPCO executives are set to stand trial this week on the only criminal charges laid in connection to the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster, as thousands remain unable to return to their homes near the shuttered facility. This comes a little over a year after they were charged with criminal negligence. [The Japan Times]

¶ New figures show that Northern Ireland generates nearly a quarter of its electricity needs from onshore wind energy sources, and its capacity has now passed the 1-GW mark. The figures are courtesy of the Northern Ireland Renewables Industry Group which represents the Northern Ireland renewable energy industry. [CleanTechnica]

Corkey wind farm (Albert Bridge, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ This year Minnesota is becoming not only a regional solar leader but a national one, with 203 MW-DC installed in the first quarter alone, largely due to a robust community solar sector. And now, Enel Green Power officially put 16 individual solar plants online, which make up the 150 MW-DC Aurora solar project. [pv magazine]

¶ NAVYA ARMA, the French maker of autonomous shuttles, announced that its first assembly plant outside Europe will be in Michigan. The state has already publicly backed autonomous vehicles on its roads with Governor Rick Snyder, who signed driverless vehicles legislation to be tested in the state, seeking to make it a global leader. [CleanTechnica]

NAVYA ARMA autonomous shuttle

¶ The University of California, Merced’s precedent-setting Triple Zero Commitment aims for 2020 include zero net energy use, the creation of zero net landfill waste, and climate neutrality on campus. The university is working with SunPower Corp to install a 5-MW solar power system with a 500-kW energy storage solution from Stem. [Power Online]

¶ A senior radiation protection technician at the closed Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant deliberately falsified safety records and failed to check workers for radiation exposure for eight months last year, according to the NRC. The NRC said the Entergy Nuclear technician failed to test employees for radiation exposure. [Santa Cruz Sentinel]

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June 27 Energy News

June 27, 2017

World:

¶ Based on the industries the Great Barrier Reef supports, both directly and indirectly, consultants at Deloitte have estimated its total value at $42.4 billion (A$56 billion). Deloitte hopes that putting a monetary value on the reef will influence decision making on climate change, which has left it severely damaged, especially in the last year. [CNN]

Great Barrier Reef

¶ Thirteen industry leaders and associations from across Europe launched the new “Make Power Clean” initiative, aiming to promote a clean European electricity market. One specific goal is to ensure that only those energy technologies considered “clean” are eligible to receive public support in the form of capacity mechanisms. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Dong Energy has officially opened its 582-MW Gode Wind 1&2 offshore wind complex in the German North Sea. Offshore construction of 97 Siemens 6-MW turbines started in April 2015 and was wrapped up in May 2016, but export of power from Gode was hampered by the delay of TenneT’s 916MW DolWin 2 grid hub. [reNews]

Gode wind farm (Credit: DONG Energy)

¶ Last week, a Chinese province conducted a test to show it was possible for the entire region to run solely on green energy. For seven continuous days, over 5 million citizens living in the province survived without use of any fossil fuels, on 100% renewable energy, according to the State-run Xinhua News Agency. [ScienceAlert]

¶ A massive expansion of Nectar Farms in western Victoria will be powered by wind energy with battery storage. The A$565 million project will use the latest hydroponic glasshouse and plant technology. Nectar Farms is now looking to start work on Stage 2 of their expansion plans, which will see the facility grow from 10 to 40 hectares. [The Stawell Times-News]

Artist’s rendering of Nectar Farms expansion

¶ The Australian Capital Territory has moved closer to reaching its renewable energy targets, with the opening of the new wind farm at Ararat in Victoria. The new wind farm moves the territory closer to reaching its 40% renewable energy by 2017 target and its ultimate goal of 100% renewable energy by 2020. [The Canberra Times]

¶ Siemens Gamesa says it has installed five 6-MW turbines on ballast-stabilized floating foundations for the 30 MW Hywind Scotland project. According to the company, the floating wind project will be located 25 kilometers off the coast of Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, at water depths between 90 meters and 120 meters. [North American Windpower]

Installing a floating turbine

US:

¶ A report by the DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory concluded that widespread use of building controls across the country could cut energy consumption by an average of 29%, or the equivalent electricity used by 12 to 15 million Americans. The laboratory investigated 34 different types of energy efficiency measures. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The latest issue of the Energy Information Administration’s Electric Power Monthly shows that renewable energy surpassed nuclear energy in March and April, with renewables at 21.60% versus 20.34% for nuclear in March, and 22.98% versus 19.19% in April. While renewable energy is growing rapidly, nuclear power declines. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Renewables surpassing nuclear

¶ If a fledgling solar panel maker gets its way, GTM Research of Greentech Media predicts, US demand for solar could drop by two-thirds over the next five years. A new trade case aspires to boost the domestic panel manufacturing industry, but will likely have the opposite effect, according to the study, according to a Reuters report. [Newsline]

¶ The US Conference of Mayors officially endorsed local-level progress toward 100% renewable energy sources. Leaders from more than 250 cities approved a resolution supporting a transition to wind, solar, hydroelectric, and geothermal power by 2035. The resolution specifically excluded coal plants, nuclear power, and dams. [CityLab]

Solar energy, part of the solution (Ivan Alvarado | Reuters)

¶ A rooftop solar project in San Pedro, California, should generate enough energy to power nearly 5,000 homes. This would make it the most powerful rooftop solar project in the world, officials said. The project is part of Los Angeles’ Feed-in Tariff program, which allows the building owners to sell power they generate to the city. [MyNewsLA.com]

¶ New York State’s green bank generated profits of $2.7 million in the last financial year. This was achieved through investing a total of $291.6 million in clean energy over the period, which reduced emissions by up to 6.4 million tonnes, equivalent to removing 70,000 cars from the road for 20 years. The profits will be re-invested in clean energy. [Energy Live News]

New York (Shutterstock image)

¶ A Minnesota electrical cooperative, Great River Energy, announced a purchase agreement with NextEra Energy to buy the electricity generated by the planned Emmons-Logan Wind Energy Center in North Dakota. Plans call for about 133 turbines generating 300 MW. Construction is planned to be complete by 2020. [Jamestown Sun]

¶ SCANA and Santee Cooper on Monday announced an interim agreement with Westinghouse Electric that allows construction on the troubled VC Summer nuclear plant to proceed for another 45 days. The last agreement extended work on the nuclear project to June 26; the new agreement runs through Aug. 10, 2017. [Utility Dive]

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June 26 Energy News

June 26, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Devil’s in detail, but Finkel may have gotten it just about right” On June 9, the much-anticipated Finkel report on the future stability of Australia’s National Electricity Market was released. Though there are many detailed recommendations, the overall guidance seem to getting broad support – except for the Clean Energy Target. [RenewEconomy]

Storm damage in South Australia

Science and Technology:

¶ Yellowstone Park is being hit by a swarm of earthquakes. About 770 have been recorded since June 12. This raises fears among the people across the affected areas for a possible volcanic eruption. If a super-volcano erupts, the disaster could radically transform the whole global climate and destroy much of the western US. [Science World Report]

World:

¶ The Asian Development Bank has approved the creation of a new Pacific Renewable Energy Investment Facility to provide financial support to renewable energy projects in Pacific island countries. The countries face developmental issues such as small populations, limited resources, remoteness and vulnerability to natural disasters. [CleanTechnology News]

Hydro development in Papua New Guinea
(Photo: Courtesy of Asian Development Bank)

¶ Mining data reviewed by the Associated Press show that coal production through May is up by at least 121 million tons, or 6%, for China, India, and the US, compared to the same period last year. The change is most dramatic in the US, where coal mining rose 19% in the first five months of the year, according to US DOE data. [MetroNews Canada]

¶ The Philippines attracted thousands of megawatts of renewable energy projects shortly after the passage of the Renewable Energy Act of 2001 but the concerns have been raised on the future of RE without the new feed-in tariff rates. Investments in new solar and wind projects have slowed down due to absence of clear policies. [The Standard]

Solar array in the Philippines (Judgefloro, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ More than 331 US mayors representing 62 million Americans have signed up to the commitments of the Paris Climate Agreement through the Climate Mayors initiative. Founded three years ago, the number of cities in the network grew five-fold after President Trump withdrew the US from the Paris Climate Agreement. [Cities Today]

¶ Donald Trump will tout surging US exports of oil and natural gas during a week of events aimed at showing the country’s growing energy dominance. He also plans to emphasize that after decades of relying on foreign energy supplies, the US is set to become a net exporter of oil, gas, coal, and new renewable and nuclear technology. [Petroleumworld.com]

Liquified natural gas tanker (Photo: STR | AFP | Getty Images)

¶ A national association of businesses focused on renewable energy, energy efficiency, smart grids, energy storage, and other technologies, Advanced Energy Economy, is pushing Virginia’s gubernatorial candidates to embrace “a transformational change” in both how energy is generated in the state and how it is consumed. [Roanoke Times]

¶ Solar energy continues to be the fastest growing energy source for US electricity, and now accounts for 2.2% of the US supply. Large-scale solar production in April totaled 4.8 million MWh, a jump of 63% over the same month a year ago, and with the combination of rooftop solar contributed 6.9 million MWh, or 2.2%. [RenewEconomy]

Arizona’s Agua Caliente Solar Project

¶ Converting a house in Santa Barbara to solar energy is easier now with the help from the Community Environmental Council. Its mission is to identify, advocate, and raise awareness about the most pressing environmental issues in the Santa Barbara region. Its solarize program helps to make it easier for everyone to install solar power. [KEYT]

¶ New York lawmakers unanimously passed a measure requiring the state’s Public Service Commission to set targets to increase the adoption of energy storage in the state through 2030. The new law requires the commission to work with the New York State Energy and Research Development Agency and the Long Island Power Authority. [RTO Insider]

EOS Energy Storage Project (EOS Energy Storage)

¶ In a bit of rural Georgia filled with manufacturing plants and distribution warehouses, just past the Alabama border, there is a 29-km (18-mile) stretch of Interstate 85 where new technologies are being tested for what could be a green highway of the future. It is a highway that could create its own clean, renewable energy. [Winnipeg Free Press]

¶ Rhode Island’s solar industry is no longer a fledgling subset of the amorphous “green” economy, but a rapidly growing business sector with some of the best financial incentives in the country. According to a report from the Office of Energy Resources, renewable-energy jobs, led by solar energy, has increased 66% in two years. [ecoRI news]

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June 25 Energy News

June 25, 2017

World:

¶ Energy companies in Iceland are looking to harness the country’s geothermal potential by tapping directly into a source deep in the Earth, under a volcano. The Icelandic Deep Drilling Project aims to make use of changes the high temperature and pressure can cause in water when it is deep in inside a volcano. [International Environmental Technology]

Iceland

¶ Currently, Papua New Guinea has less than 600 MW of installed generation capacity, according to the Department of National Enterprises, and frequent outages due to spikes in demand mean the existing grid is consistently under pressure. Now, there are three hydro projects under way, with a combined capacity of 2030 MW. [OilPrice.com]

¶ According to SaskPower, interest in renewable energy sources has been growing in Saskatchewan. The Crown corporation recently completed a series of stakeholder engagement surveys across the province. SaskPower has two programs for solar power, a net metering program and a small power producer program. [Regina Leader-Post]

Solar power is growing in Saskatchewan.
(Scott Olson | Getty Images North America)

¶ A former coal mine could be transformed into a massive lake near one of Victoria’s most popular Surf Coast destinations, as it is rehabilitated. An Anglesea Community Energy member is pushing to build a floating PV array on the lake, along with a pumped storage system large enough to meet the town’s electricity needs. [The Age]

US:

¶ The Bonneville Power Administration, once the cheapest source of power in region, is losing its competitive edge in the face of growing renewable energies and inexpensive natural gas. In the last three years, Bonneville’s customers have seen rates rise 16%, while prices for power on the open market dropped by more than 35%. [Longview Daily News]

Refurbishing a turbine (Bonneville Power Administration photo)

¶ Vermont lawmakers put off until October the deadline for adopting new rules governing wind turbines, after the Public Service Board offered a major revision in response to concerns it said it heard from legislators and others. A legislative committee postponed the July 1 deadline for adopting new limits for turbine noise. [vtdigger.org]

¶ In the US, solar energy employs more people than traditional coal, gas and oil combined. A report by the DOE said solar power employed 374,000 people over the year 2015-2016, which is 43% of the power sector’s workforce. By contrast, the traditional fossil fuels employed 187,117 people, making up to just 22% of the sector’s workforce. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Worker installing solar Panels in Oregon
(Oregon Department of Transportation, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Two years ago, Stanford University civil and environmental engineering professor Mark Jacobsen published a study claiming that the United States could completely phase out the use of fossil fuels and nuclear power by 2055. Now, he is defending that work from skeptical analysts and scientists questioning his methods. [The American Interest]

¶ With the installation of more solar gardens, a continued commitment to energy-efficiency, and fruitful negotiations with Xcel Energy, Breckenridge, Colorado, could draw all of its electricity, public and private, from renewable resources as early as 2035, according to a new plan to be presented to the town council. [Summit Daily News]

Breckenridge Colorado snow train
(Photo: Dave Dugdale, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Customers enrolled in Redwood Coast Energy Authority’s community choice energy program can “opt up” to get all their electricity from 100% renewable sources. The base option for RCEA, which operates in Humboldt County, California, is 40% renewable. Hundreds of customers have decided to pay the extra cost of 1¢/kWh. [Eureka Times Standard]

¶ With US withdrawal from the Paris climate accords, mayors at the annual US Conferences of Mayors meeting in Miami Beach have been talking about taking the issue up at the local level. The conference supported the Paris agreement, and it looks like as many as 90% of US mayors want to work to respond to climate change. [New Jersey Herald]

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio talking about rising sea levels (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

¶ The Tennessee Valley Authority wants to use the site of a nuclear reactor design abandoned in the 1970s to develop technology for small modular reactors. Critics of the Oak Ridge project say the new small modular reactors are still untested, unsafe and unneeded. The NRC has not yet approved a design for such reactors. [Chattanooga Times Free Press]

¶ The owners of the VC Summer Nuclear Station believed a detailed construction schedule by their builder was the basis for the timing and cost of adding two reactors at the South Carolina plant. They have learned it doesn’t exist, calling into question repeated assurances that the new units can be built by 2020 for $14 billion. [Charleston Post Courier]

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June 24 Energy News

June 24, 2017

World:

¶ DONG Energy is making progress with offshore construction work for the world’s biggest offshore wind farm. Both offshore substations and 40% of the turbine foundations are in place. The 659-MW Walney Extension offshore wind farm, off the coast of Cumbria, is expected to meet the electricity needs of about half a million UK homes. [Your Renewable News]

Walney substation construction

¶ A recent report from the Northeast Group estimates that 67% of Western European countries will reach smart grid penetration by 2020, with 12 countries meeting the 80% European Union requirement in setting up residential smart grids over the next 3 years. It’s anticipated global smart grid markets will reach $120 billion by 2020. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Solar Energy Corporation of India has tendered a 750-MW of solar park in the Indian state of Rajasthan, at a low benchmark price of ₹3.93/kWh (6.1¢/kWh) compared to the previous benchmark price of ₹4.43/kWh. Solar capacity of 500 MW will be developed in Bhadla Phase-III Solar Park and 250 MW in Bhadla Phase-IV Solar Park. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Indian solar array

¶ ABB delivered five new 66-kV WindStar transformers to MHI Vestas Offshore Wind for deployment at EDF’s 41.5-MW Blyth offshore wind demonstration project off the Northumberland coast. The new transformer boosts voltage levels to 66 kV, increasing efficiency. The Blyth project will have five MHI Vestas 8.3-MW turbines. [reNews]

¶ Wind and solar lobbies, groups representing major energy users, and European power utilities have joined in a new partnership. The Electrification Alliance will push for more low carbon generation, along with the necessary supporting and intelligent grid infrastructure to incorporate the heating, cooling and transport sectors. [PV-Tech]

Transmission lines (Credit: Flickr | AdamKR)

¶ As many as 649 government schools in remote areas of the Indian state of Chhattisgarh have been electrified through solar energy. The Chhattisgarh State Renewable Energy Development Agency has set up solar power plants at 490 schools and 159 schools already had solar systems when the agency project started. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ French energy minister confirmed that there will be no new permits issued for oil and gas exploration on the mainland or in French held territories. He had earlier made a statement to reporters that France plans to close some nuclear reactors of state-controlled utility, EDF to reduce nuclear’s share in the country’s power mix. [Digital Journal]

Fracking site (Image: Link TV)

¶ The first Pakistan-owned early harvest wind power project constructed under China Pakistan Economic Corridor framework has started commercial operation. The 49.5-MW facility was developed by Sachal Energy Development (Private) Limited over 680 acres of land in the Jhimpir Wind Corridor in Sindh. [Radio Pakistan]

US:

¶ Portland General Electric, rocked by deep opposition to new fossil-fuel infrastructure earlier this year, is now embracing the public as an ally as it pushes for more renewables. The utility said a big new investment in renewables reflects in part local reaction to President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement. [Portland Business Journal]

Biglow wind farm and Mount Hood

¶ The Vermont Legislature is supporting the Paris climate agreement despite President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the pact. After some Republicans in the House complained the resolution could commit the state to pay for climate funding, that body passed it in amended form. [Rutland Herald]

¶ The DOE was to release a report detailing how renewables affect the US electric grid, but delayed its release until July. The project is led by a recent DOE appointee who authored a report in 2015, for a group heavily subsidized by fossil fuels, that declared clean energy to be a greater threat to grid reliability than terrorism or cyber attacks. [Texas Monthly]

Bliss wind farm in New York (Windtech, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Technology giant IBM says it has achieved two major commitments four years ahead of schedule in its efforts to help combat climate change. One of the goals it met is to have 20% renewables in its energy mix for the year 2020. The other is a 35% reduction in carbon emissions it planned to have by the same year. [North American Windpower]

¶ The owner of the Three Mile Island nuclear plant has formally notified federal regulators at the NRC that it plans to shut down the power station in 2019. Exelon said TMI has not turned a profit in five years because of low wholesale power prices and a “lack of federal or Pennsylvania energy policies that value zero-emissions nuclear energy.” [The Sentinel]

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June 23 Energy News

June 23, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Exxon, Stephen Hawking, greens, and Reagan’s advisers agree on a carbon tax” • What do ExxonMobil, Stephen Hawking, the Nature Conservancy, and a number of former conservative cabinet members have in common? All are founding members of the Climate Leadership Council, which proposed a revenue-neutral carbon tax policy. [The Guardian]

Stephen Hawking (Photo: Jemal Countess | Getty Images)

¶ “Cuba unveils plan to confront climate change” • In April, Cuba’s Council of Ministers approved a climate change plan. It is the latest manifestation of Cuba’s sustained endeavor to contain the impact of climate change. The Cuban government has dedicated resources and talent to the project, relying on facts, data, and science. [Green Left Weekly]

World:

¶ The government of Alberta launched the Residential and Commercial Solar Program, a $36 million solar rebate scheme to support deployment of around 50 MW of PV power through 2019. The rebate would cover up to 30% of the costs for PVs for homeowners, up to a maximum of $10,000, and up to 25% for businesses, capped at $500,000. [pv magazine]

Calgary (Photo: Michael Gil)

¶ The Kurnool solar park, owned by NTPC Limited, India’s largest power generating company, has reached an installed capacity of 450 MW as two projects have been made operational. Two more projects need to be completed before the solar park will reach the milestone of 1 GW, possibly to become the world’s largest PV facility. [CleanTechnica]

¶ If countries want to reach their Paris climate agreement goals of limiting the long-term world temperature rise to 1.5°C, then many proposals to increase gas production and distribution will be unnecessary, according to a report, Foot off the Gas, published by the Climate Action Tracker, an independent science-based research group. [EcoWatch]

Oil and gas drilling platform (CSIRO | Wikimedia Commons)

¶ In addition to developing large solar projects and rooftop solar systems on its rail stations, Indian Railways is now planning to install solar panels on top of its trains. Flexible solar panels and batteries will be installed to power lights and fans on 250 of the network’s trains. A pilot program will have installations on six trains. [Climate Action Programme]

¶ Utility WEB Aruba NV is getting a microgrid. Its peak demand is just 134 MW for 103,000 island inhabitants, but its mix, which includes thermal, wind and solar, requires active management. This is particularly important, as the government has set a goal of meeting half of the island’s power needs with renewables by 2020. [pv magazine]

Aruba (Atilin | Wikipedia)

¶ Alice Springs, already dubbed Australia’s “solar center,” will be able to significantly lift its share of solar in its local grid after a tender for a 5-MW battery storage array was awarded to New Zealand utility Vector. The installation will likely be the biggest in Australia – at least for now. The battery can deliver full power for 40 minutes. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Britain’s deal with EDF to build the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant is risky, a parliamentary watchdog said. “Delays have pushed back the nuclear power plant’s construction, and the expected cost of top-up payments … has increased from £6 billion to £30 billion,” the report from the National Audit Office said. [Times of Malta]

Hinkley Point C nuclear power station (Photo: Reuters)

US:

¶ The EPA, under administrator Scott Pruitt has decided not to renew the employment of any scientist working for the EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors. Their terms expire at the end of August. The Board was created to make sure the actions of the Office of Research and Development are supported by a rigorous scientific foundation. [CleanTechnica]

¶ President Trump’s put-down of wind energy at his Iowa rally was denounced across the state, which takes pride in its position as a national leader in wind generation. Trump was talking up his support for coal during his speech when he told the audience, “I don’t want to just hope the wind blows to light up your homes and your factories.” [The Japan Times]

Cattle graze near a wind turbine in Iowa (AP image)

¶ With the wind turbine setback regulations in place since 2014, Ohio has lost billions of dollars in wind power investment, along with the jobs that would have produced, to its neighbors. Now, Ohio Senate lawmakers have advanced an important fix to wind turbine setback policy in the state’s proposed biennial budget. [AltEnergyMag]

¶ A provision in a bill before the North Carolina legislature allowing leasing of rooftop panels is intended to help many corporate customers to go solar. But the bill’s “green source rider” program could leave large, intensive electricity users like Google and the University of North Carolina still searching for answers. [Southeast Energy News]

Solar array in Montgomery County, North Carolina

¶ A first-of-its-kind “clean coal” power plant that utility owner Southern Co spent years building in Mississippi may end up running on natural gas. The state Public Service Commission said it is looking for a solution that eliminates the risk to ratepayers “for unproven technology” that captures carbon emissions. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]

¶ The Cape Light Compact is taking applications for its Low Income Solar Revolving Grant Program, which will fund 100% of equipment and installation costs of PV systems on affordable housing properties to reduce electric bills for low-income homeowners and renters. The first round of awards is funded by two grants. [CapeCod.com News]

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June 22 Energy News

June 22, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Energy majors warn of falling fossil fuel demand” • BP’s annual statistical review makes the prospects for the fossil fuels industries look bleak. Oil prices are depressed, gas growth is weak, and coal is failing. “In contrast, renewable energy globally, led by wind and solar power, grew strongly, helped by continued technological advances.” [eco-business.com]

Coal strip mine (Stephen Codrington, Wikimedia Commons)

Science and Technology:

¶ The wine industry’s new normal is heavy rains, hailstones, floods, drought, and sometimes even frost. Wine makers who once took great pleasure in competing against each other to offer the best wine are now locked in a duel with Mother Nature to simply save the vines they manage to grow, as a changing climate devastates vineyards. [News18]

World:

¶ The Scottish Government has approved plans for a 30 turbine tidal park off the south-west coast of Islay. West Islay Tidal Energy Park, led by Cork-based DP Marine Energy Ltd, will create up to 32 full-time jobs. The tidal park will have a generating capacity of up to 30 MW – enough to power around 18,000 homes. [insider.co.uk]

Tidal turbine (West Islay Power image)

¶ Five of the world’s six largest listed oil companies, including ExxonMobil and Shell, run the risk of wasting more than 30% of potential investment on high-cost upstream projects that are unnecessary and potentially harmful if we are to ensure the world does not warm beyond 2° C above pre-industrial levels. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Asia will reach peak coal in 2024, amidst a rapid increase in renewable energy investment, BNEF projections say. By 2040, there will be $4.8 trillion invested in new power generation capacity in Asia. A third of this investment will be in wind power, another third in solar, 18% in nuclear, and 10% in coal and gas. [Global Trade Review]

Wind Farm in Yorkshire

¶ Ireland and Northern Ireland received a major green energy boosts, as three wind projects came online. Gaelectric opening the Inishative and Cregganconroe wind farms in Northern Ireland, with a combined capacity of 27.6 MW. And SSE announced the Comhlacht Gaoithe Teoranta wind Park came online with 66 MW. [www.businessgreen.com]

¶ GE Renewable Energy announced an agreement with Shimizu Corporation to supply 22 units of GE’s 3.2-103 wind turbines, for the Akita Katagami wind farm in northern Japan. The project will provide 66 MW, enough to power 40,000 average homes in Japan. Commercial operation is expected to begin in May of 2020. [Windpower Engineering]

GE Wind turbines

US:

¶ A study from the Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP law firm and the Power Research Group questioned the underlying finances of the merchant electric generating industry. It said that with flat demand for electricity, low gas prices and high penetrations of zero marginal cost renewables, merchant generators cannot recover fixed costs. [PR Newswire]

¶ Weeks after its mayor joined hundreds of other mayors across the country denouncing the White House’s move to reject the Paris climate accord, Philadelphia announced it is committing to using 100% clean energy by 2035. Currently, energy used by buildings and industry in Philadelphia accounts for 79% of its carbon pollution. [Curbed Philly]

Philadelphia, moving to 100% clean energy (Shutterstock image)

¶ Vermont state and local leaders joined with businesses and nonprofits to announce an initiative to galvanize support for addressing climate change, after the president’s decision to withdraw from the Paris accord. Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger and Governor Phil Scott announced the Vermont Climate Pledge Coalition. [vtdigger.org]

¶ Michigan Technological University researchers published a study saying that ditching coal in favor of solar power would save nearly 52,000 lives in the United States each year. It says external costs of use of coal for generating electricity amount to 27¢/kWh. Bureau of Labor Statistics data says the US has 51,000 coal miners. [CleanTechnica]

Coal miners (Photo: US National Archives)

¶ Sarasota, Florida, and Columbia, South Carolina, committed to transitions to 100% renewable energy, according to the Sierra Club. The Sarasota City Commission adopted a goal of 100% renewable power by 2045. The Columbia City Council voted unanimously to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2036. [North American Windpower]

¶ The California Senate passed a bill that would give consumers more access to clean energy and provide the next critical piece for California to achieve its greenhouse gas and renewable energy goals. The bill, SB 700, would increase availability of local, customer-sited energy storage for homes, schools, farms, and businesses. [Windpower Engineering]

Solar panels

¶ Republicans and Democrats criticized budget cuts proposed for the DOE as Energy Secretary Rick Perry testified on Capitol Hill. Washington state Republicans questioned administration proposals for cuts on cleaning up radioactive waste at the Hanford nuclear site and for selling off much of the Northwest’s power grid. [KUOW News and Information]

¶ Energy Secretary Rick Perry proposed using a process floated by a former Obama administration official to resolve the debate over global warming by allowing government scientists to hash out the facts through an open “adversarial” process. Perry offered up the red team process during his testimony before congress. [Washington Examiner]

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June 21 Energy News

June 21, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “New report: Adding renewables keeps the lights on and money in America’s pockets” • This week, a new report from Analysis Group looked at how technological progress has affected electric grid reliability and power markets. One of the top takeaways is that adding renewables creates a more diverse, reliable system. [HuffPost]

Midwest wind turbines

Science and Technology:

¶ The research team for ExxonMobil and Synthetic Genomics modified an algae strain to enhance the algae’s oil content from 20% to more than 40% without significantly inhibiting the strain’s growth. Results of the research were published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Biotechnology by Synthetic Genomics scientists. [Your Renewable News]

¶ We already know much about the threat of climate change to staple crops such as wheat, maize and rice, but the impact on tea is just coming into focus. Early research indicates that tea grown in some parts of Asia could see yields decline by up to 55% thanks to drought or excessive heat, and the quality of the tea is also falling. [CNN]

Tea pickers in Zhejiang Province, China

World:

¶ The chief executive of Enel says he believes the accelerated development of storage technology will hasten a renewables-dominated energy future, while reducing the need for gas power as a bridging technology. He said it is “obvious” that renewables are winning the competition with fossil fuels and nuclear power. [Power Engineering International]

¶ Welsh Power has left its previous supplier in favor of DONG. It is now the largest multi-site customer in DONG Energy’s history, and the contract means a doubling of the number of UK sites receiving power from the company. A DONG announcement puts it 27 years ahead of the schedule it had for the Paris climate change agreement. [NW Evening Mail]

DONG’s Walney Wind Farm (Janet Ellen Smith)

¶ New wind power capacity in the Middle East and Africa region in 2016 amounted to 676 MW, but in its report, 2017 Middle East and Africa Wind Power Outlook, MAKE Consulting says it expects the region’s capacity to expand greatly over the next decade. MAKE projects that 40 GW will be installed in the period from 2017 to 2026. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Jamaican utility, Jamaica Public Service, announced that its directors approved a hybrid energy storage solution which may be the first of its kind in the Caribbean. If approved by the Office of Utilities, the 24.5-MW project will feature flywheels and lithium-Ion batteries. It could become operational by the third quarter of 2018. [Energy Storage News]

Jamaica (Image: Loic Cas | Flickr)

US:

¶ Two months after newly-minted US Energy Secretary Rick Perry authorized a study about the reliability and market rules of the US electricity grid, an independent report by Analysis Group has concluded that there is simply no evidence that the changing mix of the United States’ electricity sector will affect system reliability. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The California ISO will study clean energy alternatives to a planned gas plant expansion near Oxnard. In February, several lawmakers expressed doubts about the plant, saying regulators should “adequately justify” its need. Local residents say they would prefer to shutter the existing plant there and restore the beachfront. [Utility Dive]

Gas-burning power plant (credit: Getty Images)

¶ An energy storage company, Renewable Energy Systems, announced an agreement with an independent power producer to build a 40-MW RESolve storage system in an unspecified location in California. Construction will begin this summer with an expected commercial operation date in the first quarter of 2018. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ Replacing coal-fired power plants with solar power installations could save nearly 52,000 lives every year, a study from the Michigan Technological University found. This is the probable number of people would will not die of things such as asthma and congestive heart failure if harmful emissions from coal-fired plants are eliminated. [Nasdaq]

Coal (Shutterstock photo)

¶ Green Power EMC, the renewable energy supplier for 38 Georgia Electric Membership Corporations, and Silicon Ranch, one of the nation’s largest independent solar power producers, announced an agreement to bring 200 MW of solar energy online in southern Georgia by 2020. The energy will come from four separate sites. [Your Renewable News]

¶ The annual Vermont Clean Energy Industry Report released by the Department of Public Service emphasizes Vermont’s climate economy as a “promising source of economic growth and employment opportunity.” The clean energy sector saw a 7.7% increase in employment over the last year to over 19,080 jobs. [Windpower Engineering]

A 150-Kw array in Guilford, Vermont, built by Soveren Solar
(Photo: Beyond My Ken, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Energy Secretary Rick Perry touted White House positions in the first of his three Capitol Hill hearings to defend its budget plan. It proposes to shift the DOE’s priorities dramatically, increasing spending on managing the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile while deeply reducing investment in clean energy research. [InsideClimate News]

¶ The House of Representatives passed legislation to expand the use of tax incentives for new nuclear power plants well into the next decade. The nuclear tax bill passed by voice vote. “Without this legislation, the nuclear power industry may cease to exist as we know it in this country,” one of the sponsors of the bill said. [Washington Examiner]

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June 20 Energy News

June 20, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Is renewable energy in Devon ‘an unmitigated disaster’?” • Countryside campaigners and renewable energy experts have clashed on how renewable energy has benefited the county, with campaigners calling it “an unmitigated disaster.” One campaigner said the county would be better served by a power plant burning natural gas. [Devon Live]

Agriculture and solar power

¶ “UK’s ‘stunning Sunday’ of 70% low-carbon power offers glimpse of near future” • Once again, renewable power hit records in the UK. An upshot of more renewable power on the grid is that as demand for power on the grid reduces, so also do prices. With high wind output last week, the UK recorded its first negative power prices. [pv magazine]

¶ “Texas Is Too Windy and Sunny for Old Energy Companies to Make Money” • South Texas is to wind power what Napa Valley is to wine and Georgia is to peaches. For not only does the state’s Gulf Coast generate strong evening gusts, but it also blows fiercely in the middle of the day, just as electricity consumption is peaking. [Bloomberg]

Baffin Wind Power Project (Photo: Eddie Seal | Bloomberg)

World:

¶ In Australia, the Turnbull government announced measures to force down electricity prices and could even invest in a new coal-fired power plant, after the Coalition party room ticked off on most recommendations in the Finkel review. But it did not back not the implementation of the review’s post-2020 Clean Energy Target. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

¶ Qinghai Province in northwest China will provide all electricity from renewable sources from June 17 to 23, the Qinghai branch of the State Grid Corporation of China announced at a press conference on Sunday. Of the estimated 1,225 GWh needed for the week, 78.3% will be generated by water power, and by other renewable sources. [gbtimes]

PV array in Qinghai Province (Photo: China News Service)

¶ An Australian power company is supporting not-for-profits and community organisations to build small-scale renewable energy solutions. Powershop’s Your Community Energy initiative pools together small premium amounts of customers who purchase the package and distributes them to community energy projects in Australia. [Pro Bono Australia]

¶ Israel’s Eco Wave Power has taken the wraps off plans to build a 4.1-MW project in Mexico’s Manzanillo Port. The unveiling follows the procurement of a so-called interconnection approval from Mexico’s National Energy Control Centre for 25 MW of grid capacity. The 4.1-MW project will be located in the beach area of Cuyutlán-Tepalcates. [reNews]

Wave project in Gibraltar (Image: Eco Wave Power)

¶ Vattenfall’s onshore Ray Wind Farm in Northumberland is now fully operational. The 54.4-MW facility, which cost £90 million, is on the Ray Estate, near Kirkwhelpington. Its 16 wind turbines are expected to produce as much energy each year as over 30,000 UK households use. Construction began in July 2015. [Energy Live News]

¶ The largest coal mining company in the world, Coal India, has announced plans to decommission a total of 37 mines that are no longer economically viable in India. According to Coal India, all 37 mines will be retired by March next year. They represent about 9% of the total number of mines operated by Coal India. [Climate Action Programme]

Coal mine

¶ Scottish Equity Partners has provided project funding for the €8.7-million, 4.6-MW Curraghderrig wind farm in the Republic of Ireland. The project is on the south-west coast of Ireland in Kerry, near the village of Asdee. It will have two 2.3-MW Enercon E-70 turbines, which will generate sufficient energy to power over 3,100 homes. [London Loves Business]

US:

¶ A year has passed since the release of the historic and widely supported Joint Proposal to retire and replace California’s last remaining nuclear plant, Diablo Canyon, with lower-cost zero-carbon resources within nine years. While there have been several procedural developments, the plan is on track. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

Diablo Canyon nuclear plant

¶ The Trump administration sees nuclear power as “a very important part” of an all-of-the-above energy strategy, DOE Secretary Rick Perry said. “Bringing our nuclear energy industry back, small modular reactors for instance, that’s on the front burner so to speak,” he told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” at the SelectUSA Investment Summit. [AppsforPCdaily]

¶ In light of a new report, a ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee spoke against the divestiture of the transmission assets of the Bonneville Power Administration, as proposed in President Donald Trump’s budget for fiscal year 2018. She said the report showed how damaging the proposal is. [Electric Light & Power]

Transmission lines

¶ Rainy Investments is having more than 3,700 solar panels installed on roofs of a 12,000-square-foot industrial building in Elgin, Illinois. Elgin’s Community Development office said, “the panels will generate approximately 1.2 MW of electricity, and this renewable energy can then be purchased by users at a below-market rate.” [Chicago Tribune]

¶ Solar panels on top of canopies and blue-colored “trees” will provide energy at no cost to Fort Myers, and the electricity generated will benefit everyone, since the City Council agreed to participate in FPL’s SolarNow program. FPL will build and maintain the solar trees and canopies, and according to FPL, there is no catch. [The News-Press]

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