December 17 Energy News

December 17, 2017


¶ “Tesla vs. Tesla: The Juice In Your Car Will Increasingly Come Through HVDC, Edison’s Preferred Current” • This is partially a Thomas Edison vs Nikola Tesla story. Edison was committed to direct current, but Tesla liked alternating current. Edison did some ugly things to try to win the fight, but lost. Now the world is moving his way. [CleanTechnica]

Converter Transformers

¶ “The year is 2037. This is what happens when the hurricane hits Miami” • After the hurricane hit Miami in 2037, hotel lobby floors in Miami Beach are covered by a foot of sand. A dead manatee floats in a pool where Elvis had swum. Most damage came not from the hurricane’s 175-mile-an-hour winds, but from the twenty-foot storm surge. [The Guardian]

¶ “Canada’s Oil Capital Making Leap to Renewable Energy” • The government of Alberta, home to the world’s third-largest oil reserves, auctioned off 595 MW of renewable energy capacity, exceeding its target of 400 MW. The government billed moving toward renewables as a continuation of the province’s leading position in energy. [Financial Tribune]

Sunset with wind turbines and solar panels


¶ India plans to boost solar module manufacturing by providing ₹11,000 crore ($1,653 million) of direct support together with concessions to cut reliance on imports from China. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy aims to provide a 30% subsidy for setting up new plants and expanding the existing ones, according to its website. [BloombergQuint]

¶ In an attempt to revive aging farming communities and put clean energy on the local electric grid, two farms in northeastern Japan are growing cloud-ear mushrooms underneath arrays of solar panels. Together, the farms will produce a combined 4,000 kW of solar power and 40 tons of cloud-ear mushrooms every year. [GOOD Magazine]

Installing solar panels

¶ As part of its campaign to promote green energy, the Central Railway has installed 28 solar power plants with a capacity of 924 KW on its five divisions and at a workshop. In addition, LED lights, which save energy as compared to conventional lights, have already been provided at 250 railway stations on Central Railway. [Times of India]

¶ The South Australia government decided to fast-track its switch to 100% renewable energy through a contract with Adelaide-based SIMEC ZEN Energy. The company plans to build 1 GW of solar, storage, and demand management to power the Whyalla Steelworks, which expects to cut its costs by 40% with a switch to renewables. [RenewEconomy]

Solar thermal system in Nevada

¶ Siemens Gamesa is set to add 380 MW to the Egyptian national electricity grid with the Gabal Al-Zayt wind farms during the first quarter of 2018. Sources at the New and Renewable Energy Authority said that Gab al Al-Zayt project implementation rate stood at 80%, surpassing the time schedule set for the project by Gamesa. [Daily News Egypt]

¶ Tasmanian residential energy prices could drop up to 6.5% over the next two years, the Australian Electrical Market Commission said. The AEMC’s annual report on price trends indicated a national fall in prices from mid 2018 as variable wind and solar generation comes online. Australia has seen an 11% price rise in the past year. [Tasmania Examiner]

Wind farm (Tasmania Examiner file photo)


¶ The US renewable energy industry expressed relief after a compromise Republican tax bill released late on Friday preserved key tax credits that had been at risk of being removed, but it raised concerns about a provision that may threaten investment in the sector. Solar industry group SEIA called the tax bill a “great victory” for the sector. [The Japan Times]

¶ Batteries plus solar energy could topple natural gas peaker plants. A GTM Research senior adviser said 10 GW of the 20 GW of the plants projected to be constructed between 2018 and 2017 could be taken over by energy storage. More aggressive estimates suggest the gas peaker plants may not even have a place after 2020. [Inhabitat]

Tesla battery storage at a solar array

¶ Health leaders say they are alarmed about a report that officials at the CDC are being told not to use certain terms in official budget documents, including “fetus,” ”transgender,” and “science-based.” Climate change is just one of several topics on which federal agencies have downscaled data collection since President Trump took office. [Press of Atlantic City]

¶ Hundreds of US colleges and universities are taking action to combat global warming, but so far just one residential college has turned 100% to renewable energy: Hampshire College, in Amherst, Massachusetts. The college has installed a 19-acre solar farm, with 15,000 panels and a capacity of about 4.7 MW of power. [Jefferson Public Radio]

The Harold F Johnson library at Hampshire College

¶ The rate of new thyroid cancer cases in the four counties just north of New York City, which was 22% below the US rate in the late 1970s, is now 53% above the US rate, a study said. The Indian Point nuclear plant may be to blame. A study co-author said, “The only known cause of thyroid cancer is exposure to radioactivity.” [San Francisco Bay View]

¶ It’s a question few in the Atlanta area want to think about: What happens if state regulators pull the plug on Plant Vogtle’s units 3 and 4? The first thing to empty would be the 42-acre lot where Vogtle’s 6,000 construction workers park. Then there would be an exodus of RVs, travel trailers, and campers the workers called home. [The Augusta Chronicle]

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December 16 Energy News

December 16, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ In a paper published Friday in Diversity and Distributions, a professional journal, researchers in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University reported that the more sensitive a bird species is to rising temperatures during the breeding season, the more likely it is to be affected positively by being near old-growth forest. [KTVZ]

Wilson’s warbler (Photo: Amado Demesa, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Europe’s new Sentinel-5P satellite has captured a dramatic image of the smoke billowing away from the devastating California wildfires. It is a powerful demonstration of 5P’s ability to sense the atmosphere. The plume is seen to sweep westwards out over the Pacific Ocean near Los Angeles and then turn north towards the State of Oregon. [BBC]


¶ Canada is close to approving the first Pipistrel e-plane, Alpha Electro, for legal flights in the country. After the final phase of approval in the advanced ultra-light category, the e-plane will be able to roam the Canadian skies. This was made easier due to Canada having already allowed the Alpha Trainer to operate as an ultra-light category aircraft. [CleanTechnica]

Charging the Pipistrel Alpha Electro

¶ The National Australia Bank, one of the country’s leading banks, announced this week that it will cease financing new thermal coal mining projects, becoming the first major bank in the country to make such a decision. This is in a country that is historically and globally renowned as utterly reliant on coal production. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Netherlands has launched the world’s first “zero subsidy” tender to build 700 MW of offshore wind. Shortly after the announcement, the country already had its first bidder. Zero subsidy tenders have been labeled as a “game-changer” because potential bidders would rely entirely on the market, without government incentives. [EcoWatch]

Offshore wind farm (Wikimedia Commons)

¶ BP announced acquisition of a 43% interest in solar power company Lighthouse for $200 million. This follows in the footsteps of peers Shell and Total, which have been very active in the renewables sector recently. Lighthouse is the largest utility-scale solar developer in Europe. BP already has investments in other renewables. []

¶ The UK government opened a consultation on proposals to allow remote island wind projects to apply for a Contract for Difference in the next auction for less established renewable technologies in 2019. The consultation proposes definitions for remote island wind, includes impact assessment, and seeks views on effects on island communities. [reNews]

Orkney (Image: Heriot Watt University)

¶ Northvolt, a battery manufacturer, and sustainable energy company Vestas announced a technology collaboration on the development of a lithium-ion battery platform for Vestas power plants. As an initial phase of the partnership, Vestas is investing €10 million. Both providers are looking for ways to accelerate product integration. [Windpower Engineering]


¶ The journal Science Advances released a report, “Discriminating between natural versus induced seismicity from long-term deformation history of intraplate faults,” which addresses the causes of an unnatural number of earthquakes that hit Texas in the past decade. The authors suggest activities associated with fracking as a cause. [CleanTechnica]

Post-2008 seismicity rate change in the CUS

¶ The US solar industry installed 2,031 MW in the third quarter of 2017, in its eighth consecutive quarter in excess of 2 GW, but its smallest quarter for two years, as political uncertainty and increasing prices shuttered the industry’s recent success. The figures are from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Hawaii Supreme Court ruled on Thursday in favor of an appeal brought by Earthjustice on behalf of the Sierra Club. The court held that Sierra Club had a due process right to be heard to protect its environmental interests. The Hawaii Constitution declares, “Each person has the right to a clean and healthful environment.” [Maui Now]

Central Maui plain (Photo: Wendy Osher | Maui Now)

¶ The city of Tacoma wants to turn sewage poop into fuel. The city’s Environmental Services Department also is hoping to make a little money from the endeavor. A project they proposed would convert methane, a byproduct of the solid waste processed at the city’s wastewater treatment plant, into renewable natural gas. [The News Tribune]

¶ Congressional Republicans released the text of a tax proposal that includes incentives for electric vehicles and wind power, as well as a fix to the so-called BEAT provision critical to renewable energy. Nuclear tax credits, however, were excluded from the bill. The legislation combines of bills passed by the House and Senate. [Utility Dive]

US Capitol

¶ Austin Energy will buy the solar power produced by a 150-MW facility to be built by Intersect Power. Austin Energy would pay $150 million over the life of the 15-year contract. When this solar array comes online in 2020, Austin Energy estimates that more than half of the city’s power needs will be covered by renewable energy. []

¶ Three state senators in New Jersey sponsored a bill that could cost electric ratepayers about $320 million a year to subsidize nuclear reactors that could otherwise be closed. Last week, the CEO of Public Service Enterprise Group Inc, which operates three reactors in the state, said he may be forced to shut the units if there are no subsidies. [Reuters]

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December 15 Energy News

December 15, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ Data processing machines often have algorithms judging whether data is sufficiently outside the normal range that it will contaminate a study. Because of climate change, a weather recording site in Utqiaġvik, Alaska, rejected all of the data it received for the entire month of November because it was made up of nothing but outliers. [CNN]

Retreating glacier in Greenland (Mario Tama | Getty Images)


¶ Battery storage and smart technologies are to be rolled out to homes in the Irish town of Dingle as part of a new trial to test their potential for a virtual power plant on the Irish electricity grid.  Twenty homes will be selected to take part in the €1.12 million ($1.32 million) StoreNet project, which will last up to two years. [Energy Storage News]

¶ The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy in India chosen the district of Anantapur in the state of Andhra Pradesh for a solar-wind hybrid project that will be the world’s largest. The mega project will have a capacity of 160 MW and will cover 1000 acres. The project is expected to entail an investment of approximately ₹1000 crores ($155 million). [CleanTechnica]

Indian solar array

¶ Hungary will relax rules on the construction of small solar power plants and subsidize loans to landowners as part of efforts to promote renewable energy, a government official said. Over half of Hungary’s electricity comes from its sole nuclear power plant, and 29% of its electricity is imported. The government wants to change this. []

¶ Between January 2014 and September 2017, big banks provided $630 billion in financing to the 120 top coal plant developers studies say. And major institutional investors, many of which are members of groups that warn about investing in companies whose products cause climate change, have put $140 billion into the same companies. [CleanTechnica]

Coal trains

¶ Dozens of Australian businesses are actively seeking alternative ways to source energy that is much cheaper and cleaner than what they are currently getting from the grid, a new report from a major Australian bank has claimed. This includes power purchase agreements for the procurement of renewable energy generation. [RenewEconomy]

¶ A report published by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said that UK onshore windpower showed a 50% increase in energy generation between 2016 and 2017. The 2.0 TWh increase is due to increased windpower capacity, the most significant increase of all renewable technologies, over the time period. [Energy Voice]

Drone Hill wind farm in the Scottish Borders

¶ The Clean Energy Finance Corporation reached 1 GW of big solar investment in Australia, after committing $207 million to two new projects being developed in Victoria and Queensland. The CEFC announced investments in the 110-MW Wemen Sun Farm in Victoria, and the 90-MW Clermont Solar Farm in Queensland. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Boskalis’ Asian Hercules 3 giant floating crane has arrived in its port in Peterhead ahead of foundation installation at Vattenfall’s 92.4-MW Aberdeen Bay offshore wind farm off the coast of Scotland. The 25,000-tonne crane will be used to transport and install the 77-metre-high, 1800-tonne steel suction bucket jacket foundations. [reNews]

Asian Hercules 3 (EOWDC image)

¶ The former energy secretary who signed off on the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant has told Unearthed he doubts the project will ever get built. Sir Edward Davey said the lower cost of renewables today means “the economics have clearly gone away” from the project. Only a year ago, he said it was a “good deal.” [Unearthed]


¶ A trash incinerator in Southwest Baltimore is the city’s largest single source of air pollution. But a state law has nonetheless allowed it to collect roughly $10 million in subsidies over the past six years through a program intended to promote green energy. The subsidies exist because lawmakers classified trash as a renewable power source. [Baltimore Sun]

Incinerator in Baltimore (Jerry Jackson | Baltimore Sun)

¶ According to Deloitte’s annual “Resources 2017 Study – Energy Management: Sustainability & Progress,” cost declines and technology advancements have made renewables competitive with conventional energy, giving consumers and businesses more clean energy options and pushing utilities to offer smarter, high-tech offerings. [Energy Manager Today]

¶ Idaho officials have reached a tentative agreement approving a utility company’s $216.5 million in relicensing expenses for a three-dam hydroelectric project on the Snake River on the Idaho-Oregon border. The Idaho Public Utilities Commission will take public comments through January 5 on the proposed agreement. [McClatchy Washington Bureau]

Hells Canyon Dam (Idaho Power image)

¶ EDF Renewable Energy announced commercial operations at its 154-MW Rock Falls Wind Project in northern Oklahoma have begun. Kimberly-Clark Corporation has agreed to purchase 120 MW of the power generated at the facility. Rock Falls is EDF’s second wind project in Oklahoma, following the Great Western Wind Project. [Power Engineering Magazine]

¶ If the controversial Millstone nuclear plant were to close within a few years, its many highly-skilled employees would have no trouble finding new jobs, according to a new draft report commissioned by Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority. [CT Post]

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December 14 Energy News

December 14, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ Arctic temperatures are continuing to rise while sea ice declines, a NOAA-sponsored report has found, with the region showing no sign of returning to its “reliably frozen” state. The report shows that a warming trend continued in the Arctic in 2017, resulting in higher surface and water temperatures and melting sea ice. [CNN]

Helheim Glacier, eastern Greenland

¶ Climate change is partly to blame for the record rainfall that fell over Texas and Louisiana after Hurricane Harvey’s landfall, according to new scientific analysis. Air can hold about 7% more moisture per degree Celsius of warming, so there is more water vapor to be squeezed out of the air as rainfall in a world warmed by climate change. [CNN]


¶ The UK and Canada announced that membership to their Powering Past Coal Alliance, which was only launched last month at COP2, has blown past 50 countries, regions, and businesses. Members include the State of California, Sweden, New Zealand, Italy, and France, as well as high-profile corporations such as Unilever, Virgin Group, and EDF. [CleanTechnica]

Coal train

¶ This week, on the sidelines of the One Planet Summit being held in France and hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron, three of the world’s leading financial institutions announced their own fossil fuel divestment targets. The World Bank, ING, and AXA all announced plans to divest from fossil fuels, including coal, oil, and gas. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Norway plans to offer one or two sites for the development of floating offshore wind projects. The ministry of petroleum said it will ask the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate to reassess five areas identified in 2013 as having potential for offshore windpower. The government intends to act quickly on the projects. [reNews]

Floating wind turbine (Statoil image)

¶ The government of Alberta, home to the world’s third-largest oil reserves, auctioned off 595 MW of renewable energy capacity to be built in the province. That exceeded the government’s target of 400 MW. The weighted average bid was 3.7 Canadian cents per kWh (3¢/kWh), the lowest price for wind power ever in Canada. [Bloomberg]

¶ Liquified natural gas is running out of steam. Natural gas demand in Europe is 12% lower than it was 10 years ago. Chinese and Indian demand continues to grow, but the dramatic gains by solar power and wind, where costs have fallen 85% since 2009, have severely limited the prospects for natural gas as a power source. [MetalMiner]

Liquefied natural gas ship (Photo: donvictori0 | Adobe Stock)

¶ Canada and the World Bank Group announced at the One Planet Summit in Paris on December 12 that they are teaming up in partnership to support effective climate action in developing countries and small island developing states and spurring the acceleration away from coal-fired electricity toward clean energy. [CleanTechnica]

¶ IFA2, a high-voltage direct current electrical interconnector project, is set to proceed after receiving all required consents in the UK. The UK’s Marine Management Organisation issued a comprehensive decision for the 1,000-MW link project. IFA2 will run between the transmission systems in Hampshire, UK, and Normandy, France. [Power Technology]

Power link (Photo: © Crown copyright)

¶ The landmark Hiroshima High Court ruling ordering a suspension of operations at the Ikata nuclear power plant focused the possibility of a nuclear calamity occurring due to a massive eruption at a volcano that is 130 km (80 miles) away. This may put the future of nuclear power in doubt, because Japan has 111 active volcanoes. [Asahi Shimbun]


¶ Southern California Gas Co is partnering with the University of California-Irvine’s Advanced Power & Energy Program to design an “Advanced Energy Community.” The community is being planned to provide replicable model that optimizes a variety of energy options, including solar, wind, and renewable natural gas. [North American Windpower]

Southern California

¶ Multinational oil and gas megalith ExxonMobil has this week agreed to increase its level of climate disclosure. This follows shareholders voting to instruct the company to produce an annual report on the risks of climate change and government policies. The vote for disclosure took place at the annual meeting earlier this year. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Energy Information Administration’s “Short Term Energy Outlook” projects that renewable energy resources, excluding hydropower, will gain about two percentage points, reaching 10% of the US electricity generation market in 2018. The EIA expects generation from gas-fired power plants to drop to 32% in 2017 from 34% in 2016. [Utility Dive]

Wind turbines

¶ Tax provisions critical to the electric power sector remain in flux as Republicans try to reconcile competing House and Senate versions of tax reform, Sen Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said. The status of production tax credits for wind and nuclear energy, incentives for electric vehicles and a host of other “orphan” energy resources remain “in flux.” [Utility Dive]

¶ Moody’s Investors Service is telling cities that they must prepare for increasingly worse storms due to climate change or their credit ratings could suffer. Lower credit ratings mean a city has to pay more to borrow money. The warning comes after studies showed climate change worsened damage from Hurricane Harvey. [Houston Public Media]

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December 13 Energy News

December 13, 2017


¶ “A Hand Writing on the Wall for Natural Gas” • September of 2016 was the last month in which US natural gas generation exceeded what it had been for the same month of the previous year. Since September 2016, every single month has seen a decline for electricity generation from natural gas, which has dropped 10% overall. [CleanTechnica]

Belshazzar’s Feast (Rembrandt, 1635)


¶ A day before French Presidents Emmanuel Macron’s One Planet Summit launches, two French multinationals, Schneider Electric and EDF Group, signed up to The Climate Group’s corporate leadership campaigns RE100, EP100, and EV100, sending a strong signal that businesses are stepping up to fight climate change. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Nepal’s largest wind-solar hybrid power system was installed at a village of 85 families in the Sindhuli district. The system has 20 kW of wind turbines and 15 kW of solar PV panels. The system produces 110 kWh of electric energy per day. This will easily meet the electricity demand of 87 kWh per day of the village. [Himalayan Times]

Largest wind-solar hybrid power system in Nepal (Photo: THT)

¶ Vestas secured an order for 54 MW of turbines from BKW Energie for a wind farm at Marker in Norway. The contract covers the supply, installation and commissioning of 15 V136-3.6MW machines. Delivery is expected to start in the third quarter of 2018. BKW Energie also owns a stake in the 1-GW Fosen Vind project. [reNews]

¶ The world is quickly abandoning coal. But that’s not the end of the road for coal mines. In many countries they’re coming back to life as solar farms. The world’s biggest floating solar project began operating in the eastern Chinese city of Huainan, which accounted for nearly 20% of the country’s coal reserves in a 2008 estimate. [Quartz]

World’s biggest floating solar project

¶ A Japanese high court for the first time has banned operations at a nuclear power plant. The high court concluded there was a chance the Ikata plant could be affected by a pyroclastic flow from Mount Aso if an eruption occurred similar in scale to a massive one 90,000 years ago on the southern island of Kyushu. [Asahi Shimbun]

¶ Thai renewables developer Wind Energy Holdings Co Ltd raised $1.1 billion to finance five new onshore wind farms in what may be Southeast Asia’s biggest wind energy project yet. Located in Thailand’s northeastern provinces, the wind farms will add up to 450 MW of energy to the grid on completion, slated for early 2019. []

Chaiyaphum Wind Farm (Image: © Asian Development Bank)


¶ In what amounts to the largest order yet for the Tesla Semi Truck, PepsiCo has placed a pre-order for 100 units. The order is twice as exactly large as the previous largest order, in which Sysco ordered 50 units. The number of reservations taken to date, according to a tally that Reuters is maintaining, is now at least 276. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Chautauqua County, New York, has deployed its first all-electric terminal truck at the North County Transfer Station in Fredonia, as it works to meet goals of the its Comprehensive Plan. Chautauqua County is the first county government in the US to deploy an all-electric Class 8 truck in its commercial fleet operations. [CleanTechnica]

Orange EV T-Series truck

¶ Duke Energy Florida customers are now benefiting from an additional 8.8 MW of solar, a carbon-free renewable resource in the Sunshine State. The company’s newest solar power plant contains nearly 44,000 solar panels on 70 acres in Suwannee County. The facility is in Live Oak, Florida, near the existing Suwannee power plant. [Solar Power World]

¶ Solar is becoming an increasingly important part of the US electric mix, and the most recentt data from the DOE’s Energy Information Administration shows that the solar leaders are still Western states. During the first nine months of 2017, Hawaii and Nevada joined California among the states that get more than 10% of their power from solar. [pv magazine USA]

Wind, solar, sun, and clouds (Pixabay image)

¶ New York Gov Andrew Cuomo and Puerto Rico Gov Ricardo Rosselló are calling for a new, modern electrical system for Puerto Rico following devastation and widespread outages caused by Hurricane Maria. Cuomo has created a working group to assist the island on its electrical repairs, which proposed a significant overhaul of the system. [WGRZ-TV]

¶ NextEra Energy Resources and American Electric Power marked the official commissioning of the 120-MW Bluff Point Wind Energy Center in Indiana. The $200 million project features 57 GE wind turbines, and will provide electric power to Appalachian Power customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee. [Power Engineering Magazine]

Wind farm

¶ Appalachian Power, a subsidiary of American Electric Power, announced its first solar PV generation project will be built in Rustburg, Virginia. The 15-MW Depot Solar Center will be built and operated by Coronal Energy, a provider of renewable energy with a large portfolio of existing US solar and battery storage projects. [Solar Power World]

¶ Hawaii was the first state in the nation to commit to a 100% renewable transportation future. Now Hawaii’s four mayors have come together to sign proclamations committing to an all renewable transportation system by 2045. And three county governments pledged to transition all fleet vehicles to 100% renewable power by 2035. [KITV Honolulu]

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December 12 Energy News

December 12, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ Birds are increasingly threatened. Overfishing and changing sea temperatures are pushing seabirds to the brink of extinction, new data on the world’s birds shows. Birds that are now globally threatened include the kittiwake and the Atlantic puffin. And on land, the Snowy Owl is struggling to find prey as Arctic ice melts, say conservation groups. [BBC]

Black-legged kittiwake (Photo: Ed Marshall)

¶ Here’s another good news item that will certainly bother EV critics. Though most people seem not to know it, the batteries that power EVs keep getting cheaper. The average price of a lithium-ion battery pack is down to $209/kWh and the prices are set to fall below $100/kWh by 2025, according to a Bloomberg New Energy Finance survey. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A joint study by the highly respected Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research finds that plug-in hybrid cars with at least 36 miles of electric-only range (eg Chevy Volt) are just as good at keeping carbon emissions out of the atmosphere as pure battery electric cars (eg Chevy Bolt). [CleanTechnica]

Chevy Volt

¶ Independent assessment group Climate Action Tracker has published a new study outlining 10 key short-term sectoral benchmarks for climate action that must be taken by 2020-25 if we are to simply “keep the window open for a 1.5°C-consistent GHG emission pathway.” It appeared in the peer-reviewed journal Climate Policy. [CleanTechnica]


¶ One of the UK’s most important oil pipelines is being closed after a crack was discovered. It carries crude North Sea oil across land to a processing plant. More than 80 platforms will have to suspend production. The price of Brent crude rose about 2% to $64.69 a barrel amid surprise that the pipeline could be shut for about three weeks. [BBC]

Oil processing plant (Photo: Mat Fascione)

¶ French President Emmanuel Macron announced the first 18 winners for his “Make the Planet Great Again” initiative, which he announced in June after US President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. The grants will provide recipients with funding of up to $1.8 million over a three to five year period. [CNN]

¶ German offshore wind farms put power on the country’s grid 363 days a year, a Fraunhofer IWES report said. The authors of the report, which was commissioned by the German Offshore Wind Foundation, said that if Germany wants to achieve the acting government’s zero-carbon emissions target, it needs 25 GW of offshore wind by 2030. [reNews]

Offshore wind farm (Pixabay)

¶ Renewables company Lekela said it has signed key project documents for a 250-MW wind project in the Gulf of Suez region of Egypt. Lekela, which focuses on Africa, is a 60/40 joint venture between private equity firm Actis and a consortium led by wind and solar developer Mainstream Renewable Power, based in Ireland. [Renewables Now]

¶ South Africa’s Khobab and Loeriesfontein wind farms began their 20-year commercial operations, the firm spearheading the projects Lekela Power has announced. Lekela Power said that the 280-MW wind farms will help power 240,000 households in South African. The projects’ 122 turbines are located in Northern Cape province. [cce online news]

Wind turbines

¶ French state-controlled utility EDF said it plans to speed up its roll-out of solar energy in France to help the government’s fight against climate change. EDF’s chief executive Jean-Bernard Levy said the utility and associated investors will put about €25 billion into development 30 GW of solar capacity in France between 2020 and 2035. []

¶ After spending tens of billions of euros each year, German emissions have decreased much slower than the EU average between 2000 and 2016. EU average reduction was almost 15%, while Germany managed around 10%, almost a third slower. The main reason for this is the accelerated shutdown of nuclear power. [Energy Collective]

Canal at a nuclear plant (Assenmacher, Wikimedia Commons)


¶ The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is highlighting how greenhouse-gas emissions in Iowa dropped for the second year in a row, primarily with decreasing power plant emissions. This includes notable increases in windpower and decreases in the use of coal. GHG emissions statewide decreased 9% from their peak in 2007. [North American Windpower]

¶ Two large solar-powered generating plants were dedicated near Las Vegas. Together, the power plants are designed to generate the equivalent amount of electricity to meet the needs of 46,000 Nevada homes, according to a company statement. The 179-MW output will be used by Switch plants, however, in Reno and Las Vegas. [Danbury News Times]

Solar array north of Las Vegas (Photo: Michael Quine, AP)

¶ South Carolina Electric and Gas announced last week that it had reached its state-mandated goal of building 42 MW of utility-scale solar capacity by 2020 three years ahead of schedule. Before SCE&G breaks its arm patting itself on the back, however, it should be noted that 42 MW is an exceedingly modest goal. [pv magazine USA]

¶ The parent company of South Carolina Electric & Gas Co is offering the site of a failed nuclear reactor project to the state-owned utility Santee Cooper. SCANA has proposed giving the Fairfield County site to Santee Cooper so the project could be preserved and perhaps finished at some point in the future, The State newspaper reported. [Charleston Post Courier]

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December 11 Energy News

December 11, 2017


¶ “Canada Is Ready To Be a Global Environmental Leader Using Blockchain” • Blockchain technology could not have arrived at a better time. It can enable developing nations to leapfrog developed nations and with the recent quickly falling prices in solar and wind power, a future of renewable power grids is coming fast. [Coinsquare Discover]

Moraine Lake

¶ “ITER fusion project lies about the dates, budget and power levels” • The expected cost of the nuclear fusion project risen from $5 billion to $20 billion. The timeline for operation at full power was moved from 2016 to 2027. But it looks like they will not even be able to complete the deuterium and tritium experiments by 2035. [Next Big Future]

¶ “Footing The $9 Trillion Renewable Bill” • Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimated that zero-carbon power generation is expected to attract $9 trillion of investment from now to 2040. Who will foot the bill? Basically, the money is out there, it just needs to be realigned to the demand for investment in renewable energy. []

Renewable energy


¶ Solar & Benefit, a Bulgarian renewable power developer, signed a memorandum of understanding to expand solar PV systems in the Iranian city of Jahrom. The company intends to develop power projects in Iran with a total output capacity of 400 MW in collaboration with Grass Group, a German solar energy EPC contractor. [Financial Tribune]

¶ Construction on Australia’s first utility-scale wind, solar, and energy storage hybrid project to be connected to the national grid is about to start near the town of Hughenden, in northwest Queensland. The A$160 million ($120 million) park includes 43 MW of wind, 15 MW of solar on single-axis trackers, and two lithium-ion batteries. [PV-Tech]

Kennedy Energy Park (Winlab image)

¶ A call to action, signed by some of the world’s most prominent economists, urges wealth fund managers, professional financiers, and all investors to stop investing in businesses that extract, process, distribute, manufacture, and sell fossil fuel products, including any form of oil, gas, or coal, to generate power. [Sputnik International]

¶ Power company Top Energy, in New Zealand’s Far North district, has let the contracts for the expansion of its Ngawha geothermal power plant. It has awarded the Ngawha drilling contract to Iceland Drilling. The project worth $176 million will almost double the capacity of the 28-MW station near Kaikohe. [Radio New Zealand]

Ngawha power plant (Photo: Top Energy)

¶ Clean energy, including nuclear power and renewable energy, is expected to exceed coal in China’s electricity generating capacity in about ten years, a senior official in the National Energy Administration said. China’s installed capacity of clean energy has reached 660 GW, while installed thermal power capacity stood at 900 GW. []

¶ More than 8 in 10 South Australians want increased SA solar farm investment, according to a survey by the Sunday Mail. And 64% say solar panel installation should be compulsory on newly constructed homes. Around 62.5% of participants also want more wind farms, the survey shows. More than 4,000 people took part in the study. [Energy Matters]

Solar Farm

¶ A unit of China Three Gorges Corp. is building a ¥1 billion (£113 million, $150 million) floating solar power plant, the world’s biggest, in the nation’s eastern province of Anhui. China Three Gorges New Energy started building the 150-MW project in July. The entire facility is expected to come online by May 2018. [The Independent]

¶ The One Planet Summit currently taking place in Paris is bringing together the President of France, the President of the World Bank Group, and the UN Secretary-General, and many other leaders. It aims to mobilize new announcements of bold projects and substantial financial commitments to combat climate change. [UN Environment]

Sunrise (Pixabay image)

¶ Australia’s emissions over the past year were the highest on record, when relatively unreliable emissions from land use are excluded, according to estimates by the carbon consultancy NDEVR Environmental. The Climate Council called on the government to end what it called “climate censorship,” because it has failed release data. [The Guardian]


¶ Missouri’s utility regulators are reviewing outdated rules on customer-owned solar power and other distributed energy sources. Commissions have been playing catch-up in other states, and the experience of two of them shows there is no guarantee the resulting policies are more favorable for renewable power. [Midwest Energy News]

Rooftop solar

¶ Months after putting the project on hold, the backers of the Vermont Green Line have pulled the plug on their proposal for a power cable under Lake Champlain. The estimated $650 million project ran afoul of concerns that Vermont’s grid wasn’t prepared to handle the quantity of electricity the cable was slated to carry. []

¶ The US  DOE approved Georgia Power’s new agreement with Toshiba to complete the $3.2 billion in payments for the $19-billion Vogtle nuclear expansion project. Of the total parent guarantees, Georgia Power will receive about $1.4 billion. Toshiba is the parent company of Westinghouse Electric, the project’s bankrupt contractor. [Energy Business Review]

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December 10 Energy News

December 10, 2017


¶ “Utahns won’t benefit from more oil and gas production – just the companies that operate here” • The Trump administration’s retrograde policies to increase fossil fuel subsidies will damage our air, land, water and public health. Trump’s Energy, EPA, and Interior directors are moving to further privilege coal, gas and oil with taxpayer money. [Salt Lake Tribune]

Oil well on public land (Josh Ewing | Friends of Cedar Mesa)

¶ “India faces painful move to cleaner energy” • Hundreds of millions of people in India are forced to live with the fallout of the dirtiest fuels. It is not just air pollution that is killing people and animals. Coal waste is getting into fields and causing underground fires. The government blames a lack of funds to pay for greener power. [The Straits Times]

Science and Technology:

¶ The worst-case predictions regarding the effects of global warming are the most likely to be true, a new study published in Nature has warned. It said that if emissions follow a commonly used business-as-usual scenario, there is a 93% per cent chance that global warming will exceed 4°C by the end of this century. [Atlanta Journal Constitution]

Pollution (AP Photo | Andy Wong, File | for the AJC)

¶ A bio-battery powered by bacteria could one day be used for wearable electronics, and your sweat could power it. Researchers from Binghamton University, State University of New York have developed a textile-based, bacteria-powered bio-battery, that stretches and twists like a piece of fabric, so it could be worn as part of clothes. [Newsweek]


¶ India’s ultra-mega solar project will be up for discussion at the One Planet Summit in France this week, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim has said. The ultra-mega solar power projects, also known as ultra mega solar parks, are a series of solar power projects planned by India to increase its capacity from 20,000 MW to 40,000 MW. [The Hans India]

Ultra-mega solar project

¶ Renewable energy developer Maoneng Australia said it has landed the biggest ever power purchase agreement for solar power in Australia, as part of AGL’s plans to replace the ageing Liddell coal generator with renewables and storage in 2022. It signed a 15-year PPA with AGL for 800,000 MWh of renewable energy per year. [RenewEconomy]

¶ The renewable energy sectors of Ivory Coast and Morocco have received boosts to further develop their planned projects. The African Development Bank approved $324 million in loans to support renewable energy projects in these two countries, which are expected to increase power supplies significantly and keep economic growth on track. [ESI Africa]

Noor phase 1 solar thermal plant (AfDB image)

¶ Laos can build hydroelectric dams, but will not do so without foreign investment. Vietnam is currently the only neighboring country which has high demand for electricity and is a potential importer. There are problems with the arrangement, however, as Vietnamese officials are reluctant to have dams installed on the Mekong River. [VietNamNet Bridge]

¶ Japan is reviewing future energy sources as climate advocates call on the government to enable easier access to the grid for the renewables sector. Renewables, including solar and hydropower, are projected to make up between 22% and 24% of the energy mix in 2030, an official blueprint says, and that needs to be increased, according to the advocates. [MENAFN.COM]

Signs on a wall

¶ With the energy increasingly a key factor in the geopolitical relation, the US Federal Electricity Regulatory Commission expressed its interest in updating a 2009 agreement with India on enhancing energy cooperation. The agreement identifies energy-related issues and agendas for exchange of information and regulatory practices. [Economic Times]


¶ Devastating wildfires fueled by climate change are “the new normal,” California Governor Jerry Brown said. He continued, “We’re facing a new reality in this state,” and said they could happen “every year or every few years.” He made the comments after surveying damage from a 180-square mile fire in Ventura County, north of Los Angeles. [BBC News]

Thomas fire in Ventura County (Photo: AFP | Getty Images)

¶ Energy Secretary Rick Perry proposed subsidizing coal-fired and nuclear power plants to compensate them for the reliable energy they provide to the nation’s grid. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which Perry directed to study the issue, is scheduled to deliver a decision on the proposed rule on Monday, but asked for more time. [Financial Tribune]

¶ Colorado Springs’ Martin Drake power plant is the least efficient coal plant in the state, according to a study conducted by the Applied Economic Clinic at Tufts University, but the plant has also seen its energy output drop significantly in the past decade. One issue cited by the study was the lack of information from the owners. [KRDO]

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December 9 Energy News

December 9, 2017


¶ “A Spectacle At The Coliseum – US To Hold Public Climate Change Debate As Soon As January, EPA Head Says” • Scott Pruitt announced that the EPA may launch a “public climate debate.” So, spectacle and entertainment worthy of ancient Rome will be used to distract the people from actual discussion of the issues threatening our civilization. [CleanTechnica]

Coliseum, a theater of distraction

¶ “Solar and Wind Power Face Serious Threats From the Trump Administration” • Less than a year into President Trump’s time in office, clean energy developers face a slew of unanticipated threats from the White House and Republicans in Congress that could slow the industry’s growth in ways unimaginable just a year ago. [TIME]

¶ “No stabilization without flexibilization” • Power networks need more and different sources of flexibility to maintain a safe and stable system of operations. This is the main point of the report “Flexibility in the Power System – The need, opportunity and value of flexibility” released by Dutch consultancy DVN GL. [pv magazine International]

Transmission lines (Photo: Flickr | Gavin Fordham)

Science and Technology:

¶ The melting of the Arctic region will very possibly result in a further drying out of California, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Communications. Warming of the Arctic will produce high-pressure atmospheric ridges in the Northern Pacific off of the coast of California, steering storms towards Canada and Alaska. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Eighteen-year-old Ethan Novek has invented a CO2 capture technology that could capture CO2 at about $10 per metric ton – around 85% less than the industry standard. It works by reacting the exhaust gases at a fossil fuel plant with ammonia. Water and CO2 react with the ammonia to form a salt, which can the be used industrially. [Inhabitat]

Emitting CO2 and other pollutants


¶ Eurelectric represents the interests of 3,500 electric companies all across the European continent on major issues. Its members create more than €200 billion in revenue each year. Its members agreed unanimously to commit to an ambitious program of making all electricity generated in Europe carbon neutral by 2050. It will save them money. [CleanTechnica]

¶ AGL has confirmed it will close its Liddell coal-fired power plant, replacing it with a mix of renewable sources. The decision serves as an embarrassment to Australia’s Coalition Government, which had publicly and privately pressured AGL’s CEO, Andy Vesey, either to sell the plant or keep it open for another five years. [The Guardian]

Liddell coal-fired plant (Photo: Jonny Weeks | Guardian)


¶ A new chairman was sworn in on December 7 at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. With Kevin McIntyre’s swearing-in, the FERC panel has five members and can vote on issues. He will lead the agency as it considers a directive from the Trump administration to subsidize ailing coal and nuclear power plants. [E&P]

¶ Nevada is now the nation’s number one producer of both solar and geothermal power per capita. Speaking at the ninth annual National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, a Republican, said “$734 million in incentives has attracted a return of $7 billion in capital investments, payroll, and taxes paid.” [HuffPost]

Las Vegas rooftop (Photo: Ballonboy101, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Massachusetts has awarded $20 million in grants to 26 projects designed to grow the state’s energy storage market. Governor Charlie Baker’s administration doubled the available funding from the initial $10 million commitment. The awarded projects will benefit 25 communities and draw in $32 million in matching funds. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ CleanTechnica reported that Anheuser-Busch had placed the largest pre-order yet for Tesla’s new Semi Trucks, with 40 units being reserved. Then, on the following day, Sysco Corporation, one of the world’s largest food service distribution firms, announced that it has reserved 50 units of the upcoming Tesla Semi Truck. [CleanTechnica]

Tesla Semi event

¶ As far back as a dozen years ago, when gas supplied less than 40% of Florida’s electricity, then-Governor Jeb Bush said utilities needed to stop depending so heavily on it. The state, which has abundant sunshine, must import gas from elsewhere. Florida’s power providers and state regulators, however, are doubling down on the strategy of buying gas. [Florida Today]

¶ Open water in the Arctic causes rapidly elevating temperatures in Arctic areas because water is absorbs heat faster than ice. The effect is particularly strong between October and December, a time that used to have sea ice, but now often does not. Octobers in Utqiaġvik are now nearly 8° warmer than Octobers in the 1980s and ’90s. [Grist]

Barrow, Alaska (David L Ryan | The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

¶ The Boston University Board of Trustees voted to pass the BU Bold Climate Action Plan. It commits the university to 100% renewable electricity by 2018 and net zero carbon emissions by 2040. It would quickly scale up increasing energy efficiency, transitioning to renewable energy, and improving the resilience of the campus. [Environment America]

¶ New Jersey lawmakers are exploring legislation after the state’s biggest utility warned that its nuclear reactors are at risk of being shut down in the next two years without a “safety net” because they’ll be unable to cover their costs. Nuclear power accounts for almost half of the electricity generated in New Jersey. [BloombergQuint]

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December 8 Energy News

December 8, 2017


¶ Total Gas & Power and Reactive Technologies believe they can maximize the value of solar through a hybrid power purchase agreement that exploits flexibility markets. The companies say their ‘Enhanced PPA’ gives solar generators scope both to secure long-term revenues for their output, but also additional income by using flexibility opportunities. [The Energyst]

Solar array at sunset

¶ With a more ambitious energy development plan, Thailand’s share of renewable energy in total final energy consumption could surpass its national target by a quarter and reach more than 37% by 2036, according to a new report published by the International Renewable Energy Agency and the Ministry of Energy of Thailand. []

¶ More than half of the European Union’s 619 coal-fired power stations are losing money, according to a new report from the analysts Carbon Tracker. As a result, the industry’s slow plans for shutdowns will lead to €22 billion ($25.8 billion) in losses by 2030 if the EU fulfills its pledge to tackle climate change, the report warns. [The Guardian]

Coal-fired plant in Germany (Photo: Sascha Steinbach | EPA)

¶ Alberta’s minister of environment and parks, announced a plan to adopt an output-based allocation system for large emitters in Alberta. The a move is applauded by the Canadian Wind Energy Association, which point out that the plan supports Alberta’s efforts to move to zero-carbon wind energy and other renewable generation. [North American Windpower]

¶ At its national conference in London, the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association, a trade body in the UK, launched a voluntary, industry-led scheme to support operators of AD plants to improve their operational, environmental, and health and safety performance, especially in terms of energy generation and digestate quality. [FarmingUK]

Biogas facility

¶ Dumfries and Galloway Council’s planning committee has given consent to two wind farms in Scotland totaling 66.4 MW. Element Power has received approval for the 40.8-MW Windy Rig wind farm north of Carsphairn, while Muirhall Energy has the go-ahead for the 25.6-MW Loganhead project northwest of Langholm. [reNews]

¶ Hitachi could stop funding development of a new nuclear plant on Anglesey unless the government agrees to a viable financial support package by the middle of next year, the head of the project has warned. He said the plant’s Japanese owners had already spent £2 billion and needed some certainty it can get to a successful conclusion. [The Times]

Wylfa Newydd nuclear plant (Christopher Furlong | Getty Images)


¶ A judge of the US District Court for the District of Columbia issued several orders concerning the Dakota Access pipeline. They address the possibility of a spill like the recent 200,000 gallons of oil lost by the Keystone pipeline. One order instructed the Army Corps of Engineers and Dakota Access to increase their pipeline monitoring. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Wildfires are raging just north of Los Angeles, destroying whole communities just a short drive from the city’s downtown area. The fires consume everything in their path and only go out when they reach the Pacific Ocean. Commuters accustomed to massive traffic jams on the Highway 101 are now forced to run a gauntlet of flames. [CleanTechnica]

Early morning commute in California (Rick Patrick, Twitter)

¶ Coal accounts for nearly 80% of the power generated by PPL Corp, based in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The company has issued a climate assessment saying that coal will provide about 10% by mid-century. The decline will be caused by market forces. The company now vows to use more distributed energy and cleaner-burning fuels. [Forbes]

¶ Anheuser-Busch, a company known for its popular beer brand Budweiser, has ordered 40 units of the recently unveiled Tesla Semi Truck, representatives have announced. Anheuser-Busch reps said the reason for the relatively large order is to help the company in its efforts to reduce fueling costs and to reduce its emissions. [CleanTechnica]

Tesla Semi (Tesla image)

¶ The Platte River Power Authority, the electricity provider for the Colorado communities of Fort Collins, Loveland, Estes Park and Longmont, unveiled details about what could be the most affordable way to carbon neutrality. Members of the Platte River board said they were pleasantly surprised by the costs of carbon neutral electricity. [The Coloradoan]

¶ The latest confirmed initiative for power restoration in Puerto Rico is a donation of 6 MW of batteries from AES, which has suggested microgrids and large-scale solar could be the answer to long term stability issues. Other companies including Tesla, Sonnen, and Tabuchi America have made equipment and labor donations. [Energy Storage News]

Radar imagery of Hurricane Maria over Puerto Rico

One way to one help the people of Puerto Rico is to
donate at [
Sunnyside Solar’s crowdfunding website].

¶ BART, the rapid transportation system in the San Francisco Bay area, will soon be powered almost entirely by renewable energy. The system will be 90% powered by wind, solar, and other renewables by 2021, after the BART Board of Directors approved two 20-year renewable energy power purchase agreements. [San Francisco Examiner]

¶ FuelCell Energy, based in Danbury, Connecticut, will enter into carbon negative territory under an agreement with Toyota. A fuel cell plant, which will be installed and operated by FuelCell Energy at the Port of Long Beach in California, will also generate renewable power to be sold to the grid under a tariff program. [Danbury News Times]

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December 7 Energy News

December 7, 2017


¶ “Rebuilding Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands: Better energy infrastructure is key” • For two members of congress, the main takeaway from the trip to US territories in the Caribbean is that the federal government’s effort to help fellow Americans who live there needs to be sustained for months, or even years, to come. [The Hill]

Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria (Getty Images)

One way to one help the people of Puerto Rico is to
donate at [
Sunnyside Solar’s crowdfunding website].

¶ “One Trump Buzzword to Seal Fate of $700 Billion Power Trade” • The Trump administration has a plan to achieve what it calls “resiliency”: Keep money-losing coal and nuclear plants running. But almost every other corner of the energy industry, including the $700 billion utility sector, is heading in another direction. [Bloomberg]


¶ The Italian region of Tuscany gets about 40% of its electricity from geothermal power plants with expected further increase in the coming years. The region consumes just under 21,000 GWh of electricity, about 16,000 GWh of which are produced within Tuscany. About 53% of the region’s electricity is coming from renewable sources. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

Florence (Photo: flickr | Maëlick, creative commons)

¶ The Moray Council has backed a development that could transform an abandoned airfield in northern Scotland into one of Europe’s biggest solar farms. Elgin Energy wants to cover the Milltown Airfield with about 200,000 solar panels. Moray’s attraction is due to its long summer days, the result of its being so far north. [Energy Voice]

¶ Iran’s Industrial Development & Renovation Organization  agreed with the Chinese Sunshine company and Hong Kong-based Konda Industry Co Ltd, to invest in a fully automated solar panel production project. Iran will have a 30% share in the company, while the rest will be equally divided between the other two companies. [Caspian News]

Large solar array

¶ West Australia’s Horizon Power has become the first major Australian utility to embrace the idea of “base-cost renewables.” The idea is to build the grid up from the base with installations of inexpensive renewables, then add storage and other smart technologies such as demand response and energy efficiency to fill in the gaps. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Thai company Wind Energy Holdings has borrowed $1.14 billion from Siam Commercial Bank to fund five onshore wind farms in the country. This huge financing will see the projects come online by the first quarter of 2019 and will significantly increase the 270 MW of energy the company is currently generating in Thailand. [Global Trade Review]

Wind turbines at sunrise

¶ General Electric Co is planning to cut 12,000 jobs in its power business, with most of the cuts happening outside the US, a person familiar with the matter said. The manufacturer has been hit hard by flagging demand for electricity generated with natural gas, in part due to a shift toward power from renewable sources. [BloombergQuint]


¶ In 2015, the Missouri Auto Dealers Association sued to prevent the Missouri Department of Revenue allowing Tesla to sell its automobiles directly to consumers. The most recent ruling came an appeals court, which rebuked MADA, saying it looked more like a competitor seeking to avoid competition than a defender of the public interest. [CleanTechnica]

Tesla store in Texas

¶ The Energy Information Administration’s “Electric Power Monthly” report of December 1 had good news for renewable energy sources. Renewable electricity production increased by 14.69% in the first three quarters of 2017 as compared to a year previously. Electricity generation from fossil fuels and nuclear power declined by 5.41%. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Cincinnati has entered a contract with Dynegy to purchase 100% renewable electricity for most of its municipal facilities, starting next month and running through at least 2021. The green electricity will power police and fire stations, health clinics, recreations centers and most administrative buildings including city hall. [Smart Cities Dive]


¶ For the past 40 years, the electricity sector of the US economy has been the biggest source of carbon emissions. But according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, that distinction now belongs to transportation. It is not that emissions from transportation are rising; they are not. It is that emissions from the electricity sector are falling. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Pacific Gas & Electric submitted six energy storage contracts, totaling 165 MW, to the California Public Utilities Commission for approval as part of its efforts to meet the state-mandated goal of adding 580 MW of storage by 2020. If these contracts are approved, PG&E will have already reached 42% of its energy-storage goal. [pv magazine International]

Storage at the Imperial Irrigation District

¶ Vermont Gas has announced that it is now generating its own renewable energy, thanks to nearly 100 solar panels it installed on its South Burlington Offices. The project, which is part of the Company’s commitment to sustainability, will allow the natural gas provider to produce clean energy and help contribute to a clean energy future. []

¶ Massachusetts House Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Chairman Thomas A Golden Jr took a tour of Greenfield. At the town hall, Energy and Sustainability Director Carole Collins and Mayor William Martin outlined the success of the town’s aggregation program, which is green and saved $208,000 in the first half of this year. [The Recorder]

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December 6 Energy News

December 6, 2017


¶ “South Australia’s battery is massive, but it can do much more besides” • The battery Tesla installed in South Australia has two systems. One has 70 MW of output capacity to provide grid stability and system security, for periods up to 10 minutes. The other has 30 MW, but can provide hours of storage to back up the Hornsdale wind farm. [Sun & Wind Energy]

South Australia (Tim phillips photos, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Costs of White House Bailout of Coal and Nukes: 27,000 Early Deaths, $263 Billion” • The Trump administration’s scheme to make utility customers subsidize coal and nuclear power plants would result in 27,000 premature deaths and a net cost of $263 billion by 2045, according to projections by independent researchers. [EcoWatch]

Science and Technology:

¶ Researchers at the University of Limerick discovered that glycine is a piezoelectric material. This means it can generate electricity in response to pressure, and vice versa. A common material, it can be made at less than 1% of the cost of currently used piezoelectric materials, which often contain toxic elements such as lead or lithium. []

Dollop of hair gel made from glycerine (Wikipedia)


¶ Europe’s biggest utility is betting on an Italian green power renaissance to lift business. Enel SpA expects Italy’s new national energy strategy to reverse a decline in green power generation by encouraging companies to help meet ambitious new goals, according to Antonio Cammisecra, the CEO of the utility’s renewables unit. [BloombergQuint]

¶ Tesla just built and installed the world’s largest battery, with 129 MWh of grid storage, in South Australia. Now Hyundai says it intends to build and install a battery that will be 50% larger than the South Australia facility near Ulsan on the southeast coast of South Korea. It is scheduled for completion in February of next year. [CleanTechnica]

Projected grid storage battery costs

¶ Biofuel firm Bio-Bean and oil giant Royal Dutch Shell have inked a partnership that will see the iconic double-decker London buses powered by biofuel generated from waste coffee grounds. A demonstration project set up by Bio-bean will supply 6,000 liters or 1,583 gallons of fuel for tests. Coffee grounds are about 20% oil. [TechNewsObserver]

¶ Europe’s electricity industry national associations and major power companies under the auspices of Eurelectric have committed to achieving carbon-neutral electricity in the EU “well before mid-century.” The commitment is part of Eurelectric’s long-term vision for the electricity industry in Europe, which was launched today. [reNews]

Wind farm (Pixabay image)

¶ Enel Green Power has been awarded a series of contracts to build four wind power plants in Mexico for a total cost of $700 million. Each of the projects will be supported by a contract to supply energy over a 15-year period to Mexico’s Cámara de Compensación. The power plants will have a combined capacity of 593 MW. [KHL Group]

¶ The authors of a report from Imperial College London’s Energy Futures Lab and the climate change charity 10:10 found that electric railways could be powered by subsidy-free solar power. Solar panels connected directly to the substations that provide power to the rail system could bypass the electricity grid altogether, they said. [Imperial College London]

PV powering a train

¶ India’s civil aviation ministry envisions generating 200 MW of solar power at airports in the country. The target is to achieve the 200 MW goal within five to six years, according to the Civil Aviation Minister, who spoke at the commissioning of a 15-MW solar system at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport. []

¶ France will reduce the share of nuclear energy in its electricity mix “as soon as possible,” French junior environment minister Brune Poirson said, although she did not give a target date. Last month, the French government dropped a legal target set by the previous government to reduce the share of nuclear to 50% by 2025, from 75% today. []

Cooling towers


¶ Exxon Mobil Corp urged Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to block the state’s attorney general from obtaining records to investigate whether the company concealed knowledge of the role fossil fuels have on climate change. An Exxon attorney told the court that the attorney general had no jurisdiction to seek the records. [Stabroek News]

¶ The US Department of the Interior approved the replacement lease at the Navajo Generating Station. It officially sets a firm retirement date. NGS, the largest coal-fired power plant in the West, will retire in December 2019. The Navajo Nation and the owners of NGS had agreed in June on terms to retire NGS in 2019. [White Mountain Independent]

Navajo Generating Station

¶ The city of Denton, Texas, wants to sell its stake in the Gibbons Creek coal-fired power plant, which it owns jointly with three other cities. At the same time, the city is planing to increase its investment in renewable energy sources. In addition, Denton is investing more than $200 million in a new gas-fired generation plant. [Denton Record Chronicle]

¶ The Borough of Manhattan Community College recently became Manhattan’s largest public PV facility, when New York Power Authority workers installed 947 solar panels on a vertical cooling tower enclosure and flat lower roof of BMCC’s main building. Now permits are pending for onsite solar power storage in two 100-kWh. [Daily Energy Insider]

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December 5 Energy News

December 5, 2017


¶ “Senate Tax Bill Threatens Clean Energy & Public Health, Pays Fossil Fuel Industry To Wreak Environmental Havoc” • Senate Republicans passed their $1.5 trillion Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. It is a hastily written that will increase the country’s deficit by as much as $1 trillion. It also threatens the country’s renewable energy industry. [CleanTechnica]

Creating environmental havoc

¶ “Three Reasons Why Renewable Energy Leaders Are Optimistic” • At Green Tech Media’s US Power and Renewables Summit, utility company executives, financiers, renewable energy developers, and regulators shared their research and different experiences of the rapidly evolving renewable energy industry. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

Science and Technology:

¶ Dr Joanne Chory, a biologist from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and HHMI, created a type of plant infused with a compound called suberin that she says can cut CO2 in the atmosphere by 50% if just 5% of the planet’s cultivable ground planted them. Her study is on changing plants to modify the way they work. [International Business Times UK]

Farmland (Reuters image)


¶ A decision to build a natural gas generating plant in Norway created such an uproar that the government was forced to specify the use of carbon capture technology to placate the voters. It opened in 2007, but it was so uneconomical to run that by 2014 it was shut down. Now it is being dismantled, its $240 million investment wasted. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Berlin (Germany) and China are working with nature to create sponge cities that absorb rainwater and cool the city. Even without the challenges of climate change, cities would do well to consider the benefits of imitating natural ecosystems to cool down and store rainwater, a precious resource. With climate change, they are essential. [CleanTechnica]

Yanweizhou Park in Jinhua, eastern China (via Turenscape)

¶ French utilities company Engie will ditch natural gas as a power source by 2050, opting instead for biogas, and renewable hydrogen to fulfill its green goals, according to a new report by Reuters. Engie has 70 biogas projects around the world, with just over half of them in France. The company has more projects lined up for development. []

¶ A report from the UK development company Crown Agents concluded that 2018 will be the year solar hits its commercial tipping point, resulting in a dramatic drop-off in price and making the technology viable for a billion people. It would open the door to save developing countries up to 80% by switching to solar from diesel and petrol. [CleanTechnica]

Solar power in South Africa

¶ German renewable energy asset operator Capital Stage has acquired a pipeline of PV projects in the Netherlands. The two facilities are located in Melissant and Ooltgensplaat in the province of South Holland, and have an output of 10 MW and 37.6 MW respectively. They are expected to be connected to the grid in October 2018. [pv magazine International]

¶ Italy could see over 400 MW of new PV capacity installed this year, for its best PV growth in the past four years. During that time new PV additions ranged between 300 MW and 350 MW. So far this year, newly installed PV capacity was 352 MW, a result that represented 12% growth from the same period last year. [pv magazine International]

A residential PV system in Italy

¶ Israeli Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resources Dr Yuval Steinitz spoke today at the Israel Energy and Business Convention at the Kfar Maccabiah Hotel in Ramat Gan, presenting his long-term vision for the energy sector in the country. “By 2030, Israel will no longer use any gasoline or coal,” he said. [Globes]


¶ California might be known the world over as a clean energy leader, but information from the US Energy Information Administration, highlighted by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said the award for cleanest state in the country goes to Iowa, and they’ve done it without the aggressive clean energy policies California is famous for. [CleanTechnica]

US Clean Energy Mix (Please click on the image to enlarge it)

¶ A bill calling for a 2030 energy storage target in New York state was signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the Long Island Power Authority will administer the creation of the energy storage deployment program. The governor also called for more research on EVs. [Renewables Now]

¶ A survey of 600 Tennessee voters found 81% of respondents want Tennessee to increase its use of solar power, and 88% said they would use more solar energy if it was available at the same or lower price. By better than a 7-to-1 margin, the want to be able to buy power from other sources than the Tennessee Valley Authority. [Chattanooga Times Free Press]

Solar array (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

¶ The Cape Wind project is dead. It envisioned 130 turbines to be built off the Massachusetts coast and would have been the first US offshore wind farm. It would also have appeared in the views from the Kennedy family’s estate and that of the Democratic family’s billionaire neighbor, William Koch, owner of a nearby 26-acre estate. [Fox News]

¶ Georgia utility watchdogs want to pull the plug on a pair of nuclear reactors being built near Augusta, dealing a fresh blow to the future of the American nuclear industry. Georgia’s regulatory staff say two partially built reactors at Plant Vogtle could be canceled like the VC Summer expansion project in South Carolina. [Charleston Post Courier]

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December 4 Energy News

December 4, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ Scientists have created a huge, yellow, doughnut-shaped device called “The Lifesaver,” which floats with the motion of the ocean. The device is full of gears, cables, and electronics, and it is in fact a wave energy converter. Wave energy converters are said to compare favorably with such renewable energy sources as wind or solar. [Business Recorder]


¶ From a wind farm off the coast of Scotland to a solar plant on a former coalmine in China, some record-breaking renewable energy schemes that have been built recently all have one thing in common: they float. As land becomes more expensive and planning consent for large-scale projects is more difficult to get, floating renewable projects are on the rise. [Real Views]

¶ For more than four years, McDonald’s has trying to find a way to produce “sustainable beef.” Now, the fast-food giant is setting out on a small but potentially significant project to measure and analyze the ability of cattle farming to sequester carbon in soil, using a style of grazing it has been researching called “adaptive multi-paddock.” [GreenBiz]

Carbon farming (Shutterstock | NagyDodo)


¶ In October this year Australia managed to install 100 MW of rooftop solar, a major milestone but still below the record set in June 2012, which was fueled by a rush to take advantage of a solar tariff before it was ended. Then last month the industry managed to install 120 MW, breaking the 2012 record without that tariff. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Indian consumers will be able to choose their power suppliers, after a proposed amendment to the existing Electricity Act is approved, the Power Minister said. The ministry will push an Electricity Amendment Bill that provides for separating the businesses supplying electricity from those that operate the distribution network. []

Indian power line workers

¶ Miners could drive down energy costs by up to 50% by use of effective energy management programs, a paper from Deloitte said. Renewables in Mining explores the role renewable energy sources play in the sector and how they can offer an operator a distinct competitive advantage while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. [Global Mining Review]

¶ The governments of South Australia and the City of Adelaide will prioritize the growth of electric vehicle use in fleets, in keeping with new agreement made as part of a commitment to achieving the goals of the Climate Action Roundtable, the state’s press office announced. The roundtable include leaders of other states and cities. [CleanTechnica]

Nissan Leaf (Photo by Kyle Field | CleanTechnica)

¶ Rooftop solar is reducing pressure on the Australian national grid and making demand response more attractive, a new audit reveals. And Australian states with higher levels of clean energy have lower wholesale prices. The news is made clear in an electricity update by the Australia Institute for October and November. [Energy Matters]

¶ The International Solar Alliance will become a treaty-based international intergovernmental organisation as a legal entity on December 6, 2017. The ISA was jointly launched, on November 30, 2015, by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Francois Hollande, who was then President of France, on the side lines of COP21 in Paris. [EnergyInfraPost]

Solar parking canopy

¶ Over the past week, batteries in households of the Australian Capital Territory have fed their stored energy into the grid as part of a trial virtual power plant run by ActewAGL Distribution and Reposit Power. During the event, the virtual power plant trials allowed consumers to participate in the National Electricity Market. [The RiotACT]

¶ UK Ministers are expected to back the first generation of small nuclear power stations in Britain with tens of millions of pounds this week, in an attempt to give the UK a competitive edge on the technology and provide what they hope to be a source of clean power. Rolls-Royce and a number of other companies have been lobbying for the support. [The Guardian]

Hinkley Point C Construction (Photo: Bloomberg via Getty Images)


¶ In 2016, the Arizona Corporations Commission approved a plan of electric utility Salt River Project to charge extra fees for its customers with rooftop solar systems. SolarCity claims those fees are an illegal attempt to limit competition and are therefore prohibited by antitrust laws. The case will be going before the Supreme Court. [CleanTechnica]

¶ For the fourth time in five years, custom home builder BPC Green Builders, based in Wilton, Connecticut, received the US DOE’s 2017 Housing Innovation Award in the Custom Homes for Buyers category. The awards recognize builders in the DOE’s Zero Energy Ready Home program who innovate in energy efficiency. [The Wilton Bulletin]

BPC Green Builders’s award-winning colonial in Clinton, NY

¶ The Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission has approved regulations for solar arrays with battery-storage systems. The rules only apply to solar arrays of 25 kW or less that connect to the power grid using a net-metering billing process. Solar and battery titan Tesla Inc has already indicated that it wants to amend the new rules. [ecoRI news]

¶ Borrego Springs, California, is a quaint town of about 3,400 people in the Anza-Borrego Desert, about 90 miles east of San Diego. Summers temperatures are often above 100°, and power losses can threaten lives. In the past, the town has suffered from frequent power outages, but today, Borrego Springs has its own microgrid. [InsideClimate News]

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December 3 Energy News

December 3, 2017


¶ “Use solar panels and batteries to put the power back in your hands” • Australia’s power bills have increasingly become a threat to household budgets. From 2008 to 2016, power prices in Victoria and New South Wales more than doubled. Now, many Australians are looking to solar power to reduce, or even to end, electric grid reliance. [Brisbane Times]

Australian Peter Youll with a Tesla battery that paid for
itself before the warranty ran out (Photo: Louie Douvis)

Science and Technology:

¶ Because no two automated driving technologies are exactly alike, the Society for Automotive Engineers International issued standard J3016 in 2014. It outlined 6 levels of automation for automakers, suppliers, and policymakers to use to classify a system’s sophistication. Here is an explanation of what the levels of mean. [CleanTechnica]


¶ China has launched the first all-electric cargo ship. According to China Daily, the 230 foot long vessel is equipped with a 2,400 kWh lithium-ion battery that stores enough electrical energy to transport 2200 tons of cargo a distance of 50 miles on a single charge at a top speed of about 8 miles per hour. It will be used to transport coal on the Pearl River. [CleanTechnica]

Electric cargo ship (China News)

¶ Saudi-based Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector and Shobak Wind Energy signed agreements for $26 million of financing to partly fund the construction of a 45-MW wind farm in Jordan, 160 km south of capital Amman. The project will deploy 13 wind turbines supplied by Vestas Wind Systems. [Ammon News]

¶ Taiwan’s central government is building a power grid on an island in the Penghu Archipelago to generate wind and solar energy. It will serve as a model for other island communities. The government hopes to have as much as 45% of Qimei Township’s electricity generated from renewable energy sources by 2019. [Focus Taiwan News Channel]

Wind turbines on Taiwan (Photo: courtesy of Taiwan Power Co)

¶ Last year, Vietnam abandoned plans to build the country’s first nuclear power plants with Japanese and Russian assistance. This was not due to cost, but rather because of heightened concern over nuclear energy in the wake of events such as the Fukushima nuclear disaster, former President Truong Tan Sang said in an interview. [The Mainichi]

¶ The television service of Yemen’s Houthis has claimed the group fired a cruise missile towards a nuclear power plant under construction in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates, though it provided no evidence. The UAE’s state-run news agency WAM denied the claim and said the country had air-defense systems that could protect it. [Daily Sabah]

Weapons bound for Yemen, intercepted by the US Navy
(Photo: Darby C. Dillon | US Navy, Wikimedia Commons)


¶ According to a report from the US Army Corps of Engineers, climate change will set off economic and environmental crises like nothing ever seen before across the 13-state region of the Ohio River. It will cause more frequent flooding, drought, and power failures in Kentucky, Indiana, and the rest of the Ohio River basin. [The Messenger]

¶ The tax bill passed by Republican senators elevates American fossil fuel production at the expense of renewable energy. The measures they approved included proposals to open the Arctic to oil and gas development, weaken investment incentives for solar and wind production, and end a big tax credit for new electric vehicles. [Los Angeles Times]

Solar installer (Keith Schneider | Los Angeles Times)

¶ All over the state, New Yorkers are experiencing the impacts of global climate change. Researchers at Cornell University project that summers in New York will increasingly see scorching high temperatures. State officials say the evidence supporting the idea that human activities cause global warming is overwhelming. [Plattsburgh Press Republican]

¶ Eversource customers are footing the bill for the company to pay $100 million over-market rate to buy energy from a biomass plant in Berlin, New Hampshire by 2020. But a spokeswoman for the plant’s manager said the 4-year-old Burgess BioPower plant provides more economic benefits than the cost of over-market rates. [The Union Leader]

Burgess BioPower plant in Berlin (Courtesy photo)

¶ A solar power initiative in America is putting communities at the heart of the renewable energy transition. GRID Alternatives is a non-profit that trains people on low incomes to install the solar technology themselves, for the communities they live in. The platform has just received a $500,000 grant from the Bank of America. [Innovators Magazine]

¶ Morningstar analysts broke with the pessimistic consensus on nuclear power this fall when they predicted the industry would not just hold its own against renewables and cheap natural gas, it might even grow up to 5%. They have changed their prediction, saying they had assumed the two new units at the VC Summer plant would be built. [Forbes]

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December 2 Energy News

December 2, 2017


¶ “Puerto Rico faces a long road to a sustainable future” • Puerto Rico suffered an estimated $94 billion or more in damage, on top of an already sagging economy and $74 billion in debt. Its need for a total reboot is the subject of an ongoing conversation among non-profits, academics and private companies on and off the island. [Phys.Org]

Rebuilding Puerto Rico (Credit: Wikipedia | Creative Commons)

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¶ “Climate policy innovation” • Instead of reducing emissions in the past five years, Vermont’s greenhouse-gas emissions have increased. Far from being on track to meet our goals, we are not even headed in the right direction. The release of an innovative new climate pricing policy brings hope to getting Vermont back on track. [Rutland Herald]

¶ “Defending Renewable Energy in New England” • The state renewable energy laws in New England provide numerous benefits and are key to the region’s efforts to combat climate change. Opponents seek to undermine these popular laws and prop up polluting energy instead, but NRDC has been pushing back. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

Block Island wind farm

¶ “Battery Storage Steals The Spotlight At Nuclear Power’s Birthday Party” • Nuclear power had its birthday bash, 75 years after the first manmade nuclear reaction. The CEO of Exelon, the nation’s largest nuclear operator, named energy storage the most promising technology of the future, one that could render nuclear power unnecessary. [Forbes]


¶ London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced his intentions to expand his city’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone standards to include London-wide buses, coaches, and lorries, and to expand the Zone to include North and South circular roads for all vehicles. London already has the T-Charge, a £10 Emissions Surcharge on the most-polluting vehicles [CleanTechnica]

Mayor Sadiq Khan

¶ Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy revealed that it was beginning construction on its first full-scale “Future Energy System – FES” at the Trimet SE aluminum smelter site in Hamburg-Altenwerder. The company has been working on R&D for thermal energy storage, specifically heating rock fill to store wind energy. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Executives from MHI Vestas and ESVAGT gathered at the Port of Oostende in Belgium to christen the Esvagt Mercator. It is the latest high-tech service vessel supporting Vestas offshore wind turbines in Belgian waters, including 50 turbines at Nobelwind, Belgium’s newest offshore wind park, and the 55 turbines at Belwind 1. [CleanTechnica]

Esvagt Mercator

¶ Germany has added 554 MW of new onshore wind capacity in October, the latest monthly data from the federal grid regulator showed. Onshore wind continues to boom with 4.5 GW added so far this year. Legacy projects are being rushed to come online ahead of further cuts to legacy feed-in-tariffs and a complete change to auctions in 2019. [Platts]

¶ As Kashmir falls short of around 700 MW during winters, with demand over 150% of capacity, a centrally sponsored scheme has been launched to address the problem. Under the scheme, customers can generate the electricity on their own and feed excess power into the power grid. Officials say the only other option is power cuts. [Free Press Kashmir]

Solar power in Kashmir

¶ Italian government-run renewable energy agency released a report that highlights a significant decrease in prices on the Italian Power Echange in 2016. Prices for solar and wind energy traded on the wholesale electricity market were, on average, lower than the average peak and off-peak wholesale power price. [pv magazine International]

¶ Elon Musk defied his doubters, beating a self-imposed 100-day deadline to install the world’s biggest battery in Australia. But he will probably relinquish that crown by February. South Korea’s Hyundai Electric & Energy Systems is building a 150-MW lithium-ion unit, 50% larger than Musk’s, and it will go live in three months. []

Tesla battery (Photo: AFP | Neoen| Getty Images)


¶ The Union of Concerned Scientists released a study that finds it is cheaper to drive an EV than a conventional car. It is about $770 a year cheaper, on average, with a range from $443 to $1,077 per year. The study looked at electricity prices in 50 metropolitan areas in the US and researched what off-peak rate plans were available. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the Olympic Regional Development Authority, and Borrego Solar announced the completion of Gore Mountain Ski Resort’s 5.3-MW solar array, about 90 miles north of Albany. NYSERDA said the project is the largest solar system dedicated to a US ski resort. [Solar Industry]

Snow making at Gore Mountain

¶ Leaders of Platte River Power Authority, an electricity provider in northern Colorado, are considering closing the Rawhide coal plant in 2030, 17 years ahead of schedule. PRPA is the power provider for of Fort Collins, Loveland, Longmont, and Estes Park. It will unveil paths toward nearly 100% clean electricity for the service area soon. [The Coloradoan]

¶ The coal-fired Pulliam Power Plant in Green Bay, Wisconsin, is expected to close next fall. The decision comes at a time where renewable energy is becoming cheaper. There has also been limited to no growth in electricity demand, according to WEC Energy Group, the parent company of the plant’s owner, Wisconsin Public Service. []

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December 1 Energy News

December 1, 2017


¶ “Burning wood under fire: Are forests going up our chimneys?” To meet the EU’s renewable energy target, countries have rediscovered wood as a fuel. But conservationists fear this new hunger for wood might have disastrous consequences for the forests, the people and the climate, as demand for wood drives deforestation. [Deutsche Welle]

Burning wood pellets

¶ “Denying the Truth Doesn’t Change the Facts” • Try as they may, clean energy innovation naysayers can’t change a simple truth: the cost of wind and solar power electrical power generation is plummeting and renewable energy is now cheaper than operating coal and nuclear power plants. It’s happening fast and there’s no stopping it. [HuffPost]


¶ The world’s leading oil exporting nations have agreed to extend production curbs by nine months. OPEC members were joined by non-members, led by Russia, in agreeing the output limits would continue until the end of 2018. The curbs have been in place for a year and have helped to push up the price of crude oil by about 30%. [BBC News]

Oil worker at a valve (Reuters image)

¶ Renewable energy will account for more than half of the UK’s electricity generation by 2025, according to a report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Driven in part by the falling cost of generating energy from wind and solar, the change will make balancing supply and demand increasingly important for the grid operators. [BCW]

¶ To support its ambitious plan to generate 40 GW of rooftop solar power by 2022, the Indian government is planning to launch a “rent a roof” policy, an Energy Ministry source said. Under the “rent a roof” policy, the developer will take rooftops on rent and will offer a lease to each household, and then feed the solar power to the grid. [CleanTechnica]

Rooftop solar in Punjab

¶ There will be about $3.1 trillion worth of climate investment opportunities by 2030 in India, a report by the International Finance Corporation says. India’s ambitious plans to meet its climate targets will result in investment in renewable energy, green buildings, transport infrastructure, electric vehicles, and climate-smart agriculture. [New Kerala]

¶ A plan for zero tolerance of plastic pollution of the oceans may be agreed by nations at a UN summit on the environment. Governments are being asked to move towards a legal treaty banning plastic waste from entering the sea. Experts say ocean plastics are an obvious subject for a global treaty because plastics present a large-scale threat. [BBC News]

Plastic pollution

¶ The Asian Renewable Energy Hub is a proposal for a wind and solar hybrid power plant in Western Australia to send electric power to Indonesia via undersea high voltage DC transmission cables. It is being developed by a team including CWP Energy Asia, InterContinental Energy, and Vestas to provide up to 6 GW of power. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ A German court has ruled that it will hear a Peruvian farmer’s case against energy giant RWE over climate change damage in the Andes. The decision is labelled by campaigners as a “historic breakthrough.” Farmer Saul Luciano Lliuya’s case against RWE was “well-founded,” the court in the north-western city of Hamm said. [The Guardian]

Saul Luciano Lliuya (Photo: Anthony Kwan | Getty Images)

¶ Google is officially off-setting 100% of its energy usage with either wind or solar power. The company signed contracts on three wind power plants in recent days to bring them over 3 GW of production capacity. Google has invested over $3.5 billion in energy infrastructure globally, with about two-thirds of that being in the US. [Electrek]

¶ The Hornsdale Power Reserve, Tesla’s 100-MW/129-MWh Powerpack system, started delivering power to the grid a day early. It is connected to the Hornsdale Wind Farm, South Australia’s biggest renewable generator. The Powerpack project cost roughly around $50 million and can power around 30,000 homes for one hour. [Inhabitat]

Hornsdale Power Reserve

¶ An image taken by an underwater robot shows corroded tubes stuck in a hole created by melted nuclear fuel in the pressure vessel of the No 3 reactor at Fukushima Daiichi. The image offers clues on the extent of the damage caused when fuel rods in the reactor melted through the bottom of the pressure vessel in March 2011. [Asahi Shimbun]


¶ Travel between O’Hare airport and downtown Chicago is an expensive and daunting task fraught with delays and congestion. Chicago would like to change all of that, making it possible to travel the distance in “twenty minutes or less.” Elon Musk has tweeted that The Boring Company is interested in getting in on the action. [CleanTechnica]

Congestion from downtown Chicago to O’Hare (Sun-Times photo)

¶ Aera Energy, one of California’s largest oil and gas producers, will partner with GlassPoint Solar to build the State’s largest solar energy project at the Belridge oilfield. It is an 850-MW solar thermal facility to produce steam for oil extraction, combined with a 26.5 MW solar PV facility that will generate electric power. [CleanTechnica] (What?)

¶ Toyota of North America announced at the Los Angeles Auto Show that is it constructing the world’s first megawatt-scale carbonate fuel cell power generation plant with a hydrogen fueling station in Southern California. The Tri-Gen facility will use California-sourced agricultural waste to generate water, electricity, and hydrogen. [CleanTechnica]

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November 30 Energy News

November 30, 2017


¶ “Life After Coal” • At one time, 500,000 miners worked in Germany’s Ruhr Valley, producing as much as 124 million tons of coal every year. Next year, that era will come to an end when the last mine closes. Wind turbines have sprung up among old shaft towers and coking plants, as Germany strives to hit its renewable energy goals. [Grist]

Coal mines in the Ruhr Valley (Photo: Amelia Urry)

¶ “Senate bill threatens US renewable energy tax equity market” The Base Erosion Anti-Abuse Tax provisions in the Senate version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would hurt wind and solar investments in the US and damage tax equity markets, renewable energy groups warn. The BEAT provisions apply retroactively to existing plants. [Renewables Now]

Science and Technology:

¶ ABC News in Australia is reporting that rising sea levels are threatening a nuclear waste dump left behind by the US on Runit Island, part of the Eniwetak Atoll. The dump is now leaking radioactive material into the Pacific Ocean, threatening every man, woman, and child living on the edge of the world’s largest body of water. [CleanTechnic]

Nuclear test at Eniwetak Atoll (Photo courtesy of National
Nuclear Security Administration, Wikimedia Commons)


¶ The International Energy Agency said coal use would double in India by 2040, but research by the US-based Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis sees India’s peak thermal coal demand coming within a decade. The transition is fueled by renewables, whose costs are now below the average of coal-fired power. [Business Standard]

¶ Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy SA won an order to supply 200 MW of low-wind turbines to a project in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It will supply 100 G114-2.0 MW T-106 turbines to the Poovani wind park, according to an announcement. Orange Renewable Power Private Ltd, a unit of AT Capital Pte Singapore, will develop the project. [Livemint]

Indian wind turbines (Mint photo)

¶ Argentina expects between $2.5 billion and $3 billion in investment in renewable energy projects after its government awarded projects to generate 1,408 MW of power. The energy ministry said 665.8 MW would come from wind plants, 556.8 MW from solar, 117.2 MW from biomass and 48.1 MW from biogas. []

¶ BMW AG is in talks with a number of auto manufacturers and parts providers around the world about potential small electric vehicle production partnerships, a key management figure at the company disclosed. The aim of the talks, and any partnerships that may result, is to lower the cost of electrifying the company’s Mini brand. [CleanTechnica]

Electric Mini Cooper concept car

¶ GE Renewable Energy is to provide 38 turbines for Enlight Renewable Energy’s 105-MW Blacksmith wind farm in Serbia. The deal is for 2.75-120 machines with 110-metre hub heights. The turbines will be produced at GE’s Salzbergen facility in Germany, with blades manufactured by LM Wind Power in Spain and Poland. [reNews]

¶ The Industry Committee of the European Parliament backed a binding target of at least 35% renewable energy for 2030 and stricter renewable energy laws. Members of the European Parliament voted on the committee’s position on the post-2020 Renewable Energy Directive, steered by Spanish MEP José Blanco López. [Offshore Wind Journal]

Offshore wind turbines

¶ The planned restart of four reactors in southwestern and central Japan will be delayed as nuclear operators need time to confirm whether peripheral equipment used parts affected by Kobe Steel’s data fabrication, the operators said. The reactors, two in Fukui Prefecture and two in Saga Prefecture, were set to go online early next year. [The Japan Times]

¶ The government of Wales and several Welsh energy and environmental organisations called on the UK government to support development of onshore wind and solar in the country. They urged the UK government to allow both technologies to compete with other renewables in Contracts for Difference auction rounds. [reNews]

Pen y Cymoedd wind farm in Wales (Vattenfall)


¶ Sales demand for sedans in the US could fall by more than half by 2030 due to the influence of self-driving taxis on the market, going on the findings of a new study from the consulting firm KPMG. The study predicts a “precipitous decline” in the US from the current 5.4 million sedan sales each year to 2.1 million by 2030. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Nearly 5,500 K-12 US schools, about 5% of them, are now powered by the sun, and their solar capacity has almost doubled in the last three years, according to a study by the Solar Energy Industries Association, The Solar Foundation, and Generation 180. Their total generating capacity is 910 MW, enough to power 190,000 homes. [InsideClimate News]

Students in Arlington, Virginia (Credit: Lincoln Barbour)

¶ We Energies announced that it will close its coal-fired power plant in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, during the second quarter of 2018. The utility said it decided to close the plant due to “the economy of energy and market and customer demand.” The low price of natural gas and the decreasing cost of renewable energy were contributing factors. [Journal Times]

¶ The Truckee, California, Town Council adopted a resolution to move to 100% clean electricity town-wide by 2030, as well as all energy sources by 2050. A total of 50 cities and towns across the US have now committed to transition to 100% clean, renewable sources of energy like wind and solar, according to the Sierra Club. [North American Windpower]

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November 29 Energy News

November 29, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ Three of the top aviation engine engineering firms in the world, Airbus, Siemens, and Rolls-Royce, are now collaborating on the development of a hybrid electric aircraft engine, the companies have jointly revealed. The new collaboration aims to fly a demonstrator aircraft in 2020 after ground tests have concluded. [CleanTechnica]

Airbus prototype electric aircraft

¶ There is a new backpack on the market that is made of fabric sourced from 33 recycled PET bottles. It has a rigid body, 25 liters of storage, a padded sleeve for a 15-inch laptop, a 12,000-mAh USB Battery Pack with 2 USB Charging Ports, and a 10-watt solar panel. It is sold by Energizer Solar, and the retail price is $190. [CleanTechnica]


¶ The head of EY Global’s power and utility section told the Sydney Morning Herald that Australia may be one of the first nations to achieve grid parity between renewable energy and electricity generated by fossil fuels. He said he expected grid parity to be reached globally as early as 2021, but for Australia it would come in 2020. [CleanTechnica]

Tesla storage, South Australia

¶ The European wind energy industry contributed €36 billion to the EU’s GDP in 2016, supported 263,000 jobs, and generated €8 billion worth of exports outside of Europe, according to findings from European wind energy industry group WindEurope. This is despite the fact that over half of the EU states gave the industry no support. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Northern Powergrid, which distributes electricity in northern England, aims to create a new energy market in which customers can make money from solar panels, electric vehicles, and home batteries. It wants to put its eight million customers at the heart of the smart grid and is working to identify the best technologies to use. [Network]

Rooftop solar system

¶ Swedish power company Vattenfall has announced it has placed a near-1 GW wind turbine order with Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy for three new offshore wind farms in Denmark, making the order the world’s largest offshore wind turbine order in 2017. Two wind farms will be in the North Sea and one in the Baltic. [CleanTechnica]

¶ According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s Climatescope report, which assesses 71 countries in emerging markets, the total solar PV capacity built in them scaled up from 3 GW in 2011, to 22 GW in 2015, and 34 GW in 2016. Last year’s 34 GW would meet the total annual electricity demands of 45 million homes in India. [pv magazine International]

Microgrid in Kenya (Image: TFE Consulting)

¶ Oil major Shell is to “continue to target opportunities” in the power sector and will increase the capital allocated to its new energies division, which includes offshore wind, to $1 billion to $2 billion a year until 2020, UK-Dutch company announced. The company also announced plans to cut the net carbon footprint of its energy products. [reNews]

¶ In Queensland, the Townsville City Council has approved construction of a 400-MW solar farm to be built at Woodstock. The solar farm was given the green light after it was found to meet environmental regulations. The facility will generate enough clean electricity to meet the power needs equivalent to 50,000 households. [Energy Matters]

Australian solar farm (Image: Pixabay)


¶ Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren proposed a bill earmarking $146 billion for reconstruction of the hurricane-hit US territories of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Sanders told journalists that the situation in the US Caribbean territories was “not acceptable” two months after the islands were hit by two hurricanes. [Daily Mail]

One way to one help the people of Puerto Rico is to
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¶ As the recent fires in Northern California blazed through wine country, workers at Stone Edge Farm had to evacuate. The farm had no grid power for nearly a week, but workers controlled its microgrid over the internet. They maintained heavy irrigation, counteracting the extreme heat from the fires and minimizing the potential for fire to spread. [CleanTechnica]

Olive trees at Stone Edge Farm

¶ Two of the world’s biggest coal producers, Peabody Energy and Arch Coal, are headquartered in St Louis, and the city’s utility, Ameren, uses coal as its primary fuel for power generation. Nevertheless, St Louis lawmakers are working on a plan to get the city off of coal-fired power and switch to 100% clean energy by 2035. [GreenBiz]

¶ Windpower is overtaking coal in Texas. When a 155-MW wind farm in West Texas recently became operational, it pushed the state’s windpower capacity to over 20,000 MW. This surpassed the 19,800 MW of coal-fired power plant capacity, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which oversees 90% of the state’s grid. []

Wind turbines (Photo: Michael Paulsen)

¶ The EPA scheduled a single hearing on reversing the Clean Power Plan. It was in Charleston, West Virginia, capital of a state heavily dependent on coal mining. Bob Murray, head of Murray Energy Corp, gave three minutes of testimony, as did many miners. But many who spoke, including some miners, supported the CPP. []

¶ Members of the agency that regulates California’s utility companies held a final public hearing on San Luis Obispo County’s Diablo Canyon Power Plant. Four Public Utilities Commissioners joined an administrative law judge to hear final oral arguments in Pacific Gas and Electric’s request to retire California’s last nuclear power plant. [KCBX]

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November 28 Energy News

November 28, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ New analysis from The Nature Conservancy, WRI and others estimates that stopping deforestation, restoring forests and improving forestry practices could cost-effectively remove 7 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, or as much as eliminating 1.5 billion cars – more than all of the cars in the world today! [CleanTechnica]

Restored forest in Costa Rica (Photo: Aaron Minnick | WRI)


¶ China’s National Development and Reform Commission said local Chinese authorities should “seriously deal with” coal-fired captive power plants that fail to meet power efficiency, safety and environmental standards. Captive power plants are typically built by large industrial enterprises to secure their own supplies of cheap power. []

¶ Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy is to supply 260 MW of turbines to an unnamed local developer for the Hanuman wind complex in northeast Thailand. Siemens Gamesa will supply and commission 103 G126-2.5-MW machines, which will have 153-meter towers and 62-meter blades. Delivery is scheduled for May of 2018. [reNews]

Gamesa wind farm (Siemens-Gamesa image)

¶ India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has released details of the largest wind energy tender ever in the country. The Ministry is likely to launch the tender for 2000 MW of wind energy capacity soon. This is part of an ambitious Ministry program that would see 60 GW of installed wind energy capacity by March 2022. [CleanTechnica]

¶ In Australia, the Northern Territory’s energy market will undergo a massive transformation as the Gunner Government tries to reach a 50% renewable energy target by 2030. The target was a key election promise by the Labor Government. This year only 4% of the territory’s energy generation came from solar power. [ABC Online]

Solar power in Australia’s Northern Territory (ABC file photo)

¶ The first turbines in a wind farm off the Sussex coast is now spinning and generating power. Rampion offshore wind farm saw the first of its 116 turbines put online on November 26. The wind farm will be fully operational next year. It will then generate enough electricity to supply around half the homes in Sussex. [Worthing Herald]

¶ Global drinks company Carlsberg group announced that its brewery in Falkenberg, Sweden, now runs on zero carbon emissions. As part of the Carlsberg’s ‘Zero Carbon Footprint’ sustainability program, its Swedish subsidiary Carlsberg Sverige changed the Falkenberg brewery’s power supply fully to biogas and green electricity. [ESM]

Carlsberg brewery (Carlsberg image)

¶ Denmark is on track to meet its ambitious goal of becoming a low carbon economy, independent of fossil fuels, by 2050. That’s according to the International Energy Agency, which suggests the nation is also powering towards its 2030 target to generate at least half of the country’s total energy consumption through renewables. [Energy Live News]

¶ The Solar Energy Corporation of India has signed power sale agreements for 1 GW of wind projects tendered in the country’s second wind power auction. The tender was conducted by SECI on behalf of the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy and attracted record-breaking low bids of just ₹2.64/kWh (4.1¢/kWh, €0.034/kWh). [Renewables Now]

Wind park in India (Image: Regien Paassen |

¶ West Africa’s biggest solar power plant is going online as Burkina Faso, one of the world’s poorest countries, inaugurates a novel scheme to boost renewables and cut energy dependence. The 135-acre plant near of the capital Ouagadougou will be able to churn out 33 MW, enough to power tens of thousands of homes. []

¶ A mere 100 meters from the wrecked nuclear reactor at Chernoby, a 1-MW, $1.2 million solar installation is to be commissioned next month, according to Bloomberg. The Ukrainian government was eager to get solar projects on the radioactive land, and Ukrainian engineering firm Rodina Energy Group is an early arrival. [Ars Technica]

Land near the Chernobyl plant (Photo: Sean Gallup | Getty Images)


¶ Results of a poll conducted by the Yale Program On Climate Change Communication and the Center For Climate Change Communication at George Mason University showed increased awareness of climate change and an elevated level of concern for the future among Americans. They are quickly growing more concerned with the issue. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Michigan Public Service Commission has approved the new avoided cost formula Consumers Energy Co must use to buy power under the federal Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act. It is the first update in nearly 30 years. Renewables advocates said the new rates will make Michigan more attractive for clean energy investment. [Utility Dive]

Wind farm (Image: Flickr | Nic McPhee)

¶ The University of Hawaii and Hawaiian Electric Companies announced that they signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a green tariff program. It will be based on a competitive solicitation so the university can buy power from renewable energy projects to meet its goal of getting all of its power from renewables by 2035. [pv magazine USA]

¶ Empire State Connector Corp started an open solicitation process for interested parties to reserve space on a new 265-mile, 1-GW transmission line, which will carry power from upstate New York renewable generators to New York City. The electricity will be transmitted through two submarine cables in the Erie Canal and the Hudson River. [reNews]

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November 27 Energy News

November 27, 2017


¶ “American leaders should read their official climate science report” • The United States Global Change Research Program’s report on the science of climate change and its causes is available for anyone to read, and it gives an overview of the most up to date science. It paints a bleak picture of the consequences of climate denial. [The Guardian]

Signorello Estate winery smolder after the October
wildfires in Napa, California (Photo: Eric Risberg | AP)


¶ The rapidly declining cost of solar equipment has opened new markets in developing countries. Afghanistan, which imports most of its electricity, will build its first 20-MW solar power plant in Kabul, in a bid to meet rising energy demand. The project will be funded by the Asian Development Bank, which is providing $45 million. [Bloomberg]

¶ UPS is testing an elegant depot-to-door delivery e-bike system in London. The e-bike is powered by a trailer it pulls to deliver its cargo. The trailer can carry up to 440 pounds (200 kilograms) of cargo along with the batteries. The UPS electric trailer delivery trial is being done in London in anticipation of the city’s closure to gas cars. [CleanTechnica]

Low-impact logistics in London

¶ Caribbean island nations and territories have been shattered by this year’s hurricanes. For China, the crisis in the Caribbean is an opportunity to expand its influence in an area where it already has deep historic and economic ties dating to Cuba’s 1959 revolution. Aside from China, much of the area’s hope is for private investment. [The St. Kitts-Nevis Observer]

¶ Israel’s Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resources published a policy allowing 1,600 MW of electricity from solar PVs to be added to Israel’s electric grid over the next three years. The PVs will take Israel 44% of the way to its target to have 10% of its electricity from clean energy sources by 2020 The target was set in 2009. [World Israel News]

Solar panels in Israel (Photo: shutterstock)

¶ Low carbon energy was placed at the front and center of the UK’s long-awaited industrial strategy white paper, with offshore wind set to be one of the main beneficiaries. In the paper, the UK government identified clean growth as one of four “Grand Challenges” to “put the UK at the forefront of the industries of the future.” [reNews]

¶ Elsewedy Electric plans to build two 500-MW wind farms in cooperation with Marubeni Corporation of Japan, with up to €500 million of investments, company sources said. It is choosing between a site in the Gulf of Suez and one west of the Nile. The sources said the cost of energy from the wind stations will not exceed 3.8¢/kW. [Daily News Egypt]

Wind farm

¶ Australia can meet its 2030 greenhouse emissions target, cutting emissions 26-28% below 2005 levels, at zero net cost, according to analysis of a range of options for the National Electricity Market. This is because the cost of electricity from new-build wind and solar will be cheaper than replacing old fossil fuel generators with new ones. [MENAFN.COM]

¶ France saw 12,758 new PV systems installed, with a combined capacity of 484 MW, in the first three quarters of this year, the latest statistics from the Ministry of Ecology and Sustainable Development show. This is up 4% from the same period in 2016, when 13,196 PV installations totaled 465 MW were installed there. [pv magazine International]

Solar system (SunPower image)

¶ The Japanese government is being urged by experts to release radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean gradually, more than six years after a tsunami overwhelmed the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The water is stored on site in around 900 large and densely packed tanks and could spill should another major disaster strike. [Daily Mail]


¶ As wind and solar energy have grown, they have created many jobs nationwide in fields from construction to manufacturing. A January count by the DOE concluded that solar generation employed 373,807 people nationwide, the most of any type of electric power production. Windpower came in second, with 101,738 workers. []

Wind technicians at work (Photo: Glen Stubbe | Star Tribune)

¶ The US-based electric bus manufacturer Proterra has received an order for 10 all-electric Catalyst E2 transit buses and associated charging infrastructure. They will be used at the Norman Y Mineta San José International Airport, which serves the San Francisco area. The order is expected to be completed in late 2018. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Columbus, Georgia, may soon have its first solar farm. An Atlanta-based company, SoLAmerica Energy, went before the Columbus Council with a proposal to develop an “an urban solar farm” on under-utilized property owned by the city. The solar farm would generate $25,000 in city revenue annually from leasing and taxes. [Columbus Ledger-Enquirer]

Solar panels

¶ The DOE’s new point person for power restoration in Puerto Rico, Bruce J Walker, won confirmation as the Assistant Secretary of the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability last month, shortly after Hurricane Maria tore through the island. He said his office has already identified 200 locations for Puerto Rican microgrids. [CleanTechnica]

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¶ Some tribes in Colorado are setting themselves up to thrive by using renewable energy. The Southern Ute tribe is one of them. Their reservation lies in the southern part of Colorado, near the New Mexico border. A $1.5 million award from the DOE’s Office of Indian Energy made it possible to install the Oxford Solar Farm. []

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November 26 Energy News

November 26, 2017


¶ “Wine and the Weather – How Will a Changing Climate Affect Santa Barbara’s Wine?” • Climate change can be very different for neighboring microclimates. With more warming, vineyards near the coast it may see more fog, while those farther inland may see warming weather that requires shading grape clusters. [Santa Barbara Independent]

Santa Barbara County (Courtesy Hilliard Bruce Vineyards)

¶ “Michael Howard: Low-carbon wind is set to power Brexit Britain. The work that Thatcher, Major and I undertook is paying off.” • John Major, and Michael Howard signed the UN climate change convention for Britain 25 years ago. Three years earlier, Margaret Thatcher was the first world leader to call for such a convention. [Conservative Home]


¶ Europe’s race to quit coal has hit a speed bump as energy companies face local political resistance to the closure of power stations burning the polluting fuel. For example, Iberdrola was closing its last two coal power stations in Spain, but the Spanish government reacted by blocking the shutdowns, a result of coal union lobbying. [The Guardian]

German coal-burning power plant (Photo: Martin Meissner | AP)

¶ The re-election of Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in Saturday’s nail-biting poll will guarantee the medium term future of the solar industry in Australia, along with several large scale wind developments, hybrid projects, and some key energy storage installations. It is also likely to have a bearing on federal politics. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Cabo Verde is a remote island nation of 550,000 people spread over 10 islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, about 370 miles from the coast of West Africa. It announced it intends to be 100% reliant on renewable energy sources by 2025, a report in the Independent said. Cabo Verde is considering solar, wind, marine energy, and storage. [TravelPulse]

Cabo Verde (Photo via Flickr | James Whatley)

¶ Efforts under the Fukushima New Energy Society Initiative, intended to revitalize the area from the 2011 nuclear disaster through advances in the field of energy, are starting to bear fruit. With help from the Abe government, Fukushima is becoming known as a pioneer in the field of renewable and hydrogen energy. [New Straits Times Online]

¶ The £10 billion plans to spearhead tidal ­lagoon power projects in Wales could fall apart after the Treasury vowed to tighten its grip on green spending until the pressure on energy bills eases. The fate of green industrialist Mark Shorrock’s £1.3 billion front-runner tidal scheme in Swansea appear to depend on decisions by the government. []

Rendering of the Tidal Lagoon Power project (Credit: PA)

¶ A French renewable energy firm with wind and solar plants across Australia believes federal Labor’s target for 50% clean power is an inevitability. The Turnbull government has called Labor’s pledge for 50% renewables by 2030 as a “road to ruin.” But Neoen’s deputy chief executive believes the target is quite realistic. []

¶ Renewable energy company Mytrah Energy Limited, which is based in the Indian city of Hyderabad, has 2 GW of operating and under-construction capacity. It plans to invest ₹18,000 to ₹21,000 crore ($2.7 to $3.16 billion) in wind and solar power over the next three years and to develop predictive tools to maximize efficiency. [Telangana Today]

Myrtah wind farm

¶ Although ¥34.5 billion ($309 million) in taxpayer money has funded building an “ice wall” to keep out groundwater out of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant site, after two months of operations the frozen barrier may not be meeting hopes and expectations. In particular, the wall has been vulnerable to heavy rain brought by typhoons. [Asahi Shimbun]

¶ India’s renewable energy ministry announced a tender for 2 GW of wind capacity to be carried out by the Solar Energy Corporation of India. The government will be inviting bids for creating capacity of up to 21 GW of solar and wind power by March 2018, Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy RK Singh said. [Newburgh Gazette]

Wind farm in India (Photo: Ponzie wiki, Wikimedia Commons)


¶ Despite President Donald Trump’s intentions of “bringing back coal,” the US coal industry continues to shrink. This is mostly because of issues with the fuel’s environmental ramifications, aging industry infrastructure, and a greater focus on renewable energy. In the US, solar and wind are the fastest-growing sources of electricity. [Pakistan Observer]

¶ A coalition of 13 different environmental groups advocating for “clean” transportation solutions has sent an open letter to the United States Postal Service calling for the next-generation delivery vehicles to be of a plug-in electric design. The USPS fleet currently uses over 180 million gasoline gallon equivalents of fuel per year. [CleanTechnica]

USPS delivery (Image: Elvert Barnes, some rights reserved)

¶ High school students will stay dry and the town will save money, thanks to solar-power carports officially launched at one of the high schools in Fairfield, Connecticut. And another high school will get its shortly. Together, the two solar facilities will save the Town at least $1.2 million in energy costs over the next 20 years. [Fairfield Daily Voice]

¶ More evidence has come to light that Santee Cooper and SCANA acted imprudently by proceeding with construction of two nuclear reactors despite warnings that the project had flaws and was far behind schedule. The Post and Courier reported that important information was scrubbed from a 2015 audit of the nuclear project. [Charleston Post Courier]

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November 25 Energy News

November 25, 2017


¶ “Trump Resists Progress on Global Warming” • With many of the GOP’s bills being paid by petrochemical billionaires Charles and David Koch, it’s no wonder conservative policymakers are pushing hard to protect dirty fossil fuels against competition from clean, renewable energy. But entrepreneurial capitalists are fighting back. [Consortium News]

Crescent Dunes (Murray Foubister, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Solar Cell Tariffs Won’t Create A Significant Number Of Jobs For Americans, Will Eliminate Tens Of Thousands” • Analysis by Bloomberg suggests that only a few jobs may be created if tariffs are imposed on Chinese solar cells, but the number of jobs lost in the solar installation business would be huge, in the tens of thousands. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶ Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute For Solar Energy Systems experimented with 720 bi-facial solar panels covering about a third of a hectare of agricultural land high enough for farm equipment to operate under them. A year of trials showed that the dual use system increased the total productivity of the land by 60%. [CleanTechnica]

Farming under solar panels (© Hofgemeinschaft Heggelbach)

¶ A study by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research gives details on how mesoscale convective systems, which are large, long-lasting storms, are likely to become more intense and more frequent by the end of the 21st century. This research and similar studies have captured the attention of some US military advisors. []

¶ Nearly a third of the carbon dioxide released each year into the atmosphere can be traced back to bacteria living in the soil, where they break down plant and animal matter for energy. New research shows that climate change and certain farming practices can alter the soil systems and shift the amount of CO2 released from the soil. [Phys.Org]

Soil (Credit: Shutterstock)


¶ In a bid to exceed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s climate pledges, the Indian government announced that it will tender enough renewable energy projects over the next three years to surpass 200 GW of green capacity construction by 2022. Its original target was to install 175 GW of clean-energy capacity within five years. [Livemint]

¶ Onshore wind energy costs have fallen again in Germany’s latest onshore wind auction, with 1,000 MW of capacity awarded at an average support price of €38/MWh ($45.35/MWh), and with a lowest bid of €22/MWh ($26.25/MWh). The auction was again significantly oversubscribed, with 210 bids submitted, totaling 2,591 MW. [CleanTechnica]

Wind turbines in Germany

¶ A report has found it would cost A$1.3 billion ($1 billion) more to keep the Liddell coal-fired power plant in New South Wales open five years beyond its use-by date, than to replace it with a mix of renewables and other sustainable energy solutions. If it is kept open, the Liddell plant would also emit 40 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. [Green Left Weekly]

¶ France added 500 MW of new wind power capacity in the third quarter, taking the amount of new wind capacity since the start of the year to 1,019 MW. This is 23% higher compared with same period a year ago, official data shows. The new additions take France’s installed wind capacity to 12.9 GW, according to the ecology ministry. []

Offshore wind farm

¶ The French government is considering spinning off EDF’s nuclear power business, as part of a plan aimed at shifting its focus from nuclear to renewable energy and resolving debt issues. The country’s finance ministry has been tasked with the job of evaluating best strategies for the restructuring of the company. [Power Engineering International]


¶ IBM and Xcel Energy announced that by late 2018 a large solar array will be running on 54 acres of IBM’s Gunbarrel facility in Boulder, Colorado. The solar system will provide six megawatts of solar energy to the IBM facility. It will be the largest solar array on any IBM campus worldwide and the largest in Boulder. [Left Hand Valley Courier]

Site of the new IBM array (Photo: Vicky Dorvee)

¶ South Dakota’s environmental regulator said the cleanup process for the recent 5,000 barrel oil spill along TransCanada Corp’s Keystone pipeline will probably take several weeks. The timeline for the restarting of pipeline operation is unclear for the present, but more will be known when the impacted section of pipe is exposed. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Traverse City, Michigan, could achieve its goal of powering all city operations with 100% renewable energy by 2020 ahead of schedule, thanks to proposals coming forward from multiple companies looking to sell the city renewable energy. The city has options to get power from both solar and wind projects to meet its goal. [Traverse City Ticker]

Wind turbines in Michigan

¶ In a seemingly confounding move, US Rep Matt Gaetz, who represents Florida’s 1st congressional district and turned heads in February by pushing to abolish the EPA, now sits on the Climate Solutions Caucus. The Earth, Gaetz asserted, is warming, and politicians should no longer waste time debating the validity of the issue. [Pensacola News Journal]

¶ California released its annual climate check-up. The good news is the electricity is getting much cleaner. But there is also bad news: emissions from cars and trucks have not changed. Even so, carbon dioxide emissions were 16 million metric tons lower than in 2015 – a “huge and unexpected drop,” according to economist Michael Wara. [89.3 KPCC]

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November 24 Energy News

November 24, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ The world has been given a stark warning by some of its leading scientists: there is much worse climate change on the way. The warning came in a report introduced at COP 23, which had been prepared by the League with Future Earth. The report summarizes recent Earth-system science and economic research. [environmentalresearchweb]

Refugee shelters in Somalia (Image: DFID/UK Dept for
International Development via Wikimedia Commons)

¶ A study by scientists at the University of Bath shows that the fatty acids released into the air while frying food may help clouds that cool the atmosphere to form. Fatty molecules in the air form complex structures that endure longer than most molecules, allowing moisture to gather and form into clouds, which in turn cool the air. [Daily Sabah]


¶ According to ClimateWise, a global network of 28 insurance industry organizations, not only is 2017 likely to be the most expensive year on record due to natural disasters and extreme weather events all over the globe, but over the past decade only 30% of catastrophic losses were insured, leaving a climate risk protection gap of $1.7 trillion. [CleanTechnica]

Flooding in Houston

¶ Italy’s Enel SpA has launched the construction of an 8-MW solar park in Panama for Swiss food giant Nestle SA. About $8 million (€6.8 million) will be invested in the Estrella Solar project, which is expected to be commissioned by June of next year. The plant is estimated to produce around 12 GWh of electricity annually. [Renewables Now]

¶ A group of Melbourne businesses, universities, council groups, and cultural institutions are working to deliver an 80-MW wind farm Victoria. The planned wind farm will be owned and operated by Pacific Hydro. The group plans to purchase 88 GWh of energy, enough to power over 17,000 Melbourne households, each year. [Business Review Australia]

Australian wind farm

¶ The Council of Australian Governments Energy Council, made up of all state and territory energy ministers, voted to look further into the Federal Government’s National Energy Guarantee. By avoiding an all-out energy war with those states opposing the NEG, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull can now concentrate on its details. [Energy Matters]

¶ The Turnbull government’s goal of reducing emissions by 28% by 2030 only requires an additional 1.5 GW of new large-scale renewables, Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimated. That target “could decimate large-scale wind and solar construction,” while a 45% reduction target advocated by the Labor party would “continue the current boom.” [Bloomberg]

Australian solar station (Richard Gifford, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ EV drivers are responding well to price signals suggesting there will be sufficient energy capacity, predominately renewable, to power New Zealand’s increasing uptake of EVs well into the future, according to Mercury Energy. With a 20% discount Mercury offers for overnight EV charging, a significant number of drivers changed charging hours. [Voxy]

¶ The Australian Renewable Energy Agency and TasNetworks will explore a more detailed feasibility and business case for a second Bass Strait interconnector connecting the Tasmanian grid with Victoria’s grid. It would provide Tasmania with a backup power supply and allow it to play a greater role in the National Electricity Market. [iTWire]

Cape Grim, Tasmania (Ian Cochrane, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ South Africa’s new Minister of Energy appears determined to push ahead with nuclear procurement at some future date. This is despite the Minister of Finance announcing categorically in the October Medium Term Budget Policy Statement that the country could not afford a nuclear program and does not have the money to fund one. []

¶ Enel’s subsidiary Enel Rinnovabile won tenders for the construction of four wind farms in Mexico, totalling 593 MW of capacity. The Italian energy company plans to invest a total of $700 million on their construction. The four plants will range in size from 100 MW to 244 MW, all in the northern parts of the country. [CleanTechnology News]

Mexican wind turbines (Photo: Steve Ralston |

¶ Nuclear industry specialists will set up a commission to find the source of origin of the radioactive ruthenium-106 detected by European and Russian environmental monitoring systems in the atmosphere, Russia’s civil nuclear power corporation Rosatom reported. Rosatom will provide all the necessary assistance to the commission. [TASS]


¶ A privately held real estate investor based in Missouri believes that the waterfront site of a former coal-fired thermal power station in Massachusetts could be turned into an offshore wind port. Commercial Development Company Inc said it intends to invest significant resources to reposition the Brayton Point facility for post-coal utilization. [Renewables Now]

Brayton Point (Commercial Development Company image)

¶ Marine Renewable Energy Collaborative installed its Bourne Tidal Test Site in the Cape Cod Canal. It is  ready for test engineers to assess tidal energy equipment performance and output. The next step in preparing the site for testing is to install data acquisition, processing and transmission systems on top of the platform. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ Michigan utility Consumer Energy is proposing a plan for renewable energy that will not raise customer’s rates. An order setting rates for renewable energy developers from Consumers Energy will create the certainty necessary to encourage new growth in solar energy while ensuring utility customers’ electricity rates do not increase. [WILX-TV]

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November 23 Energy News

November 23, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ Two glaciers on Pine Island Bay are the largest and fastest-melting in Antarctica. They act as a plug holding back enough ice to pour 11 feet of sea-level rise into the world’s oceans, enough to inundate every coastal city on the planet. Finding out when these glaciers will collapse is one of our most important scientific questions. [Mother Jones]

The Getz Ice Shelf (Photo: NASA | Jeremy Harbeck)

¶ With updated agricultural sector estimates, analysis from the UC Davis and Purdue University shows that the true “social cost of carbon” is 72% to 129% greater than had earlier been estimated. It also reveals that climate change has a net-negative effect on agriculture, with every ton of CO2 emitted causing up to $8.50 in agricultural costs. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Nordex is offering upgrades for wind turbines at sites that are noise sensitive. The upgrade includes sound mode optimization and blade serrations. The serrations are components added to the trailing edges of the blades, which reduce the sound power level of the turbines by around 1.5 decibels, making the turbines considerably quieter. [reNews]

Wind turbines in Turkey (Nordex image)


¶ New research from the Alternative Technology Association has shown that Australia could transition to a fully renewable energy electricity grid by 2030, and this would be cheaper and less risky than building new coal-fired power stations. If solar and wind installation continues at the 2017 rate Australia will be fully renewable by 2040. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Tesla has finished installing the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery in South Australia. Elon Musk had said the battery would be free if it was not installed within 100 days, but it will meet its December 1 deadline. The 100-MW battery is to provide grid security for the state. The power it stores would be enough for 30,000 homes for about an hour. [BBC]

Tesla Powerpack

¶ The Netherlands is seeing significant increase in the number of PV projects developed by energy cooperatives, according to a report. It shows that in the first ten months of this year, 100 new collective PV projects with a combined capacity of around 37 MW were built in the country. This represents a 53% increase from 2016. [pv magazine International]

¶ In India, imports of coal from North America have increased rapidly on the back of a regional ban on the use of petroleum coke and a domestic coal shortage, according to recent reports. Though other sources give lower figures, shipping data compiled by Thomson Reuters, suggest that India’s imports of coal from North America have tripled. [CleanTechnica]

Air pollution in Delhi

¶ Bloomberg New Energy Finance has some good news for us. Global electric car sales (including plug-in hybrids) surged 63% in the third quarter of this year and are up 23% since the second quarter. BNEF is now confident EV sales will top 1,000,000 units this year. But there is also bad news. China accounted for almost all of those increases. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Statoil and its partners in the 402-MW Dudgeon offshore wind farm, off the coast of Norfolk, are now opening the facility. The Norwegian oil and gas group is the operator of the wind farm and owns a 35% stake. Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company Masdar and Norwegian state-owned utility Statkraft own 35% and 30%, respectively. [Renewables Now]

Dudgeon wind farm (Jan Arne Wold – Woldcam | Statoil ASA)

¶ Costa Rica has charted another clean energy accolade. So far this year, the Central American country has run for 300 days with 100% of its power generation from renewable energy sources, setting a new record. This is according to the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity, citing figures from the National Center for Energy Control. [Common Dreams]

¶ A South Australian company has spent almost a decade developing its Thermal Energy Storage System to store electricity as thermal energy at a cost estimated to be up to 10 times cheaper than lithium batteries. 1414 Degrees has moved into a plant near Adelaide, where it will build its first 10-MWh TESS-IND system. [RenewEconomy]

Artist’s impression of a 1-GWh integrated system

¶ Earlier this month, the French nuclear safety institute released data showing that a cloud of radioactive pollution was over much of Europe, raising speculations of an accident at a nuclear facility in Russia or Kazakhstan. Now, the Russian meteorological service reports levels of ruthenium 106 in the Urals 1,000 times higher than normal. [CleanTechnica]


¶ UPS is continuing to electrify its delivery vehicles. It recently announced an e-bike delivery vehicle in downtown Pittsburgh, as the latest example. In addition to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, the deployment of the electric delivery/cargo bike will also clearly reduce traffic congestion, air pollution, and noise pollution. [CleanTechnica]

UPS electric delivery bike

¶ North Carolina has risen to become the country’s second-largest solar market. It now has over 3,500 MW of solar installed. The Solar Energy Industries Association projects the state will see 3,818 MW of growth in the next five years. According to GTM Research, the state has contracts in place for 2.4 GW. But there are still growing pains. [Greentech Media]

¶ South Dakota is one of only two states where wind power provides over 30% of in-state power generation. Wind power has contributed more than $2 billion in capital investment for the construction and maintenance of the state’s 14 operating wind farms. The South Dakotas wind industry supports nearly 2,000 well-paying jobs. [STL.News]

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November 22 Energy News

November 22, 2017


¶ “The Queensland election’s renewables versus coal debate isn’t about jobs. It’s a culture war” • The choice between wind turbines and steam turbines might seem to be purely one of technology. But since environmentalists support renewable energy, the demands of the culture war require that conservatives must oppose it. [The Guardian]

Installing a solar system (Photo: Solar Savers)

Science and Technology:

¶ The chances of a hurricane flooding parts of Texas, like Harvey did, have soared sixfold in just 25 years because of global warming and will likely triple once again before the end of the century, a study says. What was once an extremely rare event, 20 inches of rain over a large area of Texas, could soon be almost common. [The Japan News]


¶ A report from CDP has found that 87% of companies identify deforestation as a financial risk and 32% are already experiencing impacts from those risks, but only 13% of companies are making any effort to mitigate the risks of deforestation, a decision which could end up costing billions. The report is based on responses from 272 companies. [CleanTechnica]

Deforestation for palm oil (Photo: Bay Ismoyo | AFP | Getty Images)

¶ Mercedes-Benz Van plans for all of its commercial van model lines to have electric versions, a press release said. Deliveries of the eVito will begin in late 2018, deliveries of the eSprinter begin in 2019, with others to follow. The eVito will apparently start at €39,990 ($47,000) in Germany, not including VAT, and the range will be 150 km (90 miles). [CleanTechnica]

¶ The number of renewable energy industry jobs in Queensland has almost doubled in four months, a report said. Green Energy Markets’ Renewable Energy Index showed there were 7194 renewable energy construction jobs in the state in October, up from 3634 at the end of June. The report was paid for by GetUp. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

Solar system in Australia

¶ Transitioning quickly to wind, rather than gas, would be more cost-effective and decarbonise Europe’s energy sector more quickly, a report finds. The fall in the cost of renewables has gone far beyond all expectations, tipping the economics in favor of decarbonization, but it requires good policy, according to experts from Artelys. [Offshore Wind Journal]

¶ The municipal-owned energy company in the German city of Wuppertal launched a blockchain-based trading platform to allow customers to buy certified local wind and other renewably generated electricity. The company sees big potential for the blockchain platform, Tal.Mark, to sell electricity from projects over 20 years old. [Windpower Monthly]

Renewable energy selling direct to customers

¶ Bloomberg New Energy Finance released a report forecasting thats the global energy storage market will “double six times” from now to 2030, from less than 5 GWh last year, to more than 300 GWh and 125 GW of capacity by the end of the next decade. An estimated $103 billion will be invested in energy storage over that period. [Greentech Media]

¶ Three solar farms capable of generating enough power over 100,000 homes are planned for South Australia. Tilt Renewables proposes to build a 45-MW and a 70-MW solar farm next to a wind farm at Snowtown. Spanish renewable energy developer FRV proposes a 100-MW farm paired with 50-MW battery near Mintaro. [The Advertiser]

Rendering of a Tilt Renewables project (Tilt Renewables image)

¶ The solar energy sector has accounted for the largest capacity addition to the Indian electricity grid so far this year. It has contributed over 7,100 MW, around 39% of capacity additions, according to data from Mercom Capital Group. For comparison, solar energy capacity additions stood at only around 4,313 MW in all of 2016. [Quartz]

¶ Preliminary results from Mexico’s latest energy auction have broken the record for solar costs. According to Electrek, Italian developer Enel pitched two solar lots at $17.70/MWh, or just 1.77¢/kWh, the lowest bid achieved anywhere in the world so far. The Mexican government said the average price in the auction was $20.57/MWh. [Greentech Media]

Utility-scale solar system in Mexico

¶ The UK’s Public Accounts Committee, which scrutinizes government expenditures, has slammed the government over its handling of the Hinkley Point C contract. It identified a catalog of errors that it said could see consumers footing the bill for what stands to be the UK’s first new nuclear power station in more than two decades. [Clean Energy News]


¶ BYD delivered to the City of Palo Alto and GreenWaste, its waste management firm, their first all-electric automated side-loader garbage/refuse truck, a report said. The truck uses its battery pack for both propulsion and operation of its hydraulic system. It has a range of 76 miles per full charge and a charge time of two to three hours. [CleanTechnica]

BYD electric garbage truck

¶ TechCrunch reports that Uber has struck a deal with Volvo to purchase 24,000 self-driving XC90 SUVs beginning in 2019. The SUVs will be equipped with autonomous driving systems developed by Uber and integrated into the XC90s at the Volvo factory. The contract, which runs from 2019 through 2021, is valued at $1.4 billion. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Solar development has contributed significantly to the University of California system’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2025, and UC Davis has played a major role in this progress. However, more challenges still lie ahead to achieve a balance between environmental and economic sustainability. Skeptics still question the costs. [The Aggie]

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November 21 Energy News

November 21, 2017


¶ “At least 40% of the world’s power will come from renewable sources by 2040” • With falling costs of solar and wind power, the International Energy Agency predicts that renewable energy will provide approximately 40% of global power generation by 2040. Renewables worldwide are set to grow faster than any other source. [Business Insider UK]

Abengoa solar plant (Photo: Reuters | Marcelo del Pozo)

¶ “The International Energy Agency Is Steering The World To Climate Disaster” • Governments and investors routinely use the WEO as a guide to make decisions. Power plants, pipelines, and other infrastructure get built based on the IEA’s projections of future demand. But the IEA spends its resources promoting fossil fuels. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶ MIT and Lamborghini have partnered to develop an electric car. The Terzo Millenio is powered using supercapacitors instead of traditional batteries, allowing it to charge faster and hold more power. The vehicle can induce its own health check, and if any damage is detected the car can fill in cracks with nanotubes. [Energy Digital]

Lamborghini Terzo Millenio


¶ Every hour, Chinese workers install an array of solar panels at least the size of a soccer field. Already home to the world’s largest solar plant and floating solar installation, over half of the world’s current construction on solar power installations is taking place in China. Meanwhile others, including the US, are increasingly falling behind. [HuffPost]

¶ In a move to diversify, Chemicals giant Ineos is making a move into deep water oil and gas exploration in the North Sea, buying a majority stake in two exploration licenses in areas far to the north of Shetland. It recently bought the motorcycle wear brand Belstaff, and it also bought Swiss football club Lausanne-Sport earlier this month. [BBC News]

Oil rigs in Cromarty Firth (Getty Images)

¶ A university in New South Wales has installed what it says is Australia’s largest rooftop solar power system. Charles Sturt University switched on a 6,000-panel system at its Wagga Wagga campus. It cost A$3.2 million ($2.4 million), and produces 1.77 MW of power, enough to provide for approximately 400 typical Australian households. [ABC Online]

¶ The Azores’ government inaugurated a 3.5-MW geothermal plant in the Terceira island, news agency Lusa reported. The Pico Alto plant should help the Portuguese island region source about 10% of its electricity needs from geothermal in 2018. Production from renewable sources will increase from 22% in 2016 to almost 40% next year. [Renewables Now]

Geothermal plant (Photo: gamene, CC BY SA 2.0)

¶ Footage gathered by a robot shows a large hole at the bottom of Fukushima Daiichi’s Unit 3 reactor, with objects “like icicles” around the control rod mechanism. These were confirmed to be uranium. Up until now, no one knew the state of the nuclear material, but the images give more confidence about a clean-up. [International Business Times UK]

¶ Last week BMW announced that it has an audacious plan to make sure all the energy used for its manufacturing needs will come from renewable sources. BMW will have to resort to unusual sources to meet its CO2 emissions reductions goals for its plants. They include use of manure and landfill gas, along with solar power. [BMWBLOG]

BMW plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina


¶ Whitefish Energy is stopping its work to restore Puerto Rico’s electricity grid because it is owed more than $83 million by the island’s power authority, the company says. The Whitefish CEO told CNN that repeated requests for agreed payments were not met. The company’s contract had already been cancelled and is under investigation. [MyHighPlains]

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¶ Nebraska officials voted to allow the Keystone XL pipeline to cross the state, a key step toward the completion of the Keystone Pipeline network. The state’s Public Service Commission voted 3-2 in favor of the expansion pipeline, days after the existing Keystone Pipeline spilled 210,000 gallons of oil in South Dakota. [Houston Chronicle]

Pipeline construction (Houston Chronicle photo)

¶ Middlebury College will significantly reduce its carbon footprint thanks to an innovative partnership with Goodrich Family Farm in Salisbury, Vermont, Vanguard Renewables of Wellesley, Massachusetts, and Vermont Gas. A facility at Goodrich Family Farm will combine cow manure and food waste to produce Renewable Natural Gas. []

¶ As the world’s single largest consumer of petroleum the US Department of Defense is expected to double-down on deploying military microgrids to sustain its operations. The annual microgrid implementation spending is expected to reach $1.4 billion in 2026, according to a new deep-dive by Navigant Research. [CleanTechnica]

US military field microgrid

¶ Electricity generator Luminant is cutting about 600 jobs as it closes three coal-fired power plants and a mine in Texas. Luminant plans to make the layoffs in January. The company had already announced the power plant closings earlier, due to competition from cheap natural gas and renewable generation. []

¶ Ford has just unveiled the country’s newest plug-in hybrid targeted for the police force and government fleets. Technically speaking, the new Ford will have a modest 7.6-kWh lithium-ion battery pack for up to 21 miles of range on electric mode. The car is a modified Ford Fusion Energi, which has the same specifications. [CleanTechnica]

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November 20 Energy News

November 20, 2017


¶ “Sea Levels Are Already Rising. What’s Next?” • President Trump has dismissed climate change as a hoax. But scientists project that, within the next 100 years, rising sea levels caused by climate change will submerge much of southeast Florida, including Mar-a-Lago. Jeff Goodell’s a new book is The Water Will Come. [National Geographic]

Houston after Hurricane Harvey (Photo: Joe Raedle | Getty)


¶ Chinese EV battery manufacturer Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd is now planning a $2 billion IPO to be completed by the end of June 2018. The funds are to be used to accelerate the company’s expansion plans. The company will reportedly be building two new EV battery manufacturing plants. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Australia’s chief scientist contradicted the government’s claims that Labor’s 50% ­renewables target by 2030 is “a road to ruin.” Dr Alan Finkel is issuing a major report that shows the plan for more renewable energy sources will not lead to major blackouts despite the government’s claims that the “huge renewable target” is irresponsible and “crazy.” [PerthNow]

The Liddell Power Station in the Hunter Valley (Photo:
Jane Dempster | The AustralianPicture: News Corp Australia)

¶ The Turnbull government’s plan to keep the old Liddell power station running for five extra years would cost about $1.4 billion more than replacing it with clean energy, and spew millions of tonnes of damaging carbon pollution, a new analysis shows. The findings have implications for the retirement of other coal-fired power stations. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

¶ In order to prevent mass-scale evaporation of water, the state government of Maharashtra has given a nod to a proposal that involves setting up floating solar panels on the reservoir at Ujjani Dam. The solar panels will be set up on a water surface of 4,640 acres, to generate 1,000 MW of electricity, making it one of the largest projects of its type. [EnergyInfraPost]

Ujjani Dam

¶ China, the world’s biggest carbon emitter, is poised to install a record amount of solar-power capacity this year, prompting researchers to boost forecasts as much as 80%. About 54 GW of solar power will be put in place this year, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said, raising a forecast of more than 30 GW that BNEF made in July. [Bloomberg]

¶ French developer EDF Energy Renewables has exported first power from its 41.5-MW Blyth demo project off the coast of Northumberland. The project began exporting electricity to the grid from its five MHI Vestas 8.3-MW turbines on 21 October, the company said. The project should be fully operational in the coming weeks. [reNews]

Offshore wind (EDF Energy Renewables image)

¶ Intel has become the latest multinational to cut its carbon footprint after striking a deal to power its manufacturing campus in County Kildare with renewable energy. The plant relied on 100% local renewable energy sources for a year, making it the State’s largest, voluntary, private purchaser of environmentally sustainable energy. []

¶ The Longyuan Mulilo De Aar Wind Power Project has been successfully commissioned, connecting an estimated 85,000 local residents to clean the power. Situated in the Northern Cape Province, South Africa, the plant has a generating capacity of 100 MW. The wind farm was developed by China Longyuan Power Group Corporation. [ESI Africa]

Longyuan Mulilo De Aar Wind Power Project

¶ South African utility Eskom should cut down on its coal power network and should not embark on any new nuclear, gas, or coal building programs if it wants to save itself from financial ruin, a new study has found. Also, an Eskom report seen by media shows Eskom’s poor governance has left it teetering on the edge of insolvency. [Cape Business News]


¶ Dozens of Catholic leaders wrote a letter to President Donald Trump calling for the United States to resume its leadership role in addressing climate change. They asked the president to honor US commitments to the Green Climate Fund and to participate meaningfully in the framework convention deliberations. [Crux: Covering all things Catholic]

Warming seas, melting ice (NASA photo, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ One of the fathers of climate science is calling for a wave of lawsuits against governments and fossil fuel companies that are delaying action on what he describes as the growing, mortal threat of global warming. Former NASA scientist James Hansen says the litigate-to-mitigate campaign is needed alongside political mobilization. [The Guardian]

¶ Groups including the Idaho Rural Water Association conducted “Safeguarding Idaho’s Economy in a Changing Climate,” a two-day conference at Boise State University. The discussion on climate change has pivoted, moving from how to prevent it to how to live with it, including looking at the costs of the new normal. [Idaho Business Review]

Boise River

¶ An Ohio University communication studies professor has a standing offer for students in his environmental communication courses: “Anybody that can bring into class information … that denies the truth of anthropogenic warming can have as much class time as they want to teach the class.” No one has taken him up on the offer yet. [The Post]

¶ The owners of South Carolina’s unfinished nuclear power plant have a $2 billion decision to make, and just six weeks to make it. The question is whether two partially built reactors in Fairfield County are done for good, or if it’s worthwhile to maintain them in case the project’s prospects improve. The parties are not near agreement. [Charleston Post Courier]

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November 19 Energy News

November 19, 2017


¶ “The energy transition – A threat or an opportunity?” • South Africa’s long-awaited Integrated Resource Plan is to be released for public comment next week. But two facts are undisputable from the IRP 2016 update: A least cost scenario cannot include nuclear, and 27.5 GW of coal-fired power stations must be decommissioned by 2040. [Fin24]

Power plant near Capetown (Photo: Simisa, Wikimedia Commons)

Science and Technology:

¶ A cost-effective catalyst has been developed to recycle two of the main causes behind climate change – carbon dioxide and methane. In a study, published in the journal Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, scientists have described how they created an advanced nickel-based catalyst to create synthesis gas for fuel or chemical feedstock. [The Indian Express]


¶ The Volkswagen board has just approved a plan to invest $40 billion by 2022 to develop electric cars, autonomous cars, and other mobility solutions. The new investments VW is planning will strengthen the company’s 10 factories in Germany. The company appears to be responding to pressures created by Elon Musk and the government of China. [Gas2]

VW e-Golf at a show (Photo: Mariordo, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Daimler AG will be investing some ¥5 billion (~$755 million) as part of its push to manufacture plug-in electric vehicles and associated battery packs in China with its joint-venture partner there, BAIC Motor Corp. The investments are part of the company’s already announced €10 billion ($11.8 billion) global green car initiative. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer BYD will be opening its first assembly facility in Canada next year in Ontario. This is in anticipation of surging demand for electric trucks in the country, the company has revealed. BYD chose to move into Canada because it has a friendlier environment for EVs than the US currently has. [CleanTechnica]

BYD bus being tested in New York City
(Photo: Marc A. Hermann | MTA New York City Transit)

¶ A UK-backed solar power project in Peru has officially been opened. Located at an altitude of more than 4,000 meters, it provides renewable electricity to one of the nation’s most remote regions of Ocoruro, Arequipa. The off-grid system has allowed the common areas of the community and 14 families to tap into solar power. [Energy Live News]

¶ Qantas today announced it will operate the world’s first bio-fuel flight between the US and Australia. The Los Angeles to Melbourne flight will take place early next year, in collaboration with World Fuel Services and Altair Fuels, and will see Qantas’ new Dreamliner being powered by carinata, a non-food type of mustard seed used in industry. [RusTourismNews]

Qantas airplane

¶ China and Ukraine have agreed to step up their cooperation in renewable energy, according to the Ukrainian government. The agreement was reached during the plenary meeting of the Chinese-Ukrainian Subcommittee on Trade and Economic Cooperation in Beijing, the Ukrainian government press service said in a statement. [Xinhua]

¶ The Hydrogen Council coalition launched its first quantified study of the role of hydrogen, developed with support from McKinsey and Company. It shows that hydrogen could generate $2.5 trillion worth of business, creating more than 30 million jobs by 2050, and it could account for almost 20% of final energy consumed by then. [The Peninsula Qatar]

Toyota Mirai, hydrogen powered vehicle, being refueled

¶ French nuclear group Areva announced the discovery that it delivered defective fuel rods for nuclear reactors. It said there was no safety risk, but Swiss media reported that a Swiss nuclear plant was closed due to problems with the rods. The company said fuel rods that were loaded in reactors can operate without any safety impairment. []


¶ A study showed that Wisconsin ranked 9th in carbon dioxide releases due to farming practices. Converting unused land to produce crops for ethanol production releases a lot of carbon dioxide from the soil. The authors said most of the state’s new farm land had previously been pastures or forests, with some wetlands. [Wisconsin State Farmer]

Corn field and ethanol plant (Photo: Associated Press)

¶ The proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which would carry natural gas from West Virginia to North Carolina, has received approval from the US Forest Service. The pipeline would go through 21 miles of National Forest Service land. Environmental groups criticized the approval, and some plan to challenge it. [West Virginia Public Broadcasting]

¶ Empire District Electric Company has filed with Missouri state regulators a plan to move forward into wind-generated energy with the development of an additional 800 MW of wind energy by the end of 2020. According to a spokesperson for the electric utility, the project would save customers an average of $10 per month. [Cedar County Republican]

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November 18 Energy News

November 18, 2017


¶ “If we act on climate change now, the economic prize will be immense” • Climate negotiators are meeting in Bonn. Beyond the intricacies of the climate negotiations, here is one key thing to remember: about $1 trillion is already being invested in climate solutions, ranging from renewables and energy efficiency to public transport. [The Guardian]

Installing panels (Photo: Mike Kemp | Corbis via Getty Images)


¶ China, through statements made in official speeches, active participation in the Bonn talks, and various side events the country organized to exchange ideas and practices, has reasserted itself a responsible player in global battle against climate change at COP23 to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. [ecns]

¶ Delegates to COP23 say they are pleased that the rulebook for the Paris climate agreement is finally coming together. But these technical discussions took place against the backdrop of a larger battle about coal, oil and gas. This means that next year, at the conference in Katowice, Poland, there will be a major showdown on the future of fossil fuels. [BBC News]

Coat of arms of Katowice 

Science and Technology:

¶ Fisker filed patent applications on a solid state battery design. The automotive company says that its battery would deliver up to 2.5 times more energy density than current lithium-ion batteries, and cost ⅓ as much to manufacture. It could have a range of more than 500 miles per charge, and recharging would take less than one minute. [CleanTechnica]


¶ The government of Croatia is drafting a strategy to reduce energy imports, which supply 40% of its power. Croatia could develop 3,200 MW of solar power by 2030, the International Renewable Energy Agency says, but it needs a supportive legal framework. Croatia has 4,500 MW of capacity, mostly from coal and hydroelectricity. []

Solar power plant

¶ Investors are now better able to gauge the climate risks likely to impact their investments thanks to a new risk management tool developed by Deutsche Asset Management and Four Twenty Seven and published for COP23, which maps more than a million physical corporate locations alongside climate models to assess their climate risk. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Credit Union Place, in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, is now partially powered by the sun. The municipal civic center has 1,404 new solar panels and lithium-ion storage battery backup. The system is expected to cut CUP’s $380,000 annual electricity bill by about $100,000. It is the first phase of a three-phase project. [The Guardian]

Credit Union Place (Photo: Higher Design Inc)

¶ Siemens is to release 2% of its global workforce, mainly in Germany, as its power and gas division continues to suffer from the onslaught of clean energy expansion. “The market is burning to the ground,” Siemens board member Janina Kugel, who is in charge of group human resources, told journalists in a call. [Power Engineering International]

¶ Norway’s government has been told its state-run fund should drop its investments in oil and gas stocks, worth £28 billion ($37 billion). Norges Bank, the fund’s manager, said the step would make the country “less vulnerable to a permanent drop in oil and gas prices.” Its advice was not based on a price forecast or the sector’s sustainability. [BBC News]

Offshore oil rig (Photo: Norsk olje og gass, Wikimedia Commons)


¶ Virginia would regulate carbon emissions from power plants and become the first Southern state to do so, with a carbon cap-and-trade program under a proposal that won preliminary approval from state regulators. It is the most recent state taking steps to address climate change as the federal administration rolls back its climate actions. [WSET]

¶ Walmart says that it intends to be among the first companies to pilot Tesla’s new all-electric Semi heavy-duty truck. The retail company will pilot the Tesla Semi across both US and Canada, it told CNBC. Walmart currently operates approximately 6,000 of its own trucks to transfer stock from distribution centers to its stores. [TechCrunch]

Tesla Truck

¶ A major New England transmission line planned by Eversource Energy and Hydro-Quebec has won a Presidential Permit from the US DOE. The federal permit marks a significant milestone for the $1.6 billion, 192-mile Northern Pass, first proposed in 2010. The line would carry electricity from Canada to the New England power grid. []

¶ By as early as mid-December, construction crews will invade a 420-acre field in Millington, Tennessee, and proceed to fill it with 580,000 sun-tracking PV panels, creating by far the largest solar-energy project in the state. As impressive as the 53-MW project might seem, Tennessee will still be trailing other states in solar power. [The Commercial Appeal]

Solar system in Tennessee

¶ By the year 2020, Xcel Energy’s power grid will use 35% renewable sources, and less than a quarter of energy will come from coal, the utility’s CEO told Minnesota Public Radio News. It will have slashed carbon emissions by nearly half, and customers won’t see much of a change in their bills, unless it is a lower bill. [Minnesota Public Radio News]

¶ According to Boston Business Journal, a lawsuit filed in federal court in Boston alleges that GE’s decisions dating back to the 1960s led to the failure of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, causing an estimated $250 billion in damage. The suit was filed against GE on behalf of people affected by the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011. [Boston magazine]

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November 17 Energy News

November 17, 2017


¶ “What the UN Climate Summit is teaching us about environmental action” • This year’s UN Climate Summit is almost over. Clear leaders have emerged, and the US is not one of them. Syria has agreed to sign the Paris agreement on climate change. The US is alone in refusing to make a voluntary climate change commitment. []

Glacier (Photo: derwiki | Pixabay)


¶ World leaders took center stage at the COP23 climate change conference in Bonn this week to promise dramatic new actions aimed at reducing global climate emissions. They also used the occasion to castigate the United States and Donald Trump for being entirely out of step with the rest of the world community on this issue. [CleanTechnica]

¶ India has announced some good news for COP23. Just a few years ago, India relied almost exclusively on coal to fuel its rapid development, opening new coal-burning power plants and increasing coal mining and imports. But it has cancelled plans for 14 GW of coal power and increasing its use of renewable energy. [Millennium Post]

Small solar system

¶ The Canadian Environment and Climate Change Minister helped bring more than 25 new governments on board for a Canadian and British push to power past coal at COP23. Those in the new alliance include major European industrial nations, such as France and Italy. Others range from New Zealand to the US state of Oregon. [National Observer]

¶ COP23 has built on innovative solutions that were introduced in COP21. This included changing our understanding of carbon’s function, says an Indian environmentalist. When we disrupt the Earth’s self-regulating climate systems, we receive climate chaos and climate uncertainty, not something we can predict and change. [Deutsche Welle]

Flooding in Assam (Getty Images | AFP | B Boro)


¶ Instead of traditional 25-year deals, Indian power distributors are negotiating ten-year agreements with coal power providers. The distributors believe the development of renewables and storage makes long term agreements redundant because solar and wind have become the country’s least expensive power resources. [Power Engineering International]

¶ In separate announcements, Microsoft Corp and Daimler indicated that hydrogen fuel cells could provide significantly better energy solutions for data centers than existing electrical grid and backup power technology. Fuel cells can be used to add such services as grid security at data centers, but they can also power vehicles. [Network World]

Daimler hydrogen fuel cell system

¶ The city of Saskatoon and the Saskatoon Tribal Council in Saskatchewan announced the development of the new Saskatoon Weir Hydropower Station. The estimated cost is about C$65 million ($51 million). The new power station will have a capacity of 6.1 MW and is being built at the weir on South Saskatchewan River. [HydroWorld]

¶ Levels of pollution in the UK’s air are still way above the targets set by the EU. According to a new report from the National Audit Office, 85% of UK “air quality zones” still exceed legal pollution limits eight years after they were supposed to meet them. The Government estimates that it will not meet some of the pollution targets until 2026. [The Independent]

Measuring air pollution in central London (Getty)

¶ So much of the decommissioning funds for the Japan Atomic Power Co’s reactors have been diverted that it now lacks enough cash to scrap its old units or even resume operations of existing ones. The company is banking on a decision by the Nuclear Regulation Authority, but even that might not be sufficient to save it financially. [Asahi Shimbun]


¶ The Shell GameChanger™ program has agreed to provide financial support for demonstration of closed-loop geothermal power generation at a currently inactive well in the Coso California geothermal field, GreenFire Energy Inc announced. GreenFire Energy Inc’s innovative ECO2G™ uses directional drilling technologies. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

Coso well, California (Photo: GreenFire Energy)

¶ Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveiled the highly anticipated Tesla Semi Truck in Hawthorne, California. This truck promises to transform not just the trucks that move goods around the world but the entire shipping industry. It has a number of safety improvements, but it will probably also cost less to operate than internal combustion semi trucks. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Elon Musk unexpectedly disappeared from stage during the Tesla Semi Truck unveiling, and then to everyone’s surprise, a Tesla Roadster 2.0 appeared. The base model will be the fastest production car ever made when it comes to market in 2020. Musk said, “The point of all this is just to give a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars.” [CleanTechnica]

Tesla Roadster 2.0

¶ US solar developer Cypress Creek Renewables cut the ribbon on a 9-MW solar installation in Maryland. The Baker Point solar array uses 34,074 solar modules and is expected to produce enough power to meet annual needs of over 2,000 homes. It was inspired by Maryland’s legislation support for pollinator-friendly solar sites. [Renewables Now]

¶ TransCanada announced that it has shut down the Keystone pipeline in South Dakota because it discovered 210,000 gallons of oil has spilled from the pipeline. The state of Nebraska will decide next week if it will allow a stretch of the Keystone pipeline to be built through the state. Waterways or wildlife areas appear not to have been impacted. [Anadolu Agency]

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November 16 Energy News

November 16, 2017


¶ The World Resources Institute announced at COP23 that $2.1 billion in private investment funds have been committed to efforts to restore degraded lands in the Caribbean and Latin America. The WRI’s Initiative 20×20 has already put 10 million hectares (about 25 million acres) of land under restoration thanks to 19 private investors. []

Deforestation (Photo by Rhett Butler)

¶ At least 15 countries have joined an international alliance to phase out coal from power generation before 2030, delegates at UN climate talks in Bonn said on Thursday. The alliance aims to have 50 members by the next UN climate summit in 2018 to be held in Poland’s Katowice, which is one of the most polluted cities in Europe. [Reuters]

¶ Denmark wants its entire electricity supply to be coal free by 2030, energy and climate minister Lars Christian Lilleholt has confirmed. The goal was announced as Denmark joined a coalition of 15 countries at the UN’s annual COP23 climate conference in Bonn. Denmark currently has three coal-driven power stations. [The Local Denmark]

Danish power plants (Thomas Borberg | Polfoto | Ritzau)

¶ French president Emmanuel Macron says that Europe will cover any shortfall in funding for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The scientific organisation has been facing uncertainty since President Donald Trump outlined plans earlier this year to cut US funding. The UK government also pledged to double their IPCC contribution. [BBC]


¶ The Airbus Vahana project is ready for flight testing, just as Boeing, Uber, and others jumping into the electric plane game and electric airplanes and other vertical take-off and landing aircraft taking off. The Airbus Vahana project says it will not need a runway, will be self-piloted, and can automatically detect and avoid obstacles and other aircraft. [CleanTechnica]

Rendering of Airbus Vahana

¶ German wind project developer PNE Wind AG wants to evolve into a “Clean Energy Solution Provider”, expanding the range of services it offers, entering new markets, and adding a full range of green technologies to its portfolio. Wind, solar PVs, energy storage and power-to-gas are all key components of the new strategy. [Renewables Now]

¶ Levels of carbon pollution from Britain’s electricity generation have almost halved in just a few years, making the country’s power system one of the world’s cleanest, according to a report. Emissions associated with each unit of electricity produced fell 47% between 2012 and 2016 as coal was replaced by more gas and renewables. [Epping Forest Guardian]

Ferrybridge power station in West Yorkshire

¶ Giant wind turbines set to be built as part of an extension to the current Thanet Offshore Wind Farm off the coast of Kent will be the biggest in the world, some 250 meters tall. Swedish energy company Vattenfall revealed plans earlier in the year to expand their existing site, which lies around 7.5 miles off Foreness Point in Margate. [Kent Live]

¶ Strong demand is set to give a huge boost to renewable energy growth in sub-Saharan Africa over the next five years, driving cumulative capacity up more than 70%, a senior international energy official said. Millions of people will get access to electric power for the first time, as the continent turns to solar, wind and hydropower projects. [Business Day]

African wind farm (Yash Polychem image)


¶ Google installed methane detection systems in some of its Street View cars and began testing in Boston, Indianapolis, and New York City. A GPS unit records the route driven and uploads information to a Google server. The Street View cars driving around Boston found an average of one methane leak for every mile driven. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Rattlesnake Creek Wind Project is now being built northeast of Sioux City, Nebraska. Enel Green Power will spend $430 million to build the 320-MW wind farm. It will distribute $80 million in property tax and landowners payments over the first 20 years of its existence,  according to officials at Enel Green Power North America Inc. [Sioux City Journal]

Rendering of the Rattlesnake Wind Project

¶ Microsoft has announced that it intends to cut its carbon emissions by 75% by 2030 against a 2013 baseline, making continued progress with its carbon neutrality and renewable energy commitments while also making future investments in energy efficiency. Microsoft has recently agreements to buy power from wind farms. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Puerto Rico just met the halfway mark to restoring power, and the lights went out. Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló had just tweeted that power was back to 50% of utility customers when the outage hit San Juan. Fifty-six days after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico is still experiencing the longest blackout in US history. [Grist]

Repairs in Puerto Rico (Getty Images)

How can one help the people of Puerto Rico? One way
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Sunnyside Solar’s crowdfunding website].

¶ Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Acting Chairman Neil Chatterjee has said he is “sympathetic” to a rule that would prop up struggling US coal and nuclear power plants. He apparently has an interim plan to keep financially troubled plants operating while his agency considers a market-changing cost proposal from the DOE. [POWER magazine]

¶ Federal officials have restarted an eastern Idaho nuclear fuel testing facility amid efforts to boost the nation’s nuclear power generating capacity. The US DOE said the facility at the Idaho National Laboratory about 50 miles west of Idaho Falls began operating Tuesday for the first time since it went on standby status in 1994. [Jackson Hole News&Guide]

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