Archive for the 'wind' Category

April 23 Energy News

April 23, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “NEG will block renewables, favour hydro and big retailers” • Australian energy industry experts have thrown their weight behind a campaign to oppose the federal government’s National Energy Guarantee, describing it as a “woeful” outcome, both for Australia’s renewables sector, and for its emissions reduction and climate effort. [RenewEconomy]

Transmission lines

¶ “America’s Smart Grid Dreams Fading Without Congressional Support” • The US Congress has not allocated funding explicitly for the Smart Grid since the Obama stimulus package in 2009. Without Congressional support, the grid could develop in slow and piecemeal fashion, putting it at increased risk of being made up of  incompatible parts. [Forbes]

¶ “How to unlock renewables? Cheaper, cleaner, better batteries” • Advances in energy storage technology have propelled an explosion in portable electronics and radically changed the way people live, work and communicate. Batteries can help to make clean energy-based power plants a viable alternative to thermal power stations.  [eco-business.com]

Albany Wind Farm (Juan Alberto Garcia Rivera, CC BY 2.0)

¶ “Renewables Are Booming In Oil Country” • The rapid growth of the renewable energy sector has been astonishing. Both solar and wind continue to decline in operating costs, while increasing in energy efficiency. The combination is making it difficult for coal to recover and poses a challenge in what had been oil-dominant areas. [OilPrice.com]

Science and Technology:

¶ Researchers at the University of Hawaii at Hilo partnered with faculty at Duke and Cornell University to study algae production with bioenergy with carbon capture and storage technology. They created a model that uses carbon dioxide emissions from burning wood to grow algae, which can then be used for fuel or food. [Duke Chronicle]

Algae (Special to the Chronicle)

World:

¶ Debate is raging around Australia’s National Energy Guarantee and the requirements to meet its proposed emissions and reliability obligations. As this goes on, corporates are expected to account for the bulk of new wind and solar projects that are developed. Some are installing microgrids, others are building solar or wind projects. [RenewEconomy]

¶ In the first quarter of 2018, sales of electric cars in China doubled compared to the same period last year, to over 122,000 units. In March electric car sales surged to 59,000 units, up 85% year over year. Last month, the Chinese OEMs represented roughly 40% of all PEVs registered globally. Last year, China had 46% for the year. [CleanTechnica]

BAIC EC-Series, China’s best-selling electric car

¶ An Irish company, Lumcloon Energy, is to invest €150 million in two battery storage centers that will boost use of renewable energy and reduce dependence on fossil fuel-fired power plants. The firm has partnered with Korean firms Hanwha Energy Corporation and LSIS to develop two 100-MW sustainable energy projects. [Independent.ie]

¶ India’s Hero Future Energies Pvt Ltd has commissioned a hybrid renewable power plant combining 50 MW of wind and 28.8 MW of solar power capacity in the state of Karnataka. As part of the project, the Indian firm installed PV panels in the spaces between turbines powering an existing 50-MW wind farm the company owns. [Renewables Now]

Solar plus wind hybrid

¶ Four of Nigeria’s federal universities and university teaching hospitals in the country have signed engineering, procurement, and construction contracts to develop mini-grid solutions. A total of 9.3 MW of PV and 5,760 battery cells will be deployed to power the facilities, which will be disconnected from the electric grid. [pv magazine International]

¶ Sunsure Energy finished FY18 with commissioning of their largest turnkey solar plant project, a 20-MW solar power plant. Situated in the Davangeri district, this project is spread over 75 acres of land and will generate enough clean energy to power more than 8,000 urban households in Karnataka through the next 25 years. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Solar array

¶ Diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis over the North’s nuclear program will be put to their first test Friday when North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in the heavily fortified border area. That meeting may be a precursor to a summit by Kim with President Donald Trump in May or June. [Stars and Stripes]

US:

¶ When Gov. Jerry Brown leaves office next year, California will lose a climate advocate who has carried the nation’s fight against global warming as Washington has stood down. Many of the Democratic candidates seeking to replace Brown say they will stick to his climate agenda. Some of them want to step up the effort. [San Francisco Chronicle]

Wind turbines (Photo: Michael Macor | The Chronicle)

¶ Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that he is giving $4.5 million to the UN Climate Change Secretariat to cover a US failure to help fund the international Paris climate accord. Bloomberg’s charitable foundation said the money will support work by developing countries to achieve emissions targets. [Voice of America]

¶ Drivers of electric cars in Oklahoma will soon be able to charge their vehicles much more easily. The Oklahoman reports that vehicle charging stations will soon be set up at Walmart stores in the Sooner State. For now, four or five Walmarts in Oklahoma will receive the charging stations, with the possibility of more to come in the future. [HPPR]

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

April 23, 2018

2,150 regular daily posts, linking 26,602 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 April 23, out of 99 US-licensed reactors, 5 were at reduced output and 17 not operating.

§ Video: Energy Week 4/19/18: Solar and wind with storage are starting to beat gas. The are beating nuclear soundly. The Gulf Stream has slowed a lot, and this may change everything. Antarctica is melting too fast. More Massachusetts offshore wind farms are coming. On one Japanese island, rare earth ores are common. Australia is meeting a renewable energy goal it abandoned as impossible. And there is more.

April 22 Energy News

April 22, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “‘Greening’ project could end use of fossil fuel for Centennial Flame” • Natural gas piped from the West has been bubbling through the fountain in the Centennial Flame monument for 50 years, but the federal government is studying options to make it more eco-friendly. Will the Centennial Flame become the Centennial LED? [CBC.ca]

The Centennial Flame (Philippe Turgeon | CBC)

¶ “We can fix this: Don’t be dispirited by Big Oil’s power in the age of Trump – real climate change solutions are in reach” • How much time do we have? The scientists have long warned us that warming by 2° (3.6° F) would be reckless. We are far more than halfway there, but with clear and ambitious targets, we can limit warming. [New York Daily News]

World:

¶ Electric vehicle fever has definitely caught on in Germany, with March coming in as a record month and echoing France’s record electric car sales month. Diesel-powered car sales sank by a quarter, regular gasoline-powered cars are up 9%, CNG cars are up 519% (to 1,046 units), plug-in hybrids are up 32%, and fully electric cars are up 73%. [CleanTechnica]

VW e-Golf 2

¶ Average used plug-in electric vehicle resale prices rose by 41% in the UK during the first quarter of the year, according to a report at Autorola. The overall used car resale price rose 5.3% during the first quarter, an increase that is presumably comes with lower discretionary income among much of the population in recent times. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The  nonprofit Kopernik runs its Wonder Women program in Eastern Indonesia to empower local women with the resources needed to start their own cleantech businesses. Kopernik trains local women on a variety of clean tech solutions including solar lanterns, water filters, and biomass stoves needing half the fuel of traditional fires. [CleanTechnica]

Kopernik

¶ State Bank of India announced that it has saved ₹125 crore ($18.8 million) in the last eight years by putting up 10 wind turbines, and it expects to save ₹30 crore ($4.5 million) annually through its renewable energy investments. The bank installed 10 windmills having a capacity of 1.5 MW each and also invested in solar power. [Greater Kashmir]

¶ The world’s most powerful wind turbine, which was installed in the sea off the coast of Aberdeen, is the first of eleven such beasts that will make up the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. The wind farm will cost £300 million to build. A single propeller rotation can reportedly power an average home for a whole day. [Wired.co.uk]

Wind turbine off Aberdeen (TVP Film and Multimedia Ltd)

US:

¶ In California, the Straus Family Creamery announced several ongoing sustainability initiatives leading up to Earth Day. The creamery has long practiced sustainable organic farming. Straus’ newer innovative programs range from resilient packaging and water conservation to carbon-free energy and electric vehicle usage. [GlobeNewswire]

¶ Virginia has been slow to realize the benefits of clean energy technologies. This session, however, legislators have passed bills that will take meaningful steps toward increasing utility investment in renewable energy and modernizing Virginia’s framework for evaluating and approving utility efficiency programs. [Richmond.com]

Solar panels in Louisa County (2016, Times-Dispatch)

¶ The Sierra Club held its second annual Arkansas March for Science rally today at Little Rock, the state capitol. The Sierra Club has a message for local elected officials: science matters to everyone. It is demanding that the elected officials both support and rely on science when making important public policy decisions. [THV11.com KTHV]

¶ A DOE website says the US and Russia each have 34 metric tons of plutonium designated for destruction under a treaty signed in 2010. That is enough to make 17,000 nuclear weapons. But the United States has no permanent plan for what to do with its share. Scientists say solving the problem of plutonium storage is urgent. [The Japan Times]

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April 21 Energy News

April 21, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Market forces are driving a clean energy revolution in the US” • Transforming US energy systems away from coal and toward clean energy was once a vision touted mainly by environmentalists. Now it is shared by market purists. Today, affordable renewable energy is driving coal production and coal-fired generation out of business. [Source]

Block Island Wind (Ionna22, CC-BY-SA)

¶ “What steps can the UK take to reach net zero emissions by 2050?” • UK Government plans announced this week seek a zero-carbon economy in the next 30 years. This means more wind farms, solar power, and electric cars. Less obvious changes could include smart houses, smart roads, and widespread changes in forestry and farming. [The Guardian]

World:

¶ Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy announced that it has secured an order for 100 MW of wind turbines in Mexico, as part of the most recent renewable energy auction held in the country in November of 2017. Mexico’s third Long-term Auction for renewables awarded 2.5 GW of new projects at an average price of $20.57/MWh. [CleanTechnica]

Wind turbines in New Mexico (Photo: Lars Schmidt)

¶ London-based financial services giant HSBC, the biggest bank in Europe, published an update to its energy policy. It announced a new decision to cease financing new coal-fired power plants around the world, with the exceptions of Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Vietnam. It is effectively ceasing support in 78 developed countries. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A report by the International Renewable Energy Agency, the International Energy Agency, and the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century sheds new light on the policy barriers to increased deployment of renewables. The report also provides a range of options for policymakers to scale-up their ambitions. [Modern Diplomacy]

Solar farm

¶ A report released recently by the Australian Wind Alliance has provided some fascinating insights about the economic benefits produced by Australian wind farms. Their construction has resulted in an almost $4 billion contribution to the Australia economy. Over half of this value was generated in the last 5 years. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The UAE was the second-largest investor in the renewable energy sector in the Middle East and Africa last year, investing $2.2 billion, up 2,815% over the previous year. The UAE recorded the second highest growth after Rwanda’s 8,665% as the African country invested $400 million in the renewable energy sector in 2017. [ZAWYA]

Shams 1 (Masdar | Handout via Thomson Reuters Zawya)

US:

¶ The Defense Production Act of 1950 gives the president power to implement subsidies for domestically produced materials in the name of national defense, including energy supplies. The Trump administration is reportedly considering this law as a way the president could fulfill his promises to help out uncompetitive nuclear and coal plants. [Greentech Media]

¶ Five New England liberal arts colleges have joined together to create a solar power facility that will offset 46,000 MWh of the total amount of electricity they use. The participating colleges are Bowdoin, Amherst, Hampshire, Smith, and Williams. The facility will be built in Farmington, Maine, and is expected to open in 2019. [MassLive.com]

Hampshire College PV array (Republican file, Diane Lederman)

¶ Ride-hailing service Lyft has announced a plan to purchase enough carbon credits to make all its global operations carbon neutral. Lyft will also fund “emission mitigation efforts, including the reduction of emissions in the automotive manufacturing process, forestry projects, and the capture of emissions from landfills.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ Together, the US Geological Survey and the Department of Energy, in partnership with DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the American Wind Energy Association, have published the most complete online database and interactive map of wind turbines in the United States. It has data on 57,000 turbines. [CleanTechnica]

USWTDB image

¶ A report released by the Elemental Excelerator, which is based in Honolulu, said Hawaii can achieve 84% of its clean energy goal by 2030, more than double the state’s target for that year, and that it would be cheaper than not doing anything. The report said reaching 100% renewable energy by 2045 could save the state $7 billion. [Pacific Business News (Honolulu)]

¶ GE Renewable Energy announced orders totalling $2.4 billion in the first quarter of 2018, up 15% on the same quarter last year. The company has secured commitments for 2.9 GW of onshore wind in North America following the introduction of the variably rated 2.2-MW to 2.5-MW turbine with 127-metre rotor, first quarter results show. [reNews]

GE wind turbine (GE image)

¶ A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation to repeal tariffs on imported solar products. “Under this legislation, duties and tariffs would default back to previous rates and would allow companies that imported any affected solar products under this new tariff to receive retroactive reimbursement,” a press release said. [Greentech Media]

¶ Two solar development companies are complaining to state regulators that Detroit-based DTE Energy Co is throwing up roadblocks to their plans to build solar power arrays with total capacity of up to 800 MW in Southeast Michigan. The complaints say DTE is obliged under state and federal law to purchase their electricity. [Crain’s Detroit Business]

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April 20 Energy News

April 20, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Cost, Schmost! Energy Dept Touts Coal-Killing Atlantic Offshore Wind” • The US offshore wind industry ran into some mighty stiff headwinds under the Obama Administration. Now, the logjam is breaking up, and the Trump Administration is overseeing a burst of activity along the Atlantic Coast. Does that sound a bit weird? [CleanTechnica]

Erecting an offshore wind turbine

¶ “OH & PA Will Transition From Nuclear Energy – But How?” • Bankrupt FirstEnergy Solutions is seeking customer-funded bailouts or, it says, it will close three nuclear plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania. The debate over uneconomical plants is heating up, including the prospect of replacing them with shale-gas-fired plants. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

World:

¶ Element Power has taken over the development of the up-to-750-MW North Irish Sea Array offshore wind site off the coast of Ireland from Gaelectric. The move marks Element Power’s entry into the offshore wind sector. The company said it has been assessing the market to determine the best entry point for its capabilities. [reNews]

Offshore wind farm (reNews image)

¶ The Canada Green Building Council has announced the first building certified under their new Zero Carbon standard, an office building in Waterloo, Ontario. The building was built by the Cora Group and designed by Stantec. Waterloo is a hotbed of technology startups (it is where the Blackberry came from) and continues to thrive.  [Treehugger]

¶ How can you create public transport in the jungle without polluting it? The isolated Achuar peoples of Ecuador have come up with an ingenious solution. Since April 2017, a canoe powered solely by solar energy travels back and forth along the 67-km (42-mile) stretch of the Capahuari and Pastaza rivers that connect their settlements. [BBC]

Commuting to school

¶ After an agreement for further work to be done on the national energy guarantee, Lily D’Ambrosio, the energy minister for Victoria, wrote to the Energy Security Board, asking for detailed analysis of it. The stand-off between the Turnbull government and the Australian states over energy policy seems to be shifting into its decisive phase. [The Guardian]

¶ No coal was used for power generation by stations in the UK during the 55 hours from 10:25 pm in London on Monday, April 16, until 5:10 am on Thursday, April 19, according to grid data compiled by Bloomberg. During the same time, wind turbines produced more power. Coal is increasingly losing out to power sources that are renewable. [Bloomberg]

Boat in a wind farm (Photo: Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg)

¶ National Thermal Power Corporation, India’s largest coal-based power generator, will back down thermal power at some of its units to blend with renewable energy and sell the two together. The company has placed a tender to procure 2,000 MW of solar and wind power which will be bundled with the non-pithead units. [Business Standard]

US:

¶ Sun Flyer’s Sun Flyer 2 electric airplane has completed its successful maiden test flight at the Centennial Airport near Denver, Colorado. Though the company has not decided on a final system, it used LG Chem’s MJ1 lithium-ion battery cells in the test. The battery pack will push out 260 Wh/kg, enough for a 3.5-hour flight. [CleanTechnica]

Electric Sun Flyer 2

¶ Two years ahead of schedule, Bowdoin College has achieved carbon neutrality. Onsite carbon emissions were reduced by 29%, with remaining emissions offset with renewable energy credits from wind farms. Bowdoin also announced a renewable energy project partnership that will result in the largest solar array in the state of Maine. [Bowdoin]

¶ Wells Fargo plans to put $200 billion into investments and financing for new renewable energy and clean technology from now through 2030, according to Tim Sloan, the bank’s Chief Executive. The bank is making a company-wide effort to support and be part of the transition to a low-carbon economy, he said in a call. [GreenBiz]

Solar farm (Shutterstock | Roschetzky Photography)

¶ With Earth Day only days off, Democratic and Republican legislators from from both chambers of the Pennsylvania General Assembly are introducing legislation to make the state a leader in efforts to solve climate change. Newly introduced legislation would transition Pennsylvania to 100% renewable energy by 2050. [Bucks Local News]

¶ We have never seen change in the energy space like we’re seeing right now, and “from here, things will only pick up.” So said Greg Scheu, president of ABB’s America’s Region, delivering the a keynote address at a conference. Swiss-based ABB is a pioneer in electrification products, robotics, power grids, and industrial automation. [WRAL Tech Wire]

Solar Impulse 2

¶ Invenergy is to supply electricity to MGM Resorts International from a 100-MW solar project located 40 km (24 miles) north of Las Vegas.  The MGM-Invenergy solar project, which is expected to  be operational by the end of 2020, will help power thirteen properties on the Las Vegas strip belonging to MGM Resorts International. [reNews]

¶ The Senate narrowly confirmed Rep Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla), a former Navy pilot with no scientific credentials and who doesn’t believe humans are primarily to blame for the global climate crisis, to lead NASA. He joins a Cabinet already loaded with deniers of the near-universal scientific consensus on climate change. [Huffington Post]

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April 19 Energy News

April 19, 2018

Science and Technology:

¶ A study published in the journal Nature examined coral reefs suffering from warming waters. Die-offs since 2014 have hit every part of the Great Barrier Reef. Marine heat waves causing bleaching struck three-quarters of the world’s coral reefs, and the heat waves that cause corals to die struck almost a third of them, the researchers said. [CNN]

Coral bleaching

World:

¶ The Chinese government announced that it will eliminate the 50-50 rule, which requires foreign manufacturers to be equal partners with local companies, for makers of battery electric and plug-in hybrid cars. For companies making commercial vehicles, the rule will expire in 2020 and will disappear completely by 2022. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Saudi Arabia has received four offers from local and European bidders in a 400-MW wind tender and, according to sources cited by The National, the award is expected in June. Saudi Arabia recently awarded a 300-MW contract, and its wind and solar tenders support the country’s goal to have 9.5 GW of renewables in 2023. [Renewables Now]

Wind turbines (Ville-Matti Kaartinen, CC-BY-SA)

Wind turbines (Ville-Matti Kaartinen, CC-BY-SA)

¶ The UK confirmed its membership in Indian-led International Solar Alliance, which was created to provide affordable and sustainable energy to more than one billion poor people worldwide. ISA aims to raise $1 trillion of private and public finance to provide access to cheap, clean and renewable energy to all by 2030. [Power Technology]

¶ ICRA Ratings said Indian wind power capacity addition will improve to 3 GW over this fiscal year, backed by project awards by Solar Energy Corporation of India and state utilities. The SECI and the distribution utilities in Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu have issued bids for wind capacity of 7.5 GW over the past 14 months. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Wind turbines reflected in the water

¶ Italian oil company, Eni has presented its Strategic Plan for the period of 2018 to 2021. The plan includes the construction of 220 MW of solar power plants at several of the group’s industrial sites in Italy. The projects are expected to start commercial operations in 2021. Eni has already identified 25 industrial sites for the power plants. [pv magazine International]

US:

¶ On Monday, the Puerto Rican power utility boasted that it had restored electricity to 97% in the nearly seven months since Hurricane Maria. Two days later, the precarious electric grid collapsed as a result of a minor accident, plunging the entire island into a blackout. According to officials, the power should be restored in 24 to 36 hours. [The Guardian]

Living without power (Getty Images)

¶ Many Puerto Rican families staying on the mainland since Hurricane Maria were relying on FEMA to extend vouchers they depend on for housing until May 14. But on April 16, FEMA told evacuees the aid would be cut off by April 20. The fact that the FEMA has not restored utilities at their homes does not qualify them for help. [Orlando Weekly]

¶ Wind power generated a record 6.3% share of all US electricity last year, according to the American Wind Energy Association’s newly released US Wind Industry Annual Market Report 2017. Last year, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, and South Dakota generated over 30% of their electricity from wind energy, data in the the report showed. [OilPrice.com]

Wind power on the farm

¶ Walmart announced that suppliers have reported reducing more than 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions in the global value chain, as part of Walmart’s Project Gigaton initiative. Project Gigaton seeks to work with suppliers to reduce emissions from the company’s value chain by a billion metric tons, by 2030. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ Michigan utility regulators will soon decide on DTE Energy’s proposal to replace an old coal plant with a $1 billion natural gas plant. The plan has drawn fierce opposition. Both sides have increasingly focused on a simpler question: Must DTE comply with new state guidelines for proving power plants meet the public’s interest? [Bridge Michigan]

St Clair coal-fired plant (Bridge photo by Jim Malewitz)

¶ Alliant Energy Corp received approval from the Iowa Utilities Board to add 1,000 MW of wind energy in Iowa by 2020. The company is planning to invest $1.8 billion to boost renewable energy. The wind energy can provide power for  approximately 430,000 homes. Alliant Energy currently owns and operates four wind firms in the state. [Nasdaq]

¶ In a walk-the-talk move, California Gov Brown now has a solar plus storage microgrid serving his new home, a ranch north of Sacramento. Like 1.4 billion others in the world, the isolated home had no access to an electric grid. The Brown Ranch microgrid has 48 solar panels and 10 SimpliPhi PHI 3.4 kWh, 48-V batteries. [Microgrid Knowledge]

System at Gov Brown’s ranch (PRNewsfoto | SimpliPhi Power)

¶ The city of Boulder, Colorado, along with Boulder County and San Miguel County, filed a lawsuit against ExxonMobil and Suncor in state court. They are seeking to recover some of the costs associated with climate change impacts. The case is just the latest of many lawsuits to try to hold the major carbon polluters accountable. [Sierra Magazine]

¶ South Carolina lawmakers agree that they want to slash SCANA Corp’s electricity rates in the wake of the company’s failed nuclear project. The state Senate has moved to make SCANA and its subsidiary, South Carolina Electric & Gas, absorb more of the cost of its effort to expand the VC Summer nuclear plant, at least temporarily. [Charleston Post Courier]

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April 18 Energy News

April 18, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “In Ohio town, energy ‘locavores’ drive demand for community solar” • Athens, Ohio, is home of Ohio University, but it is also in the heart of Appalachian Ohio, with a long history of coal and salt mining. Coal fields in the area contributed as much as 40% of the state’s output at the turn of the 20th century. But the times have changed. [Energy News Network]

Solar installations at an Ohio University compost facility

World:

¶ Offshore wind accounted for 6.2% of the UK’s total electricity generation in 2017 and is on track to reach a contribution of 10% by 2020, data released by the Crown Estate shows. At the end of last year, the country’s 33 operational offshore wind parks had a combined capacity of 5.83 GW, and eight plants being built will add 4.58 GW. [Renewables Now]

¶ Increasing the pace of global renewable energy adoption by at least a factor of six is critical for meeting energy-related emission reduction needs of the Paris Climate Agreement. However, it can still limit global temperature rise to 2° C, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency’s long-term renewable energy outlook. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Renewable power generators

¶ India probably witnessed the greenest stretch of its power sector last year in terms of new capacity added. No thermal power capacity was added in 8 of the 12 months last year in India. In six months, India actually retired coal-based power capacity, leading to a net reduction in installed coal-based capacity during those months. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Eon has commissioned all 116 MHI Vestas V112 3.45-MW turbines at the 400-MW Rampion offshore wind farm off the south coast of England. Work will continue both on and offshore over the next few months, including at the substations and landfall, to prepare the project for full operation later this year, the company said. [reNews]

Turbine in the Rampion wind farm (MHI Vestas)

¶ German energy minister Peter Altmaier has reiterated the country’s plans to halve coal-fired power output by 2030, but dashed hopes for quick action on coal by saying plans to exit nuclear power generation by 2022 are a “double challenge” preferring a more gradual approach with the “coal commission” to safeguard jobs. [Platts]

¶ In its quarterly Renewable Energy Index, Green Energy Markets said the amount of renewable energy generated in Australia is set to exceed the original Renewable Energy Target of 41,000 GWh in 2020. That target was scrapped in 2015 by the federal government, because it took the position that the goal was impossible. [ABC Online]

Wind turbines (Fabrizio Bensch | Reuters file photo)

¶ Westinghouse Electric Co, emerging from bankruptcy, is ready to supply six nuclear reactors to India on schedule, US Energy Secretary Rick Perry said. “The Trump administration thinks nuclear energy is very important. It’s important domestically, it’s important internationally.” The two countries are moving on a 2008 agreement. [Economic Times]

¶ Seychelles is planning to install Africa’s first utility-scale floating solar PV system on the sea, said a top official of the Seychelles Energy Commission. The chief executive officer of the commission, Tony Imaduwa, told SNA that the project will inject clean and green energy into the island nation’s electricity system. [Seychelles News Agency]

Floating solar power (cceonlinenews.com, CC BY)

US:

¶ A bill passed by the New Jersey legislature calls for 600 MW of energy storage for the state within three years. It also calls on the New Jersey Public Utilities Board to analyse further storage use and to make revisions for community solar, energy efficiency, peak demand reduction, and solar renewable energy certificate programs. [Energy Storage News]

¶ Green Mountain Power has done a lot to put distributed energy resources in the hands of its customers. But less than 3% of the Vermont utility’s customer base is currently using one of these offerings, a report from the Rocky Mountain Institute said. That adoption rate will have to grow tenfold or more to meet state clean energy goals. [Greentech Media]

Home in the mountains (Photo: Tesla)

¶ Evidence is growing that an energy revolution is under way. The City Council of Glendale, California voted 4-1 to explore whether renewable energy plus storage could meet its future energy needs better than an upgrade of an 80-year-old gas plant that the municipal utility proposed. Reports on the topic are due to the council in 90 days. [pv magazine USA]

¶ Clean energy proponents in Nebraska, stymied by the state government, are going directly to the state’s largest utilities in an attempt to bring about change. A coalition of organizations has begun lobbying the state’s major utilities, which are all publicly owned, to adopt a clean energy plan that it unveiled earlier this year. [Energy News Network]

Nebraska wind farm

¶ Procter & Gamble aims to use 100% renewable electricity at all of its plants by 2030, the company stated in a sustainability goals report called “Ambition 2030.”  P&G’s renewable power program enlists its brands, including Dawn, Head & Shoulders, and Tide, to “inspire responsible consumption” through reusable and recyclable packaging. [Supply Chain Dive]

¶ Arizona’s Palo Verde nuclear station could be forced to close in six years, instead of twenty-seven, if voters approve a renewable-energy ballot measure, its owner said. The initiative would amend the state constitution to require utilities to get half their electricity from renewable sources such as solar and wind by 2030. [Forbes]

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April 17 Energy News

April 17, 2018

Science and Technology:

¶ Back at the dawn of the electric car era, about 10 years ago now, the knock on electric cars was that their batteries would not last 100,000 miles. But a survey in Europe of 350 Tesla drivers reveals that such concerns are not warranted. On average, cars with 160,000 miles on them still have 90% of their battery capacity remaining. [CleanTechnica]

Tesla in the mountains (Tesla image)

¶ Most lithium-ion batteries use cobalt, an expensive metal with a number of associated problems. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley found a way to create cathodes from other metals, such as manganese, in their cathodes. Not only are other metals far less expensive than cobalt, the new cathodes have 50% more capacity. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Scientists have developed a plastic-eating enzyme that may be used to combat one of the world’s worst pollution problems. Researchers from the UK’s University of Portsmouth and the US DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory say the enzyme can “eat” the polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, that is used to make plastic bottles. [CNN]

A river in France (Lamiot, Wikimedia Commons)

World:

¶ A small island in the Pacific Ocean is the site of a discovery that could change Japan’s economic future. The island has large enough supplies of several rare earth minerals to supply current world demand for hundreds of years. Rare earth elements are used for numerous specialty products. Nearly all supplies had been coming from China. [CNN]

¶ The UN International Maritime Organization has adopted a new commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the maritime sector, seeking to peak emissions “as soon as possible” and to reduce annual emissions by at least 50% by 2050. It is pushing strategies designed to increase the reduction to 70% by 2050. [CleanTechnica]

Container ship

¶ In Argentina, 44 renewable energy projects submitted dispatch priority requests during the first quarter of 2018, the manager of the country’s wholesale electricity market said. The combined capacity of the projects is 2,031 MW, according a market report, although there was no information about the capacity of two of the projects. [Renewables Now]

¶ Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy announced that it had been awarded the contract to supply wind turbines for four separate wind farms in Spain by developer Gas Natural Fenosa Renovables, for a total of 166 MW. Siemens Gamesa will provide 48 of its SG 3.4-132 wind turbines, which are due to be completed mid-2019. [CleanTechnica]

Wind farm (Gas Natural Fenosa Renovables image)

¶ The Australian Capital Territory says the federal government’s national energy guarantee will “lock in poor outcomes for the climate, for renewable energy, for states and territories who are pursuing strong climate actions and, ultimately, for electricity consumers.” The ACT will push for improvements at a critical meeting this Friday. [The Guardian]

¶ A consortium including Siemens and Austrian utility Verbund are building a 6-MW carbon dioxide-free hydrogen production plant in Austria. The €18 million H2Future project will be used to test the potential for green hydrogen in the various stages of steel production, as well as integration into reserve markets for the power grid. [reNews]

Hydrogen project (Siemens image)

US:

¶ Hawaiian Electric Co has initiated construction on a 20-MW solar park at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, which it says will produce the lowest cost renewable power in Hawaii. To be located at the West Loch Annex base in Honolulu, the plant is expected to generate electricity at a cost of less than 8¢/kWh, Hawaiian Electric said. [Renewables Now]

¶ Falling prices for solar and wind power is helping the Iowa utility owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway gain on its goal of generating 100% of its electricity from renewable sources, a company officer said. But a major force driving MidAmerican Energy’s renewable energy plans is its customers, who want more clean energy. [GreenBiz]

Wind farm (Photo: Shutterstock | Justin C. Hilts)

¶ Green Mountain Power in Vermont has several high-impact opportunities to build upon its customer-focused energy programs while re-imagining its business model as an “energy transformation company,” delivering low-carbon, affordable, reliable energy to customers, according to a new Rocky Mountain Institute report. [Solar Builder]

¶ Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport may become the nation’s first airport to get 100% of its energy from solar power. Officials have agreed to move ahead with initial work on a third phase of its solar farm. The newest phase would help create enough electricity to pay the airport’s power bill, its chief executive said. [Chattanooga Times Free Press]

Chattanooga Airport (Staff File Photo | Times Free Press)

¶ Duke Energy customers in North Carolina will be able to get rebates of up to $6,000 each, starting this summer, for installing solar panels on their homes. The four-year, $62 million rebate program has been approved by state regulators. It is required under a 2017 state law designed to keep solar power growing in North Carolina. [WUNC]

¶ Brattle Group released an analysis of FirstEnergy’s planned nuclear plant closures that said closing the four plants would leave a huge hole in the zero-carbon capacity serving mid-Atlantic grid operator PJM. This would lead to increased carbon emissions, raising social costs of about $921 million per year over a 10-year period. [Greentech Media]

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April 16 Energy News

April 16, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “‘It’s The Gulf Stream, Stupid!’ Climate Scientists Warn Tipping Point Is Near.” • Take away the heat of the Gulf Stream and Europe becomes up to 10º C cooler in winter, parts of Africa become more arid, and sea level rise along the eastern seaboard of the United States increases. Flow in the Gulf Stream is down 15% since 1950. [CleanTechnica]

Gulf Stream (Image: Icelandic Mountain Guides)

¶ “Building lawsuits instead of power plants: Where South Carolina’s nuclear fiasco stands now” • Since Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy, South Carolina has swapped engineering for litigation, construction designs for federal subpoenas, and two nuclear reactors for a debt larger than the state government’s annual budget. [Charleston Post Courier]

Science and Technology:

¶ Scientists at Utrecht University have modeled a way to hit tough global climate targets without resorting to the extensive use of negative emissions technology. They found that by using more renewable power and reducing agriculture emissions the world can hit a 1.5° goal with less use of negative emissions technology. [www.businessgreen.com]

Unconvinced cows

World:

¶ The Australian Energy Market Commission has called for submissions on the best model for renewable energy zones so new low emissions generators can join the power system at the lowest possible cost. AEMC sets out options for clustering new generators in zones to reduce the costs of new transmission grid infrastructure. [The Asset]

¶ Pakistan can spur social and economic development while increasing energy security and improving energy access with renewable energy, a report by the International Renewable Energy Agency said. The report has an analysis of the country’s energy sector and identifies key actions to accelerate renewable energy deployment. [The Asset]

Offshore wind turbines

¶ Brookfield Asset Management plans to install solar panels on virtually every roof of GLP, the dominant operator of logistics warehouses in China. GLP operates nearly 700 million square feet of logistics space globally, with half in China. Brookfield will use GLP’s rooftops to create a distributed solar energy grid geared to Chinese cities. [Forbes]

¶ The Philippines could supplement 57% to 60% of its energy needs with renewables by 2040, by adopting a strategy to increase renewable-power generation through carbon taxes or subsidies for renewable energy, a study from the International Food Policy Research Institute said. The study was published in the journal, Energy. [Business Mirror]

Wind turbines in the Philippines

¶ New Brunswick’s only solar farm is now online. With 400 panels on 25 poles that carry 16 panels on each, it is the first of its kind in the province. Frank Jopp is a farmer who decided to hop on board with renewable energy. With declining income from his dairy business, he started to farm and harvest sunlight to increase his income. [Globalnews.ca]

¶ Solar and wind power projects are increasing along the Mekong River. Energy expert Brian Eyler said the developments call into question the financial viability of the area’s major hydro-electric dams. He said that in the last six months, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos have signed agreements for 6,000 MW of wind and solar power. [Voice of America]

Dachaoshan dam on the upper Mekong River in China

¶ Residents at Sydney student housing co-op Stucco in Newtown have seen huge reductions to their power bills thanks to a combined solar and battery system installed last year. After a year of operation, Stucco has confirmed a reduction of around 55% to residents’ bills, with the building generating more energy than it used in 2017. [Gizmodo Australia]

¶ Mahindra Susten won a solar and energy storage auction in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands for the second time, having seen its victory in the original auction cancelled. The company has now quoted a winning price of ₹1.33 billion ($20.29 million) for the 20 MW of solar PV with 8 MWh of energy storage. [Energy Storage News]

Andaman Island beach

¶ Mexico’s Secretary of Energy, Pedro Joaquin Coldwell, said last week that renewable sources will likely produce 43% of the country’s electricity by 2024. The calculation is based on the results of the energy auctions carried out by the government so far, he said. 65 renewable power plants are to be built in the next three years. [Renewables Now]

US:

¶ Two more Massachusetts offshore wind energy leases are moving toward auction by the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, as southern New England and Mid-Atlantic states are hastening their own planning for wind power. The two lease tracts totaling 390,000 acres are located south of Martha’s Vineyard. [WorkBoat]

Turbines off Block Island, (Photo: RI Department of Energy)

¶ Omaha Public Power District customers will soon be able to support local solar power. OPPD as early as next year will start selling shares of solar power to interested customers. The utility designed each share of solar power to represent roughly 10% of the electricity that an average residential customer uses each month. [North Platte Telegraph]

¶ Environmental activists in Boston want Fenway Park to “go green.” They are asking the Red Sox to commit to exclusive use of energy from renewable sources. Activists from Environment Massachusetts and MASSPIRG Students are asking the franchise to obtain 100% of its energy from renewable power within five years. [WPRI 12 Eyewitness News]

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April 15 Energy News

April 15, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “From rubble to renewables: Greensburg is back and better than ever” • The city of Greensburg, Kansas was leveled by an F5 tornado on May 4, 2007. The F5 tornado rating means the wind speeds were 261 to 318 mph. When they started to rebuild, they had no idea that they would end up going green, at least not in the beginning. [Omaha Reader]

Greensburg, after the storm

¶ “China’s bold energy vision” • The boldest plan to achieve the targets set by the 2015 Paris climate agreement comes from China. China’s Global Energy Interconnection offers a vision of how to achieve this energy transformation that is breathtaking. It moves electricity from where renewable resources are abundant to where it is needed. [Gulf Times]

¶ “Kit Carson Electric setting national example for renewable energy” • New Mexico co-op Kit Carson Electric Cooperative bought back its power contract in 2016. Now it is building PV arrays for 34% to 44% of its power. It will buy the rest under long-term contracts for renewable power, avoiding fossil fuel price risks. [The Durango Herald]

KCEC solar array (Kit Carson Electric Cooperative image)

Science and Technology:

¶ Polymer Solar Cell efficiency reaches about 13%, which is far from the 20% efficiency of commercial solar panels. They also cannot match the durability of inorganic solar cells. But the potential to mass-produce nontoxic, disposable solar panels using roll-to-roll production makes them attractive for some applications. [The Green Optimistic]

¶ Some eroding mountains may emit greenhouse gases rather than absorbing them as scientists had hypothesized. For decades, researchers believed eroding mountains and newly exposed silicate rocks served as carbon sinks, taking greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. A new study has thrown a wrench into that theory. [The Weather Channel]

Taiwan’s Central Mountain Range (Wikimedia Commons)

¶ According to a study published this month in the journal Nature Geoscience, Antarctica’s frozen underbelly is melting and receding at a rate around five times faster than normal. In the centuries following an ice age, glacier grounding lines should retreat about 82 feet per year, but the ice is retreating at speeds up to 600 feet annually. [KIRO Seattle]

World:

¶ Alinta Energy, a private power company, has unveiled Western Australia’s biggest battery, a 30-MW lithium-ion battery attached to its Newman power station in the Pilbara region. The project, which cost $45 million to build, has 100 individual batteries in it, each of which is capable of powering the typical home for 90 days. [The West Australian]

Newman Power Station (Steven Bradley, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The new head of Korea Electric Power Cor, Kim Jong-kap, pledged to improve profitability of the state-run utility firm and forge a new path forward amid the government’s energy policy shift from coal and nuclear power to natural gas and renewables. In the fourth quarter, the utility firm posted its first quarterly loss in nearly five years. [pulse]

Solar study lamp

¶ The Indian government is will provide 700,000 solar study lamps in five states where rural household electrification levels are low. In Bihar alone, the target is to provide more than 188,400 underprivileged students with solar study lamps. Around 40,570 of such lamps have already been distributed to students by the program. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ New energy power generation surged in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in the first quarter of the year as local authorities sought to improve the energy mix. Wind and solar power generation rose 35% and 38% year on year to 7.6 billion kWh and 2.3 billion kWh, respectively, the grid regulator said. [China.org.cn]

¶ Solar power may become the most preferred alternative electricity source to Nigerians, judging by recent developments. Despite the economic barriers to its growth, Nigeria’s solar power market has moved quickly for consumers, who are fast embracing it to overcome the poor supply from the national electricity grid. [THISDAY Newspapers]

Installing a rooftop solar system

US:

¶ The County of Maui recently joined Drive Electric Hawaiʻi, a collaboration of groups that share a vision to power Hawaiʻi’s ground transportation with 100% renewable energy. Mayor Alan Arakawa signed a memorandum of understanding earlier this month to join the other organizations in the Drive Electric Hawaiʻi Initiative. [Maui Now]

¶ A trial date of October 29 has been set for a landmark lawsuit brought by a group of young Americans. Juliana v. United States was filed in 2015 on behalf of 21 young plaintiffs who allege their constitutional and public trust rights are being violated by the government’s creation of a national energy system that causes climate change. [DeSmog]

Kids demonstrating (Credit: Our Children’s Trust)

¶ The Toiyabe Chapter of the Sierra Club announced its support for a ballot initiative promoting clean energy in Nevada. The ballot initiative would amend the Nevada Constitution to require electric suppliers provide at least 50% of their total electricity from renewable sources, like wind, solar, and geothermal, by the year 2030. [Nevada Appeal]

¶ Since the downturn in mining operations, nearly 1,000 miners have left the Wyoming coal industry. About 5,600 remain. Some were laid off and hired back with different working conditions: less pay, a weaker insurance plan, a temporary position. Other workers are on mandatory overtime or searching for a second job. [Casper Star-Tribune Online]

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April 14 Energy News

April 14, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “I’m An Expat Scientist Coming Home To Stop Trump’s War On Science” • Given what’s happening in Washington, DC, the recent move by some US climate scientists to accept an offer to relocate to France for the rest of Trump’s presidency makes perfect sense. I strongly support their important statement. But I’m going the other way. [Fast Company]

Coming home (Photo: Willian Justen de Vasconcellos | Unsplash)

Science and Technology:

¶ New research shows that extreme climate variability over the last century in western North America may be destabilizing both marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Climate is increasingly controlling synchronous ecosystem behavior in which species populations rise and fall together, with that synchrony increasing risks of extinction. [Science Codex]

World:

¶ As the CEO of Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy visited India, the company announced that it had successfully connected 5,000 MW of wind turbines to the Indian grid since it started work in the country in 2009. Siemens Gamesa is now the second largest wind turbine manufacturer in India, based on cumulative installed capacity. [CleanTechnica]

Gamesa wind farm in India

¶ Gas Natural Fenosa has begun construction on a 49-MW PV project in the central Spanish region of Castilla La Mancha. The company has invested approximately €34 million ($42 million) in the project. According to Gas Natural Fenosa, the plant will also exceed the annual electricity demand for residents of two nearby towns. [pv magazine International]

¶ MPs are to press ministers on why they have left investors hanging in limbo over taxpayer support for a pioneering £1.3 billion tidal lagoon in Swansea. The government has still not indicated whether it is minded to support the lagoon, 15 months since an independent review told ministers to back the clean energy project. [The Guardian]

Wall at Swansea Bay (Image: Tidal Lagoon Power | PA)

¶ The Canadian province of Nova Scotia has issued permits and a power purchase agreement worth C$350/MWh ($27.7/MWh) for Big Moon Power’s 5-MW tidal project in the Bay of Fundy. The 15-year PPA involves a multi-phase project off Cape Split in the Minas Passage. It will start with a much smaller project testing a prototype. [reNews]

¶ Italian energy group Eni is considering stepping up its nuclear fusion investment. Nuclear fusion is a technology considered so uncertain that Eni remains the only global oil company prepared to bet on it. This happens just as the falling cost of solar and wind power and a shift to electric vehicles raise doubts over long-term demand for oil. [Reuters]

Fusion experiment at MIT (Bob Mumgaard |  Plasma
Science and Fusion Center | Handout via Reuters)

¶ Ireland’s power system is the first in the world capable of delivering 65% of all electricity from variable sources including wind. EirGrid said it had achieved “record levels” of variable renewable energy after successful completion of a five-month trial. It said the all-island power system was the first in the world to reach this level. [Independent.ie]

¶ Fugro geotechnical drill vessel Fugro Scout has completed its surveys of the foundation sites for Innogy’s 860MW Triton Knoll offshore wind farm off the coast of Lincolnshire. The three-week surveying operation involved test drilling up to 40 meters deep at the locations of the 90 turbine foundations and two offshore substations. [reNews]

Fugro Scout (Image: Innogy)

¶ A draft bill submitted Friday to the State Duma, the lower house of the Russia parliament, would ban all trade between state-owned nuclear company Rosatom and US nuclear power companies. The bill is in response to sanctions the Trump administration imposed against 24 Russian top businessman and government officials. [Platts]

US:

¶ Wisconsin’s largest coal-fired power plant, We Energies’ Oak Creek generating facility on the Lake Michigan shoreline south of Milwaukee, burns about 12,000 tons of coal each day. As it arrives by the trainload and sits in large piles, black coal dust blows into nearby neighborhoods. There is concern among residents. [Wisconsin Public Radio News]

Oak Creek Plant (JanetandPhil CC-BY-NC-ND)

¶ A poll for the Southwestern Electric Power Company found that 77% of registered voters in Louisiana support renewable energy development as a means of keeping customers’ electric bills low. The poll showed that a majority of voters supported a proposed 2,000-MW wind farm together with a dedicated power line. [Daily Energy Insider]

¶ This week, New York Gov Andrew Cuomo announced up to $15 million in funding available for grid modernization projects. Also this week, the NYPA’s Board of Trustees approved a $9.3 million sensor deployment program aimed at transforming the state’s grid; it is the first phase of a multi-stage program that will cost $55 million. [Utility Dive]

New York City

¶ Green Street Power Partners LLC and Swinerton Renewable Energy held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of a 315-kW rooftop solar system at Gann Academy, an independent Jewish high school in Waltham, Massachusetts. The array is expected to supply 394,000 kWh annually, 25% of the school’s electricity. [Solar Industry]

¶ The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled against ExxonMobil in the company’s bid to block the state’s attorney general from obtaining records to investigate whether the company knew about the role fossil fuels play in climate change. It ruled that the AG has jurisdiction to investigate climate-related offenses by Exxon. [Insіdеr Cаr Nеws]

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April 13 Energy News

April 13, 2018

World:

¶ China is placing a 25% tariff on cars made by Tesla. This is a problem Tesla must solve to move beyond being a niche player there. Not only are new Chinese car manufacturers cropping up at a record pace, the quality of the cars they build is getting better all the time. Given a choice, many Chinese would prefer to buy a Chinese car. [CleanTechnica]

Tesla in China (Credit: EPA | Wu Hong via Quartz)

¶ Germany’s Federal Network Agency reports that in a 200-MW joint auction for solar and wind power, no bid for a wind project was successful and solar projects won 32 contracts. Heads of industry associations for both technologies said they considered the joint auction experiment unsuccessful because it was so one-sided. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A new joint industry initiative, which will run until mid-2020, has been established with the aim of reducing power cable failures in the offshore wind industry. The initiative aims to develop a continuous monitoring system for cables using optical fibre sensors. Such a system may enable early identification of possible failures. [reNews]

Offshore wind farm (Image: DNV GL)

¶ Tunisia is about to launch an international tender for the procurement of 1,000 MW of wind and solar power, a project that is estimated to be worth about $1.04 billion. To support its renewable energy goals, Tunisia has made a pledge to invest $1.78 billion to develop renewable energy projects over the course of next two years. [African Review]

¶ Jordan’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources said it received 16 bids in a 200-MW solar tender. The tender was for four projects of around 50 MW each. A separate tender for 100 MW of wind farms in southern parts of Jordan is to take place in November. Jordan aims to have more than 2.4 GW of renewable power by 2021. [Renewables Now]

Petra Sunset (Author: Rob)

¶ Australian utility Evoenergy is carrying out comprehensive demand management trials ever in Australia, using a combination of batteries and traditional demand response. One virtual power plant used to avoid a substation upgrade could save Evoenergy around A$2 million ($1.6 million). Other utilities are conducting similar trials. [Greentech Media]

¶ Wind power helped renewable energy sources generate a record 25 TWh of electricity in the UK in the first quarter of 2018, according to analysts EnAppSys. Wind generated 15.8 TWh during the quarter. Renewables overall accounted for 29% of UK electricity generation in the period, behind natural gas with a 37.3% share. [reNews]

Offshore wind power (reNews image)

¶ Spanish renewables giant Acciona Energy won a tender to build one of Australia’s largest solar farms in the heart of Queensland coal country, the state government has announced. Acciona will develop, finance, construct and operate the $500 million 300-MW Aldoga solar farm, through a 30-year lease with the state government. [RenewEconomy]

US:

¶ Bay State Wind, the joint venture between two offshore wind farms in the northeastern US, has announced that it will commit to providing over $2 million in grants for research and programs aimed at protecting the region’s fisheries and whale populations. The two wind farms are to have a combined capacity of 1,000 MW. [CleanTechnica]

Humpback whales

¶ Utilities would be required to first consider renewable energy whenever replacing fossil fuel generation under legislation proposed by a prominent Republican Minnesota legislator. The “motivational bill” is not expected to pass, but its author hopes it will spur discussion about how Minnesota replaces retiring power plant capacity. [Energy News Network]

¶ Corporate procurement of solar power is on the rise for both distributed generation and offsite utility PV. Apple and Google have met goals, and Microsoft set a new solar procurement record. And there are many smaller companies also choosing to put solar power at the centers of their corporate sustainability strategies. [Greentech Media]

Urban rooftop solar installation

¶ A lot of good data is to be found in public reports from national labs and government research papers. But it has not always been easy to find or easy to parse, and it has been nearly eliminated by the Trump Administration. The Natural Resources Defense Council has stepped into the breach with a new tool to track green progress. [Green Car Reports]

¶ Ithaca College, a private liberal arts college in Upstate New York, has switched to 100% wind energy as part of its goal of becoming carbon-neutral. The college has followed its Climate Action Plan Reassessment Team’s recommendation that it purchase 100% wind energy through its current electricity supplier. [North American Windpower]

Wind turbines

¶ The New Jersey Assembly and Senate have passed two bills that set ambitious goals for expanding renewable power and curtailing greenhouse gases in the state. The bills require power companies in New Jersey to generate 50% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030. They also subsidize existing nuclear power plants. [New York Times]

¶ Due to their high cost relative to other generating options, no new nuclear power units will be built in the US, William Von Hoene, Exelon’s senior vice president and chief strategy officer, told the US Energy Association’s annual meeting in Washington, DC. He said, “They are too expensive to construct, relative to the world in which we now live.” [Platts]

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April 12 Energy News

April 12, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Solar and wind plus storage to increasingly replace gas plants” • For some years it has been obvious that increasing deployment of solar and wind is cutting into the market share of coal and nuclear power plants in the US and Europe. One industry pundit went so far as to call anyone who might build a combined cycle gas plant “crazy.” [pv magazine USA]

California gas plant (California Energy Commission)

Science and Technology:

¶ The Atlantic Ocean circulation that carries warmth into the Northern Hemisphere’s high latitudes is slowing down because of climate change, according to a peer-reviewed study published in the journal Nature. This suggests that one of the most feared consequences of climate change, affecting the Gulf Stream, is already coming to pass. [ScienceAlert]

World:

¶ The global average cost of shipping fuels will rise by around 25% in 2020, due to the new sulfur limits set to go into effect then, according to a new report from the consultancy Wood Mackenzie. The rules are intended to move ships to switch over to marine gasoil and ultra-low-sulfur fuel oil from the highly polluting fuel they use. [CleanTechnica]

Ship at port

¶ Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy has commissioned 46 SWT-3.2-113 wind turbines at the Mont Sainte-Marguerite project in Québec. This 147-MW project, developed and owned by Pattern Energy Group LP, is the first in Québec for both companies. The companies have partnered for nearly 1.1 GW of installations in Canada. [Your Renewable News]

¶ Shell vowed to invest up to $2 billion every year to 2020 in its new energies division, which is tasked with growing the energy giant’s renewables business. Much of the cash will be spent on renewable power generation, Shell said. It is targeting markets in North America, Europe, and countries with “fast-growing” renewables sectors. [reNews]

Offshore wind farm (reNews image)

¶ The Queensland and Victorian governments are hedging their bets about the Turnbull government’s national energy guarantee ahead of the circulation of key design. The states say they are still considering whether or not to support the national energy guarantee and remain committed to their renewable energy targets. [The Guardian]

¶ The government of New Zealand is taking “an important step to address climate change and create a clean, green and sustainable future for New Zealand,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a speach in Wellington. It will limit the 2018 offer of exploration permits to onshore acreage in the oil-rich province of Taranaki. [Energy Voice]

Auckland

¶ In Portugal, the wholesale prices of energy declined in March from the previous year, as renewable energies covered 103.6% of the total power consumption of the country, a performance which was mainly driven by wind and hydropower. On average, daily market power prices dropped from €43.94/MWh to €39.75/MWh. [pv magazine International]

¶ The expanding network of giant windmills in the North Sea, the largest such collection in the world, is turning into a windfall for some bankers helping institutional investors acquire a piece of Europe’s renewable-energy market. Offshore wind farms account for just 2% of Europe’s electricity, but more are being built. [Energy Voice]

Offshore wind turbines (Photo: Simon Dawson | Bloomberg)

¶ EDF Energy warned that a flagship nuclear power station it is building in France could run further behind schedule and over budget, after it detected faults at the €10.5 billion (£9.2 billion, $12.96 billion) plant. Flamanville’s reactor design is the same as the one being used at a delayed plant in Finland and at Hinkley Point in Somerset. [The Guardian]

US:

¶ ACCIONA Energia announced that it will build its ninth wind farm in the US with the development of the 145-MW Palmas Atlas wind farm in Texas, its second wind farm in the state. The Palmas Atlas wind farm will need an investment of around $200 million and will be built using 46 Nordex AW125/3150 wind turbines. [CleanTechnica]

ACCIONA wind farm in Texas

¶ Green Development, a renewable energy company based in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, has proposed a 40-MW solar array in North Smithfield.  The proposed project is thought to be the largest being considered for the state. It would generate approximately $20 million in lease payments to landowners over a period of 25 years. [Valley Breeze]

¶ EDP-Energias de Portugal is optimistic about renewable power investments in the US, despite President Donald Trump’s push to support coal and nuclear power plants and the tariff he has slapped on imported solar panels. Its chief executive said in an interview, “US renewables represent the growth engine of our company.” [ETEnergyworld.com]

Hybrid renewable energy plant

¶ US federal officials say they expect to have a plan by June on how to strengthen Puerto Rico’s electrical grid. Assistant Energy Secretary Bruce Walker says officials are looking at integrating renewable energy sources and building micro grids. More than 50,000 power customers remain in the dark nearly seven months after Hurricane Maria. [WEAU]

¶ The biggest coal-burning power plant in the West is fighting for survival. Despite support from the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress, it appears likely to close next year. The Navajo Generating Station in northern Arizona is facing difficulty as local utilities that use its power turn to cheaper renewable energy. [NBCNews.com]

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April 11 Energy News

April 11, 2018

World:

¶ The world’s most powerful wind turbine, the first of two 8.8-MW turbines, has been successfully installed at Vattenfall’s European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre off the coast of North East Scotland, which is set to be a groundbreaking testbed for new offshore wind technologies. It is the first time a turbine this large was installed. [CleanTechnica]

Installing the suction bucket jacket foundation (Vattenfall)

¶ BayWa re renewable energy GmbH announced today it has entered into a power purchase agreement with Norwegian energy group Statkraft for the 170-MWp Don Rodrigo solar project in Spain. The BayWa AG unit notes in its announcement that this is one of the first solar projects of this size in Europe not reliant on any subsidies. [Renewables Now]

¶ Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy announced that it was awarded the contract to build what it is calling a “pioneering” 194-MW onshore wind farm with a combined battery energy storage system. The Bulgana Green Energy Hub will be built in Victoria, with a 194-MW wind farm and a 20-MW/34-MWh lithium-ion battery. [CleanTechnica]

Siemens-Gamesa wind farm (Siemens-Gamesa)

¶ Sterling and Wilson is planning to build solar PV projects totaling 300 MW in Vietnam. These solar projects could generate about 270 million units of clean energy annually, while offsetting around 250,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year. The projects are expected to attract around $250 million in investments. [CleanTechnology News]

¶ South32 announced plans to put up a 3-MW solar farm at the Cannington silver and lead mine in north-west Queensland. The Perth-headquartered mining and metals company, which was spun out of mining giant BHP Billiton in 2015, said that the solar installation would be integrated into the current gas power station. [pv magazine Australia]

Cannington silver and lead mine (South32 image)

¶ The UK’s National Grid, in its Summer Outlook report, revealed it is expecting summer demand for grid electricity to be dragged low due to the growing amounts of small scale renewable energy installed. The National Grid warns that inflexible generators, such as large gas and nuclear plants, may have to reduce their output. [pv magazine International]

¶ Gujarat’s Chief Minister approved setting up a 5000 MW capacity solar park at the Dholera Special Investment Region. It would be the largest such entity in the world after its completion. The proposed solar power generation project would be set up in 11,000 hectares of land with an investment of ₹25,000 crore ($3.76 billion). [ETEnergyworld.com]

Solar panels at sunset

US:

¶ Energy Secretary Rick Perry said his agency will soon decide whether to approve a request to boost economically struggling coal and nuclear power plants. His remarks seem to dampened prospects that the Trump administration will move to keep a string of these plants open in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, as the president had indicated. [Axios]

¶ Cyprus Creek Renewables partnered with LG Electronics on a project that is the largest solar-plus-storage installation in the continental US. The project is located in coastal North Carolina. It is an 8.5-MW series of solar installations bundled with 12 MWh of storage. The 22,000 solar panels, each 395 providing watts, are spread across 12 sites. [CleanTechnica]

LG site in North Carolina (PRNewsfoto | LG Electronics USA)

¶ A 240-kW/324-kWh behind-the-meter energy storage system made by Sharp Electronics will be installed at Paradise Village Retirement Community near San Diego by NW Photon Energy. It will be integrated with 516 kW of solar PV. Analysis found that the storage system could save the senior community about $90,000 per year [CleanTechnica]

¶ GRID Alternatives brings solar power and solar jobs to low income communities. Recently, GRID Alternatives completed its 10,000th residential solar system installation with a total power of 42 MW. The installations will save families more than $300 million in lifetime energy costs and prevent 850,000 tons of carbon emissions. [CleanTechnica]

Installing a solar system (GRID Alternatives photo)

¶ Tesla will build and supply the energy storage facility to be installed at BP’s Titan 1 wind energy power plant in South Dakota, the company has revealed. The new energy storage facility is expected to be installed during the second half of 2018. It will be BP’s first large-scale battery-based energy storage facility. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Georgia Power announced plans to add at least 177 MW of new solar resources as part of its Commercial & Industrial Renewable Energy Development Initiative. The initiative is designed both to encourage growth of renewable energy and to help commercial and industrial customers of GP meet their own renewable energy goals. [Power Engineering Magazine]

Solar array

¶ Google has broken ground on Alabama’s first large-scale data center in Jackson County. The new energy-efficient center is being built on 360 acres next to the closed Widows Creek coal-fired power plant.The Tennessee Valley Authority is partnering with Google to power the new facility with 100% renewable energy. [Birmingham Business Journal]

¶ Under pressure from the state’s major utilities, the South Carolina House killed a solar bill that was intended to protect thousands of jobs and save customers money on their monthly power bills. Many lawmakers decried the House for caving in to opposition by Duke Energy and SCE&G, which were concerned about competition from solar. [The State]

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April 10 Energy News

April 10, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Like Coal, Natural Gas Losing Ground to Renewables” • As expensive, dirty coal power staggers toward its inevitable demise, natural gas has dominated the electricity market. Now natural gas is also losing ground to cleaner, cheaper renewable energy sources and technological advances, including those relating to batteries. [Environmental Working Group]

Oilfield pipeline

¶ “As Fossil Fuels Melt the Planet, Could Climate Change Cause a Nuclear Meltdown?” • Nearly three dozen US nuclear power plants are inadequately protected against major flooding from an upstream dam failure, flooding that could easily lead to an accident on the scale of the 2011 Fukushima Disaster. But the NRC downplays the risk. [Climate Science Watch]

World:

¶ The government of Norway and the country’s shipowners’ association have revealed their preference for global shipping related greenhouse gas emissions goals to target a figure of 50% by 2050, the two entities have revealed. This comes ahead of talks at the International Maritime Organization, slated to begin in London next week. [CleanTechnica]

Ship at sea

¶ Responding to falling oil industry revenues, the government of Algeria unveiled a suite of new programs meant to improve the country’s financial situation, including a solar PV facility build=out, and energy efficiency programs,  and incentives to convert their vehicles to run on liquefied petroleum gas rather than petrol/gasoline or diesel. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Apple announced today that its global operations are now powered by 100% renewable energy after years of work in 43 countries around the world. Apple’s announcement means that all of its data centers, retail stores, offices and co-located facilities in 43 countries around the world are now 100% powered by renewable energy. [CleanTechnica]

Solar roof on Apple’s corporate headquarters in Cupertino

¶ London-based market data company IHS Markit predicted that strong demand in China will push global solar PV demand to a record of 113 GW in 2018, and should even result in the fourth quarter yielding 34 GW of new PV installations, the largest quarter in history. It predicted new installations will grow by 19% in 2018. [CleanTechnica]

¶ GE Renewable Energy and its consortium partner Elecnor announced that they will build the 100-MW Mass wind park in Jordan, under an engineering, procurement and construction deal. The GE subsidiary will provide its latest generation of 3.6-137 wind turbines for the project, which is its first in the country, they said. [Renewables Now]

GE turbines (GE Renewable Energy image, all rights reserved)

¶ Elawan Energy has signed a power purchase agreement to build a 102-MW wind farm in South Africa with an investment of €145 million. The Copperton wind farm will be built in the province of Northern Cape and its estimated annual production will be 360 GWh per annum. The wind farm is expected to be operating by 2020. [Power Technology]

¶ Samsung Renewable Energy and Pattern Energy Group have started operations at the 100-MW North Kent wind farm in Ontario. The project, which is located in the municipality of Chatham-Kent, has 34 Siemens Gamesa 3.2-MW turbines. It created about 175 jobs at peak construction and 10 permanent full-time jobs. [reNews]

Wind farm (Pixabay image)

US:

¶ While Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is busy deleting the role of humankind in causing climate change from the state’s websites, Eau Claire, the 68,000-strong former factory town in northwestern Wisconsin, has adopted an ambitious sustainability plan to achieve carbon neutrality and to get 100% of its energy from renewable sources. [Next City]

¶ An above-average storm season, with regard to the probability of major hurricanes striking the mainland, is facing the US this year, a report from meteorologists at Colorado State University says. The report states that the US Gulf Coast and the East Coast are facing 39% and 38% probabilities that major hurricanes will make landfall this year. [CleanTechnica]

Hurricane Harvey

¶ The governing board of Glendale Water and Power, a California municipal utility, last week halted plans for a 310-MW natural gas plant to explore renewable energy and storage options instead. GWP’s decision to table a natural gas project puts it in company with a growing number of jurisdictions rethinking investment in gas plants. [Utility Dive]

¶ Hoosier Energy Rural Electric Cooperative signed a power purchase agreement with EDP Renewables to buy electricity from a yet-to-be-completed 200-MW solar project in Indiana. The Riverstart Solar Project, which will generate enough energy to be supplied to 37,000 households is expected to be operating by 2022. [CleanTechnology News]

Solar panels (Photo: RK008 | FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

¶ Italian utility Enel SpA announced that it has broken ground on the 185-MW HillTopper wind farm in Illinois. The project, which is Enel’s first wind power facility in the state, already has power purchase agreements to sell portions of its output to media group Bloomberg LP and General Motors Co. It is expected to be operating this year. [Renewables Now]

¶ Central Iowa Power Cooperative announced development of the Heartland Divide Wind Farm, a major expansion of its wind energy platform, set for completion by the end of this year. CIPCO will purchase 100% of the output from the 104-MW facility, adding to a diverse energy portfolio that is already 60% carbon-free. [Windpower Engineering]

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April 9 Energy News

April 9, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Investing in rural America would lift nation’s economy” • Rural America grows most of the food, generates much of the power, and manufactures many of the goods we use. When the modern economy threatens to leave much of the country on the wrong side of the ledger, that’s bad news regardless of where you live and work. [The Hill]

Rural America (© Getty Images)

¶ “AGL’s plan to replace Liddell is cheaper and cleaner than keeping it open” • The Australian government called for AGL Energy to consider selling the coal-burning Liddell power station to rival Alinta instead of shutting it down. AGL is confident this can be replaced by a mix of improved efficiency, renewables, and demand response. [The Conversation AU]

¶ “Offshore oil industry suppliers fight to be fit for frugal future” • Rising more than 20 meters above the sea, Statoil’s Aasta Hansteen platform towers over the Stord shipyard in western Norway, representing the height of engineering in the offshore oil sector. But despite recent high oil industry profits, the writing is on the wall globally. [The Business Times]

Aasta Hansteen oil platform (Reuters image)

World:

¶ What are the risks climate change poses to the stability of financial institutions? What role should supervisors play to mitigate the risks? These questions were topics of discussion when 200 central bankers and financial supervisors from over 30 countries gathered for the first ever International Climate Risk Conference in Amsterdam. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Eon has installed the topside for the offshore substation at its 385-MW Arkona wind farm in the German Baltic Sea. The jacket foundation for the platform was put in place last week. The substation, which is located at the project site some 35 km north-east of the island of Rugen, will be used by the Arkona wind farm and transmission operator 50Hertz. [reNews]

Oleg Strashnov (Eon image)

¶ Azerbaijan’s State Agency for Alternative and Renewable Energy Sources will present documents to the Cabinet of Ministers to attract private investments in the construction of wind power plants in the country, the Agency’s Deputy Head told Trend. The goal is to have 350 MW of windpower capacity under construction by 2020. [Trend News Agency]

¶ The Munich city utility, Stadtwerke München has signed contracts for a geothermal plant to produce approximately 50 MW of environmentally friendly district heating for around 80,000 households in the city. Six wells have been contracted. They will be drilled to a depth of 4,000 metres to extract heat from deep in the Earth. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

Munich (Praxisforum Geohtermie.Bayern | Enerchange)

¶ Nissan recently came up with the idea of using spent batteries from Leaf cars to power streetlights in Japan. It is now offering LEAF owners in Japan a chance to trade in old Leaf batteries for refabricated ones under a fee-based program. Nissan set up a joint venture company with Sumitomo Corp to refurbish the batteries. [Tires & Parts News]

¶ Wind turbines in Scotland provided a 44% increase in power to the National Grid during the first quarter of 2018, compared to the same period in 2017, environmental groups say. In January alone, renewable wind from onshore turbines over 5,353,997 MWh, enough power for the equivalent of more than five million homes. [STV News]

Wind turbine (© STV)

US:

¶ A new lawsuit was filed against the EPA by 14 states over the agency’s slow action issuing federal methane emissions standards, reports say. The new legal challenge comes about 9 months after a federal appeals court ruled the EPA is not legally able to freeze enforcement of its methane leak rules relating to oil and gas operations. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Four dams on the lower Snake River in Washington state provide about 4% of the region’s electricity, but they have been responsible for declining salmon populations. The energy they produce could be replaced by a mix of other clean energy sources, such as a mix of wind and solar power, according to a recent study. [The Spokesman-Review]

Lower Granite Dam (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

¶ A North Carolina company plans to install 81,000 solar panels about 75 miles west of Spokane, starting in May. Strata Solar will build and own the 170-acre project. Avista Corp will buy the electricity and sell it to 40 to 80 large commercial and industrial customers. The solar farm could be generating power by mid-December. [The Spokesman-Review]

¶ Voters in Decorah, Iowa, will decide whether to divorce their current electricity provider and create a city-owned utility on May 1. Interestingly, the current provider said in an email, “We’re delivering on commitments to reliability and renewable energy that outpace anything a startup city-owned utility can promise to provide.” [Energy News Network]

Decorah, Iowa

¶ Lower prices for the natural gas Xcel Energy uses to produce electricity at area generating plants are leading the company to reduce the monthly fuel charges Texas customers pay, a move that will result in 6.3% lower bills on average. The adjustment must still be approved by the Public Utility Commission of Texas. [EverythingLubbock.com]

¶ The NRC gave a key approval to a Florida Power & Light project that could lead to adding two nuclear reactors in Miami-Dade County. The commission announced that it had authorized staff members to issue “combined licenses” for reactors at FPL’s Turkey Point site. FPL has not finally committed to building the reactors. [Florida Politics]

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April 8 Energy News

April 8, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Is it Over for Uranium?” • According to the World Nuclear Association, there are 57 reactors under construction globally, which, when combined with the 440 existing reactors should trigger an uptick in demand for uranium. However, the situation is not as simple as the headline numbers would have investors believe. [The Motley Fool Canada]

Uranium mine

¶ “Nuclear subsidy plan bows to PSEG demand” • If New Jersey’s nuclear bailout bill becomes law, ratepayers could be paying $300 million annually to boost the profits for owners of two South Jersey nuclear plants. All indications are that for now the plants remain profitable, but not enough for Public Service Enterprise Group. [Daily Record]

Science and Technology:

¶ The term “PlusEnergy” was apparently first used by Rolf Disch back in 1994 when designing a private residence for himself now known as “The Heliotrope.” The idea is for a building to produce notably more electricity than it uses via renewable energy technology. It serves its own needs and also becomes a local power plant. [CleanTechnica]

The Heliotrope (Image by Andrewglaser, CC BY-SA 3.0)

¶ A clear demonstration of climate change upsetting vital relationships between species has been revealed, thanks to a study led by the University of Sussex. The Research tracks how rising temperatures have wrecked a relationship, which depends on precise timing, between a rare orchid species and the bee that pollinates it. [Science Daily]

¶ A simple mathematical trick can accurately predict the shape and melting effects of ponds on Arctic sea ice, according to research by UChicago. The study, published in Physical Review Letters, should help climate scientists improve models of climate change and perhaps address the differences between scientific predictions and observations. [Phys.Org]

Arctic ice (Credit: Healy-Oden Trans-Arctic Expedition, 2005)

World:

¶ The African Development Bank is set to provide backing for coal-fired projects in Nigeria, Kenya, and Senegal. This is a departure from the International Monetary Fund, which has a ban on fossil fuels. Kenya is developing a 1-GW plant to use “clean-coal” technology, but the World Bank and IMF refused to support the project. [Caj News Africa]

¶ Subsidy-free offshore wind is getting a lot of attention after contracts were signed in Germany and the Netherlands were signed. However, experts say these zero-subsidy offshore wind farms will not be the norm anytime soon. While further zero-subsidy bids are likely in Europe, they will be linked to unusual market conditions. [Greentech Media]

Turbines (Vattenfall | Robin Dawe | Perfectly Clear Marketing)

¶ China Machinery Engineering Corporation signed a contract with Ukraine’s largest private energy holding, Donbas Fuel and Energy Company, to build a solar power plant in Ukraine. Under the deal, the CMEC will build a solar power plant with a total generating capacity of 200 MW. This is enough to provide for over 100,000 people. [EastDay.com]

¶ Scientists are finalizing plans to exploit the vast reservoir of warm water that fills disused mines and porous rock layers beneath Glasgow. They believe this subterranean store of naturally heated water could be used to warm homes. If the system proves successful, other cities and towns across Britain might use similar systems. [The Guardian]

Glasgow coal delivery, ca 1960 (Albert McCabe | Getty Images)

US:

¶ We Energies’ Pleasant Prairie facility in Kenosha County, one of Wisconsin’s largest coal-fired power plants, shut down for good about a week ahead of schedule. The company announced last fall that the plant would close this year due to changing energy economics resulting from the use of natural gas and renewable energy. [Wisconsin Public Radio News]

¶ BYD announced another expansion to its Lancaster, California, electric bus and battery module factory. The expansion will add 100,000 square feet (9290 square meters) to the facility when it comes online at the end of June. It will be used to store parts and components for BYD’s products, freeing up space in the plant for manufacturing. [CleanTechnica]

BYD electric vehicles in Shenzhen

¶ On the site of a closed Massachusetts naval air station, a home developer and General Electric plan a community with smart technology embedded in its energy, transportation, water, and lighting systems. Because they are starting from scratch, the companies can embed a number of new technologies to serve the community. [Seattle Times]

¶ A proposal to build the New Hampshire’s largest solar farm in the city of Concord was rejected after running afoul of the city’s zoning laws. The Zoning Board of Adjustment rejected a proposal for a 54-acre solar farm because it had too much “impervious surface,” meaning area that would cause rain to run off rather than soak in. [Valley News]

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April 7 Energy News

April 7, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Trump Tariff War Roils Markets, May Cause Massive Job Losses. Tesla Hit Hardest” • Donald Trump loves to play the part of a wounded rhinoceros, stomping around and breaking things. “Hopefully the president is just blowing off steam again but, if he’s even half-serious, this is nuts,” said Senator Ben Sasse (R) of Nebraska. [CleanTechnica]

Rhinoceros, by Albrecht Dürer

 

¶ “ExxonMobil & Shell: What Did They Know, & When Did They Know It?” • On April 2, ThinkProgress reported that it had access to a 1998 video in which the head of Mobil told a group of employees that the greenhouse gas emissions was not primarily their fault for making oil products; it was their customer’s for using them. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ UK utility Northumbrian Water Ltd will power all of its facilities with renewable electricity under a deal with Danish supplier Ørsted A/S. The two companies have signed a four-year contract calling for Ørsted to deliver power from Ørsted’s offshore wind farms for Northumbrian Water’s 1,858 sites, the UK utility said. [Renewables Now]

Walney Extension Offshore Wind Farm (Source: Ørsted A/S)

¶ Diesel car sales in the UK fell by over a third in March on the back of continuing talk of possible selective diesel car bans as well as fallout from the Volkswagen diesel emissions cheating scandal, figures from the UK’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders say. The number may even be inflated a bit due to an impending tax increase. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Solar Trade Association Scotland lobbied the Distribution Network Operator with clear evidence on the modest network impact of most rooftop solar projects, thereby securing easier access to the grid. In response to STA Scotland’s presentation, the DNO agreed to relax restrictions on installations up to 200 kW. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Solar farm (NREL image)

¶ Kolkata-based mining and minerals group Atha will invest ₹3,100 crore ($466 million) for expanding its renewable energy capacity to 1,000 MW by 2022, from the present 200 MW. The 60-year-old group has a goal of adding about 500 MW of the new capacity in India and the rest elsewhere. It hopes to fund additions from abroad. [Business Today]

¶ South Africa’s five largest renewable energy projects, measured in terms of investment, are all wind farms. They contribute, in combination, 645.71 MW to the grid. The government has now signed contracts to add 2,300 MW of electricity to the national grid over the coming five years, with 27 independent power producers. [Business Insider South Africa]

Wind Farm (Photo: Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm)

¶ Developing countries, with China at the forefront of the group, are leading in global investment in renewable power generation, according to a new report on global trends in renewable energy investment. China now holds more than half of the world’s solar energy capacity, following a 58% investment increase it made last year. [Devex]

¶ The world invested more in solar power than coal, gas, and nuclear combined last year. China was by far the world’s largest investor in renewable energy, accounting for nearly half of the new capacity, according to the report from the UN Environment Program. Renewables, excluding large hydro, made up three-fifths of new capacity. [pvbuzz media]

Rooftop solar

US:

¶ With fewer power plants burning the fossil fuel, competition from cheap natural gas, and rising wind and solar energy, coal’s contribution to the nation’s electricity production has dropped to 30%, down from 52%, 20 years ago. The fossil fuel is not going to bounce back in the United States, panelists said at a conference in Billings, Montana. [Sidney Herald Leader]

¶ A cooperative serving four Western states could lose customers because of its dependence on coal. Colorado-based Tri-State Generation & Transmission boasts of having the most solar generation of any generation and transmission company in the US. But its coal-heavy portfolio is and issue with several of the 43 member cooperatives. [Energy News Network]

Craig Station in northwest Colorado

¶ Apple said it filed a statement objecting to the EPA’s repeal of the Clean Power Plan. Apple has invested heavily in renewable energy, which puts it, and the US, in a better position to compete with China in clean energy. The iPhone maker also pointed out that clean energy can help stabilize otherwise fluctuating fuel prices. [CNET]

¶ The South Carolina House of Representatives passed a bill to eliminate a cap that solar industry advocates say threatens future growth of the renewable sector. The vote in the House was 64-33. The measure now moves to the Senate. The law also guaranteed favorable electric rates for homeowners once the panels were installed. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Maintaining solar panels

¶ The Trump administration said it wants to sell leases for two large parcels off the Massachusetts coast for commercial wind energy projects. The proposed lease sale is “for commercial leasing for wind power on the outer continental shelf offshore Massachusetts.” The leases will be for an area covering nearly 390,000 acres. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ Riverkeeper plans to challenge a Maryland company’s efforts to operate a natural gas plant in New York, based on its ties to a former top Cuomo Administration aide convicted of bribery, The Journal News/lohud.com has learned. The natural gas plant would replace some capacity lost as the Indian Point nuclear plant closes. [The Journal News]

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April 6 Energy News

April 6, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Solar PV and wind are on track to replace all coal, oil and gas within two decades” • Solar PV and wind power are getting cheaper and more abundant so rapidly that they are on track to entirely supplant fossil fuels worldwide within two decades. The political voices saying Australia needs new coal stations sound rather quaint. [The Conversation AU]

Trends, extrapolated to 2032 – please click on the image to enlarge it. (Andrew Blakers | Matthew Stocks, Author provided)

¶ “We’re fighting the wrong trade battle with China. The future is clean energy” • President Trump believes he can create jobs by engaging in a trade war with China. A major report, however, makes clear that the Chinese understand the way to create the jobs of the future is by betting big on the strategic industries of the future. [ThinkProgress]

Science and Technology:

¶ Siemens kicked off a new pilot in partnership with Chicago-based ComEd and the Illinois Institute of Technology that aims to redefine the microgrid as an integrated operating unit within the grid. The dual-pronged pilot is focused on developing a next-generation microgrid, based on solar PVs, storage, and even smaller microgrids. [CleanTechnica]

Microgrid

World:

¶ Since a ruling by a German court that cities there have the right to ban diesel cars to improve air quality, the share of the total auto market held by diesel cars has been falling sharply in the country. The market share held by diesel cars appears to have been down 17.6% in January, 19.5% in February, and 25% in March from last years figures. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A report drafted by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the United Nations Environment Programme, and the Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre shows that global solar energy investments overshadowed all other forms of electricity generation in 2017. China is the leading renewables investors, worldwide. [pv magazine International]

Renewable or not (Image: Fotolia | Reinhard Tiburzy)

¶ Friends of the Earth Netherlands has announced that it will take British–Dutch multinational oil and gas company Shell to court if it does not immediately act on demands “to stop its destruction of the climate.” A ruling in the case, if they win it, could significantly limit the company’s investments in oil and gas around the world. [CleanTechnica]

¶ SSE and Fluor are seeking permission to boost top power to more than 1050-MW at the consented but unbuilt Seagreen Alpha and Bravo offshore wind farms in Scotland. The partners have applied for a variation that would remove the 525-MW capacity limit at each of the projects in the outer Firth of Tay off Angus. [reNews]

SSE’s Greater Gabbard wind farm (Innogy image)

¶ A multi-million euro contract called the “largest long-term solar power purchase agreement in the world” is to be supplied by farms in Spain and Portugal producing enough power for about 400,000 homes. This news comes after Portugal’s renewable power production exceeded overall demand for the month of March. [The Portugal News]

US:

¶ A report from NV Energy shows almost 24% of Nevada’s electricity was generated from renewable sources or related credits last year, beating the state’s 20% goal. The utility says it hopes to double that percentage within five years. But the Sierra Club’s Toiyabe Chapter thinks the state’s renewable-energy targets are far too low. [Public News Service]

Nevada solar array (BlackRockSolar | Flickr)

¶ President Donald Trump said his administration is considering taking extraordinary steps to keep some money-losing power plants alive. FirstEnergy Solutions asked DOE head Rick Perry to exercise his Section 202 authority to declare a grid emergency and guarantee the profits of nuclear and coal-fired power plants in the eastern US. [Bloomberg]

¶ The latest report by the Power Sector Carbon Index highlights how far carbon emissions from the power generation sector of the US economy have fallen. In 2005, generating a MWh of US electricity released 1,321 pounds of CO2. Today, the number is down to 967 pounds per MWh, down over 25%, according to the report. [CleanTechnica]

Solar thermal power plant (DOE image)

¶ More than 30 businesses want to take on Platte River Power Authority’s latest solar power project. That is about triple the offers received for the similar Rawhide Flats Solar project in 2015. Leaders of the electricity provider for Fort Collins, Loveland, Estes Park and Longmont say the avalanche of offers was no surprise. [The Coloradoan]

¶ Ohio’s largest solar power project is underway on a landfill in Brooklyn, a neighborhood in Cleveland. The project is expected to generate 5% of the electricity supply for 16 Cuyahoga county buildings. The site will have 35,520 solar panels for a capacity of 4 MW. The county will pay almost $8 million of the $10 million total cost. [WOSU Public Media]

Solar array (Thomas R Machnitzki)

¶ Arizona state senators voted to put a measure crafted by the state’s largest electric utility on the November ballot to compete with a far more stringent initiative on renewable energy. The party-line vote came over objections from Democrats who said the measure is designed to be confused with the environment-friendly one. [Arizona Daily Star]

¶ EDF RE has entered into a preliminary agreement with Fishermen’s Energy to acquire its 24-MW Atlantic City offshore wind farm off the coast of Atlantic City. The move comes as part of EDF’s response to New Jersey governor Phil Murphy’s goal of promoting the development of 3.5 GW of offshore windpower in the state’s waters. [reNews]
Offshore wind turbines (reNews image)

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April 5 Energy News

April 5, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Energy costs: Renewables close in on fossil fuels, challenging on price” • Coal has been getting the squeeze for years now, but the plunging cost of renewable energy is already starting to give natural gas a run for its money. For the incumbent fossil fuel industry, the implications are dire. And batteries are a new part of the mix. [The Coloradoan]

Golden Hills wind farm (Photo: Google)

World:

¶ Australia’s boom in rooftop solar is accelerating, with a record 351 MW of installations in the first quarter of 2018. Industry statistician SunWiz said this total for the first three months of the year is 56% of last year, 33% ahead of the record first quarter in 2013, and more than double the “miserable” performance of 2016. [RenewEconomy]

¶ March of 2018 was a good month for clean transportation in Norway. There were 14,401 new cars registered in the country last month. As a group, their average carbon dioxide emissions were 63 grams per kilometer. Want to put that into perspective? Check this out. That is 22 grams per kilometer lower than in March of 2017. [CleanTechnica]

Nissan Leaf in Norway

¶ Genex Power is exploring the option of building a new 150-MW wind farm alongside its Kidston pumped hydro and solar project in North Queensland. The $1 billion Kidston renewable hub will be the first pumped hydro/solar/wind project in the world with the potential to run 24 hours a day, if it goes ahead. [The Australian Financial Review]

¶ French utility company EDF has a goal of 100% carbon-free power by 2050. Energy storage will be a big part of achieving that goal. The company already has 5 GW of installed grid-scale storage, but plans to increase that to 15 GW by 2035. The extra 10 GW of storage called for by its new Energy Storage Plan will cost about $10 billion. [CleanTechnica]

EDF battery storage units (EDF image)

¶ The New South Wales state government has given planning approval for the Liverpool Range wind farm, which at more than 1,000 MW could be the biggest in the country. The wind project is being developed Australian renewable energy company Epuron, and the planning permission allows for 267 turbines on 25 different properties. [SteelGuru]

¶ Internet giant Google Inc announced it has achieved its goal of purchasing enough renewable energy electricity to “match” its entire consumption in 2017. The company purchased an amount of electricity from wind and solar parks that even exceeded the demand of its global operations, including offices and data centers. [Renewables Now]

Google data center in the Netherlands (Source: Google)

¶ Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took part in a ceremony marking the start of construction of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant. The Akkuyu power plant in the province of Mersin is a Turkish-Russian venture expected to cost $20 billion and meet 10% of Turkey’s energy needs. [Daily Pakistan]

¶ Solar and wind power were responsible for generating more energy than nuclear power in the UK in the fourth quarter of last year. Wind and solar combined created 18.33 TWh of power, while nuclear only produced 16.69 TWh. However, gas produced 36.12 TWh of power, and remains the UK’s highest source of electricity. [Energy Digital]

Wind turbine (Getty Images)

US:

¶ The EPA is pursuing a rollback of earlier plans (implemented under Obama’s presidency) to raise the new-vehicle fuel-efficiency standard to nearly 50 miles per gallon by 2025 (that would be a fleet-level requirement, not model level). In response to that, 11 US states have now revealed an intention to oppose the rollback. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A local government collaboration that is aimed at developing renewable energy in northern California has selected a consortium of five companies to construct a 100-MW to 150-MW floating wind farm off the coast of the city of Eureka. The project is being led by Spain’s EDP Renewables and Houston-based Principle Energy Inc. [Utility Dive]

Offshore wind farm

¶ Bay State Wind, the joint venture between global offshore wind leader Ørsted and New England’s foremost transmission builder Eversource, has signed a new agreement with EEW, which is an international leader in steel pipe manufacturing, to create a Massachusetts manufacturing facility to make offshore wind components. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Multinational baking company Grupo Bimbo signed a virtual power purchase agreement to receive 100 MW of energy from Invenergy’s Santa Rita East wind farm in Texas. This agreement comes as part of the bakery’s wider initiative to become the first baking company in the US to use 100% renewable energy for its operations by 2020. [reNews]

Miami wind farm in Texas (Credit: Invenergy)

¶ The Illinois Commerce Commission approved the Illinois Power Agency’s Long-Term Renewable Resources Procurement Plan, stimulating significant investments in renewable energy and strengthening Illinois’ leadership in energy policy. Experts estimate that there are 300 projects with a total of 130 MW under development. [KWQC-TV6]

¶ A report from Environment America said that Honolulu leads the nation with an installed solar PV capacity of 606.4 watts per person. The report, “Shining Cities 2018: How Smart Local Policies Are Expanding Solar Power in America,” said the next leading city, was San Diego, with a PV capacity of 204.1 watts per person. [Pacific Business News (Honolulu)]

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April 4 Energy News

April 4, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Is America’s Vaunted Electricity Supply System on Course for Rocks and Shoals?” • Several recent announcements show a slowly developing crisis in the American electricity supply system. Operators of a number of coal-burning, nuclear, and even gas-powered generating plants said they are planning to retire them. [Energy Collective]

Birds on wires (Photo: B W via Flickr)

¶ “The pro-coal ‘Monash Forum’ may do little but blacken the name of a revered Australian” • The coal industry has a new voice in parliament, in the form of the so-called Monash Forum. In seeking to deliver new coal-fired power stations, the Monash Forum is attempting to mine a seam that has already been extensively excavated. [EcoGeneration]

Science and Technology:

¶ So far, the Antarctic was seen as relatively stable. But a study shows that climate change is affecting the polar region much more than previously believed, with possibly devastating results. With warmer waters melting the ice from below, Antarctica could soon overtake Greenland to become the biggest source of sea-level rise. [Deutsche Welle]

Iceberg broken off Antarctica (Getty Images | E Abramovich)

World:

¶ Toyota opened sales for its first hydrogen fuel cell bus in Japan, according to a new press release. This new model represents the first hydrogen fuel cell bus to receive vehicle type certification in the country. The company aims to have at least 100 hydrogen fuel cell buses running in Tokyo by the time of the 2020 Summer Olympics. [CleanTechnica]

¶ France’s famously beautiful capital is not a place you’d expect to find chickens, beehives, and rows of neatly planted cabbages, but urban farming is flourishing in Paris. The city’s mayor, Anne Hidalgo, wanted to make Paris a greener city with green spaces. The plan is to cover a third of those green spaces with urban farms. [CNN]

Hydroponic system on a rooftop

¶ German solar power capacity growth is expected to reach the 2.5-GW annual expansion target either this year or next. According to a recent study by Fraunhofer ISE, new German solar and onshore wind plants in good locations are by now cheaper than new fossil fuel fired plants as renewable energy technologies are developing. [ICIS]

¶ Siemens Gamesa, one of the world’s leading wind energy companies, has been awarded the contract for the 120-MW expansion of Taiwan’s landmark Formosa 1 offshore wind project. Siemens Gamesa will supply 20 of its SWT-6.0-154 wind turbines beginning in 2019, and will also provide a 15-year service agreement. [CleanTechnica]

Offshore wind project (Credit: Swancor Renewable Energy)

¶ After years of dilly-dallying during former president Jacob Zuma’s era and court action by the metalworkers union, NUMSA, South Africa’s Department of Energy will finally sign the R55.92 billion ($4.69 billion) Renewable Energy Independent Power Procurement Programme projects and power purchase agreements with Eskom. [Business Day]

¶ Portugal has produced so much renewable electricity that it has outstripped the entire country’s consumption for the month of March. The national grid operator, REN, has announced that renewables generated 4,812 GWh over the course of the month, compared to a demand from mainland Portugal that reached 4,647 GWh. [Climate Action Programme]

Wind turbines

¶ Australia’s biggest energy producer, AGL Energy Ltd, came under pressure from the country’s Prime Minister to sell or keep running its coal-fired Liddell Power Station, after Alinta Energy expressed interest in a purchase. AGL had planned to shut the plant, which started operations in 1971, in 2022 as part of a phased exit from coal. [Reuters]

US:

¶ Tesla built more cars in the first quarter of 2018 than in any quarter before. Total production was 34,494, a 40% increase from the fourth quarter of last year. “This is the fastest growth of any automotive company in the modern era. If this rate of growth continues, it will exceed even that of Ford and the Model T,” press release said. [CleanTechnica]

Tesla Model 3 (Photo: Kyle Field)

¶ In Connecticut, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection officials received a total of 27 bids after a request for renewable energy proposals, according to agency spokesman Chris Collibee. Twenty involved fuel cells, four were anaerobic digestion projects, and three proposals were for offshore wind farms. [Thehour.com]

¶ Environmentalists are kicking off a new campaign for clean energy development in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The League of Conservation Voters’ “Clean Energy for All” project spans 30 states, including NH. Portsmouth has goals to zero out greenhouse gas emissions and use only renewable power sources. [New Hampshire Public Radio]

Wind turbine (Credit: WPS Geography)

¶ Thousands of jobs for veterans and laid-off coal miners are coming to the old Hobet mountain top removal site in West Virginia. Green Line Energy signed a land agreement to buy part of the Rock Creek Industrial Site. The company, which works with a variety of renewable energy sources, plans to create a renewable energy plant. [WVNS-TV]

¶ As of March 20, more than 120,000 Puerto Ricans still didn’t have electricity as a result of Hurricane Maria, according to Vox. Battery manufacturer sonnen saw it as its mission to help however it could, and has fostered dependable electricity in the form of microgrids to some crucial Puerto Rican community centers. [Solar Power World]

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April 3 Energy News

April 3, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Why EPA’s Effort to Weaken Fuel Efficiency Standards Could be Trump’s Most Climate-Damaging Move Yet” • By hitting the brakes on the decades-long drive to reduce automotive carbon emissions, the Trump administration has taken its most consequential step yet toward undoing his predecessor’s legacy on climate change. [InsideClimate News]

California car traffic (Credit: Mark Ralston | AFP | Getty Images)

Science and Technology:

¶ A report from ACS Central Science describes a new material that can remove heavy metals and provide clean drinking water in seconds. It is a metal-polymer sponge-like material that can sweep up lead and mercury pollutants from any source of water with extreme efficiency, and can even be cleaned and reused over and over again. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ Frank Bainimarama, Fiji’s prime minister has said the Pacific island nation is in “a fight for survival” as climate change brings “almost constant” deadly cyclones. He said Fiji had entered a “frightening new era” of extreme weather. His comments came after Cyclone Josie caused deaths and flooding on Fiji’s main island, Viti Levu. [BBC]

Flooding caused by Cyclone Josie (Reuters)

¶ Former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, who is often called the “godmother of sustainable development,” told a CNN interviewer in Taipei that neither nuclear power nor fossil fuel is a sustainable solution to the world’s energy problem. She said governments have to balance the risks of how they are used. [Focus Taiwan News Channel]

¶ The state-owned power utility Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam, Ltd, has reportedly come out with a plan to procure an additional 7 GW of solar and wind energy by 2022 in order to fulfill its Renewable Purchase Obligation, the minimum percentage of electricity a state needs to procure from renewable energy projects. [CleanTechnica]

Charanka Solar Park Gujarat

¶ French power company Engie SA announced it would close its coal-fired power plants in Chile, saying there was “little point” in trying to sell them. Instead, it plans to replace the capacity with renewable energy. Chile has been pushing power companies to phase out coal plants unless they are equipped with carbon capture and storage. [MINING.com]

¶ In the next five years, the world will incorporate 70,000 solar panels every hour, according to the World Economic Forum. The WEF clarified the figure by saying that number of solar panels cover a thousand football fields every day, for five years. Nearly half of all those solar panels are being installed in one country, China. [Devdiscourse]

Solar system

¶ The Australian government’s energetic coal fan club wants taxpayers to return to owning power stations at a cost of more than $2.5 billion each with 30 years of financial risk. It’s estimated that more than 30 MPs will join the group, which will serve to encourage the Government in the construction of coal-fired power stations. [NEWS.com.au]

¶ Belgium’s federal government signed an agreement that will see the country’s seven nuclear reactors shuttered by 2025. Doel and Tihange nuclear power stations will be closed and more investment will be put into renewable energy capacity building, particularly offshore wind farms. The reactors supply 50% of the country’s electricity. [EURACTIV]

Tihange nuclear plant (Photo: Hullie, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced that he is scrapping former President Barack Obama’s fuel-efficiency and greenhouse gas rules for cars and light trucks. Pruitt said rules that set a 54-mpg standard by 2025, up from the current 38.3 mpg, were “not appropriate” in light of recent automobile sales data and should be revised. [Washington Examiner]

¶ Danish wind energy company Vestas announced or confirmed four separate North American wind turbine orders totaling 598 MW. Two of the orders were for the 2-MW wind turbines and two for its 3.45-MW turbines optimised to 3.6 MW. The four orders highlight Vestas’ continued dominance in North America across its supply line. [CleanTechnica]

Vestas wind turbine

¶ US-based NextEra Energy has signed one of the largest solar panel supply deals in history with China-based JinkoSolar, for 2,750 MW. In a separate move, JinkoSolar said it will open its first US PV manufacturing facility in Jacksonville, Florida. The new manufacturing facility will have the capacity to build 400 MW of solar modules annually. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Ørsted and Eversource have lodged a bid in Connecticut’s first offshore wind round with their around 200-MW Constitution Wind project. Eversource will focus on the onshore transmission system and Ørsted is to develop offshore assets. The companies said the wind farm will be located 100 km off New London in federal waters. [reNews]

Offshore wind turbines (Ørsted image)

¶ Providence-based Deepwater Wind announced it will choose a site in Massachusetts to host a facility to build 24 wind-turbine foundations for its Revolution Wind facility, proposed for a federal wind zone between Block Island and Martha’s Vineyard. The company is also looking to build other renewable energy projects in the state. [ecoRI news]

¶ A renewable energy company is trying to revive a project to build one of the nation’s longest power lines across the Midwest. Former Missouri Gov Jay Nixon is to argue to the Missouri Supreme Court that utility regulators he appointed wrongly rejected the power line, based on an incorrect ruling by a judge he had also appointed. [Indiana Public Media]

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April 2 Energy News

April 2, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “What Holds Up Automakers From Catching Up To Tesla? Corporate Inertia” • Most of the major automakers have well-thought-out strategies for electrification, but successfully implementing these plans will be an uphill battle because their corporate cultures are not conducive to pushing a new product at the expense of an old one. [CleanTechnica]

Tesla’s Model S (Instagram: teslamarksthespot)

¶ “As the world transitions to clean energy, are Canadian companies ready?” • Change happens, with or without us. Just as social media upended communications, the transition to clean energy is rapidly undoing century-old expectations around electricity, transportation, and oil. And it is happening in market-shifting ways. [The Globe and Mail]

¶ “The (long) Weekend Read: A view of the large-scale boom” • From having few large-scale solar PV projects recently, Australia is becoming one of the world’s fastest-growing markets. With a substantial project pipeline, the country is set to experience a banner year in 2018, and at the same time a new set of policies is taking shape. [pv magazine Australia]

Broken Hill solar array (Image: Jeremy Buckingham | Wikipedia)

¶ “National flood insurance is underwater because of outdated science” • The National Flood Insurance Program, which is run by FEMA, is struggling because it is trapped in a downward spiral of ballooning claims without the resources to cover them. And the Senate is failing to hammer out reforms that address the changing math of flood risk. [Salon]

World:

¶ JinkoSolar Holdings, the world’s largest solar panel maker, is thought to ship a little over 20% of its product to the US. Now that the US is imposing tariffs on Chinese solar products, Jinko plans to sell products elsewhere. It expects production to increase by about 30% this year to 13,500 MW for sales in emerging markets. [Nikkei Asian Review]

Solar array in China

¶ Government-owned miner Coal India Ltd plans to generate about 20 GW of solar power in the next 10 years, a senior company official said. India has set a target to generate 100 GW of solar power by 2022. “For Coal India to be sustainable we must diversify,” according to Coal India’s Chairman and Managing Director. [BloombergQuint]

¶ Greece will increase the share of renewable energy in its energy mix to 50% by 2030, Energy Minister Giorgos Stathakis said. In addition, the energy consumption will be reduced by 30%. Stathakis said that the country has not done much to save the energy so far, but the country has been going through an economic crisis. [Finance Appraise]

Renewable energy in Greece

¶ China’s installed power capacity in 2017 grew 7.6% compared to the end of 2016, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Installed wind power generation increased by 10.5%, to 9% of total capacity, and installed grid-connected solar power generation systems shot up 68.7% to hit 7% of the country’s total capacity. [POWER magazine]

¶ Kyushu Electric Power Co said it found a 1-cm hole in a pipe believed to have caused a steam leak at one of the reactors at the recently restarted Genkai nuclear power plant in Saga Prefecture. The leak at Genkai’s No 3 reactor occurred in a part of the steam production system and did not involve any radiation leaks, reports said. [The Japan Times]

The Genkai nuclear power plant (Kyodo)

¶ Taiwan’s Ministry of Science and Technology held a ceremony at the groundbreaking for the construction of Shalun Smart Green Energy Science City in southern Taiwan. The science city will consist of an R&D zone, a green technologies joint research center, a demonstration field, a convention and exhibition center, and more. [Digitimes]

US:

¶ Jobs in the Minnesota solar industry increased from 1,995 to 4,256 between 2015 and 2017, a report finds. About half of the jobs were focused on installation. Hennepin County had the most solar jobs by far, totaling 2,767 position in 2017, according to the report by the Solar Foundation. The growth is counter to a nationwide decline. [BusinessNorth.com]

Minnesota solar system (Kirsti Marohn | MPR News file)

¶ Hawaii, with its population of nearly 1.5 million, had less than 7,000 electric vehicles registered across the state in January. But the Hawaiian Electric Co believes that number will explode to more than 430,000 EVs on Oahu alone by 2045, according to Brennon Morioka, the utility’s general manager for electrification of transportation. [Honolulu Civil Beat]

¶ National Park Service officials have deleted every mention of humans’ role in causing climate change in drafts of a report on sea level rise and storm surge that has been long awaited. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke vowed to Congress that his department is not censoring science. The report has been altered as its release was held up for ten months. [Reveal]

Liberty Island storm damage

¶ After years of talking about developing offshore wind farms, New Jersey is finally moving. The state Board of Public Utilities has been fast-tracking a plan to build giant turbines off the Jersey Shore. This came after Gov Phil Murphy signed an executive order a few months ago calling for 3.5 GW of offshore wind by 2030. [New Jersey 101.5 FM Radio]

¶ Utqiagvik recorded its second record daily high temperature of March on Saturday, registering 30° F, according to the National Weather Service. The typical high is 1° F below zero. The coastal North Slope city, formerly known as Barrow, had also set two other longer-term warm-weather records at the end of March. [Fairbanks Daily News-Miner]

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April 1 Energy News

April 1, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “The Small Fishing Town Providing Japan’s Nuclear Litmus Test” • In the sleepy coastal town of Kaminoseki, with about 3,000 residents, one of Japan’s most divisive political debates, the future of nuclear power, is being played out in microcosm. On one small island, the population is unanimously opposed to nuclear power. [South China Morning Post]

Kaminoseki (Photo: Takehiro Masutomo)

¶ “US Energy Providers Reach for Electric Cars to Increase Flatlining Energy Needs” • Electricity demand is not growing in the US, and utility providers are challenged by falling costs of renewable energy. Some utility companies are teaming up with automakers to offer customer rebates. Can EVs possibly save the grid utilities? [The Drive]

Science and Technology:

¶ Vincent Callebaut Architectures submitted a proposal for a competition for the French city of Angers in a collaboration with Bouygues Immobilier group. The designs focus is on ecology and hospitality. Though the living environment did not win in the competition, the Callebaut scheme succeeded in winning the public vote. [ArchDaily]

Arboricole

World:

¶ China’s environment ministry has conducted a nationwide survey aimed at identifying pollution threats and ascertaining the amount of environmental damage done by 30 years of rapid growth. In the course of it, the ministry revealed that the number of pollution sources in the country has increased by over half in just the last 8 years. [CleanTechnica]

¶ According to data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, China invested $133 billion in renewable energy last year. Over half of that was in solar energy. The new solar capacity of 53 GW in 2017 is more than half of the world installations. With its policy of growth, China has clearly replaced Germany and Europe today as a leader in renewable energy. [Devdiscourse]

Rooftop solar (Pixabay image)

¶ Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has contracted small but strategic acquisitions in an area of electrical power. Over the past few months, the British-Dutch oil giant has bought an electric vehicle charging company, as well as stake in a solar power company, as it aims to link its huge oil and gas production to futuristic energy business. [Finance Appraise]

US:

¶ There are now over 5,000 schools across the US with solar installations, according to The Solar Foundation. The increased number of solar projects on school campuses came about primarily because of the financial benefits to electric bills, educating students about clean energy, and ensuring a brighter future for the next generation. [CleanTechnica]

High school solar array (SayCheeeeeese, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ A power generator that pleaded for the Trump administration’s help in bailing out struggling coal and nuclear plants has filed for bankruptcy. FirstEnergy Solutions Corp, its subsidiaries and FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Co filed for Chapter 11 protection in Federal Court in Akron, Ohio, according to a March 31 press release. [Bloomberg]

¶ South Carolina Electric & Gas has operated the Lake Monticello pumped-storage facility for nearly forty years. Federal regulators are taking a fresh look at the hydroelectric project before its license runs out in the summer of 2020. That is because solar energy is making up more and more of the utility’s electric generation base. [Charleston Post Courier]

Lake Monticello pumped-storage facility (Provided | High Flyer)

¶ The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected the County of Maui’s petition for the full court to rehear an appeals panel’s ruling. The panel found that the County has been violating the US Clean Water Act at the Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility by injecting waste water into wells that discharge into the ocean. [Common Dreams]

¶ A federal judge in New York dismissed a case launched by ExxonMobil Corp seeking to block investigations by the states of New York and Massachusetts into the company’s research and public statements on the veracity of climate change. Exxon’s suit was an effort to kill “duly authorized investigations,” the judge wrote. [24/7 Wall St.]

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March 31 Energy News

March 31, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “How Well Did Wind Energy Perform During the Bomb Cyclone?” • Extreme weather events offer opportunities to take stock of our power system. Earlier this year, much of the US faced one of these trials, as the “Bomb Cyclone” blasted the East with frigid air for days. What we saw was a power system holding strong. [EcoWatch]

Proposed Vineyard Wind project (Vineyard Wind image)

¶ “Will We Ever Harness Fusion Power?” • Scientists have been chasing fusion energy since the early 20th century as a source of safe, clean, and virtually unlimited power source. They have yet to find a way to capture and sustain the energy produced in any viable manner. But MIT claims to have a way to move forward on fusion. [Electronic Design]

Science and Technology:

¶ The Sahara, the world’s largest desert, has grown in size by around 10% since 1920. Scientists say climate change is one of the most likely reasons why the sands are shifting into new regions. This expansion of dry and arid landscapes is going on elsewhere around the world, based on variations in weather patterns and rising temperatures. [ScienceAlert]

Sahara Desert (Photo: Îll55shadows, Wikimedia Commons)

World:

¶ Indian automobile manufacturers, working in collaboration with government entities, are pushing for clean transportation options because of increased pollution and high petroleum import bill. India’s largest fuel retailer, Indian Oil Corporation Limited, launched the country’s first-ever hydrogen fuel cell-based bus in New Delhi. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Canadian province of Alberta is seeking proposals for the procurement of 700 MW of renewable energy capacity as part of a plan to reach 30% renewable power from renewables by 2030. The Alberta Electric System Operator invited Expressions of Interest for Rounds 2 and 3 of the state’s Renewable Energy Programme. [Renewables Now]

Bull Creek (BluEarth Renewables Inc, All Rights Reserved)

¶ Japanese retail giant AEON this week became the 131st member of a growing international collective of corporates pledging to move to 100% renewable energy. The RE100 campaign counts the likes of IKEA, Bank of America, eBay, and the BMW Group among the leading brands that have committed to 100% green energy. [Innovators Magazine]

¶ The Jakarta Post reports that Indonesian state-owned electricity firm PLN plans to boost its geothermal power generation by setting up a new subsidiary to manage geothermal development. The new subsidiary, PLN GG, is planned to develop geothermal projects on eight working areas with an expected potential of around 300 MW. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

Darajat Unit I (source: wienblog-growingtree | blogspot)

¶ TEPCO announced the launch of TRENDE Inc, an online renewable energy retailer selling electricity to residential customers in Japan. Customers will be able to sign up online or with their smartphones for the new service. TRENDE offers a simple and affordable flat rate plan to its customers. TEPCO also offers other plans. [AltEnergyMag]

US:

¶ Southern Power has launched commercial operations at its 20-MW Gaskell West 1 solar park in California. The PV park is in Kern County and is powered by around 85,710 Canadian Solar modules. The plant will sell its output and associated renewable energy credits to Southern California Edison under a 20-year contract. [Renewables Now]

Solar farm (Image: Recurrent Energy)

¶ Since Volkswagen’s diesel cheating scandal broke in 2015, it has taken a $25 billion hit in the US alone. Part of that is for fines imposed by various government regulators, and part of it is the cost of buying back 300,000 of the more than 500,000 diesel cars it sold in America after 2008. Storing all those cars is a problem in itself. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Ohio-based utility giant FirstEnergy wants the DOE to bail out its uneconomic coal and nuclear plants, along with all other ailing plants in the 13-state PJM Interconnection region. They claimed plant closings would threaten grid resilience. Federal regulators and many, many experts agree there is no imminent threat to the electric grid. [Environmental Defense Fund]

Coal plant (Public domain)

¶ A coalition of strange bedfellows came together to urge Energy Secretary Rick Perry to reject the request First Energy made for emergency relief for its ailing coal and nuclear fleet. The groups signing the letter included the American Council on Renewable Energy, American Petroleum Institute, and many other energy organizations. [Washington Examiner]

¶ With the hours winding down for FirstEnergy Solutions to repay its $98.9 million senior unsecured bond that matures on Monday, all signs point toward the power generating subsidiary of Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp filing soon for bankruptcy protection. FirstEnergy has warned about the possibility since November 2016. [Akron Beacon Journal]

Perry nuclear plant (AP Photo | Mark Duncan)

¶ DTE Energy Co is proposing new wind and solar projects in Michigan that would double the utility’s renewable energy capacity. The plan includes $1.7 billion in investments and would increase DTE’s renewable energy capacity by 2022 from 1,000 MW to 2,000 MW. That is enough clean energy to power over 800,000 homes. [ABC 12 News]

¶ A central Texas town that already uses 100% renewable energy is working out a plan to generate more electricity locally so it can stop buying power to meet demand. The city of Georgetown wants to start paying property owners to let the city-owned utility install solar panels on their roofs and feed the energy into the grid. [Big Country Homepage]

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March 30 Energy News

March 30, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “As China’s nuclear power industry flounders, should India and Pakistan take note?” • As countries around the world abandoned nuclear power, China had bucked the trend, embracing nuclear power as a reliable and cheap energy source that would help reduce air pollution. Now nuclear development in China is floundering. [Scroll.in]

Chinese nuclear plant

World:

¶ According to data released by the federal government agencies, more than 93% of the power generation capacity added in India between October and December 2017 was renewable. This marks a continuation in the trend seen in the third quarter last year when just over 92% of the power generation capacity added in India was renewable. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Mining giant Rio Tinto sold its last coal mine in Australia to the private equity manager EMR Capital and to the Indonesia-based Adaro Energy Tbk for $2.25 billion. Regulatory approval for the sale of Rio Tinto’s 80% stake in the Kestrel mine is anticipated, and the sale is expected to be completed by the second half of the year. [CleanTechnica]

Kestrel coal mine

¶ A South African court dismissed a bid to block $4.7 billion (R11.86 billion) in renewable power contracts, an energy ministry spokeswoman said, removing an obstacle to the first major investment deal under President Cyril Ramaphosa. The court in Pretoria said the legal application by Numsa and Transform RSA should be set aside. [Moneyweb.co.za]

¶ A deposit return scheme for single-use plastic drink bottles will be introduced this year in the UK, with the idea being to improve the rate of plastic bottle recycling and thus to reduce litter. The new plans echo some of those put into place in recent years in a number of other countries in the region and elsewhere in the world. [CleanTechnica]

Bottled drinks on sale

¶ Renewables met the equivalent of 68.1% of gross electricity consumption in Scotland last year, compared to 54% in 2016, according to the Scottish government. Renewable electricity generation in Scotland rose 26% year-on-year to 24.8 TWh and set a new record, exceeding the previous annual record year in 2015 by 14%. [Renewables Now]

¶ India’s largest power generation company, NTPC Limited, is predominantly dependent on thermal power. It has issued its first federal-level wind energy tender, which is to auction 2 GW of wind energy capacity across India. The tender is very similar to the ones floated by the Solar Energy Corporation of India over the one year. [CleanTechnica]

Wind Energy Project

¶ Work to scrap the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and deal with radioactive water buildup at the site is expected to cost around ¥220 billion ($2.07 billion) annually over the next three-year period, a source close to the matter said. About ¥70 billion will be to deal with water waste, and ¥30 billion for removing fuel. [Japan Today]

¶ The 353-MW Galloper offshore wind farm off the Suffolk coast in the UK has achieved full power generation, Germany’s Innogy SE said. The milestone for the project’s 56 turbines was achieved on schedule and within budget. The wind farm now moves into its operation phase. Its 6.3-MW turbines were built by Siemens Gamesa. [Renewables Now]

Offshore wind power (Source: Twitter, @innogy_uk)

US:

¶ The EPA has circulated new talking points instructing staffers to say that “clear gaps” exist in understanding whether human activity contributes to climate change. Without addressing any shift in the agency’s stand, an EPA spokesperson said in a statement, “The talking points were developed by the Office of Public Affairs.” [CNN]

¶ Tri Global Energy has announced this week that its 148-MW Blue Cloud Wind Energy Project in Texas reached financial close. Construction will begin on 19,000 acres of privately-owned farmland. Investment is from Denmark-based Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and wind turbines supplied by Danish manufacturer Vestas. [CleanTechnica]

Wind turbines in Texas

¶ A Duke Energy power plant is using renewable natural gas from North Carolina hog farms to produce electricity in a new process. The Optima KV project in Duplin County captures methane gas from the hog waste of five local farms. It is piped to a central location where the gas is cleaned and converted to pipeline-quality natural gas. [Biomass Magazine]

¶ The Virginia Supreme Court upheld a decision by state regulators that large electricity users seeking all-renewable power can shop for it without regard for a daunting requirement that they give five years’ notice if they want to return to utility service. Dominion Energy had appealed the state regulators’ ruling. [Richmond.com]

Solar array (Mark Gormus | Times-Dispatch)

¶ Lockheed Martin and Cypress Creek Renewables have commissioned 12 MWh of GridStar lithium energy storage for 12 solar-plus-storage projects in North Carolina. The solar-plus-storage systems will provide power to communities served by Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation in the state’s southeastern areas. [Solar Power World]

¶ FirstEnergy Corp said that it will shut down two nuclear plants in Ohio and one in Pennsylvania within the next three years. The utility said it plans to close its Davis-Besse nuclear plant near Toledo in 2020. The following year, it will shut down the Perry plant near Cleveland and its Beaver Valley nuclear plant in Pennsylvania. [Huntington Herald Dispatch]

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March 29 Energy News

March 29, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Trump Is Already Losing The Trade War” • Donald Trump has failed to understand one essential point about a trade war. To win it, you need friends. In that ignorance, he antagonizes customers at the very time strong Chinese competition is courting them. And he is pushing obsolete technology while the competition sells better things cheaper. [CleanTechnica]

Raspberry Pi computer (Sven.petersen, Wikimedia Commons)

Science and Technology:

¶ Researchers from Oregon State University have developed and begun testing a bird detection and deterrent system for wind turbines. They seek to better analyze the impact of wind turbines on birds and begin protecting them in the process. One system they developed records all impacts by a turbine, delivering an accurate count. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ The burgeoning offshore wind industry in Taiwan has received yet another massive boost. It came as one of the world’s leading offshore wind energy companies, MHI Vestas, announced that it has signed four Memorandums of Understanding with leading local companies to begin building out their supply chain in the region. [CleanTechnica]

MHI Vestas wind turbine

¶ The Australian Renewable Energy Agency announced $7.7 million in funding for Simply Energy to build a second virtual power plant in Adelaide. The $23 million project will put 6 MW of Tesla Powerwall 2 home batteries in 1200 Adelaide households and 2 MW in 10 businesses. The VPP will be up and running in 2019. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ The cost of wind and solar energy continued to drop in 2017, falling another 18% across the globe, according to a report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The report also highlights the falling cost and growing uptake of battery storage, which is now encroaching on the flexibility and peaking revenues enjoyed by those fossil fuel plants. [RenewEconomy]

Renewable energy

¶ The under-sea cable linking Tasmania’s electricity market to that of the Australian mainland has been accidentally damaged during maintenance work, taking it out of action until mid-April. The operator of the cable, Basslink, said that during planned maintenance, a contractor damaged a vital piece of equipment at a transition station. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Low carbon sources accounted for 50.4% of electric power generated in the UK last year, according to latest government data, overtaking fossil fuels. Coal generated only 6.7% of the mix. However, the UK’s total energy consumption remains more than 80% reliant on fossil fuels, and transport consumption continues to rise. [The Energyst]

Pen y Cymoedd wind farm

¶ The world’s biggest-ever solar project, a $200 billion venture in Saudi Arabia, comes with a “batteries included” sticker that signals a major shift for the industry. Surging battery supplies to feed electric-car demand have sent prices plunging, and solar developers from California to China are adding storage to projects like never before. [Bloomberg]

¶ More than seven years after the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis, radioactive water is continuing to flow into the Pacific Ocean from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant at a rate of around 2 billion becquerels a day, a study has found. The amount of leaking cesium 137 has decreased from some 30 billion becquerels in 2013. [The Japan Times]

Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (KYODO image)

US:

¶ Massachusetts announced that the New England Clean Energy Connect transmission project of Central Maine Power Co will proceed in the Massachusetts Clean Energy solicitation process. Northern Pass, which previously had been chosen as winner, was denied Certificate of Site and Facility by the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee. [Renewables Now]

¶ EPA chief Scott Pruitt is prepared to roll back the automotive emissions standards, it seems. The auto industry had agreed to them in 2010, when General Motors and Fiat Chrysler were facing bankruptcy. Now, GM wants to renege on its promises, and the EPA head is only too glad to oblige. But California officials are ready to push back, hard. [CleanTechnica]

Auto emissions

¶ In Michigan, the commissioners who run the Lansing Board of Water and Light have unanimously approved the construction of a new natural gas plant. The public utility says the new plant will complement its renewable energy projects and will allow it to close its two remaining coal-fired plants, Eckert in 2020 and Erickson in 2025. [Michigan Radio]

¶ Michigan City Area Schools today celebrated the addition of new solar arrays to its facilities in a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Krueger Middle School. The school corporation expects the new solar panels, which have been placed at seven of its 16 facilities including the main administration building, to offset utility costs by at least $704,000 per year. [WFYI]

Solar array at Krueger Middle School (Barbara Anguiano | WVPE)

¶ Canadian firm Innergex Renewable Energy Inc commissioned the 200-MW Flat Top wind farm in Texas, jointly owned with a fund managed by BlackRock Real Assets. The Flat Top wind farm, located near the town of Priddy in central Texas, uses 100 V100 turbines supplied by Danish manufacturer Vestas Wind Systems. [Renewables Now]

¶ Even if Maine converted all activities currently powered by gasoline, natural gas and other fossil fuels (like transportation and home heating) to electricity, the energy provided by offshore wind turbines could still produce 13.7 times as much power as the state would use, according to a report released by Environment Maine. [Environment Maine]

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March 28 Energy News

March 28, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “What does ‘subsidy-free’ renewables actually mean?” • People can debate whether any form of new power generation is without some sort of support. But Rachel Ruffle, Renewable Energy Systems’ managing director for UK and Ireland, told Carbon Brief, “There’s no trade-off now … The cleanest electricity is the cheapest.” [eco-business.com]

Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm, Suffolk, England (Image:
Department of Energy and Climate Change, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

¶ “Gas ‘crisis’ prompts calls for fantasy solutions” • Whether it really was a crisis is debatable, but winter cold brought calls for both policy changes and fantasy solutions. Fracking is a fantasy solution; the experience thus far is not encouraging. And small modular nuclear reactors provide another, whose economics are a complete unknown. [Utility Week]

¶ “Natural Gas: An Underrated Driver of Saudi Hostility Towards Iran and Qatar” • Saudia Arabia’s problem is that Iran and Qatar have the gas reserves it does not. Renewables figure prominently in Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 reform program for reasons that are both economic and political. [International Policy Digest]

Infrastructure construction (Shell image)

Science and Technology:

¶ UPS has announced that a coalition of companies it pulled together to work on its Smart Electric Urban Logistics project has developed a “radical new charging technology” that promises to allow for the charging of a large number of vehicles in a single area without the requirement for massive upgrades to electrical infrastructure. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ Vestas and Energias de Portugal Renováveis are installing a hybrid demonstration combining wind and solar PVs at an EDPR wind farm in Cádiz, Spain. DC Power from a 372-kW array of solar PVs will be fed to a Vestas V112 3.0-MW turbine, where it is converted and transformed before the power is exported to the grid. [CleanTechnica]

Vestas V112 3-MW turbine (Credit: Vestas)

¶ North Korean leader Kim Jong Un committed to achieving “permanent denuclearisation” when US President Donald Trump agreed to meet him. He reaffirmed his desire for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula during his historic visit to Beijing. A satellite image showing activity at a North Korean reactor suggests work is expanding. [9news.com.au]

¶ The 25,000-tonne Asian Hercules III floating crane successfully completed installation of a pioneering suction bucket jacket foundation at Vattenfall’s 92.4-MW European Offshore Wind Deployment Center in just 15 hours. EOWD is a demonstration facility for next-generation technologies for building offshore wind farms. [CleanTechnica]

Asian Hercules III

¶ Saudi Arabia and SoftBank Group Corp signed a memorandum of understanding to build a $200 billion solar power project that is two orders of magnitude larger than any project in history. At 200 GW, the Softbank project planned for the Saudi desert would be about 100 times larger than the next biggest proposed development. [Bloomberg]

¶ Investors are putting money into solar power generation in Spain. Iberdrola, Spain’s largest power company, has launched a solar project with a capacity of 425 MW. And Spanish renewable energy firm Cox Energy has signed a deal for the construction of 495 MW of capacity in Spain, and another 165 MW just across the border in  Portugal. [Times LIVE]

Sunset at a solar array in Africa (Image: Gallo Images | IStock)

¶ China met its 2020 carbon intensity target three years ahead of schedule last year, the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing the country’s top climate official Xie Zhenhua. China cut the amount of climate-warming carbon dioxide it produces per unit of economic growth, by 46% from its 2005 figure, with 5.1% in 2017 alone. [ETEnergyworld.com]

US:

¶ FedEx has announced that it has placed a reservation for 20 Tesla Semi trucks. This news follows announcements of large orders from a number of other large firms, perhaps most notably from those involved in the food and beverage industries. They include Sysco, PepsiCo, Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser), Loblaws, and others. [CleanTechnica]

Tesla Semi (Tesla image)

¶ A solicitation by Xcel Energy for new generation in Colorado produced incredibly cheap prices for renewable power with batteries. After President Trump announced a tariff on imported solar panels, Xcel gave bidders an opportunity to refresh their bids. Xcel has reported on the updated bids. They show minimal changes. [Environmental Defense Fund]

¶ California’s grid operator signed off on the state’s 2017-2018 Transmission Plan, which approved 17 new transmission projects combined at a cost of nearly $271 million. But 20 projects were canceled and 21 were revised due to energy efficiency and residential solar power altering local area load forecasts, saving about $2.6 billion. [pv magazine USA]

Transmission lines (Image: Oran Viriyincy | Flickr)

¶ A bill that would alter Minnesota’s approval process for costly investments needed at Xcel Energy’s nuclear plants was passed by a Senate committee. Xcel said the new process is needed to give it more certainty for $1.4 billion in costs expected over the next 17 years. The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce opposes the bill. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

¶ FirstEnergy Corp’s Davis-Besse nuclear plant returned to service from what will likely be its final refueling outage. The corporation has said repeatedly over the past year that the plant’s days are numbered, barring an unlikely buyer emerging in today’s highly competitive electricity market. A decision is expected by June. [Toledo Blade]

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March 27 Energy News

March 27, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Is the IEA underestimating renewables?” • The World Wind Energy Association said 52.6 GW of wind capacity was installed in 2017. Solar Power Europe put PV installations at 98.9 GW. The World Nuclear Industry report said 2.7 GW of nuclear was installed. But the International Energy Agency still issues high projections for nuclear. [Deutsche Welle]

Renewable energy (Getty Images)

¶ “Nuclear power plant construction in Britain: A bottomless swamp” • Doubts about the costs and related problems at Hinkley C surfaced again, creating fear that the government may reexamine the project. Such concerns present a serious threat to Japanese firms betting their futures on building nuclear power plants in Britain. [The Japan Times]

¶ “Success Of Paris Climate Accord Depends On Local Action” • A recent blog post on Yale Environment 360 argues, “Much of the progress in reducing CO2 emissions is being driven by mayors, governors, premiers, and corporate executives.” It suggests “allowing cities, states, and companies to officially sign on to the Paris Agreement.” [CleanTechnica]

Target has 147.5 MW of PV capacity installed on its
buildings, the most of any US company. (Credit: SEIA)

¶ “You should be scared if you own natural gas stocks” • CNBC’s Jim Cramer has noticed a new group becoming “hated” on Wall Street: the natural gas cohort. And when he dug deeper, he realized that the weakness went beyond gas as a commodity. Companies that produce natural gas or even use it to produce electricity show the same weakness. [CNBC]

World:

¶ MAKE Consulting, which is now a part of research and consultancy group Wood Mackenzie, has predicted that annual wind power capacity additions will average out at more than 65 GW between 2018 and 2027, thanks partly to the increasing demand in offshore wind and the expanding contribution of emerging markets. [CleanTechnica]

Vestas offshore wind turbines

¶ Mark Osborne, the Senior News Editor for PV Tech, reported that the fourth quarter of 2017 saw the highest ever recorded levels of new solar PV manufacturing expansion announcements for a quarter, totaling around 40 GW across the thin-film, the solar cell & module assembly, and the integrated cell & module manufacturing segments. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Asian Development Bank is to loan of about $175.3 million to PT Supreme Energy Rantau Dedap to help finance the second phase of a geothermal power project in Indonesia. The deal is part of ADB’s continued effort to scale up private sector investments in clean energy infrastructure in the Asia and Pacific region. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Indonesia (Courtesy of ADB)

¶ Repowering UK wind farms that are scheduled to end operations in the next five years could increase the country’s generating capacity by more than 1.3 GW, according to a new report by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit. The report said upgrading the projects would yield more than 3 TWh of electricity per year. [reNews]

¶ Iceland’s Arctic Green Energy Corporation and China’s Sinopec secured a $250 million loan from the Asian Development Bank to develop geothermal resources in China. The loan was granted to a new joint venture company. It will be used to expand geothermal heating in cities near Beijing and reduce the area’s reliance on coal. [WBAP News/Talk]

Geyser

¶ Renewable energy generated more power than brown coal, gas, or oil during Australia’s long hot summer. The 9,880 GWh from renewables exceeded that from brown coal by 8% and gas by 40% in Australia’s main grids. Renewables also delivered much of this power when it was needed most, during the peak demand periods. [Echonetdaily]

¶ Britain has cut its power station carbon emissions by a quarter in only 12 months according to data by Imperial College London. A study in the journal Nature Energy, said that if the other main coal-consuming countries mirrored Britain’s approach, it would reduce global emissions by roughly a gigatonne, or 3% every year. [Telegraph.co.uk]

Coal-burning power plant (Reuters image)

¶ The Western Australian government has rejected the federal National Energy Guarantee in favour of its own renewable energy policy. WA Energy Minister Ben Wyatt says WA is determined not to be dragged into the east coast energy market “nightmare.” He said WA’s energy market is on-track to reduce carbon emissions. [Energy Matters]

US:

¶ The US Army is using clean energy projects to begin targeting resiliency through microgrids, executive director of the US Army’s Office of Energy Initiatives Michael F. McGhee said at the recent Microgrid Global Innovation Forum in Washington, DC. Renewable energy projects can provide resilient power sources for the military. [Energy Manager Today]

Los Alamitos Army Airfield (California
National Guard | Flickr Creative Commons)

¶ Arizona’s largest utility is working with lawmakers to put its own renewable energy alternative on the November ballot. It has the same goal as the initiative having 50% of electricity from renewable sources. But it prohibits the commission from implementing the new requirement if it would have any effect at all on cost or reliability. [Arizona Capitol Times]

¶ The Town of Hartford, Vermont, commissioned two rooftop solar projects on Town buildings in February. Norwich Solar Technologies of White River Junction installed a 98-kW DC, net-metered solar PV system on the roof of the town’s Wastewater Treatment Plant as well as a 37-kW DC system on the Public Works building. [Vermont Biz]

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March 26 Energy News

March 26, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Enough With The Lies – Electric Cars Are Far Greener Than Gas Cars #Basta” • The US EPA published data in February that the Union of Concerned Scientists used to compare greenhouse gas emissions from internal combustion machines with those of EVs in the US, considering everything from electric generation to production and use of gasoline. [CleanTechnica]

Chevy Bolt and wind turbines

¶ “Farming the Earth to Death” • Pollution from Big Ag farms doesn’t produce dramatic photos like goo-covered seagulls or river otters. That makes it all the worse. The invisibility of the poisons already dumped into our environment by industrial farming cloaks the damage. And ethanol is the worst. It is just renewable pollution. [Omaha Reader]

World:

¶ The state-run Norwegian aviation firm Avinor, which runs 45 airports in Norway, is planning to embrace electric aircraft as soon as they hit the market, an exec has been quoted as saying. Because electric planes can accelerate quickly, they do not need long runways. This makes them ideal for Norway, with towns along mountain-flanked fjords. [CleanTechnica]

Alta Airport (Photo: HenrikJ, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Armech Africa Limited, a subsidiary of the Armech Group, is to construct a $300 million waste-to-energy power plant in Ghana to generate 60 MW of clean energy. Armech Group will pre-finance the project through the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China without any sovereign guarantee from the Government of Ghana. [Ghana Business News]

¶ Australian trash collection agency East Waste wants to explore the viability of harnessing solar and wind energy to run a fleet of electric-powered trucks for its member councils. A draft business plan said “rapid” technological advancements meant 100% electric trucks were a “real and potential” alternative to petrol-powered vehicles. [News.com.au]

Chinese-built electric garbage trucks (Image supplied)

¶ BP has released its most recent outlook study, BP’s 2018 Technology Outlook. It shows that renewable energy is cost-competitive with fossil fuels, even without subsidies. The same report suggests that technology alone won’t be enough to curtail climate change; policy changes, including carbon taxes, are also necessary. [Engineering.com]

¶ Geopolitical risks are weighing on oil prices as Saudi Arabia and Iran jockey for influence in the Middle East. These concerns escalated just over a week ago when Saudi Arabia’s young Prince Mohammed bin Salman said his country would acquire nuclear weapons if Iran developed them. Higher oil prices could bring an offshore oil boom. [OilPrice.com]

Offshore oil platform

¶ Japan’s Mitsubishi Corp is investing ¥650 billion ($6.2 billion) in offshore wind power projects in the UK and the Netherlands, as falling costs bolster high hopes for the field as a key energy source. The Japanese trading house reached deals on investments including a 33.4% stake in a 950-MW wind farm about 22 km off the Scottish coast. [Nikkei Asian Review]

¶ Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Limited’s tender for 500 MW of grid-connected solar projects has been oversubscribed three times, the Times of India reports. The tender attracted proposals from 11 companies. Next in the process is a reverse auction, to be held on March 28. GUVNL launched the 500-MW tender in February. [Renewables Now]

Azure Power Solar Power Plant (Photo: Business Wire)

¶ One of most aggressive campaigns to fight global warming is happening in Alberta. But it is the same place is also home to some of the dirtiest oil in the world. Alberta is boosting its use of renewable energy, closing coal-burning power plants, and increasing a tax on carbon emissions. But it is also increasing its tar sands oil output. [Bloomberg]

¶ New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a business audience in Wellington that gas was used as a “crutch” which slowed the move to renewable energy, attendants said. Ardern personally accepted a petition from Greenpeace calling for an end to exploration, and she said the Government was “actively considering” the issue. [Stuff.co.nz]

Drilling rig in New Zealand

US:

¶ Solar power projects throughout the United States may be put on the back burner as federal tariffs on imported solar panels could drive up the price to invest in them. Some already have been, but some utility experts hope that the costs will stabilize to an affordable rate that will benefit solar customers and domestic producers. [Farmington Daily Times]

¶ A New Jersey legislative panel has advanced a bill to allow a small pilot offshore wind farm off Atlantic City to move forward despite concerns from a couple of organizations that usually back such efforts. The bill would revive the Fishermen’s Energy proposal, a $210 million, 24-MW project three miles off the city’s coast. [NJ Spotlight]

Offshore windfarm dawn (Mat Fascione, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Three top generators in Maine have asked the state’s Public Utilities Commission to allow them to intervene late as full parties in the proceeding on New England Clean Energy Connect. It is a 1,200-MW transmission line proposed by Central Maine Power and Hydro-Quebec to run through 145 miles of northwestern Maine. [RTO Insider]

¶ During the 2017 session, the Minnesota Legislature passed a bill allowing Xcel Energy to negotiate a shutdown of three biomass plants. Xcel says the cost of biomass power is too high and customers should not have to pay higher rates when cheaper alternatives are available. But the forestry industry will suffer as plants close. [Duluth News Tribune]

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March 25 Energy News

March 25, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Watching Nature Collapse” • I remember walking out the door of my grandmother’s house in New Hampshire in 1959. Three stretches of telephone lines across the street were covered by resting barn swallows, sitting about five inches apart. When I moved out of that house in 2004, there were no barn swallows left. [CleanTechnica]

Covered bridge over the Ashuelot River
(Photo: John Phelan, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Why Going Green is Big Business” • Bankers, insurers, and others whose job it is to assess and manage risk are increasingly aware of the threat that climate change may pose to assets. Indeed, big companies without environmental, social, and governance may find themselves liable for lack of “fiduciary responsibility.” [PlanetSave.com]

¶ “Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster In Space … Because It’s Fun” • After last month’s jaw-dropping spectacle from SpaceX, many are asking: What’s the real reason Elon Musk chose to send a Tesla Roadster, set up to blast David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” at top volume from its speakers. into outer space on his almighty Falcon Heavy rocket? [CleanTechnica]

“Printed on the circuit board of a car
in Deep space” (Image via Elon Musk)

¶ “Good news about renewables: but the heat is still on to cut fossil fuel use” • For optimists, it was tempting to view three years of flatlining global carbon emissions, from 2014-16, as the new normal. Celebrations should be put on hold, as global emissions from energy have jumped back up again, but there is hope. [The Guardian]

World:

¶ The first scheduled non-stop flight between Australia and the UK has touched down in London’s Heathrow Airport. Qantas Flight QF9 completed its 14,498-km (9,009-mile) journey from Perth in just over 17 hours. The airline is using a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner that was adapted for comfort on long flights. It is twice as fuel-efficient as a Boeing 747. [BBC]

Qantas airliner

¶ Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is attempting to arm-wrestle battery giant Tesla away from Adelaide. The battery, worth $50 million, capable of powering up to 30,000 homes for an hour. The premier is insistent on bringing the Tesla battery to Queensland, if the new South Australian Liberal government no longer wants it. [9news.com.au]

¶ The Coimbra Municipal Public Transportation Service has become the first transit district in Portugal to migrate to fully-electric buses with a newly signed contract for 8 of BYD’s 12-meter buses. The contract finalizing the deal was signed by the President of the Coimbra Municipality and BYD’s managing director of Europe. [CleanTechnica]

BYD electric bus in Shenzhen

¶ The Barbados Light & Power solar farm in Trents, St Lucy, is saving the country an estimated $10 million a year. The solar farm started production two years ago, pumping solar-generated electricity into the grid. BL&P is still developing plans for another solar farm and a wind farm to put more power into the country’s network. [Nation News]

¶ The potential of drones for making a variety of tasks faster, cheaper, and safer in energy sector is something numerous people have talked about and detailed. Nevertheless, though many people are excited about the subject, energy companies want to see results. Now, the Austrian Power Grid has results they can show off. [Commercial UAV News]

European transmission line

¶ Singapore’s Powering the Future study is examining how to boost solar energy production from the current 2% of power that currently comes from the sun. Though Singapore has limited land for PV panels and intermittent sunshine because of its heavy cloud, the aim is to meet 15% of peak demand through solar power. [ASEAN Economist]

¶ A team of US researchers has confirmed that St Kitts and Nevis can move forward with a planned geothermal project on the volcanic island of Nevis. According to Nevis Pages, the team from GeothermEX assessed a geothermal test well at Hamilton to determine its potential to supply of geothermal energy and found it promising. [Loop Cayman]

Nevis Peak, a dormant volcano on Nevis

US:

¶ Two US firms with global outreach, Reebok and Gensler, partnered to develop concepts for “an adaptive reuse of gas stations across the country as Fitness Hubs.” Alfred Byun, a designer at Gensler, envisions “a [new] network of fitness oases between home and work where you could stop and recharge more than just your car.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ In Shepherdstown, West Virginia, Solar Holler has a motto, “Mining The Sun.” It has been working with the nonprofit Coalfield Development Corp to help train workers to install solar panels. They are putting photovoltaic panels up on everything from nonprofits and businesses to increasing numbers of homes. [Huntington Herald Dispatch]

Shepherdstown (Wallygva, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Recently, the study, Cultural Perspectives, Geopolitics & Energy Security of Eurasia: Is the Next Global Conflict Imminent? came to light. It states that a primary driver for US-led interference in Russian politics since the 1990s has been a US desire to dominate the oil and gas reserves of Central Asia. It was prepared by the US Army. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A team led by Southwest Research Institute is now developing unmanned aerial system technology to fly into the containment vessels of the damaged units at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station and assess conditions. TEPCO Holdings contracted SwRI, based in San Antonio, to explore the use of drones in the containment vessels. [POWER magazine]

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March 24 Energy News

March 24, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Culture Shift: Redirecting Humanity’s Path to a Flourishing Future” • A tax on carbon, big investments in renewable energy, a livable minimum wage, and accessible healthcare – we need all of them. But even taken together they are utterly insufficient to redirect humanity away from impending doom. We need to address the system. [Common Dreams]

Rice Terraces in Yunnan Province, China (Photo:
Jialiang Gao | peace-on-earth.org | Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Grid security falls to industry to self-regulate” • The US power grid is coming under increasing attacks from hackers. A cyber attack against the grid could do as much damage as a bomb, but security experts say rules on dealing with cyber threats are being written mostly by the energy industry, leaving the public in the dark. [The Salem News]

Science and Technology:

¶ A world addled by climate change has seen a four-fold increase in major flooding events since 1980, and a doubling of significant storms, droughts, and heat waves, Europe’s national science academies jointly reported. In Europe, where precise data reaches back decades, the number of severe floods has jumped five fold since 1995. [Sin Chew Jit Poh]

Extreme weather (Photo courtesy: AFP)

¶ Data in a study published this week shows that extreme weather events have become more frequent over the past 36 years. The study shows that man-made climate change has resulted in increasingly frequent extreme weather events such as excess rainfall leading to flooding, coastal flooding, heatwaves, and increased risks of wildfires. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Earth’s life support system is failing. Nearly everywhere, the various forms of non-human life are in decline, according to a series of landmark international reports. This ongoing decline endangers economies, livelihoods, food security, and the quality of life of people everywhere. Nevertheless, there are reasons to hope, the reports say. [National Geographic]

Specimens (Frans Lanting, National Geographic Creative)

¶ Silicon-Valley based Software Motor Company has built a new type of electric motor demonstrating 30% energy savings, with potentially dramatic impact for the HVAC industry. Internet of Things technology has shown promise for industries from manufacturing to healthcare, but had not yet seen broad use in the HVAC industry. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ County Durham company Banks Group has been granted permission to build the 22-turbine Lethans wind farm in East Ayrshire, Scotland. The developer has been given approval by ministers for turbines ranging from 136 meters to 176 meters in height. The top power at the wind farm near New Cumnock is expected to be 88 MW. [reNews]

Banks wind farm in the UK (Banks image)

¶ Austria’s largest power provider has announced a plan to invest approximately €100 million ($124 million) in solar and €15 million in recharging stations over the next five years. The plan is part of a €870 million investment program that will address security of supply, renewable energy, and a number of other innovations. [pv magazine International]

¶ Kyushu Electric Power Co reactivated the No 3 reactor at its Genkai nuclear power plant in Saga Prefecture. The 1,180-MW reactor resumed operations for the first time since December 2010, when it went offline for a routine inspection. It is the seventh nuclear reactor to be restarted since the Fukushim Disaster. [The Japan News]

Genkai nuclear plant (IAEA Imagebank, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ San Francisco and Oakland sued five major oil companies, claiming they kept secret for decades their knowledge that their operations were causing global warming. Lawyers for Chevron say they will not contest that climate change is real and accept findings reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Houston-based solar power company Sunnova has this week expanded its offerings to bring it into the solar-plus-storage market alongside its bigger-name competition Tesla and Sunrun, with the introduction of its Sunnova SunSafe solar and home battery storage service. Sunnova’s move follows similar offerings by Tesla and Sunrun. [CleanTechnica]

Installing a solar system (Sunnova)

¶ Despite a surprise veto threat that rattled Congress, President Donald Trump signed a $1.3 trillion spending bill, avoiding a federal government shutdown and sparing energy-related programs the steep cuts once envisioned by the White House. The Senate had worked through the night, passing the legislation by a vote of 65-32. [Platts]

¶ Rod Cushing, of Johnson Controls in North America, said that the University of Hawaii Maui College would most likely be the first campus to supply 100% of its energy requirements. This is sixteen years earlier than expected. The college plans to achieve this through use of “on-site photovoltaic systems coupled with battery storage.” [Study Breaks]

The University of Hawaii (Image via UH)

¶ The state of Colorado has granted electricity users the right to store energy without being subjected to compounded rates for power or unfair barriers in connecting to the grid. Gov John Hickenlooper said reductions in the price of batteries in recent years have now made energy storage a more affordable option for ratepayers. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ Arizona utilities could violate the state’s clean energy standards for nominal penalties under a law Gov Doug Ducey (R) signed March 23. Lawmakers debated the bill for less than two weeks as the bill was fast-tracked. It was preemptively aimed to declaw higher renewable energy mandates a group wants to bring to voters this year. [Bloomberg BNA]

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